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Inbound Marketing Age

Jeremy Knight

Jeremy Knight
Jeremy spent 20 years as a B2B publisher, creating publications targeting the private equity and fast growth business sectors before launching Equinet Media in 2009.

Recent Posts

Business Writing - 5 Components to Persuasive Content

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  13, February, 2020  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Editor's note: This blog was originally published in July 2012 and has since been updated for optimal accuracy and relevance. It was originally 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, on the other hand, 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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4 Benefits of Using White Papers in Your Content Marketing Strategy

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  31, October, 2019  |  1 Comment  Subscribe
Editor's note: This blog post was originally written in 2012 and has since been updated for accuracy and relevance.
 
The marketing landscape looks incredibly different since the original publishing date of this article, but the title still carries a lot of weight. White remain a powerful marketing tool, especially as a part of your B2B content marketing strategy.
 
So are you using white papers as a part of your content marketing strategy? If not, you might want to consider the benefits of the humble white paper - a content tool which is proving its staying power more than ever.
 
Many people think that a white paper can only be used to generate leads, but actually there are several other benefits of writing and using a white paper in your inbound marketing and content marketing strategy which are covered below:
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Lead generation and nurturing: designing effective workflows

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  6, September, 2019  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Editor's note: This blog was originally published in November 2012 and has since been updated for optimal accuracy and relevance.

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.

What is lead nurturing?

Lead nurturing is the process of using content to draw prospective customers through the sales funnel until they reach the decision to buy.

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5 key considerations for effective email marketing

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  31, July, 2019  |  1 Comment  Subscribe

Editors note: This blog post was originally published in November 2011 and has since been updated for optimal relevance and accuracy.

95% of us check our email every day, sometimes up to 20 times a day. We're glued to our mobile phones, making it easy for us to have constant access to our emails. In fact, 28% of us check our work email whilst in the bathroom!

Despite whispers that email marketing dead, the reality is that it remains one of the best ways to attract and retain customers. It offers a highly efficient channel at the heart of inbound marketing for communicating with clients in a targeted, measurable and cost-effective way.

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How to scale your business by building a media brand asset

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  3, June, 2019  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Scaling business owners face a race for attention in this increasingly ‘noisy’ world. And standing out to the people who matter is only getting harder.

Even with the democratisation of the internet, an overwhelming proliferation of mediums, channels, technologies and advice has led many to confusion or even paralysis in the wake of unfulfilled promises; it’s all about email, it’s all about SEO, oh, they’re dead.

So it’s all about content marketing, right? Content saturation!

But it’s never about just one thing or another; it’s always been ‘in the mix’ — the right mix for your audience.

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Getting your marketing mix right is more important than ever

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  6, November, 2018  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2012 but has since been updated for optimal accuracy and relevance.

Marketing is changing faster than ever. As you likely remember, there was once a time when B2B businesses would make cold calls or pay unsolicited visits to prospects to sell their products and services.

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How to deliver successful inbound marketing with agile scrum

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  5, June, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound marketing is a labour-intensive exercise. When done well that is. Success or failure lies in the marketing mix and your ability to pull the right levers at the right time. And the levers and the pressure you apply will always differ dependent on your particular circumstance. And, of course, the situations impacting your customers.

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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 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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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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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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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.

Organising successful Awards is about ownership and process. Somebody needs to project manage the entire procedure. They must ensure delivery of key elements within a tight schedule. And they will need to think on their feet and find solutions to problems as they occur.

To succeed, you must ensure there is a market for your event. Awards are ten a penny. If your idea lacks clarity, you are unlikely to generate the entries you need to succeed.

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

Written by Jeremy Knight  |  1, July, 2014  |  2 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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