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Although account-based marketing, or ABM, is gaining steam, it’s still widely considered a less traditional marketing approach. And if you’re going to go non-traditional—why not think a little further outside the box?

When it comes to content creation for ABM, there are many “go-tos” that come to mind. Think white paper, think infographic—think the many assets that form a solid content foundation. These assets are necessary and do a ton of heavy lifting in an account-based marketing program—but they often need extra support to keep campaigns engaging enough for the target audience.

Once you’ve done your research and gotten your ABM program up and running, we suggest adding a non-traditional content element into the mix.

Giving a tangible gift by way of a direct mail kit is a great strategy that connects you directly with your audience. But what if you took it one step further, and gave those kits away at a live event, whether in-person or virtual?

Hosting a live event is a daunting proposition—no matter how seasoned an event marketer you may be. We’ve been there—so we’ve compiled our top four tips for launching a successful event that will boost the success of your ABM campaigns—and lead to more closed deals.

Step One: Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams on the Same Page

No matter what type of content you’re creating for your ABM program, it should begin with a meeting of the minds. Before putting anything on paper, bring your marketing and sales teams together in one room—and prepare to brainstorm.

During that meeting, sales can share with marketing the accounts that they’re targeting, and marketing will take that information and build it into their research. Here, you’ll decide when the best time to set up a live event might be, what kinds of content would need to be created to support it, and what team members will be on-site to host and provide follow-up to attendees.

Together, you’ll need to decide on a guest list, and determine the goals of hosting an event. Are you launching a new product and want to create awareness? Is there an industry webinar happening that’s buzzworthy and could inspire great conversations by watching together?

Once you’re aligned, the “homework” phase of your event begins.

Step Two: Planning—the Earlier, the Better

When you’re hosting a live event—or any event, for that matter—it pays to be early. Especially when there are venues and catering to be considered, you cannot begin planning too soon. If  your live event will be hosted virtually, you can eliminate steps like these, but there will still be plenty of elements to consider, like securing moderators and picking out the right tool to use for hosting.

To tackle planning efficiently, set up a spreadsheet where you’ll track important deadlines, assemble content pieces that need to be planned and executed before the event, and store contact information for everyone who will be working on the event. Representatives from sales and marketing should host weekly check-ins to monitor the progress of pre-event planning, to ensure those dotted i’s and crossed t’s.

Step Three: Consider the Content of the Event

Even though you’ll be hosting a live event that will have a natural flow, you’ll still need to put some structure in place. To do this, take an inventory of supportive content that will fit the theme of your event.

If the event is on the topic of AI, for example, gather together what you’ve created on AI thus far, and identify any gaps.

Lacking statistics and research? Consider weaving updated facts into an existing infographic that reps can send to attendees or give a physical print-out of.

Looking for a way to engage users at a virtual event? Consider creating a short introductory video to the topic at hand that can be played before discussions begin.

When you’re creating your content plan for the event, take a step back and consider the experience of the attendee. Would you engage? Would you be moved to ask questions and participate?

Ensure that your attendees will be gaining value from attending. Whether you bring in a respected speaker from your industry, or give shoutouts to projects your attendees have worked on, the event takeaway should be readily apparent.

And have some fun. Attendees are taking time away from busy schedules to participate. So whether it’s a giveaway or a cool venue—think of the guests’ experience and add a dose of fun to the basic structure of the event.

Step Four: Provide Personalized Follow-Ups

If your event is in-person, physical print-outs of assets like white papers or infographics will make a lasting impression, particularly when they’re paired with things that might go in your direct mail kits, like personalized notebooks or fun (not corny!) trinkets.

When people have attended your event, their hand has been raised to indicate interest, and it’s crucial to follow up with them appropriately and thank them for their time. At the event, you’ll need to ask targeted questions and record your interactions, as this information will be priceless for following up.

We’ve all received the generic “thank you” email upon visiting a booth or attending an event—but when you’re hosting an event specific to ABM, your communications approach can make or break your follow-up success.

Consider sending a direct mail “thank you” that includes a personalized, handwritten note after the event—including as much detail as possible.

Measuring ABM Success and Moving Ahead

So, you’ve done it! You’ve hosted your first live event for ABM. As you gather insights from the event, be sure to take note of everything—from conversations on non-relevant topics to feedback received from attendees. With ABM, “quantity” is truly in the quantity of details, and “quality” is in the success gained from executing on the details and insights you receive.

Set up a survey post-virtual event, or send an email survey to those who attended an event in-person. Giving attendees a space to voice what they liked can provide an invaluable feedback loop.

Need more tips for launching an effective ABM program? Join us on February 27th as we discuss how to create content that will support your efforts and engage your audience.

The post How to Use Live Events in Your ABM Strategy appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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Rubik’s Cubes are best solved in layers. And while it might seem impossible to solve one at first—it’s not if you have a plan.

In the 1980s, just about everyone was attempting to figure that out, during a so-called “Cube craze.” In today’s world, a sea of YouTube tutorials can teach us different methods for solving the often-infuriating plastic puzzle, though at the height of their popularity, the challenge was more likely to be solved with old-fashioned trial and error.

As with any puzzle, it’s often helpful to have a strategy for assembly—with lots of room for those aforementioned errors. When we assemble things systematically, layer by layer, we can easily find alignment.

When you’re assembling a strategy for account-based marketing, consider taking that layer-by-layer approach, allowing you to focus on results.

Layer #1: Identify Targeted Accounts

To get started, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and get to researching. At first, this task can seem overwhelming, but by leveraging tools that allow you to perform market research, you can more easily identify accounts you’d like to target.

This research process should be a joint initiative between your marketing and sales departments. Start by determining your definition of an ideal prospect, and brainstorm ideas as a group—what industries are a logical fit for your product or service?  

As you’re considering what those high-value accounts will be, remember to look at data like company size, annual revenue, and market influence. The more information you gather during this process, the better, as it will inform the content and messaging you create to support your campaign.

Layer #2: Create a Plan of Action and Alignment

Next, you’ll need to determine what your messaging will be, and how you will execute a content creation plan that supports your new initiative.

Take a step back and examine your existing content from a bird’s-eye view. What has been helpful for potential customers in the past? What can be repurposed?

In the age of content personalization, it’s important to incorporate your prospects’ and customers’ challenges and goals into account. By repurposing your existing content into an interactive experience, like an assessment or calculator, you offer customers or prospects extremely personalized content and results.

If you have several high-level pieces that can be repurposed into different formats, such as a whitepaper, a presentation deck, or even a webinar, you are in a great place to begin. Take a thorough inventory of your content from a new perspective, and determine which assets might align with accounts that you are targeting.

By supplying content that resonates with problems that your prospects need to solve, you are on track to engage and retain their interest, while providing genuine educational value at time that matters most.

This aspect of ABM is so crucial, in fact, that Marketo reports that 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand.

Layer #3: Create a Playbook and Get to Work

Once you’ve assembled the content you’ll be using, it’s time for your sales team to begin outreach. Marketing duties at this point might include hosting a webinar, sending targeted email blasts, or even creating a direct mail piece.

As the marketing team drives awareness through different channels, the sales team can still utilize traditional methods of communication, like calls and in-person visits. With the targeted accounts already engaged, follow-up messaging from sales can become more personalized throughout the buyer’s journey. Advanced planning and effective communication between sales and marketing is key to the success of any ABM strategy.

Layer #4: Execute and Measure Your Results

The proof is in the pudding: ABM is gaining steam across countless marketing and sales organizations, though it may take some time to see results. We suggest implementing a weekly check-in meeting between sales and marketing that you can use to monitor the progress of your ABM campaigns.

Another tip? Remain persistent—Demand Metric found companies that have been using ABM for at least one year have seen a 10% increase in revenue, while 19% reported over 30% of revenue growth.

Measuring results frequently is crucial in building your ABM strategy. You’ll likely need to make content tweaks or other changes that tailor your approach if it isn’t resonating at first.

As ABM is an alternative approach to traditional marketing, results may not be measured in the same way. It’s up to your teams to define those metrics ahead of time, whether they include specific success by channel (webinar, email blasts, etc.), or are more general, like awareness and coverage.  

Some Assembly Required

While the Rubik’s Cube craze has faded, the ABM wave is just getting started. When it comes to assembling your account-based marketing strategy, remember to work in stages—and to be patient, just as you would in solving the cube.

Need help getting started on market research? Reach out to us for a demo of TrendHub today.

The post 4 Tips for Assembling Your ABM Strategy appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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Today’s buyers have higher expectations than ever before. Gone are the days of buyers being responsive to cold calls and e-mail blasts. Gone are the days of getting easy clicks on banner advertisements. Gone are the days when simply having a presence on social media was enough. Only the smartest, most personalized messages will reach and resonate with today’s buyers.

Needless to say, potential customers do not want to hear one blanket message. They want a message tailored specifically to them, and they want to hear it from someone they can trust. But how can you craft individually personalized messages at scale? How can you build trust with both potential and current customers? How do you make them engage with your content? That’s where employe advocacy can be your game changer.

What is employee advocacy vs. social selling?

More and more companies are empowering their employees to act as marketers on social media: to share marketing messages, increase engagement, and drive sales. Typically, this type of marketing is called “employee advocacy” marketing.

Employee advocacy enables people to reach out to their own social networks and amplify the company’s messaging. It’s a cost-effective approach to increasing brand awareness, driving leads, improving website traffic, and developing revenue opportunities.

Social selling refers to sales people’s use of social media to interact with prospects. They’re able to interact with them throughout the buying process, which then allows for relationships to be fostered by providing thought leadership and answering questions. This helps speed up the buying cycle by encouraging customers to make you the vendor of choice.

Employee advocacy is broader and includes all employees participating (marketing, customer care, human resources, IT etc.), while social selling is about enabling the sales team to sell through social. In both cases, employees are leveraged as a company’s most important asset and the impact of their activity on revenue can be measured.

Empowered with information and technology, your buyers are far more informed than they once were and have grown more autonomous. They expect more from companies than ever before. To rise to this challenge, companies must embrace social selling through employee advocacy to identify, understand, attract, and build relationships with buyers.

Benefits of social selling and employee advocacy

With social selling and employee advocacy, reps can:

1. Attract new buyers:

Building a healthy client list can be tricky. But when done correctly, social selling can help you attract new potential buyers. By consistently sharing content and adding value, sales reps position themselves as go-to resources of information about the industry, and they build trust by showing potential customers that they understand their business.

2. Better understand buyers:

By learning deeply about their target accounts and industries, salespeople are better equipped to position their products and services to each account, and in turn, increase their chances of winning. Social media is a gold mine of information, and a strong social selling and employee advocacy platform will make it easy for sales reps to listen to their buyers online.

3. Engage customers throughout their buying lifecycle:

This isn’t just about closing. It’s about guiding buyers from the start of their journey until they become a customer and beyond. It’s about enabling sellers to maintain relationships and add value – no matter where buyers find themselves in the buying process.

4. Reach buyers on their channels:

Your buyers rely on multiple types of communication channels, such as email, social media, and mobile messaging apps. A solid social selling and employee advocacy platform enables your teams to have conversations with buyers on key channels and across every device.

5. Measure sales performance on social

A social selling and employee advocacy platform allows you to easily determine the effectiveness of your team’s efforts on social. That way, you can improve your sales process, saving your reps time and boosting the effectiveness of your conversations with buyers.

The goal should be to build relationships using social networks to sell more. Typically, social sellers and marketers supply and discuss content, which generates leads and opportunities, drives revenue, and increases customer lifetime value.

Does it really work?

So, does social selling and employee advocacy really help you win more than traditional methods? The short answer: Yes. Salespeople who use social networks outperform their peers. The long answer: 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.

Why’s that? Buyers use social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter to research solutions. Bambu has found that 84% of C-level/VP executives use social media to support purchase decisions. Social sellers can become top-of-mind experts and gain influence over buying decisions by posting relevant content and engaging with buyers on social networks.

So is social selling and employee advocacy for you?

If you’re considering this approach to help you create authentic engagement on social and drive sales, take a look at this chart and determine where you land:

Editor’s Note: This article was updated and refreshed for accuracy in January 2019.

The post Why Using Employee Advocacy & Social Selling Will Help You Attract Buyers appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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For marketers, the conversion funnel is one of the best tools for understanding consumer behavior and building long-term relationships. It serves as a concise map of the customer journey and informs what kind of content your team should produce across your social channels. You can use each stage – awareness, consideration, conversion, loyalty, and advocacy – to think through the kinds of content best suited to the needs of that particular mile marker in the buyers’ journey. The goal is to continually adjust your strategy at each stage to stack the deck in favor of an eventual sale and longterm customer relationship.

The top of the funnel is wide, representing early-stage contact with a large audience. As the funnel narrows, each band represents a point of contact that’s one step closer to your goal. Prospects reach the end of the funnel when they make a purchase.

In order to initiate the customer journey, content managers and creatives must first identify the type of content that readers will find most valuable and engaging at each step in the funnel. The best place to start is with your customer personas. Think through each persona’s journey and identify their needs. What information are they looking for? What do they find entertaining? What problems do they face on a regular basis? How can you solve them?

Below we walk you through the essentials of the conversion funnel so you can map out your own organization’s framework, and tie the most effective content to each stage of the funnel. We’ll also show you why the content at each stage is dependent on the type of business using two hypothetical cases – an enterprise software company (B2B) and a fashion eCommerce brand (B2C).

Step 1: Awareness

Think back to your first date. How did you dress? Where did you eat? What did you say? Chances are you carefully thought through every detail of the night. The same approach is fitting for the first step of the customer journey because it’s your one chance to grab the reader’s attention and make a positive impression.

You don’t close on the first date. At this stage, your content is focused on providing your audience with valuable information or entertaining content, not a sales pitch. Use short and catchy micro-content on social media, blog content, and evergreen material with long-tail keywords that will earn shares and help your audience solve their problems.

Experiment with content until you find the right balance for your audience. How are your customers hearing about you? Which social channels are they active on? What type of content are they looking for?

Unilever and Red Bull both excel at creating top-funnel content that raises awareness around their brands. Unilever launched the YouTube channel All Things Hair, an online space where “women could get relevant answers to their hair-care queries through high-quality video content.” The channel features popular YouTube beauty bloggers who contribute tutorials, styling tips, hair care advice, and inspiration. The channel became the most subscribed-to-hair channel in the UK and Canada, and videos receive over 1 million views. The company doesn’t use it to advertise their products, but to provide their audience with valuable information.

Similarly, Red Bull is pushing the boundaries of extreme sports, sponsoring events and showcasing the world’s most innovative athletes. Their documentary snowboarding film, The Art of Flight, explored new locations, featured new tricks, showcased the best athletes, and redefined the sport. Red Bull doesn’t get the athletes to talk about how much they love the energy drink. Instead, it gives their audience what they want – action sports cinema.

To be clear, awareness isn’t limited to upper-funnel content. Depending on the industry and customer base, content that drives awareness might be found throughout the funnel.

Using two hypothetical companies, we’ve illustrated how you might come up with an upper-funnel plan for both B2B and B2C brands:

B2B Enterprise Software:

A B2B company might want to write blog content that solves a common problem for your readers or outlines best practices. The blog is a great space to feature both in-house writers and guest posts from industry experts. Promote your blog content across Twitter and LinkedIn, and ask guest authors to promote their guest post on their social channels so you can access new networks. Remember, images are a great way to grab attention so try to incorporate images, video content, or infographics. Q&As are also a great way to leverage the power of influencers and raise awareness around your brand.

B2C Fashion eCommerce

A fashion-focused B2C company should target social media sites like Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. Use blog posts to spotlight the latest trends that can help buyers make smarter decisions when they go shopping. Evergreen content might include interviews with designers, tips for seasonal style, or guides to dressing for specific occasions (like prom, outdoor adventures, or a European vacation).

Step 2: Consideration

Though consideration is arguably one of the most important parts of the conversion funnel, this critical stage is often overlooked in favor of the awareness and purchase stages. However, mid-funnel content bridges the gap between the first contact and the final purchase. This is the time when prospects are sizing you up and evaluating whether they will buy your product.

This is where you need to step up and create great content that meets their needs and acts as a catalyst to conversion. it’s also a great time to introduce gated content so that you can collect data about your audience and provide personalized experiences.

Ideally, at this stage your audience is aware of your brand and are more willing to invest time in longer-form content. Consider using videos, webinars, guides, articles, quizzes, and interactive content to inform your readers while simultaneously learning more about your audience. Once you have an email address you can target them with personalized information that is more likely to pull them down the funnel.

Here at ScribbleLive, we like to offer webinars and gated ebooks to help our customers learn how to do content marketing effectively while also learning more about them and what kind of content they’re looking for so we can better cater to their needs. Our ebooks often use our own data science tech and link to our blog posts but the focus remains on providing valuable information, not selling.

B2B Enterprise Software:

If you were a B2B Enterprise Software company, you might consider hosting a webinar series about the five critical technology opportunities businesses can capitalize on this year. You could build interest and attendance by promoting the webinars via e-newsletters and social media. you could also set up a gated registration page to collect information, connect with prospects, and send follow-up reminders to maximize attendance.

B2C Fashion eCommerce:

A fashion brand might publish a summer fashion ebook showcasing the season’s trends, establishing your company as a thought leader. Make the content accessible only through a registration site that collects email and other demographic information that can be used for future follow-up and a more personalized experience.

Step 3: Conversion

At this stage of the conversion funnel it’s time to showcase the power of your product. You might not like to brag, but you need to show your audience why you’re the right choice. Highlight the value of your brand through content like case studies, live chats, and product guides. Ideally, you should incorporate quotes or endorsements from well-known brands and figures, and positive reviews from customers to build trust.

TOMS shoes does a great job of pulling customers down the funnel because their product helps their customers feel good about making a purchase. For every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, the company donates a pair of shoes to a person in need. Their program has expanded to include medical services, eyeglasses, water, safe birth kits, and anti-bullying programs. Their blog is a collection of stories that highlights the personal stories of people from around the world who have benefited from TOMS shoes. They also use social media to showcase the people and programs that the company has created. This helps the customer feel good about purchasing the product. Their blog doesn’t overtly sell shoes, but it does help the reader understand why they might be the right choice.

B2B Enterprise Software:

Conduct interviews with some of your best customers and turn them into a case study that showcases the pain points customers faced before doing business with you. Highlight how they have succeeded as a result of the relationship with your company. The guide should outline the problem, how your product solved it, and any unique case studies for that particular customer.

B2C Fashion eCommerce:

Create an infographic that outlines how your brand solves a problem. Do you have better prices? Do you use organic materials? Are you sweatshop-free? Are proceeds going to a particular cause? How can you help your audience feel good about purchasing your clothing over another brand? Get personal and put a face to the clothing. Expand your “About Us” page to include photos and biographies of each designer and link to the e-commerce page where shoppers can purchase their creations.

Step 4: Loyalty

Congratulations! Now that you’ve made a sale you have the opportunity to create a brand advocate! This means you’ve got to keep the wow factor coming by providing a solid product, great customer service, and awesome content that keeps your business top of mind.

Keep in touch with your customers after the purchase through social media and email newsletters. use these mediums to show your followers some love by sharing their content on your feed or asking for their input. This can help you create advocates, one of the most powerful ways to find future customers and strengthen relationships with people lingering in the “consideration” phase.

Building a community, creating valuable content, and encouraging engagement will take you farther than any gimmick strictly intending to squeeze one more sale out of your audience.

B2B Enterprise Software:

Follow up after a purchase with a personal thank you via email. This message should contain all of your pertinent social media channels with a call to action asking them to stay connected. You can also send out a weekly e-newsletter that gives them exclusive access to mid-funnel content, notifications about new products, details about upcoming events, or relevant blog posts. You might also consider creating a forum where customers can give feedback. Make sure that you answer comments and use the feedback to improve and optimize your product and buyer’s journey.

B2C Fashion eCommerce:

Send a thank you coupon with a discount on the next purchase as part of their email receipt, and encourage them to follow you on social media. Use social media to showcase the content created by your followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. Retweet content from your followers and organize a contest that asks for UGC, allowing your fans to upload photos of themselves wearing clothing for a chance to win a free product. You can also use this space to collect feedback from your advocates and get input on future products. What color palette do you prefer? What styles are you looking for? What’s important to your customer base?

At the end of the day, you have to show that it’s about more than just the bottom line. The goal here is to be genuine and sincere while positioning your brand as a clear leader based not on your word (or great content), but on the strength of the products, services and customer service you provide. This will build trust and empower your loyal customers to become spokespeople for your brand and its mission.

A customer’s journey is never clear cut, but the conversion funnel serves as a basic content framework that can help you meet their needs and build a strong relationship along the way.

The post How To Map Content To Your Conversion Funnel appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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Emotions drive everything.

Your conversations, your fears, and your laughter. Decisions and mistakes.

They drive everything, but most of all, they drive your words. And when used correctly, they can make all the difference in connecting with your audience on a level that goes beyond superficialities.

Think back to the latest batch of commercials you watched. Which ones left a lasting impression? Beyond annoying jingles or corny jokes, which ones struck a chord, or made you smile?

Think about the content you’ve engaged recently with on social media. Are you more likely to make a comment, like, or share when you’ve connected on a personal or emotional level with the content you’ve consumed? More than likely so.

When considering how emotion influences our day-to-day lives, it’s important to remember that emotion certainly plays a role in our content consumption behaviors.

With that in mind, here are our top four tips for using emotion to write better copy that will resonate and connect with your audience.

Tip #1: Understand the Story You Want to Tell

Although this seems like a no-brainer, it bears repeating: if you don’t understand the story you are trying to tell, how will your audience?

This is where creative brainstorming comes into play. When you’re tossing around ideas for your next blog post, webinar, or eBook, put yourself in the position of your audience. Take your editorial conversation back to basics—those five “Ws” you likely learned in your middle school newspaper class.

Who? What? When? Where?

And perhaps most importantly—why?

In order to create content that resonates and engages your audience, you need to have a firm answer to each of those questions, as the answers will later help define your success.

Tip #2: Craft Headlines with Care

As marketers, we know we are fighting for attention in an oversaturated marketplace of content. With dwindling attention spans abound (including one study that has it down to eight seconds), it’s now our goal to write copy that not only intrigues—but emotionally connects.

An average site visitor will read, at most, 28% of a page’s content before moving elsewhere—though it is even likelier that they will consume just 20%.

Knowing this, the pressure is on your copy to be very compelling. And as we know from our earliest story writing days, a case for a compelling story is often made right in its title.

While the title is, of course, not everything, it offers the perfect opportunity to use emotion to connect with your audience.

Here are a few words to consider using when writing emotionally effective headlines:

  • How To: “How-tos” while plentiful, are successful for a reason. They immediately offer the reader a chance to learn something that they can either apply immediately–or bookmark for safekeeping. We all have objectives that we need to meet, and how-to articles are often a great tool for making people consider about those objectives more thoughtfully and move into action.
  • Question Words: Posing a question to your audience can be a great, simple way to connect with them. Readers feel a sense of urgency, and if the question is compelling enough to them, they will want to read on to find out the answer.
Tip #3: Involve Your Audience

What kind of content does your audience want to see? What educational pieces would be most helpful?

In our recent Demand Generation Summit presentation with Content Marketing Institute, we suggested reaching out to your audience directly by launching a small poll post-webinar or a Hotjar survey on your site with a few industry-specific questions or messages you’re testing. By giving your customer base an opportunity to put their pain points or concerns into their own words, you’re creating a solid foundation of data that can influence your next campaign or branding decision.

How does this help you write better copy? An involved and engaged audience is an audience that is more likely to make a personal connection with your content. After all, as Accenture reports, 81% of consumers want brands to understand them better and know when and when not to approach them. Use the feedback you receive to create pieces that solve problems and address customer concerns—an extremely effective emotional appeal that solidifies the connection between your customer base and your brand.  

Tip #4: Test, Learn, and Test Again

Persado noted that emotional language “contributes upwards of 70% to the performance of a message.” That’s a powerful statement, and one that shows the importance of testing our usage of emotion in copywriting.

The good news? You’ll have unlimited opportunities to test your copy—from email headlines to social media posts. Create A/B tests for headlines and take note of which words are getting more engagement.

If you’re stumped when it comes to crafting effectively emotional copy, consider the basic emotions demonstrated in psychologist Robert Plutchik’s wheel of emotions.

While, of course, not all of these emotions have a place in content marketing copywriting, the wheel offers a great place to start. By working your way around the wheel and testing different messages with your audience, you’ll be better equipped to craft copy that truly resonates and secures the emotional, memorable connections you’re looking for.

More Tips for Content Creation

Ready to learn more about creating compelling copy and content that will engage your audience? Watch our webinar with Search Engine Journal on Boosting Your Content Engagement.

The post 4 Tips for Using Emotion to Write Copy that Resonates appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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Content marketing can’t happen in a silo – well, effective content marketing can’t happen in a silo.

In fact, Marketo reports that sales and marketing teams that are in alignment are 67% better at closing deals.

It’s not in an organization’s best interest for a content team to work independently from other marketing functions, sales, and customer success – all three use content in their daily jobs and can provide important information that can help a content marketer do better work. By identifying the silos that hold back content production, amplification, and other elements important to content’s success, the quality of content can be improved. Why? Ultimately, by collaborating with different functions and departments, a content marketing team will:

  • Gain valuable insights regarding target audience needs and wants
  • Learn how different departments use content and/or how they would like to use content
  • Be able to build a better content strategy that works for everyone interacting with and using content
  • Create content that will have a bigger business impact

A content marketing team can take steps to make sure that content planning is a team effort to ensure its effectiveness. Here are some tips to get your content team introducing collaboration within the larger marketing team, as well as sales and customer success.

Bring Your Content Team Together

Marketing teams are often siloed based on functionality. Product, demand generation, operations, SEO, events, etc. likely work in isolation. The common thread between all of these functions is often the content team. Each function requires copy of some sort, and this provides an opportunity for content marketing to start chipping away at barriers.

As a content marketer, it can be taxing when requests (usually at the last minute) for web, ad, email, and collateral copy come from the rest of the marketing team and distract from the content you want/need to be working on. Aligning the marketing team around a shared content strategy that will focus all respective campaigns and projects on common themes and messaging will make a content marketing team’s role more effective and time management possible. For example, if the content team is blogging about Topic X all month then the demand generation team should also be creating campaigns about Topic X – instead of Topic Y, for which no content currently exists.

To break down the marketing silos that hinder content’s success, the content team needs to improve communication and the flow in which information is shared across functions. Below are some methods to open up collaboration between marketing functions:

  • Find a communication tool that works for everyone, and use it for all content-related communication so that it is always accessible and traceable
  • Create an editorial calendar that is available to everyone so that upcoming blog posts, whitepapers, etc. are known and can be planned around
  • Involve marketing counterparts in the planning of big rock content pieces so that any requests or requirements for SEO, demand generation, etc. can be accounted for and planned for early
Bridge the Gap Between Sales and Marketing

While one-off requests can negatively impact a content strategy, the sales team is an extremely valuable resource to a content marketing team. They deal with prospective customers on a daily basis and know exactly what content they need to push people all the way through the sales cycle.

Instead of handing the sales team the content that you think they need, actually ask them what they need – then fold that into your content strategy. Ask them about any recurring questions they get from prospects and what types of content can be used to help them close deals. This isn’t a one-time conversation – regularly check-in to find out which content pieces have stopped working and what they need to be replaced with.

If you can provide access to an editorial calendar, do that too so that they’re aware of what’s coming up and can plan for how it can be used.

Work Closely with Your Customer Success Team

The customer success team can provide insights into your organization’s current customer base – their pain points, weaknesses, common inquiries, and much more. They have a lot of information that can help content marketers understand who they are writing for and why. They can even introduce you to some customers, allowing you to go straight to the source for persona research and to bounce ideas off of.

Additionally – just like the rest of your marketing team and the sales crew – customer success needs content too. Content can be used to answer common questions that customers have about a product or a topic related to an organization’s offering. It can also be used as a “Hey, I thought of you when I read this” email to reconnect with customers and start a conversation.

As with the sales team, it’s important to remember that interviewing customer success once isn’t sufficient. New customers and evolving offerings may breed new pain points and other considerations that are important for a content strategy. Also – make your editorial calendar available, and send over links once content pieces are live.

Improving Team Alignment

It’s not the easiest thing in the world to feel good about stealing time away from colleagues to help you do your job better – but the organization as a whole will benefit from better, more effective content.

While structure is required in order for a business to be successful, structure shouldn’t equal silos – especially when it comes to content. It’s easy for different functions to get caught in a siloed mentality, and while it’s not a realistic expectation for a content marketing team to shift an entire corporate culture, it’s possible to open up collaboration between key stakeholders to ensure that content is the best that it can be.

Want to improve your sales and marketing alignment? Get started with tips from our Creating Better Sales webinar.

Editors note: This post was originally published in January 2017 and has been revamped for accuracy. 

The post How to Avoid Working in Silos that are Bad for Your Content Strategy appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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Superpowers. We daydream of having them, flood the cinemas to watch the Avengers’ latest woes and foes in dealing with having them, and use technologies that have brought us scarily close making them a part of our reality.

Of course, we can’t predict the future—and we (unfortunately) can’t use AI to reveal the winning lottery numbers. But when it comes to the world of content marketing trends that can be used to fuel our content strategy, we can leverage the powerful technology of predictive intelligence to stay ahead of the curve.

From predicting the weather to chatbots that help guide us to the right resource or person, AI has tons of capabilities that span far beyond Siri and Alexa. So how, then, can you narrow down those capabilities and leverage predictive intelligence specifically to fuel your content marketing strategy?

Here’s how we suggest using AI to craft content that will resonate with the audiences you’re trying to reach.

#1: Do Your Research

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the continued advent of marketing technologies and tools, it’s that martech stacks can become overwhelming. How do you decide which tools to use, and how to use them? And how do you measure their efficiency and success within your marketing operation?

While there’s no simple answer to those questions, there are certainly ways to simplify the research that goes into making smart decisions that make sense for your martech stack.

When you’re considering introducing AI into your stack (and data from BrightEdge states that 60% were planning on doing so in 2018), take the following into account:

  • What’s Your Overarching Business Goal? First, you’ll need to determine what your goal in using AI will be. Are you hoping to use it for article research? Planning? Sales enablement? Understand what you are trying to accomplish, and the specific problems you are trying to solve by adding AI into a likely crowded martech stack.
  • What’s Your Budget? Of course, you’ll need to have a budget in mind before you can select the tool or product that best suits your needs.
  • How Will You Use AI to Grow? Whether you’re using predictive intelligence on your sales team, your marketing team, or a combination of both, you’ll need to set benchmarks as you introduce AI into the mix. What will be your markers of success? How will you track productivity? And perhaps most importantly, how will you continue to use AI to grow and sophisticate your content marketing operation?
#2: Use AI to Plan More Effective Content

Accenture reports that AI technology is projected to increase productivity by up to 40%—and who doesn’t want that?

One reason that AI for content marketing increases productivity? Planning becomes a (relative) breeze.

Planning a content strategy is time-consuming, though it’s an essential component of any content marketing operation’s success. In Content Marketing Institute’s latest study, 65% reported that they have a documented content marketing strategy, while 81% reported that the top benefit of doing so was the alignment of the team around a common mission or goal.

So, how can AI add to this success, and alleviate some of the common challenges that face marketers today?

By using a content intelligence tool, you can easily track what competitors or influencers are writing about, or see which trends are most likely to go viral. By understanding what topics are relevant to your audience, and educating yourself on what’s being talked about in your industry, you can brainstorm with your team with unlimited intel at your fingertips.

Take this example from our latest offering, TrendHub. In the TrendHub below, you can see that an article on social media influencers is on its way to trending, while an article on 2019 predictions is trending downward.

With the constantly changing nature of content being shared, insights like these provided by a content intelligence tool are invaluable. By planning creating content in a similar vein, but that takes a different approach, offers different tips, or gives education on a relevant subtopic, you’re building credibility with your audience and establishing yourself as a trusted resource in your industry.

#3: Fueling Sales Enablement= Fueling Future Content

Content intelligence is also a critical tool for sales enablement. When a salesperson has access to what a customer or prospect might be interested in in real-time, their conversations become much more effective.

And when you are fueling sales enablement, you are also fueling your future content strategy. When the sales team can provide feedback on the conversations they’re having and the problems at hand, marketing can better develop sales enablement content that will educate and answer questions for prospects.

AI and the Future of Content Marketing

While it would certainly be cooler to fly or read minds, when it comes to content planning, we’re now a little bit closer to having superpowers of our own. With 61% of companies with an innovation strategy using AI to identify new opportunities, it’s clear that AI for content marketing will only continue to grow, and we’re excited to see how it will enhance (and change) content marketing efforts in 2019.

Interested in learning more about AI for content planning? Check out a live demo of TrendHub, part of the ScribbleLive Content Cloud, today.

The post 3 Tips for Using Predictive Intelligence to Fuel Your Content Strategy appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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End-of-year holiday meals are looming, with the promise of favorite family recipes, tryptophan-induced naps, and, depending on where you’re located, snow flurries in the air.

It’s a time to be grateful for tradition—and to create new ones. It’s also a sign of the year winding down—and the perfect time to reflect.

As usual, things in the marketing scene have been up and down in 2018, with new trends to follow or forget, new technologies to teach and learn, and new content to brainstorm and create.

Although we can’t offer a slice of pie to each reader (oh, how we wish it were possible), we can offer our perspective on this year’s biggest and best content marketing trends—particularly those we’re most inspired by and thankful for as we head into 2019.

Five Marketing Trends to Be Thankful for in 2018 #1: More Marketers Are Putting Audiences’ Needs First

We are so excited about this topic that we hosted an entire session on it at Content Marketing Institute’s Demand Generation Summit. The stat from CMI is a powerful one—96% of the most successful content marketers agree that their organizations have built credibility and trust with their audience. Better still, nearly all (90%) prioritize the audience’s informational needs over their sales or promotional messaging.

This is awesome news, and a trend we are thankful to see. If your audience learns something from your eBook, attends and asks questions during your informational webinar, or applies your tips from a blog post, you are building credibility and connecting with them as a trusted resource.

#2: Adoption of Interactive Content on the Rise

We have a passion for interactivity here at ScribbleLive, and have launched countless interactive experiences with ion interactive. In a benchmarking report from earlier this year, Demand Metric and ion interactive found that a whopping 96% of study participants believe that content interactivity impacts buyers’ decisions as they go through their journey.

The study also found that compared to passive content, interactive content is more likely to be effective at educating buyers and differentiating from competitors, and more likely to be shared frequently.

So, if you haven’t tried using interactive content—now’s the time! Take a look at our gallery of customer examples for inspiration to build your first assessment, infographic, or calculator.

#3: The Advent of AI for Content Marketing

From Content Marketing World to MarTech East, AI was a huge buzzworthy topic at every industry conference we attended this year, and it’s easy to see why.

Salesforce reports that 51% of marketers are using AI in one form or another—whether for content intelligence, sales enablement, personalization, or something else entirely.

Data from Deloitte shows that 83% of early AI adopters have already achieved substantial (30%) or moderate (53%) economic benefits, making it clear that the use of AI for content marketing will be a significant player in 2019 content marketing strategies.

We launched our newest offering, TrendHub, this fall, that uses AI to predict trends before they go viral. Check out a demo of TrendHub, where you’ll find content marketing-focused predictions that include trending tweets, hashtags, and influencers that can be used to fuel future content strategy.

#4: Short Product Videos Are Capturing Attention—and Winning Sales

BigCommerce found that viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to buy after watching a product video, and with video use increasing across the board, this news further reinforces that video, when executed well, can definitely increase conversion.

With HubSpot reporting that 4 in 5 consumers find demo videos helpful, it’s clear that our efforts in video will need to become even more sophisticated (and well-strategized!) in 2019. And with videos under 90 seconds seeing an average retention rate of 53% (compared to 10% for videos over 30 minutes), we must work to get our message across quickly and concisely.

Depending on your content creation needs and strategy, leading tools like Wistia are great resources for video marketing offering interactive video solutions, hosting functionality, and in-depth tutorials.

Don’t have video production resources in-house? Consider utilizing a talent network, like the one provided by Visually by ScribbleLive, to get matched with creatives for your specific video project.

#5: Content Marketing Operations Are Becoming More Successful

Finally, an encouraging stat to close out the year: 70% of surveyed marketers report that their content marketing success is either somewhat or much more successful compared to one year ago. And from here, with so many positive trends in full swing, we can only go up.

Getting Motivated for Content Marketing Efforts in 2019

So there you have it—five content marketing stats that have us excited for what’s to come in 2019.

Looking for more stats to get you inspired? Check out Content Marketing Institute’s latest B2B benchmarking report.

The post Five 2018 Content Marketing Industry Trends to be Thankful For appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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The state of demand gen for content marketers is rapidly changing, and Content Marketing Institute’s first-ever virtual Demand Generation Summit (available on-demand for the next 90 days) sought to inform us of current trends—and provide us with valuable insights for the future.

We were excited to present “Turning Your New Audience into the Right Audience: Tips for Aligning Your Content Marketing Efforts with Business Goals,” at this year’s Summit, focusing on the hot topic of audience acquisition.

ScribbleLive CMO/CCO Mary Ward and Director of Client Services Chris Hart brought their combined years of expertise to the CMI crowds on October 31st, and followed up the presentation with a casual Coffee Talk Q&A on November 2nd, where they answered your most pressing demand generation questions.

What questions stood out the most to us during and after the Summit? Here are our top five Q&As from Coffee Talk, plus a few extra tips and examples we’ve prepared for each.

Your Top Four Demand Generation Questions, Answered

Question 1: What is the easiest way to start out with content experimentation?

“Don’t get overwhelmed,” said Mary Ward.

Easier said than done, right? With so many different formats to choose from, content experimentation can seem like a daunting task.

To combat this, Ward suggests starting small. “Pick your piece of evergreen content. Pick a piece that you know you’re going to use throughout the course of a year or over the course of a campaign, and start small.”

A tip for getting the most out of that evergreen piece? Making slight alterations to that one, larger evergreen piece allows you to repurpose your content in an experimental way. Tons of statistics, or eye-catching charts? You can build those elements into an infographic, but you can also use those same elements to build something like an interactive assessment, like Korn Ferry did here.

Ward’s advice, above all, is to not be afraid. In the current marketing climate, it’s easy to lose sight of your message in a noisy marketplace—so we often stop ourselves from creating assets that aren’t tried and true. As marketers we must break this mold, and prevent our content formats from getting pigeonholed to a certain stage of the buyer’s journey or audience type.

Question 2: Are brand videos/assets good for demand gen?

A great question from Andrew during our Coffee Talk Presentation. Our answer: yes! As Chris Hart states, video’s a unique animal, but we believe that brand explainer or product videos can be a fantastic vehicle for demand gen when they’re tied with an actionable CTA. Don’t get stuck in a specific format—video can also be a great place for content experimentation, whether you want to try out animation, a webinar format, or something totally different.

With 66% of surveyed marketers in the latest CMI B2B report stating that they used more audio and visual content like videos and webinars compared to last year, it’s clear that the use of video—and the need to experiment with it in different formats—will only continue to grow.

Question 3: What’s the best way to measure my content performance?

Content performance was the number one topic driving our Summit discussions. We’re on a different playing field as content marketers than we were even last year, and it’s crucial that our content performance and content marketing ROI can be tied back to overarching business goals.

Mary said, “I think that that would be my biggest piece of advice for measuring your content performance: really figure out what the super far, downstream metric that you’re trying to impact with that piece of content is. And if you can’t answer that question, then you may not be creating the right content.”

Chris added a great tip: “You need to go back to your boss or your manager and say what’s my pain point, what are we losing by not doing this?”

By figuring out your objectives ahead of time, whether it’s customer retention or brand awareness, you can better strategize for your content to serve that purpose and fulfill that need.  

Question 4: Tips for creating content on a limited budget?

Budgets (or lack thereof) are a constant in content marketing operations. When faced with limited resources, our presenters suggested the following.

  • Don’t create content for content’s sake. Holding true to your strategy is key here. With limited resources and budget, your content must be fully supportive of your objectives in order to be successful and provide value to your bottom line. Thoughtful, purposeful content will drive that success.
  • Repurpose your content. How can you take small pieces of a large, expensive piece of content and transform them into different assets? Look beyond that 40-page report and toward smaller, snackable content that will resonate with buyers at all stages of the journey.
  • Ask yourself: what is the pain you’re trying to solve? This tip goes back to our discussion on audience acquisition. Who is your customer, where are they, and what are their pain points? The answers to these questions will provide the information you need to solidify your content creation strategy.
What’s Next for Demand Generation?

We truly enjoyed taking part in this year’s Demand Generation Summit, and can’t wait to see how demand generation continues to evolve over the next year. You can watch our CMI Summit session on-demand by visiting here.

Have more questions that we didn’t answer? Let us know by reaching out on Twitter @scribblelive, and watch the Coffee Talk Q&A in its entirety below.

Demand Generation Coffee Talk with ScribbleLive - YouTube

The post Your Top 4 Most Pressing Demand Gen Questions from the CMI Summit, Answered appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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The end of 2018 is rapidly approaching, and with holiday festivities and temperature drops come summaries of trends that pushed our industry forward and predictions for the year ahead.

In this spirit, we dove into Content Marketing Institute’s annual report on B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends for 2019.

We’ve cited previous versions of this report in tons of past blogs and assets, and refer to the research often in our day-to-day strategy and planning. And as content marketers, we know how important it is stay ahead of the curve, and using targeted research like this provides a great advantage.

So what did we learn from this year’s report? Here are our top three insights, which we’ve paired with actionable tips to move your content marketing efforts ahead in 2019.

Our Top Three Insights from Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2019 Research #1: Content creation is the fastest growing area of spending for B2B marketers.

A positive sign of growth for content marketing operations—budgets are increasing. Content marketing is no longer a “nice to have” but a necessity that is driving buying decisions for large and small businesses alike.

But with increased investments into their content marketing efforts, how are businesses scaling their needs? How are they choosing which tools to use, and how are they utilizing not only their resources, but their time?

We believe that as content marketing budgets and spending increase, marketers will also have a increased need to create effective content that provides a significant return on investment.

Demonstrating ROI in the content marketing space is easier said than done, though we suggest developing key benchmarks for each project you create, which can later tell a story to executives. Get more tips from CMI here.

From B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America published by Content Marketing Institute.

Here’s a Tip: Limited resources or budget for content creation? Consider creating an interactive version of a static piece that’s performed well for you in the past. By developing an interactive asset, you’re fostering audience engagement; by repurposing content or research that you’ve already produced and know people are interested in, you’re killing two birds with one stone.

#2: Marketers have significantly increased their use of visual content.

It’s no secret—visual content continues to reign supreme. Whether it’s an engaging infographic or an interactive quiz, visuals are an indispensable element when it comes to crafting your brand.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, though when you’re creating interesting graphics that tell the story of your product or solution, a picture (or many pictures) might be just what it takes to motivate your buyer along their journey to purchase.

According to the Nielsen Norman Group, eye-tracking studies showed that internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. When images are relevant, readers even spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text.

If users are spending most of their time looking at images, then the images used should be visually interesting, support the topic at hand, and convey clear messaging.

With this in mind, the CMI study found that 64% increased their use of audio/visual content like webinars and videos, while another 56% reported an increase in their use of images, whether infographics, charts, or brand photography.

From B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America published by Content Marketing Institute.

Here’s an Example: Here’s an effective example of brand photography in action. Lancôme used Visually’s network of creative professionals to develop beautiful, on-brand photography that told the Lancôme story and resonated with social media users, resulting in brand differentiation and increased engagement.  

Lancôme brand photography #3: Marketers have increased their use of social media for content marketing purposes.

Ah, social. The nature of what we post and where and how we post it is changing even as I’m writing this blog (farewell, Google Plus). For B2B marketers, social media can be a powerful tool for brand awareness and education—when it’s used with careful thought.

Planning for social media can be tricky, though with the advent of AI-powered technologies, planning efforts can be facilitated more easily—which is awesome, especially when managing multiple accounts on multiple platforms.

A healthy 61%, as demonstrated below, reported using social media for content marketing. As this figure will likely only increase, the use of supportive tools like AI will become even more critical to crafting a social voice that speaks to the brand—and speaks up clearly in a crowded, noisy market.

From B2B Content Marketing 2019: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America published by Content Marketing Institute.

Here’s a Tip: Fifty percent of those surveyed by CMI reported using social media listening to plan their content and approach, which tells us it’s important to do our research. The key to crafting engaging content on social media is to understand the audience you are trying to reach.

What platforms are they using? What time of day? Meet your user where they are, and provide them with educational resources that get them thinking—and later talking about or sharing with others the value you provided.  

Using Research Insights and Moving Ahead

So there’s our three takeaways from CMI’s 2019 B2B Report. Want more? Join us at the Demand Generation Summit on October 31st.

You’ll get tons of valuable insight on the current state and future of demand generation, which is fueled by research like you’ve seen here. Register to join us today.

The post 3 Things You’ll Learn from Content Marketing Institute’s Latest B2B Brief appeared first on ScribbleLive.

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