Sword and the Script

9 Sweeping Lessons from Content Marketing Benchmarking Study



by Frank Strong

top content marketing goals
In January, research firm Ascend2 released a study of 521 sales and marketing professionals which was conducted through an online panel. The report published in January 2014, Content Marketing Benchmarking Summary, was covered in part by eMarketer and I recently went back to take a closer look at the findings.

The surveyors didn’t break out the demographics by role or seniority, and instead called them “decision makers” which seems to be a catch-all phrase in surveys of late. I would have also been very interested to know the break out between functions — specifically between sales and marketing — but I generally think it’s smart to include sales in any content marketing study.

The study itself was just about the data and graphics, and in this post, I’ve added fairly substantial interpretation about a) what it means and b) what marketers should do about it:

1. Top goals for content marketing

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Infographic: Influence Marketing Predictions



by Frank Strong

influence-marketing-infographic-header

Not too long ago, Gina Gulberti of Augure, a European-based PR and marketing software vendor, reached out to me with a few questions on influence marketing.

When I answered her questions I figured it she would use them for a blog post and that would be that.  A few days later, the company published this post 5 predictions about Influence Marketing…and an accompanied with an infographic.

There it was – my mug right next to the mugs of Brian Solis, Kevin Dugan, Arik Hanson and Roxane Papagiannopou – all folks I’ve gotten to know in some way shape or form over the last five years or so. The infographic caught me by surprise – but it struck me as clever content marketing and an effective way to repurpose content.

Here’s the complete Q&A from my email exchange with Gina and the infographic follows below: Read More…

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7 Attitudes for Effective Content Marketing (101)



by Frank Strong

7 Attitudes for Effective Content Marketing

“Content marketing” means providing information that educates a customer or prospective customer enabling them to make an informed purchasing decision. Instead of hard-selling products or services business use content they create to engage and inform prospects to turn them into fans, and turn existing fans into fanatics.

Content marketing is not new. The tractor company, John Deere, launched a print magazine called The Furrow more than 100 years ago. This was not a sales brochure, but a media publication with bona fide editorial content that was mailed to farmers.

The concept is simple: by providing educational material, John Deere became a trusted source of information, and when buyers were ready to make a purchase, they turned to their trusted source. Today The Furrow still exists and is mailed to 1.4 million farmers in 40 countries. It can also be found online. Read More…

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Infographic: Search Ranking Made Simple



by Frank Strong

google website rankings
Neil Patel published an infographic that describes how Google determines pagerank.  According to Google’s knowledge graph, which scrapes an explanation from Bruce Clay’s blog, page rank is, “is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to help determine the relative importance of a website. Every website is given a Google PageRank score between 0 and 10 on an exponential scale.”

Though Google’s algorithm is secret and no one knows exactly how it works, the infographic provides a simple explanation widely accepted by the SEO community. Some of the concepts include: Read More…

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Infographic: Big Brands and the Evolution of Logos



by Frank Strong

logo-evolution

Wikipedia says the word “logo” is derived from the Greek word “logos” meaning word or idea. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a logo as “a symbol that is used to identify a company and that appears on its products.”  It also says the first known use of a logo was in 1937, but it doesn’t indicate which company.

That date seems off by a wide mark in my own marketing experience. We had the first advertisement in an American newspaper in 1704, the first billboards in the 1790s, and the first press release in 1906 – all mediums that require text or print. Form the cave dwellers to the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians – symbols far preceded words. I find it hard to believe that the first logo ever was in 1937. Read More…

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Too Focused: When Data and Tools Paralyze Sales



by Frank Strong

Too Focused on the Tool

SportClips is a franchise that aims caters to men; it has a tagline that reads, “The ultimate haircut experience.”  Its shops have a sports-themed layout with enough flat screen televisions to rival any sports bar. 

Over the last ten months, I avoided SportClips even though there’s one nearby my home that makes the location very convenient. Often I’ll drive several miles out of my way to avoid going there, but this past weekend, I made the mistake of giving the chain another shot:  Because it’s so close, I hoped to drop in and get a quick haircut and be on my way to a weekend adventure.

It was a bad move on my part. Read More…

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Why the Deluge of Content Raises Standards



by Frank Strong

Why the Deluge of Content Raises Standards

The proliferation of content marketing has led some pundits to criticize the quality: it’s challenging to consistently conceive ideas, write and publish content of uniform high-quality.

If that problem exists, then suffice to say it’s not a new issue, though it may be new to those who are new to publishing. For example, the same issue occurs in journalism and in the publication of scientific research. Read More…

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We are Number #1; a Weak Content Marketing Strategy



by Frank Strong

content marketing strategy

Every organization sets its sights on being the best – but even in the cases where it’s actually true, this is a poor content marketing strategy.

Nobody likes a chest-thumping.  In our own interpersonal communications, we go to lengths to avoid people who talk only about themselves. In the marketing context, it’s similar in that people avoid companies or organizations that only talk about themselves; there’s no value in it for customers and prospects.

Who wants to read or share a blog post on any social network by ACME Company that proclaims ACME Company is the #1 brand in widget making?  Nobody does. Read More…

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Personal Injury Lawyer Schools Marketers on Viral Marketing



by Frank Strong

viral marketing

Every marketer wants to go “viral” – the enduring mission to be the next Old Spice, the next Dollar Shave Club, or Oreo.  Oreo in particular is especially compelling because it segues to disruptive thinking, lawyers and the notion of viral marketing.

Most marketers wouldn’t look to a law firm for a lesson on virility. In fact, by my observation, the legal industry is mostly struggling today with digital marketing arguments the marketing industry had five or more years ago such as:

  • Are blogs social media?
  • When is the best time to tweet?
  • What is content marketing?
  • How do I use data and analytics?

In a session at LegalTech, a major industry trade show for lawyers and technology, Luke Williams a professor at NYU Stern, gave a key note speech on how to provoke disruptive thinking. The thesis? Read More…

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Social Media Gurus and the Foolhardy Trend to Bash SEO



by Frank Strong

Bash SEO

Some time ago, I chatted up an alleged communications and social media proponent on Twitter, in an effort to, well, start a “relationship.” This person remarked despite the growth of the network, they just couldn’t “get into Google+” – to which I responded, well, it’s important for search.

In the context at that moment, the response came back rather sharp in tone.  This person didn’t use social media for SEO, they used it for relationships. The irony of that statement notwithstanding, the response was seeping with an implication and indictment that was far broader than just Google+:  SEO is a dirty term; only gamers think about SEO.

What bothered me the most about that “conversation” was it underscored a lack of understanding of just how important search is to anyone interested in relationship building. If we, or our content, cannot be found then just who are we building relationships with? Read More…

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