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[New Free Webinar] AUTHENTIC ADVERTISING: How Marketers are Leveraging Social Content to PERSUADE and ENGAGE Rather than Promote – Tuesday, Sept. 1, 12n EST/ 9am PST

8-26webinarIf your brand is used to shouting its message on every social channel and wary of joining the digital customer exchange - this webinar is for you. The latest statistics say that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family over branded messages. In this word-of-mouth economy, how can marketers be effective? Luckily, using social content in such a way that it encourages persuasive consumer conversation can drive serious tangible results. Leveraging the social conversation has proven to be more powerful than traditional advertising because of the way it spurs and mimics word-of-mouth recommendations and earns the trust of customers.

Click here: http://bit.ly/1DTcaSg

12 Word Power Pointers for Writing Marketing Content

12 word power pointers for writing marketing contentIf it’s “word power” you’re hoping to achieve, 100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, by the late Gary Provost, is the ultimate manual - it’s the best writing guide I’ve ever read.

If you read my stuff, you know the subject is near and dear to me. If I can give you pointers to improve your writing, you know I will. It’s my job to improve your word power. I can do it for you, with you, or consult you on it.

Provost’s book, published in 1985, includes a chapter titled. “12 Ways to Give your Words Power.” Who doesn’t want that?

3 Free Ebooks on How to Create Personas, Measure, and Target Your 2015 Content Marketing Strategy for Maximum Effectiveness

 

1-7CMOne of the more challenging things for modern marketers is coming up with a good 'rule of thumb' to help create personas for, measure the effectiveness of and target their content marketing effectively, and we understand that. So we're here to help, along with our friends at Oracle Marketing Cloud. They've come to the marketers' rescue by giving us three free ebooks covering some of the most challenging topics for marketers.

1. How to Create Personas For Your B2B Content Marketing Strategy

As a business with a content marketing strategy, it's crucial to understand your target audience and the types of content they want to consume. Whether you've been creating content for years or are just getting started, it's important to take a step back and think about where your content will be most effective, and how that plays a role in your brand development or sales pipeline. Download the B2B Personas Guide from Oracle to help determine the right audience for your content.

Click here: http://bit.ly/1zSO95M

3 Steps to Becoming a Content Marketing Master

3-steps-becoming-content-marketing-masterHow do you create content that sticks in your audience’s mind?

How do you offer a thought that defines the conversation for an entire industry?

There are over 363 million search results for the term "content marketing," but add the word mastery to the term and the search results plummet to 4 million results.

3 Ways Content Marketers Can Stay Inspired

inspiration-light-bulbWe’ve all had slow days, we’ve all been overwhelmed, we’ve all felt left behind by the next big thing — this is why it’s crucial for content marketers to stay absolutely positive and enthused about what they do.

Like any job, a few lax moments in the brain department and we start seeing negative returns. This is deadly for social media marketing, especially when every share, like and comment builds upon one another. How, then, do we stay inspired doing the same thing day in and day out?

3 Ways To Make Your Content Stand Out

make-content-stand-outIt's not enough to just churn out content. Columnist Mary Wallace has tips on how to create engaging content that speaks to the right people at the right time.

3 Ways to Utilize User-Generated Content to Amp Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy

3 ways to utilize user generated content to amp up your digital marketing strategy

So, your local search marketing is all in order. Your ranking is improving, and citation building is an integral part of your strategy.

That’s great, but to build a competitive strategy, your business needs a little something extra. Enter user-generated content (content created by customers and followers - also called UGC).

If you know the right places to search, you can quickly find and share content that was created by customers and social media followers. This is an easy way to find marketing content to share with consumers when you're strapped for time and money.

4 Reasons to Use Humor in Your Social Media Content

5-28hmrBrands that post funny stuff on social media are seen as more memorable, while also gaining insights and emotional responses from the audience.

Laughter is a universal language and one of our first communication methods. Before we had spoken or written language, humans used laughter to express our enjoyment or accession with a certain situation. It's also a form of communication that bridges the gap between various languages, cultures, ages and demographics.

4 Ways Quality Content Improves SEO Rankings

4-9-22To improve search rankings for content "it is no longer good enough to concentrate on the number of links or keywords" says the latest SearchMetrics Report, Ranking Factors Study 2014.

The study concludes that high quality, relevant content with semantically comprehensive wording is the way to improve your SEO rankings but "the absolute primary focus for content... is quality."The report makes for interesting reading and highlights in some detail this year the nature of content that performs well in SEO rankings. Based on the survey data SearchMetrics argue that "websites need to produce more content in order to remain competitive in search."They go on to say more content needs to meet several quality criteria but relevance is critical. They say "to rank higher, sites must produce not just more content, but more relevant, holistic content." The report highlights four content factors that correlate with higher rankings as follows:

5 Content Marketing Mistakes You Should Never Commit

5 content marketing mistakes you should never commit

I love content marketing. Not only because it builds brands and boosts sales but also because it offers long-term dividends.

Are all content marketers able to harness the real power of content marketing to bring in big dollars? No!

5 Tips for Adding Video Content into Your Social Media Marketing Mix

5 tips for adding video contentSocial video is everywhere - every time you check Facebook these days it turns out one of your friends has been “Live” or posted a video update. When you need to put together furniture you “YouTube“ it, when you’re out on a Saturday night, you post videos on Snapchat.

But social video is much more than putting together Ikea furniture or watching how your friends spend their evenings.

Facebook and Snapchat are each serving billions of individual video views per day, while YouTube reported recently that people are now watching a billion hours of content on their platform every twenty-four hours.

5 Ways to Convert Casual Blog Readers Into Social Advocates

8-2blogDo you know the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle)? Essentially, it states that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your inputs -- or, in practice, that 80 percent of your revenue comes from 20 percent of your blog readers. While that’s great in theory, it doesn’t always apply if you’re an entrepreneur that’s just started a blog.

5 ways to easily repurpose your content

repurpose your contentChances are that your team is sitting on some of your best content without even realizing it. Check out other ways to get more mileage out of your finest work.

5 Ways to Generate More Exposure for Your Content Through Social Media

5 ways to generate more exposure for your content through social media

If your business is creating content in order to drive sales and improve PR, well done, you’re likely ahead of the curve. Content marketing is a proven way to build your business in the modern digital landscape, and an increasingly important element in any organization's marketing mix.

However, you’ll quickly learn that creating a quality piece of content doesn’t guarantee that it'll receive the sort of exposure and engagement it deserves. In fact, millions of great blog posts go virtually unread because their creators didn’t appreciate the importance of promotion.

5 Ways to Sabotage your Content Marketing Strategy [Infographic]

5 ways to sabotage your content marketing strategy

Content marketing can deliver huge benefits - but as with any marketing process, you have to go in with a defined plan, with clear connection to your wider business goals, and you need to know what, exactly, it is you're looking to achieve.

Given the rise of content marketing, many businesses go in half-ready, with plans that don't fully outlay the desired path, and as such, they fail to deliver on the intended goals.

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Make a Huge Impact in Real Life

1-7smrlThese five tips can help you bridge the gap between online and offline in terms of social media, and keep you relevant to your consumers in the socially saturated world.

As ubiquitous as social media is in this day and age, more people are turning an apathetic ear to what brands have to say rather than hanging onto their every word on these channels.

That shouldn’t come as a shock to you, though.

55+ Proven Ways Content Marketing Can Help Your Business [Infographic]

55 proven ways content marketing can help your business

Content marketing is a proven commodity that marketers can employ to get results. In fact, more than 85% of marketers use content marketing to generate more engagement and increase sales.

Marketing departments are spending an average of 13% of their budgets on content marketing today!

6 Brands That Are Killing It on Instagram

IS12-2These six brands are showing how the social media platform's visual capabilities can be used to engage consumers more effectively than other platforms out there.

Having recently turned four years old, Instagram’s user base of just north of 200 million may pale in comparison to Facebook’s 1.35 billion, but the engagement rate for brands on this visually oriented app is hard to beat in the social media ecosystem.

6 Content Marketing Videos & 7 eBooks to Improve your Social Media Marketing [Free Resources]

2-25InstofferMarketers see great results when different marketing tactics work together. We are excited to offer this FREE resource for members to learn Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing where you get 6 hour long webinars on Content Marketing and 7 ebooks.

Simply sign-up and access all the free learning resources now:

http://goo.gl/D4Pedw

Note: You get access to all on-demand videos and ebooks right after you sign-up with unlimited access for 3 months.

6 reasons marketing fails keep happening

confused young man covers his head

Rather than just tell you the top six mistakes that can lead to failure in marketing, which would be like Paula Deen telling you why you shouldn't cook with margarine, I'm going to instead give you the questions every marketer should ask themselves to avoid future failure. Often, marketers forget the most fundamental questions, yet these are questions that every great brand has nailed.

6 ways content marketing will change in 2016

Conten Marketing ChangesEven though content marketing is a relatively young discipline, significant changes have already taken place since its adoption in terms of how content is consumed by users. It wasn't too many years ago when most online content was consumed on a publisher's website from within an internet browser.

Fast forward to the present: You now have the majority of content being read from within mobile apps from major platform providers like Facebook and Twitter. This shift cannot be underestimated, and it will heavily influence where content marketing is headed in 2016.

7 Tips that Make Maintaining Evergreen Content Easier

7 tips that make maintaining evergreen content easier

Evergreen content is defined differently by many different content experts - Wordstream even wrote a blog post about what evergreen content is where they covered many different definitions. The one we like the best is this one:

"Continues to be relevant long past its publication"

Evergreen content is great because strangers keep finding it and coming to your site to consume it, giving you traffic, improving your SEO, and expanding your reach to new visitors who might be interested in your products and services.

7 Types of Content Marketing Metrics Worth Tracking

7 types of content marketing metrics worth tracking

A marketing agent or CMO with detailed knowledge of data on his side is a tough act to beat in today’s world - especially if they know inside and out the idea of metrics, and how to follow them.

Today, most know the basics of metric follow: leads and traffic and other such basic metrics. But there are other types, some more advanced and/or niche, which can help your marketing team immensely.

A 10-Step Plan for Dramatically Attracting New Customers

8-17tenstepIt’s not easy to drive dramatic inbound-lead growth. In fact, many entrepreneurs seem to think it’s an impossible task. But what if I told you it was a lot simpler than you think?

Seeing a huge increase in inbound-lead growth -- essentially attracting new customers -- is possible, regardless of your industry. It’s just a matter of making the investment of time, hard work and dedication.

An Overview of Content Marketing [Infographic]

an overview of content marketing

Sure, you've heard about content marketing, maybe you're even doing it, but are you aware of all the various aspects of the process - and are you utilizing them to best effect?

This infographic should provide a broader picture of the ins and outs of content, which covers the various types of content, distribution channels, how to optimize the process and the team members and roles generally required.

Back to Basics: Content Marketing Alphabet [Infographic]

back to basics content marketing alphabet

It's not hard to get lost amidst the ever-expanding sea of content online. Back in 2015, there was reportedly 2 million new pieces of content uploaded every day, so you can only imagine how big that number is now. So, how does one “swim out” of the water and get their content to stand out?

Going back to the basics is always a good idea, and reading through an alphabet is a great way to do it. The below infographic is here to help with that, with a selection of key terms in content marketing that even experts with years of experience might ovverlook as their process evolves.

Being a YouTuber Is Now a Real Business

Youtube-7-1Berserking teen girls may forever be a staple of Vidcon, but the YouTube stars they worship have done a lot of growing up in the past year. And in turn, so has their industry.

Being a YouTube creator is blossoming into a bona fide grown-up business right before our eyes. As young creators mature into savvy entrepreneurs, the ecosystem is maturing along with them — with industry standards and a multichannel network landscape that’s supportive and thriving.

Though they're just starting to settle in, it's a far cry from the parasitic deals and chaotic, Wild West feel of those early years.

Comedy in Content Marketing: To Be Memorable, Make 'Em Laugh

comedy-content-marketingDo you want your content to be unforgettable? Do you want parents to pass on your blog posts to their children, and your white papers to their grandchildren? Of course you do! And the solution is simple – make your content hilariously, milk-exploding-from-nostrils funny. All right, maybe your creations won’t earn a place in the family hope chest, but a touch of comedy will greatly improve any content piece’s shelf life.

Content Marketing is Much More than Just Top-Funnel Content

content marketing is much more than just top funnel content

Fresh off the heels of this year’s Content Marketing World, I left with the sense that many people believe that content marketing is simply an exercise in creating helpful quality content which doesn’t sell anything. That simply isn’t the case.

Content marketing should fill the information needs at every stage of the marketing, sales and customer service funnel - if not, brands can have a leaky hourglass.

Content Marketing Statistics & Trends – 2017 Edition [infographic]

content marketing statistics trends 2017 edition

Content marketing is one of the key elements of digital marketing today. In times when something can go viral one day, and drop into oblivion the next, it's not easy to grab attention online and get best results from digital marketing campaigns. One thing is still the same - a "safe bet" you might say - and that is that high quality content will always be the king, and the most important part of any online marketing campaigns.

75% of marketers have recognized that and are investing more in their content marketing campaigns, and plan to work on creating more high quality content in general. To underline the importance even more, it's worth noting that 70% of people want to learn about a brand via quality articles, rather than the usual adverts.

Content Marketing: How to Make Each Blog Post Drive ROI [infographic]

content marketing how to make each blog post drive roi

Any marketer will tell you that producing a regular stream of content for your website is necessary and important. You also need to optimize your content. The question is, what are you optimizing that content for?

There are plenty of reasons to blog, and even if you don’t know exactly what your goals are, you may already be achieving some successes. But without goals, you’re missing out on all that’s possible. No matter the size of your resource budget for blogging, you’ll get far more out of it if you focus on specific, defined goals, plan your strategy, measure your progress, and make every single post count.

Content Marketing's Secret Sauce [INFOGRAPHIC]

5-7SSContent Marketing Discontent?

How would you rate your content marketing? Do you produce enough content? Frequently enough? Are you hitting your goals?

You're not alone if you suspect the whole content marketing thing could be going more smoothly. According to a new infographic (below) from the team at Bloomfire, 70% of marketers say their content programs lack consistency and an overall strategy. More than two-thirds of marketers say they don't have enough time to develop all the content they need.

Cutting Through the Noise: A Guide to Messaging in an Age of Marketing Saturation

8-2cut“Content marketing” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in the business world these days. The idea is deceptively simple: You use your voice of authority in your industry in order to serve up useful, relevant content that provides some value and insight and keeps customers engaged with your brand. Write a few good blog posts, and the engaged customer we all dream about will loyally patronize your business and evangelize to his or her social network, right?

Documenting Content Marketing Delivers ROI Tracking Success for B2B Marketers

ROI10-14If you can effectively track your content marketing success, you will be able to better use the strategy in your marketing efforts.

Most business-to-business (B2B) marketers have latched onto the idea of launching content marketing strategies. In fact, the North American Content Marketing Institute found in its recent study that 86 percent were invested in the idea of using this method of marketing.

Free Download - Increase Your Inbound Leads with this Step-by-Step Content Marketing Plan

2-11AnnouThe best way to increase inbound leads and establish your company as a thought leader is by giving your audience what they want... great content! Download the free Content Marketing Tactical Plan and learn step-by-step how to create an unbeatable content machine that helps you hit your goals.

With an effective content marketing strategy, you'll be able to:

Click here: http://bit.ly/16YhQM4

Free eBook: How to Create Content on a Budget and Generate a Lean Content Marketing Machine!

 

10-8-annAs a smart marketer, you know content is the fuel for your lead generation and nurturing programs, driving leads through your funnel to become customers. Download Marketo's eBook, Lean Content Marketing, to learn how to leverage your current resources to create the right content to truly fuel demand!

Download here now: http://bit.ly/10Q0hu0

Download this eBook to discover how to:

- Encourage and reward content creation
- Map your content to your buyer journeys and personas
- Repurpose existing content into new pieces
- Come up with incredible content ideas

Get your content marketing machine up and running - download your free eBook today: http://bit.ly/10Q0hu0

Remember to share with your friends & colleagues, too. Sharing is caring.

How Brands Can Win With Snapchat

3-10-10The clock ticks. You look at the blank Word document on your computer screen. Your stomach clenches up in knots. You pray for inspiration. You dig deep into your ideas bank for the umpteenth time and are still unable to come up with something you know will work. You trawl Google search, you sift through Google Alerts and do everything to zero in on an idea that will lead to some amazing content. No luck.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks.

How Do You Avoid Self-Serving Bias in Your Business & Marketing Efforts?

how do you avoid self serving bias in your business marketing effortsThink back to the last great thing that happened in your business. Remember all the good work you put into making it happen, and smart decisions you made that led to the triumph?

Now, reach into your memory to find a time when the new project or expansion didn’t work out. What was the reason?

Without knowing the specifics, I’m guessing you can blame industry news, dishonest competitors, or maybe even the economy as a whole.

How Is UGC Changing Content Marketing?

9-29ucgConsumers find the word-of-mouth nature of user-generated content to be particularly trustworthy, which has resulted in a surge of popularity comparable to that of influencer marketing.

"User-generated content" (UGC) may have become a clichéd marketing buzzword, but it's still one that resonates enough with consumers to have shifted the nature of content marketing.

How the Value of Social Content is Increasing

7-23smWhen it comes to platforms like Facebook, Flipboard and LinkedIn, the quantity of content doesn't matter. Those who understand the right content to share will come out ahead.

In an era when emails, Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn connect requests and countless bleeping apps are screaming for more and more of our attention during the business day, the marketers who will succeed are the ones who understand how to consolidate and funnel target-grabbing content on the channels that matter. Content for the sake of producing content does not work anymore. Only content developed and delivered to support the target's content needs has high value.

How to Drive 5 Times More Revenue with Data-Driven Content

data driven contentData-driven content marketing strategies generates five times more marketing revenue than standard content marketing strategies, according to new research by Aberdeen Group. Those companies driving the most revenue have a focused strategy, aligning content to their target personas across the entire buyer’s journey.

How to Get Your Content Published on Big Websites

how to get your content published on big websites

Publishing on a big site can open doors, can get your organization’s name in front of people you would not be able to reach otherwise, and it can increase your authority, which has SEO benefits.

Placing your organization’s messaging in the best place for it to reach your potential audience is an important part of content marketing, and for some pieces of content, a bigger site, like the Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, or Social Media Today, might be that best place.

How to Produce Outstanding Content Marketing Campaigns

how to produce outstanding content marketing campaigns

Producing great content marketing campaigns is no simple task, but when done right the results can be impressive - as these examples illustrate.

Content marketing should be an integral part of any brand’s social media strategy. Without a steady stream of shareable videos, blog posts, infographics and images, then your social channels will fail to capture the imagination of your audience and will soon grow stale. You’d be faced with the digital equivalent of talking to yourself.

But what makes a good content marketing campaign? Jonathan Krantz, a judge for the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Awards, has highlighted five factors that he believes are key to content marketing success.

How to Save at Least 2 Hours Per Week on Social-Media Marketing

9-19twoSocial-media marketing can be overwhelming for anyone, especially small-business owners and solo entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of pressure to be everywhere at once -- to be fully active on every social-media site out there.

How to Use Instagram for Business [INFOGRAPHIC]

1-6InstaWith a community of over 300 million active monthly users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms with high engagement, and yet it is still an untapped territory for most businesses. Instagram reports that on average there are 70 million photos shared and 2.5 billion likes per day. But like approaching any social media platform it is important to create a strategy before jumping right in.

The infographic below from TechWyse breaks down ten steps for every business to follow when deciding to integrate Instagram into their marketing strategy. In addition to the ten tips below, make sure to check out the official Instagram Business blog for more tips and examples of how other brands are using the platform for inspiration.

How Uninformed Feedback Can Hurt Your Content Marketing

uninformedfeedbackarticleI recently submitted a piece of content that had met the client’s exact specifications. I knew it did, because we’d talked about the topic beforehand and followed a client-approved outline. We’d developed many pieces of content for this client before, so I knew that this piece would be one they’d like.

And then they didn’t.

In fact, they disliked the piece so much that they insisted we scrap the whole thing and write something else entirely.

Make a Monthly Content-Marketing Check-In a Must-Do

9-5contentA monthly content-marketing check-in gives you the opportunity to measure the success of your campaigns. Without a regular review, you won’t be able to take a strategic approach to your efforts, and if you don’t understand where you’re at, you can’t create a clear path for where you’re going.

Marketing Trends Experts Want You to Avoid

trends9-4Not every trick to boost visibility and engagement can stay in favor forever. We asked some of Entrepreneur’s favorite experts in marketing and social media which trends folks can finally put to rest. 

Rethink real-time marketing
Brian Honigman, BrianHonigman.com
"Yes, many people are active online during the SuperBowl, but that doesn't mean every brand and business needs to be chatting about the event as it happens. For many businesses, chatting about the SuperBowl makes no sense for their audience.

Meet PlayBuzz, the Platform Leveling the Content-Creation Playing Field

7-8dealFacebook’s new “Instant Articles” platform has caused quite a stir in the publishing industry. Some publishers have pointed out that they won’t be able to compete with this new platform and, from now on, will be dependent upon Facebook for their revenue. However, this launch has also paved the way for newcomers to gain traction, leaving the larger publishers to grapple for attention. So, look out Buzzfeed and Huffington Post! A new player is in town. 

New eBook! The Next Marketing Wave is Here: Content Personalization

9-1ebookContent personalization addresses one the biggest marketing challenges: up to 70% of marketing content created by brands goes completely unused. As content libraries and knowledge bases keep growing, there's just way too much content than premium online real estate available on which to display it. So your audience doesn't get nearly the value out of your website that they could. Knowing exactly what people are looking for will help you tune your content to match their needs much more precisely. Click here

On the Future of Content: An Interview with Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo

on the future of content an interview with steve rayson of buzzsumo

If you’ve never used BuzzSumo, you’re missing out. BuzzSumo is one of the best content discovery and improvement tools available, offering a range of insights into social performance, influencers and backlink data - there’s a heap of ways you can utilize BuzzSumo’s many data points to get in-depth, actionable measures to improve your content process.

This week, the man behind BuzzSumo, Steve Rayson, is launching a new app called Anders Pink, which provides detailed overviews of the latest news from your chosen networks.

Report: Content marketing beats native ads on social media

content marketing outweighs adsContent marketing can have wider reach on social media than native advertising and is especially useful for lead conversion, Fractl and Moz report. Scale and predictability are among the strengths of native ads.

Snapchat and Univision Partner for an Innovative Approach to Sponsored Content

7-24snapSnapchat and Univision are working together to curate a Live Story for the Gold Cup Final. If the content is successful, it could create advertising possibilities for the platform.

With soccer fans from around the world gathering this weekend to watch the Gold Cup Final, media company Univision has partnered with Snapchat to bring the game to social media via the app's Live Stories feature. 

Still Haven’t Embraced Content Marketing? Why Not?

Still Haven’t Embraced Content Marketing? Why Not?

Trends in digital technology are expanding the use of marketing methods beyond the strategies previously embraced, now referred to as “traditional marketing.” Although traditional marketing incorporates many forms of advertising and marketing, it often falls under the categories of print, broadcast, direct mail, or telemarketing. These “push” marketing channels can still be very effective, and are still utilized by many companies, however they’re no longer sufficient to drive your brand’s marketing strategy in the digital age.

The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Web Marketer

9-9sevenhabitsBuilding a business before it actually “takes off” means filling many different roles: founder, accountant, storekeeper, salesperson, product developer, marketer.

One thing I’ve learned after going into business for myself as an adaptability coach is the value of web marketing and just how many efforts it takes to succeed, with success being conversion. There are as many strategies to improving website performance as there are best practices for doing so -- just ask the Good Idea Fairy.

The After-Posting Checklist: 7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Blog Content

7-9clHit “Publish.”

Your blog is out there in the world, awaiting the masses to read and share it. It’s an exciting time for any marketer. After all, you’ve spent hours crafting this post, pouring your knowledge and personality into its paragraphs. But, as you quickly learn, people won’t flock to your post just because you hit “Publish.”

The Best Tools to Distribute Your Content Online

The Best Tools to Distribute Your Content Online

Sharing up to date content online is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website or blog however, if you are not continuously distributing content via other sources, you may be losing out on a lot of traffic. Here are 5 of my favourite tools that will help you distribute your content online.

Hootsuite

I have been using Hootsuite for at least four years now and can’t recommend it enough for all my clients and anyone who wants to save time scheduling content across Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Free of charge to use on the basic plan and in my opinion, this is all small businesses need.

The Digital Tools Our Experts Swear By

SM10-3Want to do anything better? Who doesn’t? We asked our favorite experts in digital marketing for the tools they swear by to build audience, stay productive and save money, time and hassle. Here’s what they’re using now.

To save time: Zapier
From Eric Siu, Single Grain
"Zapier saves me a lot of money because it connects the many different web applications as a business. For example, if someone fills out a lead form on our site we're immediately notified in our chat app so our sales guys can jump on it."

The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating Content That Gets Shared

1-5ContentCreating valuable content takes a lot of time and effort. Sure, anyone can throw together a string of sentences and call it content, but the stuff that gets shared is the content that really adds value to your business.

Great content will help solidify not only your business, but also establish your credibility in your space. To make a real splash out of the work that goes into creating content, you’ll want to also make sure it’s viral and sharable.

The ingredients for social media success

ingredients for social media successGood timing, compelling imagery, incentives and smart hashtags are key components of an effective social strategy, Japs Buidon writes. "Imagine your social media channels as dishes," he writes. "Are they appealing enough to the tastes of your audience?"

The Secret to Content Marketing

the secret to content marketing

I’m going to tell you a secret about content marketing – particularly blogging. In fact, I can sum it up in one word and that’s ‘voice.’

I believe the best blogs are those that offer perspective.

Let’s use my client, Leonard Baer (known to most as “Lennie”) as an example. Lennie is an elder law attorney with dual practices in Highlands, NC and Palm Beach, FL. His niche is the protection of seniors from financial abuse and fraud.

Top 5 Social Marketing Trends for Brands to Watch in 2015

SM10-31As we near the end of 2014, here's a look at what social media marketing trends brands need to be on the lookout for in the coming year.

Depending on when you read this, there are about 60 days left in 2014. Here's what we're advising our client brands at Friend2Friend to be thinking about for their 2015 plans.

Trend 1: It's Increasingly a Mobile-First World

Not only is the age of the big smartphone here, but more people simply are spending more time on mobile. In the U.S., carriers' shelf-space for devices with 4.7-inch or larger screen displays increased from 4 percent to about a third in 2014 alone, matching a sales growth - larger-screen phones now account for more than one-quarter of all sales, according to NPD Group

Tweets of the Week: Prime Ministers, Bachelors, Clocks and Video Games

9-18TOWThe season finale of #TheBachelorAU and #VideoGamesDay kept things light on Twitter during a week of heavy news.

Shortly after 14-year old inventor Ahmed Mohamed was arrested because his homemade clock was mistaken for a bomb, #IStandWithAhmed began trending on Twitter. Talkwalker data shows the hashtag generated almost 1 million mentions mid-week. One Tweet from President Barack Obama garnered more than 400,000 retweets alone.

Use These 8 Lesser-Known Marketing Tools to Help Spread the Word

7-6toolHaving the right tools can mean the difference between success and failure. But with so many different tools available for small-business marketing, it can be challenging to know which ones to choose.

While there are plenty of well known, and often, expensive options out there, these eight lesser-known tools can be a great help when it comes to marketing success.

Using Data to Build a More Effective Content Strategy

data7-18If you’re familiar with online marketing, you’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “content is king.” Establishing an active business blog, social media presence, and engaged online community can help improve your search rankings and increase your sales over time. But for many businesses, developing these things is easier said than done. More and more companies are taking their operations online, and most of them are working towards achieving the same goals. With all the competition out there, setting your business’ content strategy apart can seem like an insurmountable task. But in reality, it can be as simple as taking a deeper look at some key data. Here’s how you can harness your data to develop a more effective business content strategy.

Walking the Content Marketing Tightrope [Infographic]

contentmarketingtightropeheaderDid you know that 9 out of 10 consumers want brands to share content online? In fact, a recent survey of 1,000 Americans showed that consumers trust content from brands almost as much as they do from established media.

 

What Does Facebook's New Algorithm Mean for Content Marketers?

7-1FBWith Facebook giving users more control of what they see in their News Feed, they're likely to remember their closest friends, but they may not necessarily remember their favorite brand pages.

Facebook users can now have more control over their News Feeds. But with people having more of a say in what they see, will that hurt content marketers?

What Our Experts Want You to Stop Doing on Social Media

T10-27

Just because it’s trending doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. In our recent hangout, our digital experts weighed in on everything from hashtags to how to capitalize on tragedies. Spoiler alert: Don’t try to capitalize on tragedies.

For this and more, watch this short video.

When, How and Where to Promote Your Content on Social Media

6-7 smLeonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time. I can’t do that. But sometimes I feel just as skilled when I can manage the multiple arms of content marketing.

The process requires so much: coming up with ideas, drafting concepts, editing to perfection, designing the visuals, publishing, promoting and measuring success.

Promotion is just one part of the process, but it’s a complex machine of its own. Learning when, how and where to promote on social media takes knowledge, skill and testing. Or, at the very least, a well-crafted article explaining things to you.

Where To Invest: Native Advertising vs. Content #Marketing

navtive advertising vs content marketingLike the words Hispanic and Latino, native advertising and content marketing have significant overlap but are still distinct in a few key ways. This article sets the record straight and then highlights various scenarios in which you would choose one over the other.

Which marketing predictions have come true so far this year?

marketing predictionsOne of the biggest marketing predictions for this year was that ad blocking would make content even more important, and the focus is now on creating a quality customer experience, SocialCentiv's Bernard Perrine writes. Online video was also predicted to explode, but adoption has been slow with ease of access still a challenge, Perrine writes.

Why ROI is, Literally, the Last Metric for Evaluating Your Content-Marketing Plan

C10-24It is no secret that not just any content will succeed in online marketing.

Your content must engage your readers, increase brand awareness and improve your bottom line. In the past, many companies simply threw some keyword-rich content on their websites and hoped it would stick. Keywords remain important but it is crucial your content is informative, relevant and interesting. Content+ found that interesting content is one of the top three reasons that consumers follow brands on social media.

Why the Buyer’s Journey is the Hero of Content Strategy

why the buyers journey is the hero of content strategy

It’s easy to understand why content marketing has become so popular - I mean, who doesn't love the idea of attracting a target audience organically (ahem, for free) by sharing unique, helpful or thought-provoking nuggets of wisdom? All you need to do is spend a couple hours whipping up a killer blog post, publish it and watch the traffic and leads roll in. Right?

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

Content marketing is about more than blogging. Content marketing is about scrutinizing your entire online presence through the eyes of your customers, because every single touchpoint will impact your success. This includes every page of your website, every resource or blog article and every post on social media.

Yes, Long-Form Content Still Works — Here’s Why

yes long form content still works heres whyHave you seen those Tasty videos on Facebook? What am I saying - of course you have. It’s pretty much impossible to not watch those fast-paced culinary transformations (especially when they involve things like ice cream churro bowls and mozzarella stick onion rings).

Why are they so appealing? They’re short, they’re engaging, and they’re the kind of content that today’s consumer demands. Within half a minute, you’re back to your regularly scheduled social media scrolling (and probably thinking about your next meal).

Your Audience is Telling You What Content They Want - Are You Listening? [Infographic]

your audience is telling you what content they want are you listening

When you work with an organization for years (or even months), the industry lingo, company product offerings, and mission statements become ingrained in everything you do.

For marketers, this can be both a blessing and curse: Being knowledgeable about your industry is crucial to good marketing, but it may also come with a knowledge bias that makes it difficult to see things from the perspective of your actual customers.