9 Strategies for Using Customer Testimonials in Your Content

By Sujan Patel


We look for and act on (even if subconsciously) social proof in all areas our life – including how we behave and the purchasing decisions we make online.

It doesn’t matter if that social proof comes from friends or strangers. What matters is that we’re seeing evidence from our peers – in this context, other consumers – that the decision we’re about to make is the right one.

As OptinMonster, co-founded by Syed Balkhi, writes:

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

In fact, according to Nielsen research, “92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.”

92% will trust recommendation from a peer & 70% will trust a rec from someone they don’t know via @Nielsen.
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These recommendations can come in many forms. Word-of-mouth and third-party reviews come to mind, as well as what I’m focusing on in this article – testimonials.

Testimonials are a type of review and social proof. They serve the same purpose (guiding potential customers and helping overcome objections), but they’re different in one big way: Testimonials are sought and selected by you. This means you have full control over which testimonials are used, as well as where and how they are displayed.

We’ll look at ways to leverage testimonials in your content and other marketing materials; but first, let’s talk about how to get them and present them for maximum impact.

Getting and crafting testimonials

The only way to get testimonials is to ask for them – but how?

Randomly contacting customers to request a testimonial can work only to an extent. For best results, implement a system that allows you to request …read more

Source:: content marketing

Content Marketing Is No Leisurely Feat in the Travel Industry

By Jodi Harris


I’ve heard there are people out there who truly believe that “getting there is half the fun.” I, on the other hand, feel that when it comes to traveling, everything that happens between my initial decision to leave my house and my lying on a beach chair with a fruity drink in my hand is just stress-inducing static and delayed gratification.

To reduce the friction I’m likely to experience at any step of my journey, I rely pretty heavily on online travel advice (from both the pros and amateurs). And, judging from the sheer number of businesses that cater to the ever-expanding online travel and tourism category, I’m certainly not alone.

Such is the power of the role that travel and tourism marketers play in the lives of their customers. With so many different touchpoints to engage with, so many ways to facilitate and enhance the travel experience, and so many pain points to help customers overcome, this field offers tremendous opportunities to create content-based connections, build trust, and add value for intrepid world explorers, road-weary business travelers, and everyone in between.

Of course, travel industry marketing isn’t just about posting picturesque snapshots and telling tales of how to have fun in the sun. There are some significant challenges when it comes to successful storytelling in this space, not to mention plenty of competition. From huge hotel chains, to boutique B&Bs, and B2B service providers to the beach-going masses themselves, it seems everyone has some travel advice to share online – and it’s not always clear whose is the most accurate, trustworthy, or useful. Professional travel business marketers need to go the extra mile when it comes to creating content that distinguishes their expertise and earns bookings, not just “lookings.”

#Travel-industry marketers must go extra mile to create content to earn bookings, …read more

Source:: content marketing

5 Editorial Experiments You May Want to Try

By Michele Linn


Back in the early days of CMI, we used to experiment all the time. (OK … sometimes “experiment” was code for “we don’t quite know what we’re doing, but let’s try this …”) As our business matured, we focused more of our attention on what works and putting processes around those things to make them the most efficient and effective as possible.

But just because we better understand what works doesn’t mean we should stop trying new things.

So our editorial team is conducting a few experiments this summer, and we want to bring you along on that adventure. Our goal is to be transparent about what’s working – and what’s not – to ultimately help you in your content marketing efforts.

But first, a story

Before we look at upcoming experiments, I wanted to share one we have tried – with surprising results.

About 18 months ago, we decided to republish blog posts that have performed well. Our hypothesis was that no one can read everything we publish when it goes live – and new subscribers likely aren’t delving into what we already produced. Instead of only publishing new posts, we wanted to see how people would respond to seeing our best posts.

While we sometimes update these posts based on current information or new examples, other posts are republished with few changes. I’ll be frank. Many people on the team thought this wasn’t a stellar idea – they did not like the idea of us not publishing something new. And, I had people outside CMI express the same assumption, as exemplified in this email excerpt from a contributing author: “I figure fresh, new, and original is far better than re-running the same piece!”

But you know what? No one complained that they didn’t get brand new content each day. (And we don’t keep it secret …read more

Source:: content marketing

Nonprofit Marketing in 2017: Challenges, Strategies, and Examples

By Ann Gynn


Nonprofits start with a critical ingredient that many B2B and B2C marketers don’t have: a mission, a reason for existing that doesn’t boil down to “sell something.”

Having a purpose provides the necessary foundation for great storytelling – a strong seed to grow an effective content marketing program.

Yet, many nonprofits lack a couple things most B2B and B2C marketers do have to make content marketing a success: staffing and budget.

But even with these challenges, nonprofit content marketing success – even on a smaller scale – is possible. By taking just a few deliberate steps, nonprofits can create and nurture a content marketing plan that will live vibrantly for years, furthering the nonprofit’s purpose and working to grow a stronger community.

Nonprofit landscape

“When it comes to content marketing, many nonprofits have truly meaningful stories to tell,” says Russell Sparkman of FusionSpark Media. “Since nonprofits cover the range of social, health, and environmental issues facing society, their core missions are conducive to meaningful, inspirational storytelling.”

Nonprofits’ missions are conducive to meaningful, inspirational storytelling, says @FusionSpark via @anngynn.
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According to Russell, the combination of structured purpose plus meaningful stories enables nonprofit marketers to create content that matters to people’s lives, which might be educational and inspirational, and is definitely shareable.

While nonprofits are primed for content marketing, not quite four-fifths (79%) say their organization uses it. But less than one-fourth (24%) of those marketers describe their organization’s overall approach to content marketing as “extremely” or “very” successful, according to CMI’s annual content marketing survey conducted in summer 2016.

While nonprofits are primed for #contentmarketing, nearly 79% say their organization uses it via @cmicontent.
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It’s easy to understand why nonprofits don’t find content marketing effective. As Russell explains, the …read more

Source:: content marketing

This Week in Content Marketing: Mary Meeker Dedicates Entire Slide to Content Marketing

By Joe Pulizzi

GoToWebinar-Podcast-Sponsor-Banner-BX00033-FINAL (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

Robert ponders what happens when we wait to pursue our passions. On the news front, we dissect Mary Meeker’s Annual Internet Trends report, which finally gives content marketing a seat at the table, and discuss Amazon, Netflix, and Google’s ravenous appetite for content opportunities. Our rants and raves include No Wasted Opportunities; then we close the show with an example of the week from Land Rover.

Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast

Content love from our sponsor: GoToWebinar (45:19)

Why webinars help marketers win – As content marketers, we’re a bit like triathletes. Thankfully, webinars help us as we compete for mind share across content formats. The research is clear: An effective webinar engages customers, builds thought leadership, and sells products. In this e-book, we’ll show you how to attract and engage your audience, create your webinar content, and interact authentically with customers.
Start rocking your lead gen with webinars.

Show details

  • (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye”
  • (00:30): Robert muses on this week’s theme: What are you waiting for?
  • (05:25): Welcome to Episode 186: Recorded live on June 4, 2017 (Running time: 1:07:15)
  • (11:15): A bonus offer from our episode sponsor, VideoBlocks: VideoBlocks is an affordable, subscription-based stock media site that gives you unlimited access to premium stock footage. Its sister site, AudioBlocks, has a 100,000+ library of music tracks, sound effects, and loops to complement your videos.

    VideoBlocks has one of the fastest growing largest stock video libraries, with over 3 million videos, After …read more

    Source:: content marketing

Is Your Brand Really Who It Says It Is?

By Jonathan Crossfield


According to the famous 1993 New Yorker cartoon, “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Are any of us – brands and individuals alike – really who we say we are? Welcome to the quagmire that is authenticity in social media. Watch your step. It’s a minefield!

“Authenticity” has become one of those marketing buzzwords I love to hate, particularly when discussing social media marketing. Sure, authenticity inspires trust, and brands need to be trusted if their marketing is to be effective. But I do take a perverse pleasure in watching marketers tie themselves in knots trying to explain how authenticity is to be achieved.

I’ve read a number of articles arguing that authenticity must be at the heart of any marketing strategy… while also insisting authenticity isn’t about being strategic. Or that authenticity is not necessarily about being honest or transparent… but is absolutely about being genuine.

My favorite contradiction is that authenticity in marketing is about being more spontaneous, the clear opposite of calculated or strategic thinking. The moment you “plan” to be “spontaneous” is the moment the English language finally snaps under the weight of all that cognitive dissonance and retires to a remote island to reflect on where it all went so terribly wrong.

All of these discussions are really about how to appear authentic – how to create an artificial authenticity, if you will. (English language: “That’s it, I’m outta here!”)

To be truly authentic, your brand – and the people within it – would carry on without regard for whether its actions and messages are aligned with some stakeholder-approved, market-tested brand ideal. There would be no filter, no self-monitoring. Your social media team members would say what they really think, responding in the moment, instead of representing the brand’s more tempered, structured, and commercially …read more

Source:: content marketing

How to Avoid the Mistakes Our Agile Marketing Team Made

By Eva Jackson


The secret’s out. Agile project management is a game-changer – and developers and IT folks are no longer the only ones to know about it.

As a marketer, you’ve surely heard about Agile. Your team may be using some Agile practices, like project sprints and stand-up meetings. If so, you’re in the minority. The benefits of Agile are still largely untapped by marketing teams. According to a new report by Workfront and MarketingProfs, only 30% of marketing teams use an Agile approach to manage their processes. The other 70% probably experience the same frustrations my team experienced before we committed to making Agile work.

Only 30% of #marketing teams use an #Agile approach to manage processes via @workfront_inc @MarketingProfs.
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Our seven-person marketing team at Emplify has been practicing Agile for almost a year. It took us six months to get to a point of practicing it well: producing work better, faster, and with more energy and engagement.

When we started practicing Agile, we made a lot of mistakes. So many mistakes, in fact, that we locked half of our team in a conference room one day and didn’t leave until we had identified and addressed some significant shortcomings in our approach. Fortunately, there was beer and it was a Friday. Still, it was painful, and it took time to dig ourselves out of some deep process-oriented holes.

In this article, I share those mistakes so that you can avoid a painful lock-in like ours. Agile can revolutionize your marketing team’s ability to collaborate and deliver work faster – if you commit to making the process work for you.

Before we get started, let’s cover a few basics:

What are Agile practices?

Agile practices (often referred to as “Agile”) emphasize continual delivery of smaller portions of work over projects with larger interconnected tasks …read more

Source:: content marketing

Interactive Content Fuels Customer Experiences [Research]

By Lisa Murton Beets


Think about the last time you took an online assessment or used a web-based calculator. You were probably engaged and learned something useful. It was an “experience,” right?

According to Content Marketing Institute’s latest research, nearly half (46%) of marketers surveyed are using interactive content. Their top reason for doing so? Engagement – followed by educating the audience, creating brand awareness, and lead generation.

Here are some other key findings from CMI’s white paper, The Symphony of Connected Interactive Content Marketing, sponsored by ion interactive. The paper presents the results of a survey CMI conducted in January and February 2017. We conducted the same survey in 2016, so the paper explores how some things have changed over the last year and includes guidance for using interactive content for content marketing purposes.

Engagement is the No. 1 reason marketers are using interactive content, says @CMIContent research.
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More marketers beginning to use interactive content

More than half of the respondents (55%) report that they’ve been using interactive content for fewer than three years (versus 47% last year), indicating more new entrants in the survey. These newer users indicate that 13% of the total content they produce, on average, is interactive.

The longer a company has been producing interactive content, the more likely it is to produce more: Those with three or more years of doing so say that interactive content on average comprises 24% of the total content they produce.

Furthermore, the use of interactive content will continue to rise: 79% of those that use it say they plan to increase their use in the next 12 months (last year, 75% said they anticipated an increase).

79% of marketers plan to use more interactive content in next year, says @CMIContent research.
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<img src="http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/anticipated-change-interactive-content-use-600×600.png" alt="anticipated-change-interactive-content-use" width="500" height="500" srcset="http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/anticipated-change-interactive-content-use-600×600.png …read more

Source:: content marketing

The Future Model for Content Marketing and Media Are Identical

By Joe Pulizzi


A few months back I wrote about Cosmopolitan magazine in my letter for the CMI weekly newsletter (hey, don’t judge … this is for work).

In looking through its media kit, I saw that Cosmopolitan reaches a monthly audience of over 14 million women via the print magazine and over 50 million including digital channels. About 60% of the audience reads at least three out of every four issues, and when they do, it’s for an average of 75 minutes.

Yes, you read that correctly … 75 minutes.

Cosmo’s stated mission is: “to empower young women to own who they are and be who they want to be, and we’re focused on propelling her into her fun, fearless future. No excuses, no bull@#*%, no regrets.”

Let’s take a minute to compare that to one of the largest companies in the world, Exxon Mobil, which states its mission as: “Exxon Mobil Corporation is committed to being the world’s premier petroleum and petrochemical company. To that end, we must continuously achieve superior financial and operating results while adhering to the highest standards of business conduct.”

Notice the difference?

The content business model

Cosmo is completely focused on the audience. There isn’t one word about what it sells to make a profit. Exxon, on the other hand, has a clear mission around what it sells. Oil … and lots of it. Good for them.

.@Cosmopolitan’s mission is focused on its audience – that’s the #content business model, says @JoePulizzi.
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Cosmo has made content its business model.

In our upcoming book, Killing Marketing, Robert Rose states that, “It is the strategic use of content that will not only build audiences, and drive the creation and retention of customers, but it can do so at a profit.”

Sounds like a media company, right? It should.

While traditionally Cosmo’s go-to …read more

Source:: content marketing

Is It Time to Invest in PPC for Your Content?

By Aaron Agius


At first glance, pay-per-click and content marketing can seem like contrasting ideologies. PPC offers an immediate ROI. Alternatively, content marketing is an excellent tool for improving your brand’s visibility, but it often takes time to gain momentum.

But the two can work together. PPC can act as a secret weapon for your content marketing, supercharging your content campaigns and giving you an edge over your competition.

Get attention and trust

Marketers often run Facebook ads to highly targeted demographics. They send those who click the ad to an optimized landing page, featuring sales copy, product photographs, FAQs, reviews, security badges, and other trust elements. Their objective is to get the lead to click the “add to cart” button conveniently placed for maximum visibility and then to complete the purchase.

However, marketers often get tunnel vision in terms of optimizing their PPC landing pages for purchasing conversions. Even if their PPC campaigns are successful in driving people to the site, those viewers can feel it was a waste of a click because the marketers haven’t focused their effort on making visitors feel at home but only on encouraging them to convert.

Don’t waste PPC ads. Make clickers feel at home with relevant content, says @IAmAaronAgius.
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A 2016 survey revealed that 67% of Americans say they pay more money to support brands they trust. Before somebody buys from a company they’re unfamiliar with, they often explore other pages on the site, looking for indicators of legitimacy. Having a frequently updated blog, with lots of high value content, and indicators of social proof (many comments and social shares) demonstrates credibility and builds the trust needed to ultimately drive conversions.

Takeaway: PPC can be used to bring attention to your site, while content marketing can be used to build trust once these new visitors …read more

Source:: content marketing