Just Because You Go on Holiday Doesn’t Mean Your Social Media Strategy Has to Come Too

Summer has come and almost gone. You worked hard all year round and at some point this summer you hopefully gave yourself holiday. But was your social media strategy as prepared for this well-deserved break as you were?

Don’t Leave Your Plants Unwatered, Your Pets Unfed, or Your Social Channels Untended

More than ever, community and social media managers know that there’s no on-off switch for social media. And “be back soon” just doesn’t cut it. The demand to be online constantly means that our social media channels must be managed carefully, even while we’re away. Here we list 5 lessons learned on how to enjoy an uninterrupted holiday while keeping your social strategy well cared for.

#1 Keep your social media strategy ticking over with a content calendar

Social content calendars are needed all year round. However, they become critical in helping us plan in advance and communicate expectations when we’re away. We recommend having a clear content calendar that takes into account major events that are happening during our absence. The calendar serves as an overview of concise deadlines as to when our content, including videos, images, and blog posts should be posted.

#2 Schedule your social posts

With a clear overview of the content we want to share with our audience while we’re away, it’s time to schedule our posts. After all, our followers shouldn’t be deprived of helpful content because we’re enjoying a Pina Colada in Marbella. Media monitoring tools like Meltwater’s allow us to schedule our post and make sure that we keep our followers well fed with good and engaging content so that we’re not in for a shock at the reduction of followers and likes when we arrive back on British soil.

#3 Set up your alerts

The nature of our 24/7 online lives is that we have limited control over what is posted about our brand or when. However, logging in every 5 minutes while at the beach just isn’t practical (or needed). Real-time alerts for important keywords will save us from the bother, while keeping us posted on the issues that truly deserve our attention.

#4 Engage in real time, even when you’re away

To ensure that we stay in control of our social strategy, we advise having a dedicated team member taking care of our social accounts while we’re away. It’s important that our replacement maintain the same style, for example the way that we address social messages, our tone of voice, the overall brand message and identity.

#5 Share a selfie, but don’t spam!

Social media means H2H (human 2 human)! There is no harm in sharing a picture or two of your drink by the pool or your stroll along the boulevard—provided that your communications style allows for that. This can keep followers connected and engaged while you’re away and is a great way to help humanise the brand. Needless to say, over sharing too much holiday spam or inappropriate images might be considered offensive and could lead to losing followers (and jobs). Don’t wait for you next holiday to lay the groundwork for uninterrupted social media activity!

Interactive Content for Every Stage of the Sales Cycle

How many sales kits or pricing sheets do you receive from vendors every week? I’m guessing that you get at least one. And I bet you trash most of them before reading them, if you’re anything like me.

This behavior points to a huge problem, one we marketers don’t really like to talk about. When we think about improving our content creation efforts, we usually focus on top-of-funnel assets—the “editorial” content that’s fun and sexy. This is the content we get excited about, the content we add to our CVs and LinkedIn profiles, the content we win awards for.

What we don’t get super excited about is sales enablement content. Yes, we create it, because our sales teams need something to support their efforts. But whenever a sales asset request crosses our desk, we groan a little inside. We think: “Another sell sheet? Really? Didn’t we just create one of those a couple of months ago? Ugh.”

Part of why we think sales content is “boring” is because we’re still using the same formats marketers were using back in the late ‘90s. PowerPoints and PDFs have been around for ages. They’re not very exciting. Yet we continue to create the same old sales assets the same old way, year after year. No wonder we’re bored!

Now think about your content marketing program. Aren’t you developing awesome, exciting stuff like videos, microblogs, infographics, GIFs, and interactive content? So why aren’t you using those formats for sales enablement? It’s time to rethink your content at every stage of the sales cycle—not just at the beginning.

Interactive content can be a really powerful tool to draw in prospects, educate them on your products or services, and help them make a purchase decision. Let’s explore how you can use interactivity to create more compelling, effective assets all the way down the funnel.

Top-of-Funnel Lead Generation Content

We’re already seeing a lot of interactive content development for lead gen content marketing pieces. A few common use cases include:

Interactive Articles

Digital publishers are really raising the bar on what constitutes an “article,” and marketers should be following suit. For example, Mashable has started to add interactive elements like infographics and quizzes to their editorial content.

Interactive eBooks

Instead of gating static, boring PDFs for lead gen, businesses are investing in rich, interactive eBooks to entertain and educate their prospects. Content marketing leaders such as NewsCred are creating interactive guides and other long-form pieces for just this purpose.

NewsCred Interactive eBook

Interactive Infographics

Infographics are a great way to educate your market and drive lead generation; interactivity can really help to bring your data to life. For example, in this interactive infographic, Salesforce tells a compelling story about wearable technology and has clear CTAs to download the full report.

Interactive Landing Pages

Some assets like lengthy research reports may not lend themselves to an interactive treatment. However, you can make your landing pages a lot more interesting by incorporating interactive elements like animations or clickable graphics that give a small preview of the full piece.

Top-of-Funnel Lead Nurture Content

For lead nurture, you can use interactive content to address your prospects’ key pain points and propose solutions that tie into your business’s offerings. In addition to the content types mentioned above, a few other ideas include:

Interactive Whitepapers

Educate your audience on a topic relevant to their industry and share your stance with an interactive whitepaper that really makes your message stand out.

Interactive Microsites

Small, interactive microsites can help provide more in-depth coverage on a topic without requiring custom coding or testing to make sure it works across browsers. This jetpacks microsite from HP is a great example.

HP Jetpacks Microsite

Interactive Quizzes

A fun quiz can be a great way to engage with leads. With a “personality” style quiz, you can also learn more about your audience’s traits or preferences based on their answers, further informing your sales process.

Mid-Funnel Lead Qualification Content

Interactive content can be an effective way to gauge whether a lead is interested in you and qualified to be a customer.

Product Overviews

Sure, you have a company website that explains what you do, but a high-level interactive product overview can be a nice asset for leads to share with their teams before a demo.

Interactive Assessments

If you have a complex lead qualification process, it can save your sales team time to pre-score leads with an interactive assessment that gets some of the standard questions out of the way ahead of time.

Interactive Buyer Guides

For highly technical or big-budget products or services, an interactive buyer’s guide can help leads dive into the details of what your company has to offer. This interactive brochure from MINI is one way to approach a buyer’s guide.

MINI Interactive Buyer's Guide

Mid-Funnel Discovery Content

Explore your value propositions and solutions based on prospect’s specific needs using interactive presentations and examples.

Interactive Presentations

Instead of using a boring PowerPoint or Keynote deck in your initial demo call, create a dynamic interactive presentation that seamlessly pulls in rich media to help you show off your offerings.

Ceros Interactive Presentation

Interactive Examples

Show how other customers are using your products or services in real life with an interactive roundup that provides dynamic examples your prospects can relate to.

Bottom-Funnel Evaluation Content

The moment when your buyers are shopping around for alternatives—and trust me, everyone shops around—is the moment when you most need to prove that your solution is the best one. Interactive content can help you make your point in a dynamic, unique way.

Interactive Case Studies

A PDF really can’t capture the excitement of happy clients or bring their story to life. With an interactive case study, you can include sound clips, video footage, and interactive stats to really wow potential customers.

ROI Calculators

If budget is an issue, an interactive calculator can be a great way to prove the payoff of using your product or services by showing the expected ROI.

Competitive Comparisons

We’ve all created competitive grids like this before, whether for internal use or for distribution to prospects:

Competitor Grid

With a little interactivity, you could make something a lot more powerful that really drives home how your tool is better than your competitors’.

Bottom-Funnel Purchase Content

Clinch the deal by providing all information and terms needed to close a deal—without sending over the usual boring documents.

Interactive FAQ

Your sales team probably has a list of common questions prospects ask during the final stages of the sales cycle. Instead of having a long, tedious web page, create an interactive FAQ that makes it easy for people to jump to the answers they care about. You can even include short how-to videos for really important or complex questions.

Interactive Pricing Calculator

Help your budget approvers figure out exactly how much your products or services will cost based on the plan they’re interested in with a dynamic pricing calculator.

Interactive Sales Proposal

A sales proposal should be easy to read, review, and share so that all team members feel good about the investment. An interactive proposal can help secondary approvers get a quick overview of what it is the team wants to buy and why it’s worth the investment.

The Bottom Line

Interactive content can help you foster richer interactions with leads at all stages of the purchase funnel. Hopefully these examples and ideas will help you get fired up about creating some new, not boring assets to help your sales team convert prospects into customers!

 

 

This article was written by Ashley Taylor Anderson from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


20 Brilliant B2B Marketing and Digital Business Stats and Facts

B2B marketers today certainly live in “interesting times” (in the sense of the not-actually-Chinese curse).

While search, social media, ecommerce and content marketing have dramatically altered the roles of buyers and sellers, a number of traditional channels (that is, pre-dating millennials) remain highly effective.

Image Credit: B2B Marketing Insider

The collection of facts and stats below shed light on this paradox, as well as other insights. Here are four key takeaways from this research for B2B marketers:

  • Sales people won’t disappear, but their role is changing, and many are struggling to adapt. 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared; product demonstrations are among the least-valued types of information for buyers; and half of all B2B purchases may be made directly online by 2018. To succeed, B2B sales people need to focus on the three Rs—no, not reading, `riting and `rythmetic, but rather responsiveness (50% of sales go to the first salesperson to contact a prospect), relationships, and references.
  • Social media accounts are like seat belts; they’re only effective if you actually use them. 55% of B2B buyers say they search for product/vendor information on social media. Yet while 95% of B2B marketers have created corporate social media accounts, half are still not active on social media on a regular basis.
  • Don’t rely too much on advertising. Ads certainly have their place in a web presence optimization (WPO) framework, as the “paid” pillar in the paid-owned-shared-earned (POSE) media model. Search ads are effective for capturing immediate demand and display ads are useful for brand awareness. But 80% of B2B decision makers prefer to get information from articles rather than advertising, and 40% of millennials don’t trust ads—so strong organic tactics need to be part of the mix as well.
  • The classics still rock. Despite the tremendous growth in digital marketing, several basic old-school marketing channels remain highly effective. Trade shows remain the top source for B2B lead generation, with 77% of marketers saying they generate a significant quantity of leads. 59% of CMOs still say print marketing is an effective channel—and 64% of buyers cite print among their trusted sources of information—while 51% still see value in direct mail.

Get more inspiration from these 20 B2B marketing and digital business stats and facts.

12 B2B Marketing Facts and Statistics

1. Death of the salesman? When purchasing online, B2B buyers rate pricing as the most useful information (though not, generally, special offers or discounts). Technical information and specifications are the next-most important topic. Product demonstrations are least valued. (V3B Blog)

2. 55% of B2B buyers search for information on social media. (Biznology)

3. Today’s sales process takes 22% longer than 5 years ago. (Biznology)

4. 91% of customer say they’d give referrals; only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals. And 82% of B2B decision makers think sales reps are unprepared. (Biznology)

5. 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. (B2B PR Sense Blog)

6. B2B customers now expect the same range of omnichannel buying options they enjoy as consumers – which is why almost half of B2B buyers (49%) prefer to use consumer websites to make work-related purchases. (The Future of Commerce)

7. 52% of B2B buyers say they expect half of their purchases to be made online by 2018. (The Future of Commerce)

8. 78% of B2B customers (and 83% of consumers) say fulfillment options – such as next-day delivery – are important or very important. (The Future of Commerce)

9. Although 95% of B2B marketers have created corporate social media accounts, half still are not active on social media on a regular basis–and just 10% feel they are able to articulate the business value of social media efforts. (MediaPost)

10. Good old-fashioned trade shows remain the top source for B2B lead generation, with 77% of marketers saying they generate a significant quantity of leads, and 82% saying they generate high-quality leads. (MediaPost)

11. The average cost of a B2B sales lead varies widely by industry. Healthcare leads are most expensive ($60) followed by business/finance ($43). At the low end are leads for marketing products/services ($32) and technology ($31). (B2B Marketing Insider)

12. Just 34% of B2B organizations say they touch leads with lead nurturing on a monthly basis. (B2B Marketing Insider)

8 Other Digital Business Stats and Facts

13. Six of the ten busiest websites are based in the U.S. – but 86% of their visitors come from outside America. (TechCrunch)

14. 15 of the 25 largest U.S. tech companies were founded by first- or second-generation Americans. (TechCrunch)

15. Marketing is all about digital now, right? Not quite. 59% of CMOs still say print advertising is an effective marketing channel. 58% say the same for TV, 51% direct mail, and almost half radio and telemarketing. (AdWeek)

16. The larger the company, the higher the marketing expense budget as a percentage of revenue. Firms with revenue of $5 billion or more spend on average 11 percent, compared with 9.2 percent for those with revenue between $500 million and $1 billion. Marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue varied widely, with nearly half of companies (46%) spending less than 9% of revenue; 24% spending 9-13% of revenue; and 30% spending more than 13% of revenue. (Gartner)

17. 40% of millennials (aged 25-34) don’t trust advertising. Marketers trying to appeal to this group need to understand that, but also that this group is highly educated (33% have a college degree) but struggling financially: many have student loan debt, 52% don’t have enough money to cover basic living costs, and 35% are either unemployed or work part-time. (Heidi Cohen)

18. 50% of sales go the first salesperson to contact a prospect. (Biznology)

19. So much for the “death” of old media. Though the heyday of print may be over, the two most trusted sources of information remain the online versions of traditional media outlets (68%) and print (64%). Blogs come in at 21% (ugh). (Cision)

20. 14% of businesses fail due to poor marketing. (B2B PR Sense Blog)

 

This article was written by Tom Pick from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Top 7 SEO Tools to Boost Your Content Marketing

Content marketing is becoming more important than ever before. Recent statistics show that B2B companies that uses content generate 67% more leads than those that do not.

While content marketing holds scads of benefits, it also involves some level of work; and finding the right tools to power your content marketing campaigns can make it even more daunting and time-consuming.

So, to help streamline the process, here are 7 helpful SEO tools you can use to improve your content marketing and position your business for growth:

1. Squirrly

Squirrly is a WordPress SEO plugin which lets you do keyword research right in your post editor.

Squirrly

If you like to write content that’s both SEO and human-friendly, then this tool is for you. It not only let you optimize content, but also lets you measure the success of the content optimized.

Squirrly has a number of tools on its dashboard, but one notable tool which can help boost your content marketing is the Keyword Research Tool.

This tool helps you find the most relevant keywords for your articles. It also finds keywords used by your competition based on the specific keyword you entered.

With those keywords, you can craft winning content that’ll get ranked.

Squirrly also shows what phrases are trending, useful for writing sharable content.

2. Google Keyword Planner

Though the Google Keyword Planner tool is mainly associated with PPC and SEO , you can also use it to enhance your content marketing strategy.

Specifically, there are three key features that are germane to content marketers:

  1. Search for new keywords and ad group ideasThis feature is useful for generating content ideas. When you enter a word in the search bar, the tool will generate new keywords from the search. From the new keywords, you can find content ideas that are related to the keyword you entered.
  2. Get search volume for a list of keywordsThis feature allows you to examine the popularity of the keyword. Precisely, you can see stats like average monthly searches and the level of competition a keyword has—high, medium, or low (though the level of competition is for PPC only).You can follow the stats to pick keywords that have high search volume and low competition (which are the best keywords to use for effective content marketing).
  3. Multiply keyword list to get new keyword ideasThis feature enables you to create new keyword combinations.It does this by allowing you to enter the keywords into different columns. By this, you’d be able to discover new keyword combinations that you can use as content ideas. This will help you pick long tail keywords which works best when it comes to content marketing.

Google Keyword Planner

3. Google Trends

Google Trends shows the popularity of a given search term over time; it shows how often people search for a keyword and where they are searching from.

This tool helps you stay ahead in your keyword research; it helps you see which keywords are best for your content strategy and which region to target.

Google Trends has many search-related features which can be useful for content marketers.

These include:

  • Trending searches
  • Trending on YouTube
  • Top Charts
  • Google Correlate
  • Explore

These features will help you see where you’re going.

For instance, after doing your keyword research on Keyword Planner, you can run the keyword through Google Trends to see if it’s waning or rising in popularity.

Google Trends shows a list of related search term after entering a keyword; this makes it a breeze to find new content ideas that people are interested in.

For instance, after entering the term “content marketing,” Google Trends suggests the following keywords which also have high search volumes:

Google Trends

Using Google Trends, you can also create a yearly editorial calendar for your content marketing campaign. That’s because Google Trends shows you those events and topics that gain traction at certain times of the year.

Google Trends

While it’s not completely advisable to base your content on trends, Google Trends is a great way to discover what people are talking about in your niche market.

4. Ahrefs Content Explorer

One way of creating great content is to find the most shared content in your niche, follow its structure and try reproducing the same for yourself.

Content Explorer by Ahrefs helps you do just this.

With this tool, you can discover top-performing content in terms of social sharing, get to see the keywords used in the content, and model the same by crafting your own content around that topic.

This will help you come up with content that will outperform the competition or at least produce similar results.

Content Explorer is pretty easy to use: Just enter your keywords into the search bar and the tool will list out the most shared content based on the keyword you entered.

For instance, the screenshot below shows the results for “content marketing.”

Ahrefs Content Explorer

5. Google Analytics

It’s not just enough to create content. The content you create should bring you a measurable ROI.

Google Analytics helps you measure the ROI of your content.

But beyond that, you can use Google Analytics for nearly every aspect of content marketing—brainstorming/idea generation, targeting, optimization, testing etc.

Google Analytics

For one, you can use GA to see what content your visitors like and then follow through to create more of that kind of content.

You can do this by going to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

The result will look something like this:

Google Analytics

6. Keywordtool.io

Keywordtool.io is a free tool for finding the words that people search for on Google.

Keywordtool.io

This tool uses Google’s Autocomplete to provide users with great keyword ideas by generating over 750 long-tail keyword suggestions. It also works with 83 languages and 194 Google-owned domains.

Even more, Keywordtool.io allows users to export the keyword data to a spreadsheet where they can then examine and further categorize the same.

Here’s a screenshot example of Keyword Tool’s results with “content marketing” as the search term:

Keywordtool.io

7. QuickSprout

While QuickSprout mainly shows results for SEO and site speed, you can also use it for content marketing purposes.

QuickSprout

After entering your competitor’s URL, click on the Social Media Analysis feature. There, you’ll see which content on the site received the most social shares.

Here’s how it’ll look:

QuickSprout

The information shown there will let you in on what types of content readers love the most. With that, you can go ahead and create something better.

Conclusion

With the right tools in your hands, you can improve your content marketing, make your website and blog more effective and drive as much traffic as you want.

Get your hands on the tools mentioned above, put them to use and better your content.

What tools do you use in your content marketing operations? Share with us in the comment section below.

 

This article was written by Navneet Kaushal from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Influencer Reveals All: Kate Russell on Successful PR Outreach

How do you influence an influencer? We were wondering the same thing.  So when our BrainFood roadshow recently made a stop in London this summer, we asked technology reporter and journalist Kate Russell to drop by and discuss what it takes for PR pros to get her attention—and through her, the attention of her fans and followers.

Kate Russell on Influencing the Influencer

Watch the rest of the videos in this series, including presentations from Rafe Offer (Sofar Sounds), Peter Draper (Loose Lips), and our own Jorn Lyseggen.