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THE FRIDAY FIX – November 14, 2014

I think we can all agree that baby it’s cold outside.  What better way to keep warm than to sit inside with a hot, steamy cuppa your favorite something hot and steamy (we don’t judge) and read the Friday Fix, right?  And what a fix it is!  There’s something about the end of the year that gives cause to reflect and ponder what we did right and what we did wrong and what we can do better.  Thus, this week’s Friday Fix provides great insight on ways you can accidentally fail yourself and on why honesty really is the best policy. 

My Failed Attempt at Content Marketing and What I’ve Learned
Nobody likes to admit that they’ve failed, but Neil Patel mans up and conducts an honest exploration of where and why the ball got dropped in his attempt to add user-generated content to his website’s content marketing.   Considering there’s a constant stream of rhetoric in favor of user-generated content, this one is probably a good read for everyone (unless you’re just all about the spam).

Why Your Content Marketing Should be Insanely Honest
Speaking of honesty, not only should you be honest about your content marketing performance, you should be honest in your content marketing as well.  Graham Charlton sums up Doug Kessler’s wise words from the Festival of Marketing and explains why honesty is the best policy.  Not only is it the ethical choice, it’s also a way to make yourself relatable, real, and trustworthy to your audience; also, being honest about your weaknesses shows you’ve got balls of steel, which as it turns out, is really attractive for audiences.  Honestly.

5 Common Mistakes That Will Kill Your B2B Content Marketing Results in 2015
So, other than being a dirty rotten liar, there are a few other ways you can be your content marketing strategies worst saboteur.  Rachel Foster covers the top five ways to fail yourself, and if you’ve been following the Fix, we’re pretty sure you can guess at least one.  If you guessed storytelling, you’re on the money; if you guessed anything else; go directly to this article; do not pass go; do not collect $200.  (Um, even if you did guess storytelling, add a hotel to Boardwalk and read the article anyway.)

Ignoring Your Brand is the Only Way to Succeed at Content Marketing
Before you shake BritniMcCotter and tell her that she’s mad for suggesting you ignore your brand, listen to what the lady has to say because she makes several slapping good points about how too much attention on brand makes the content feel sales, which comes off as both dull and disingenuous.  So, take a page out of the cool kid’s playbook and be too real for your brand.  If you don’t know how, no worries; Britni explains how it’s done.

How Chanel Wins Social with Stylish Content Marketing & Storytelling
So, in the interest of not only telling how “ignoring” one’s brand will launch you to greater heights, we’re going to show you with Amanda Fayer’s analysis of how 100-plus year old style icon Chanel is just continuing to own it.  As you recall from Britni’s article, storytelling is a key piece to the success puzzle; Chanel delivers with a fabulous video narrative, INSIDE CHANEL, among other things.  Check it out.

The Virtue You Need to Become a Content Market Master
According to Christine Warner (and the wisdom of the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Master Class), the virtue we all need to succeed at content marketing is selflessness, which in a society where you have a type of photo (that people are dying to take as of late) called the selfie, being selfless is easier said than done (and we don’t recommend having a baby to figure it out because then you won’t have time for your content).  Instead, young Jedi, start implementing the five strategies outlined in this article and selfless your content marketing will become.

What Not to Write: How to Give Your Content Marketing Strategy a Makeover
Your content marketing strategy is like your own personal A-list actress.  If it’s not still turning heads, it’s time for a makeover.  Anastasia Dyakovskayacherry picks Ellen Gomes’ top five tips for keeping content fresh and attractive (Botox optional).

How a Chef is Owning Content Marketing
Jamie Oliver is a relatively recent cultural phenomenon; he’s a celebrity chef.  Hailing from England, Oliver is a successful restaurateur, television personality, and cookbook author among other things.  For the most part, everything Oliver touches turns to white truffles (the culinary equivalent to gold).  As one who loves to cook and explore digital media and technology in business, KaviGuppta analyzes what key ingredients give Oliver his content marketing approach such a winning flavor (spoiler: it’s education, entertainment, and empowerment, but you’ll have to read to discover the special seasonings he adds).

10 Free Content Marketing Tools You Should Be Using
Unless you’re in that mythological small part of the population who also doesn’t blink for some reason, you love free resources.  The problem with free stuff is that there’s a ton of it, and you have no idea what’s quality and what’s junk (really, just ask the rage monster that consumed by husband when he was trying to find a functional free home design program).  Thanks to Brad Kuenn who has done the pesky legwork and provides details on the best programs for measurement, promotion, content optimization, and more.

How to Start a Blog for Content Marketing Purposes
If you think starting and maintaining a blog is easy, then I’m going to assume you’ve never blogged.  If you’re like me and you find your blog is more difficult to maintain than a strict biannual haircut regimen, then your content marketing could be suffering (and your hair, but more importantly, your CM).  Steve Olenski says that 77% of Internet users read blogs.  He also acknowledges that blogs are both hard to start and can easily blunder, which is why he provides key tips for success in the blogosphere. 


Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.

Connect with Amy:  LinkedIn

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The Friday Fix - October 24, 2014

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The Friday Fix - October 24, 2014

To get into the Halloween spirit, I’m playing the part of a fortune teller for this week’s Friday Fix.  My crystal ball tells me that your content marketing’s future is bright if you follow these trends and examples, avoid making mistakes, and use your budget to the best of your abilities.  My crystal ball also says that Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber will produce an offspring(#Terrifiedscream.) Oh.  It’s just kidding.  My crystal ball tells me I should apologize for making you spill your coffee.  What’s this?  I’m getting another message that promises only treats and no tricks if you keep reading.

The Content Marketing Trends your Business Should be Implementing
This must-view post by JT Ripton reads like a “what to wear right now” but for your content marketing strategy (I mean, is anybody still turning heads with last year’s social media techniques? (Insert hair flip here)).  His forecasting is spot on and in alignment with what other trend-spotters have on their radar, and while we’re not saying you should do whatever everyone else is doing, you should definitely be doing these things.

6 Takeaways about the Future of Content Marketing
As 2014 spirals toward expiration, the only thing to do is to look ahead into the future, and Zack Jones does just.  Rather than talking about techniques, Zack helps you get into the right mindset with supported advice like, “Think like a publisher,” (hey! We talked about publishers last week!) and, “A goal without a plan is a wish.”  Too, true!  Want to be forward-thinking?  Then click and read, my friends.

A Better, Smarter and More Profitable Idea than Content Marketing?  Sure Thing
With this headline alone, Corey Weiner had my undivided attention.  Don’t worry; he’s not dismissing content marketing –he’s posing a 1-2-3 step game plan to get rid of lazy practices, tired play strategies, and outdated techniques and to implement a winning offensive strategy. 

6 Halloween Content Marketing Ideas That Always Work
Candy, spooky movies, a socially acceptable excuse to dress for the job you’ve really always wanted (Batman)…Halloween is already prepackaged awesome.  This week Brad Kuenn gives us another reason to love Halloween by pointing out six Halloween marketing “tricks” that are guaranteed to work, and then he “treats” us to super-successful examples of each.

Choosing Sides: Content Marketing Quality vs. Quantity
This one might seem like a no brainer because you need both, right?  But, Nicole Jenet presents the quality vs. quantity debate like it’s Sophie’s choice.  You can only save one!  Which do you choose!?  There are merits to both!   End the drama now!  Click the link to find out which one Nicole saves (and why!).

Use Content Marketing to Improve SEO!
Clearly, Samantha Ferguson agrees with Nicole’s choice because she mentions it as one way to use content marketing to improve SEO in this read.  She acknowledges that while search engine algorithms are less predictable than the livability of your home after it’s been ravaged by a toddler hopped up on Halloween candy, there are ways to rise above the chaos.

Content Marketing Lessons from the Battle Between Amazon and Hachette
This article has two things that rock: one is that he’s using a real-world example to deliver content marketing takeaways (I do so love story time!); the other is that the example he’s using is something that everyone not living under a rock is at least somewhat familiar with.  As the proprietor of customer relationships in this case, Amazon seemingly has all of the power, which has led some to vilify the mega-company, but having a killer content marketing strategy isn’t evil…I mean, maybe if you laugh manically while rolling around on a bed of money, too, it is; otherwise, it’s just smart.  So, what can you learn from this mighty feud and from Amazon’s CMS?  Check it out and find out.

Four Banking Brands Getting Content Marketing Right
Speaking of those that have occasionally been perceived by the public as monsters, banks restoring their defamed names via content marketing are the subject du jour for Shafqat Islam.  At the heart of their efforts to restore people’s faith in them is the same thing that’s at the center of every lasting relationship: trust.  Does your audience trust you?  See what these UK banks are doing to rebuild their customer’s trust.

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Content Marketing
For some reason, the title of this article by Ellen Gomes reminds me of Nelson on The Simpsons saying, “Stop hitting yourself,” as he uses his bullied victim’s own hand to punch himself.  Though Ellen isn’t suggesting that you’re literally punching yourself in the face, it’s fair to say that she feels you’re literally setting up hurdles and obstacles to overcome that really don’t need to be there.  Why take the road more graveled?  Avoid that road by planning ahead…but not too far ahead.

Where Does the Content Marketing Budget Fit within Your Organization?
Are you the one who controls the content budget in your organization?  If so, no pressure, right?  Content marketing is one of those things that everyone wants a piece of, which can spread things really thin, and when things get spread really thin whether it be your content budget or the mustard on your hotdog, quality diminishes (I’m very upset about the hotdog we just ruined with this analogy, by the way).  Scott Ludwig provides a really smart analysis and strategies for fixing things without reinventing them or compromising the overall product. 


Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.

Connect with Amy:  LinkedIn

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10 Types of Content That Work for Every Business

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10 Types of Content That Work for Every Business

You can certainly create a killer blog or an amazing podcast as the cornerstone of your content. But it’s more efficient and effective in the long term (and necessary for larger organizations) to take a broader view – to create content that can come to life in various formats, across many different platforms, and that can address multiple audiences.

1. Top Lists

Top Lists work due to the nature of the attention-grabbing power of the headline. Any headline that lists a number of details, secrets, categories, or tips will work because it makes it very clear what the reader can expect when clicking on the article. 

For an easy example, consider the article you are reading right now. 

These types of posts and articles are perfect for building your authority and demonstrating that you are the expert in the field. Top Lists can be awesome tools for reaching your set content marketing goals for a variety of reasons: 

·         Lists are skim-able: Readers can easily browse the piece and still obtain the exact information they’re looking for. For all you “skimmers” – Video is #8 in this article - you can scroll down, now. 

·         Lists are easy to digest: By grouping information for your audience in a list format, you are already doing a good amount of the work for them. People like to organize things to digest information and visualize different concepts. 

·         Lists can quickly attract attention:  One of the goals for your content should be to generate interaction and comments from your readers – and lists are great for that. 

Think about when you are on social media, how many times do you see a shared BuzzFeed article on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Popular sites like this have changed the game of Top Lists content. 

2. Curation 

Curated Posts allow you to take the best and most relevant content in your industry and present it in a crisp, easy to consume format. The value to your customers that comes from curation will be attributed to your brand, lending you an air of authority in your industry. Simply Content Marketing’s “The Friday Fix” is an excellent example of a valuable curation content piece.

In the end, curation on a small scale can actually be a huge time-saver, that is, when you supplement your original content with curated content. As discussed in the previous step, if you’re struggling for ideas for your blog, you can opt to curate content for that post as a way to shake off the writer’s block. By curating content, you’ll keep fresh content on your site while passing along the value of your aggregation and editing efforts to your visitors. That’s an added value that they’ll attribute to your brand.

3. Comparisons & Reviews

With today’s online shopping platforms, people spend a lot of time comparing products. If you are an eCommerce company, it is your job to help visitors become educated on products. By adding a product comparison to your description, your page will become even more useful to visitors than the standard product page. As a result, visitors will not only see your page as a product source but also as a researching tool. For great examples of product comparison features, check out Amazon.com, Nashbar.com, or even Zappos.com 

When people search to buy something, they want as much information as they can get, and they want to be able to compare multiple options. The goal of a review is not simply to say whether you liked or didn’t like something, but rather to educate others about the product and whether or not they should buy it.

If you can provide that kind of detailed information for the user, they will be much more likely to do their analysis and make their buying decision via your website.  A product comparison or service review can be a priceless bit of content, and as a result, it can quickly convert browsers into buyers. Content marketing is all about helping, before you start selling.

4. Resource Pages

A resource page typically consists of a selection of articles or content that is based around a specific topic. Ideally that topic generates a lot of search activity and answers a common question. Every resource page should have a very select topical focus depending on your industry, and the articles that are included should be the best of what your industry has to offer. 

A good resource page will get a lot of attention, readers love to bookmark and share resource pages. This offers you the chance to include call to actions or gated-lead generation forms that can increase your site’s conversion rate. It can also deliver othergreat benefits to bloggers: 

·         Resource pages can actually increase the time spent for visitors.

·         If it delivers quality, useful content, readers will develop a trusting relationship with your brand and return.

·         It can establish a company’s expertise on a specific topic, allowing for the opportunity to network with others in your field. 

Bottom line – resource lists are capable of getting lots of traffic and generating natural backlinks for your site.  If done correctly, resource pages can act as “Evergreen content” – or in other words, content that stays relevant or valuable forever – that means that with a single piece of content, your brand could be seeing the benefits for years to come.

5. Interviews

Interviewing industry experts to find out how they tackle specific issues in their industry, and what tools they use to solve their problems is one of the most valuable forms of content you can create. You can ask them their opinion on industry trends, or to give a market outlook. The possibilities are limitless. 

You have three different media choices for conducting an interview:

·         Text-based: Send a customized email with 10 to 15 questions for the industry expert you would like to interview. Ask the interviewee to answer eight or so. Then, post the text of the interview with a bio and headshot. Boom, you’re done - Email interviews are by far the easiest interview to obtain.

·         Audio: Contact your interviewee and ask for a phone interview for audio. Again, the interview should be about eight questions, netting you maybe 10 or more minutes worth of audio.

·         Video: For video, you have the option of doing a webcam interview, if the interviewee is up for it, or you can snag them at a conference for an impromptu interview. Video interviews should generally stay short to keep the attention of the viewer.    

By having frequent conversations with other experts in your industry, you rank yourself among the top contributors in your field. Interviews demonstrate that you’re hungry to stay on top of the industry. They make fantastic blog posts and can generate traffic to your site, especially when you interview bigger names.

6. Round Ups

Round Ups generally brings several industry experts around a single subject and allows them to give their insight. The topic needs to be enticing enough for featured experts so they can get excited about contributing and be proud to share it with their own audiences. Round Ups should be useful for your readers so they can walk away with good tips from trusted leaders in the field. 

The strategy behind this content is very simple – present the knowledge of other industry experts and tap into their audience or network.They are often really useful pieces of content on their own, but by their nature they tend to get shared a lot by the people that were included. 

Round Ups allow you to collaborate with other leaders and work to provide the best possible content for users. They establish you as an expert and a curator of awesome content and information. Use this content to introduce your readers to helpful, useful information, no matter what niche your industry is in. 

7. Infographics

An infographic is a graphic that conveys a visual representation of information using images and words. They are a great way to capture a variety of pieces of information and communicate them in an interesting and condensed format. Infographics often make use of charts and graphs - but given the designer – they can turn into informative works of art, with beautiful design and typography. 

The possibilities with infographics are nearly endless. And when it comes to content on the Internet, infographics are hot stuff right now. Everybody seems to love them because they’re easy and fast to read, and are perfect for passing around via social media.

When someone finds an infographic that they think is really cool, they will link to it from their page, embed it on their site, or post it on their blog. When someone grabs the content to post on their website, they credit the page they got it from with a link. Because of their appeal, infographics are a great way to drive traffic and, especially, links to your website, which is one of the biggest benefits they offer.

8. Videos

This might seem obvious, but YouTube has become an enormously helpful marketing tool, and every content marketer needs to start implementing video into their strategy. Because of viewer’s short online attention span, short two-to five-minute videos are best. But within that constraint, video can be used for anything – videos can be educational or entertaining. The only limit is your imagination.

There are many places to post video. Everyone knows YouTube, but there’s also Vimeo, Viddler, and other sites, and this gives you the ability to post your videos on multiple channels. If you optimize your videos and get people to talk about them, they can do well in search, directing traffic to your website as a result. By establishing a standard for the quality of your content and having fun at the same time, you will improve your chances of creating video that will increase your traffic, generate leads, and maybe, just maybe, skyrocket to viral.

In my previous post, “Why does your Business Need Video Marketing?” I mentioned that some of the simplest topics are done best with video.  Sometimes, it’s easier to make a video to answer your audience’s questions rather than write about it. Videos can turn a blasé content idea into a winner, drawing traffic to your website. You could produce step-by-step text content with handy illustrations, and it could be great stuff. But by taking that idea to a video, the content can come alive and become dynamic.

In my experience with “not-so-professional” video content, the key to success is to keep loose; have fun and experiment with different ideas. Video really works best when the atmosphere is relaxed and natural. By creating quality content and having fun at the same time, you will improve your chances of creating video that generates a lot of views, increase your traffic, generate leads, and with a little luck - skyrocket to a viral content piece. 

9. Webinars

Webinars are web-based seminars, live presentations where users remotely engage in the presentation from their desktops. These are fantastic ways to bring together customers from anywhere on the planet. The limitations on participation are only a matter of user access to the Internet at the time your webinar takes place. To manage the connectivity and presentation, you can use a webinar service, such as GoToMeeting.com, On24.com, or Webex.com. 

Webinars are another great tool for showing your industry knowledge, and are excellent ways to engage directly with customers. Through a webinar, you have an extended time with your audience, which gives you the ability to show your leadership and depth of knowledge.

Because webinars require registration to participate, you can acquire the name and email of all participants, which you can add to your eNewsletter list, as well as your contact list for leads.

10. Free Guides

A free guide is normally a 10–12 page document that helps someone learn about a product, service, an industry, or a market. Topics can be about anything depending on your industry - it might help you choose your next laptop or maybe even your next career. 

There are three distinct reasons why I just love the free guide concept:

1.      They generate leads: Include a little lead-capture form in front of your free guides. This way, you’re building your contact list and you’re building your leads. 

2.      They attract links: A free guide is exactly what a webmaster or a blogger is willing to divert their traffic and their customers to - a fabulous piece of content. 

3.      They have a long lifespan: Just like a great resource page, depending on topic – free guides can become the perfect evergreen content – benefiting your brand for many years to come.

Free guides offer your target audiences a robust piece of information that will help establish your brand as a trusted authority in the industry. Placing this quality content behind a lead capture will allow you to further engage with potential leads and build a relationship by answering their questions. 

Each type of content brings its own benefit and challenge to the table, but a healthy content portfolio that incorporates all over these pieces of content will ensure that you reach your content marketing goals. Remember to have fun, keep an open mind, and enjoy creating some awesome content for your followers.


Brad Kuenn is a Content Writer, Editor and Strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he provides research, content topics, writing, editing, and content development expertise to clients. He has a passion for writing as well as art, which shines through in his work. His creativity and attention to detail makes him a valuable asset for a wide range of clients. During his time off he enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his two dogs Brutus and Kane. 
Connect with Brad:  Twitter   LinkedIn   Google+

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