The Inbound and Content Marketing blog

How to best use B2B research to create content

Written by Katie Hutchinson  |  23, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a recent post we talked about the value of research-based content and highlighted some convincing examples. Research can help demonstrate thought-leadership and position you as industry experts. But how do you go about it?

In this blog, we give you some ideas and tips for conducting research.

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How to generate more leads for your manufacturing company

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  18, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound marketing can help manufacturers close leads to sales, but how do you attract visitors to your site in the first place? In a manufacturing context, where traditional sales and marketing methods are still the default, switching to an inbound mentality can feel like a leap of faith. One of the toughest challenges a marketing team can face is getting buy-in from the C-Suite where the norm can be to see marketing as an expense, rather than an investment.   

What if you could prove that inbound marketing will not only bring your manufacturing company more leads than traditional marketing methods, but they will be good quality – sales ready leads? Here are some ways in which inbound can help your manufacturing company with B2B lead generation.

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The value of a research-based content strategy and 4 great examples

Written by Katie Hutchinson  |  18, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“Content comes in all shapes and sizes. Helpful how-tos, news, guides, opinions, roundups and rants. But there is one type of content that stands above them all. Research.” (Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media Studios)

When done well, research-based content garners more shares and links than almost any other form of content. It is regularly hailed as the most effective form of content marketing, as proven in studies by CMI, Clutch and Ascend2, just to name a few.

It’s no surprise really. Research that provides answers to unanswered questions makes for a compelling story and attention grabbing headlines.

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Why your SaaS company needs an inbound marketing agency

Written by Keith Errington  |  17, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed how an inbound approach enables your SaaS company to connect with the right people,in the right way, at the right time. Inbound allows you to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, answer your target audience's questions and, ultimately, help you to win their business (and keep it).

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How to avoid common pitfalls when defining your buyer personas

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  10, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In modern marketing, buyer personas are integral to everything you create as a content marketer. Buyer personas are representations of your target customers based on real-world information and educated guesses. Their likes, dislikes, habits, behaviours, motivations and concerns, as well as their job function, where they spend time online, decision criteria, and more.

The trouble is, as with so many recent marketing developments, the subtler ideas around personas are often not fully understood. Getting your personas right, and keeping them current is not as easy as it sounds. Here are some tips to avoid some of the common pitfalls when defining your buyer personas.

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How to prove the value of Inbound to your CFO

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  9, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound is more than just a marketing strategy; Inbound is a philosophy that is engrained into your company's DNA. However, one of the toughest challenges Marketing can face is getting buy-in from the top.

Inbound takes time, resources and expertise to implement correctly. How do you get your C-Suite to not only sign off on the time and money required but also emotionally and professionally invest in Inbound?

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Pros and Cons of using the top 7 social media networks for B2B

Written by Keith Errington  |  5, May, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

With 64% of the UK’s population of over 65 million active on social media – spending an average of 108 minutes a day on one or more social networks – you can’t ignore social as an essential way to connect with people and businesses.

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Why you need an inbound website redesign

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  27, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Anyone who has been through a website redesign in the past decade or so will know it can be stressful and time-consuming, often running over time and budget. The website finally launches but is left for a year or two to gather dust. Unsurprisingly, it fails to deliver leads, so two years later you bite the bullet and do it all over again.

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Professional services marketing: 6 tips to improve B2B lead generation

Written by Keith Errington  |  26, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

No professional services company can survive without new business, and securing those leads is the highest priority for most B2B marketers. With traditional methods proving less effective, companies are turning to inbound marketing – but what type of content should you produce? How should you go about it? And what’s the best way to deploy it to generate the most leads?

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How to write excellent educational content for inbound

Written by Keith Errington  |  20, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whether you are in professional services, SaaS or manufacturing, at some point, you should consider creating educational content for your audience. 

Inbound marketing is about providing relevant useful content, and there is no more useful content than that which helps someone to achieve results or save time.

So how do you go about creating educational content?

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SaaS vs. Product Marketing - Why you need to think outside the box

Written by Keith Errington  |  12, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
If you are a business that produces software, it is highly likely you have moved, or are considering moving, from selling an off the shelf product to delivering your product online - a method commonly called 'Software as a Service' (SaaS). But has your marketing strategy adapted?

There are several significant differences between the marketing strategy for selling boxed software than for selling SaaS. In this post, we are going to look at those key factors and explain why you need to think ‘outside the box'.
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Why your manufacturing company needs an inbound marketing agency

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  12, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we have discussed how traditional, interruptive sales and marketing tactics, such as cold calling, are not working as effectively anymore in the manufacturing sector. 

Inbound marketing offers manufacturers the chance to reach a wider audience. Unlike other marketing methods such as print ads and mailers that rely on outreach to customers' locations, inbound marketing, and more specifically content, can help bring in a steady stream of traffic from people actively looking for your services (HubSpot). 

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Inbound marketing for SaaS: putting in a lot to get a lot

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  5, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed how an inbound approach could help your software as a service (SaaS) company. We talked about the importance of SaaS organisations not only winning customers, but retaining them over the long term - a challenge inherent in the SaaS business model.

As a SaaS company, you will know that you have to wait a bit longer to enjoy the fruits of your labour than in other industries. When you win new business, the payoff doesn't come straight away. You need those customers to keep on buying your services and you also want to sell more services to them over time. 

In the same vein, when you first start out on an inbound marketing journey, you won't reach your destination immediately. Implementing inbound marketing is a commitment (with all the challenges that entails). 

However, in both instances, the potential rewards to be reaped are well worth the wait. So, let's explore why and consider how adopting inbound marketing for SaaS could help you to reach more of the right people and grow your business. 

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30 blog ideas for your SaaS company

Written by Keith Errington  |  4, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you are creating content for a software as a service (SaaS) company, from time to time you will probably struggle to find something relevant to talk about. So, here are 30 blog ideas you can use as they are, or modify for your own circumstances.

Bear in mind that you should always have one of your buyer personas in mind when choosing one of these, and when writing the detail. You also need to consider what part of the sales funnel your chosen persona is in. Some of these are introductory topics suitable for top of the funnel (TOFU) content, some are more detailed in scope suitable for middle of the funnel (MOFU) content.

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5 tips to help B2B content writers make an impact

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  28, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average - or over 3.5 billion searches per day. That's a lot of people looking for content and, while those searches will incorporate a huge range of questions, the sheer volume indicates that there is an audience hungry for content.

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Can inbound marketing help manufacturers close leads to sales?

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  28, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Many manufacturing businesses have traditionally relied on a direct or distributor sales force to generate growth. The founders, especially 50+ years ago, were essentially inventors – solving customers' pain through developing innovative solutions to problems in a way the competition couldn't. They did not need a marketing department to succeed, just pure guts and determination.

This traditional approach has continued through the decades with the role of marketing failing to evolve much beyond product brochures, maintaining the company website and tradeshows. It is not surprising, therefore, that many CEOs do not understand what marketing can do to help grow the business.

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How an inbound approach could help your SaaS company

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  23, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Across the spectrum, industries are facing change on an unprecedented scale – and the software as a service (SaaS) industry is no exception. In today's fast-moving and competitive environment, SaaS companies will live and die by their ability to acquire new customers and keep them on a long-term basis.

Therefore, it's important that you can reach the people that matter the most to your business. To do so, you need a targeted and effective marketing strategy that enables you to connect with and form relationships with the individuals and organisations that will benefit from purchasing your products and services.

Adopting an inbound approach can help you to achieve just that. In this post, we explore the current state of the SaaS industry and look at how implementing inbound marketing could help your company.

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9 habits SaaS content writers should avoid

Written by Keith Errington  |  22, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Writing for the B2B market is often challenging, and never more so than in the world of the software as a service (SaaS) industry. When such a detailed, intense focus on technology is required, it is easy to get caught up in the content itself and miss the bigger picture. That can lead to a number of bad habits.

Here's our list of some of the worst offenders so you can recognise and deal with them.

1. A lack of focus

Every piece of content you create should fit into an overall plan, and be specifically targeted and written. Each item of content should be aimed at one of your buyer personas, and focus on a specific step in the buyer's journey (awareness, consideration or decision). 

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The importance of storytelling in professional services marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  13, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

At its core, marketing is storytelling. Telling stories allows you to connect with your target audience; to create and build meaningful relationships. Stories paint a vivid picture of your brand, products and services; they show why you are the best choice.

In professional services marketing, telling stories enables you to garner trust in a digital landscape, where online capital counts for so much. From B2B case studies to blog posts and eBooks, there are various ways you can incorporate stories into your marketing efforts.

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Five techniques a B2B content writer should master

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Being a good B2B content writer involves a diverse range of skills, knowledge and experience. Not all of which can be picked up on the job. There are so many different aspects to the role that it’s easy to miss out or overlook crucial techniques that can make the difference between a stream of barely coherent words and effective copy that attracts prospects and generates leads.

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Are you putting your B2B buyer personas first?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound marketing is customer-centric: your target audience is at the heart of everything you do. Therefore, you need to understand that audience – and one of the best ways to do that is to create B2B buyer personas.

Buyer personas represent the people that matter to your business. HubSpot defines them as "fictional, generalised characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behaviour patterns among your real and potential customers". 

Your buyer personas should inform your entire inbound marketing strategy. Without them, your campaigns and messaging could be completely missing the mark. So, how can you make certain that you're effectively prioritising your B2B buyer personas?

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What B2B content writers should know about 10x content

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  23, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

By now, many companies understand the vital role that content plays in attracting their target audience. According to HubSpot's 2016 State of Inbound report, 73 per cent of organisations have adopted inbound as their primary approach to marketing – and, of course, inbound is powered by content. The report surveyed more than 4,500 respondents from marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses, which are based in over 132 countries – so the results are not to be sniffed at! 

However, it is no longer enough for businesses to simply create content. The competition is heating up and there is a lot (and I mean a lot) of content out there. In today's environment, mediocre content just won't cut it – and even good, unique content will struggle. So, we need to be creating extraordinary content.

In 2016, Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz, coined the term "10x content". And, in doing so, he offered B2B content writers a solution to this very real problem.

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How to create content ideas for professional services marketing

Written by Keith Errington  |  23, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Regular content creation is at the heart of modern marketing, but maintaining a constant stream of useful and engaging content can be challenging. This is especially true in professional services where you may feel interesting topics may be few and far between.

So how can you generate ideas for content? 

Firstly, look at how to find out what your clients want to read about. You can create as much content as you like, but it will only be truly effective if it satisfies a need – if it gives your clients the answers to the questions they are asking.

Secondly, look at types of content that work for professional services – starting with a type often makes creating the content for it much easier.

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Why are your B2B marketing tactics not working?

Written by Keith Errington  |  16, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Are you struggling to maintain previous levels of sales, or having issues generating leads? If you are simply doing more of the same, it could be that your whole approach is the problem. The entire marketing and buyer landscape has changed – old methods no longer work. Unless you recognise this and change your strategy, your sales will suffer and problems will follow.

The evidence for the revolution

You may have heard the saying: "If you have been doing something the same way for a long period of time – it's probably wrong."

When Adobe carried out a survey in 2013, they found that 76 per cent of people felt that marketing had changed more in the past two years than in the previous 50, with a similar number saying that the old marketing model is no longer sufficient. There are a whole host of factors – technological, social, and more that are accelerating this rate of change.

So, if you haven't changed your B2B marketing tactics in the past few years, you need to rethink - or lose potential sales.

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3 top benefits of content marketing for manufacturing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whether you are a manufacturer already on a content marketing journey, or one that is considering taking the plunge, it's always worth reiterating the benefits of content marketing for manufacturing.

According to research published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) at the end of 2016, 85 per cent of manufacturing marketers use content marketing. However, well over three-quarters (79 per cent) of these describe their organisation's content marketing maturity level as "first steps", "young" or "adolescent", as opposed to "mature" or "sophisticated".  And only a third (33 per cent) say that their organisations have clarity on [what constitutes] content marketing success.

The early stages of a content marketing strategy can be hard. It takes time to lay down the foundations and results don't appear overnight – but, when they do, they're well worth the wait.

So, here are three top benefits of content marketing for manufacturing to keep in mind if you're in need of a boost or have just plain lost your mojo.

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4 myths about B2B content writing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  2, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Myth: a widely held but false belief or idea."

Oxford Dictionaries

B2B content writing is a topic ripe for discussion. There's tons of information and advice out there, which you could spend hours reading and digesting. But, you might still find yourself scratching your head over what denotes best practice. 

So, in the age of the "post-truth" society, it's time to put to bed a few lingering myths about creating B2B content. 

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4 simple productivity techniques to help B2B content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  26, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"We'll publish a blog post every day this month"; "this quarter, we'll create a top-of-the-funnel eBook and a middle-of-the-funnel whitepaper": it's easy to be ambitious about your B2B content strategy, but achieving your goals can often be a different story.

When there's so much to do and distractions at every turn, it can be difficult for B2B content writers to be as productive as they would like. However, successful content marketing relies on consistently creating useful and valuable content for your target audience.

So, here are five simple productivity techniques, to help you power through your to-do list and create the great content you have planned.

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What are 2017's B2B social media marketing challenges?

Written by Keith Errington  |  25, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It seems in 2017 the one thing we can be certain of is change. Nowhere is this felt more than in the areas of your business that are reliant on, or intricately tied to, technology. Marketing, in particular, has become more centred around technology in recent years and has been undergoing radical change.

And perhaps the most changeable digital channel for marketing is social media, which is more relevant than ever to B2B businesses. A 2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey shows that more than half (53 percent) of B2B buyers are turning to social media to make buying decisions and more than a third (34 percent) say they are spending more time this year than last, using social media to research vendors and solutions.

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Why inbound marketing for manufacturing supports Industry 4.0

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  24, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is set to revolutionise the manufacturing and production industry by integrating the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, data integration and other technological advances into the heart of production and manufacturing systems."

Salesforce

There's no doubt that Industry 4.0 is coming for the manufacturing industry – and with it, big changes. The ultimate goal of Industry 4.0 is the "smart" factory, in which "cyber-physical systems (CPS) will monitor the physical processes within modular structured factories, and a virtual copy of the physical world will be mined for data in real time, enabling decentralised decisions" (Source: The Manufacturer).

Simultaneously, there are changes afoot in the sales and marketing environment – the go-to methods simply don't work as well as they used to. Today, more and more business is conducted online and, to put it simply, no one wants to talk to your sales team – at least, not to start with. The power has passed into the hands of buyers, who want to ensure they are informed and educated about their needs before they speak to a sales person. In fact, according to a survey carried out by Forrester, 74 per cent of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.

So, what to do?

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Why you should focus on B2B marketing fundamentals in 2017

Written by Keith Errington  |  12, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

January is traditionally a time when companies look to the year ahead, so what are the main B2B marketing issues they should be addressing in 2017?

Well, despite the many new technologies being bandied about and the cloud of hype surrounding them, it will be a focus on the fundamentals that will allow B2B businesses to succeed this year.

Integrated approach to business

Managing a business used to be easy – each function of the business – manufacturing, sales, marketing, customer service and management had their own departments – their own boxes if you like. Each reported to the board through a more-or-less vertical reporting and controlling system. It was always very clear what each area did, what is was responsible for and what their territory was.

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Why B2B content writers should embrace their writing voice

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Writing is the painting of the voice" - Voltaire

We all have unique voices: deep and rich, breathy, high-pitched, soft and honeyed. And when we write, we also have unique voices. However, sometimes we stymie our voices, shackling our personalities to produce flat, impersonal writing. We resort to tired templates and worn-out clichés, jargon and meaninglessness.

This is all too easily done in the context of B2B content writing, where much of what is created is dismissed as "boring". After all, if what you're writing about is dull, then why bother to inject some individuality?

The answer is, because it matters. When you're writing for a business, your audience is still made up of real people, with real problems – and you might just be able to solve them. But first, you need to embrace your writing voice.

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Five creative content marketing ideas for manufacturing

Written by Keith Errington  |  5, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The future of marketing for manufacturing lies in the production of good quality content that potential customers will find useful. Inbound marketing keeps you top of mind with prospects until the time is right for them to contact you - on ‘their’ terms. But in today’s competitive market, it’s not going to be enough just to be 'useful'; your content has to be well-written, comprehensive and attractive. And by attractive, we mean content that attracts an audience. This means being creative – coming up with content that is both informative AND entertaining.

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Should you carry out an inbound content audit?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  4, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The Christmas holidays are over and January (officially the longest month of the year) is stretching out ahead of us. Perhaps you're already planning to get away from it all – and if you were to wander an airport lounge, in search of a magazine to read on your flight, you would likely come face-to-face with all sorts of dramatic headlines: "New year, new you"; "Make this your year"; "2017: the year your dreams come true."

Having aspirations and ambitions is a great thing and the start of a new year is as good a time as any to work towards your goals – but these types of headlines play on our insecurities; they make us think that we're not good enough already. A more positive approach is to continue to build on what we've already achieved.

And that's exactly what your organisation can do by carrying out a content audit. Day-to-day, it's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture - a content audit enables you to take stock of all the content on your website, from page copy to blog posts. Having acquired this improved view of your content, you can develop a more informed and successful content strategy for the year ahead.

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3 key inbound marketing takeaways for 2016

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  21, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As 2016 draws to a close, it is the time for reflection and review, so we thought we would look back at another year in the world of inbound marketing and share some of our own key takeaways.

White papers remain cornerstone content heavyweights

It might seem surprising that long form content like white papers and eBooks are still popular, flying in the face of all that we read about increasingly short attention spans. However, while a Microsoft report from Spring 2016 grabbed the headlines by seeming to suggest the average human attention span is now less than a goldfish, not once does it propose you should plan your marketing around an eight second concentration period!

Indeed, Jason Miller, writing for LinkedIn, suggests: "human beings don’t have a shorter attention span than goldfish – and if our attention is changing, it’s changing in ways that makes it more intense, more demanding and more hungry for information, not less"

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5 motivational tips for struggling B2B content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  20, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard."

Neil Gaiman

Motivation isn't always easy to come by as we slide into Christmas. And, while the festive season provides a bit of an excuse, a lack of motivation is problematic for B2B content writers - whatever time of year it strikes. Successful content marketing is dependent on both quality and consistency, both of which require a degree of good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work.

There are various reasons behind a lack of motivation. Some are serious, but others are easier to address – for instance, feeling unmotivated because you are overwhelmed by a task and simply don't know where to start.

So, what can B2B content writers do when the muse proves elusive and doing almost anything else but writing seems appealing?

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Your 2017 B2B content marketing plan: let go of the fear

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  16, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“You know what keeps most of our content from attaining epic status, don't you?

Fear.

Our fear of looking foolish. Of negative responses on social media. Or, worse, of getting hardly any visits, social shares, leads, or sales from our best efforts.”

Hunter Boyle, Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

It's that time of year when that dreaded word starts to do the rounds: "resolution". What do you plan to do (or not do) once the clock strikes midnight on 31 December?  It's all rather exhausting. But, when it comes to your content marketing plan for next year, there's one resolution that's well worth making: to let go of your fear.

Ask yourself: how many times have you shied away from creating a piece of content because you didn't think you could pull it off, or because it was a bit too "out there"? How many times have you delayed publishing your work because it's not quite polished enough? And how many times have you doubted your expertise – or even held back that expertise for worry of giving away too much?

In 2017, it's time to believe in your content marketing skills.

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How to write complex content for time-starved managers

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you work in professional services or manufacturing, or any other industry where technology and complex processes are fundamental to the business, then at some point you will face the challenging task of explaining aspects of technical concepts to customers.

This is challenging because most buyers are managers with little time on their hands. So, while they are likely to be intelligent enough to understand these concepts, given enough time, they do not have that time to spare.

It is down to you to educate them and to make them want to care enough about the technical stuff, so that they learn and then use it to influence their decision-making.

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How to adopt an agile approach to content marketing for manufacturing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

For many B2B manufacturers, marketing is continuing to prove a bit of a sore spot – more specifically, content marketing. Whether because they struggle to know how to create meaningful content, or because they've had bad experiences in the past, manufacturers are often letting marketing fall by the wayside.

However, in today's climate, this is not advisable. Manufacturers exist in an increasingly competitive landscape: the Fourth Industrial Revolution is rearing its head, there is growing demand for mass customisation, and customers demand shorter and shorter lead times. To survive and thrive, organisations must reach out effectively to the people that matter most to their business.

Content marketing allows manufacturers to engage meaningfully with their potential customers - but that's of little use if they struggle to implement it. That's where an agile approach can help.

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Why you should be optimising your content around B2B topics

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  30, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"It's a shift from terms to topics; a shift from longtail keywords, massive spreadsheets, down to just half a dozen topic areas that you as a business can own authoritatively."

Inbound 2016: Christopher O'Donnell, HubSpot Product Spotlight

Keywords: love them or hate them, they need to be factored into your content marketing strategy. But if you've ever pored over a keyword tool, trying to find the perfect combination of high search volume, low difficulty and, of course, relevance, you will know how frustrating this endeavour can be. If you work in a particularly content-saturated market, it can feel as though the chances of your organisation ranking in a Google search are slim to none.

But, with search engines becoming increasingly sophisticated in delivering results to their users' enquiries, should you be considering another approach to SEO? What if the secret to people finding your content online lay less in optimising around a specific word or phrase and more in focusing on writing around a topic or concept?

Anum Hussain, former senior growth marketer at HubSpot, describes "topics over keywords" as the magic formula. So, what does this all mean?

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Convert more leads to customers with inbound sales

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  29, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Historically, there has been little alignment between sales and marketing, resulting in a disgruntled marketing team wondering why sales aren't closing the leads they provide, and a sales team moaning that the leads are low quality.

Inbound marketing came about in response to changes in buyer behaviour - but sales have been slow to adapt. When buyers have a particular issue or point of pain to respond to they would rather conduct their own research online than speak to a salesperson (62 per cent of buyers use search engines and 48 per cent visit a company's website).

Inbound sales is emerging to address this. Unsurprisingly, the model is similar to inbound marketing - transitioning prospects through the stages of awareness, consideration, and decision, all the while working to support the buyer rather than the seller (Cox Business).

An alignment between marketing and sales is key throughout. Marketing need to be creating relevant content for sales at every stage, to drive prospects through the sales funnel and close them as customers.

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How to reuse and repurpose when writing B2B content

Written by Keith Errington  |  24, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Writing B2B content is hard – and often the most difficult part is repeatedly creating new content on a regular basis. Coming up with ideas, searching for new topics to cover; all the while ensuring that they are popular enough that your audience will be out there looking for them.

Once you have been blogging for a while it becomes a lot easier. Partly because you naturally become better at it, but partly because you can use the previous body of content you've created to produce new articles and to create content in other formats. You can even just publish it again – provided a few simple rules are followed.

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Securing a second date: how to craft copy for B2B landing pages

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  17, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Copy is so pivotal to the success or failure of your landing page that it's easy to take it for granted. No matter how valuable your offer or beautiful your design, it's the actual words on the page that will ultimately persuade prospects to click, or drive them to bounce."

Dan Levy, Unbounce

As B2B marketers, we're probably all guilty of treating landing pages as a bit of an afterthought – an add-on to the main content creation process.

For example, we write an eBook and then want to share it with our target audience and acquire new leads. So, having set up our landing page, we swiftly write a couple of paragraphs of copy and send our content out into the world.

However, this is clearly not best practice. And that's because a landing page acts as the gateway to your content.

If a prospect doesn't enter through the gate, they won't ever reap the benefits of your carefully-crafted work. But to unlock the gate, prospects don't need a key – it's their contact details the gatekeeper is after. Therefore, it's vital to spend time honing copy for your B2B landing pages.

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Stories shared at Equinet Media's Cambridge HUG

Written by Maddy Bogacki  |  16, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

On Thursday 3 November, I was delighted to attend the first Cambridge HUG (HubSpot User Group), hosted by Equinet Media. There were many friendly faces, old and new, and it was a prized opportunity to meet with fellow HubSpot customers, inbound marketers and partners from surrounding areas.

Making connections

Between mouthfuls of blini, I enjoyed a lively conversation with Jamie Pennington - about cartography, of all things. I was very interested to learn of his experience in the field.

See, maps are curious things. Ultimately, their purpose is to describe the journey once made by another. A map captures the essence of travel and gives future wayfarers invaluable guidance in following that direction. They are vehicles for information; drawn to be read. They provide context and measurable checkpoints - landmarks, boundaries, paths and obstacles, all carefully observed - warning foreign feet of danger. The topology of the land is described, the scale is defined.

This thorough examination enables people to learn from a surveyor's experience. There are some parallels to be drawn between map-making and the activity we engaged in that night. HubSpot is our shared territory. HUGs give us the chance to map out (digital) landmarks together. Whether by verbal or visual means, arming our peers with knowledge, helps prepare them for challenges on the road ahead.

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5 ways to make your B2B website stand out from the crowd

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  10, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In an ever-crowded online space, it's vital to seek ways to get noticed by your target audience. First, you need to get people to your website in the first place. But, setting aside SEO and keywords for a minute, how can you keep people on your site once they arrive?

Research into what B2B buyers want from vendor websites (2015 B2B Web Usability Report) showed that credibility and trust are what make B2B buyers keep coming back to your site.

Charlotte Fitzgerald suggests “mak[ing] your homepage delve-worthy". Does your homepage encourage people to want to learn more? "Just as the cover of a good book draws you in, the homepage should be bright, clearly sectioned and enticing," she says.

Here are five ways in which to make your B2B website stand out, so that people keep coming back to you.


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Why your manufacturing company needs a content marketing plan

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Change is the order of the day. Macro forces are combining to place intense pressure on organisations and entire industries. The manufacturing sector is no exception – most notably, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and all that it entails) is looming large. Additionally, there is a growing demand for customised products, and an increased pressure to get products to market faster – while simultaneously staying one step ahead of the competition.

Against this backdrop, the way that customers interact with manufacturing companies (and, indeed, all companies) is also changing. To remain relevant in today's uncertain environment, it's vital to ensure that you can effectively reach the people that matter most to your business. Content marketing plays a key role in achieving this.

It's not uncommon for manufacturing companies to view marketing as little more than the "colouring-in department". And this view may not be entirely unfounded if they have had negative experiences in the past.

However, conventional sales and marketing simply don't work like they used to. So, let's explore why your manufacturing company needs a content marketing plan.

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3 essentials that will make you a master of B2B mobile marketing

Written by Keith Errington  |  3, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Mobile devices with limited screen sizes, such as tablets and smartphones, have gradually increased in popularity. Today, they comprise a significant proportion of Internet viewing statistics, with nearly one third of UK page views coming from a smartphone or tablet.

More proof of the rise of the mobile device comes when we look at time spent on desktops and laptops versus mobiles; today it's an average of 2.1 hours a day spent on desktops and laptops, versus 3.1 hours spent on mobiles (excluding phone calls).

All this has impacted B2B too – according to MediaPost, 42 per cent of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B purchasing process and mobile use for B2B purchase research has grown 91 per cent in the past two years. 49 per cent of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work. They're comparing prices, reading about products, comparing feature sets and contacting retailers. They're purchasing, too; purchase rates on mobile are up 22 per cent in the past two years.

So anyone in B2B marketing needs to factor in the mobile audience.

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Are you getting value from your inbound and content marketing agency?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  2, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We're all acquainted with the phrase: "You get what you pay for." In many ways, it's a bit of a meaningless one. After all, you can pay over the odds for a sub-par product or service or, on the other hand, land a complete bargain.

So, when you're working with your inbound and content marketing agency, how do you know whether you're getting value? To draw on another idiom, what makes an agency worth their weight in gold

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How to work with your inbound marketing agency

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  20, October, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Hiring an inbound marketing agency to power up your marketing efforts is exciting. You've carried out your research, created a shortlist and, finally, found your perfect match. But your work doesn't stop there.

While you rightly expect your chosen agency to deliver great results, you also have a vital role to play in achieving this. The emphasis is on working in partnership, to ensure that you get the most out of your new relationship. Having entered into a contract with you, your agency has a vested interest in your business and they want it to succeed as much as you do. 

By knowing how to conduct this professional relationship from the start, you maximise your chances of success. So how should you work with your inbound marketing agency? 

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6 ways to stop being creepy when personalising B2B content

Written by Keith Errington  |  11, October, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Greater personalisation has become the holy grail for content marketing publishers across both B2C and B2B. Endless research has proven that greater personalisation brings greater engagement – which leads to more conversions and an increase in sales. This all makes sense, after all, the more relevant and useful content is, the more a potential buyer of your products or services will consume and interact with it.

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8 proven ways a content writer can get buyers to engage online

Written by Keith Errington  |  29, September, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Just recently AOL published the results of an impressive study into what drives engagement with content in social media. This study encompassed 32,000 respondents and an analysis of 55,000 consumer interactions across eight different markets – a pretty generous sampling that gives the survey some real validity. If you are a content writer, take note!

But this is consumer social media, you may be thinking, what can B2B marketers learn from this?

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Why Inbound Sales is the future

Written by Gemma Rogers  |  21, September, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It is well-versed that buyer behaviour has changed significantly in recent years. Inbound Marketing redresses the balance by adapting to customers’ needs, but is Sales in danger of being left behind?

Changes in customer behaviour are widening the gap between buyers’ expectations and sellers’ tactics. HubSpot research shows there is a disconnect between customers’ expectations and traditional sales tactics. Buyers are not going to change, so the onus is on Sales to adapt.

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5 quick facts from HubSpot's State of Inbound 2016

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  14, September, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Inbound means transforming how we do business to be more helpful, more human, more empathetic. It focuses on the whole process of turning a stranger into a delighted customer. Inbound is about matching the way you market and sell with the way people actually want to shop and buy."

HubSpot, State of Inbound 2016

It's that time of year again – HubSpot has just released its eighth annual State of Inbound report. And it's a meaty one – encompassing more than 4,500 respondents from marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses, which are based in over 132 countries.

To really get to grips with the report, you'll probably want to make a cup of tea, get comfortable in your chair and set aside a couple of hours. In the meantime, we've pulled out five quick facts to give you a taste of what HubSpot found.

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4 useful (and mostly free) online tools for the best content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, August, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content writers are the builders of your B2B content marketing strategy. The content that they create enables you to connect with - and build lasting relationships with - the people for whom your business was made.

But even the best content writers need a little help sometimes. Whether freelance, in-house or part of an agency, they usually have lots to do and not quite enough time to do it

So we've identified four useful online tools that will enable the content creation process to run that little bit smoother - and add even more brilliance to the work of the best content writers.

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6 ways to connect online with potential customers

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, August, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the hardest tasks any company faces is finding and connecting with potential customers, then nurturing those initial contacts until they become actual customers. The development of new marketing channels, the revolution in customer knowledge, and the subsequent changing demands of the customer have made this task simultaneously easier and more challenging. 

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When is visual communication right for B2B inbound marketers?

Written by Keith Errington  |  28, June, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Visual communication is generally considered to involve graphics, images, video – conveying messages and information via a visual stimulus. If your business makes products that are not particularly photogenic, or are complex in nature, or you offer a service that has no physical manifestation - such as a box or packaging - you may feel that visual communication is not for you. You could be forgiven for thinking that your product or service can’t be communicated successfully in a visual medium. You might even feel it’s just too boring. But are you right? If not, what CAN you do? And just when is visual communication right for B2B inbound marketers?

The simple answer to this last question is: always. It is always right. In fact, it is essential!

You have to catch their attention instantly

Today’s media landscape is cluttered with a multitude of channels, all clamouring for attention –all fighting for a moment of the viewer’s time. And that is all they have – a moment. In order to survive in today’s jungle of messages, your message has to stand out – instantly. The key way to do that is with a visual – whether moving, still or graphic. Catchy headlines are all well and good, but they will always lose out to a striking image.

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How to avoid a big disconnect in your inbound marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  23, June, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In short - inbound marketing will count for little if your efforts don’t convert to sales. For sure, inbound marketing can help generate leads, build an audience, raise your profile and extend your reach but, ultimately, without a strategy for sustainable sales growth, you are likely to end up focusing on the cost of doing inbound rather than the revenue generated from it.

Problems surface if your sales team are not bought-in on the inbound methodology. And where there has been a historical misalignment between Sales and Marketing (curiously common considering both functions are part of the ‘revenue department’), this can exacerbate the issue.

So, if you are taking a closer look at how inbound marketing could reverse your fortunes, be sure to consider how you are going to involve the sales team from the outset.

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How to use your marketing data to make better content decisions

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  20, June, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

What’s the most important ingredient in your content marketing mix? Your way with words, your eye for design, perhaps, or your turn of phrase - and, your marketing data. A data-driven content strategy is a powerful one; informed by what your audience really wants and needs.

Data is an invaluable tool for inbound marketers - but you have to know both how to collect it and put it to good use. From the number of views on your blog, to how many people downloaded your latest eBook, to how many marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) you have at any given time: there are numerous metrics you can track. And these figures can then be used to influence your future content decisions – for the better.  

Writing for HubSpot, Rob Lons says: "Content marketers don't just write, they write with purpose." But you can only achieve this if you understand why some approaches work while others sputter to a halt. And the best way to acquire this knowledge is to get measuring. 

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Inbound marketing and sales and the need for an SLA

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  16, June, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The old sales playbook would likely quote "always be closing" or "it’s a numbers game". The sales team would be "calling to touch base" or overheard, for the 50th time that day, saying "if I could show you a way…"

Essentially, if a sales rep wasn’t spending the larger portion of their day hustling prospects, trying every trick in the traditional sales playbook to get that deal signed, sealed and delivered, they were likely not long for the role.

The sales manager didn’t care if the solution they were selling benefited the potential customer or not. Their world was driven by the numbers, and "the numbers don’t lie". Unlike the buyer because "buyers are liars" (sic) so, get your foot in that door and show me the money.

But the world around us has changed. Customers are empowered by technology, the internet and the social web. Today, they want to inform and educate themselves long before they are ready to speak with someone in sales.

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Why your inbound marketing agency bangs on about buyer personas

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, June, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you have done any reading at all on inbound or content marketing, you will probably have been struck by how often agencies emphasise the use of buyer personas. You may even be slightly bored with the constant urging to define and use these personas when developing your marketing strategy. But if you want to succeed in business, personas are pretty much essential. So if you want to understand the obsession with buyer personas, then read on, as I’m going to explain why they are so important and why successful modern marketing depends on them.

The importance of attracting and engaging prospects

Let’s start by going over some obvious business basics. Customers are the lifeblood of any business. But no customer, no matter how loyal they are to your brand and no matter how well you treat them, will stay with you forever. There is a constant need to attract new customers just to stay in business. And if you want to grow, then there is no denying that new business must become your driving force.

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3 easy email newsletter ideas that will boost your inbound marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, May, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Newsletters often get a bad rap - we’ve all received boring ones that fail to offer any useful information and provide "updates" on topics about which we neither know nor care. But, believe it or not, newsletters don't have to be tedious.

In fact, email is still a powerful weapon in your inbound marketing arsenal. They can help you to nurture leads and delight customers, by providing useful information that answers their questions, solves their problems, and generally piques their interest. Regularly sending out informative and usefulcontent can strengthen the relationships you have with the people that need or are already using your product or service.

But where do you start? How do you come up with engaging newsletter content that doesn't bore the socks off your readers? If you're stuck for email newsletter ideas, here are three easy ones to get you started:

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Social media - pros and cons for professional services marketing

Written by Keith Errington  |  18, May, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Professional services marketing is not immune to the broader changes transforming the marketing techniques of the current generation of marketers. In every sector, marketing has changed. Older techniques, such as advertising, direct mail, flyers and trade shows, are not producing the same results they did in the past and are proving expensive and uneconomical. And while some traditional techniques, such as business networking, are still delivering new clients, they are time-consuming and require a physical presence that limits their scope and range.

So the newer channels of digital marketing – social media, opt-in newsletters, blogging and the like – are becoming the most effective way for any business to reach new and existing clients.

But these new marketing opportunities are not without their pitfalls; social media, in particular, is a potential minefield for the professional services firm. And even some of the biggest of corporates can get it wrong.  But we know that high-growth professional services firms focus more on social media than average growth firms. So in this post, we will look at the social media pros and cons for professional services marketing.

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How to make sure visitors don't hate your B2B website design

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, May, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Your website is often the first point of contact between you and your future customers. Therefore, it’s vital that it makes a good impression. Otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle from the start.

A study by Microsoft found that humans now have an average attention span of just eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. By comparison, a goldfish has an average attention span of nine seconds.

With multiple screens and multiple distractions at their fingertips, people have less time for information and websites that don’t immediately spark their interest. It’s likely that you made the decision to read this post in a matter of seconds.

As a business, you need to ensure that your website captures the attention of the people you most want to reach, amid the huge interruption that is the Internet. That means ensuring that it offers up an enjoyable - or at least useful - user experience from the outset. And the key to that lies in your website design.

Writing for HubSpot, Lindsay Kolowich says: "Poor user experience can cause high page abandonment rates, low visitor-to-lead conversion rates, poor organic search listing positions, and a plain ol' bad reputation."

So if your B2B website design is failing, it’s time to take action.

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Is your law firm full of valuable content writers?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

More and more professions are coming round to the idea of inbound marketing. And law firms are among those businesses really embracing the power of content.

At the end of last year, Contently published an article in which they addressed this growing trend. Julia Schur wrote about how John Corey, president and co-founder of communications firm Greentarget, had been speaking to law firms across the US about content. His findings? He predicted that "between 30 and 50 percent of law firms will have a dedicated of content strategy by the end of the year [2015]."

Whether those figures are an accurate reflection of the situation currently, there’s no denying the value of an inbound approach in the legal arena. Inbound marketing is a strategy that fits with the way in which buyers today make decisions on purchasing goods or services from businesses; it reflects how prospective clients move from awareness to consideration to decision – and it is all centred on content.

So, in terms of marketing for law firms, let's consider how you can adopt an inbound approach more in keeping with the clients of today. And, do you already have a head start on others with valuable content writers in your ranks?

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This is how your marketing can start generating inbound leads

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  14, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed why inbound marketing results in more effective B2B lead generation than traditional outbound tactics. We explored how, while the inbound process takes more time to come to fruition, it deliver leads that are more valuable to your business. 

Here’s a definition of inbound marketing from HubSpot: "Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more."

In other words, inbound uses content to attract people, who are already interested in the kind of solutions that you provide, to your website, where you can kick-start the process of turning them into leads (and then customers).

So how can you put the wheels into motion and start generating these inbound leads? Furthermore, how can you utilise content right the way through the buyer’s journey, to nurture those leads and turn them into customers?

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How to come up with new blog ideas to fill your sales funnel

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  5, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Coming up with new blog ideas is something that we have to do on a constant basis as content and inbound marketers. But that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy task. From feeling that creativity has eluded you to simply not having enough hours in the day, it can be difficult to keep on top of your editorial planning.

On the other hand, we know that blogging regularly is crucial to our marketing efforts. It’s one of the best – and most cost-effective  ways to attract new visitors to your website and turn them into leads. In fact, according to HubSpot, B2B marketers that blog receive 67 per cent more leads than those that do not.

So how can you keep the creative juices flowing and generate new blog ideas that will fill your sales funnel?

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How to come up with a winning content marketing plan

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, March, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed the fundamental importance of buyer personas to your B2B content marketing. And once you’ve defined your personas, it’s time to start creating content that will capture their attention, create valuable connections, and move them towards doing business with you.

So you need a content marketing plan.

Crafting a strategy that will fulfil the needs of your audience and meet your business goals requires careful consideration. Online, content forms the link between you and your future customers. Through it, you need to inform, to educate, to build trust and, ultimately, prove why you are better than your competitors; why you are the best choice.

Let's consider how you can come up with a winning content marketing plan to ensure you can do just that.

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How the sales funnel has changed for professional services marketing

Written by Keith Errington  |  2, March, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Anyone familiar with sales or marketing will recognise the traditional model of the sales funnel. It can also be represented by the acronym AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action.

As a model, it was developed in principle in 1898 by American advertising advocate E. St. Elmo Lewis - in the days before the Internet, before television and even before radio. So it’s hardly surprising that this century-old model may need re-thinking.

In professional services marketing, the funnel was traditionally "fed" with leads from networking and referrals from clients. While business is still generated using this approach, the funnel has changed radically - with some even saying that the sales funnel is dead.

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Why it's time to rethink professional services marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Referral: the act of directing someone to a different place or person for information, help, or action, often to a person or group with more knowledge or power (Cambridge Dictionaries Online).

Referrals have traditionally been used to garner business for professional services firms. Trust and good relationships are created and built upon through hours of networking and recommendations from current clients. And this approach remains a highly valuable way of acquiring work.

However, while word-of-mouth is still an effective tool, it is no longer enough on its own and, in the current climate, fewer clients are being won using this technique. In short, traditional marketing methods are no longer as impactful as they once were, as the Internet has fundamentally changed the way people research and buy from professional services companies - and, indeed, businesses across all industries.

So perhaps you’re finding that you are reaching fewer people and are beginning to wonder how you can make more connections again.

Now, prospective buyers seek out information about a company online before committing to doing business with them. Like the referral system, trust and genuine relationships lie at the heart of this new model – but it is powered by content and marketing automation rather than conversations and handshakes.  

Let’s take a look at what this means for your organisation and how you can adapt, to successfully thrive in this changing environment.

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3 questions you need to ask your lead generation company

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  22, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"A lead generation company is a business that provides [other] businesses with prospective customer contact information based on certain criteria." (Houston Chronicle, Small Business

If you’ve hired a lead generation company or are thinking about doing so, you will have one goal in mind: to garner more leads.

It's a simple aim in itself, but it requires a lot of work to achieve in practice. So how can you rest assured that you will see the excellent results you're looking for? 

Whether your partner is simply helping you to achieve the numbers you seek or is providing a more thorough, end-to-end marketing solution, there are a few important questions that they should be able to answer.

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How to generate great blog ideas when you have run out of steam

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound Marketing could be thought of as a huge monster with a massive gaping mouth, devouring content at a rate of knots – never satisfied – always hungry. Whilst this might be overly dramatic, there is no doubt that if you are doing it well, you will be producing lots of blog posts. This is not easy. After a while, you may struggle to come up with new posts, new titles, new ideas.

If you feel that the well of creativity has dried up, here are a number of ways to generate blog ideas.

Ask – research sales – customers 

A great way to get new topics for your post is to talk to people in your company. Talk to customer services and see what issues customers are having. Maybe write a post on the top five questions customer services are asked? Do the same thing with your sales team – what are the most common questions prospective clients ask? Talk to product development or senior management and see what’s planned – is there anything you can talk about?

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The importance of buyer personas to your B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  3, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Buyer personas are integral to everything you create as a content marketer. They represent the people that you want to connect with; without them, you are essentially creating content blind and slinging it into the stratosphere. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to define your personas in detail.

First of all, let’s clarify exactly what a persona is. Here’s a definition from HubSpot: "A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers."

Personas are not specific people, but they should embody the main fears, problems and ambitions of your target audience. By delineating your personas, you can better deliver value through your content.  

So how can you implement this process effectively within your B2B content marketing?

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How to perform your own social media evaluation

Written by Keith Errington  |  2, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

More than any other communications channel, social media is subject to change – often fast and unpredictable change. As an important part of any Inbound Marketing strategy, it is essential that your use of social media is evaluated on a regular basis. Not only to ensure that your implementation is up to date with the latest techniques and technical changes, but also remains fully aligned with your overall Inbound Marketing strategy.

Profile pages

Start with the basics – are your profile pages up to date?

Circumstances change and so do company logos, colours and corporate messages. So check that all your social media profile pages are up to date with the latest company information and branding.

The format of images and backgrounds on profile pages can change too, check that everything works with any changes that the social networks have introduced. Most of the major social media channels have changed their image sizes or added images – if you don’t keep up with these changes you may be in danger of having an unsightly blank area on your profile.

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The 5 key tactics of the best lead generation companies

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  27, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting qualified prospects to fill your sales funnel." (Unbounce)

In other words, lead generation allows you to acquire contact information about people who fit your buyer persona profiles and may go on to become customers. But what do I mean by the term "the best lead generation companies"? Well, quite simply, businesses that are great at implementing this process - that are the best at attracting and engaging the right contacts with what they offer.

And the best way to generate leads is through content. However, it’s not as simple as that. A "churn out content and the leads will follow" approach isn’t going to cut the mustard. Instead, you need to execute a carefully considered strategy and keep your eye on the prize at all times.

So what tactics do the best lead generation companies employ?

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How to choose the right inbound marketing agency

Written by Keith Errington  |  26, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

So we’re an inbound agency – what are we doing writing a post on how to choose one? How does that work?

Well, core to the inbound philosophy is the creation of useful content – unbiased, helpful content to support those that might be researching what you do. So it makes perfect sense for us to write an article helping you to choose the right inbound marketing agency (it’s called ‘practise what you preach’ and you will find it under the fourth heading below).

What relationship do you want with your agency?

Before we look at the other factors, one of the first things you should consider when choosing an agency, is to think about what sort of relationship you want. Do you want to do most of the content creation and management in-house with help from the agency, or do you want them to do most of the work? Or somewhere between these two approaches. If it’s the latter, then you will need to check that the agency has a sufficiently large team of content writers to create all the content you are likely to need.

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4 creative marketing solutions that will help your B2B lead generation

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  22, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content is the fuel for your marketing efforts – it’s crucial for connecting with your customers and providing them with the information they need. But content can’t just be churned out and left to do its work. The best content is memorable; it’s highly-researched; it’s visually appealing. It’s creative.

In order to boost your B2B lead generation, you need to implement creative marketing solutions that will capture your audience’s attention and bring them closer towards your solution. If they like your content, they will want to find out more. Therefore, they will be more willing to give you their contact details in exchange. 

Achieving this means approaching content as though it's a work of art. Yes, creating content is a process and there are certain boxes that you have to tick (using the right keywords, targeting the right people etc.). But it's also an opportunity to spark your audience's imagination and show them why you are the business they ought to be working with. 

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5 questions you need to ask about your marketing data

Written by Keith Errington  |  20, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Modern digital marketing can produce lots of data – but what does the data really mean? Is it really helpful? This post lists five questions to ask about your marketing data to ensure it’s of value to you. But first, what are the most important questions you need answering?

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Top 10 social media pros and cons

Written by Keith Errington  |  15, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Nearly every business is now either using social media for marketing or is considering doing so. But like any communications medium, it has its plus points and its negatives. Here are 10 social media pros and cons to recognise, or remind yourself of, when using social media.

Here are 10 social media pros and cons to recognise, or remind yourself of, when using social media.

You can use the positive list as a justification to use social media in your organisation, to remind yourself of why you are doing it and to make sure you are not missing out on any of the benefits. And you can use the list of shortcomings as a guide to what to look out for, what to manage and what to avoid when using social media.

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3 simple ways to remove the stress from your blog management

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  13, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A B2B blog is one of the most valuable assets your company can possess. According to HubSpot, B2B companies that blog generate 67 per cent more leads per month than those who don’t. 

Maintaining a blog allows you to create valuable content that is directly targeted at the people you want to connect with. And the only real investment a blog requires is your time.

However, that’s easier said than done because, of course, time is a precious resource - and, as the saying goes, time is money. With various calls on your time during the working day, it can be a challenge to keep on top of your blogging schedule - and that can make the whole endeavour start to feel stressful.

But there are ways to restore calm to proceedings. The processes we will consider in this post can help to streamline and focus your efforts so that you can ensure you are creating the valuable content that your audience hungers for.

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4 ways a content writer can help your professional services marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  6, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“A revolution is underway” (Hinge Research Institute).

Fortunately, it's not a bloody, violent one, but for professional services marketing change is afoot.

Traditional marketing methods - such as referrals, advertising and direct mail - are becoming less effective as more and more individuals and companies rely on online resources and searching the web to guide them through the buyer’s journey.

Within this new system, content is king. In order to attract (and keep) the attention of the people that are looking for the solutions you provide, it’s necessary to create useful and educative content that tells them what they want (and need) to know.

So how can you achieve this? Probably the best option is to appoint a content writer or writers to craft the excellent content you require. This person or persons might be a new hire, or they might already be within your company. In fact, you might be surprised to find that you already have more content writers than you think.

But what benefits will a content writer bring to your professional services marketing? Well, they can help you to achieve a number of things…

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The importance of events to your B2B marketing strategy

Written by Keith Errington  |  5, January, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

There have been plenty of articles written on the importance of using inbound marketing, including social media, to publicise events - but very little on the importance of events to inbound marketing and your overall B2B marketing strategy.

Inbound marketing content thrives on stories, but sometimes they can be a bit thin on the ground. So what can you do? Well, you can create your own story, and that’s essentially what creating an event is all about.

Here are just four reasons why events make for great content, and how to maximise their benefit.

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How Casanova can inspire your inbound and content marketing strategy

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  22, December, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Casanova: a man notorious for seducing women” (Oxford Dictionaries).

Lover of more than 130 women, fierce intellectual and jailbreaker: that was Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, the infamous 18th-century figure of both history and fantasy.

Despite his vast achievements and talents - writer, astrologer, spy and mathematician are just a few ways to describe him - Casanova is best known for his sexual escapades, with his name often used as a synonym for a womaniser. The Venetian lothario wasn’t classically handsome, but he used particular tactics to attract and seduce women.

Writing for The Independent, Mark Wilson says of Casanova: "His technique? Discover a lady in trouble; be attentive; extricate her from her difficulty; bestow small gifts; use alluring words; make hay; get bored; exit stage left."

However, research has shown that Casanova did not simply use and abandon his lovers. He is said to have genuinely cared about the women he entered into relationships with - and both parties benefited from the liaison in some way.

But what does this have to do with inbound marketing? And how can it help to inform your inbound and content marketing strategy?

Well, as marketers we can learn something from Casanova’s approach...

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5 inbound marketing predictions for 2016

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  17, December, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It’s that time of year when we all start looking to the future: what lies ahead in 2016? Besides the fact that you’re probably thinking how on earth are we already a sixth of the way through the current century (it doesn’t seem that long ago that people were prophesising Millennium bug related catastrophe), the approach of a new year always brings with it lots of exciting predictions.

And inbound marketing is certainly worthy of a few. Inbound is in a continuous state of flux and there is a whole range of hypotheses about its future. So I’ve had a look around and picked out five inbound marketing predictions for 2016 that I think have a good chance of coming true.

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The 12 Days of Inbound

Written by Keith Errington  |  16, December, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Ho, ho, ho! Season’s Greetings to you all! Here’s a festive post to bring a little yuletide cheer to all content marketing professionals. Should you be bored with the repeats on TV, the endless family arguments and the never-ending plates of turkey and sprouts, here’s some collected words of wisdom from us – yes, a post for every day of the Christmas season! 

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Your digital marketing mix: why you should focus on the bigger picture

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  14, December, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Sometimes, elements of your digital marketing mix don’t turn out the way you planned. And you may think that's trashing your overall campaign.

Whether it's the number of downloads for a new eBook that don't reflect your intense efforts or a video project you had to postpone, life happens.

But there's no need to be despondent. These blips won’t consign your overall marketing efforts to the abyss. Focus instead on the bigger picture.

What do your overall marketing results look like? An upward curve or a downwards spiral? Are the results from that eBook or video project part of a wider trend or an anomaly? 

When you focus on the bigger picture you'll see the true impact of your marketing efforts.

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5 inbound marketing practices to stop in 2016

Written by Keith Errington  |  11, December, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

So it’s that time of year again. Along with John Lewis Adverts, the Coca-Cola truck and repeats of old TV shows, predictions of trends for next year are a blogger's staple.

In fact, if you think of the past predictions of futurists, science fiction authors and moviemakers, we should by now be piloting flying cars, instantly travelling from one place to another and owning hoverboards that actually hover.

In a similar way, many marketing pundits' predictions cover what they think are the main trends for marketing in the next year. And of the ones that are not entirely predictable, how many have subsequently proved useful?

So I thought I would take a different approach - here are some inbound marketing practices you should definitely stop doing next year (if you haven’t stopped doing them already). And these are a practical certainty.

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5 tips for sending effective emails as part of your inbound strategy

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, December, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Email is one of the most successful inbound marketing tools at your disposal. Done right, it can help you to nurture leads and turn them into customers - and, of course, it can delight current customers too. But it’s also very easy to approach email in the wrong way.

Think about your own inbox. It’s likely that it’s filled with lots of emails that you find irrelevant, unconvincing or just downright boring.

These negative reactions could be due to a number of reasons: the sender contacts you too often; the content is not compelling; or perhaps you’re no longer interested in the brand. So, perhaps you open an email and then decide not to read it; maybe you delete it straight away; or you might even unsubscribe from the mailing list altogether.

Safe to say, these are precisely the kind of actions that you don’t want your business’ audience to take. But what can you do to ensure as many people as possible open your emails, read them - and, then, respond to your call-to-action?

As an inbound marketer, how can you send effective emails

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3 fears about B2B content marketing that we need to face

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  30, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." (Nelson Mandela)

The fears that most of us face on a day-to-day basis are hardly comparable to those faced by the late, former South African President. But his famous words tend to be applied to a myriad of situations, and the point remains: often, fears must be faced.

So what are you afraid of?

Perhaps you’re terrified of spiders; maybe you break out in a cold sweat at the mere mention of an elevator; or have nightmares about public speaking.

But that’s for another post. Here, we’re talking about B2B content marketing.

Perhaps you’re worried you’re not good enough to take on the task at hand; maybe you think you’ll never be able to produce the amount of valuable content your organisation needs; or you have more deep-seated anxieties about making a fool of yourself.

It’s time to cast off the albatross and take on your fears.

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5 simple ways content writers keep their readers hooked

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master." That quote is attributed to Ernest Hemingway. On the contrary, many people would argue that the novelist was a "master" of his craft. 

Nevertheless, his words raise an important question: what makes a writer great? The answer is a myriad of things, many of which can’t be pinned down. And many others which are subjective.

As a content writer, you don’t have to be a master - it's perfectly okay to feel that you're learning as you go. But you do have to keep your readers’ attention.

In previous posts, I’ve discussed how to attract people’s attention in the first place. But once your post, eBook or the like is in front of them, how do you keep them hooked? Here are five tips for keeping your reader engaged.

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5 steps to becoming a better blog writer

Written by Keith Errington  |  24, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Blogging is getting very competitive these days, and there are more and more blog posts clamouring for attention - 56.6 million per month (or 1,268 per minute) on the WordPress platform alone. That’s a lot of posts. Increasingly, the emphasis for bloggers has to be on quality rather than quantity alone.

Here at Equinet, we have offered a fair amount of advice on how to improve the quality and content of your blog posts, but let’s get to the root of the issue - how do you, yourself, become a better blog writer?

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3 reasons why inbound results in more effective B2B lead generation

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  18, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

When it comes down to it, inbound marketing is geared towards gaining leads. But sometimes, particularly at the beginning of a new strategy, it can feel like a rewardless task.

You’ve been writing blog posts each week, sending out targeted emails, and you even have an eBook to offer to your readers. So why aren’t the numbers reflecting your hard work? Why aren’t the phones ringing off the hook? Why do you feel a bit, well, flat?

In fact, it’s perfectly normal for it to take some time for you to see results from your inbound efforts. But, when you do, the wait will have been worth it.

That’s because inbound marketing results in more effective B2B lead generation than traditional outbound tactics, such as cold calling and advertising. Although the process takes longer, inbound delivers leads that are more pertinent and more valuable to your organisation.

And the content that you produce is an evergreen asset that will transport these vital leads to you time and time again. 

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10 steps to the perfect 'How To' post for your B2B blog

Written by Keith Errington  |  13, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In order for your B2B blog to be successful in its inbound marketing mission, you have to get people to read it. And how do you do that? By providing content that is both readable and useful. And what could be more useful than a "How To" post - a helpful article guiding your readers through a product or process.

So setting aside the imminent danger of becoming incredibly recursive (you’ve seen Inception, right?), here is a How To guide to How To posts.

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How to make eBook marketing work for your business

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We are told that blogging is fundamental to a successful inbound marketing. But where do eBooks fit into the equation?

They form the next part of the process. eBooks are an excellent way of turning your blog readers - as well as other visitors to your website - into leads.

An eBook can be a valuable offer that is gifted to an individual in exchange for their details.

However, this means they need to be worth their salt. eBooks represent an opportunity to mine deeper into a topic that is of interest to your audience; to further address their needs and problems.

So how can you make eBook marketing work for your business?

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Is your B2B blog looking tired and uninspired?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  9, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A change is as good as a rest. So if you think your B2B blog is looking a little tired or uninspired, perhaps it’s time to make some changes.

The crux of a good blog is educative and valuable content that addresses your audience's needs.

However, that content should also be presented in a delectable way. And it should be written in a clear and accessible voice that strikes a chord with your readers.

Yes, of course, looks can be deceiving. Just because something seems attractive, that doesn’t mean it has substance. But appearances are important online - people will often judge the book by its cover before they make a decision on whether it’s worth reading.

And even when they've committed to reading your blog, if the topic isn't delivered in a way that keeps them fascinated, they'll be gone. 

So how can you inject some energy back into your B2B blog?

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3 reasons why B2B inbound marketing is done best by all-rounders

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  4, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whether you’re part of an agency or an in-house team, if you are doing inbound marketing it's likely you have a particular role. Perhaps you are a strategist, a writer or content editor, a designer or an inbound consultant.

However, while it is important that your focus is predominantly on your particular element, don't underestimate the value of gaining a deep appreciation of the whole inbound marketing process.

At school and university, we’re told about the importance of engaging in extra-curricular activities. In the workplace, it’s a good idea to learn new skills outside of your specified job title too.

Of course, it’s not a case of neglecting your own work, but of not being afraid to try new things; of working laterally. In doing this, you will understand better how you and your team members fit cohesively together. 

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How to establish authority with your B2B blog

Written by Keith Errington  |  3, November, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

I’ve talked about having a strategy for your blog in the past, and the importance of having a reason to blog.

The first reason I suggested for blogging was to establish authority, giving clients and prospects a reason to trust your judgement, see you as a valued partner, come to you/your organisation for help and advice and choose you when it comes to purchase.

So how do you establish authority with your B2B blog? What approach should you take so that clients respect and listen to you?

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This is why your content marketing plan doesn’t have to be original

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  29, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.” Those are famous words from American film director and scriptwriter, Jim Jarmusch. And they can apply to any endeavour.

Originality is overrated. The best ideas are informed by what’s gone before - even the most astounding invention or find will have been built on years of previous research. Take the discovery of electricity, for example.

So when it comes to formulating your content marketing plan, don't succumb to fear that you have nothing new to say. The process is not about coming up with entirely new ideas, it's about reshaping them; putting your spin on them, and providing information that will resonate with your audience. 

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How to write your first B2B blog post

Written by Keith Errington  |  26, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

With the rise of blogging as a proven and profitable inbound marketing tactic, more business people than ever before are laying their hands on a computer keyboard and publishing their words of wisdom online.

For a few this is a natural process, and they will feel entirely comfortable with it. Many more will struggle, but with perseverance they will be able to blog relatively easily. But then there will always be some who will find it difficult to start and may well abandon the enterprise at the first hurdle.

But as a valuable – we would say essential – method of marketing, you cannot afford to let your fears or lack of experience stop you from blogging.

So in this article we are looking at your first B2B blog post. Everyone has to start somewhere, so here is some help with that initial step.

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Feel the love: is your inbound marketing agency the one?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  23, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Choosing an inbound marketing agency to work with is a big step. Even if you’re satisfied that they meet the criteria you’re looking for; it's still a leap of faith.

If you've picked them, then there's definitely “love” there. But how do you know whether you’ve made the correct decision?

Ultimately, much of the success of the new relationship will come down to how well it is cultivated. Working fruitfully together is dependent on numerous factors. You need to have clear channels of communication, establish tangible business goals and regularly review your efforts.

So how can you go the distance with your agency?

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5 things that will make your online writing unique

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  21, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Writing for the web is a beast that we’ve had to learn to grapple with in recent years. And it’s certainly a different one to writing for print. It comes with specific guidelines.

You can be a talented essayist or poet and still find yourself struggling to connect with an online audience. That’s because many of the rules go out the window. Forget long drop intros, intricate descriptions and digressions.

We need to get to the point. Now.

So, without further ado, what is it that makes online writing unique?

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5 facts you'll need from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2015

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  15, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

HubSpot has just released its seventh annual State of Inbound report. So what does it tell us about inbound marketing today? 

The comprehensive document, which is just over 70 pages long, represents the experiences of almost 4,000 marketing and sales professionals across 150 countries. The majority of these respondents work for B2B SMBs. 

The good news is that the report paints a very positive picture - both for now and the future. Inbound marketing continues to grow as a movement - with positive results across the board. 

Whether you're a seasoned inbound marketer, just getting to grips with the methodology, or have never tried it at all, there are a number of illuminating insights. 

Here are five things we can learn from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2015 report:

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7 checks for sharing B2B content on social media

Written by Keith Errington  |  14, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A fundamental part of social media for B2B inbound marketing is sharing others' content - providing useful information to your readership, followers, clients and potential customers. So how do you go about it and what should you be looking for?

The first thing to do is to get a decent search routine going. If you are using HubSpot, the Monitoring section has a facility to search Twitter for key terms, which is a good starting point and should give you some articles to consider for sharing.

I like to supplement this with a couple of other programs. One of my favourites is Feedly, which makes it very easy to create streams of constantly updating articles. You can use it to search for subjects - it will then lists blogs covering those topics and allow you to subscribe to the ones you choose. Adding a blog feed is easy - you don’t have to know anything about RSS or even locate the RSS feed, Feedly finds it for you and adds it to your subscriptions.

On the tablet, I also like FlipBoard, as it’s very visual and makes searching for shareable B2B content a lot more enjoyable - almost like looking through a magazine on your favourite business subjects.

So what sort of content should you be looking for, and what criteria should you be using when considering sharing it with your audience?

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4 important ideas to boost successful B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  12, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Have you embarked on a B2B content marketing journey? Or are you considering taking the first steps? Whatever your situation, it’s likely you have discovered that the exact route you should follow is open to interpretation.

In fact, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to B2B content marketing. It’s a case of finding the right fit for your company, dependent on your particular needs.

However, certain recommendations tend to hold true regardless of your strategy. Things like compiling an editorial calendar, blogging regularly and analysing your progress at each stage.

And then there are less tangible suggestions, such as being patient and developing a writing voice.

It’s impossible to capture all the valuable tips about B2B content marketing out there in the ether in a single blog post. So, for today, here are four from those in the know.

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4 stages of creativity: why the best blog writers stop first

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  8, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content never sleeps. In a 24/7, global world, it’s always at work, drawing in people who are looking to solve their problems or find solutions for their needs. But that doesn’t mean you need to have your nose to the grindstone at all times.

In fact, the best blog writers give their work room to grow and mature. That means taking a step back and returning to posts later.

This approach may seem counter-intuitive when you’ve got a lot to do. Why put something off when you can get it completed now?

But creating great content should not be rushed. If we want to deliver real value to our audience and, ultimately turn them into customers, we need to take our time.

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How can a "serious" B2B business use creative marketing?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  8, October, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

What does it mean to be creative? Do you have to be a Pablo Picasso or a JK Rowling?

According to the OED online, the definition of creative is: "Inventive, imaginative; of, relating to, displaying, using, or involving imagination or original ideas as well as routine skill or intellect."

In other words, you can be creative in any industry and any endeavour. And that includes, of course, B2B content marketing.

Creative marketing is about thinking outside the box and trying new things; it’s about engaging with your audience in a meaningful and unique way.

It’s easy to associate creativity with “fun” - and often B2C - businesses: think John Lewis’ Christmas adverts, for example. It’s harder to do the same for more "serious" - and usually B2B - companies

But perhaps as a B2B business we just need to redefine our ideas about creativity.

Writing on Mashable, Sarah Ang says: "Creativity isn’t just for 'creatives'. Rather, it’s a mental tool prized by employers across all fields."

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Why patience is the key to building customer relationships

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  30, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy." Those are wise words from the famous Persian poet Saadi Shirazi, who lived during the 13th century. Almost 1,000 years later, they still hold weight. And they hold a particular resonance when it comes to B2B content marketing.

You may question what role patience has to play. After all, isn’t the ultimate aim of content marketing to reach more people to do business with? While that’s true, it takes time to form meaningful connections.

Creating valuable content, distributing it and analysing the results - before starting the whole process again - can’t be rushed. At times it may feel counterproductive to spend time waiting - but that's exactly what we need to do. 

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7 do's & don'ts when using stock photography

Written by Keith Errington  |  28, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We know that blog posts without images are not nearly as attractive as those with images and will suffer a lack of readership as a result. Very few bloggers have the time, resources and skills to go out and either shoot or commission original photography for every blog post they write. So stock photography is a necessary evil that almost every blogger will resort to at some point in time.Why do I say necessary evil? Well, as bloggers, we’ve all seen stock images in blogs, and most of us will have used them at some point or another, some of us maybe every day. But we have all seen images that look uncomfortable next to the associated content or are just too obvious. Poorly chosen, or poorly used stock photography, just seems cheesy or glib. At its worst, it can stop the reader in their tracks or fight the central message of the post.

Some stock images are just downright weird or inappropriate for almost any purpose - there's even a blog dedicated to those. And earlier this year, to promote the movie Unfinished Business, a set of deliberately cheesy images were created, which photoshopped the lead actors into existing stock images. 

So given that most bloggers have to use stock photography at some point, here are a few quick pointers to ensure that you get the best out of using stock images.

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How to make your B2B blog posts more reader-friendly

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  21, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you’ve ever published anything online, you’ve likely asked yourself: “Who’s reading this?” The answer may well be lots of people. But perhaps the numbers are, instead, disheartening.

The internet is full of distractions and amid the viral videos, news articles and blogs, it can seem a real challenge to attract attention - and keep it.

Of course, in the first instance, we need to be writing about topics that are interesting to our target audience - but that’s not enough on its own. Our B2B blog posts also need to be reader-friendly.

Imagine you are searching for a recipe to make a dish you saw featured on a cookery programme. You find two that are suited to your purposes: the first is composed of very detailed instructions that are presented as a block of text; the second features an image of the dish and tells you how to make it in concise, numbered steps. Which one do you use? Most likely, the second one - because it is clearer and easier to understand.

So how can we apply this kind of logic to our B2B blog posts?

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Bringing your blog to life with images

Written by Keith Errington  |  14, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Pictures are a must in any blog post these days as they attract the reader, get shared on social media and help with SEO. But too many blogs feature posts in the headline/picture/text format, with no great variation in any of these elements. Lots of posts have been written on the text in a blog, and maybe even more on the importance of the headline, but what can we do with the pictures?

It has always struck me as strange that the one thing that can be varied - can be changed; can be played with - is the image in a post, and yet so many content creators settle for a standard layout and a standard rectangular shape.

So here are some other ideas for bringing your blog to life with images.

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5 key roles to build a successful B2B content marketing team

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  8, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

From sport to business, fashion to IT: teamwork is essential to a vast number of industries. Each member of a team has their own specific part to play – if they don’t fulfil their role, everyone else will be affected too.

Take an athletics relay team, for example – the first three runners could give 110 per cent and clock up a good time, but if the final runner decides to walk and drops the baton then all four people will be at the bottom of the race leaderboard.

And when it comes to B2B content marketing, teamwork is just as crucial. Behind every successful campaign are the people that make it happen. Each of these individuals is integral to ensuring that a piece of content solves their target audience’s problems and moves them a step along the buyer’s journey.

So think about your own content marketing team. Whether your company employs specific people for each job or shares the main responsibilities among employees in other positions, building a successful team requires you to cover certain bases.

Let’s consider five key roles that make up a successful B2B content marketing team. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will certainly set you on the right track.

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6 reasons to crop an image

Written by Keith Errington  |  7, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Many bloggers and content creators will just take or find an image and use it "as is" - but this is rarely the best approach. Ideally, they should be resizing it, adjusting the contrast and brightness, sharpening where necessary and cropping.

The first three are fairly obvious: uploading a huge image and letting the blogging software resize it slows down response times and is unnecessary; adjusting contrast and brightness will get the best out of the image and show all the detail; whereas sharpening will also help the detail and remove any fuzziness.

But why crop? Of course, if you have a rigid layout with a specific area for an image, then you would have to resize and crop to fit that space. But otherwise? Well, cropping is a very powerful tool in the content creator’s toolbox - which is mostly overlooked - but once you understand its power, you will never look at images in quite the same way again.

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3 powerful in-depth steps to planning successful Awards

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, September, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

You are here because you may be considering setting up Awards for your organisation. I have written this post especially for you. Working on over twenty Awards during my time as a magazine publisher has given me a certain insight. And I hope to share that insight with you here with over 200 tips.

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Marketing automation services: how do you choose?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  28, August, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As a B2B marketer, you are likely finding that traditional marketing methods are challenged. Prospects have learned to filter messages - and a "broadcast approach" can struggle to make an impression.

And, according to research by CEB, the average customer is 57 per cent through the buying process before they first make contact with a supplier. So, assuming you can scale the barriers to their initial attention, you need to provide what they really want at this stage – informative, educational content that helps answer their questions or solve their problems.

But once you have created this valuable content, how do you ensure that it’s delivering the best possible results?

That’s where marketing automation services can help.

In short, these technologies complement an effective inbound strategy, helping your business to successfully convert leads into customers.

But be warned: they are not a substitute for great content. Marketing automation only works if your company makes a concerted effort to attract prospects in the first place, be it through search, blog posts, social media, emails or other means.

Think of the software as your engine and the content as your fuel. You need both to get anywhere - without content, software is useless; but without software, content can get lost in the crowd and its impact can be hard to measure.

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5 practical productivity tips for content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  19, August, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Creating B2B content can be difficult at times – even for the most seasoned content writers.

You may have prepared thoroughly – undertaking hours of research; interviewing customers and relevant members of your team; and crafting a detailed plan – but, ultimately, you have to sit down and put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. And that’s when the hard work really begins.

Speaking to the Guardian, American author Joyce Carol Oates said: "Given that the act of writing provokes such misery, why do you do it? – here is the writer's perennial riddle."

She added: "Most writers find first drafts painfully difficult, like climbing a steep stairs, the end of which isn't in sight. Only just persevere!"

That’s coming from a prolific award-winning novelist! You may well have become a content creator because you, too, love writing but, equally, you may write because it is a necessity in B2B marketing, or simply because it’s part of your job.

Either way, a looming deadline coupled with a blank page can truly be the stuff of nightmares.

So how can we boost our productivity and ensure that we get words down on the page consistently and on time, in order to connect with our target audience?

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What one thing do the best bloggers have in common?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, August, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

What makes someone a great blog writer? Perhaps it’s their in-depth knowledge of a topic, their pithy turn of phrase or their clear-cut descriptions.

Different people shine in different areas when it comes to content creation. But it is almost guaranteed that the best bloggers all have one thing in common: they are voracious readers.

Reading widely is an assured way to improve our writing skills. And while it’s important for us to read around our industry and specific topics, all subject matter is worthy of our perusal.

You may already be a keen reader or you may find it difficult to dedicate specific time each day. Either way, we can all aim to become "better" readers.

There are a number of techniques we can employ that can not only help us to read more, but also to read in a more focused way.

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5 key components of a successful B2B inbound marketing campaign

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  5, August, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you’ve got a great offer for your audience you want to ensure they receive it.

But, in order to reap the benefits of creating valuable content that will attract the right people to do business with you, you need to implement an effective campaign that will show your audience that your product or service is the solution to their problems.

Writing on Content Marketing Institute (CMI) Steven Macdonald says: "This kind of scenario happens a lot. You create the content, hit ‘publish’, and expect visits, leads, and sales to explode overnight. It’s a nice story, but it rarely happens that way. And yet, when done right, content marketing will be your most powerful source for new traffic and customer acquisition."

So how can you ensure that you business is one of the ones doing it right? There are essentially five key components of a successful B2B inbound marketing campaign:

  • Produce a compelling marketing offer
  • Place the offer on your website
  • Attach the offer to automated workflows
  • Promote it via email, blog & social media channels
  • Measure results

By building all of these parts into a cohesive whole, you are likely to see a perceptible ROI from your content marketing efforts.

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Why your company has more content writers than you might think

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  31, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the first things you may have considered when embarking on a content marketing strategy is: who will our writers be?

There may have been some obvious choices, but it can often be impractical for just a few people to take on responsibility for all of a business' content creation.

So where can we find more writers? In fact, we may not have to look that far – because everyone in a company has the potential to become a content writer.

For example, consider the head of a sales department: they know the product or service they are selling inside out and understand the kinds of problems their customers are facing; they know the most common questions your company is being asked time and time again. All of this knowledge could be channelled into blogs, eBooks and other multimedia content.

"I'm not a writer," they might say. But, when it comes to content marketing, everyone can be just that - in one way or another.

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The content manager's guide to GIFs

Written by Keith Errington  |  29, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The GIF image format is making a comeback. While you may not have heard of the format until now, it is, in fact, one of the oldest image formats on the web. If you had noticed it, it was probably when some annoying small, brief animated cartoon popped up on the page you were browsing. But now that Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook have all introduced support for the format it's time to work out what it is and how best to use it.

GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format – an image format introduced by CompuServe in 1987 for use on their bulletin board system – so it’s nearly 30 years old. There is actually some controversy around how the name GIF is actually pronounced. The creators of the format intended it to be pronounced with a soft g – so "jif" – whereas using a hard g – "gif" – is in widespread use. The GIF format has several features that were fairly unique at the time, and even today they are not found together in any other format:
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Key steps to building an effective B2B content strategy

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  24, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Having a content strategy to guide our B2B marketing efforts is generally considered to be a good thing. But putting this into practice is not always straight-forward.

According to the 2015 CMI (Content Marketing Institute) Benchmark report, 86 per cent of B2B organisations use content marketing – but only around a third (35 per cent) of these have a documented (written) strategy. The report also found that:

  • 48 per cent of these have an undocumented (verbal) strategy
  • 60 per cent of those B2B organisations that have a documented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness
  • 32 per cent of those who have an undocumented strategy rate themselves highly in terms of content marketing effectiveness

Perhaps your company is already among those with a documented strategy; maybe everyone in your organisation is on the same page but your strategy isn’t written down; or your business is new to content marketing.

In any case, it’s worth considering what devising an effective B2B content strategy entails. The key is to meet the needs of your organisation and, more importantly, provide the right content in the right way to your audience.

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Thank you page tips for effective B2B lead nurturing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  22, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A visitor to your company’s website has just downloaded one of your content offers; they have entered their details in a form on the relevant landing page and are now a lead.

That’s great news - but there’s no time to kick back and relax. This action marks the start of the conversion process - and creates a window of opportunity that we, as B2B marketers, should seize with both hands.

Typically, the new lead will now be directed to a thank you page - and the efficacy of this page can be the difference between whether a person decides to begin to consider you as an answer to their business challenge or not. 

That means it’s worth spending time fully optimising our thank you pages, to ensure that potential future customers - whose pain we could successfully relieve - don’t slip through our hands. 

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6 things to look for in an inbound and content marketing agency

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  17, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

More and more businesses are now investing in inbound and content marketing. However, implementing an effective strategy requires a long-term commitment.

When your company is focused on its core competencies, it can be difficult to find the time and resources needed to make an impact. That’s where working with an inbound and content marketing agency can help – but how do you choose?

Before selecting an agency to work with, we should consider the subtle difference between inbound and content marketing.

The term inbound was coined by HubSpot in 2006. They say: “By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more.”

Content marketing tends to be more open to interpretation. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) says it is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience - and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.

If you think they sound similar, it’s because they are – but, generally, content marketing is widely acknowledged to be an integral subset of an inbound marketing strategy. And that means we need to hire an agency that can cover all of these bases.

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5 simple ways to come up with blog ideas

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  16, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It’s all very well committing to a regular blog schedule - but coming up with fresh ideas can often be a challenge. Even the best B2B marketers can find themselves scratching their heads in puzzlement at times.

But the secret is to have an arsenal of techniques up our sleeves that can help the ideas to flow. These methods won’t necessarily make forming blog ideas an effortless process, but they can help to guide us towards the answers we’re looking for.

And if we can reduce the time spent chewing the tips of our pencils – or tapping pensively at our keyboards – we can dedicate more hours to actually creating the content that our audience is searching for.

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How to connect at the heart of your marketing strategy

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  13, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

People often think of connections as a social thing - how we connect with followers and attract likes, how we link to connections we have met and worked with.

And while this is absolutely true and vital, it is not the full picture. Not even close.

Any effective marketing strategy will incorporate a plan and a policy for social media, of course, as it should. But, without a 360-degree consideration of how we build an audience, how we connect at every step, and how we sustain online relationships - a purely social approach will come up short. 

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How to write a white paper

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Much of creating online content is about keeping it simple: creating catchy headlines; writing in clear and concise terms; addressing our audience’s needs and desires.  

And while that holds true, there’s a specific type of content that benefits from a more formal, academic approach: a white paper.

This is HubSpot’s definition: “A white paper is essentially a report; a detailed document that uses information, evidence and logical arguments to influence readers about a product or service.”

White papers can be a great asset to our content marketing. They are aimed at the decision makers in an organisation and are characterised by high-quality, well-researched content.

This means they are usually most successful when written by someone who really understands the finer points of the industry and topic being discussed – but it also means writing them requires time and dedication.

Perhaps that all sounds great in theory but not in practice. As B2B marketers we have a lot of balls to juggle – so is it really worth spending hours writing a white paper?

In fact, the potential to generate leads and increase sales is huge. And isn’t that the aim?

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The power of images in your inbound marketing mix

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Picture the scene: It’s a night at the very beginning of man’s history.

A cave with a fire at the entrance, orange flames casting a flickering light. Wood crackling and smoke twisting. Further back in the cave, a group of young hunters, clad only in animal skins, form a half circle around a painting of animals on the wall. The oldest among them, Reg, is speaking; “Right lads, today we is talking about the wind – got it?” Blank faces stared back at him. Reg points at the picture; “Look, it’s quite simple – 8 out of every 10 attacks against the wind direction result in a successful hunt, whereas 90% of attacks with the wind behind you results in nothing” He points again – “See, wind…animal…you.” The circle of faces gradually gain comprehension with many nods and toothless grins and Reg knew the hunts would be more successful from now on.
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Is agility a key component of your marketing mix?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

What do you think of when you hear the word “agility”? Perhaps a twirling gymnast or a skilled footballer; or maybe a brilliant mathematician or writer.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, agility means “the ability to move readily and quickly;” or “the ability to think and understand readily and quickly”.  

But there’s also another meaning: “The ability to change rapidly in response to customer needs and market forces.”

When it comes to B2B marketing, agility is an essential component. From your own experiences you will know that the needs of your customers aren’t static – and there are macro forces to contend with, which are out of your control. These could include, for example, the introduction of new regulations regarding your industry.

Being able to respond to changing situations and adapt your strategy accordingly is an important part of the marketing mix. This doesn’t mean you have to depart entirely from a structure or overarching plan – but we should be willing to rise to the challenge if someone throws us a curve ball.

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5 reasons you should consider investing in video production

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  3, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

For many people, being videoed is up there with their worst phobias. Even the most dynamic personality can find themselves trembling in front of a camera. And for others it’s a breeze. The quietest person in the office can be transformed once the spotlight’s on them.

But whether you’re a natural on film or feel queasy at the thought, there’s no denying the power of video when it comes to B2B marketing.

"A minute of video is worth 1.8 million words," according to Forrester Research's Dr. James McQuivey. And over 70 per cent of marketers say that video creates more conversions than any other medium.

Adding video to your digital marketing mix can help you reach and influence more people at each stage of the buyer’s journey.

However, despite its track record for success, lots of businesses are still wary about investing in video production – and why shouldn’t they be? It sounds expensive and seems like a mammoth task to add to the workload.

But you don’t have to possess the budget and expertise of a Hollywood producer to create video content that will capture the attention of your audience.

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Why promoting your blog is an essential part of content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  1, July, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The struggle is real: it’s hard to be heard above the noise when it comes to online content marketing.

We know, from our own experiences, that the web is full to bursting with content: from blog posts to magazine articles; viral videos to memes.

Everyone is jostling for attention and it can be difficult to find the gems among the stones. So how can you get your blog posts noticed?

While we don’t want to impose our message on an unwilling audience, there’s nothing wrong with a little gentle, targeted cajoling.

If you’ve spent time producing useful content, isn’t it worth publicising the fact? After all, this is information that your readers want and need.

And promoting your blog helps them to find your content - and your business.

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Five assured ways to create catchy headlines for your B2B blog

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Perhaps you’re reading this post because the headline caught your attention.

From the front page of a newspaper to the title of a book, headlines are the first thing we see - and they are even more crucial when it comes to online content.

We make snap judgements when browsing the web: if a headline doesn’t catch our attention, more often than not, we won’t click through to the content.

According to a Microsoft survey carried out this year, the average person’s attention span is just eight seconds. By comparison the average goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds!

So how can you create catchy headlines for your B2B blog that get your reader on board quickly?

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The importance of The Hero's Journey in B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  23, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As long as humans have been on the planet they have told stories.

We all know the power of a good narrative: whether it’s the children’s book that has stayed with you well into your adult years, the urban legends that surround a certain area, or the political speech that inspired a nation.

So, ask yourself, are stories just as important when it comes to B2B content marketing?

Every day each one of us tells stories, don't we? They help us to interact and communicate with the people around us.

And is the same thing true for businesses?

Of course, this isn’t about "once upon a time" and "happily ever after". But consider how you can tell stories to your target audience about how to solve a particular problem. 

The idea is to make the reader of your content the hero and guide them from pain to relief.

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4 ways to overcome blogger's block in B2B content marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  18, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”

Those are wise words from Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, about the importance of not putting things off.

So, ask yourself, if you are committed to B2B content marketing, how often does your company blog?

We've all been there: you get to the end of the week and realise you haven't published as many pieces of new content as you planned - or maybe none at all. Do you need to overcome blogger's block?

Perhaps you didn’t have time; you weren't sure what to write about; you didn’t think anyone would read it; or maybe you were worried your attempts would result in failure.

But, while these are genuine concerns, ultimately they are excuses we use to avoid starting. They are all forms of blogger's block - a problem for sure - but one that can be solved.

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Why content writing for "boring" industries never has to be dull

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  15, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Some industries seem like they were made for content marketing.

But others, particularly in the B2B sector, can appear to present more of a challenge.

Perhaps you love your job and the company you work for but, when it comes to content writing, you feel the subject is quite, well… dull.

But is it time to take a fresh look?

Is there really no such thing as a "boring" industry – just boring content?

When people have a problem, they seek out information. And content that helps them find a solution can be highly interesting, whatever the subject.

So here are three questions to ask yourself.

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Developing your writing voice: three things to keep in mind

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  4, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whatever industry you work in, it’s likely that you want to be influential. But getting the right people to take note of what you have to say isn’t always easy.

The world’s greatest writers, from Jane Austen to Louis de Bernières, have a distinctive voice that resonates with their readers. They convey something that others can’t.

As a B2B content writer, you also need to develop your own voice – one that captures the attention of your ideal customers.

However, it’s not easy – there’s a fine balance between letting your personality show and producing something that your audience actually wants to read.

Here are three things to keep in mind.

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Five pearls of wisdom to inject value into your content writing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  3, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In theory, you’ve done everything right: chosen a topic that is relevant to your ideal customers; used appropriate keywords; and shared your resulting blog posts, eBook or the like across your social reach.

However, is there something missing? Does your writing lack that je ne sais quoi? What you’re saying is good - but it is it remarkable?

Improving your content means becoming a better writer; it means engaging on a deeper level with your target audience.  

Can anyone learn the necessary skills – and where would they start? The best content writers will tell you that they got to where they are today by hard work – they practised a lot and honed their craft.

Here’s five pearls of wisdom from five content heroes of our day.

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10 ways to keep your content marketing simple

Written by Keith Errington  |  1, June, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The theme of this blog post is simple.

Keep things simple.

That’s it.

Okay – so that might be a bit too simple.
But that mantra should be at the forefront of your mind when managing your content marketing. Here are 10 ways to keep it simple.

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13 millisecond test: are you using visual communications?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  27, May, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Imagine you’re using Google to research the best beaches in Barbados. You come across two blog posts on different travel websites: one describes the paradise-like coastline in vivid detail - but it includes no pictures; the other contains minimal detail but a series of stunning photographs.

Which one is more useful?

Most likely, the second one.

It gets your attention - because the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text.

And the picture superiority effect (PSE) shows that pictures also help us to remember information.

If you read a piece of text you will remember around 10 per cent of it three days later. But if it contains an image, that will increase to 65 per cent.

So, although the first blog post may be well-written, it is the second one that will stick in your mind.

You’re more likely to return to it and take the next step towards booking your holiday.

And that makes it a more useful piece of content.   

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The ultimate social media checklist before you post [infographic]

Written by Keith Errington  |  21, May, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

When writing an article for a blog or posting to a social media channel, there are many things you need to think about before you post. And you need to make sure that your post is not going to end up having a negative impact on the organisation or brand.

In fact there are so many things to check, it would be helpful if you had a social media checklist. So we've created one for you. Introducing The Ultimate Social Media Post Checklist.

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5 key considerations when marketing to Millennials

Written by Keith Errington  |  11, May, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Last week I looked at the different characteristics of the three generations of B2B customers – Baby Boomers, Generation X and the Millennials (or Generation Y) in an infographic. Millennials (also known as Generation Y) are generally considered to be those born in the 1980’s to 2000’s as against Generation X; born in the 1960’s to 1980’s. Baby Boomers are the post war generation born between 1946 and the 1960’s.

The infographic was base on research by IBM into the buying habits of the three generations that uncovered some surprising and significant differences between them.

This week I am going to take the five main points of the research and lay out the implications for your marketing strategy.

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Does your marketing strategy match your buyer?

Written by Keith Errington  |  6, May, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

IBM recently released the results of a study of the B2B buying habits of Millennials vs. Generation X vs Baby Boomers, which highlights some significant differences between the way that the three generations make purchasing decisions.

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Is content creation on the back foot now?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  30, April, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content shock; content overload; content glut – you’ve likely heard such terms being bandied about.

But what do they mean?

Undoubtedly, there is a deluge of information today, arguably making it difficult for your business to stand out from the crowd.

Prospects are overwhelmed by this tsunami of content and they’re learning to filter it out.

Welcome to the era of content shock.

Except, maybe, that’s not strictly true.

The debate is not new. Marketing authorities have been arguing for years over whether content is losing its inherent power in the marketing mix.

But, for many companies, the question is still unresolved.

Perhaps you’re not yet sold on content; maybe you’re “doing” content, but it’s not delivering the results you’d hoped; or perhaps you just want content to serve you better.

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The power of the employee advocate

Written by Keith Errington  |  21, April, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

So you want to market your company. You’ve heard about this thing called social media and something else called content publishing and you like the fact that they seem to be pretty much free.

But who’s going to actually do the work?

Well, you could employ or co-opt a young intern who is completely at home with social media, you could outsource the work to an agency, or you could train an existing marketing professional to manage the channels.

Now each of these has potential flaws. But what if you could harness the power of your entire workforce? What if they could all become ambassadors for your company?

Not only does this give you a way to manage your social media marketing and content creation, it massively amplifies your presence and it draws on the DNA that sets your company apart.

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Sex, lies and B2B marketing

Written by Keith Errington  |  10, April, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Firstly, I should state that this blog post has no sex in it whatsoever. 

None.

Sorry.

Are you disappointed? Annoyed even? Well this is how most readers react when marketers lie or, shall we say, exaggerate or "tweak" the truth. And once you disappoint your customer there is no going back.

In this article I am going to talk about the lies that B2B marketers tell and why the truth is a better approach.

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Why you should consider creating B2B marketing podcasts

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  9, April, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Podcasts are on the ascent - again.

Originally a Noughties phenomenon, today these digital audio files are being eagerly downloaded onto computers and smartphones across the world at a growing pace.

According to the Washington Post, subscriptions of podcasts through iTunes passed the one billion point in 2013, while the number of unique monthly listeners stands somewhere around the 75 million mark.

New York Magazine calls it a “renaissance”, Digiday refers to the “second coming” and Forbes says the medium is the Uber of advertising.

What the podcast revival means for B2B marketers 

While this is certainly a rebirth of sorts, podcasting as a medium still remains an uncrowded communication channel. It’s certainly not mainstream just yet. 

And that’s good news for your business, because it means you can make an impact

But B2B podcasts are not merely another marketing tool. No one wants to download an elaborate sales pitch.

However, they do want to be educated and to be told stories. Even better, they want to do all this while also doing something else, be it driving, working out or grocery shopping.

Here’s how you can ride the second wave.

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How B2B web video takes a step up with a Meerkat or a Periscope

Written by Keith Errington  |  27, March, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Over the history of the Internet we have seen countless social media networks launched, blossom, and in many cases, fall by the wayside. In the past five years alone we have seen the launch of Instagram (2010), Pinterest (2010), Snapchat (2011), Google+ (2011), Vine (2012) and Ello (2014) – to name the more well-known entrants to the market.

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20 tips for writing an effective B2B case study

Written by Keith Errington  |  20, March, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Looking at surveys of the content that most influences business buyers in their purchasing decisions, it’s clear that case studies have been towards the top of the polls, year upon year.

So in this post I’m going to look at what makes a persuasive case study.

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B2B marketers: Stop selling and start being useful!

Written by Keith Errington  |  11, March, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Traditionally B2B marketing has been viewed as fundamentally different to B2C marketing with different strategies, methods and implementation. Nowhere is this clearer than in a recent report from Salesforce where the top 5 areas for increased spending for B2C and B2B marketers show a completely different focus.

Those 5 areas - as seen below - seem to indicate that the main focus for B2B (with the honourable exception of content marketing) is on sales and advertising. This seems rather old school and doesn’t take account of the modern trend away from interruption marketing.

It’s a sales-led approach that results in lead generation but that does not necessarily follow-through to sales and long term customer relationships.

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Social Media: 12 tips to prevent problem posts

Written by Keith Errington  |  9, February, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll see that we’ve been taking you through the steps required for the successful use of social media, from developing a strategy through to the nuts and bolts of making a post.

So we’re ready to post some stuff – right? Nope. There’s one very important thing left to do – think!

Social media not only has the unfortunate capacity to remember your ill-thought out post, but also to spread it far and wide. Post something problematic and the Internet will ensure it’s preserved forever to haunt your dreams and remind you of that fateful day.

So it’s vitally important you do everything you can to mitigate that risk.

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Five big marketing ideas for 2015

Written by Keith Errington  |  3, February, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

At this time of year it is traditional for bloggers to look back over the previous year or make predictions about the coming year.

Well, predictions may or may not come true, and many seem to originate from one specialist’s particular point of view – so their usefulness is often questionable.

So instead of making predictions or reviewing the year, in this post I’m going to look at five big marketing ideas for 2015 – five things to think about, five ideas to inspire and to influence your thinking. Five big, useful, ideas.

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Social Media Posting Best Practice Insights

Written by Keith Errington  |  6, January, 2015  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In previous posts we have looked at strategy, monitoring, engagement and content; in this week’s post we are looking at the actual business of social media posting – insights into best practice along with tips and tricks related to the practical issues of how and when.

First, let's look at some generic advice for all social networks:

Complete your profile

Whatever social media network you are posting on, take time to complete your profile. A brief description is essential – make sure it tells potential followers what subjects you are going to cover and give them good reasons to follow you.

Include a good image of yourself or a corporate logo – depending on whether you are taking an individual or corporate approach. If there is scope for a banner image – make sure it’s a quality image and one that conveys a message – either subtly or explicitly.

Include links to an appropriate page on your web site and contact details. Don’t miss these last items out as many people will find your social media profile in a search engine when looking to contact (= potentially buy from) you.

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Two minute guide to curating content

Written by Keith Errington  |  13, December, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Social media can be used as a platform to establish authority and enhance your standing with clients. One of the key ways to do this is to share content that is useful or inspiring.

Some of this content you can create and publish yourself of course, but it is also great to highlight stories, news, and blog posts from the web that you think would strike a chord with your audience. So how do you find them? And more importantly, how do you find them without it taking every waking hour?

Here are a few tools to help you with curating content.

Alltop

Alltop was created by Guy Kawasaki to help discover what’s happening in areas that interest you. It is similar to a search engine but is more focused on fresh and authoritative content like blogs grouped into categories and sorted by the most popular posts of the moment that are being viewed and shared by others.

Arguably Guy has done a significant part of the curating job for you and it is now up to you to collect the right sections from the platform and compile your own personal ‘Alltop’ from which to draw inspiration. Highly recommended!

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Mastering social media: the rules of engagement

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, December, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Social media is a two way street – a platform for conversations. It is possible to post, blog, tweet and publish without engagement of course, but that kind of misses the point.

So how do you engage? When do you engage? When is it best not to engage? And how do you encourage engagement?

Encouraging engagement

Let’s deal with that last one first. Nobody seems to be engaging with your wonderful posts – how can we change that?

Sometimes fans and followers just need a little help.

Questions & Polls

People like showing off their knowledge and they also like to feel they make a difference, so serious market research style questions can not only encourage engagement but they may also provide valuable insights into what the market wants.

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6 valuable web monitoring tips for effective social listening

Written by Keith Errington  |  26, November, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe


The first task of any social media day – whether it’s your first step into social media or you are an old hand – should always be listening – monitoring the conversation.

Now there are many choices of software for monitoring social networks, blogs and news – from simple free tools, to highly sophisticated and highly expensive intelligence gathering systems – but they all share one thing in common; they are so often used just to spot simple mentions of a brand, product or organisation.

This is a criminal waste of software and fails to make use of the huge business intelligence resource that the Internet represents.

Here are six web monitoring tips to improve your social listening:

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B2B Social Media – 10 lessons from a space mission

Written by Keith Errington  |  19, November, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Unless you have been living in a cave recently, you cannot help but know about the outstanding achievement of the European Space Agency (ESA) in landing a probe on a comet speeding through space, more than 300 million miles from Earth.

The Rosetta mission is the result of collaboration between teams of 50 contractors in from 14 European countries and the US, and British high-tech space industry companies* were used to build many of Rosetta’s systems.

Rosetta is a ten year mission which launched in 2004, and was woken from hibernation mode earlier this year. Then in the past week it’s lander – Philae – left Rosetta and landed on the target comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

You may have heard it in the news, in the papers or in social media – or in all of these. And although it is a major news story, the depth of impact and the nature of the story that’s being told is the result of a great marketing campaign.

So how does a box of high-tech hardware grab the World’s attention? Here are ten B2B social media lessons we can draw from this success:

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What's your social media strategy?

Written by Keith Errington  |  21, October, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Social media is used by people for many things; some tweet about the music they are playing, some post to Facebook about what meal they just ate, bloggers write about the smallest of plot details in an obscure TV series, and Pinterest users post recipes containing beetroot.

What has this got to do with business you ask? Absolutely nothing. And that’s really my point. You can tweet, post, blog and pin about anything under the sun, so what you really need is a plan, a direction – a strategy – to ensure your social media activity serves the business and delivers real return on investment.

Marketing strategy

It should not be surprising that your social media strategy should fit with your overall marketing strategy.

The best strategies are integrated strategies – almost all the big successful campaigns of recent years have been integrated across many different communication channels. One of the biggest, and most famous is the Compare the Meerkat campaign – wonderfully integrating, TV, radio, posters, social media, PR and sales promotion to great effect.

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Has professional services marketing changed forever?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  14, October, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It’s not so long ago that most professional services work was won through referrals. Not just from client recommendations, but also from hours of networking invested over the years, building relationships with introducers and intermediaries.

Referrals still work of course but, for most firms, fewer clients are won in this way today. In fact, tougher regulation in various sectors has made referral for new business almost impossible. Tighter controls recently imposed on the legal sector are testament to that.

Maybe therefore your firm is not growing at the same rate as it used to.

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WANTED: Social Media Superhero

Written by Keith Errington  |  10, October, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Social Media is a unique communications channel. In previous posts I’ve talked about it being more than just marketing – a combination of marketing, PR, customer service, research and more.

I suggested that an organisation has to recognise the multi-dimensional impact of Social Media on its business.

And I recommended that an organisation should employ a multi-discipline, Social Media Manager.

So who is this extraordinary person and what qualities, skills, competencies and knowledge should such a superhero possess?

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WTF is SMarketing?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, October, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Historically, for many organisations, the relationship between Sales and Marketing resembled a battleground - Sales contesting that leads from marketing were woefully unqualified, and Marketing feeling affronted by the apparent lack of effective follow through on their hard won leads. For many, the rift ran deep.

Replace the guns and blades with pointed fingers and heated memos, and you’ll have seen this scenario at some point in your career, I can almost guarantee it. You may even feel things aren't that much better today.

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Sales and marketing just got better: HubSpot launch new CRM

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  17, September, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

I don’t need to tell you: selling just doesn’t work like it used to!

It used to be a salesperson held all the cards – had all the information a buyer needed, and the consequent power over any deals on pricing, spec, etc.  But today, information is highly accessible to anyone who cares to search for it, and the buyer holds the upper hand.

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5 ways your digital marketing mix is like camping...no really!

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  15, September, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Really? I hear you! Surely, the link between camping and the digital marketing mix must be pretty tenuous.

But bear with me - it’s still summer after all (just), so maybe you've still got the time and space to ruminate and reflect on even the most obscure of analogies…

My family does a fair few camping holidays each year; we’ve chalked up 3 this year so far (in the UK and France) with a fourth planned at the end of September, before the weather gets too chilly.

And rather sadly, some may say, I found myself thinking about the ways in which planning and undertaking a camping trip bore a striking resemblance to the approach that businesses should take to their marketing in this noisy, digital world. No, really!

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Social media: What's your policy?

Written by Keith Errington  |  8, September, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the great liberating things about social media as a communications channel is that anyone can do it. But, for a business this is both a blessing and a curse.

It’s a curse because any of your employees could be using social media in a way that does not benefit the business or even worse, in a way that may be sabotaging it.

On the other hand it’s a blessing, as all those employees could be a collective force for good – adding significantly to the marketing effort and engaging directly with customers and prospects, providing an authentic voice for the company.

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What qualities do thought leaders bring to their business blogs?

Written by Eric Swain  |  5, August, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Anna Lawlor, journalist and co-founder of Social i Media, gives her interpretation of the term "thought leadership" and what it takes to become a proponent in your field.

Thought leadership is a term that is often bandied around in the content marketing field so Anna, what do you define as thought leadership and how do you deal with clients who are interested in becoming a "thought leader", out of the blue?

Quite a lot of people either think they are thought leaders (often self-determined) or would like to be. I’m a bit uncomfortable with the term "thought leadership" because there’s a danger of it just being another mindless piece of business jargon. What does thought leader actually mean?

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B2B email marketing success: 5 things to check before you hit send

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  8, July, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Email is easy, right? You design your campaign, your content is penned and you have included the offers that you want to highlight to your contacts, and now it’s time to hit send. No, not quite yet!

Done well, B2B email marketing is a highly efficient and cost-effective means of generating new revenues, repeat business and stronger relationships with your clients. But done badly, as we all know, it is an area of marketing that is shrouded with risk: risks around your reputation as a purveyor of interesting, useful content ("that link is broken"); risks around your spoiling your relationship with your clients ("my inbox is drowning…!"); risks around your relationship with ISPs – with the danger of being black-listed if you are sending large volumes to an un-opted-in mail -  the worst outcome here.

So, how can you ensure that the emails you send do not fall foul of these inherent hazards, and achieve the engagement, interest and response that you desire?

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7 simple B2B blog strategy tips that will help you get read

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, July, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

According to research in The State of Inbound Marketing 2013 by Hubspot (sample 3,339) 62% of marketers published a blog in 2013 and almost 80% reported inbound ROI, proof that they can be ultra-critical to the success of your business.

A good b2b blog has multiple benefits and can be a great way of projecting an authoritative and trustworthy company personality to your existing customers as well as helping you get found by new prospects, too.

If it contains relevant and useful insight, helpful advice, and intelligent opinion, it will get shared, extending your reach. And, each time you publish a new post you are adding a new page to your website, so you become more visible to the search engines.

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Why B2B marketers need a media-first approach in their marketing mix

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  9, June, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Brian Clark, CEO of Copyblogger Media and architect of the recent ‘agile’ launch of New Rainmaker (a new inbound/content/automation marketing platform) coined the moniker ‘media not marketing’ to position his latest offering which comprises the suite of software solutions used behind the highly successful Copyblogger platform.

‘Media not marketing’ goes to the crux of how b2b marketers need to rise above the tsunami of ‘noise’ flooding the Internet today, especially if you are in a crowded market. Look at it this way -- in 2010 Eric Schmidt, then CEO of Google, was quoted as saying “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003”.

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Blog writers tip: keep your blog on target with a brief

Written by Keith Errington  |  7, June, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

I like to think of blog posts as arrows – powerful, accurate and effective – but only if they are targeted. In fact any weapon is only effective if properly targeted – and can cause huge damage if it’s pointing the wrong way.

Whilst forgiving the somewhat campaign/war like bent of this view, applying this analogy to a blog – you have to identify the overall nature of your enemy and then hit specific targets with your posts. So what you need is a brief and a targeting system.

All projects require a brief – to set out aims, objectives and methods of measurement. Without a clear brief that sets out what is wanted, when it is wanted by, and the specific criteria for success, no project can be a success – because success is not defined. A blog should be no different. Even if you already have an established blog, you should go back and write a brief for it.

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Why you need to be writing online content like a journalist

Written by Eric Swain  |  6, June, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Anna Lawlor, writer and director of Social i Media, offers some fascinating insights into why writing and thinking like a journalist can give content creators a real edge.

So, Anna, what made you leave the world of journalism?

Well, I wouldn’t say that I have left; I still write journalistic content, but I also call myself a content creator, because I produce content marketing for corporations like Barclays and the Economist Intelligence Unit.  We talk nowadays about every company having to be their own publisher or broadcaster, and I’m very much of that mind-set. I suppose I'm straddling both spheres - I’m still a journalist but I’m also working on social media and content marketing.

We were having a discussion on Twitter the other day about the term ‘content marketing’ and whether there is a better one out there. Because it just seems to be a fairly benign term, it puts us in a third class citizen position in the world of media and marketing. Do you have any thoughts on that?

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Social Media – it’s not just marketing

Written by Keith Errington  |  3, June, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

I’ve introduced social media to a lot of people over the past few years and one thing has struck me time and time again; the number of organisations that approach it as a marketing channel only. They are used to dealing with other types of communication channels such as print advertising, posters, radio, TV, newsletters and the like – all of which are purely marketing channels. They are principally one-way communications and they usually fit neatly within the remit of the marketing department.

But social media is radically different – not just different – but RADICALLY different. It isn’t just a marketing tool and you cannot restrict it to just a marketing tool. Trying to treat it as such and ignoring the other aspects WILL actually harm your marketing efforts.

Likewise – some organisations approach social media from the point of view of customer service – but again, it’s not just a customer service channel.

This multi-faceted nature creates a number of problems for an organisation and its social media management.

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Why are you blogging?

Written by Keith Errington  |  14, April, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We all know the reasons for having a blog right? It drives traffic to your website, it helps with search engine results, it generates leads, and all those great marketing objectives. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are all excellent reasons. But those reasons should be true across the board, I mean, they should be a given.

They are the reasons why you should have one, they are not the reasons for your particular blog.

So why are you really blogging?  You need to think about the strategic reasons as much as you do the practical reasons. If you don’t have a strategy, then you will fail, and the positive effects on your business will be lost.

Blogs can be used to achieve many strategic goals – in fact, they can achieve many strategic goals at the same time.

Here are five strategic reasons:

1 To establish authority

You can write about your latest product, its new upgraded features, the amazing offer you are running at the moment – but frankly that’s just a little small-minded and self-serving.

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The 17 types of blog post your audience can't wait to read

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  9, April, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We recently ran a training course for folk new to blogging, which covered everything from the business case for blogging and content planning to creating writing that works and how to measure it.  One of the areas that sparked real interest for our new budding bloggers, and proved invaluable to planning their writing for the coming months, was our trainer’s examples of the types of blog post that are open to them.  We counted around 17 types of posts that writers might wish to consider in approaching their blogging, to be used variously and applicably, as befits the tastes of your audience and the tenor of your blog.

So, here are our 17 suggestions for the types of post you might consider to keep your blog interesting, vital and educative for your readers:

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Ten hidden benefits of writing a blog

Written by Keith Errington  |  19, March, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Following on from my last post where I talked about a range of strategic reasons why an organisation might have a blog, in this post I am going to look at the hidden benefits of publishing a blog.

Listen up – this applies to you.

You see, what you might not appreciate is that publishing a b2b blog can benefit both you and your business in other, perhaps more subtle, ways. Ways you are definitely going to like.

So here are 10 hidden benefits of writing a blog:

1. It forces you to keep up to date

In order to create a blog that's relevant and timely, you need to follow the latest developments in your industry, the direction the market is going and what your organisation's latest developments are. You'll be the organisation's "Cutting Edge Expert" in no time.

2. It makes you think about your business, your industry, your products and services and your customers

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If you haven't anything useful to say... don't! A John Lee interview

Written by Eric Swain  |  6, March, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

John Lee talks about the power of visual content in social marketing, the importance of quality content rather than quantity, and why - just occasionally - it's alright to opt for social silence!

So John, you've given us (in part 1) two clear messages about encouraging people to interact with your social content, around planning and integration into your marketing mix and also, very much about your "social" tone.  What's next - what else should we be thinking about?

So once you’ve established what social means for your organisation and have understood that it’s not about you, and your tone’s set up, I think the next thing you need to look at is how you present your content.

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Social must be integrated into your marketing mix: John Lee interview

Written by Eric Swain  |  13, February, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Do you share links to your website or blog and wonder why no-body clicks on them?

John Lee, Head of Social Marketing at Webtrends (update: John is now a Brand Strategist at Twitter), offers some great insights for B2B marketers on how to you get your content noticed in amongst the 500 million tweets a day.

John, regarding your blog post on this subject, did it come about as a result of some research that you’d done or just observations you’ve made over the years?

It’s a little bit of both – we’ve done a lot of research in terms of looking closely at our own social channels and finding out what really leads people to engage and repeatedly engage – so not just that “first click” but what makes that click more meaningful in the long term. And also, we’ve been able to look at other industry leaders, particularly in B2B digital marketing, and to look at what kind of patterns they’re seeing; it seems to be a trend that’s pretty consistent across the industry.

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The Five Contradictions of Native Advertising

Written by Keith Errington  |  7, February, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Digital marketing sites, content publishers, pundits, brands and regulators currently seem obsessed with native advertising.

The IAB have created a task force and published “The Native Advertising Playbook”. Adweek, Marketing Week, Mashable, even the Guardian are talking about it.

Recently the Sunday People website was relaunched funded solely by native advertising, and even more recently still, it’s been closed due to lack of audience.

At least one content marketing expert has said it is neither ‘native’ nor ‘advertising’. So what is it? Is it the next big thing in marketing? Should it be part of your essential inbound marketing toolkit?

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Social marketing for law firms: an interview with Paul Hutchinson

Written by Eric Swain  |  20, January, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Paul Hutchinson discusses how marketing for law firms, using social marketing to communicate with clients transparently and authentically, have found a winning marketing mix.

So Paul, can you start by explaining a little bit about your background?

I work for Black Letter PR, helping legal professionals develop their current communication methods. As the legal sector is becoming more and more consumer focused, we are finding increasingly that law firms want to engage with their clients via modern channels such as social media.

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Four most useful 2014 predictions for inbound and content marketing

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  17, January, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

This time last year, we came to the quick and sensible decision not to devise out own list of predictions for 2013, instead leaving it in the safe hands of other experts in the field who could foretell with renown and efficiency the inbound and content trends of the coming year.  And they did so with aplomb – thank you Messrs Sheridan, Colman et al.

So, with the advent of another new year, we have scoured the Internet to compile a 2014 list of the best B2B content and inbound marketing predictions for the next 12 months, in the hope that they will prove useful in guiding your future marketing planning and strategy.So here’s our list of the four most salient objectives and anticipated trends for 2014 from the thought-leaders in our industry:

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Are white papers really still relevant in the world of modern content?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  7, January, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In an age where Generation Y are, as I observed in an earlier post, “completely visual learners”,  with Generation X not far behind, does the rather formal, text-heavy, slightly august medium of the white paper still have any kind of place in your content writing armoury?

Should you just abandon it in favour of what David Meerman Scott, in his New Rules of Viral Marketing, called “the stylish younger sister to the nerdy white paper” - the more visual, interactive and “human” eBook?

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Social media management and the law: an interview with Michael Sissons

Written by Eric Swain  |  2, January, 2014  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Consultant employment solicitor Michael Sissons at Cubism Law talks here about how to avoid legal and HR nightmares around employees use of social media for business, by getting your procedures right before you hire people.

Michael, we have been looking recently the growing importance of social media skills in the workplace, and wanted to talk to you about some of the issues arising as social media comes more to the fore, and get your take on some of the legal or contractual requirements that are popping up in your world.

When you say legal requirements, one has to break that down a little bit, and it depends what area we are talking about.

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Negotiating the opportunities and challenges of guest blogging today

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  12, December, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We can’t be the only business with a blog that has seen an increase in the numbers of requests received (some welcome, others not so) for guest posts, both from those wanting to post on our blog and those wanting us to post on theirs!

The guest post, it could be argued, is fast-becoming B2B blog currency; so it's worth asking why that is, identifying some of the challenges associated with it, and exploring how carefully negotiating these hurdles could bring benefit to your existing inbound and content marketing activities.

Guest blogs, valuable content, and SEO

Guest blogging done successfully - in conjunction with well-selected and reputable blog writers in your field, can deliver significant benefits for your business - in terms of profile, authority, perspicacity and originality to your online content.

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The rising need for social media skills: an interview with Steve Ward

Written by Eric Swain  |  4, December, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Seemingly no aspect of business these days is untouched by social media; Steve Ward of Cloud Nine Recruitment, who specialises in placing social media and digital talent, talks here about the growing demand for social media skills in all areas of business.

Can we talk about the changing roles and responsibilities in today’s workplace and focus on some of the skills that are increasingly being required by employers. Have you seen a rise in the requirement for social media skills?

Yes, definitely. Three and a half years ago, when I first looked into this area, it was still a very specialised skill set, a niche within marketing and communications - that “weird bloke or weird girl in the corner” on Twitter and Facebook. Increasingly now, generic marketing, creative and PR roles are incorporating these skills. I would take that even further into the areas of HR and recruitment. So many more customer-facing roles have social media skills as a requirement these days.

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How to really manage your LinkedIn Groups

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  27, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In May 2013, LinkedIn reported that it had 1.5 million Groups. LinkedIn insiders now put the figure at over 2 million. There are Groups for just about every brand, business discipline and professional interest under the sun, and any LinkedIn member – including you - can start one.

But what's the key to effectively managing these communities in order to ensure that dialogue within them is interesting, influential and informative? Light touch or firm hand on the tiller? High visibility or strictly background presence? Proactive intervention or a “keep your distance” philosophy? We explored the views of LinkedIn Group managers to give you some helpful guidance.

Group tips from the LinkedIn frontline

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The lure of LinkedIn for effective B2B online marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

When we hear the term “social media”, many tend to think instinctively of the giants that deliver and dominate the world's everyday online conversations – Facebook, Twitter and now Google+. After all, we make extensive use of these platforms in our personal and our professional lives, both as consumers and publishers.

But, the frontrunner in the B2B social media space isn't any of the sites mentioned above. Instead, it's the rather more serious and business-like LinkedIn.  And when you look into its killer demographics, you see why. Steve Rayson's recent slideshare puts LinkedIn's membership at 250 million, 69% of whom are in the higher-income decision-making bracket, and 79% of whom are 35 or older. It's hardly Facebook, is it?

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What a Social Media Agency Shouldn't Do: Mark Jennings Interviewed

Written by Eric Swain  |  18, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In part two of his interview (see part one), Mark Jennings tells us to watch out for clueless agencies masquerading as social media specialists, that campaigns work best in social media when you involve your community before and afterwards, and how the best agencies help their clients learn to do things for themselves.

Mark, do you have a view on traditional marketing or advertising agencies calling themselves social business agencies?

I think that as an agency one of the key things you’re looking for is to standout. Everybody is creative, everybody is perhaps integrated, everybody has great people, everybody is all of these great things. Agencies that spend a lot of time thinking about positioning for clients are often terrible at positioning themselves.

It doesn’t surprise me people want to call themselves “social business” or “social consulting.” I don’t like the word social media any more than anybody else, but from a cold hearted business perspective, social media is a line on a balance sheet as far as I’m concerned. If somebody wants to call it that or call it social business or social consulting, or whatever else, I don’t mind as long as we’re having a realistic and frank conversation about things that can actually be achieved. The nomenclature for it doesn’t bother me.

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Establish your B2B blog by finding the right people to write for you

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  15, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you are running an SME in the UK today you can’t have failed to notice the growing importance of blogging, as part of your online presence.  Indeed, the reach and impact of business blogs is expanding all the time as potential customers look to source interesting, educative or entertaining insights into their industry sector. According to Hubspot’s very latest analysis of the State of Inbound Marketing 2013, for example, almost 40% of European marketers reported acquiring customer leads directly from their company blog.

But, where to start? One thing to do, first off, is to look at who else in your industry is blogging; read what they are saying, and look at whether they are being listened to, shared, etc.  If your sector is already very crowded with businesses talking about the same sorts of things, then maybe blogging is not the channel to consider for you.  However, if it seems that your competitors aren’t yet blogging – i.e. that there isn’t a great deal of noise in your specific field – then perhaps there is an opportunity to lead the charge in this dynamic area of content writing, to gain a new online audience and to steer the conversation in your field.

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10 B2B infographics that we think rock - be inspired!

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  9, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

You may have seen our previous blog post all about B2B infographics, which outlined what infographics are, why you should use them in your content marketing and how to go about creating one of your own, using free tools.  

To give you some further inspiration and guidance on how your information, expertise and knowledge can become a beautifully represented visual, just look at the 10 B2B infographics we’ve chosen below to see how it should be done.  Whether you want to create a “how to” infographic, which offers guidance to your industry, a “history of…” type visual to highlight your experience in the field, or are merely showcasing your latest research, these fabulous marketing infographics demonstrate how to achieve that successful mix of clarity, appeal, authority and shareability:

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Things to know before hiring an agency for your social media campaign

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  7, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Our own Eric Swain is the co-host (with Ann Hawkins) of a weekly podcast called The Social Media Show. We are providing transcripts of select shows.

Here, Mark Jennings joins Eric and Ann for one of the most listened to episodes of the show, Show 27, to answer questions about how businesses large and small engage an agency and run a social media campaign. This is part one of the interview. Find part two here.

So Mark, is it only big brands that use agencies or is it something that a small company could do?

I think that companies of any size could benefit from working with an agency but, of course, many agencies work best when there is a certain threshold of money involved, because they need a certain spend.  I guess it would depend very much on the specific thing you needed to do. The simple test for that is: do you have the skills in-house to do it? If not, then it’s worth looking externally.

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How will Google impact the choices you make tomorrow?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  5, November, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Concerns over the NSA and GCHQ allegedly passing themselves off as Google in order to intercept private Internet communications have been mooted as motivation for the search giants dramatic stepping up recently of ‘encrypted search’, as it purportedly moves to “increase privacy for its users”. The fact that unencrypted data will still be accessible to AdWords customers however (albeit to a lesser extent), has left some questioning the full extent of those motivations.

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Your Content Should Hit Home Runs: An Interview with Doug Kessler

Written by Eric Swain  |  29, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Doug Kessler tells us that in order to rise above the content marketing floodwaters we should aim to create outstanding pieces of content and to tap into emotion (yes, even in B2B marketing!). And he explains why marketers should be the most important people in the company!

So, Doug, you started off (in part one) by saying that so much content is created these days that it’s hard to stand out. Have you got a view on what’s coming next? Are we just going to get more and more inundated or will somebody find a way to cut through this or filter it to get to the stuff we’re interested in?

I feel that very soon content marketing is going to become a “home run” game. I know that’s an American metaphor but what I mean is it will be about the big hits, the pieces that actually move markets as opposed to the background stuff that keeps you in the game. I think people are going to start learning that a few of those in any programme changes everything, changes the dynamics of everything. It can make even a mediocre strategy look utterly brilliant if you just get a few winners in there. So people hopefully will be aiming higher.

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How To Not Write Crap Content: An Interview With Doug Kessler

Written by Eric Swain  |  28, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners wrote an ebook earlier this year that hit home for many of us. In it he alerts us to the tidal wave of content that is drowning our audience and make our marketing irrelevant.

Doug, your ebook, Crap. The Content Marketing Deluge, addressed the flood of marketing content that is threatening to overwhelm us. Is this a problem?

It really is a problem. It’s also an opportunity. When digital-age content marketing was a fairly new trick, the early people had an advantage by being involved in it. So for our clients to do an e-book back then was a special thing; it was like, “Wow, they’ve published something about an issue that their prospects care about, without even pushing their products. And people came to them for it, and wasn’t that great?”

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What 5 inbound rock stars taught me about the art of good listening

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  21, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
 
This time last week I attended the exciting and inspiring Inbound Marketing UK (IMUK) 2013 conference in London, to hear some of the brightest minds
in the industry, both here and in the States, talk about the best approaches to marketing now.

One of the over-riding messages from the day’s speakers for me, was the absolute importance of good listening; the art of learning from the wisdom, experience, thoughts and needs of others, of paying attention to what you are being told and what you are telling yourself.  Because this is how we learn to do better, to improve what we’re already doing, and to bring others with us along the way.

Here’s what I learnt from my good listening on the day.

Listen to your audience

Hubspot CEO, Brian Halligan, opened the conference with a clear message around the importance of marketing context; the need to ensure that you listen to and are cognisant of your audience and the context within which it works, plays, lives.

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Should Your CEO Be Tweeting?: An Interview with Neville Hobson

Written by Eric Swain  |  17, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Our own Eric Swain is the co-host (with Ann Hawkins) of a weekly podcast called The Social Media Show. We are providing transcripts of select shows.

Neville Hobson joined Ann and me on the 5th episode to discuss the role an executive should play in social media and content creation. Neville is a consultant, blogger and podcaster.

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Ann Hawkins: Neville, in the second show that we did of this series, we had Euan Semple talking about the authenticity of content writing. He was talking about CEOs veering between, on one hand, where you admire them for having a go, but, on the other hand, where they’re as embarrassing as your dad having a dance at a disco and you just want them to stop.

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Why Social Business Matters Today: An Interview with Alan Moore

Written by Eric Swain  |  9, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Our own Eric Swain is the co-host (with Ann Hawkins) of a weekly podcast called The Social Media Show. We are providing transcripts.

Alan Moore joined Eric and Ann on the 4th episode to discuss how organisations are creating social businesses by putting social technologies and practices at the heart of their operations and business models. Alan is the author of the book No Straight Lines: Making Sense of Our Non-Linear World and an international speaker and consultant.

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Eric Swain: I think the hypothesis that you have put forward in your book, Alan, is that society, which has been set up around, and for, an industrial world, no longer functions properly. So we are in a post-industrial world and we need to behave differently, is that what you’re saying?

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Essential tools for defining meaningful buyer personas

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  2, October, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“A wise man knows his audience,” goes the venerable saying, and whilst it lacks gender equality it does rather hit the nail on the head.  You will be well aware of the importance of ensuring your message responds to the needs, wants and interests of the people receiving it.  It’s a mission at the very heart of the strategic marketing concept that drives all others – “buyer personas.”

Personas were memorably described by Tony Zambito as “representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to accomplish, what goals drive their behavior, how they think, how they buy, and why they make buying decisions.” In fact, as we said in an earlier post, buyer personas are “a sure-fire way to focus all of your content on the right people at the right time.”

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Surefire ways to convince the boss your B2B blog is great idea

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, September, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
We've written on several occasions about the importance of C-level buy-in for your B2B content marketing activity, and for good reason. Never forget the statistic we cited in an earlier
post - organisations without C-level buy-in are three times more likely to fail at content marketing!

But, as we also explored in our last post, many elements of content marketing are actually counter-intuitive to your C-level colleagues' instincts, so securing their buy-in is far from easy.

One element of the content marketing toolkit that tends to attract their refusal more than most others, we have found, is blogging.  The B2B blog’s perceived combination of labour-intensive production, non product-focused content and a potentiality for reputational riskiness sets the C-suite's nerves on edge and triggers the objection reflex.

So how are you going to turn it around and convince them that a blog adds significant value to the marketing mix? Cue a very quick course in C-level blog objection-handling!

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Why your content marketing commitment may be missing the mark

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  17, September, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

This is one of those subjects that is difficult to address without sounding smugly and unjustly critical. Of course your commitment's not missing the mark, you protest. You're “doing” it diligently, and you have been for a long time.

The evidence and the hard work are there to see. You have case studies. That's content. You have blogs. That's content, too. You have whitepapers and discussion documents, joint-branded research and surveys, email newsletters, and other material besides. Clearly, when it comes to modern marketing, you've seen the light, swallowed the pill, "ponied up" the investment and pulled the trigger good and hard.

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B2B marketers - 8 infographics to make your lives easier

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  29, August, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We would all like an easier life, right? And for us B2B marketers, working in a digital world that is in a constant state of evolution, we would dearly love someone to guide us in the right direction, ensure we weren’t making mistakes, offer the advice and expertise we need as we venture forth.

Let us do exactly that then by offering you 8 infographics from the world of B2B online marketing that provide knowledge and useful guidance to make life easier for the marketer - from social etiquette to SEO copywriting to online testing.  In each case below, we've given you a snapshot image - just click on it to view the full infographic.

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Earn quality backlinks not just good keywords for optimisation today

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  27, August, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A colleague of mine once related the story of an Irish friend, who worked for a company that built corporate intranets earlier in the decade. Speaking of her company's website optimisation strategy, she confided in him: “Ah sure, we're calling the stuff we do 'knowledge management' now – everybody else is!”

Thinking you can effectively “own” a search term and part of the traffic it generates was a reasonable policy, right?. “Knowledge management” happened to be a popular search term at the time, and so as long as the business in question delivered a service relevant to the concept, however tangentially, it made sense to capitalise on the number of people searching for that term.

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Master of Content? Can you really “qualify” in B2B content marketing?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  19, August, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Businesses are fast recognising that the “old” marketing channels - print media, trade shows, telemarketing, email blasts - are in decline. At the same time, they are constantly being urged to get a handle on the new ones – social media, blogs, eBooks, and all the other apparatus of our content-rich, online, inbound marketing age.

And, rightly so.

But the sheer pace of change occasioned by the internet (David Meerman Scott ranks it as more significant even than the advent of the printing press) means that B2B content marketing, like any other marketing discipline, can arguably no longer be learnt and mastered from first principles or on-the-job “best efforts” alone. So what training is there, in terms of recognised qualifications, to ensure the quality and relevance of the next generation of marketers?

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Easy on the eye - picturing B2B content marketing's next big thing

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  26, July, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Predicting the future is fraught with pratfalls and shouldn't be undertaken lightly. Never forget that someone once predicted that the Beatles would never catch on, and another said Connery wouldn't be right for Bond!

So, back in January, when we cast around for helpful predictions in the content writing and marketing field in 2013; we looked to the industry's experts and thought leaders, such as Jonathon Colman, Marcus Sheridan, putting our trust in them to the test.

So did we back the trillionaire rockers or have we got yolk dripping down our shirts?

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Ebony and Ivory: sales and marketing in perfect harmony?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  18, July, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
When Stevie and Paul were singing “side by side at the piano”, they were talking about symbiosis: “two parties enjoying a mutually beneficial, harmonious relationship”.   And this word seems to sum up exactly the relationship between your Sales and Marketing teams, right?

No?

You mean to say that, in an age where savvy business buyers are so in charge of when they are ready to buy (and from whom), your Sales and Marketing teams haven’t yet realised they have much to gain from collaboration?  That they should align themselves more closely, to draw on each other’s expertise and understanding of your customers, to their mutual benefit? Maybe it’s time then to demonstrate how, by centring efforts around B2B content, there will be rewards for both:

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Ace it like Murray! Original B2B research that scores every time

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  16, July, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Years of heartache were brought to an end by Andy Murray's breathtaking performance at Wimbledon just a fortnight ago. But what lies behind such a players' success? Inspirational coaches, dedicated managers, hard work – all true; but something else too: research.

Murray will have “boned up” on footage of every recent game his opponents have played, ensuring that he could interpret behaviour, predict outcomes, and apply knowledge.  Understanding those who engage with you, and what you need to deliver back to them, friend or foe - is the bedrock of success in many activities from the battlefield to the field of B2B content marketing. To paraphrase the great David Ogilvy, who we write about elsewhere, ignoring research is “as dangerous as

generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”

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How to create B2B content your customers are hungry for

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  10, July, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
We've all heard the T.V. nutritionists say it – we need to eat certain foods in moderation, others in abundance, others barely at all, and the balance can shift   radically depending on our time of life and associated behaviours.

Content writers and B2B content marketers – take heed! Too often, we end up feeding our prospects and customers material that simply isn't useful or beneficial for their particular stage in the sales process. So how do you ensure you're serving up a content menu that your audience can relish, digest and demand more of?

Remember your goal

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Writing online to build inbound leads? Choose your moment(s) wisely.

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  2, July, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you’ve ever been on management training, you might recall the term “emotional intelligence”. This is essentially about understanding that the right message, communicated to someone at the wrong time (because of other issues going on in their lives that you have not successfully ascertained), can provoke a decidedly negative reaction.

When writing online, these timing sensitivities are hugely amplified, because you don’t actually know your audience in any personal sense.  And a host of other timing factors, outside the “emotionally intelligent”, also come into play when determining the best way to get found, generate traffic, get your content shared and build your authority.

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What the Father of Advertising can teach today's B2B content marketer

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
One of the human behaviours that dogs our ability to make sense of emerging concepts is that, too often, we are obsessed with the fact that they are shiny and new - and so we simply make a grab for them. What we don't do is make enough of the properties they share with concepts we already know about.

And so it is with B2B content marketing. Because it is often positioned as “new,” we tend to overlook the strong connections it has to the practices (and practitioners) of the past, and the wisdom therein.

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Is your B2B content marketing a complete waste of time?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  14, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It's a truth universally acknowledged: some people just shouldn't be allowed to choose their own clothes, others shouldn't be allowed behind the wheel of a car, and still others shouldn't be put in charge of mixing a decent cocktail. Horses for courses, as the saying goes.

Yet many businesses get wrong- footed every day by trying to “do” B2B content marketing when they are simply not geared up for it. Like a rookie barman seasoning a Bloody Mary, the end product is likely either to be bland, repellent or simply left untouched.

You may think you'd never hear me say this, but some businesses should seriously consider whether they're not wasting their time doing B2B content marketing at all. Here's some characteristics that the quadrupeds in question may exhibit.

The underinfluencers

It's a harsh fact to admit, but if yours is the kind of organisation where the CEO doesn't buy into Marketing's ideas, just don't bother with the content stuff – it's an almost total waste of your (and the business's) time. As the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reveals, organisations without C-level buy-in are three times more likely to fail at content marketing. Those are not good odds, on any horse.

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Content killers: mistakes and pitfalls in B2B content marketing

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  11, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
“A life spent making mistakes”, wrote George Bernard Shaw, “is not only more honourable, but more useful, than a life spent doing nothing.” True, but who, given the choice, would prefer not to have made them in the first place?

With this in mind, we researched the mistakes and pitfalls that, regrettably, often “kill” B2B marketers' efforts to produce compelling, brand-enhancing content – and how to avoid them. If you're a content killer, it's time to 'fess up to the crime and face up to the facts: you need to do things differently!

Shot dead in six – the categories of content failure

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B2B Social Media Is Like Account Management

Written by Eric Swain  |  7, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
I'm sure, like me, many of you have encountered executives who say, " social media isn't for B2B!" They understand how social media can benefit a large consumer brand that seeks publicity and mass appeal but don't see how it can help a B2B business like theirs.

Historically, I would have launched into a discussion about multiple touch points, shortening sales cycles, supporting information frameworks, etc, and perhaps lost them somewhere around point 23.

Now, however, I am likely to start by saying, "think of social media performing like account management." I find this sets their minds in the right frame for our discussion. Here's where it usually goes from there.

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What is 'too much' information in B2B content writing?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  4, June, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
In the old-school, outbound B2B marketing world, engagement with the audience is one-way and limits itself to the positive. Buy this – it's great! Smoke these – your doctor does! Look at what we can sell you – you'll love it!

It's distinctly short-sighted. No human being communicates only on the level of the positive, so by restricting the interaction to that level your brand is missing out on 99% of the opportunities to engage with its audience. Effective B2B content has nothing to do with proclamation - instead it's all about the conversation!

Writing like a human

But this is where many B2B content writers struggle. Our new-found quest to humanise brands has left us groping for what constitutes helpful content and what constitutes “too much information” (as your teenager would have it – in other words, content that is inappropriate or overly familiar.)

Content boundaries are morphing faster than at any time before. Driven by the “millennials” or “Generation Y-ers", whose preferred environment for both private and professional utterances is almost exclusively online, content is undergoing two processes of informalisation.

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How does the B2B content marketing novice make their own infographic?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  30, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Can it easily be done – so that the end result presents the necessary information successfully, and conveys meaning to the audience?

This is the challenge we recently set our intern, Luisa Fulcher, working at Equinet for the past few weeks.  To make the challenge even tougher, it should be mentioned that Columbian Luisa is a native Spanish speaker, working in an English-speaking, British business, with no previous experience of B2B inbound and content marketing; but happily, she possesses a natural creativity and an enthusiasm and propensity to learn. So, an easy task then!?

And this is her journey from content marketing newbie to infographic creator, in the time it takes to say “Buena suerte con todo”.

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Heart-strings, not purse-strings: humanisation and content touchpoints

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  23, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
One of the creepier (but strangely apposite) terms to come out of the marketing industry in the past few years has been that of "touchpoints" - the number of potential contact opportunities you get with a customer or prospect during the process of communicating and transacting with them. 

Formerly, touchpoints were simply a glorified form of reminder, with an associated sales objective – your eye test is due, your car insurance is about to run out, you still haven't taken advantage of the special offer we're running if you join our partner programme. But an interesting thing is now happening in the field of touchpoint communication. It is moving from the propagandist (pushing a clear message to incite a clear sales action) to the informative (making a show of the communicator's expertise, knowledge, openness, informality, humour, and so forth.) 

In short, touchpoint communication is moving toward a B2B content writing model, humanising your brand. As I commented in a previous post, likeability is now a precondition of saleability! 

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Get your B2B blog noticed - 5 ways to optimise your posts

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  21, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

If you've started a B2B blog to generate more buzz about your business - and, hopefully, attract new customers - you know how much effort goes into maintaining it. Your blog has to resonate with audiences, offer something unique to the marketplace and be fun and interesting to read. So what are you doing to get your B2B blog noticed?

A recent study from HubSpot shows that businesses that maintain a blog have 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links, and five times more indexed pages than businesses that don't. Of course, business blogs perform far better when they've been designed for the best performance possible. 

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Straight between the ize: clarity and shock value in content writing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  16, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Can you hear that ghostly thumping? That's George Orwell turning in his grave. Indeed, the man whose
Six Rules championed the values of clear, simple content above all else would be properly posthumously piqued by some of what passes for B2B content writing in this day and age.

In so many cases, simplicity and clarity have given way to jargon, euphemisms and mispunctuation. The hapless readers have become a secondary consideration. They struggle with impenetrable language and potentially catastrophic ambiguity. Let's face it, there's a big difference between “Let's eat, Grandma!” and “Let's eat Grandma!”.

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Inbound marketing: nurturing leads from interest to sales

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  15, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) Jeremy Knight (JK): In the first video, we framed inbound marketing. In the second, we looked at the importance of defining your personas and mapping content to that personas interests and requirements. And in the third video, we looked at how you feed the top of the funnel, how you drive relevant traffic to your website, and the tactics you use to achieve that. And now, in this fourth video, we're going to look at how you draw people through the marketing and sales funnel, right?

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Top of the funnel lead generation for inbound marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  14, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

 

(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) Eric Swain (ES): We're back. Now, in our last video, we talked about creating buyer personas and about mapping our content to the buying process. And during that, we touched a little bit on the funnel.

Jeremy Knight (JK): Just a little bit.

ES: OK. Granted, yes. We flashed it up quite a bit. We didn't talk about it a lot. And we promised we would come back, and we would dwell on the funnel a little bit more. And so that's what we're going to do today. We're starting here so the next couple of videos will be on the funnel itself.

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Inbound marketing and the importance of defining personas

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  13, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

 

(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) So what is the most important part of setting up an inbound marketing program? If I told you need to start at the end, you might wonder what in the world I was talking about. But that's what you need to do. You need to start with the customer.

After all, if you don't understand their aspirations, their goals, their fears, and their challenges, how are you going to communicate effectively with them? And that's not all. You need to map content--content that's going to resonate with your persona at different stages of the buying cycle.

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Nice blog, but no cigar: content writing and Churchillian rhetoric

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  9, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

So said Sir Winston Churchill, master of the spoken word, purveyor of linguistic lyricism, whose rhetoric inspired a nation at its most vulnerable. 

But how are the words uttered some 70 years ago bya British Prime Minister relevant to B2B content marketers in today's digital world?

We live in an age where technology is hurtling us forward at a dizzying pace. And yet, language, the way we express our thoughts and interact with that technology, is evolving far more gently - so that the words and liguistic form of yesterday can achieve just as much resonance with a contemporary audience.

The truth is that there are valuable lessons for the blog writers of today to be learnt from the eloqent and the erudite of the past.

Write it like you say it

Arguably, content marketers are awash with advice o

n what to do and what not to do when writing online - practical, common sense guidance on how to get your work found by the audience you seek. But, this advice might all be for nothing if what you have to say is not compelling, entertaining, educative... 

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What is inbound marketing and why should you care?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  3, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Recently, we were invited to speak about inbound marketing at an event put on by the Inspired Group. Leading up to that event, there was a discussion on the Inspired Group's LinkedIn page about what inbound marketing means to everybody. What we learned from that discussion is there's a broad understanding of inbound marketing, and on the night of the event, that proved to hold true, where some people had a fairly accurate understanding of inbound marketing, and other people understood it to be spam, or very interruptive.

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Homophones - the Achilles Heel of Content Writing?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  2, May, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We’ve all seen it and we’re all moved to berate it: poor business writing, grammar and spelling. At best, it is a distraction, at worst, mistakes in your online content can cost you sales.

What doe the spelling ability and grammar knowledge demonstrated in your B2B blog say about your business? Oops, spot the deliberate mistake? It should read: what does the spelling ability and grammar knowledge demonstrated in your B2B blog say about your business? You know, you can’t trust your spell-checker when doing your online writing; for example, is it write, rite, or right that you need to write?

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B2B Content Marketing - just a load of old cassocks?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  25, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
When it comes to the art of marketing persuasion, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches. The first is often called the “Bread Van” school. Big van, “BREAD” written on the side. Contents and required action utterly indisputable - the van is the verb.

The second approach is rather less binary. It majors on alternatives, not imperatives. It attempts to educate, to engage and to resonate with potential customers.  This, of course, is Content Marketing - in our own words, “a sustained flow of valuable content that positions your company as the ‘go to guys’ in your field.” Or, to paraphrase Salman Rushdie, it is the type of communication that “increases the number of ways in which it is possible to think.” From thought comes action and interaction, and from there, an opportunity to nurture and convert prospective buyers.

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From cold to "warm" calling, why permission-based B2B marketing rules

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  19, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
So, if you’re anything like me you’ll have become very skilled at avoiding or ignoring the company that makes unsolicited calls to your workplace or home. Actually, I can’t think of a recent occasion where I felt that I was ready to spare 5-10 minutes of my time to listening to the singularly-focussed sales “patter” of an uninvited caller from a company, I am not familiar with.  

Cold-calling is, of course, a sales and marketing technique that has been used for years, by many organisations, to reach and secure B2B customers.  And previously, when done well by sales professionals, cold-calling was a successful way to generate B2B leads and win new business. 

But, customers like me have significantly changed the way we make purchasing decisions these days: when we think about purchasing a new product or service, we research and compare potential providers, as to their reliability, authority, validity in the field; we source reviews from other customers; we converse with our social media communities, searching for the opinion and experience of our peers and colleagues; and we are in control of when we decided to interact with firms. 

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You should co-source (not outsource!) your social media management

Written by Eric Swain  |  11, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In the first part of this post, I explained why you should never outsource your social media management to a third party agency but, if you need assistance, you should look at co-sourcing. Co-sourcing is where you use an agency alongside of you, to support, teach, and take up the effort where you can’t. 

Agency versus Consultancy

Firstly, and this may be a rather fine point, you should look at your relationship with any potential third party as a consulting relationship rather than as a typical agency one. What I mean by this is that the central part of any co-sourcing should involve the third party getting very close to you, like a good consultant should. They should spend time getting to really understand you and your business.

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Inbound marketing and the importance of analysing everything

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  7, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

(THIS IS THE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT) Thisisthefifthandfinalvideoinourseries oninboundmarketing.Inthefirstvideo,we definedtheterm.Inthesecond,welooked athowimportantitwastodefineyourkey personaandthenmapcontenttotheir interests, and profile.

Inathirdvideo,welookedatfillingthetop ofthesalesfunnel,thetacticsyouuseto getfoundbypeoplewhoarelookingfor whatyoudo.Andthen in thefourthvideo,we lookedathowyounurtureleadsthrough thesalesfunnelusingmarketing automationandemail.

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How to best brief your writers for content that works for you

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  4, April, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As you are well aware, getting content marketing right for your organisation means true commitment to creating excellent, useful and interesting B2B content that resonates with your target audience.  So whether it’s blog posts, eBooks, case studies or newsletter articles, what is the best way to convey to your content creators (internal or external) exactly what you need them to write.

Here’s our recipe for a brief that gets the content you want from your writers:

In a nutshell...

  • Aim: Be crystal clear from the beginning what exactly it is you’re
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Talkin' bout my generation: writing for the age of your buyer persona

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  28, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

There's an old teaching adage that says if you're interested in something, you'll learn it more easily.

Many of you will remember a teacher who had this knack – communicating with you about subject X but via some more entertaining or instinctive content. And so it is with the content that your business produces. Identifying and creating your buyer personas is one thing. Ensuring that what you write is in a form that engages with some part of their interest, in order to lead them to a desired realisation or action, often in relation to some other topic - that's quite another.

Tony Zambito, the originator of the buyer persona methodology, has stated that buyers today spend up to 60-70% of the buying process without the help of a sales representative. Instead, they are turning to content – your blogs, your byliners, your commentary, your social media activity.

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Arggh! - what to write? 5 ways to beat blogger's block

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  26, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Why can’t you get that damned B2B blog post written? Are you worried about making it perfect? Are you bored with the topic? Are you building the task into something so much more monstrous than it should be? Are you paralysed by the approaching deadline? It really doesn’t matter why you have ‘blog writers block’. What is REALLY important, is to follow James Thurber’s advice and “don’t write, just get it written”.

But first, break down the blog writer’s task into its more manageable sequence: it starts with choosing the topic/idea/message/theme and framework - then the physical act of word processing - after which, editing/improving/polishing, honing that all-important headline - then proofreading - and finally publishing. It is only at the start of this sequence that bloggers block can strike. The rest are more mechanical tasks.

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Never ever outsource your social media. Ever.

Written by Eric Swain  |  21, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
A recent episode of The Social Media Show dealt with the question of whether organisations should outsource their social media to a third party agency.

This topic always sparks a healthy debate. I’m going to tell you why you should never do it. Never, never, never... Ever!

Ok. Hands up. I admit it. This headline is a bit of a sensationalistic attention-grabber. But in my defence, it is a reaction to seeing yet another agency offering to handle all of their clients social media for them (including tweeting daily jokes and proverbs!).

I’m sure you’ve come across that before - agencies saying they will “do” social media for organisations, completely manage their social efforts on their behalf.

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How to create buyer personas that define your content marketing

Written by Kate Reynier  |  19, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone out there wanted to buy your product?

But they don’t.

Even if everyone needs what you’re selling (IT support, phone lines, hand towels for the loo), not everyone needs it right now. And, let’s be honest, even if they do need it, a lot people don’t care enough about the product (especially the hand towels) to actively want to switch suppliers.

If you’re trying to reach a wide group of people – the vast majority of whom don’t need or don’t care about your product – you’re wasting valuable time and energy. More importantly, you’re missing opportunities to show your insight and expertise to the smaller (but infinitely more lucrative) population that does want to know.

The better option is to dive deep into a narrow pool to find the targets you are seeking.

If we can’t be all things to all people, how do we figure out who to target?

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How outsourcing B2B blog writing can revitalise your online presence

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  14, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The received wisdom is that good blog posts contain bullet points, so let’s begin with these: 

  • B2B blogging can be a pain and a pest
  • distracts from minding your business, that’s best
  • so when in need of some fresh stuff to post...
  • consider outsourcing and hiring a ‘ghost’
  • for fresh content, good words and a mind that can rest.  
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Is it time to tweet? Tips for improving your social media management.

Written by Kate Reynier  |  12, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Social media. It has revolutionised our lives by allowing us to communicate, in real time, with whomever we want, whenever we want. It’s about interactions 24/7.

Or is it?

As a B2B marketer, you’ll know using social media can give a real boost to your business and your brand. It allows you to communicate with people who are interested in what you have to say and actually need what you have to sell.  But do you know when is the best time to tweet, blog or update your Facebook page with the latest offers or information?

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The Business of Blogging – 6 reasons your company needs a B2B blog

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  8, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As you will be well aware, business blogs are hugely popular, and more widely read, every day. According to research by eMarketer, based on recent trends, an estimated 60 per cent of internet users will be reading blogs by 2014.  And, as successful B2B bloggers know, keeping your blog alive with useful, interesting and relevant content offers a fantastic opportunity for people out there to find your business, to stimulate dialogue with your industry community and create a reputation as a business voice to listen to.  

Quite simply blogging is good business. 

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B2B PR: How to make sure newsjacking doesn't bite back

Written by Kate Reynier  |  5, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Newsjacking is a term (coined originally by marketer,  David Meerman Scott) for what B2B PR professionals have been doing for years: find a current events story to piggyback your organisation onto, allowing you to ride the wave of the news cycle, raising your profile and garnering loads of, ideally, positive attention for your brand.  It doesn’t have to be breaking news – you can ‘plan’ for it sometimes – but you also need to be prepared to identify and react to situations as they happen.

Look around you and there are all kinds of newsjackings that happen all the time.  Here in the UK, Chinese New Year (the Year of the Snake), anything to do with the Royal Family, even Oscar’s night – all are big events that can be planned for to some degree or another.

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Content creation, inspiration and the art of remix

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  1, March, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A couple of weeks back, I read a blog post which succinctly and emphatically brought into focus the debate around whether creativity based chiefly on another source of material was still creativity; it did this by sharing a story.  The post entitled “Charlotte Sometimes and The Cure” by Mark Coker describes how a great song written in the 1980s by The Cure, purloined its title from a book by a children’s author of the 60s.  The song, we learn, tells “the story of a young girl who at night mysteriously travels back in time 40 years to switch places with another girl”, as indeed does the book of the same name by author, Penelope Farmer, and the lyrics at times are lifted directly from the page. 

Sounds like a murky case of, at best, plagiarism or at worst, theft, where The Cure get away with passing off what has gone before as theirs... But wait, as readers we are then directed to read the story (which I urge you to do), in her own [blog] words, from the “victim” Penelope Farmer and discover the perhaps surprising truth about the experience from the author’s point of view:

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Top tips for making sure your B2B web video is seen and shared

Written by Kate Reynier  |  26, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Making videos for your business is a great way to reach prospective customers and show them something that words can’t. It takes just a few minutes to convey in a video what it can take, literally, thousands of words to get across. And, frankly, who has the time?

The best B2B videos are interesting – even fun – to watch, valuable to the viewer and easy to share.

But what is the best way to make sure your B2B web video is seen and shared? Just like your blogs and your website, you can optimise your web video so that it is easily found, and you can position it so it is easily shared.

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How To Do B2B PR in an Increasingly Social World

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  22, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

B2B public relations used to be a relatively simple practice. A PR team issued press releases, pitched stories to the right editors, and trained business leaders to look good and stay on message.

Back then, the media managed the channels. Now, the marketplace has all the control.

In this era of social media, you need to look beyond traditional B2B PR and develop your own digital PR strategies to ensure maximum brand exposure.

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Newsletter ideas that stop your writing going down the drain

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  19, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Newsletters, schmoozeletters! Let’s be frank, newsletters have been around for longer than you and I have been walking the planet. There’s nothing new here, nothing exciting to see, “move along folks, move along.”

But here’s a thing, the CSI guy smells a rat and the Coroner says she’s found a pulse! Holy schmoley, there’s life in the old dog yet it would seem.

But what are these newsletter ideas that still work?

The way things were way back when

Newsletters appeared in the 16th century, pre-dating newspapers which were first published in the 17th. The first newsletter was circulated in England in the 1630s and featured stories about locals residing overseas. (Hhmm, human-interest stories, I wonder if that might work today?)

Fast-forward a few hundred years and there are thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of newsletters, magazines and newspapers, and we’ve not even got as far as the Internet age yet.

Then Sir Tim gets inventive and before you know it there is more content published every two days than was published from the dawn of civilisation until 2003.

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Social Media is for People (Not Just Customers)

Written by Eric Swain  |  15, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
We’ve heard it before:  
  • Don’t focus on the tools in social media

  • The social web is about people connecting

Because of their size it is easy to focus on platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, when thinking about the importance of social media. But the real power is in the behaviour of people using those platforms to create and participate in communities around common interests. The value of social media is in people, relationships, and the meaningful actions between them.  

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SEO isn't Dead, it's Evolving

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  12, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Just as you were finally getting the hang of B2B SEO, along comes a sceptic to give its eulogy. Whether they're predicting the end of SEO or taking a cynical attitude to cover up their own lackadaisical efforts, some people insist that the practice is dead, or at least ineffective.

In reality, SEO is changing, but reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.
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B2B web video production: what does it really cost to do it yourself?

Written by Kate Reynier  |  7, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Web video is a great content strategy for B2B organisations. Video is increasingly the vehicle of choice for people who are looking for information and solutions to their business problems. In fact, more and more B2B marketers are using video as a major element of their content marketing mix.

For example, results from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report shows that video is one of the content marketing tactics that has seen the biggest increases in adoption rates among marketers, with an adoption rate of 70%.

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Great examples of how to use online video marketing in the B2B space

Written by Kate Reynier  |  5, February, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Of all the types of content you can create as part of an ongoing content marketing campaign, there is one that has arguably the highest impact on an audience, but seems to be the least understood, particularly in the B2B arena: Video.

It’s the vehicle of choice for a growing number of business owners and executives in need of information.  A recent Forbes report, Video in the C-Suite, showed that

  • 75% of executives surveyed watch work-related videos on business websites

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Why sales people need to be part of your content marketing pipeline

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  31, January, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
“Our sales people won’t want to write, so getting content from them will be tricky!”

If you’re in marketing, you've probably come across this obstacle to your company working with the sales team to fully embrace B2B content marketing/inbound marketing as a way of reaching prospects and generating leads. 

The business might really love the concept of attracting new people through producing useful, informative and engaging content, whether it’s articles for newsletters, blog posts or writing case studies.  But the stumbling

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The best inbound and content marketing predictions for 2013?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  21, January, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

So if you’re a keen reader of marketing blogs or news articles, you can’t have missed the plethora of “predictions”/“future trends”/”objectives” type posts that inevitably appear at the advent of a New Year.  Some extremely useful and credible, and some frankly not so…

Rather than try to search arduously for our own “new predictions for 2013 that no one else in the field can possibly have thought of”, we want to recognise here the thoughts and aspirations of some of the best minds in inbound marketing and applaud their convictions for the coming year.

So here’s our list of the five most salient and sage predictions and objectives for 2013 from the thought-leaders in our industry:

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How to create B2B content that works throughout your sales funnel

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  3, January, 2013  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post we talked about the importance of the “context” of your audience in B2B content marketing.  Most specifically, we looked at creating content which considers how they find you: their locale, their social [media] sphere, how they like to consume content (e.g. via Smartphone), etc. 

But, this contextual detail only gives you part of the picture.  More useful to your business, in terms of converting leads to more informed and engaged prospects and then on to becoming a customer, is content which is tailored to meet the needs of the audience according to what stage of the buying journey they are at.

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3 Reasons Why Marketing IS Everything in the Social Era

Written by Eric Swain  |  17, December, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

When Regis McKenna wrote “Marketing is Everything” back in 1991, he was describing a situation where technology had advanced to a point that businesses were able to utilise it to serve customers in more ways than had ever been imagined before. 

This “Marketing is Everything” concept has developed over the years to refer to marketing in its fullest, proper sense as the intersection between the organisation and customer; all of the potential touch points the organisation can have with its customers or, indeed, entire ecosystem.

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B2B email marketing: 10 ways to make your Calls to Action work

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  29, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

So, your business has developed a decent contact mailing list, which is now receiving your B2B email marketing campaigns and eNewsletters.  And you’re having some success with email open rates, but why aren’t your contacts clicking through to the content, or events, or product information you’re promoting?  The fault often lies in the ineffectiveness of your Calls to Action.

What can you do to remedy the situation? Here are our Top Ten ways to create calls to action (CTAs) that will work for your emails and your customers:

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Keeping it in context: B2B content marketing just got more relevant

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  28, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As a savvy marketer, you're fully aware of the importance of content marketing in building fruitful relationships with your customers; if you read our blog, you can’t get away from it! However, it’s no longer considered sufficient just to have great content; in order to increase your audience engagement, your content marketing must have ‘context’.  Behavioural targeting – knowing what a prospective customer has recently bought online, watched, read, or browsed – is definitely useful; however, it only shows past behaviour. If you want to understand a user’s likely future intent, you need to understand their multiple ‘contexts’.

So what does ‘context’ mean with respect to B2B content marketing? Well, it relates to the ‘what and when’ of a content marketing strategy. It’s about not only making your content valuable and engaging, but also about increasing its relevancy.

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Devising a B2B content marketing strategy: your checklist for success

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  27, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

These days people expect engagement through a myriad of different platforms including social media, eNewsletters, video podcasts, white papers... the list goes on.  And they want to see content that is original, is of high quality, speaks with authority and is from a trusted source.

A winning B2B content strategy is one that will deliver all of these things, which suits your organisation (particularly its size and business type) and provides the right content in the right way to your audience.  But where do you start? The following checklist will help you to organise a publishing strategy that works for you and achieves measurable results.

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Effective B2B email marketing how to find them, catch them, keep them

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  20, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

With a new survey from the DMA suggesting customer approval ratings for email marketing are at an all time high, your B2B email marketing should be able to achieving the same level of satisfaction with your audience. But with stiff competition for space in your customers’ inboxes, how do you ensure that your email marketing is successful?

Effective B2B email marketing hinges on three main challenges: finding your customers, getting them to opt-in, and keeping them opted-in after that.  In a nutshell, “find them, catch them, keep them”.

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Lead nurturing: Using workflows to make your customers feel valued

Written by Kate Reynier  |  6, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

For many people, the value of Inbound Marketing is that it draws potential customers to your website and uses remarkable content to convert prospects to leads. While this is a big part of the process – and it definitely makes up the majority of activity and time that you will spend on inbound marketing - there is a critical next step. 

Great content converts prospects to leads, but it won’t move them through the sales funnel, and further along the buying process, without a smart and effectively executed lead nurturing campaign – a process called workflows.

The term workflow describes an automated series of emails, or other communications, that allow you to gain more information and understanding of early stage leads before they are handed over to your sales people.  The goal is to make your new leads more sales-ready.

That is the benefit to your business.

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Lead Generation and Nurturing: Designing effective workflows

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  5, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content, content, content. It is the linchpin of the whole lead generation and inbound marketing process. It educates, adds value and entertains. It can also help you to nurture relationships with your leads in a way that makes them choose your product or service.

Lead nurturing is the process of using content to draw prospective customers through the sales funnel until they reach the decision to buy.  It involves understanding where they are in the buying process and what information you can give them that will get them through that stage and into the next.

There are three stages in the buying process and each will respond to different types of content:

  1. Performing research – the visitor knows there is a problem that needs to be solved. They will look at free, no-commitment items like tip sheets, white papers and eBooks discussing their issue, and 'how-to' videos.
  2. Establishing buying criteria – the visitor recognises your business might be able to provide the solution. At this stage, free product webinars, case studies, catalogues and samples appeal.
  3. Evaluating vendors – the prospect is ready to buy. Here you can offer free trials, free consultations, estimates/quotes and coupons.
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B2B infographics - the what, why and how?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  1, November, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a world where the consumption of information and how it reaches us is growing exponentially, yet the time available to consume seems ever fleeting, b2b infographics are fast-becoming an exciting new currency for conveying meaning to your audience in one palatable bite.

But what exactly are b2b infographics and why should you consider using them in your content? In this post, you’ll find the answer to both these questions, alongside examples of the types of infographics you might wish to consider, and how to go about creating one.

What are infographics?

As the name suggests, infographics are graphical representations of information or data, also known as “data visualisations”.  They are used to portray what might otherwise be quite complex pieces of information, such as survey results, data

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Creating Inbound Marketing campaigns: 5 "must dos" before kicking off

Written by Kate Reynier  |  24, October, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

You may be thinking about a new inbound marketing campaign and are keen to get started.  There seems so many things to consider at this early stage: What are your keywords, and what are you going to blog about? Which social media channels are important? What to do about the eBook or webinar, the calls to action and landing page? What content to use to pull prospects through the sales funnel? 

But, while these are all important questions, you should really take a step back at this stage – before you write a word of content – to address five key areas that will ensure your campaign is successful.

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5 Top Tips for Using Images in your Online Content

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  19, October, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Here at Equinet Media, we’ve been doing a lot of deliberating over images in online content recently, both in designing a new website for a customer and considering images for our own website and blog posts. 

Of course, using images to enhance your online content is a clear opportunity to broaden your visual appeal to your audience and to promote your brand. 

In order to get the best results from this opportunity, however, it’s clear that you are asking your chosen image to do a number of key jobs for you:

  • Firstly, and obviously, it needs to illustrate and enhance the content it accompanies
  • Secondly, you want it to “tell its own story”, as a stand-alone image
  • Third, in doing both of the above, it must not distract the visitor away from your content
  • Fourth, the image can lend value to your webpage SEO
  • Lastly, you want the image to compel the visitor to engage with the content.
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Is creating remarkable online content a Darwinian process?

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  16, October, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Bombarded by blogs, inundated with info-mails, nagged by newsletters? Is there just too much out there for your own online content to make a difference? Charles Darwin has some heartening news for you.

Fact: Today we create as much information in two days as we did from the dawn of man through to 2003!1

Fiction: It is better to publish anything on the Internet, than to publish nothing at all.

Lots of us today, particularly busy business owners, have become overwhelmed with the amount of so-called 'useful' content that we're faced with on a daily basis, and are beginning to question whether we should even bother to produce our own. Just what is the point of spending time and resources on producing good online content if it's only going to drown in the 'content morass' that the Internet has seemingly become?

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How great landing page design helps your customers take action

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  3, October, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It seems like you’re doing everything right to engage your customers: your website and other content is getting found via numerous avenues (via search engines, your blog, via eNewsletters, your social media sites, banner ads) and yet you’re still not getting the desired response from your clients.  So what might make that all important difference, what’s the final piece of the jigsaw, in converting an interested browser into an active buyer? 

At the heart of any campaign should be a well-designed landing page, one of the most critical tools for inspiring action in your customers, and for capturing details of future leads for your business to nurture. 

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How to use social media to improve B2B SEO

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  18, September, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

B2B SEO strategies have gone through a lot of change in the past year. From algorithm updates, such as Penguin and Panda, to new search engine restrictions regarding over-optimisation and spam links, methods for getting top rankings in search engines have moved forward. The recent power of sharing – through social media – has had a significant effect on search, and search engine companies’ advice to get the best rankings has changed as crawl tactics get smarter. Companies at all levels have to change tactics and best practice to ensure their websites are set up for winning SEO.

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Business Writing - Good Grammar Matters - Part Two

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  12, September, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous business writing post on this subject we examined some of the most frequent grammatical bloomers and words that people are often confused about. Here, as well as looking at some common misspellings (Grammer!), we also give you some advice on the use of colons, semi-colons, hyphens and the dreaded … apostrophe.

Misspellings: liaise (not liase); February (not Febuary); receive (not recieve) - do you remember the rule from school: "i before 'e' except after c, but only when the sound is ee"? It really works!

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The Brochure Design Survival Guide

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  27, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We hear so much about the benefits of online marketing these days, you could end up believing that print marketing is dead. After all, who reads anything on paper anymore?  More people than you might think, which is why some great marketing efforts still exist offline.

A company brochure is one of them.  It's a staple of marketing because it can be easily carried around, displayed in prominent positions, as well as mailed, copied and faxed.  Here are just some of the ways a brochure works to promote your business.

First, it provides a quick overview of you and your business.  People often turn to their devices when they need basic information, but your brochure is just as handy.  It can include a summary of what you do and who you serve, a short note from the company head, and contact information.

It also serves as a handy leave-behind at key events.  Sales reps can bring copies to sales meetings and leave them with potential customers, or include them in sales kits.  Or you might attend an event and bring a stack either to leave at your booth or hand them out to fellow attendees.  

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3 White Paper Writing Tips to Learn More About Your Audience

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Do you know your white paper audience? White paper writing should always be for a specific audience. It should be all about them. Your audience doesn’t care about who you are, what you do or where you’re based. What they care about is how you can help them, how you can get rid of their problems and how you can get them to perform better. If they don’t find your white paper helpful, they won’t read it and all your hard work will go to waste.

So you need to learn more about your audience and focus on white paper writing that goes to the heart of the issues that impact that audience.

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Business Writing - The Five components to Persuasive Content or Copy

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The Art Of Persuasive Business Writing - Copy vs content: from a conversion perspective

With business writing people generally consider content and copy as two different things. Well – they do have two different purposes: the purpose of content is to provide information of some subject – informative articles, long descriptive text, tutorials or even pictures and media. Copy, however, seeks to incentivise. Although in some cases copy can resemble content, its main objective is to engage your audience to take action – make a purchase, sign up for a newsletter, follow a link or add a page to bookmarks – whatever you want your visitor to do. So, with business writing, while content informs, copy motivates.

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Five Words Often Misused In Business Writing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Has it ever struck you how many, often well-educated, people seem to think that grammar and spelling are as obsolete as typewriters? Of course, some rules are easily broken; I’ll start a sentence with ‘But’ sometimes, and with the occasional ‘And’. But (see, I just did it!) these are things that have crept into our business writing, particularly marketing copy, and most people don’t find them offensive any more.
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Five Ways a Good Video Production can Benefit your Business

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  10, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
The internet has provided B2B businesses with many new ways to promote themselves, and with some fresh and dynamic takes on the old tried and tested methods. One of these is web video production.

Though a video production may seem at first glance to be not dissimilar from traditional interruption marketing, the reality is that it offers a much more versatile way to reach buyers. Here are five ways in which a good online video production can enhance your marketing efforts.

Online video increases brand awareness

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Five Online Contract Publishing Benefits for Business

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  10, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Successful B2B marketing depends on communicating effectively with your clients and prospective clients. Custom, or contract publishing in its printed form has long provided businesses with a way to make their voices heard and to engage with decision makers. In the 21st century its online descendant is opening up even more powerful and versatile ways of getting your message out there and creating a buzz. If you remain unconvinced as to its merits, here are five reasons for you to consider investing in online contract publishing or proven newsletter ideas.

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10 ways to re-purpose a single piece of content

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  6, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Recent updates to search engine algorithms, such as Google’s Panda release, have led many writers to believe that their content is a one-shot affair that can only be used once. However, this is not strictly true - re-purposed writing can be used again and again when done carefully. Here are ten ideas to convert your blog post into another useful marketing device.

Press release

Just completed a blog post about a new product/service/achievement? Turn the blog post into a press release and pitch the story at one of your industry publications or commentators. A press release can also be submitted to an online distribution site, providing valuable backlinks to your website.

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5 simple tips on how to write a white paper

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  5, July, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

White papers are powerful marketing tools but learning how to write a white paper can sound like a difficult task, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. If you take the right steps and practice creating them correctly, it can be very straightforward. So here are a few tips to help you create really good papers:

1. Understand your audience:

People read them to learn something new; this could be to solve problems, to understand something better or to comprehend an argument. So if you want to get your reader to find your paper helpful, you need to focus on helping them. Try your best to get into their heads and understand them. Think what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling and what they want and write it down in the document.

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Five Tips for Ensuring good ROI from Video Marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  26, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Video marketing has become one of the most powerful and exciting tools available to B2B organisations in recent years. It's particularly effective at engaging time-pressed buyers and executives, and can quickly generate great interest in what your company has to offer. But what can you do to ensure that viewers convert into new clients?

1. Start with an attention-grabbing  concept

Without great concepts for your videos, none of the other points matter. Brainstorm ideas around the key stages of your sales funnel.

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4 Benefits of Using White Papers in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  26, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Do you use white papers in your content marketing strategy? Are you aware of the many benefits of using white papers?

A white paper is a really powerful marketing tool. Many people think that it can only be used to generate leads, but actually there are several other benefits of writing and using a white paper in your content marketing strategy.

There are four key benefits and they are listed here:

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What’s So Great About Inbound Marketing … And Why Should You Do It?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  25, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The short answer is that traditional ‘outbound’ marketing techniques just aren’t working as before – 44% of recipients never open direct mail and 86% of viewers skip TV commercials. In contrast, companies that blog have 50% more website visitors than those that don’t,and inbound marketing leads cost a huge 60% less than their outbound equivalents.

The rise of inbound marketing

When the dot-com bubble burst in 2000, the internet entered a new age, characterised by a greater emphasis on information sharing, user-centered design, and collaboration. Instead of simply ‘pushing’ advertising at consumers, the benefits of creating value for them and ‘earning’ their business began to take hold. 2003 saw the establishment of the fight against ‘spam’, followed by the first prosecution for sending unsolicited email in 2004.

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Pro Blogging Tips - Keeping your blog content interesting

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  22, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

The need for a business blog is all but indisputable, providing a method by which a website can be updated easily and regularly – key to attracting the attention of search engine spiders. However, content should also be interesting for the reader and to help distinguish your business from those of your competition.

The ultimate goal of your corporate blog is to engage your readers, inform them and to finally convert them from visitors into clients. If you are not ready to outsource to a company specialising in blog writing services, try the following blogging tips to keep your website content fresh.

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What is a White Paper?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  21, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
A white paper is a cross between a magazine article and a sales brochure. It can be divided into two parts; an educative magazine which is the first part (80 to 90%) and a second persuasive brochure part (20 to 10%). These features of educative content followed by persuasive marketing material make it one of the most powerful and sought after marketing tools.

How Did White Papers Come into Existence?

In the past when British Members of Parliament wanted to put an idea in front of the government, they needed to build book-like files which were hundreds of pages long outlining their ideas and how they could be implemented to better the country. These books were usually bound properly, but sometimes, when MPs didn’t have time, they used to simply wrap them in sheets of white paper and that’s how the name “white paper” came into existence.

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How to position your Facebook fan page content

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
In line with increased consumer popularity, Facebook has worked hard to encourage businesses to get on board through the introduction of brand pages. New tools and features have been added to allow companies to reach new clients in the B2B sector and gain a proper handle on their social media management efforts.

Creating a Facebook fan page is not necessarily difficult, encouraging social interaction and post visibility however is. Getting the right mix of content is essential – here are some tips to get your fan page noticed:

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How to Create a Powerful Case Study for Video Marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  15, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Video marketing is one of the most potent means of reaching prospective clients. A 2011 study by Google and Forbes Insight found that 75% of senior executives watch work-related videos on business websites weekly or more, while 52% watch work-related videos on YouTube at least weekly.

The study also revealed that one of the most watched types of video marketing was the case study, with 56% of executives saying that video case studies were what they watched most often on business-related websites, while 19% said that they were the type of video marketing they watched most frequently on YouTube.

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The dos and don’ts of an email marketing template

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, June, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe
Well managed email marketing is one of the most powerful online tools your business has to reach customers and increase conversion rates. But to maximise the effectiveness of your eNewsletters, updates and other email communications you must ensure that all of your email marketing templates have a coherent identity. That is, one which is attractive to the eye, easy to use, and which reinforces the values you are trying to get across in your branding.

The best way to do this by creating email marketing templates which are customised for your company and designed to appeal to the relevant personnel in the companies you are attempting to reach. Don’t just use generic downloaded templates, unless you want your brand to come across as generic and dull.  With this in mind, here are a few key dos and don’ts to consider when creating an email marketing template.

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Lost for Words on your Email Newsletter or Blog?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  29, May, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the biggest challenges of any content marketing strategy for B2B businesses is the need to regularly come up with new ideas which will engage both existing and potential clients. Whether you’re compiling your latest email newsletter or thinking up new posts for your business’ blog, here are a few suggestions and tips for topic choices which may help.

Current events and news related topics – Keep a close eye on new developments relevant to your sector, in the mainstream press, trade journals and other sources. Google’s ‘news’ search feature can be particularly useful for finding stories that you can report on in your blog or eNewsletters.

Commentary on key issues – Articles which are similar to newsy posts, but with an emphasis on providing your own unique take on important developments and trends. Such articles can be instrumental in emerging as a ‘thought leader’.

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Why Google 'Penguin' is great news for B2B SEO

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  10, May, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the most difficult aspects of online marketing for any B2B firm is keeping up with the most recent developments in search engine optimisation (SEO), but nonetheless this is an essential part of the process. As the world’s most popular search engine, the actions of Google warrant particular attention, and it is renowned for changing its search algorithms regularly.

Most recently, Google announced the release of its latest search update, which has been dubbed ‘Penguin’; a follow up to last year’s controversial and far-reaching ‘Panda’ update.

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10 Blogging Tips for Successful B2B Blog Posts

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  26, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A regularly updated blog can be a powerful way of reaching out to buyers, and of positioning yourself as a thought leader in your field, but only if it’s done well. Here we present 10 blogging tips that you should bear in mind when constructing a post for your company’s blog.

  • Blogging Tips #1 - Make your point
    The single most important thing to remember when writing a blog post is that it must have a point – some reason why a busy B2B buyer should take time out of their day to read what you have to say. Decide on this point before starting the blog, and keep it in mind at all times.

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Social Media Management - Five Top Tips for New Starters

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Many years ago, the question on the proverbial lips of many B2B businesses was, ‘do we need a website?’ Today that question has become, ‘do we need a social media presence?’ and an increasing number of businesses are answering in the affirmative.

But before you rush ahead to implement your social media management strategy and start socialising with your clients, there are a few things you should consider.

Which social network?  

At the very start you must decide which social networks best suit your business’s needs and target market profile.

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How to use a content marketing agency to build value

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  23, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A content marketing study show that 99 percent of businesses have used at least one form of content marketing, particularly blogs and social media, proving once and for all that content marketing is an integral part of promoting a business.

Many of these businesses are either outsourcing some of their content marketing functions or are considering doing so in the future.  This has increased demand for content marketing agency services, but many businesses don't understand how to use them.

Agencies can perform the tasks of creating and marketing content for a business, but their real value comes at a higher level.  They have the expertise to develop strategies and differentiate clients in the marketplace, but only if their talents are utilised properly.

Here are some ways a business should use its content marketing agency.

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5 video marketing tips for making content more appealing to buyers

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  19, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

These days, many B2B businesses are scrambling to enhance their online presence with video marketing services. This can be an effective marketing strategy, but in the rush to create and upload content quickly, they often end up putting out sub-standard video marketing which fails to achieve the intended purpose.

When producing B2B video content, it’s important to think about how you can make it appeal to buyers, in order to encourage them to take action. Here are five video marketing tips to take into consideration when planning your online video marketing strategies.

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Top 5 blog writing services tips for briefing the author

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  17, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

As blogs have taken off, blog writing services have become valuable to businesses that don't have big internal marketing resources because they help produce high-quality content while the business owner focuses on other things. 

If you're one of those businesses, you will know that you can't ignore your blog, leaving it to languish and gather dust. You need to publish content at least once a week. So, outsourcing the job of producing that content can help you to continue working on, rather than 'in' your business.

But unless your blog writers have psychic abilities, you have to give them clear instructions about the type of blog you want.  Luckily, this isn't too hard if you've already come up with a winning strategy.

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Guest Blogging – How you can use it to Boost your Online Presence

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  13, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Having a regularly updated B2B blog is an essential part of creating and maintaining an effective business presence online.

But in your efforts to promote your services, products and brand to decision makers you shouldn’t restrict yourself to only blogging on your own site.

Publishing a post on a third part blog can be a potent way of enhancing your online presence, and can produce a number of related positive effects:

  • Increased exposure for your business in front of people that matter
  • Can contribute to you being seen as a thought leader
  • Enhanced visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs) through link backs to your website
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How to write case studies that give customers confidence

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  11, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Writing case studies should be an integral part of any content marketing strategy. In fact, they epitomise the whole idea of content marketing in that they leave the job of ‘selling’ your business to an independent third party. 

By using examples and illustrations of what you do and how you do it, a well constructed case study can bring the story of your business to life, making it easy for clients to understand how you might be able to help them.

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B2B SEO - Two Unlikely Avenues for Marketing Success

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  10, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In days gone by, B2B SEO and B2C SEO were clearly defined and often mutually exclusive. But today, the line has blurred between what constitutes appropriate, effective marketing for B2B and B2C businesses, and those marketers who can exploit these non-traditional avenues are likely to benefit greatly. Here, we take a look at two perhaps unlikely sites which have much to offer B2B SEO.

Pinterest

Since launching two years ago, Pinterest has gone from strength to strength, as demonstrated by its ranking in the top 60 visited websites in the world (Alexa), and the top 20 in the US.

The concept is simple – users can ‘pin’ images they want to share onto virtual ‘pinboards’ organised by category (Technology, Architecture, Products, Sports etc), or onto their own personal pinboard. They can also ‘re-pin’ other users’ images and videos to their own or public boards – offering much potential for viral marketing success.

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5 Reasons Video Marketing is Better Than Banner Advertising

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  5, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

According to research by Digiday and Adap.tv, many online businesses are shifting their marketing budgets away from simple display forms of advertising such as banner ads, and towards online video marketing.

An irreversible shift to new media

Digiday and Adap.tv  have produced the Video State of the Industry Survey for 2011. The report found that 43% of agencies and 24% of advertisers in North America plan to divert funds from display budgets to fund online video marketing efforts. Many advertisers (41%) also plan to shift funding away from print campaigns to fund video marketing, while 29% are taking it out of broadcast television budgets.

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New media publishing formats for producing successful newsletters

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, April, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In today’s technology-driven marketing environment, every business needs to consider how new media publishing can reach and influence their customers and prospects.

Newsletter ideas for regular, interesting and informative publications can help you to forge and maintain professional relationships. They can increase your visibility, enhance your reputation and position you are a leader in your field.

But there are a number of new media publishing formats to consider including blogs, vlogs, email, podcasts, web based publications, and mobile apps. Knowing the right new media publishing format is an important consideration.

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10 newsletter ideas that will get you results

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  26, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Newsletters have always been an effective way to promote your business, but the explosion of social media and content marketing has made them more valuable than ever.

Here are some newsletter ideas that will get your company noticed.

  • Distribute by email and see exactly who is engaging with your content

  • Test across major email clients before sending (Litmus is a great resource) and avoid problems with rendering

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Organic Search Accounts for Half of Digital Spending – B2B Survey

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  21, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A recent report has confirmed that organic search remains at the top of many businesses’ marketing priorities.

The report, ‘Search Marketing: The State of B2B SEO and PPC practices’, by BtoB, found that online search accounts for “half of all digital marketing expenditures” of B2B companies.

This is perhaps not entirely surprising, but it does show that despite a wealth of alternative digital marketing avenues, such as social media, content marketing, eNewsletters and online video, search remains at the heart of businesses’ online efforts.

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Video Marketing Tips For Improving Your Online Success

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  19, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Everyone loves watching videos, not just because they're funny and entertaining, but because they're a different way to educate and inform ourselves.  

That's probably the most important reason why video marketing is a popular way to drive website traffic and promote a business.

If you're thinking about using video marketing to promote your business, you may be wondering how to do it successfully.  Follow these tips to learn how to post videos that bring people back to your site time and time again.

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Can B2B viral marketing be innovative internet marketing?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  14, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Is trying to go viral in b2b, innovative internet marketing, or just a pipe dream? As a means of reaching a large and rapidly expanding number of people quickly, viral marketing is one of the most powerful strategies of the internet age.

And though it is often seen as a strictly consumer-orientated online marketing avenue, a growing number of B2B marketers are exploring the potential of B2B viral marketing today.

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Making the case for outsourced email marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  8, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

It's not always easy making the case for outsourced email marketing.  You may hear that it's too expensive, time-consuming, or even unnecessary.  But these are the very reasons why your business should consider it.

Whether you're raising the topic for the first time or making yet another pitch, if you're making the case for outsourced email marketing, meet your business's concerns head-on by showing why they're unfounded.

"Email marketing isn't a big priority."

Maybe it wasn't before, but it should be now.

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B2B writing tips for creating an effective digital press release

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  6, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Press releases have long been an effective part of the b2b writing kit and a way of generating interest in your company, in trade journals, local papers and the like. But what is less well known is the powerful role they can play in increasing online visibility and tapping into online markets through SEO.

A well-crafted digital press release can create a buzz about your site on online news feeds. It can also enhance your business’ position in organic search results.  Here are five tips for getting the most out of your online press releases.

Define and target your keywords – Before writing or commissioning your digital press release you should identify a number of keywords related to your business that you will target.

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Digital Marketing Strategies - have businesses grasped the opportunity

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  3, March, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

According to Econsultancy, many forward-thinking digitally-minded B2B marketers are finding that their own colleagues are the biggest obstacle to making substantial progress in their organisation’s digital marketing strategies and activities.

Many participants at their ‘Digital Cream’ event at the Emirates Stadium in London reported that colleagues, often those in senior management and those with more traditional marketing views, did not fully accept digital marketing techniques. Some digital B2B specialists even said that they felt outnumbered by those with more conservative views, and felt like ‘pariahs’ in their own departments.

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B2B Link Building – How to Build and Expand your Network of Links

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  28, February, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Last week we looked at the value of link backs and the importance of link building for B2B businesses and why they have a vital role to play in your overall digital marketing strategy. In this week’s post we examine some of the methods you can employ to expand and enhance your site’s network of links.

There are many different ways to build links to your site and you should utilise those which are the most practical for your business and that you think will be the most effective in reaching buyers.

Article marketing
Article marketing is a great way of promoting your business in its own right, but it is an even better way of spreading links to your site far and wide. One of the most common ways to go about article marketing is by submitting articles related to your field to relevant article directories. Other sites and users are then free to reprint your work, with the inclusion of a ‘resource box’ which includes your details and a link to your site.

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Why link building should feature in your marketing mix

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  17, February, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

When it comes to your marketing mix, there are many different things to consider, but there are a few techniques that every B2B business should be using. Link building is one of these.

What is link building?
The plain and simple definition of link building is the process of gathering external links to your website from other sites and blogs. But despite its simplicity as a concept, as a practice it is far from easy or straight forward.

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Getting your marketing mix right is more important than ever

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  7, February, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Marketing is different these days. There was a time when businesses could make cold calls or unsolicited visits and sell their products and services to other local businesses. Those days are gone. Now, businesses have to convince potential customers to give them a chance.

Why the change?  Because the competition for eyeballs has intensified.  Business owners are exposed to more marketing messages than ever before - so many, in fact, that they can't sort through them all.  Instead, they decide which products and services their businesses need and deal only with the vendors that provide them.

So businesses must be found before they can make their sales pitch.  But to get found, they need to develop the right marketing mix.

The best marketing mix for your business combines the right marketing channels with the right offer to attract loyal customers.  You need to question your outbound marketing activities and analyse what inbound marketing techniques you could employ.  But how do you know what works?  If you put in some effort before, during, and after a campaign, you'll have the right mix before you know it.

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How do seo and social relate to your content marketing strategy?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  3, February, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Increasingly, the relationship between content marketing, seo and social media is evolving. To stay visible in this new media age we can plan for them as one through devising a framework for marketing content management.

Content marketing is the practice of providing regular, informative and interesting content to all your clients, prospects, partners and stakeholders, in order to raise your profile, improve brand recognition, promote your business and generate new leads.

There are many content creation formats that can be used for content marketing including e-books, web videos, webinars, white papers, social media, blogs, podcasts, custom magazines and more.

All of these should interact with and complement the others within your content marketing strategy. Importantly, they all have a relationship with Search Engine Optimisation.

A successful SEO strategy works hand-in-hand with a successful content marketing strategy. Start yours off by making your content link-friendly, whatever form it comes in. Your content may be wonderful, but if nobody is seeing it, it’s useless. Making your content ultra-linkable allows it to be seen and improves its SEO potential..

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Easy rules for making your B2B writing readable

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  27, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

So you’ve decided to embrace content marketing as the way forward for your business. You’ve got plans for a newsletter, blogs, and all kinds of ideas for communicating about your business. You’re going to be informative, helpful and a thought leader. And the technology is all in place. So it’s full steam ahead, right?

Well, maybe.

You may have loads of ideas but if the words you use aren’t effective, you won’t get those ideas across and the whole effort will be wasted.

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Social Media Management - take it step by step each day

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  23, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Want to take your business to the next level?  Try tweeting about it. That's right, social media – or more accurately, social media management – could be the key to growing your business.  

If you use sites like Facebook and Twitter to connect with friends and family, then you know how content can spread like wildfire.  The same can happen to your business, but only if you make a concerted effort to include social media in your marketing strategy.

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How will Google’s ‘Your World’ impact b2b search and social?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

This month Google announced the latest in a series of changes which are moving the search and social functions of the Internet ever closer together.

While the slow but sure merging of search engines and social networks might at first glance seem something that’s of more concern to consumer-facing businesses than B2B organisations, the truth is it will come to affect all those with an online presence.

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Digital marketing agency predictions for 2012

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  16, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Digital marketing remains a fledgling field, and one which is constantly changing and evolving alongside the technology and trends that make it possible.

For anyone with an online B2B presence, keeping abreast of these developments is important in order to stay competitive, and so here we present a number of digital marketing predictions which may help you plan your online strategy over the coming year.

Prediction #1 – Continued growth in the importance of mobile marketing 

The days when online digital marketing

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Getting started with b2b content marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  11, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

A good content marketing strategy can be one of your most effective tools in reaching a wider online audience of B2B buyers and professionals. Not only this, it can significantly improve the perception that others have of your website and business, and mark you out as leading the way in your field.

Broadly defined, content marketing involves sharing content through a variety of online mediums. The content creation is not overtly promotional in nature, and is instead more informative and engaging. The actual means for sharing content include:

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Why b2b blogging should matter to your business

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  9, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

At this time of year, many businesses are looking at their website’s performance over the past 12 months, and asking, ‘what can we do to enhance that performance for the next 12 months?’ And for many, starting a new blog, or revitalising an old one, may be the answer.

Before we take a look at some guidelines for good blogging practice, let’s first touch on why a regularly updated blog should be considered essential for your B2B website:

  • It provides a valuable additional channel for informal communication with your clients
  • It can help you to be seen as a ‘thought leader’ in your industry
  • Because regularly updated content is crucial for effective search engine optimisation, and a blog is an elegant solution
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New degree confirms importance of digital marketing and social media

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  6, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Leicester’s De Montfort University has become the first UK university to offer a dedicated degree for those wishing to pursue a career in internet-based marketing which incorporates both digital marketing and social media marketing.

The Digital Marketing and Social Media degree will be a single honours BA course, and part of the institution’s Leicester Business School.  

According to the university, the three year course will cover vital aspects of digital marketing, such as ‘planning and managing a website’, ‘applying digital marketing tools’, ‘brand management’ and ‘interactive and direct marketing’.

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Social media management matters in a crisis

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  5, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

How a company reacts in a crisis can have major implications on its long term success. The key is communication...

The Internet and social media have revolutionised the way companies communicate.  Simple-to-use technology lets everyone – no matter what size their organisation – reach out to customers and show their business or product in its best light.

But what about when things don’t go so well? It’s tempting to stop communicating until the problem goes away, but that is the worst thing you could do.

A crisis could be anything from a sudden change of leadership, a problem at a factory, an unfounded rumour by a customer or competitor or an unforeseeable ‘act of god’. It can impact on a small number of people, or you could be caught up in a national or international situation. The thing about crisis is, you rarely get to know about it in advance.

However, you can plan for it
A major element of dealing with a crisis is how you communicate the situation to your employees, customers and community. Whereas social media is your friend when you want to broadcast the good stories, it can be your worst enemy when things go wrong.  In today’s world of tweeting and skyping and mobile phone cameras, you cannot hide anything. Frankly, you shouldn’t want to. 

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Email marketing click-through rates are rising – how about yours?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  3, January, 2012  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Email marketing is a powerful way of reaching customers and should be one of the top tools in your marketing armoury. A recent report by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) confirms this fact, and reveals that their effectiveness is continuing to grow.

The DMA’s Email Benchmarking report for the second half of 2010 shows that the number of email click-throughs in the UK rose by 33% on the previous year, increasing from 12m to 16.1m.

The report also revealed that many businesses increased their spending on email marketing during the final quarter of the year, with a third increasing their email budgets by up to 40%.

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5 email marketing pitfalls that you need to avoid

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, December, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Email marketing is a cost-effective, efficient marketing tool and when done properly, it can be highly effective. However, like any form of digital marketing, there are potential pitfalls. The following should be avoided at all costs:

1) Unauthorised sending
You cannot email someone without his or her permission. The Information Commissioner's Office advises that a 'soft opt in' should meet the following conditions:

  • Where you've obtained a person's details in the course of a sale or negotiations for a sale of a product or service;
  • Where the messages are only marketing similar products or services; and
  • Where the person is given a simple opportunity to refuse marketing when their details are collected, and if they don't opt out at this point, are given a simple way to do so in future messages.
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Web video do's and don'ts for B2B companies

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  15, December, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Online video is listed as one of the top ten strategic technology trends by digital marketing specialists Econsultancy. It is perhaps one of the fastest-growing trends in media today. So it's worth considering this....

More than 15 million people in the UK will watch 200 million videos today. Meanwhile, more than 35 million people will watch an average of 17 hours of online video each this month. People expect to see video content online nowadays, and that applies to output from both B2C and B2B organisations.

Many professionals in B2B sectors were struck by the possibilities of video as soon as it appeared. Seth Godin, the world-leading marketing expert, wrote a blog entitled 'Video changes things' back in 2007 in which he stated: “With very little notice, YouTube has become a significant force in business learning. People who would never read a 200-page book will happily watch a three-minute video.”

Research demonstrates however that SMEs and individual professionals have also caught on to the potential of B2B online video. YouTube reaches half of online UK small business owners while 47% of IT professionals watch videos to research technology solutions on the site.

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How important are social media marketing metrics in 2012?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  8, December, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Marketing campaigns that utilise social media can seem difficult to measure, particularly when it comes to return on investment.

The usual ROI formula takes into account just two factors – revenue and investment.

But with social media, there are often additional considerations that go beyond purely financial goals.

Social media can help improve things like customer satisfaction, brand recognition and employee retention. These intangible achievements can be measured, but you need to use the right tools.

Products such as Omiture, TweetMeme Analytics, Hootsuite and, most popular of all, Google Analytics can all be extremely useful. These tools allow you to track against your set goals by setting action points against them. For example, when someone buys an item from your website, clicks on an affiliate link, subscribes to your newsletter or when they click on your links in social media profiles – all these could be seen as actions helping you get closer to each of your ‘goals’.

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5 ways to engage your market with content marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  30, November, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Today, there is an unprecedented level of competition for B2B services and products, and the growth of the internet has played a massive part in this. But as the level of competition has grown, so too have the possibilities for marketing yourself to businesses.

Digital marketing on the net means you no longer need to have a big advertising budget to succeed; you just need to make sure it’s spent wisely in order to reach people in the most effective way. There are five aspects of digital content creation which your business can capitalise on.

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10 top tips for successful newsletter publishing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, November, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Having your own eNewsletter can be a powerful marketing tool, but it’s important to do it well. Here are 10 top tips that will increase engagement with your readers.

1. Know your market
If you don’t think through who you are writing for and why they should care, your publication won’t have the impact you are aiming for. Be sure your content is specific to your market. If you have a variety of markets, write different newsletters and set up separate mailing groups, with relevant messages. Always ask yourself the question ‘does this content pass the ‘what’s in it for me’ test?

2. Be timely
Don’t write about something that is happening on Monday, if you know your eNewsletter won’t be sent out until Thursday. Similarly, newsletters that are delivered on a Friday afternoon may have less of an impact than those delivered on a Tuesday morning in the B2B space.

3. Make it easy to read
For longer pieces, publish the article on your website and include a link to it in the newsletter. Limit yourself to a certain number of items per publication so readers get used to the structure. As a rule people don’t like emails that scroll ad infinitum.

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Why B2B businesses shouldn’t be afraid of using video content

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  15, November, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

One of the most exciting and potentially useful aspects of the internet from a B2B marketing perspective is video content. If a picture can say a thousand words, just think how many a short informative video can account for.

Unfortunately, despite its potential, online video is often underused, and in some cases not used at all. Some of the common reasons given for not taking full advantage of web video for business include:

  • We can’t afford it, it’s too expensive
  • We don’t need it, our clients aren’t interested in video content
  • We don’t have the skills/ resources for online video content creation
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5 key considerations for effective email marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  3, November, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Email offers a highly efficient channel for communicating with clients in a targeted, measurable and cost-effective way. In order to avoid your recipient’s junk folders, however, you have to provide relevant, useful and interesting information in a way that will render correctly in the recipients email client.

Content is crucial
What you include will depend on your audience and the aim of your e-communication. eNewsletters with company news, features, reviews and link to reports and industry analysis - either on your website or blog - increase engagement and time spent with your brand.

Stories about company activities that don’t relate directly to the business, such as charity projects, staff achievements or CSR activity can help give your company a human face.

If you have different audiences then use dynamic content to disseminate relevant copy to each group. By keeping it relevant you will keep your subscribers. A relevant eNewsletter that delivers interesting and engaging content on a regular basis can become as habit-forming as reading a weekly business magazine.

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Why use LinkedIn in your b2b marketing mix?

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  29, October, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Since its beginnings in the living room of co-founder Reid Hoffman (pictured below) in 2002, LinkedIn has become the world’s largest professional network on the Internet.

It has more than 100 million members spread across more than 200 countries and territories, with more than five million members in the UK. Despite the meteoric rise of rival social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn remains the world’s most prominent business networking website.

You need to make LinkedIn a part of your social media management plans if you are setting out your social media stall in a b2b market.

Jason Alba, author of I’m On LinkedIn: Now What, identifies six major benefits to using LinkedIn:,

  • The ability to be known and enhance your personal brand
  • The ability to be found by recruiters or other hiring authorities
  • The ability to find others and make important connections
  • The opportunity to learn and share
  • The ability to connect with group members
  • The opportunity to show you are plugged in to current technology
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7 reasons why web video matters to business today

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  25, October, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Web video for business is big business. If you’ve got a website, then you will most certainly benefit from having video content on it.

Indeed, some of the world’s leading organisations use B2B online video to spark relationships and conversations.

People buy people
Having video on your website makes it easier for visitors to connect with your company. This is especially true if your video features you or your colleagues. People buy from people and they love to put a face to the brand. Show yourselves via video, and you grab that chance to make an instant and meaningful connection. That connection, of course, is what can ultimately lead to increased sales for your business.

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How to use effective social media marketing in b2b companies

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  24, October, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

social media marketingSocial media marketing is often thought of as the preserve of companies who deal with consumers, but it also has much to offer B2B businesses.

The important thing to remember is that behind any business, you’ll find people, and increasingly these days, where there are people there is social media. Furthermore, many buyers are part of the generation that embraces new technologies, and are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities that social media holds.

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e-publishing is now a viable option for any business

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  20, October, 2011  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

B2B publishing is the process of creating and distributing content to your prospects via e-newsletters and online publications – essentially, creating your own magazines and owning the media.

Publishing and distributing your own content helps you to make and maintain professional relationships. It increases your visibility, enhances your reputation and positions you as a thought leader in your field. The result may well be increased profits and improved ROI.

According to the 25 Minute Engagement Survey by the Association of Publishing Agencies (APA): “Customer magazines form stronger brand relationships. Brand loyalty increases by a third.”

There