6 Steps (And One Tool) to Clean Up Content Messes

By Greg Verdino

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“Do our content reviews need to take so long?”

“Why do our writers keep reinventing the wheel?”

“Why do the articles in the same part of our website take such different approaches?”

If you’re up against questions like these, you have content messes on your hands. And you can bet that your prospects and customers get frustrated trying to find what they need hidden in those messes.

You’re not alone. We hear these things almost every time we revamp a website. A company has built a huge inventory of content, often created by multiple authors. What might have started as useful, usable content created in a consistent way has turned into a mess, which is made worse when the website’s sections are owned by multiple teams. Inconsistency reigns, and the content experience suffers — either for the whole site or for a section where a visitor might expect every page to deliver the same type of information in the same way.

What can you do?

Identify the types of content your audience needs most. Then, for each type of content, create a fill-in-the-blank template that all authors can use. A template like that — basically a form or a descriptive outline — improves the consistency and quality of your content assets. A content template is a tool your teams can use to clean up content messes.

In this article, I describe six steps to create your own content templates.

What is a content template?

In case you’re not sure what I mean by “content template,” let me tell you about one that my team developed for a private-equity firm for a certain type of content it creates over and over: the profile of a portfolio company. This particular content template includes elements like these:

Content Marketing Takes a Turn for the Better: New 2017 Research

By Joe Pulizzi

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If you were able to join us at Content Marketing World — or have been following some of the coverage — you know that the tides are turning. While last year at this time we were facing the trough of disillusionment, the energy and momentum we are seeing right now are far more positive. In fact, our newest research, B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, backs this up.

Sixty-two percent of B2B marketers in North America say that compared to one year ago, their organization’s overall approach to content marketing has been much more or somewhat more successful.

This was just one of the findings in Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs’ B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America sponsored by Brightcove.

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To what factors do marketers attribute this increased success? The top two factors are: doing a better job with content creation (85%) and developing or adjusting their content marketing strategy (72%).

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In addition to asking marketers to identify why they are more successful, we also have research to identify what top performers are doing differently than their peers. Our study defined top performers as those who characterize their organization’s overall content marketing approach as extremely or very successful.

As we have seen in past years, successful marketers do a few things differently. They:

  • Document their content marketing strategy (Learn how.)

Top performing marketers document their #contentmarketing strategy via @cmicontent. #research
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Top performing marketers have clarity of what #contentmarketing success looks …read more

Source:: content marketing

11 Smart Marketing Examples That Nail Visual Content

By Sujan Patel

It’s no secret that visual content is powerful. Numerous studies show that our ability to recall information increases significantly when it’s presented as an image rather than plain text.

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Image source

That’s why infographics, despite the fact that they are everywhere, are still effective when done well.


Infographics are still effective when done well says @sujanpatel. #contentmarketing
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What that means, as summarized by Jeff Bullas, is that an infographic (and visual content as a whole) should:

  • Blend seamlessly into the user experience
  • Fit the platform used to share it
  • Offer genuine value — never an aggressive attempt to sell
  • Be bite-sized — quick and easy to consume
  • Relate to the things your audience cares about
  • Be consistent in style and tone

Visual content isn’t going away. It always has played a critical role in marketing (and probably always will), as shown in these 10 examples.

1. One Day Without Shoes

TOMS’ #WithoutShoes campaign is designed to raise awareness of how an inability to afford or access shoes can affect a child’s quality of life, such as not being able to go to school.

Of course, TOMS is doing more than simply raising awareness. For each person who posts a unique image of bare feet with the hashtag #withoutshoes on Instagram on the designated day, TOMS donated a pair of shoes to a child.

Last year, more than 27,000 children in 10 countries received new shoes as a result of this campaign.

toms-without-shoes-campaign

The success of this campaign is due to the stunning-yet-evocative user-generated …read more

Source:: content marketing

3 Tips to More Accurately Measure Your Content Effort

By Jacob Warwick

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Many people jump into content marketing because they were inspired by all the success stories and case studies they read. You know what I’m talking about, the content marketing for content marketing.

But while content marketing seems straightforward, actually measuring its success can be challenging in practice. Customer journey mapping, attribution modeling, and segmentation can help you improve and more accurately measure your content marketing efforts.

1. Identify and document content goals with customer journey mapping

Before getting into the more technical aspects of measuring your content, it’s paramount that you create clear goals for benchmarking purposes. Without a system of measurement, you won’t be able to make data-informed decisions — and that’s simply no good.


Without a system of measurement, you won’t be able to make data-informed decisions says @jacobwarwick.
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To identify your content goals, use a process called customer journey mapping.

Customer journey mapping is a technique that can help you better understand your customer’s experiences through their interactions and touchpoints with your brand, wherever the customer may be in the lead cycle. It also aligns your content efforts with personas and identifies gaps and optimization opportunities within your content.

First, document the five stages of your customer’s journey: awareness, interest, evaluation, decision, and retention. Using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets should suffice.

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Image source: Blast Analytics and Marketing: Customer Journey Mapping

Next, craft goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for each stage.

For example, your overall goal could be to increase leads 15% or boost white paper downloads by 50%. Regardless, each stage of the customer journey can drive those goals and should have KPIs to keep …read more

Source:: content marketing

Podcasting Pioneers Explain Value of Audio Content and Rookie Mistakes to Avoid

By Clare McDermott

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As This Old Marketing approaches its 150th taping, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose wax philosophical about why podcasting is so powerful, and the rookie mistakes they now avoid.

A handful of marketing contrarians have been predicting a spike for podcasting for a few years. While a steep climb hasn’t materialized, audio content is rising steadily in popularity year over year. According to the Pew Research Foundation, the percent of Americans who had listened to a podcast within the previous 30 days more than doubled between 2008 and 2016 (9% to 21%). The numbers look better among younger Americans. A study by ypulse found 35% of Millennials ages 18 to 34 regularly follow at least one podcast.


35% of Millennials ages 18 to 34 regularly follow at least one #podcast via @ypulse.
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The % of Americans who listened to a #podcast w/in previous 30 days doubled from 2008 to 2016 via @pewresearch.
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Is it high time for an audio revolution? The New York Times reports that many amateur podcasters are going professional as major media companies invest in this new form of digital publishing (May 7, 2016). Advertisers are getting in on the action too: They expect to spend $35 million on podcasts in 2016 (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 18, 2016). And even a few big venture-capital deals in the space signal that the industry may be poised to grow even more.

Ready to launch a podcast?

As content-heavy brands consider new channels, podcasting should be on the table, say Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, hosts of This Old Marketing. “Podcasting is different because it’s an extremely intimate way to interact with your audience,” says Rose, chief content …read more

Source:: content marketing

This Week in Content Marketing: Digital Advertising Will Survive by Limiting Inventory

By Joe Pulizzi

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PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher.

In this episode, Adblock Plus starts its own ad network (or does it?). Robert and I also discuss the future of advertising, analyze AT&T’s aim to become a media company (of course), and share our thoughts on whether or not content marketing is hard to measure. Rants and raves include a lengthy talk about diversity in the event business, then we wrap up with our example of the week: Walmart World.

This week’s show

(Recorded live on September 19, 2016; Length: 1:03:11)

Download this week’s PNR This Old Marketing podcast.

If you enjoy our PNR podcasts, we would love if you would rate it, or post a review, on iTunes.

1. Content marketing in the news

  • Adblock Plus may or may not have switched its advertising alliance (06:42): Confusion abounded after ad-blocking technology company Adblock Plus announced its new ad exchange platform, which many have interpreted as the company’s decision to start selling ads. An interview with Adblock Chairman Tim Schumacher on Contently explains the motivations behind the surprising move — and the backlash that ensued — in more detail. But Robert feels the bigger question here is why publishers are letting third parties dictate the terms of ad inventory, when they should be serving higher-quality content experiences themselves.
  • Is AT&T trying to transform into a media advertising company? (17:28): A recent article on the CNBC website examines evidence that may indicate the telecom giant is in the market for a media-company M&A play. As the …read more

    Source:: content marketing

Say Cheese for These 7 Free Stock-Photo Sites

By Itai Sadan

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Whether you promote content that is fresh or seasonal, evergreen or topical, your endeavor will be meaningless if it doesn’t make your readers sizzle and pop with excitement. How do you capture the attention of your audience without crafting content from scratch?

Perhaps all you need is a high-quality photo. Not a bland, lifeless image, but an attention-grabbing picture — one with a story behind it. Maybe you need a series of compelling images if you’re marketing a lengthy content piece.

Research shows that:


Articles with images receive 94% more views than articles without images via @jeffbullas. #visualcontent
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How’s that music for your ears?

High-quality imagery is hard to come by without a significant investment. Having access to a number of free, high-quality, stock-image sites can make it easier. To this end, I’ve put together a list of free cream-of-the-crop sites.

  1. Unsplash: Ten new images are released every 10 days under the Creative Commons Zero license. The uniqueness of the images is what makes this resource intriguing. There are several high-resolution photos to choose from, with exceptional effects and almost Instagram-style filters.

Every image features a link to the photographer’s bio in case you want to know more about a certain image. Just scroll through the Unsplash royalty-free photo collection to discover mystical mountain ranges, faraway rivers, and even natural roads in their high-resolution glory. With several options to choose from, you won’t be forced to use any cheesy handshake shots in your content.

  1. StockSnap.io: The site says it’s “not …read more

    Source:: content marketing

What Librarians Can Teach Marketers About Weeding Out ROT

By Jessica Coccimiglio

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Editor’s note: This article grew out of a post published on the Content Strategy Inc. blog May 16, 2016.

Librarians can’t keep everything; bookshelves have only so much space. As books come in, books must go out. Librarians call the process of removing books from their collection “de-accessioning” or, more casually, “weeding.”

Marketers may use the term weeding, or they may talk about getting rid of ROT (redundant, outdated, trivial content). Whichever term you prefer, you probably know that you should archive or delete content that hurts you more than it helps. Who’s going to land a good job today with career tips from the 1970s?


Archive or delete #content that hurts you more than it helps says @jess_604. #contentstrategy
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Removing content from your site doesn’t mean it’s bad. It may have been perfectly good when it originally went up. But times change, and so should content.

Think of this process the way you think about buying clothes: Every time you add a piece, you’d be wise to consider removing something to make room in your closet.

Do you think of digital space (unlike closet space) as unlimited? Do you ever find yourself wanting to keep certain pieces of content because they could maybe someday be useful to someone — like that one user who needs to know a particular detail about the history of your organization or who may find a post helpful even if it talks about programs you no longer support? If so, keep in mind that just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it costs nothing to keep. Every link, paragraph, picture, and video that you keep — even though your priority audience doesn’t need it — makes it harder for that audience to find what it does need.


Just because it’s digital doesn’t mean it …read more

Source:: content marketing

3 Customer Research Tactics to Help Content Creation

By Tom Whatley

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As a marketer, you likely have a comprehensive marketing stack at your disposal — tools to help create compelling content, promote it, etc.

But which tools help you understand the challenges of your audience? Companies that focus on their customers are 60% more profitable than “non-customer-centric” companies according to Deloitte.


Companies that focus on their customers are 60% more profitable than ones that don’t says @deloitte.
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Similar results can apply to customer-centric content.

These three tactics will help yield information from your customers. You’ll understand their needs, challenges, and what they want to learn about.

Then you can take that insight and turn it into conversion-driven content. Let’s dig in.

1. Look at your website visitors

Users visiting your website, app, or online store are a gold mine of insight. What better place to look for content ideas than your own users?


Users visiting your website, app, or online store are a gold mine of insight says @TheTomWhatley.
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To gather this insight, Google Analytics is usually the first and obvious place to look — find out what content on your site your audience is already engaging with.

To do this, open Google Analytics and head to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages and make sure the results are ordered by page views:

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In this example, three pieces of content rank in the top 10 page views. They have a decent time on site — except for the e-book, which is a landing page.

But Google Analytics only shows us the surface data and it’s difficult to curate this data into one place.

One tool that solves this problem is Woopra, a customer-intelligence platform that builds a profile for every website visitor, app user, and customer. It pulls data in from several sources (live chat, …read more

Source:: content marketing

Will the Content Bubble Burst? What’s Next?

By Aaron Agius

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As much as I love content marketing, when I look around at the sheer number of people using it, I’m reminded of another frenzy that didn’t end well — the dot-com bubble.

Remember when everyone and their cat was launching a company or selling a domain name for tens of thousands of dollars?

Until it came crashing down.

There’s a lot of buzz about whether the same thing will happen to content since we’ve gone from only the early adopters embracing it to every HVAC business and nail salon jumping on the content bandwagon.

And every second, 17 new blog posts are published. Isn’t there only so much content we can take?


Every second, 17 new #blog posts are published via @TheTorqueMag.
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What happens when we reach the point of saturation? Can we reach the point of saturation?

Why the bubble won’t burst, but will change

The fundamental difference between the content bubble and the dot-com bubble is that we’re smarter.

Content already has evolved. Ten years ago, we were slapping articles up on article directories, now we’re focusing on highly targeted content that informs and assists our readers.

We’ve moved from people using encyclopedias to get information (OK, that was more than 10 years ago) to relying on their smartphones to give them information anytime, anywhere. That’s thanks to content.

While I don’t think the bubble will burst and content will dry up, I do think that it will continue to adapt to our ever-changing needs, as well as to new technology that modifies how we consume and interact with data (think Amazon’s Echo).

Rather than preparing for the content apocalypse, I encourage you to simply be open to how this inundation of content — both useful and utter drivel — will change in the near future, and be ready to …read more

Source:: content marketing