Convinced by Kind Words: 8 Tactics for Using Customer Testimonials

[fa icon="calendar'] Mar 15, 2016 8:49:30 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Customer Centric, Branded Content, User Experience, Storytelling, Touchpoints

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The best salesperson your company has doesn’t even work for your company. That’s because your average human is a little cynical when it comes to salespeople, and is significantly more open to input from other consumers. While we’ve blogged in the past about the challenges associated with customer testimonials (most involving questions of authenticity), freely given, honestly reported comments can still be very powerful.

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Picture This: 7 Tips for Brand Building with Instagram

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 8, 2016 9:05:18 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Being Found, Get Creative, Marketing Today, Branded Content, Social Media

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If you think Instagram is only for people who want to share photos of their vacation to Mexico or their pet’s latest antics, you need to take a second look. Companies are having tremendous success connecting with their target personas through this powerfully-visual medium. Yes, the Instagram demographic does skew toward the 18–34 year old crowd, but: (1) if that’s your target, bingo! and (2) technology tends to find favor with younger age groups first, but middle-aged and older folks inevitably follow.

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You Need to Increase Engagement! 7 Ways Interactive Content Can Help

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 16, 2016 10:00:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Being Found, Amazing Customer Experiences, Get Creative, Marketing Today, Branded Content

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By definition, a prospect who downloads and reads a white paper, case study, or other piece of content has “engaged” with it. And that engagement, even in its simplest form, is definitely a good thing. But what marketers are becoming increasingly focused on is taking engagement to new levels, because the more engaged a prospect is, the more likely he or she is to become a customer.

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5 Content Marketing New Year’s Resolutions You Can (and Should) Keep

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 6, 2016 12:37:43 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Branded Content, Blogging

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OK, if you’re like most people, you scoff at the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. In late December, we make ‘em, by February, we break ‘em, and the concept of “resolving” to do something doesn’t cross our minds again until the end of the year. That’s the pattern for the vast majority of people who make resolutions, and a much larger percentage of the population doesn’t even bother to make them.

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Everyone’s an Editor Sometimes: 6 Tips to Help You When It’s Your Turn

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 31, 2015 10:39:14 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Branded Content, Blogging

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While “editor” may not be a part of your job title, everyone is asked to review another person’s work at some point. It might be your employee, your peer, or (eeck!) your boss, but somebody is going to request that you, “give this a quick read.”

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Reality Check: Your Content Isn’t Valuable

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 17, 2015 10:34:14 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Branded Content, Blogging

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I hate to break it to you, but that white paper you just completed after months of painstaking research, multiple drafts, and an approval process that took f-o-r-e-v-e-r isn’t all that important. The same is true of that new case study, your recent blog post, and the product overview video you just paid a pretty penny for. Not one of those items really has much value at all.

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7 Best Practices for Creating Engaging Ebook Content

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 14, 2015 12:45:31 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Web Design, Branded Content, SEO

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When properly researched, written, and designed, ebooks can be a great way to engage prospects and provide them with valuable information. And by delivering helpful insights with no strings attached, you become a trusted source for best practices, product reviews, industry assessments, or whatever it is you choose to present. This thought leadership that you establish can be a powerful brand-building force.

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Ho Ho Hold that Post: 10 Tips for Writing a Social Media Policy

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 11, 2015 12:43:48 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Marketing Today, Branded Content, Social Media

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Ah, the holidays! Parties, potlucks, charitable events… There’s no better time of year to give your customers and prospects a look inside your organization. But, of course, not everything that takes place now—or throughout the year—is appropriate for posting. That video of your VP of Sales singing karaoke after he’s had one too many glasses of wine at the holiday dinner may seem like great social media material in the moment. However, the next day you might realize that it has cast that person, and your organization, in a negative light.

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Award-Winning Infographics and the Benefits of Getting Visual

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 9, 2015 9:51:22 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Branding & Messaging, Get Creative, Branded Content, Storytelling

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Awhile back, I blogged about some tips for ensuring that your infographics are great. The folks at the Wall Street Journal surely followed my advice and used all eight of them when they won Gold for Data Visualization in the annual Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2015. (OK, they may have known about these tips even before I blogged about them.)

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Laying Siege to the C-Suite: 5 Tips for Getting Content Marketing Buy-In

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 18, 2015 1:48:52 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Marketing Today, Branded Content

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The drawbridge is up. The walls are lined with archers. There are kettles of boiling oil at intervals between them. This is not going to be pleasant.

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Dynamic Decks: 8 Best Practices for Getting the Most Out of SlideShare

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 12, 2015 10:35:21 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Marketing Today, Branded Content

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Founded in 2006 and joined with LinkedIn in 2012, SlideShare is one of the 100 most-visited websites in the world. More than 70 million professionals browse the over 18 million uploads (from slide decks to infographics to video) looking for informative content. Wouldn’t it be great if they found yours?

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Wow ‘Em with Webinars: 10 Tips for Producing Powerful Presentations

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 19, 2015 2:56:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Amazing Customer Experiences, Marketing Today, Branded Content, Video

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For all the advances in the way we share information digitally, people still love talking with people. It’s in our nature. Webinars are a great way to meet that need for human connection and form a bond with your prospects or customers.

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Do Your Infographics Rock? 8 Tips for Ensuring They Do!

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 10, 2015 12:38:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Get Creative, Branded Content, Blogging

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Infographics are a great way to communicate a significant amount of information in a highly-digestible format. They are also easy to create. However, it’s not as simple as slapping some pictures, stylized arrows, and catchy text on a page and calling it good. To produce effective infographics, you have to be aware of certain key considerations.

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Content Is Like a Nude Beach

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 15, 2015 11:05:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Amazing Customer Experiences, Buyer Personas, Branded Content

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If you've ever been to a nude beach (not that I have or anything, just sayin'), you probably noticed a few things... okay, maybe MORE than a FEW things. But it occurs to me that the world of content is a lot like (what I imagine it would be like) visiting a nude beach. There may be too much to take in all at once, but let's face it, you really can't help but look.

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Have You Ever Considered Crowdsourcing Your Content?

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 15, 2015 8:00:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Customer Centric, Marketing Today, Branded Content

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The concept of looking to a crowd to help you achieve a specific goal is a relatively new one, but it works extremely well in many cases. Take crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, for example. They are so popular that they’ve spawned dozens of copycats that are now trying to replicate their success.

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Don’t Forget the “Marketing” in Content Marketing

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 14, 2015 12:30:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Marketing Today, Buyer Personas, Branded Content

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Developing creative, engaging, and effective marketing content is challenging, but it’s also fun. In fact, as you start producing better and better material, it can almost become addicting. That’s the point where you run the risk of forgetting one very important thing: your content is the means to an end. You’ve got to get it in front of the right people in the right ways for the “marketing” part to happen!

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Content: To Gate, or Not To Gate? Follow Your Funnel.

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 8, 2015 8:00:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Inbound Customer Experience, Conversion Optimization, Marketing Automation, Buyer Personas, Branded Content, HubSpot Partner

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The costs and benefits of requiring prospects to provide their contact information before receiving your content—also known as “gating” your content—have been debated for as long as there has been the technology to do so. You produce content for the express purpose of getting your prospects to engage with your brand. But if they are never required to provide any information about who they are and why they are consuming your content, are they really engaging or just… well… taking?

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Content Marketing: 3 Tips for Adopting a Quick Hit Approach

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 6, 2015 7:00:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Buyer Personas, Branded Content

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Do you remember “old school” marketing? Complex campaigns using marketing pieces that took teams of subject matter–experts, designers, and reviewers months to design, create, and fine tune? Maybe you’re still living old school marketing. If so, you should consider a new approach.

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The Low, Low Lifetime Cost of Content

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 29, 2015 9:00:00 AM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Branded Content

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You are budget-conscious. We all are. You have to be to keep your business competitive. If you’re thinking about investing in some quality content to serve as rocket fuel for your marketing strategy, and the price tag is giving you a little heartburn, here’s something to keep in mind—if you create and use that content in the right way, the cost can amount to what you might call “pennies per persuasion.”

 

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Get Real: The Business Benefits of Authenticity

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 8, 2015 12:12:00 PM / by Jeff Thomas posted in Content Marketing, Customer Centric, Marketing Today, Branded Content

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In 1969, Coca-Cola came up with the slogan, “It’s the real thing.” Of the 18 or so major slogan changes since then, “real” has been used in more than 22% of them. When a company with a marketing budget bigger than the GNP of many small countries goes back to a theme that often, you know there’s a reason.

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