Whether you’re fresh on the job— getting the lay of the land, or you’re a veteran at your organization, as a content marketer you probably face the constant challenge of delivering interesting, valuable, and relevant content at the pace that your organization demands. And while part of that problem can be solved with a bit of internal education around delivering value over volume, some of the need for fresh content will still exist.
There are many different ways to create the content you need in order to publish at the cadence that your audience and organization requires—freelancers, repurposing assets, and curation, just to name a few. But this blog will cover one incredibly productive content source that will not only help you provide value to your audience, and hit your objectives by publishing at the pace you need but will help shine a spotlight on content internally at your organization. That source? Your own employees.
As a content marketer at Marketo, I’m responsible for making sure a blog goes live five days a week that is informative, entertaining and offers value to our audience (based on a detailed matrix of topics and audiences). As a lean team, doing this alone is an impossible task and, quite frankly, sounds scary. And that’s a feeling that it seems other marketers also have, because one of the most frequent questions I get asked when I am at an event, talking to a prospect or customer, or speaking is, “How do you scale your content?” Consistently, my answer is to be savvy about the resources you have at your disposal. Similar to repurposing content, I invite other marketers to ask themselves, “how can you get the most out of what you do have instead of focusing on what you don’t?”
One of the best ways to get the most out of the resources at your disposal is to broaden your view of what counts as a resource. If your resources are limited to already published blogs, and other assets (like whitepapers, ebooks, datasheets, and infographics), you can definitely find ways to create new content by repurposing, which will help you produce a few more pieces of content. But, if you shift your focus to include your human resources—across the organization—you have successfully found a content jackpot. Think about it for a second. If you have 1,000 employees and you are able to get even 1% of them (10 people) to blog for you, you’re already ahead of the game (vs. repurposing). If those authors, or even half of them, write a second post, you will have knocked it out of the park.
Ok, so let’s talk about how you actually make this happen. Guest content, specifically guest blogs, sounds amazing until you consider that you’re going to have to do the editing. To prevent a guest blogging program from descending into unmanageable chaos, you’re going to want to start with a few foundational elements:
Just to recap., don’t launch your program without those three elements in place. They. Are. Critical.
Once you have the foundation of your program, it’s time to add some important details. You will want your program guidelines to not only include the editiorial expectations like I covered above, but the rewards (who doesn’t love a prize?), resources to get started, and examples. Basically, your program guidelines, whether they are on an internal wiki, a landing page, in an ebook, or part of an internally shareable slide deck, need to tell your audience what’s in it for them, how they can get started, what to expect, and the expectations. Here’s a deeper look at some of the elements you may want to include:
So you created an awesome program that’s going to generate a crazy-amazing amount of content for your organization, but that’s only true if you share your program with your organization and get people excited. At this stage, you will want to come up with a launch plan. Launch plans will be unique to each organization, but you may want to consider some of these activities to launch it.
Effectively launching your program internally has many variations and ultimately you need to understand your audience, and company culture and craft a launch strategy that will get people engaged and keep them engaged.
Launching your program is just the beginning! The real key to success is to make this program sustainable. There are a few things you can do to ensure it’s ongoing success, like:
I hope that this gave you some good ideas to go mine a new content source, or if you are already having employees blog, to create a program that’s more robust and scalable. This method could work for more than blogs, so don’t be afraid to brand out. Are you running a content submission program at your organization? I’d love to hear what’s working and not working in the comments below.
The post 1 Awesome Way To Create Great Content appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
Instagram is taking over the world! Seriously, according to a study by Hootsuite, in 2015 the average number of photo shares per day on the platform was 70 million. And this year there are even more users, so the number is climbing every day.
Obviously it is a network with increasing influence. So you should be taking advantage of it, and the only way to do that properly is by posting incredible, eye catching content that gets plenty of attention.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to do it. You just need a few tricks up your sleeve.
Instagram works only through a mobile app. But did you know it can be customized using supporting apps? Or that you can create photos on other apps, and then post the results on Instagram?
Considering IG isn’t exactly the feature-heavy powerhouse we all might like it to be, this is a must for anyone serious about the platform.
These are the ones I can personally recommend.
Create beautiful images and graphics on either an iPhone or iPad, save to your gallery, and upload to IG.
It is easy to use and customize, comes with its own overlays and filters, has a large library of typography, and is perfect for even those who have never tried an imaging program before.
InstaPad is a gorgeous way to use and look at Instagram using your iPad.
It will seriously change the way you look at the platform, and the layout is so much better.
This is hands down one of the best photo editing apps I have seen. It is intuitive and simple to use right on your phone, with advanced features that will make gorgeous images.
What I love about it is that it takes you beyond the IG filters that make everyone’s photos look the same. Your content will stand out, which is crucial.
Tiny Planet is so much fun! It works by taking your photos and folding them into a circled panorama that look like a little planet.
It is certainly attention grabbing, and looks really cool. Not a lot of people are making them on IG, so you can get away with posting a handful and getting some likes and comments.
Take multiple photos, fit them into the framing requirements of IG, and present them as a collage. A lot of apps do the same thing, but this is the best one I have found.
It gives you plenty of options, and is just simpler to use than most, less clunky. Anyone who has used some of the other apps will know what I mean.
Who doesn’t love charts? IG is seeing a lot more chart and infographics making their way on, and this is a pretty easy way to make some.
Since most people reading this aren’t graphic designers, it is a good alternative to hiring people to make one for you.
I will admit that in the beginning I didn’t get the visual quotes phenomenon, and I avoided making my own for a long time. Now they are some of my most shared content on every platform, not just Instagram.
Easy to make, effective and attractive, you should add them to your content regularly. You can make your own on any image editor, but I like to simplify things by using Recite. It is a super quick generator with plenty of background images to choose from.
A great tip someone gave me a few years ago about photography was not to waste my time on images no one cared about seeing. That really hit me, because I definitely took a lot of pictures just to take them, and they never came out well (much less got any praise).
One of the best things you can do for your Instagram gallery is only fill it with worthwhile shots that meant something to you at the time you took them. For example, say you are sitting in a park and you seem a woman sitting on a bench, reading a book. Is it worthy of capturing? Does something about her stand out? Can something be enhanced, like the yellow of her coat?
Don’t waste your time on shots that mean nothing just because you have space on your phone. If you question each shot while framing it, you will take better photos naturally.
Instagram photos are a dime a dozen, and so many of them look the same. Seriously, these so-called “models” on the platform are all either pouting, over-painted women in hipster dresses, or muscle bound men in denim and shirtless doing some kind of sensitive post.
Do we really need more of that? Or can we start to push Instagram into a place more like Flickr used to be, where genuinely unique photography could be found?
Don’t be like everyone else, be different.
Have any tips to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!
The post How To Create Awesome, Eye Catching Instagram Content appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.
I love Twitter. That was almost love at the first sight. It’s a great idea which became awesome thanks to all the apps that completed it.
Here are two absolutely fantastic tools that have some really basic functionality Twitter still lacks:
Snapbird is a freemium tool giving you some cool searching options you probably didn’t know you actually needed a lot! In fact, its functionality is so cool that I am surprised Twitter doesn’t offer anything like that:
Search your or anyone’s
There are lots of ways to use Twitter likes. Most use them to “thank” for the mention. Some people use them to bookmark ideas for later reference. Others favorite Twitter testimonials to easier curate them
In any of those cases, the ability to search your own or someone else’s likes for a keyword or a hashtag is priceless…
You can investigate what others favorite, look back into your own Twitter bookmarks or even find who you “thanked” in the past!
Search for DMs you sent or received
Why Twitter doesn’t allow to search within your Twitter inbox is beyond me. Sometimes I have to scroll and scroll until I find the conversation I need. Am I probably missing something here?
I can get it that some people don’t use Twitter DMs that much but many of us still do! I am keeping my Twitter private inbox very clean and to the point; yet there’s no built-in solution to search it.
Snapbird solves that problem allowing you to search for DMs you sent or received.
I mentioned Twiangulate a few times in the past but they have changed the functionality a bit, so time to take a look at it again. Right now it’s a great connection discovery tool that gives you way to find how you are connected to someone else on Twitter (Build relationships!)
I love their “Keywords” tab allowing for some great Twitter bio search functionality. You can search by any keyword in a bio and you can even limit your search to someone’s friends. For example:
There are plenty of ways to play with the search tool for blogger and influencer outreach, relationship building, and more!
Find who these two Twitter accounts have in common
Give two Twitter accounts and find who the both follow (as well as who follows both of them:):
Find most powerful accounts that follow both Twitter users (and how they overlap):
Which Twitter search tools are you using and why? Please let us know in the comments!
The post 2 Awesome Twitter Search Tools That Give You What Twitter Lacks appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.
Author: Vanessa Porter
People demand a lot from marketers these days.
Marketers aren’t just expected to generate more leads, they’re also being asked to create more engaging experiences that convert visitors every time.
That is, of course, far easier said than done. It might seem like creating these win-win scenarios–when your audience is satisfied with an awesome experience, and you get the lead information you need–is like finding a four-leaf clover. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
Fortunately, interactive content makes a marketer’s job just a little easier. Interactive content is an experience where individuals can participate with the information they’re consuming, creating an immediate two-way dialogue. It can come in many forms–a knowledge quiz, persona assessment, a poll, or a dynamic ebook or whitepaper with questions layered in.
Not only is interactive content quick and fun for prospects to interact with, it’s proven to be effective. The average reported metrics from SnapApp users include a 30% click-through rate, 85% completion rate, and 45% lead conversion. And, perhaps best of all, it can be fully integrated with your digital or engagement marketing platform.
Here are four easy steps to get started with interactive content:
This first step requires some big-picture thinking. Before you get into the specifics of creating an interactive asset, determine what you’re looking to get out of it. Are you looking for better engagement from new visitors and early-stage leads? Or are you looking to weed out lesser qualified leads? Maybe it’s re-engaging dormant leads in your database?
Your objective(s) will help shape the content experience. If we look at how Paycor, an online payroll solution, strategized their interactive content, we can see a funnel-based approach:
Paycor created three specific pieces of content for every stage of the funnel to accomplish the following goals:
It’s important to consider interactive content as a part of your larger content strategy and its goals and objectives. Because interactive content is a newer medium, it can be helpful to use a planning guide and campaign outline as a springboard to get started.
Another key starting point is understanding subjects and themes that resonate well with your audience. After all, regardless of what segments you’re targeting, they are simply made up of walking, talking people who have a broad range of interests, even outside their industry (gasp!).
Once you determine the different topics that will engage your target audience, you can move on to choosing the specific content format and theme of your interactive content. As we saw above, calculators and product pickers are options to help demonstrate a value point of your product or service. However, these can come in a variety of formats. Think of interactive infographics used by The New York Times, or more fun-focused assessments and quizzes published by Buzzfeed.
One of the biggest benefits of interactive content is that you can collect valuable information about your leads to pass on to your sales team, without being too obvious or pushy.
For example, we created a personality test based on Game of Thrones. We went with this theme for two reasons. The first is that in March of that year, we launched an interactive bracket about marketers’ most binge-worthy TV show and Game of Thrones won. And the second is that the new Game of Thrones season was starting at the time of the assessment, so it was top-of-mind.
On a standard static-content campaign, what’s the typical practice? Usually, marketers promote their assets across social media or in emails or blog posts that lead to a landing page. On the landing page is a lead form that visitors must fill out to access the content, such as an ebook, whitepaper, or infographic. Some lead forms are neither enticing nor effective. Most of the time, marketers can only collect a few fields of lead information (anything more increases the bounce rate).
An interactive asset can transform this experience and gather lead data in a less obtrusive way by following these practices:
Combine your interactive content with an integrated marketing platform, and you can do so much more. For instance, if you are using Marketo’s Munchkin code, your known leads will have their contact information preloaded into an interactive experience. This allows them to skip the lead form altogether. Their answers are sent to your database, but they don’t get interrupted by a lead form.
An engagement platform, like Marketo, should be the heart of your marketing efforts. Therefore, all the information you collect from your content should flow seamlessly from your content marketing platform to your engagement platform and vice versa.
To accomplish this, add the content you create in your content marketing platform into a specific marketing program. Within that campaign, you can direct and use the information you collected in any way you want. For example, if a prospect identifies as a content marketer, we’ll send them helpful information focused on content. If they are more involved in marketing operations, we’ll focus on that subject instead. Think of how you can assign different subjects to different personas in your own strategy.
What does this integration look like? Check it out below.
From your interactive content platform (just a few fields and presto!):
From your marketing platform:
Bonus tip: Once you’ve synched your content marketing platform with your marketing platform, you can leverage the valuable information you collected in a follow-up email. For example, we used dynamic content in our follow-up campaign to call out which Game of Thrones house prospects were assigned to during the assessment. We tailored the email copy to match the house’s description and suggested how our platform could help with their priorities.
All of these steps combined–from initial ideation and goal definition to theme selection, promotion, and personalized follow-up–creates campaign cohesion across your revenue teams. However, this only scratches the surface of interactive content. As you get used to the medium, you can improvise and optimize in numerous ways.
Have you already had success with interactive content? Have a question about how to get started? Start the discussion in the comments below!
4 Steps to Create Awesome Interactive Content was posted at Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership. | http://blog.marketo.com
The post 4 Steps to Create Awesome Interactive Content appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
Visual tweets attract more clicks and shares. Despite various levels of skepticism (many people were claiming visual tweets to be annoying), visual tweets are getting more and more adopted.
Here are three free tools allowing you to create stunning visual tweets in seconds.
(Online, Mac App, Google Chrome Extension)
TwitShot.com is a cool app that extracts an image from the given page and creates an instant visual tweet. If you don’t use Google Chrome or a Mac (whaaat??), you can still use the web-based app.
Be careful with the web based version: It didn’t give me any status update that my tweet went live, so I tweeted the same URL+image three times:
Here’s one of them:
— Ann Smarty (@seosmarty) July 25, 2015
(Mac and Windows)
Record.it is a free Mac and Windows application that lets you record screencasts and instantly turn them into animated gif pictures that can be instantly tweeted.
The Windows version doesn’t have Twitter support yet (it seems but I have tested it on Mac) but they say it’s coming soon.
Here’s a tweet I created on how to apply to Internet Marketing Ninjas free competitor analysis (Took me 1 minute to create):
— Ann Smarty (@seosmarty) July 25, 2015
I’ve tested a lot of animated GIF creators and this one seems to provide the highest quality of animation.
Buffer Pablo is the quickest way to create tweetable visual quotes. If you sign in to Buffer, you’ll be able to share the visual quote to Facebook too.
Which tools are you using to create visual tweets? Share them in the comments!