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Inbound Marketing Age

Kirstine Storey

Kirstine Storey
Kirstine manages a number of key accounts, assisting clients with blogging, copywriting for eBooks, and developing new websites as well as heading up our managed email marketing service.

Recent Posts

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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How a content marketing novice made 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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SEO isn't Dead, it's Evolving

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  12, February, 2013  |  1 Comment  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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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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B2B email marketing: 10 ways to make your Calls to Action work

Written by Kirstine Storey  |  29, November, 2012  |  1 Comment  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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