It’s Friday, so bring on the Fixings, am I right?  I love that it’s the first Friday of October. Not only does October equal sweater weather, it’s also the unofficial kick-off to holiday season, which I treat as three months of deplorable dietary behavior in exchange for the other nine months I was comparatively good (I’m eating a Reese’s pumpkin as I write).  Content marketers love this time of year because the opportunities for nostalgic storytelling are endless; I’m already anticipating the first content marketing holiday-themed articles (is it weird that I get excited about those, too?).  While no one is cranking up the carols yet, we do have some coverage of what to expect in 2016 for content marketing, how to give your content confidence, and storytelling lessons.  So, grab hot apple cider and get ready to savor the Friday Fix!

7 Reasons You Lack Content Confidence

The title of Rebecca Moran’s article reminds me of a Star Wars quote in which Darth Vader says, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”  After all, you have to have faith in yourself to have confidence right? Well, yes, but you also need a few more things. Per Rebecca, not having a strategy, trying to go viral, being all business, and not thinking mobile are among the reasons your content may come off as lacking confidence. Check out this article for ways to inspire esteem into your content.

Storytelling Lessons from a Content Technology Hipster

John Montesi’s article, which explains how he became accused of being a hipster in the first place, is an incredibly engaging read most likely because he puts his money where his mouth is and tells stories in a manner that demonstrates what he preaches. In other words, John’s key advice is to be genuine; skip the gimmicks and tell a story that comes from your roots.  Of course, there’s a little more to it than that, so give this one a read.

2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends

If you’re a B2B company (and really, even if you’re not) Ann Handley’s data findings regarding how organizations feel about content marketing, their goals, and their thoughts on content-marketing’s effectiveness are covered. For example, lead generation and sales rank highest among organizational goals for B2B marketing with lead nurturing and brand awareness closely following. This article is a great read to see what other B2B companies are budgeting for content marketing, how they’re coordinating their efforts, and their overall perspectives on content marketing.

13 Best Social Campaigns and Stories from September 2015

Is it weird that I’m about to curate a round-up? If so, I don’t want to be normal because I found Jack Simpson’s coverage of what rocked social media this past September to be delightful. He starts with one of the biggest announcements of late: Facebook’s pending dislike button. As a user, this makes me giddy, but Jack forecasts it could cause concerns for brands (and it’s easy to see why).  Meanwhile Nescafe moves to Tumblr while Washington Post’s content will flow to Facebook. There’s much more; check out Jack’s article for what just happened in the world of social in case you missed anything.

Six Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Big Bird

Big Bird is more than just Sesame Street’s favorite feathered friend; he’s also one heck of a content marketing teacher.  Just ask Elyse Dupre whose article focuses on content marketing can learn from Big Bird. Even though he’s a giant yellow puppet, Big Bird teaches us to be human, embrace humor, tell stories (even if you only have 20 seconds time to fill), and be mindful that digital isn’t always best. Wait, what?  How so?  You’ll have to read Elyse’s insightful and agreeable article to understand why this advice makes complete sense.

Scaling Social Media across Many Locations with Whole Foods Natanya Anderson

We’re all familiar with the wholesome yet notoriously pricey grocery chain, Whole Foods. Loads of articles have been written about the company and even though there’s been some mixed press of late, whole food still has hundreds of thousands of followers and thriving business. So, Eric Enge sat down with Natanya Anderson, director of Social Media, CRM, and Customer Care at Whole Foods to see what the chain is doing right. If you’re also on the social media track with your content marketing, then you may find what Natanya is doing at Whole Foods (like local and brand storytelling) can easily be applied to you and your brand.

Finding the Stories that Need to be Told

Cheryl Treleavan’s article is intriguing because I’ve never thought of storytelling as finding stories; rather, I’ve always thought of it as bringing something from within out rather than looking out to discover what needs to be shared (if that makes sense). In a way, these concepts are the same; however, there are some differences. As noted by other storytelling pundits, the heart of storytelling lies in authenticity from subject to storyteller to context to perspective to call to action.   

3 Untapped Content Marketing Ideas

Given that everyone is looking for a unique approach in content marketing, Dianna Labrien’s article speaks to many.  The three ideas covered in Dianna’s article aren’t necessarily unheard of, but they may be things that you haven’t tried yet. For example, less is more.  Rather than posting multiple blogs a day, shorter your storytelling efforts to one killer post every few days or once a week and watch as your traffic grows. Dianna also provides a handy content marketing and a social media 4-1-1 formula that could help turn things around for you.

The Long Tail and What it Means for Content Marketing

If you don’t quite understand long tail keywords or aren’t sure that they’re as useful as multiple lower traffic ones, then read John McAlester’s article as he will explain the essence of the long tail and why it’s probably the best tool in your arsenal that you haven’t whipped out yet. Essentially, long tail enables you to tap into niche markets and to thus climb Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPS). If you want a more robust understanding of the long tail, then read John’s article.

Four Steps to a Great Content Marketing Plan

If you’re new to content marketing or have yet to develop a content marketing plan, then this article by Barb Mosher Zinch is for you.  As has been discussed before, planning is essential. Even the greatest product or brand in the world doesn’t stand a chance without the right strategy. In this article, Barb highlights the importance of defining your business, developing one or two key personas, mapping the buyer’s journey, and mapping your content assets to that journey. Each of these key points are discussed in detail to help you plan your strategy.

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. 

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