Content Marketing: Predictions and popularity in 2014

"Content marketing" searches per month on Google climbed steeply in 2012 and just keep going.

“Content marketing” searches per month on Google climbed steeply in 2012 and just keep going.

Many predictions were made at the end of the year about content marketing in 2014.

Mashable predicts that this is the year when content marketing finally matures and brands, agencies and startups help it achieve real scale. 2014contentmarketing

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 93 percent of B2B brands and 90 percent of B2C brands are using content marketing to educate consumers about their brands.

Yet, despite the overwhelming interest in content marketing, 55 percent of B2B content marketers think their campaigns are ineffective.

Whether marketing folks have figure it out or not, a quick search of the blogs show that everyone’s talking about Content Marketing.  Here are a few blog posts that caught my eye recently:

 

 

 

Brand You starts with your day-to-day interactions

StickynoteIPromiseLooking at the landscape of Personal Branding Experts, I realized how most of them talk about the tactics of personal branding and not on the behaviors of it.

Building the Brand of You which I speak on often is about demonstrating the value of interactions with others and the decisions we make throughout the day.

On a larger scale that kind of personal brand building requires planning. And when they present themselves, analyzing those key opportunities so you can make the best choice possible.

Read my latest blog post –

Choose Wisely: Building the Brand of You has many options.   The many directions of the personal branding and how to choose the right one.

Let me know what you think and how you would have handled it differently if you have been given the assignment and a couple of hundred million dollars.

Chris Goward, expert in scientific website testing: Jan. 16 speaker

Chris Goward, WiderFunnel

Chris Goward, WiderFunnel

If AZIMA’s next monthly speaker has any one message for you, it is “You should test that.” And by “that” he means images, headlines, navigation, colors, buttons, and every other element on your website to determine whether it is turning visitors into customers.

Chris Goward, founder of WiderFunnel, is next up, on Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas. The author of a new book, Goward will share tips about conversion optimization, something he calls part science and part art.

“Conversion Optimization dramatically lifts sales for all types of companies,” Goward said. “But, studies show that those with the right strategy and structured process get twice as much benefit as others. That’s what I’ll share at AZIMA.”


More about Chris Goward’s
Jan. 16 presentation:
Learn How to Execute
a Conversion Optimization
Strategy that Drives
Dramatically More Profit

Goward points to 30 or so detailed case studies on WiderFunnel which will give you an idea of what conversion optimization strategies are and how they can help drives sales, increase subscribers, attract registrations. WiderFunnel’s early clients include Tourism British Columbia, SAP and Google.

A preview of key points from Chris Goward:

  • Leading websites like Amazon, ebay, Magento and BuildDirect.com use ongoing A/B testing to find out what sells the most
  • Conversion Optimization is ranked as the #1 priority for Digital Marketers (tied with Content Marketing)
  • Evidence Based Marketing has replaced Gut Feeling Marketing with fast-growth companies
  • By testing the right things, you never need to redesign your website again because it evolves with each test
  • Only 24{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} of marketers are extremely happy with their latest website redesign
  • Only 49{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} of website redesigns finish on time
    YouShouldTestThat
  • Companies with a structure approach to conversion optimization get 200{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} more chance of large sales increase
  • WiderFunnel’s average conversion rate lift is 23{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} for Ecommerce and 49{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} for lead generation websites

In Goward’s most recent blog post, he explains why conversion optimization has become the top priority for digital marketers, outpacing social media and content marketing:  14 Ways to Have Digital Marketing Success in 2014.

In 2013, Goward published “You Should Test That: Conversion Optimization for More Leads, Sales and Profit or The Art and Science of Optimized Marketing.”

Go ahead, read his book to prepare for Jan. 16.  Or just come along and pick his brain in person. EVENT REGISTRATION.

 

Be an AZIMA speaker: Share your expertise in 2014

Interested in sharing your interactive marketing expertise with hundreds of your marketing peers, or recounting a particularly successful campaign?  Or know someone who’d be a good speaker?

AZIMA is looking for speakers, home grown folks here in AZ or otherwise, to take the stage at our monthly social events. And I’m sure you’re looking for a New Year’s Resolution.  Share your expertise in 2014!

You don’t need to rush into it.  We’ve got a few speakers lined up already, but spots in 2014 will go quickly.  So, if you are interested, give us a shout. We ask you to fill out this short form to let us know what you are thinking about presenting: PROVIDE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR PROPOSED PRESENTATION.

Chris Goward

Chris Goward

Events are held at the Scottsdale Hilton and attendees will enjoy a light dinner menu while they have the opportunity to learn from the best in the business. During those monthly events, as usual, we’ll be featuring a mix of research, hands-on training, panel discussions, case studies and how-to presentations that will help eager marketers optimize their online activities by gaining insight into multiple related disciplines.

Jodi Gersh

Jodi Gersh

We’re looking for presentations that provide practical, actionable advice for interactive marketers based on measurable results and real-world experiences. Think about your own success stories in areas such as email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, mobile marketing, user experience and design, email marketing, paid search advertising, metrics and analytics.

 

Here’s the early lineup for 2014:  

Jan. 16 – Chris Goward, Founder & CEO of WiderFunnel. He’ll speak on “How to Create and Execute a Winning Conversion Optimization Strategy.”

 

Feb. 20 – Jodi Gersh, Director/Social Media & Engagement at Gannett. She’ll explore “Content Programming for the Social Audience.” 

 

Sheridan

Marcus Sheridan

March 20 – Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, will be the MC for the evening at the  2nd Annual AZIMA TIM Awards. | Still time to enter any of our 12 categories.  Deadline: January 24, 2014.

 

April 17 – Paige Dell’Armi, Social Media Super Geek. She’ll share “Get the Perks: An Insider Look at Starbucks’ Social Media.”

Paige Dell'Armi

Paige Dell’Armi

Yes, that may be a tough act to follow, but we know you’ve got it.

 

Again, here’s the form to fill out to tell us what you’d like to share: PROVIDE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR PROPOSED PRESENTATION.

 

 

AND STAY TUNED FOR MORE.  

Bookmark this blog, JoinAZIMA.org, and follow along on Twitter: @JoinAZIMA and Facebook.  And if you have news to share or a job to fill, join the other 1,000+ members of AZIMA’s LinkedIn group.

 

UPDATE: New date for Mingle Bells, Thursday, Dec. 12

ChristmasBallsAd2logo

Ad 2 Phoenix and Phoenix Ad Club are determined to make this year’s Mingle Bells a fantastic event. Since so many of you have fun work parties to attend on Friday night (Dec. 13), it’s time to switch it up a bit.

Here’s the new plan: Mingle Bells 2013.  New night. And it’s FREE!

 

WHEN:
6 to 9 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 12
The Western, Old Town Scottsdale
6830 E 5th Ave‎.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

HOSTED BY: Ad 2 Phoenix and Phoenix Ad Club
COMMUNITY PARTNERS: Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) and AIGA Arizona
OFFICIAL DESIGN SPONSOR: Off Madison Ave.

The night will include:

  • Live music from country singer  Cody Johnson

  • Chance to win one of the amazing raffle and hashtag prizes we’ll be giving away.

  • Complimentary appetizers

  • Drink specials from 6 to 7 p.m.

    • $3 wells, $4 drafts, $2 PBR drafts, $2.50 domestic bottles and $5 house wines

  • Photo step and repeat

  • Mingling with our Community PartnersAZIMA and AIGA Arizona

TICKETS:   No tickets.  Just come on by.  

Toy donations will be collected upon entrance for the annual toy drive run by Positive Network Alliance, Inc, a Valley nonprofit serving Arizona’s children since 1987. To make sure you can REALLY have a good time, Ad 2 has a special discount code from official Transportation Partner Uber to get you home safely after all that liquid holiday therapy.

This may be a new date and location, but don’t worry – it will still involve plenty of eating, drinking, dancing, and networking. You can find more details about the changes on Mingle Bells’ Facebook event page.
PLEASE MINGLE RESPONSIBLY!

 

 

5 ways to develop content ideas for any industry

You have your content marketing strategy pulled together, and you know what goals you want to meet and when you want them met. Now comes the fun part – creating the content to help you get there. But for many companies, this isn’t the fun part at all. This is the excruciating part where you may feel uncreative, out of touch, and unsure of what to create that would be useful and relevant to your current and potential customers.

I’m here to tell you it isn’t as hard as you think. Content development can be quick and painless if you understand there are tools and processes out there to help you along the way. Here are 5 methods that will work for any industry, and help you move forward and start creating great content.

1. Ask your team

One of the most important facts you should know about content generation is that content ideas are all around you. From the account managers to the marketing team and design specialists, each person in your team has a wealth of knowledge about your company or product, and can be utilized in your content ideation process.

One simple prompt I encourage you to send to your staff is: “List 5 questions you get asked about our company.” Maybe those questions come from clients, or maybe it is just something they get from colleagues or wonder about themselves. These questions are perfect vehicles to come up with topic ideas for your content. For example, a question we get all the time is “How do I come up with ideas for content?” That question is exactly how this post you’re reading was created, and how we could come up with seemingly endless other variations of the same topic for niche industries who want something more specific. Even if you have a small team of 10, that will give you 50 ideas – more than enough to last you awhile.

Key Takeaway: Mine the minds of your team and open your content up to fresh perspectives.

 

2. Creative Group Brainstorming MindmapKeunn

Whether you’re aiming to create ideas for blog posts, resource articles, infographics or free guides, a creative brainstorming session can be a powerful way to spark the whole process. Gather some of your team from multiple departments into the same room, and see what happens. By pulling in people with different specialties, you’ll get different perspectives that can lead in a multitude of directions. Always remember to have a leader steering the discussion though, as creative brainstorming sessions have the tendency to go on for a long time without some type of structure.

Some of the best brainstorming tools involve prompts and free flow of ideas using processes like:

  • Mind Mapping
  • Trigger Method
  • Right Braining
  • Brain Writing
  • Pessimist vs. Optimist
  • Online Mapping Tools

We’ve gone more into depth about these process on content brainstorming video on our website.

Key Takeaway: A little creative brainstorming can go a long way. Keep it structured, but let the ideas flow when they come.

 

3. Google it!

Google gives you so much information, accessible right at your fingertips. Don’t neglect using this powerful tool in your content generation stage. This process not only gives you tons of ideas to work with, it helps legitimize your topics for search engines before you move on to content production.

Let’s take for example that you own an Italian restaurant in Downtown Phoenix, with close proximity to many attractions – the ballpark, convention center, public transport, etc. Start searching for phrases like “Pizza in Downtown Phoenix” or “Restaurant near Phoenix Convention Center” and see what shows up. Is there an article by a local restaurant with that in the title, or is there a content hole for that keyword phrase? Utilize the opportunity and write an article with that phrase in the topic and see how you rank after just a few weeks.

Don’t forget to take note of the automatic keyword suggestions that Google gives you. That is what happens when you start typing in your search phrase, and multiple options drop down to show you what people are already searching for. That’s a great place to discover more ideas, in addition to looking for the Related Searches near the bottom of the results page.

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 6.34.03 PM

Key Takeaway: Google is a great research tool – use it intentionally and find content holes to fill in.

 

4. Web Sleuthing

Google isn’t the only digital outlet that can help you generate content ideas fast.

People are asking questions all the time about your industry or service; you just need to know where to find them. I’ve found great success on sites like:

  • Yahoo! Answers
  • Quora
  • Youtube related searches
  • UberSuggest (keyword suggestion tool)
  • LinkedIn Discussions
  • Open Site Explorer

These take a little more work to delve into, but if you have a few phrases you’re researching at a time, it’s very manageable. Any questions on sites like Yahoo! Answers and Quora are potential content opportunities so I recommend writing the question down in one column and converting it to multiple topics in another so you can track what topic ideas came from what question.

 

5. User Generation

Why do all the work when you get can get a hand from your fans and followers? If you have fans or an active online customer base, create initiatives that facilitate content being delivered to you by them. Not only does this provide content that’s out of the box of what you may have come up with – it engages your user base and has high branding value.

  • Run a contest where fans submit their photos relevant to your business and the promotion you’re running
  • Create a campaign that encourages people to submit their content that is in line with your brand and messaging
  • Allow your followers to suggest content topics they want to see covered on your content outlets
  • Get questions from your customers that they need answered and create informative content around it
  • Own a hashtag that surrounds your campaign or contest so everything is easily trackable and has branding value

TwitterNewBelgiumAs an example, New Belgium Brewing ran a contest on their social media outlets where they asked for fan’s stories about riding and enjoying their bikes. They collected thousands of stories, had a huge increase in followers across social media outlets, and were able to use the user-generated stories on marketing pieces, packaging, and other materials.

Key Takeaway: User-generated content can be extremely valuable to you as a brand – just remember to keep it engaging and interesting for your customer base.

 

I hope these 5 methods of content generation help you along in your process. If you get stuck, return to the drawing board and make sure your content development process is grounded with goals, strategy, and a structured content calendar.

How to Create and Execute a Winning Conversion Optimization Strategy

AZIMA’s January event speaker is Chris Goward, the founder WiderFunnel with the belief that digital agencies should prove their value. He’s developed conversion optimization programs for clients like Google, Electronic Arts, SAP, and Magento. His new book, “You Should Test That,” redefines CRO and shows how to create dramatic business improvements.

This event is scheduled for January 16th, 2014 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort starting at 6pm.

LaneTerralever hosts Arizona’s second annual Operation #SocialSanta

Tempe based digital marketing agency, LaneTerralever teams up with Operation: Social Santa to do a little good with social media this holiday season.

This will be LaneTerralever‘s second year hosting the annual Operation: Social Santa happy hour and toy drive, which will be held Thursday, Dec. 5. at Handlebar and Grill in Tempe from 5 to 8 p.m. and will benefit the Arizona Toys for Tots Foundation

SocialSantaImageUsing the power of social media to generate awareness through Social Santa, LT will bring the public together to network and celebrate the holidays for a good cause.

Founded in 2010, by student and social entrepreneur Harrison Kratz, the toy drive was designed for social communities to join in a collaborative effort to make a difference while sharing their experience on social media.

Cost of entry to the Social Santa event is a new, unwrapped toy with a suggested value of $20. Each toy donation will be exchanged for a raffle ticket for a variety of prizes throughout the evening.

“Our goal is to donate 300 toys to Toys for Tots,” said Chris Johnson, president of LaneTerralever. “Giving back to our community is core to LaneTerralever and we are thrilled to be able to help brighten the holidays for local children in need.”

The U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program collected toys during the 2012 Operation Social Santa, also at the Handlebar.

The U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program collected donations during the 2012 Operation Social Santa. Photo: Adam Nollmeyer

LaneTerralever hosted Arizona’s first Operation: Social Santa in 2012 with the idea that social media can also be used for social good. Rallying members of the social media and digital community through posts and shares online, LaneTerralever raised more than $5,000 and donated more than 140 toys to Toys for Tots last year.

Guests are encouraged to use #SocialSanta on social platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to help spread the word, and to RSVP by joining the event on Facebook: Operation Social Santa 2013.

Originally called Tweet Drive and now formally Operation: Social Santa, the campaign is comprised of one-night holiday parties organized by volunteers where community members can celebrate the holidays and collect toys of local children.

Why a smartphone is the true mobile device. Sorry, tablets.

By Jonathan Scolero

What’s an example of a “mobile device”?

If you said a “smartphone”, correct!

If you said a “tablet”, WRONG!

Everyone knows that mobile devices have become the premier marketing communication platform nowadays.  However, few companies seem to know how to effectively use them to reach customers … let alone correctly identify what a “mobile device” even is.

According to Jonathan Salem Baskin, guest speaker at this month’s AZIMA event, research illustrates clear distinctions between smartphone and tablet use.  Tablet use predominantly takes place within the home as a means of reading publications or watching videos.

Jonathan Salem Baskin. Photo: Mark Goldstein

Jonathan Salem Baskin. Photo: Mark Goldstein

Smartphones, in contrast, accompany the user about their day-to-day tasks and thereby merit the title of true “mobile devices.”  As such, they serve as tools for users to “get things done”, like price check products, find a mechanic, pick a good restaurant, or google a definition.  At first glance, distinguishing smartphones as task-oriented devices may seem inconsequential, but the marketing implications are enormous.

In order to effectively connect with customers during their day-to-day activities, companies must release mobile apps that assist customers in their quest to “get things done”.  For instance, rather than McDonald’s neglecting the obvious fact that its food makes you gain weight, why not release an app that allows customers to mix and match meal items to easily choose the combination with the ideal number of calories?  When fans can’t find a hockey game on TV because Comcast renumbered it’s cable stations, why not create an app that allows users to share where their favorite TV shows have migrated?

Smartphones are functionalOr when you board an American Airlines flight, why not check your smartphone to see if anyone with a marketing background is also onboard and benefit from the networking opportunity?

Baskin backed his assessment of current smartphone trends with survey data collected locally by Republic Media.  The results, which will be posted on the AZIMA website, indicate that Smartphones are largely ineffective as a means of pushing advertisements to consumers. Rather, companies should view them as tools that provide genuine utility to valued customers.

Jonathan Salem Baskin is a thought leader on brands and marketing with 30 years of experience.  His work experience includes leading the PR agency for Apple’s first iMac launch, as well as working with Limited Brands, Nissan, and Blockbuster, among others.  Baskin has published six books, and writes regularly for Advertising Age and Forbes.   

New Rules for 2014 from Jonathan Salem Baskin

Jonathan Salem Baskin

Jonathan Salem Baskin performed research for his Arizona audience.

Thanks to everyone who came out to meet Jonathan Salem Baskin at our November event.

Jonathan flew in to Arizona to talk about mobile devices and branding and to share recent research performed for the Phoenix area market.

Bottom line, Jonathan spoke about ‘Why the Mobile Singularity will be the effective model for marketing in 2014.

You can read more about that as Jonathan rolls out his thoughts in Advertising Age, Forbes and on his own platforms.  He gathers those posts here at BaskinBrand.

And I will leave you with his own final thoughts on Thursday night:

New Rules for 2014.

1) Contribute to the conversation, don’t try to own it.

2) Customer advocacy has never been more important.

3) Search is based on relationships, not technology.

4) You can’t outsmart a Smart Network, but it’s ultimately accountable to reality.

And PHOTOS from Thursday night.