BarnRaisers



8 surprisingly simple steps to conduct a content audit 0

Posted on June 19, 2017 by Rob Petersen

content audit

Content audit is an analysis of the all the content your organization is responsible for. A content audit is a cornerstone for content strategy, SEO, social media marketing, corporate communications, digital advertising, brand guidelines, style guide and your voice and tone.

While the analysis involves quantitative measures, much of the process is qualitative. It involves identifying high-quality content, removing low quality content and establishing guidelines and standards. The areas that usually are most inspected are the content on your website and social media pages.

The goal of a content audit is to raise your company’s profile and build trust. A few reasons why a conduct audit makes sense are:

  • 88% of B2B marketers use content marketing in their marketing strategies
  • 73% of major organizations hire someone to manage their content marketing strategy
  • 56% of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement rates (source: Content Marketing Institute)

Here are 8 surprisingly simple steps to conduct a content audit.

  1. START WITH A SPREADSHEET OR LIST: In order to do any audit, you have to begin with an inventory. A spreadsheet or list is what you’ll need. A simple set up is create column for: 1) Webpage URL’s, 2) Page Titles, 3) Descriptions or snippet of essential text, 4) Date published or created and 5) Actions (whether, at the end of the audit, the page  stay, goes or is reworked).
  2. IDENTIFY WHAT’S UNIQUE AND DIFFERENTIATING: Look at your inventory and see what your content  says about you, your company and your products or services. What’s unique and differentiating? Why should your audience take note and care? How do you keep it fresh? Avoid being repetitive. Add news?
  3. MEASURE INTEREST AND APPEAL: Objective measurements such as Pageviews, Search Rank, Links and Shares, Comments, Likes, Views and Re-Tweets for social media pages are considerations to measuer. They can all be found in a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or through search queries and review of your social media pages.
  4. ASSESS ACCURACY, DATE AND WRITING PROFESSIONALISM: The relevance of your content is influenced by its recency, reliability and writing. Examine content by how often you write about it, what is included (e.g. images, video, charts, contact forms) and how well it’s written. Ask yourself if your believe your company is publishing quality content?
  5. EXAMINE SEO ELEMENTS: Review the Page Titles, Keywords, Meta Descriptions, Headings and Alt Image Tags. Are target keywords and phrases used on the page? Are page descriptions and metadata employed appropriately? Are headlines optimized for search? Search engine optimization (SEO) begins and ends with content. So evaluating to what extent content conforms to best practices in search is an essential part of an audit.
  6. EVALUATE WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDED AND REMOVED: Now, you are ready to determine what stays, goes, is reworked as well as any organization or reorganization. If you are revising or refreshing a website, a content audit provides learning for site architecture, navigation tabs and drop-down menus.
  7. JUDGE FOR CONSISTENCY OF VOICE AND TONE: How do you express yourself? What is your attitude to people know something about you?. They are essential qualities that should be consistent because they create trust and help others determine if they would like to get to know you better.
  8. PLAN FOR SUCCESS: Now you’ve done the hard work. And you have a template, game plan and actionable scorecard for seeing improvement and success. Examine progress periodically. Once a quarter or even twice a year is a good schedule for reviewing your content audit.

Once it’s done, a content audit is a valuable company asset. A great piece for learning, insights and actions.

Do these steps convince you of the value of a content audit? Are they simple enough to follow? Do you need help conducting one for your company?

 

 

10 inspiring company blogs with ideas for yours 0

Posted on October 10, 2016 by Rob Petersen

company blogs

  • Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.
  • B2B marketers that blogs receive 67% more leads than those that don’t blog.
  • Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI. (source: HubSpot)

Blogs certainly seem to bring big benefits to business.

But, to see these benefits, it helps if the company blog has an idea behind it, a distinct voice and people who can keep it current, timely and help with outreach.

Would your business benefit from a company blog?

Here are 10 inspiring company blogs with ideas for yours.

  1. BIGELOW TEA: TALK ABOUT MORE USES THAN CUSTOMERS IMAGINE: Who knew Bigelow Tea can bring out the flavor of Roast Loin of Pork, make the perfect Cosmopolitan more perfect or be your companion to the Ultimate Fall Tea Party? That’s just some of the many uses you’ll discover for Bigelow Tea when you read the Bigelow Blog. When a commodity product conveys versatility beyond what you imagined, doesn’t that make you think about the brand in different light?
  2. BMW:  KEEP VALUED CUSTOMERS IN THE KNOW: BMW owners love their BMW’s. Many businesses have customers equally fanatical about their product. Is your business one of them? So why not use a blog to talk to them. Because they want to know what you are up to. At the BMWblog, you can learn about BMW’s most legendary models. their latest changes and their most legendary models to come. A blog can be a place where the people who care about you most are kept the most up to date. Don’t you think that can have an impact on your business?
  3. DROPBOX: MAKE CUSTOMERS’ LIVES EASIER: One thing for sure about Dropbox customers. They are going to be online when they’re using your product. So why not be a help to them. If you want to know how to sync Dropbox with MacOSSeirra, the best way to review designs on Dropbox or tips to working remotely with Dropbox, you can find them on the Dropbox Blog. Isn’t this value for a cloud storage service better  than one doesn’t provide this kind of help.
  4. HUBSPOT: BE A HELP RESOURCE: Hubspot’s blog is dedicated to helping marketers with content marketing. If you do a search for any online marketing tactic/tip in Google, you’re most likely see a HubSpot article as one of the top results. HubSpot has been so helpful and put out so much helpful content marketing advice, they rank in a top position on search engines for anything related to content marketing. Does increasing your search rank make a company blog worthwhile?
  5. MARRIOT: PUT THE PERSON BEHIND THE COMPANY OUT IN FRONT: Marriot On the Move, Marriot’s company blog, signs off each blog post, “I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the Move.” At least twice a month, the founder and CEO of the company put his voice behind his brand. He recognizes employees, explains company developments and defines leadership. If the chairman spoke to you regularly, wouldn’t it increase your positive perceptions of the company?
  6. PATAGONIA: BRING YOUR BRAND IMAGE TO LIFE: Mention the brand, Patagonia, and travel and adventure come to mind. But, in the highly competitive world of e-commerce, materials, stitching, color availability and shipping policy are what has to take priority to any potential buyer. How to accomplish both? Your blog. On The Cleanest Line, Patagonia’s Blog, you can read about paragliding in the Alaskan mountain ranges to the many species of animal that inhabit Ibera National Park in Argentina. All without leaving the website. Doesn’t that make a premium-priced brand a little bit more worth the money?
  7. RED CROSS: SHARE YOUR GOOD WORK: For someone making a donation to a non-profit, a key consideration is where is the money going. On Red Cross Chat, the Red Cross Blog, categories from International, History, Blood (Family) and Disaster share their good works from every vantage point. Wouldn’t that make you feel better about where your money is going?
  8. WHOLE FOODS: EXPLAIN YOUR PASSIONS: Whole Story, the Official Whole Foods Blog, explains different varieties of apples, why specific ways of farming matter and their benefits to your body. They write almost daily. Sometimes more than once a day. In one sitting, you can read about the products your picking up to recipes to prepare them. Doesn’t this make you feel better about what you’re buying?
  9. SOUTHWEST: CREATE A BRAND COMMUNITY: At the Southwest Airline Community, Southwest’s Blog, “every seat has a story.” The blog is a community. One where you share stories, exchange knowledge, find inspiration from our members and get tips about airline travel. As of this writing there are 75,000 members in the Southwest Airline Community. Doesn’t that prove the benefits of a company blog?
  10. WORDSTREAM: BE A GO-TO RESOURCE FOR YOUR INDUSTRY: If you’re a digital marketer looking for the latest information about Google or Facebook, Adwords or ideas for social media, you’ll find them on the WordStream Blog. Written by company employee and Founder and CTO, Larry Kim, the WordStream is often first tips, points of view and inside information about topics that can make a difference in marketing performance. Doesn’t that contribute to being an industry leader?

Do these company blog give you inspiration? Which one is closest to your company? Do you need help developing a company to help your business stand out?

 

10 surprisingly simple ways to create unique content 0

Posted on October 02, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

create unique content

  • 89% of companies say the effectiveness of their content marketing is increasing, but only 35% say it is increasing significantly
  • 48% lack an effective strategy
  • 48% lack content creation resources (Source: 2016 State of Content Marketing Report – Ascend2)

The numbers say content marketing is worth doing. But not without a strategy and resources to create unique content.

How to create unique content? Where are resources? Right in front of you.

Here are the 10 surprisingly simple ways to create unique content.

EDUCATE

  •  EXPLAIN RELEVANT TERMS FOR YOUR INDUSTRY: Providing content that explains relevant terms in your industry (what they mean, why they are important) is a great way to create unique content. For example, if your business bakes blueberry products, explaining “What is the difference between cultivated blueberries and wild blueberries” proves authority about your area and attracts interested consumers. It’s also is a highly effective way to improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Because you’re adding keywords that are relevant to what you do.
  • GIVE TUTORIALS: One of the best ways to establish a connection with your audience is teach something new. If your blueberry bakery explains “How to bake great blueberry muffins” and offers a recipe, you show your expertise and convey the quality and care that goes into your products. All you are doing is making something available you already know and practice every day.
  • SURVEY. ASK CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT: Are you unsure what your customers what to know? Ask them. Ask them for challenges they’re facing. Problems they want to solve. Ask them what topics they would like to know more about. Directing even one question to a few customers can lead to great content inspiration, ideas and is a highly effective form of lead generation.

USER GENERATED CONTENT

  1. INTERVIEW EXPERTS: Talk to interesting people in your industry. People who offer unique perspectives. Even if they’re just telling their own stories about experiences they’ve had, they’ll attract others just like them who will want to learn more about your business.
  2. SHARE REVIEWS: All review sources like Yelp make it easy, with just a click, to share a review with your network. Let good content from others spread. Reviews are an easy way to let others help you create unique content.
  3. SHARE RELEVANT CONTENT FROM FOLLOWERS: One of the best ways to develop relationships with influencers is to share content from your followers. If they say something interesting about your industry, have insights into news, then share it with our audience. It shows the company you keep and the appreciation you have for others in your network.

READILY AVAILABLE INFORMATION

  • GIVE HISTORY, FACTS AND INTERESTING TIDBITS: Every business has an interesting story. Maybe it’s how you found your first client, or how they found you. What the founder did before he started the company. Who was your first employee. When your building was used for before your offices were there. Interesting and relevant facts in the context of “did you know” are an good way to keep content fresh and keep your audience coming back for more.
  • INTRODUCE NEW EMPLOYEES: When you hire a new employee, it says to others your business is growing and you’re proud of the people you hire. This type of content speaks well of any business.
  • ANNOUNCE NEW ITEMS: ITEMS BEING DISCONTINUED AND SPECIALS, OFFERS AND INCENTIVES: Are you adding a new item to your product line? Or discontinuing one. Is there a special offer this month? Let your audience know. It’s very likely to help sales and create urgency to act with your customers
  • DELIVER UNIQUE CONTENT IN VARIETY OF FORMS: These are simple ways to create unique content. Now, make it interesting by delivering it in a variety of forms. Content marketing is video, images, blogs, post, infographics, white papers, webinars, podcasts – you get the idea. If you want to see a complete list of all the forms content marketing takes, here are 105 types of content. You probably have a number of them already. Now, just use them and put them out there.

Do these ways show you how simple it can be to create unique content? How many of these ways do you use? Do you need help to create unique content for your business?

36 stats spot signs between content marketing success or failure 0

Posted on February 22, 2016 by Rob Petersen

 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is now used by 88% of organizations and 76% plan on producing more content this year than last according to the Content Marketing Institute.

With this many companies doing content marketing, there are bound to be winners and losers.

To help you differentiate the two, here are 36 stats that spot signs between content marketing success or failure.

FAILURE

Companies that struggle with content marketing use only a portion of their marketing staff, have trouble development engaging content, lack a consistent strategy, don’t identify their audience and have a measurement plan. As a result, they don’t see the business value in content marketing.

  1. 87% of companies say that developing engaging content is a major challenge. (Forrester)
  2. 85% of B2B marketing leaders fail to connect content activities to business value. (Forrester)
  3. 80-70% of content in most marketing organizations goes mostly unused. (Sirius Decisions)
  4. 72% of surveyed marketers say less than half of their marketing staff plays a primary role in content marketing today — leaving content to quickly degrade to talk of products, features, and what the company has to offer, rather than cleverly packaged bits of the interesting insights buyers crave. (Forrester)
  5. 70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy. (Altimeter)
  6. 60% of corporate marketers say they have no to very little understanding of what the best practices are for buyer persona development. (Tony Zambito)
  7. 56% say lack of data quality and completeness is most challenging obstacle to content marketing success. (Act-On)
  8. 32% of B2B marketers are challenged with finding trained content marketing professionals versus 10% last year. (Content Marketing Institute)
  9. 31% of Fortune 500 enterprises now maintain an official blog, down from 34% in 2013. (Sword and the Script)
  10. Top 5 Content Marketing Challenges: Lack of Time/Bandwidth to Create Content (51%); Producing Enough Content Variety/Volume (50%); Producing Truly Engaging Content (42%); Measuring Content Effectiveness (38%); Developing Consistent Content Strategy (34%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)

SUCCESS

Companies that succeed with content marketing have identified business goals, know their buyer personas, make content marketing a company competency, use a variety of content forms, curate and re-purpose content and have metrics to measure success, often throughout the entire buying cycle. They also cite trust as an important benefit to content marketing.

  1. Top 3 factors that make content effective: Audience Relevance (58%); Engaging and Compelling Storytelling (57%); Triggers a Response/Action (54%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  2. CMOs at the largest technology companies report that building out content marketing as an organizational competency is the 2nd most important initiative, only behind measuring ROI. (IDC)
  3. 86% of B2B buyers “frequently” use mobile phones to access business-related content. (DemandGen Report)
  4. 85% of corporate marketers are using buyer personas for content marketing and messaging. But only 15% say their buyer personas are very to significantly effective. (Tony Zambito)
  5. 82% of marketers curate content. (IMN Inc.)
  6. 71% of business bloggers have some type of center of excellence team. (i.e., a team that provides a blogging code of conduct, audience engagement guidelines, best practices and guidance to help internal teams execute their own blogging activities). (Curata)
  7. Most effective B2B content marketing tactics are in-person events (cited by 69% of marketers), webinars/webcasts (64%), video (60%), and blogs (60%). (eMarketer)
  8. 67% of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make B2B purchasing decisions than they did a year ago. (DemandGen Report)
  9. 54% of corporate marketers say that quality content is among the most effective SEO tactics their company uses, while 50% also cite (closely related) frequent website updates. (MediaPost)
  10. 52% of marketers support 2 to 4 roles and buyer personas with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  11. Top 3 drivers of blog content strategy include: personas, audience demographics and buying stage. (Curata)
  12. 48% of marketers support 3 to 5 buying stages with dedicated content. (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  13. 52% of consumers say watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions. (Ber|Art)
  14. 46% of people say they’d be more likely to seek out information about a product or service after seeing it in an online video. (41 Stories)
  15. Over 2/3rds of companies report that their video content budget is increasing. (53% “slightly” and 16% “significantly”). (DemandMetric)
  16. 41% of marketers say driving sales is the No. 1 goal for their content marketing strategies; 94% put sales in their top five content marketing goals. Brand awareness was the second-most-popular goal with 88% adding it to their top five, while 21% ranked lead generation as their No. 1 goal. (MediaPost)
  17. Most-trusted types of online promotional content include peer reviews, natural search results, and brand Web sites, while display advertising and push text messages are the least trusted. (MediaPost)
  18. Over 50% of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic and buyer engagement. (Curata)
  19. 41% of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased the number and/or quality of their sales-ready leads. (Curata)
  20. Most useful forms of content when making online B2B purchases are technical brochures / specification sheets (cited by 61% of buyers), followed by instruction manuals / how-to documents (46%), videos (38%) and case studies (31%). Less than a third said webinars, while a quarter value infographics and social media activity. (V3B Blog)
  21. 29% of leading marketers systematically reuse and re-purpose content. (Curata)
  22. Brands that use shortened URLs with a “vanity domain” experience an average increased click volume of 25% compared to long URLs or generic URL shorteners. (Social Media Today)
  23. Content shared on Thursdays has the longest “link lifespan” (people still clicking on those links several days later). (Social Media Today)
  24. Marketers’ top investment areas across the content marketing space: Curation & Aggregation (38%); Creation (34%); Workflow (29%). (Altimeter)
  25. Top 5 content marketing metrics: Web Traffic/Visits (63%); Views/Downloads (59%); Lead Quantity (42%); Lead Quality (39%); Social Media Sharing (36%). (LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community)
  26. Metrics for B2B content marketing success: Sales Lead Quality (87%); Sales (84%); High Conversion Rates (82%); Sales Lead Quantity (71%); Website Traffic (71%); Brand Lift (69%); SEO Ranking (87%) (Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

Do these statistics help you spot the signs of success or failure to content marketing for your company? Do you need help getting on the right track with your organization’s content marketing?

20 data-driven metrics every content marketer should know 0

Posted on April 26, 2015 by Rob Petersen

 

 

 

data-driven metrics

Measure of success conceptual using measuring tape

  • 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a company or brand through original articles rather than through ads. (Entrepreneur)
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional forms of marketing. (DemandMetric)
  • 61% of consumers report feeling better about a company or brand that offers custom content – and are more likely to buy from them. (Content Marketing Institute)

These facts suggest relevant content, after the product or service a company offers, is a brand’s most valuable asset.

Content marketing takes many forms from blogs, case studies, emails, guides, how-to’s, infographics, interviews, podcasts, product reviews, videos and even native ads. A brand should have a strategy for content marketing specific to the desired business results and then choose tactics.

Are there metrics to guide your company on effectiveness of the business strategy for content marketing? Ones that are most likely to give insights and serve as an actionable scorecard?

Here are 20 data-driven metrics every content marketer should know.

AWARENESS

  • VISITS AND UNIQUE VISITORS: The latter refers to the number of distinct individuals visiting your website during a given period; the former the number of times a site is visited, no matter how many visitors make up those visits. These are foundations for awareness. They let you know the size of your audience and if it is increasing or decreasing month to month.
  • TRAFFIC SOURCES: Tell you where your audience is coming from: Organic search, paid search, social media, other websites or coming direct, typing your website URL in their browser. This helps you learn if you’re attracting the type of people you want and if it is in line with how you are spending your time and/or money.
  • LINKS: Come from other websites, blogs or social network pages that mention your content with a link. It is not only a measure of your awareness; it is a measure of  your level of authority on a particular topic.
  • KEYWORD SERP RANK: 54% of people find a website through a search query. 34% click on the first website listed in organic search; 90% of clicks occur on the first page (source: Forrester). If your Search Engine Rank Page (SERP) is high for a particular keyword, consumers are likely to be aware of you on a particular topic.
  • KEY CONTENT: Is the best indicator of content on your website that visitors find unique and differentiating.
  • FAN AND FOLLOWER COUNT: 37% of consumers use social network sites for research to obtain information and feedback (source: Marketing Land). Social network followings are a source for awareness.

ENGAGEMENT

  • BOUNCE RATE: Is the percentage of visitors who enter your site and then leave (“bounce”) rather than continuing. It is a key measure of the relevance of your website, content and ability to engage your audience.
  • SHARES: Measure content that consumers find most interesting. They also are a means of showing the value of your “earned” media.
  • COMMENTS: Are important for lead generation, building relationship and finding your advocates and influencers.
  • SUBSCRIPTIONS AND REGISTRATIONS: From email newsletters, ebooks, webinars, subscriptions and registrations are a key lead generation vehicle in a content marketing program.
  • KEY INFLUENCERS: Are valuable in promoting your content. They are the people who share, comments, like, and re-tweet your content as well as people you might seek out through tools like BuzzSumo, PeerIndex or Klout who others turn to on topics important to your brand

CONVERSION

  • EMAIL OPEN RATES AND CLICKS: Represent the percentage of your audience that usually opens what you send or clicks on actions you want them to take. These metrics also come with their email addresses.
  • DOWNLOADS: Usually occur for more content rich pieces like ebook, product information or a podcast. They measure the most interested segment of your audience as well as people who might share your content with others.
  • RETURN RATE: If you send a survey out, hold an event or conduct a webinar, the return rate is a valuable measurement for seeing the percentage of people who express interest and respond.
  • UNSUBSCRIBES AND OPT-OUTS: It’s as important to know the percent of your audience you may be annoying as interesting with your content and to keep at a minimal level.
  • SALES: Are the most important conversion. But, so is understanding buying behavior and the buying cycle which all of the above help to do. For many content marketing programs, there are often “micro” conversion as well as macro conversions. That is, smaller actions that are often predictive of major events.

BUSINESS VALUE

  • QUALITY LEADS: Is a metric relative to the segment of your audience most likely to take desired conversion activities
  • PIPELINE GENERATED: As is it likely other sales and marketing activities are used to generate quality leads and sales, the pipeline from content marking should also be evaluated relative to its value.
  • PRODUCTION COST (TIME AND MONEY): Whether it’s time or money (or both) that are being invested, the human and dollar value should be calculated.
  • RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): Just like any other investment, from the metrics above, the return on investment of content marketing can be calculated.

No business should take any major initiatives without an actionable scorecard. Do these data-driven metrics convince you of the measurement value of content marketing? Are there others metric you would include? Do you need help measuring content marketing?

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    BarnRaisers builds brands with proven relationship principles and ROI. We are a full service digital marketing agency. Our expertise is strategy, search and data-driven results.



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