Tag Archives: Content



So long as he stays in Philly.

Philadelphia releases criminal illegal even after Feds say they’re looking for him and he’d been deported once already .

That’s right. The city of Philadelphia purposely endangered its own LEGAL residents to make a political point.

Given they’re mostly ignorant, poverty stricken, government dependent ground apes, beaners and white trash you can be sure they’ll not complain.

Too fucking stupid to realize the danger they’ve been put in.

Philadelphia officials released a criminal illegal immigrant who had previously been deported despite a warrant issued by a U.S. District Court judge. The officials released the man with a long list of violent charges when immigration officers provided a detainer and warrant.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers were forced to track down the historically violent suspect on the streets after Philadelphia officials released him. ERO officers obtained a criminal arrest warrant from a U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and presented that, along with an immigration detainer, to local officials on June 14, according to ICE.

City officials released the suspect, Guillermo Leon-Sandoval, 35, despite the criminal warrant. City officials previously said they would honor immigration detainers that were accompanied by a criminal arrest order signed by a judge. However, Leon-Sandavol was released.

ERO officers tracked down the suspect a few days later and placed him in federal custody.

Philadelphia police charged the previously deported illegal immigrant for alleged unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury; simple assault; recklessly endangering another person; and false imprisonment, according to ICE officials. The charges stemmed from an alleged domestic violence incident involving his wife. The foreign national also has a September 2014 conviction for illegal entry.

“The local government’s goal of making Philadelphia a sanctuary city will not deter us from our mission of making communities safer nationwide and honoring immigration laws,” acting field office director for ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Philadelphia, Gregory Brawley, said in a written statement. “In this case, the individual has been charged with recent violent crimes. We will continue to pursue individuals such as this for arrest and removal.”

“I commend ICE for arresting this individual pursuant to a federal judicial arrest warrant,” McSwain said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to enforcing federal law, including, of course, our immigration laws. We will continue working with all law enforcement agencies to keep our community safe.”


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Will machine learning be the death of content A/B testing?

 Will machine learning be the death of content A/B testing?

Presented by Marketo

Machine learning is changing the content marketing game. With the democratization of artificial intelligence tools — meaning you don’t need a data science degree to implement machine learning technology — you have at your fingertips a whole new world of content optimization, customization, personalization and relevance, at scale, whatever industry you’re in.

That means you’re able to deliver more engaging and meaningful content for your customers, with carefully crafted content style and beguiling calls to action at the right time and with the right cadence.

You’ve already got a vast volume of data about your customers and your market at hand; even more data is being produced and for sale every day. Machine learning is the tool that unlocks the underlying insights that data leads to, allowing you to map data and content to the right audiences.

And once people engage with your content, machine learning can help you make sense of the data you gather, revealing what’s working, what’s not — and how to turn that into insight that optimizes your campaign and turn setbacks into leaps forward for not just your current campaigns, but future ones, allowing you to deliver truly personalized experiences at scale.

Unified theory of content marketing

Machine learning offers a huge leap forward in content marketing, which in most organizations tends to be strictly siloed — social marketers might be coordinating with the research team and the content marketing team, but marketers running each channel have a different — sometimes significantly different — view of who their customer is and what they want, across each of their individual campaigns. And that can lead to dissonance for your customers.

And then there’s machine learning, which gathers together all the data your marketing campaigns and research uncovers, in every channel, from email to social, search, discovery, promotion, and more. Better yet, it breaks down the silos between all these channels, giving you a unified view of your entire customer base. Machine learning can link the propensity and behaviors of your customers at all points of contact, allowing you to develop a truly comprehensive view of what your marketing target audience is.

Eliminating the guesswork

Getting ready to launch a new campaign? Machine learning offers you a perspective on and insight into customer engagement: a factual, data-driven view, in one place, of what worked in each and every one of these channels. From there, you’re not only able to tailor your campaigns based on your gut instincts, but work with the insights and feedback that your machine learning solution offers, from statistical significance to actual feedback and suggestions for future campaigns.

Companies like Marketo are now deeply invested in machine learning in the marketing space, working with customers to uncover everything that a machine learned algorithm can offer a marketer, says Arun Anantharaman, chief product officer at the company. Marketers are particularly eager to replace hunches with data. As Anantharaman explains, “One of our corporate marketing customers said AI is taking the guesswork out of determining what content will resonate for each person that interacts with their brand.”

Companies are now moving beyond A/B testing — up till now the primary way to understand the impact of content — to a place where data-fed algorithms are achieving significant results for something called Content AI.

“Just tell me what customer you’re going after, what the demographic and firmographic is, and then we’ll recommend, as a starting place, the 15 pieces that will perform the best of the thousand pieces of content in your repository,” Anantharaman says. “That eliminates two months of guesswork for marketers, testing what pieces from that huge repository of data would actually work.”

From there, machine learning adds an automation piece, enabling a campaign to cycle through those 15 content focus areas for those campaigns. One client saw a 75 percent direct lead conversion for things like form submissions, Anantharaman says.

Getting started

Machine learning works when you have a lot of data and a lot of content, which means it’s not the perfect solution for every company. For smaller organizations just starting out, machine learning may not be the right solution. Their repository of data and content may simply not be enough.

And it’s also a tool that needs to be integrated fully into your marketing strategy. Machine learning insights aren’t one-and-done; they’re meant to continuously learn from ongoing data, offering smarter insights every time.

And that can often mean creating a whole new role within your company: putting the right people in place. It requires marketers who understand what needs to happen around personalization, around the notion of specific audience hyper-segmentation. They need to focus on mapping audiences to content to get outcomes you couldn’t have previously achieved.

But embedding machine learning and AI within your existing workflows doesn’t mean you need a data scientist on staff. Advances in machine learning technology mean that solutions can be tailored to specific companies, capabilities pre-filtered to capture what a marketer actually wants: data about open clicks, email activities, behavioral data, website actions, ad network engagement across the web, Facebook lead ads, LinkedIn lead generation ads, event engagement, and more. All of it presented to you in an easy to read format.

Then creating seamless integration with your own content, so that activating machine learning insights — a), what’s the right piece of content for my audience, and b), what’s the right audience? — can be literally as easy as clicking a checkbox.

What’s next?

Anantharaman says after Content AI, the next step is Audience AI — meaning that the marketer gains leverage to drive campaigns and identify audiences that have converted and had success in the past. The machine learning would scour your database for lookalike targets in real time, saving the marketer hours, days, and even months of time. With AI, that means producing a list of people that have a high chance of converting from a database in the hundreds of thousands, or maybe even the millions. With machine learning, you’ll be able to understand the success you had with previous campaigns, map that success to the attributes you want for a particular profile, and then generate the audiences that you need for the next campaign, in seconds. Something that could never be done manually.

For more on how Marketo is using Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, visit https://www.marketo.com/ai

Sponsored posts are content produced by a company that is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. Content produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact sales@venturebeat.com.

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Big Data – VentureBeat

Dynamics Portal content coming soon

We are excited to announce that starting this week Dynamics Portal content will be coming to the Dynamics CRM in the Field blog.  The authors are a mix of MCS consultants and PFEs, so the content will range from development to troubleshooting to taking advantage of new features.  The first post will be later this week and will discuss the in place upgrade process of ADX 7.0 to Dynamics Portal 8.0.

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Dynamics CRM in the Field

Share your Power BI content with anyone by email

I’m excited to announce the ability to share content with users using their personal email accounts, making it easier to share data with people outside of your organization. Previously, you could only share content to other users with work email addresses.

This can be useful in many situations. For example, if you’re a service provider such as a financial planner, you often need to securely provide your clients reports and dashboards. Sometimes your clients prefer to use personal email addresses, like Outlook.com or Gmail, and now you can share to those people with Power BI.

To share content through email

To invite someone, simply enter their email address in the Share pane.

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When you select Share, they’ll get an invite to join your organization as a guest user. On the Access tab, you’ll see them listed.

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After the user accepts the invite, you will see them marked as a guest in the access list.

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For apps, you add the personal email account into the Permissions list on the Access tab.

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How does it work?

An invite email is sent to the provided email address. The recipient needs to be in your organization’s Azure Active Directory (AAD). If the recipient isn’t in AAD, they’ll be prompted to create an AAD account. A quick instructional video is available to help them.

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Sharing with personal email works just like external sharing with Azure B2B to organizations. You’ll either need to put the content in a Premium capacity or assign a Power BI Pro license so the user can consume the content. More details are provided in our documentation.

Can I sign-up for Power BI with a personal email address?

No, this hasn’t changed. However, it’s easy to start a business account by signing up for a free trial of Office 365.

Next Steps

Distribute Power BI content to external guest users with Azure AD B2B

Active Directory B2B redemption experience

Active Directory B2B overview

Read the Azure B2B Whitepaper

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Microsoft Power BI Blog | Microsoft Power BI

Why Content Marketing and PPC Are the Laser-Targeted Power Duo

20180131 bnr dual lasers 351x200 Why Content Marketing and PPC Are the Laser Targeted Power Duo

Do a careful read of the article and ask yourself, “What could be improved on this topic?” Maybe there are gaps in the existing article, or things that aren’t covered well ― or covered at all. Maybe the content would benefit from interviews, research, or additional statistics. For example, for a trends article, you could interview several industry influencers and use their quotes to support each trend. Or perhaps you could infuse the article with videos to add depth and insight to the subject. Take a topic that has performed well and use this knowledge to create something better by adding more of what the reader wants.

You can also tap into the content that you’ve already published through your own content marketing efforts. You may have a high-performing e-book that you’d like to get into the hands of more prospects. If so, you can use a PPC strategy to accomplish that (more on that in a minute). But first, here are a few tips for making content even better, whether it’s a new piece or an existing asset that you’re refreshing:

  • Create twists and turns to capture interest. Has your topic been covered excessively? If so, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t write about it, especially if the topic has performed exceptionally well in the past, but the key is to stand out. Try doing the opposite of what others are doing. For example, if everybody is writing about the best strategies for XYZ, write about the worst ones (and how to fix them).
  • Capture attention with amazing headlines.Eighty percent of people will read your headlines, but only 20 percent will read your content. So, you can never spend enough time perfecting your headlines and checking their results. PPC is an excellent tool for testing your headlines and determining which works best.
  • Create content that is actionable. Providing strategy is great, but what can your readers do with your content? Can they take what they learned and apply it right away? Actionable content empowers your readers and builds greater engagement and brand loyalty.
  • Add images and video to your content. Video is expected to claim more than 80 percent of all traffic by 2019, and 90 percent of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions. If you’re not using video in your content, brainstorm ways to add it. For example, in the 2017 content marketing trends example above, you could include short video clips of the influencers giving their predictions, and then test the results through PPC campaigns.

You’ve created amazing content that is proven to perform well because you’ve invested time and research in finding the best topics. You’ve reviewed existing high-performing content, found the gaps ― and you know exactly how to make it better. So now what? If you want to get truly amazing results, couple that amazing content with a PPC strategy.

Combining Your Content Marketing and PPC Strategies

Using content marketing and PPC together works very well because you’re taking a piece of powerful, popular content and sharing it with people through PPC ads. This instantly boosts the odds that you’ll get a higher ROI on your marketing dollars. But first, you must understand the most effective place to invest your content and PPC dollars. Here are a few tips for getting started.

– Understand where customers spent time on social media. Measure the engagement that you receive from different social media platforms. For example, a B2B technology company notices it gets a high level of engagement through LinkedIn. If so, this is the first platform where you should test content-driven PPC. Measure your results, and iterate as needed.

– Determine the best content subject and format to promote it. Gated assets, such as that great e-book or detailed white paper that you wrote about a major pain point for the audience, are ideal candidates for PPC. Seasonal content, such as that trends article launched at the end of the year, are also good choices. Take the assets with a track record of excellent performance and test those first.

– Segment your campaigns. Some companies make the mistake of setting up campaigns for each of their products or services. Instead, plan campaigns for as many groups as possible, and segment by the main product feature, benefit, or other specific pertinent factor for your target audience.

– Leverage relevant keywords. The more specific your campaigns are, including keywords, the better your leads will be. Obsess over searcher intent.

For past content marketing efforts, you may have used guest posting, which is an effective strategy for getting in front of a target audience. The challenge, however, is that only a fraction of the total readers will be interested in your product. In contrast, leveraging content through PPC campaigns allows you to drill down to a specific persona that you’d like to target, so it’s no longer a numbers game.

For example, LinkedIn allows you to create a sponsored content campaign by using the campaign manager feature and then clicking the “sponsored content campaign” option. Simply select the piece of content that you want to sponsor. NewsCred used this strategy with LinkedIn and increased views 4.2 times for their unsponsored company updates, after running 20 sponsored update campaigns. Use examples like these to inspire your efforts.

Altering the Buying Path for Greater Results

Customers are traveling a buying path, and it may be long or it may be short. They may have some awareness of your product ― perhaps they saw it at a trade show or a co-worker mentioned it ― but they’re not even close to purchase yet. Combining content marketing with PPC allows you to alter the course of this path.

Whether prospective customers are at the start of their search or at the end of the sales cycle, you can move them forward faster and closer to the sale with this powerful double-whammy strategy.

Have you used PPC to increase the effectiveness of your content- marketing efforts? If so, please share what you’ve learned.

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Act-On Blog

Align Your Content Marketing with the Buyer’s Journey

20180116 bnr journey trail 351x200 Align Your Content Marketing with the Buyer’s Journey

Creating Content for the Top of the Funnel

The top of the funnel is the very beginning of the process when a customer is just realizing they have a problem that needs solving and begins to look for solutions. This is also known as the “discovery” or “awareness” phase. For example, let’s say that a marketing manager needs better analytics tools for the company’s marketing campaigns. This may become obvious when the CEO asks for the ROI on a specific campaign, and, although some data is available, the stats could be better, or there may need to be an easier way to show or share that data.

You job is to first understand the prospect’s pain point and what is triggering the need. Next, you need to create content that helps educate the prospect and provide high-value resources. Here are examples of a few different types of content that are effective for this stage of the game:

  • White papers. At this point in the buyer’s journey, the prospect is seeking data and information that will help them make a decision. White papers are the perfect type of content because in them you can address the problem, present general solutions, and then dive into your brand’s specific solution. Prospects want facts and research, and white papers fill that need.
  • Blog posts. Blog posts can also be valuable at this stage, especially long-form content. You can address the prospect’s pain point and offer tactics and strategies for meeting the challenge. At the end of the content you can provide a call to action, encouraging the prospect to download a gated white paper or eBook on the same topic in exchange for a name and email address. Gated content allows you to capture leads so you’re able to continue to educate them with more relevant and nurture them through the sales cycle.

 This type of content allows for a deep dive into the customer’s problem and lets you present facts and research. Quotes from influencers can be included, with their best tips on solving the pain point. At the same time, they add credibility to your brand and content.

After creating the right content, what should you do next? Start by using the right metrics, which allow you to understand which content is effective — and which isn’t. Here are a few to watch.

  • Number of sessions: How many sessions has a single prospect had with your content? Is the targeted content driving prospects to your site and enticing them to return for more? Determine each prospect’s number of sessions so you can better understand engagement.
  • Old visitors vs. new visitors: How many of the visitors to your content are old vs. new visitors? Both types are good, but a high number of new visitors means that your content is drawing new interest from prospects.
  • Engagement: When you send out that new white paper, e-book, or blog post, are prospects clicking the link or opening the email? Engagement is critical to nurturing prospects through the buyer journey, so this metric is critical. ‘
  • Leads/Won Opportunities/Closed Deals Generated: Use analytics tools to help you see how your content is actually impacting the bottom line. This information can inform the production of content on similar subject matter, but perhaps in a different format. For example, turn that high-performing eBook into an infographic or series of blog posts.

You’ve defined the prospect’s pain point and created targeted content that helps them better understand that pain point. What comes next? After the discovery stage, the customer moves into the “consideration” stage. Here they have some basic facts, but they’re looking at specific companies and asking, “Who can help me solve this problem best?”

The Middle of the Funnel: Consideration

The prospect has defined their problem, done some research, and is now evaluating specific companies and specific solutions. They are one step closer to purchase but first need to understand a little more about their choices. The goal at the middle of the funnel should be to help buyers understand why your solution is best. Here a few types of content that help you accomplish this goal.

Case studies: Prospects want to imagine what using your product would be like, so it’s helpful to publish stories about past clients achieving great results. Select stories that fit a variety of customer personas and will resonate with your prospects, and videos are especially powerful here.

Comparison posts or webpages: Blog posts are effective for this stage as well, but the type of content you create is different from the first stage. Write posts or landing pages comparing the different categories of products the prospect may be considering. For example, a customer in the market for a smartphone may be deciding between an Android and an iPhone. At the middle stage, a great post for this prospect would be: “Android vs. iPhone: Which is best for your business?”

Production demonstrations: The prospect not only wants to understand the benefits of the product — they want to better understand how to use it. They may be worried that the solution is complicated or won’t solve their exact problem. Create content that shows exactly how the product works using video or another interactive method, which can help overcome objections and move prospects to the next stage of the sales cycle. These are also terrific assets to gate for lead collection.

As with the awareness stage, it’s important to measure the right metrics. At this point, you should be monitoring returning visitors. For example, is one group of prospects returning more frequently than another? Understand why. For product demonstrations, measure those captured leads, which should be consistently growing over time.

The Bottom of the Funnel: the Decision Stage

Now the prospect has considered all the potential solutions and is ready to validate whether the product or solution is worth purchasing. You’ve talked about the value of the product and how it makes the task easier. At this point, they want information about what things look like if they decide to take the final plunge and move forward with your organization. The prospect is teetering on the edge of purchase, and they crave the right information to push them over that edge. So what type of content works well at this stage? Here are a few suggestions.

Trial downloads: Trials can be extremely effective at this point because once you can get the prospect to try your product, it’s much easier to convert them in the future. Offer free or low-cost trials to encourage the prospect to move closer to closing the sale and create content to promote those trials.

Live demos: During the middle of the funnel, you may have created on-demand video content that highlighted the benefits of the product. At this phase, however, the buyer is more serious, and a live demo is more engaging, allowing you to answer questions and address concerns in real time.

Content that shares favorable analyst reviews: People often trust 3rd party reviews to solidify their choice and/or to make the case to a budget holder, perhaps. If you’ve got great reviews, flaunt them! It’s also important to have these assets readily available to your sales team.

Content that promotes a free audit: For some products and services, it’s possible to offer a free audit or review. If this fits with your business, create content that highlights the benefits of a free audit and how the prospect can take advantage of the offer. This could be a blog post, short video, or infographic packed with stats relevant to the pain point and how an audit would help.

Once you create content for this stage in the buying cycle, it’s important to measure the results to better understand the content’s effectiveness. You can then pivot and make changes as needed. Here are a couple of metrics to watch.

Lifetime value of a customer: The longer a customer stays with your business, the more valuable they become as you make continual offers, upsells, and cross-sells of related products. Measure the lifetime value of new customers generated by content marketing efforts.

Customer acquisition: Creating content that is aligned with each stage of the buyer’s journey requires time, money, and resources. All that hard work comes with a price tag, and you want to ensure that customer acquisition rates meet expectations.

But in the end, every sales funnel is unique and shaped by the buyer journey. You can apply a general framework for aligning content at every stage, but when you truly understand your audience and develop a funnel that is tightly focused on their needs and backed with a documented content marketing strategy, you’ll better understand your customers, drive greater engagement, and experience higher conversions and lasting results.

Have you aligned your content marketing strategy with the buyer journey? If so, please share your results.  

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Act-On Blog

Crafting an Effective Content Strategy for Your Business

2017 AO RethinkMktgPodcast Featured Halvorson Crafting an Effective Content Strategy for Your Business

This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.

Nathan Isaacs: Welcome to the Rethink marketing podcast. I’m here today with Kristina Halvorson. Kristina, can you tell us more about yourself and Brain Traffic?

Kristina Halvorson: Sure. Thanks for having me on. I am a content strategist by trade. I own a small content strategy consulting company called Brain Traffic. We’re headquartered in Minneapolis. And we every year host Confab, the content strategy conference that brings together professionals whose work has an impact on content quality for organizations. It’s going to happen May this coming year. Confabevents.com. There, I got my plug in early.

It’s held here in Minneapolis. It’s a really, really great event. It always sells out. And lots of bright folks. There are so many different fields that the professionals there have an impact on content. And they all sometimes speak different languages or have trouble connecting on each other’s priorities. We want to get everybody under one roof to learn each other’s languages and work towards better content.

Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing

Nathan: Speaking of content strategy, that’s why we have you on today. Can we start out with just talking about what content strategy is not?

Kristina: Sure. So I will say one of the things that causes me to bang my head against the wall pretty regularly: Content strategy is not content marketing. We could start there. Content marketing is a pretty specific marketing strategy or marketing play that organizations will make in which they are publishing content that they hope has value to their end users, who will then trust in the company and do business with them.

Content strategy is more of a discipline that works to connect the dots between a lot of disciplines that already exist. Marketing can be one of them. But the content that gets created in marketing has all kinds of layers of complexity, which can include the technical aspects behind the building and distribution of that content, the user experience design of how people are interacting with and accessing and searching that content, and the governance component, which is an organizational design question: How are people making decisions about that content and what are the success metrics in measuring the performance of that content? So it’s really a very complex world of decisions and relationships that content strategy sort of works to define, and untangle, and choreograph, and synchronize, and all that good stuff.

Making Crucial Decisions

Nathan: We mentioned that content strategy is not content marketing. Do you think marketers have a content strategy? Or is this something that they’re just missing all together?

Kristina: Yeah, that’s a good question. Really, when we talk about content marketing, a lot of times people say, OK, here’s how you get your content marketing strategy. You need to figure out what your business goals are, you need to figure out who it is that you want to reach, and then you need to brainstorm a lot of stuff that you think that they’re interested in, or go out and research it, and then put together a plan for all the channels you’re gonna push the content out, and push that content out.

And really what that is, is it’s an editorial plan. That is really you’re making a decision about here are our goals and here are our people, now let’s think about all the things that we could talk about that would engage those people, or things that we’re specialists in, or even things that we’re not necessarily experts in, but we want to make a play for that in the search engine results. And that is sort of jumping over the strategy piece all together, which is where are you going to focus your content efforts in order to achieve these business goals in a way that is offering constraints on what you will and will not do.

So deciding which customers to go after is part of it. But you’ve got to make some decisions about who you are going to try to reach and appeal to, and thereby making decisions about who you want. And the mistake I see so many companies making is they’re like, well we want to reach everybody, we want to reach people just in case. What if somebody stumbles upon us and they know somebody else who’s interested in shopping for insurance and they send us their way? And that’s the content marketing trap that I see a lot of companies get stuck in.

Content Strategy and the Big Picture

Nathan: When we’re thinking about content strategy, how does it fit in with the overall business strategy and all the other strategies that are floating around within a company?

Kristina: I read a good article recently that broke down four different types of strategies. And at the last two were operational strategy and then functional strategy. And I really see content strategy as a functional strategy within an organization. So it’s helping figure out how to prioritize resources and people in order to get things done that are going to ladder up to the overall business strategy.

So typically what I say is that when you’re thinking about where to focus and prioritize your content efforts, you want to specifically consider three or four things. You definitely want to consider the overall business strategy, whatever’s been delivered by leadership, your user personas, your target customers, who it is that you’re trying to reach or serve. And then whatever function you’re reporting up to or serving, what are their core strategies, and how can you map your efforts to those, how do those act as constraints to your activities? And I’m sorry, brand strategy is the last one that has to inform it.

Nathan: We’ve talked about the user experience. Can you talk about some of the other activity areas of an effective content strategy: the editorial strategy, content engineering, and the workflow and governance?

Connecting the Activity Areas of an Effective Content Strategy

Kristina: Yeah. Those are really the four I’d say, whether you want to call them fields of activity, or disciplines, or functions within an organization, that in my mind the role of content strategy sort of works to connect. And you can talk about content strategy in any of these four areas and [be] using the words correctly. The editorial strategy piece is where I see a lot of content marketing efforts falling. What are you going to publish? Why are you publishing it? What’s your point of view? Who’s it for? What’s your voice and tone? It’s a story you’re going to tell, the information that you need to convey, or the information needs that need to be fulfilled.

And then you think about experience design or user-experience design, which is where and how are people connecting with, accessing, searching for, browsing, and experiencing the content across a variety of platforms, and screens, and tools, and so on. And that requires thoughtful design as well. And then there’s what we can call the content structural components or the content engineering, which is all the things that makes the content work across a variety of platforms. So this is the structural work that happens within the content management system, and that creates the categories and the relationships between the pieces of content.

And then there’s that workflow and governance, which is really just the people and process component. How is content moving throughout the organization, and what are the rules and guidelines that are governing it over time to make sure that it maintains its relevance and integrity and so on? … Phew.

Nathan: If I created our 2018 content strategy, does it need to line up with what you’ve already previously created, all that stuff you’ve done? Or can you start fresh and just toss everything aside?

Kristina: What I would suggest is that what’s happening or what’s been done should act as an input to the decisions that you make around content strategy moving forward. At Brain Traffic we do an exercise called the assessment or the situation analysis, where we go in and assess what we call your content ecosystem, which are all the different living, moving parts that have an impact on content quality. And that can be anything from current content relationships to the people who are working on the content to stakeholder perspectives, competitors, technology opportunities or constraints. There are a lot of different things that we can look at.

And then we analyze all that information to kind of pull out any themes that we’re seeing, where there are opportunities, or threats, or weaknesses, and so on. And then from that set of information that we make decisions around content strategy, which is what we need to focus on to improve our content so that the work that we’re doing is mapping up to and helping us succeed in our other larger strategy areas.

Constantly Changing but Always Collaborative

Nathan: Right. Is there anything I did not ask that people should know about when we’re having this conversation about content strategy?

Kristina: Well I would say that people need to know that content strategy is an ever-evolving thing. It’s difficult to pin down. It’s difficult to put a circle around it and say, this is the content strategy thing. If you are not doing this thing, you are not doing content strategy. There is a small faction of content strategists that want to be able to do that. But for the most part content strategists are incredibly collaborative, curious people who are really focused on just making sure that our companies are creating content that is worthy of our brand, embodies who we are, fairly represents what it is that we have to sell or how we’re going to serve, and that meets the user or the customer where they are.

And so I think that if you’re working with content like that and that’s where you’re coming from, you’re doing content strategy. And the opportunity that lies in front of you is to really go out and start to have conversations and make connections with the other people within your organization whose work is having a direct impact on that end-content product. So I really want to make that point that content strategy is not an exclusive club that you have to earn your membership in. It’s open to everyone. And we welcome all. It’s a party. It’s the content strategy party and you’re all invited.

Nathan: Oh, there you go. Definitely do that. Well I appreciate your time today. Thank you for being on the podcast. Let me backtrack. How do I learn more about you and Brain Traffic?

Kristina: Sure. You can just go to braintraffic.com. I am on Twitter always having a good time, @halvorson. And you can go to confabevents.com to learn more about our super awesome, epic conference in May.

Nathan: I’m definitely going to try and get over there and see that.

Kristina: It’s good times.

Nathan: Hey, well thank you for being on the podcast today.

Kristina: Thanks for having me.

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27 Amazing Facts about B2B Content Marketing

20171213 bnr amazing b2b contet marketing facts 351X200 27 Amazing Facts about B2B Content Marketing

B2B Content marketing started out as a new trend, and some even wondered if it would quickly pass and burn out. But slowly, it transformed from a shiny new object to the gold standard. In fact, Seth Godin calls content marketing “the only marketing left,” because it fits so perfectly with members of the internet generation, who turn their attention online every time they want to learn more about a product or service.

Many B2B marketers are investing heavily in this type of marketing today, but still ask: What’s the best way forward and what are the essentials we need to know about content marketing? Here are 27 interesting facts to consider.

The Current Environment

  1. Business decision makers love content. Eighty percent of business decision makers prefer to receive company information in a series of articles versus in an advertisement.
  2. The buyer journey is going digital. Sixty-seven percent of the typical B2B buyer journey is now completed digitally, and nine out of 10 B2B buyers say that online content has a moderate-to-major effect on their purchasing decisions.
  3. Brands are creating large amounts of content.Sixty percent of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.
  4. The majority of marketers say they expect to produce more content next year. Seventy percent of marketers said they plan to produce more content in the following year.
  5. Most companies are more committed to content marketing than they were a year ago. Sixty-two percent report they are now very committed to content marketing.
  6. Many marketers worry that they’re not successful enough.Twenty-two percent of those surveyed reported they were “minimally successful” with their current content-marketing approach.
  7. Few marketers have a documented content-marketing strategy. Only 37 percent of marketers have a documented content-marketing strategy for their businesses.

Key takeaway: Most marketers are creating some types of content marketing, and they’re doing so at an increasing rate. However, more than one-third of these marketers don’t have a documented strategy in place. Consider creating one to align with your consistent efforts and to ensure that each dollar you spend is maximized.

Content Marketing Challenges

  1. A divide between marketing and sales still exists. According to IDC, more than 40 percent of marketing materials are not used by sales teams.
  2. Measuring content-marketing ROI is a top challenge for marketers. Fifty-two percent of B2B content marketers report that measuring ROI is among their top challenges, suggesting that more than half sometimes have difficulty proving that content marketing is successful.
  3. Marketers contend with not having enough time. Fifty-two percent of marketers say that stagnant success with content marketing is linked to “not having enough time to devote to content marketing.”
  4. Marketers are struggling to create content-marketing strategies. Nearly half of B2B marketers, 49 percent, say that stagnant success over the past year is due to lack of strategy or their trouble coming up with an adequate strategy.
  5. Some content marketers feel they aren’t making progress. Twenty-eight percent say their success is about the same as one year ago.

Key takeaway: Many marketers aren’t sure if they’re creating the right type of content or how to measure that content’s results. At the start of each new project, identify key metrics to measure success and use those metrics to guide your efforts.

Types of Content Created

  1. Most B2B marketers are creating ongoing blog content. Eighty percent use blogs in their content-marketing strategy.
  2. The majority of content marketers deploy email newsletters to connect with prospects and clients. Seventy-seven percent send email newsletters as part of their content-marketing strategy.
  3. Over half of marketers create infographics.Fifty-eight percent use infographics to connect with their audiences.
  4. Video is stealing the show. Seventy-nine percent of internet traffic will be video content by 2018.
  5. Many B2B marketers are not using video to connect with their customers yet. Only 60 percent of B2B marketers are using video to reach their customers.

Key takeaway: Data shows that prospects and customers want more video content, yet not all marketers are creating it. Test video content to determine whether it resonates with your target audience and then measure the results.

The Results of Content Marketing

  1. Content marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy. Content marketing costs 62 percent less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
  2. Higher traffic is generated from this type of marketing. Content-marketing leaders produce 7.8 times more site traffic than do non-leaders.
  3. Content marketing generates higher conversion rates. Content-marketing adopters have conversion rates that are almost six times higher than their competitors’ conversion rates.
  4. Long-form content is highly effective. Content of between 3,000 and 10,000 words receives the most social shares — even though publishers are producing 16 times more short-form content than long-form content.
  5. Higher quality and more efficient content creation are ranked as top factors for successful companies. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said that creating high-quality content and having an efficient process for creating content increased their overall success over the past year.

Key takeaway: LinkedIn’s Senior Content Marketing Manager Jason Miller said, “Content marketing is no longer a numbers game. It’s a game of relevance.” This type of marketing can be highly effective, but it’s important to start with the customers — and an understanding of their pain points and the types of content they need most. Create the exceptional content that they crave and define key metrics for success up front.

The Future of Content Marketing

  1. Content-marketing budgets are getting bigger.Ninety-three percent of brand marketers plan to maintain or increase their budget for content marketing in the coming year.
  2. Repurposing is on the rise. Nearly 60 percent of marketers reuse content two to five times.
  3. The majority of CMOs say that content marketing is the future.Seventy-eight percent of CMOs believe that custom content is the future of marketing.
  4. The majority of marketers expect to create more original content in the next year.Seventy percent of marketers said they expected to create more original B2B content in the next 12 months.
  5. Blogs and email newsletters are said to be most critical in the following year.Fifty-two percent of B2B marketers said that blog posts could be most critical to content success in the following year, and 40 percent said that email newsletters would be essential.

Key takeaway. Ann Handley, content-marketing keynote speaker and best-selling author said, “You need to create ridiculously good content — content that is useful, enjoyable, and inspired.” The future will include an increasing amount of content, but it’s most important to create the content that your audience craves most and then deliver it through the channels where they spend the most time.

A Few Final Words

The customer is always at the center of content-marketing efforts. What are your customers’ burning pain points now, and how can you position your product or service as the solution to these problems through your content-marketing efforts? Leo Burnett famously said, “What helps people, helps business.” Content marketing is intended to help your customers, so when you stay focused on that goal, the results and revenue will follow.

What is your favorite content-marketing statistic? Please share it below!

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How CRM Can Give Your Content Marketing a Jump Start

gettyimages 470907992 How CRM Can Give Your Content Marketing a Jump Start

If you are familiar with content writing, you may occasionally experience difficulties getting your work to rank on search engines. There are even struggles with trying to find ways to gain attention from readers and subsequently generate a following. Finally, another struggle with content writing is making your subject something that is interesting and worth reading, especially if it is a topic that the general public may not be too interested in.

In today’s blog, we are going to talk about content marketing, what it is and how to make people stop and notice through the usage of CRM software.

Content Marketing. What Is It?

Before we begin discussing the ways in which customer relationship management software can assist with giving your content marketing the push it needs, let’s define the phrase and make you a bit more familiar with it.

A strategic marketing approach which focuses on creating and distributing relevant and consistent content through online platforms is content marketing. With traditional marketing tactics such as cold calls, TV and radio spots and print advertisements no longer proving to be as successful as they once were, content marketing has now become the more widely accepted and effective form of marketing. That is because it works from an often used and popular platform, which is the internet. Essentially, you are meeting your customer base exactly where they are and using the internet allows for more creative ways to market.

How Does CRM Help Content Marketing?

One of the benefits of using customer relationship management software is its overflow of data.  No matter what your goal is for using the software, having information about your customers and all interactions involving your business and its customers, can help you in more ways than one. When it comes to content marketing, you can use the information collected within the system to learn more about your customer base, their interests and how to marketing toward them. Here are three specific ways CRM can bring life to your content marketing.

  • Gain customer social media understanding: CRM allows you to gain a better understanding of your customers in order to create a more personal relationship with them. Social media usage can easily tell a business what their customers are interested in or do no care for, making marketing easier. Social CRM is a tool that can make this process easier.
  • Monitoring metrics: Utilizing CRM data is the perfect way of finding data that rests in email threads and phone conversations. You can look through metrics and data, what was successful or a failure and from there make changes with your marketing.
  • Make Businesses Better Listeners: This one is simple, but effective. Paying attention to your customer’s actions, needs and requests will make content marketing easier to perform. The needs of a customer are often documented in customer relationship management software. Knowing this information doesn’t just simplify marketing, it also shows your customer base that you care and pay attention to them.

CRM is an incredibly helpful software and can be used for more than just building a relationship with customers. It also helps with giving your content marketing the boost it needs in order to better perform on search engines.

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OnContact CRM

5 Key Questions To Help You Decide When To Gate Content

20171205 bnr gated content usher 351X200 5 Key Questions To Help You Decide When To Gate Content

As you can see, we’ve also developed a great decision-tree infographic you can use to help you understand when and when not to gate. Let’s walk through the five questions.

#1 Is this a “contact us” opportunity?

These are typically found at the bottom of the funnel and are a clear signal of serious buying intent. If it is, then you should have a contact form on the web page. If not, move on.

#2 Do we want the audience to register or sign up?

These display forms are presented alongside content and offer the viewer an opportunity to sign up or register for some future content, event, or resource. For example, this could be signing up for your newsletter, or registering for a webinar. Depending on the content, these can be top- and middle-of-funnel opportunities. If the answer is yes, then you should include the sign-up form on the page (but remember Phil’s rule to ask for only what you need at this point).

#3 Is all the content about you, your product, or service?

If your content is too self-promotional, then you shouldn’t be using a form (there are always exceptions). Your goal should be to create content that provides value to the prospective buyer.

#4 Will this teach the audience a skill or save them money?

If your content is going to provide value to the buyer, then you should use an access form. These could be white papers, eBooks, guides, and so forth. For example, I was willing to give up my name and email recently to receive a guide on how to start a B2B podcast.

#5 Is this proprietary information?

This could be a buying guide, competitive comparison datasheet and so forth. If the answer is yes, it is proprietary information, then you should use a gated access form. If it’s information anyone could find on the web, or is otherwise not proprietary, then the answer is to not use a form.


Hopefully, the decision tree helps you better understand when you should or should not be gating your content.

If you’re using a marketing automation platform, such as Act-On, you can also consider using progressive profile forms that allow you build up the information you know about a prospect as their engagement with you progresses. This helps mitigate the desire to ask a bunch of questions in your forms. Instead, you start with a name and an email. Your marketing automation then recognizes these prospects the next time they are on your site and want to see an on-demand webinar or download an email, asking for a title in one instance or a company name in another.

More Help

This month, Act-On will be announcing its Adaptive Forms, which will make it even easier to learn more about your customer, sooner in the sales cycle. With this information you can deliver more value and show your impact to their bottom line, as well as your own.

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