Didn't have a chance to read the top content marketing blogs last week? We've gathered what you missed and put in one post! Image Credit: quicksprout.com
By Heidi Cohen, @heidicohen
If you’ve been following the 98toGo blog, you already know we place a lot of emphasis on buyer personas as a critical component of content marketing. Every marketer, whether traditional or inbound, needs to use personas to guide their content creation. That is, of course, if creating audience appropriate content is important to your strategy. If so, you’ll like Heidi Cohen’s 10 essential marketing persona attributes blog post.
It in, she traces the origin of the word ‘persona’ back to it’s Latin meaning “an actor’s mask.” I like thinking about personas as an actor’s mask, because as a marketer it’s easier to step in the audience’s shoes and see life from their perspective. Heidi presents the attributes as questions to help us come up with more effective content and communications to reach the target audience.
By Phil Hollows, @phollows
The moral of this story is simple: don’t underutilize your email list. It’s the most powerful weapon in a marketer’s arsenal. Doing so is a total waste of your content marketing efforts and places more value on shared media versus owned. Your email list belongs to no one except you. Not Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, or any other third party application that seeks to create barriers and friction between your content and the people who need it most. In this post, Phil explains several strategies that help increase utilization and growth of your email list. It’s the easiest way to not waste your content marketing efforts.
By Rachel Sprung, @RSprung
You already know call to actions are important, but what type of CTAs should you be using right now on your blog? The type that result in more conversions, of course! The only way to get visitors to become leads, then MQLs, then customers is for them to actually click on a button that leads to a form where they provide contact information. That button can come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, fonts, etc. By now, you’ve already seen the good, bad, and the ugly of CTAs, but Rachel’s blog helps narrow the focus to the top 8 types you absolutely try.
The CTA types mentioned in this blog cover Hubspot’s smart CTA tool, which allows you to create 3 different layers of buttons for the different stages of the buyer funnel: Visitor, Lead, and Customer. Which is pretty neat. She also mentions the popular ‘Tweet This’ feature that allows you to embed a link into a piece of content (infographic, blog, etc.) that once clicked, pre-populates a tweet that can be sent quickly and easily. You’ve probably seen this being used a lot over the past couple of months. Which means you should give it a try, because it’s clearly working for some marketers.
By Neil Patel
The path to conversion can be a tricky one, filled with potholes, detours, and even the occasional fork in the road. All of which can stop a visitor from reaching their destination and acquiring valuable information to solve their problem. Neil Patel has some insight on what he thinks every marketer needs to know about conversion. His blog covers three lessons about possible roadblocks to conversion: friction, user anxiety, and what’s added or removed.
If you’ve been keeping up with our Content Crack blogs, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard us mention the importance of reducing friction that can derail conversion. Neil provides some great examples of different types of friction to avoid. Whether your site’s just too complex or too information heavy, you should be aware of the potential pitfalls that exist and understand how your users are impacted by them.
By Chuck Frey
For the past 10 years, one theme has remained true throughout the recent discoveries and technological advances that have helped shape the field of marketing. That is, content is king. Moreover, VISUAL content is the preferred type, because of how well it illustrates a story. The problem comes when brands and businesses fail to make the leap from written storytelling to visual. For big brands like Coke and even start-ups like Uber, this is no-biggie because they have the funding and resources to hire the best of the best to create compelling visual content. But what about the rest of us? Those who embrace and admire the power of visual content, but don’t quite have the budgets to do it right?
Well, Chuck has a few tips for maximizing the storytelling impact of the visual content you do have. Because the whole point of using visual content is to improve the story. It doesn’t matter if your graphics are stellar if the story behind it all sucks. Chuck's first tip is the most important, in my opinion: Stay on-brand with your visuals. Far too often, I see marketers or business owners, borrowing visual content from others or creating poorly designed content from scratch, that isn’t in line with their brand standards. Which only confuses customers and looks cheap to those who know better. Make sure you’re giving consistent visual cues in every piece you create. Check out Chuck’s other tips for maximizing the storytelling impact of visual content.
By Rand Fishkin
I enjoy Whiteboard Friday’s with Rand Fishskin, because I love whiteboards. Plain and simple. This affection is is less about the board itself, and more about what you can do with the board. Rand does a great job of providing examples and connecting the dots for us. Last Friday’s lesson covered why marketers should be targeting audiences earlier in the buying process, as opposed to later. The fact is, most of us have set our sights on the bottom of the funnel. Because of that, this type of content is very popular, so much so, that it's gotten a bit crowded.
Where there is less competition, and a larger audience, is the top of the funnel. According to Rand, you’re likely to reach more people if you create content for visitors who are in the exploring interests, awareness, and research stages of the buying process. Although this strategy does come with some drawbacks, if you can get past that, you’ll have more freedom to create fresh content that hasn’t been covered by every other marketer out there. Check out his example and start asking yourself how you can target audiences earlier in the buying process.
That does it for today’s edition of Content Crack. Let us know what you think about the top marketing stories from June 2 - 6. Did you find the strategies and insights provided to be helpful? If not, what’s working for you?