Posts archived in Blogging

the rise of long-form content
Photo credit: Steve Rhodes (Flickr)

“This blog post is too long.”

“We need to cut this down to 500 words.”

“Make this shorter. Maybe split the blog post into two?”

As a social media manager, I’ve heard these comments numerous times before. Many marketers are biased against long-form content. “Less is more,” they claim. “People have short attention spans.”

It is true that being concise is often a good thing. That’s why Twitter is such a hit: It forces us to distill our thoughts and communicate only what’s truly important.

But having short content for the sake of having short content is not valuable…and it’s not a good content strategy. Brevity shouldn’t come at the price of completeness.

The rise of Big Content

In the past year, several well-respected SEO and marketing folks have been advocating for “big content.” And when people say “big content,” they often mean long-form content. But it’s worth noting that marketers and analysts are using the term “big content” differently:

  • Craig Roth from Gartner says big content is “a term that helps highlight the subset of Big Data related to the less-structured side of it.  Big Content isn’t new or different than Big Data; rather it helps focus on uses of Big Data for unstructured information for the kind of folks that think the Library of Congress is filled with ‘content’, not ‘data.’”
  • Contrast this with this definition from Moz’s Dr. Peter J. Meyers’ definition. He says big content is the type of content that takes time and effort, that breaks the mold and that talks about big concepts. In other words, he’s talking about pieces of content—either a blog post, an interactive infographic, an ebook, etc.—that is well-researched and that is often (but not always) lengthy.

Big content should serve a higher purpose in your company than just to increase pageviews. In this post, my focus is more aligned with Moz’s definition. I’ll cover why long-form content should be part of your content marketing mix. (To be clear, I am not advocating that you stop creating shorter blog posts. The point of this post is to highlight why creating long-form content in addition to shorter pieces is a great idea.)

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upworthy - content creation
Photo: Steve Rhodes (Creative Commons)

Love Upworthy’s headlines? Here’s the secret to their success.

Actually, scratch that. Recently, Upworthy—the left-leaning viral content website and the fastest growing media site of all time—provided some helpful tips on how to create viral content.

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Personalizando WordPress 1.5

Marketers today are more savvy in content marketing than ever. In fact,  76% of B2B content marketers indicate that their brand already own a corporate blog. But the content beast is insatiable: “Lack of time” and “producing enough content” are top challenges that content marketers contend with, according to a MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute study.

This predicament is something I’m very familiar with. As part of a small social media team for a B2B software company, one of the many things that really keep me up at night is how to grow our company’s blog. This challenge is partly about engaging and relevant content: How do you consistently produce content that your target audience will love? But on the other hand, it’s also about distribution: How do you increase readership and attract the right people? 

The good news is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. Many B2B corporate blogs are already doing well. If you’re looking for some great examples, consider the following:

Marketo

URL: http://blog.marketo.com
About Marketo Marketing blog: Marketo, a marketing automation software company, keeps a steady stream of blog posts. In most weeks, they produce 4 to 5 quality blog posts, which is no easy feat.

What you can learn from Marketo:

  1. Make it easy for people to subscribe. If you look at the right hand side of the Marketo blog, you’ll see a persistent form that invites people to sign up.
  2. Invite people to stay longer. Share a list of your blog’s most shared posts to get people to access your hottest content.
  3. Keep it fun! Marketo occasionally publish fun—but still relevant—blog posts. To see an example, check out their post on the 17 Signs You Eat, Sleep, and Breathe Social Media.

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Invest in Content

Released this week, the B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report provides insights on how brands can win the content marketing race.

Prepared by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, the report shares data from a survey of 1,217 (out of the total 4,397) respondents who identified themselves as B2B marketers in North America. Now in its fourth year, this report gives a glimpse into the current state of content marketing and where it’s headed next year.

If you’re looking to improve your company’s content marketing for 2014, here are insights from the report to keep in mind:

8 content marketing tips to pursue in 2014

  1. Implement a content marketing strategy.

Successful content marketing begins by having a strategy in place. The report shows that 66% of marketers with a documented marketing strategy consider themselves effective, while only 11% of those without a documented strategy are likely to make the same claim. This finding is not exactly surprising, but it reiterates the need to document a strategy that specifies your target audiences, goals, and tactics.

  • Click to tweet: B2B marketers who have a documented content strategy are far more likely to consider themselves effective.
  • Click to tweet: The most effective B2B marketers spend more of their budgets on content marketing than their least effective peers.

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crushed paper - writer's block - crumpled paper with unfocused background
Photo credit: Planetofsuccess.com  via Flickr

If your job requires any type of content creation, you’ve probably experienced writer’s block at one point.

This productivity killer affects us all. Even great writers suffer through it.

A recent Hubspot presentation outlined some tips on how to tackle this debilitating problem. Here are 10 tips from the presentations and my take on them.

1.  Create an editorial calendar — and stick to it.

If you’re not sure what to write about, an editorial calendar keeps you on track.

I’d also suggest using Evernote or another similar app where you can jot down ideas on the go. Good ideas can come at random times.

Also, have a handful of backup topics at any given time. Pin future topic ideas on a Pinterest board, or bookmark recent infographics and Slideshare presentations that have caught your eye. These are all possible sources of content you can write about.

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