The Smart (and Not-So-Smart) Ways to Use Vanity Metrics

By Daniel Hochuli


Using vanity metrics to measure the performance of content campaigns on social media is perhaps one of the simplest things to do in marketing, but also one of the most difficult.

It’s simple because vanity metrics are easy to obtain in large numbers – all platforms supply them; it’s difficult because they are often ambiguous when it comes to reporting a return on investment (ROI) or value to a business. It’s this second point that is the thorn in the side of many marketers struggling to discover the true value of a vanity metric to a business.

In this article, “vanity metrics” include impressions, “likes,” shares, comments, followers, open rates, views, traffic, time on site, bounce rate, and many more. Often called “engagement metrics” or “consumption metrics,” they simply are the most-used metrics in social media, content marketing, digital advertising, PR, and inbound campaigns to measure the performance and success of our marketing efforts.

As far as the numbers go, vanity metrics look great on paper. But the sheen on these numbers fades when you try to use them to explain important business outcomes like ROI or customer lifetime value (CLTV); they become hollow digits that contribute little substance to proving your marketing is making money.

The sheen of vanity metrics fades when explaining #ROI or customer lifetime value, says @LogocracyCopy.
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A case in point, the number of “likes” earned from a Facebook post rarely correlates to the number of products sold on a store shelf. Some would argue that there is no correlation at all. Indeed, it is possible to make more sales from a post with only one “like” than from a post with 10,000 “likes.” The number of engagements is usually irrelevant to the number of sales. There is no clear correlation or causation between the …read more

Source:: content marketing

How to Take an Audience-First Approach to Your Content

By Carlijn Postma


How do you identify an effective space in the content arena for your brand? Take a journey with your audience.

We developed the audience journey as a tool for content marketers. Its sole purpose is to align your brand’s content with the needs of your audience. It is based on the hero’s journey – a model commonly used in storytelling to attract and retain the attention of the audience throughout a narrative. And that’s why we use the same 12 steps of the hero’s journey but in a modified form.

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This journey is a tool to get insight into your audience’s needs, not a chronological process. Remember, your audience decides what content it will consume, when it wants to consume it, and where. Your brand should be ready for them with the right content at the right time and in the right place. And that’s exactly what you will learn from this audience journey model.

Let’s go step by step and follow an example of how a brand like Maggi might do it. A Nestle brand, Maggi produces seasonings, sauces, and instant noodles. It lives in a very competitive food content space – everything from TV channels devoted to the topic to websites as well as countless bloggers and vloggers.

Note: We selected Maggi because it already has taken some of these steps in the audience journey and is making more progress to carve a niche within a competitive food-related content industry. It focuses on “help” content. For example, it created a digital meal planner to fill out with kids that comes with a task list, summary of pantry items, and a shopping bingo card. It also has made a clear choice for its content niche – help-related information, which includes planning, cooking, and eating.


Source:: content marketing

This Week in Content Marketing: Is Google’s Subscription Gift to Publishers a Trojan Horse?

By Joe Pulizzi

content-marketing-institute-master-class-schedule (1)

PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher. If you enjoy our show, we would love it if you would rate it or post a review on iTunes.

In this week’s episode

This week, Robert ponders spurts of success. In the news, we discuss Google’s olive branch to publishers (and why it may not mean what we think it means), Amazon’s blitz on the advertising business, and Blue Apron’s decision to double-down on podcasting. Our rants and raves include Lloyds Bank’s big bet on content marketing and Amazon’s cautionary tale on business models; then we close the show with an example of the week on The Points Guy.

Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast

Show details

  • (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “Westinghouse’s single-dial controls.”
  • (00:40): Robert muses on this week’s theme: Are you succeeding in spurts?
  • (06:05): Welcome to Episode 204: Recorded live on October 9, 2017 (Running time: 1:04:16)
  • (09:17): Special offer for Content Marketing World video on demand – You may have missed the show, but don’t miss out on all the insights. Videos of 100+ sessions from Content Marketing World 2017 will be available for a limited time through our video on demand portal. Register for access, and use the coupon code CMIFRIENDS100 to save $100.
  • (10:13): Content Marketing Master Classes – Our multi-city tour is returning for another round of in-depth content marketing training. Starting on November 6, we’ll be making stops in Boston; New York; Washington, D.C.; Seattle; San Francisco; Chicago; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas. Robert and I would love to see you there, so register today.

Content love from our sponsor: Ahrefs (12:03)

Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool set that has many …read more

Source:: content marketing

Experts Talk Content Workflow Challenges, Bottlenecks, and Solutions

By Ann Gynn


Is content creation a challenge for your company?

It is for one-third of B2B companies, according to the recently released B2B Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends — North America.

One-third of #B2B companies cite #content creation as a challenge via @cmicontent #research. #CMWorld
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How do those problems develop? What bottlenecks do they create? And, more importantly, how can you address them?

Chris Bondhus, senior director of demand generation for Brightcove, posed those questions to a panel of marketing experts at Content Marketing World 2017. This roundtable included:

  • Ardath Albee, B2B marketing strategist with Marketing Interactions and author of Digital Relevance
  • Drew Bailey, manager of content strategy and curation, FedEx, and a 2017 Content Marketer of the Year finalist
  • Carla Johnson, president of Type A Communications and co-author of Experiences, the 7th Era of Marketing
  • Monica Norton, senior director of content marketing, Zendesk, and a 2017 Content Marketer of the Year finalist

Let’s break down their insight to explore problems they’ve seen and the steps they took or advice they have to solve them.

Failure to get on same page

“The first thing I see is people don’t agree with what it is you’re trying to accomplish with content marketing,” Carla says. “Having a common purpose or mission that everybody is behind and supports is probably the biggest (solution) I see (to overcoming) a bottleneck.”

Drew agrees. “When you put that story around a clear path, you get (C-suite) buy-in and it just makes it a whole lot easier,” he says. “Sometimes competing priorities may happen at the manager level, but we just work through that.”

Starved for proper direction

No process or too much process often bogs down content creation, Ardath says. “People get confused, and they don’t …read more

Source:: content marketing

What to Consider When It’s Time for New Marketing Technology

By Marcia Riefer Johnston


Marketing automation tools. Social media tools. Collaboration tools. As a marketing leader, you’re faced with a crushing number of marketing technologies to consider: almost 5,000 of them, falling into some 75 categories. When it’s time to consider new technology, how on earth do you know what all to consider?

B2B Marketing Academy co-founder Peg Miller has some guidance. Peg talked at the Intelligent Content Conference about Your Next Marketing Technology Implementation: How to Survive, Thrive, and Keep Your Job. In this post, I sum up what she had to say on three points:

  • Prioritize people and process over technology.
  • Seek as simple a solution as possible.
  • Ask questions from multiple perspectives.

Prioritize people and process over technology

The people-process-tech model, which puts technology at the end of the decision-making process, has been around for decades. Still, companies often rush into marketing-technology decisions before they understand their current processes or lack of processes.

I like the way Peg made this point in a CMI article earlier this year:

To prepare for any technology implementation, document the holes or weaknesses in your processes. This knowledge will help you eradicate poor processes before you replicate them inside of a new technology.

Monitor and document your processes until you fully uncover the way your teams do things today, Peg says. Find out where you lack processes and where you need to do things differently. Improve your processes as much as possible before you buy.

In many cases, the changes companies need to make don’t even require new technology.

When you need technology as part of the solution, address process issues and pain points before you move over to new tools. “Companies often adopt new technology and keep bad processes,” Peg says.

Fix process issues before moving to new martech tools, says @PegMiller.
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For example, one company she worked …read more

Source:: content marketing

The Future of Content and SEO: 5 Trends Every Marketer Needs to Know

By Andy Betts


Content marketing is at a critical inflection point. For it to serve as the fuel and infrastructure for modern marketing departments, some things need to change. Brands are not getting much of a return on that investment. We know this thanks to a survey of 252 marketing leaders at Fortune 500 conducted by BrightEdge (one of my clients).

Some key findings:

  • 71% of marketers say that less than half of their content is being consumed.

71% of marketers say that less than half of their #content is being consumed via @brightedge.
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  • Fewer than 9% of marketers report three-quarters or more of the content they produce is engaged with.

Fewer than 9% of marketers report 3/4 or more of the #content they produce is engaged with. @brightedge
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  • The B2C content consumption rate was slightly better than B2B.

#B2C #content consumption rate was slightly better than #B2B via @brightedge.
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Note: All research in this post comes from the BrightEdge study of Fortune 500 marketers unless otherwise noted.

Content marketing isn’t just about production, but also about performance. Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn your brand into a content powerhouse of the future – today?

You can.

Become a leading content marketer (and boost your content consumption rate) by adapting to and adopting these five trends now – before your brand or business is left behind.

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT: Strengthen Your SEO Strategy for 2017

1. Convergance of SEO and content

Combining your SEO best practices and content marketing process is easily the most important initiative today if you want to win tomorrow. In fact, only 3% of marketers surveyed view SEO and content as separate disciplines.


<a class="colorbox" …read more

Source:: content marketing

How 3 Serious Brands Engage Humanly on Social Media

By Clare McDermott

ge-hey-girl-valentines-day (1)

Leaf through a portfolio of social media award winners, and you’re likely to see entrants from the tourism, cooking, and fashion industries. Putting together an Instagram or Snapchat plan for these companies may not be easy, but then again, emerald beaches and platefuls of poké make for great social sharing.

What about those less-than-obvious brands? I chose three Content Marketing Awards finalists that prove even serious brands can be human and entertaining.

Cisco uses Snapchat to woo new employees

Finding great talent is a perennial problem for technology companies, and hiring young technophiles is particularly important to ensure a strong talent pipeline. Cisco highlights the everyday lives and challenges of young employees – a smart way to entice young professionals to apply to work at the IT and networking giant. Cisco’s Talent Brand Team’s mission is to make personal connections with future talent, and they do that by showcasing Cisco employee voices and their work with technology across the @WeAreCisco social media channels. The challenge is: how to stand out?

#Cisco’s @WeAreCisco uses #Snapchat & #Instagram to recruit new talent on #social. @soloportfolio Read how
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To connect with university students, new graduates, and Generation Z, Cisco recruited 20 super-ambassador employees (whom they found through social media listening) from several geographies and invited them into a meeting using Cisco’s Webex platform for a launch brainstorming session. That group was soon dubbed the Kitten Rainbow Unicorns (everything that is awesome about the web), and the social media team launched a pilot Snapchat program that effectively handed over the keys to the #WeAreCisco Snapchat account to these young unicorns.

<img src="" alt="JM_Cisco_TS_SnapChat" width="500" height="500" srcset=" 500w,×125.png 125w,×230.png 230w,×65.png 65w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, …read more

Source:: content marketing

How to Deliver Emails That Will Increase Reach, Impact, and Subscriber Satisfaction

By Jodi Harris


Editor’s note: Because email marketing continues to be one of the most used and most effective cornerstones of content marketing, Jodi Harris updated her 2015 article.

Think of a well-executed email strategy as the backbone of a successful content marketing program. It’s an essential structure that supports your various content efforts and is the best technique for building a subscriber base – which is critical for achieving value from your content marketing program.

Just how important is the email channel? Consider this: 93% of B2B marketers report using email to distribute their content, according to CMI/MarketingProf’s B2B Content Marketing: 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America research. And, perhaps even more importantly, 74% of marketers who use email consider it to be the most effective distribution channel for their content.

But, just like most things in the world of content marketing, email is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. Media trends, informational needs, and consumption preferences evolve; and people change careers, upgrade their devices, develop new interests, and discover new obsessions. If you aren’t prepared to maintain the effectiveness of your email content to ensure that your experience is always viewed as fresh, useful, and personally relevant, your once essential resource can transform into a fly-like nuisance that won’t stop buzzing in your reader’s inbox – keeping it from performing to its full potential.

Email is not a set-it-and-forget-it tactic, says @joderama. #emailmarketing
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If you are looking to evaluate the fitness of your email content, CMI’s original 7-Minute Email Workout infographic is a great quick-start guide on how to test the strength of your e-newsletters and fine-tune your delivery strategies at all levels of experience – beginner, intermediate, and advanced.