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Content Marketing News & Analysis

Rev Up Your Content and Mobile Customer Experiences

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Congratulations. Your organization is moving down the digital transformation road with content and mobile strategies. There’s no turning back.

But are you exceeding audience expectations with a variety of digital, human and hybrid touches? If you’re unsure, your organization’s content engine -- or a more advanced stage known as a Culture of Content (CoC) -- might need oil or an overhaul.

How to Story-Sell without Annoying Your Customers

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Creating online experiences that are content-rich as well as easy to transact have become a holy grail for marketers and merchandisers alike.

Turn Touch Points into Trust Points

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The bar gets raised in the retail world every year. Research from Statista indicates that retail e-commerce sales figures in the United States during the 2014 holiday shopping season reached $53.3 billion -- that’s billion with a capital B.

It used to be enough to sell good products, maybe have a website that describes them and a good customer service center. But these days, you don’t really succeed unless you do all that plus reach people on a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, and get them to sing your praises on a slew of social media sites.

When Content Plays Support to E-Commerce's Lead

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Content has always been the primary focus of whatever setting and way it is to be used: novels are serial, broken only by chapters; non-fiction works are segmented by subject and accompanied by footnotes and references; work instructions are divided by processes, tasks and steps with references to parts, materials and commodities needed, and so on.

The content designer and creator always knew going in the role for the content being created. People --whatever their role -- have always been required to use the content as presented in order keep their job, succeed at their project or enjoy the story.

While it's true that some settings require content that can be used for multiple roles, this level of complexity is still confined to specific industries and settings.

With the rise of e-Commerce, everything has changed.

Leveling the E-Commerce Playing Field

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Brick-and-mortar stores have an advantage over e-tailers when it comes to keeping customers engaged --it’s much harder for prospects to walk away from a face-to-face interaction than to click away from a website. In-store customers also go to greater lengths to shop there than online browsers, so they’re likely to be more receptive to immediate sales messages. E-commerce is clearly on the rise with growth estimates of 13.9 percent from Nov. 1, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

True or False: Social Media Marketing Works

As someone who earns a living helping B2B marketers make social media work, I was surprised by a recent claim from Forrester Research. Marketers use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to engage customers and prospects, Forrester noted. But then it added: it’s not working.

That's not the case, based on my experience.

Marketers Beware: Terrifying Pitfalls of the Viral Meme

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Viral content has gone viral.

Several people, including many of my Facebook friends, have referenced or forwarded the King of Clickbait article by Andrew Marantz in the New Yorker. It's taking off like wild fire. Yes, it's gone viral.

Readers here may have noticed I'm obsessed with clickbait and have written about how it is denigrating the value of media and advertising. But people love the story. They read about these young viral geniuses working in their underwear making millions of dollars, and they think, "I want in!"

Be careful. There's a lot of hype, but mostly the people making money off this are the viral hype artists, not the marketers or even the readers. One problem is the disconnect between viral content and real audience engagement. Viral content is low engagement content. The other big problem is whether or not viral content even aligns with your marketing goals. Chances are, if you are a B2B marketer or industry executive, viral content does not apply to you.

5 Non-Negotiable Requirements for a CMS in 2015

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Content marketing and mobile are the digital marketing buzzwords for 2015. Next year, techniques like personalization, targeting and testing will be non-negotiable CMS features — and here's why.

Your customers are empowered like never before. They seek out information about your business on their own terms, on their own time. And they’ve got options: Google search, reviews, forums and social media all combine to shape their image of your company and its offerings.

If they’re interested, they can choose to visit your site or download your app. It’s their call. If you want to engage them, you have to provide appropriate, relevant and entertaining information. And make sure it is accessible on mobile, which has overtaken desktop consumption in the past year.

Merging the Yin-Yang of Content-Commerce

2014-12-December-Kitties.jpgSince the early days of e-commerce in the mid to late 90's, businesses had a vision to merge content and commerce into a seamless experience. What people discovered pretty quickly in the 90's was that merging content and commerce was really challenging. Little has changed since then, because while people would like to join the two, they really are more yin and yang -- contrary forces, yet complementary.

RIP Google Authorship: What It Means and What's Next

2014-11-December-Typewriter.jpgBack in 2012, AuthorRank was a hot topic among the SEO and inbound marketing sect.

Similar to PageRank, which aims to establish authority for domains and pages on those domains, AuthorRank was thought to be the key to measuring individual authority. Although Google never officially referred to it by that name, they patented techniques to use individual reputation as a search ranking suggested as much. Once awareness of the patent went public, the SEO industry quickly began talking about it as individual authority.

Author Authority would have made it much easier to rank people in different areas of expertise. It would reduce spam and scammy behavior, and push reputable content creators up the SERPs. What could possibly be wrong with that end result?

The excitement was nipped in the bud on Aug. 28, 2014 when, in a surprise move, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced via Google Plus that the Google Authorship program was coming to an abrupt ending.

Content and Commerce: Where Do We Go From Here?

2014-08-December-Weather-Vane.jpgForrester said it best in the title of a report: "Content and Commerce: The Odd Couple or The Power Couple?" According to the report, companies need cohesive digital customer experiences, but marketing and e-commerce groups often operate in silos with differing objectives, leading to a poorly integrated digital presence that confuses the customer, is difficult to manage and leaves revenue on the table.

Focus Your Content Marketing on the Digital Dialogue

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To stand out and be relevant in the digital world, you need content. Sounds simple, but the reality is very different. According to the Content Management Institute, marketers in businesses both small and large face challenges that range from producing sufficient quantities of engaging content, lack of integration across marketing, budget restraints, insufficient executive buy-in, limited measurement capabilities and skillset shortages.

Digital Community is Key to Your Brand

2014-25-November-GoPro-User.jpgDigital tools and social networks are making communities stronger and more important than ever for brands.

Whether it's your local burrito shop or GoPro, nurturing a community of active users can accelerate the brand development and spread the word over digital channels. Now, this might seem obvious, but is everybody doing it? Businesses that don't focus on building a digital community will have a hard time getting over the hump.

Salesforce Social Studio Targets Organizational Silos

Salesforce unveiled its Social Studio marketing platform inside its ExactTarget Marketing Cloud in May, which brought together $3.4 billion worth of acquisitions in a platform for social content marketing, engagement, publishing and analytics.

The platform gets a boost this month as the San Francisco CRM giant released enhancements to its Social Studio that include the ability to deliver messages to customers across the Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud from one platform.

SEO is Killing Content Quality

Search engine optimization (SEO) tips include website design best practices for how to get Google to rank your content higher in search engine results placement or SERP.

In fact, the preceding sentence is a great example of just how cumbersome this practice has made Web-based communications. By ensuring that I used the phrases, “search engine optimization (SEO) tips,” “website design best practices,” “how to get Google to rank your content higher” and “search engine results placement or SERP,” I’m virtually stuffing Google with the search phrases I want it to associate with my content.

But SEO tips aren’t the point of this article. In fact, SEO is the antithesis to my point.

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