Content Marketing

branded-content-example-1Just last month we learned about the new Facebook branded content policies. Given the growing popularity of branded content, it’s appropriate to look at the impact this change brings to marketers. For their part, Facebook defines any type of content that features a third-party brand, product or sponsor (known as the marketer) as branded content. Here are 5 main points you need to know about the new Facebook branded content policy.
  • Branded content can be shared as long as it follows the Facebook branded content policy, ads policy, and is properly tagged with their branded content tool. Typically it’s companies and celebrities with Verified Pages that need to pay attention to these policies. However, anyone with a Verified Page promoting a third-party product will need to disclose this fact using Facebook’s branded content tool.
  • The Facebook branded content tag can be applied to a variety of different post types such as link, videos, text, photos, Instant Articles, 360 videos and live videos. Tagging the marketer’s page in any post that features branded content notifies that party, providing them with access to performance data for that post, such reach and engagement. Essentially, branded content posts offer the same insight as any other type of post.
  • Marketers can also share the post to their Page, and more important for Facebook, spend additional funds in its promotion. Consumers will see Facebook branded content posts in their news feed accompanied by the “with” tag.
  • Currently, only Verified Pages (the ones with the blue check mark) can share branded content. Effective September 1st, 2016 posts that do not comply with Facebook’s policies will be removed and the ads disapproved.

Writer Karin Winegar explains why despite all these new messaging channels, the basics of good writing never change “Keep it short and make it sing,” my late editor told me at the big Midwest  newspaper when I started my job as a general assignment reporter. He’d had...

customer experienceGetting your content to resonate with your audience depends to a large extent on the customer experience, in other words their journey to making a purchase. Prospects in the early stages of research have different needs than those that are closer to making a decision. Creating content that gets noticed isn’t just about finding the right keywords. Although some content marketers place a significant amount of emphasis on the search for high-volume keywords, that approach is short-sighted. Top-of-the-funnel generic keywords are bound to have greater search volume than those used for specific situations. For example, there will be more searches for “productivity widgets” than “productivity widget integration ISO 9000.” Yet, there may be a strategic reason for creating more content that addresses the needs of those lower volume searches. More on that in a moment. Despite all the "fancy" customer experience stuff out there, people always have and always will follow five basic steps; problem resolution, information gathering, solution evaluation, purchase, post-purchase behavior. The names may have changed, but the song remains the same. Whether it’s B2B or B2C, people experience problems, look for solutions, figure out their best alternative, buy what they believe is the right choice, and engage in some sort of post-purchase interaction. [Tweet "Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. "] Stop chasing keywords and align your content with the customer experience. Google handles trillions of searches per year and a good portion them are unique. If you can’t guess those keywords or their search volume, it’s tough to execute a keyword-oriented content strategy efficiently. However, if you are empathetic to your customer and their experience, creating content that meets their needs is far easier. Let’s borrow a concept from the world of growth hackers and startups.

visual marketersWe live in a visually dominated world. It’s rare to see any content appear on the web without a visual complement. Whether it’s a 140 character tweet or a five page white paper, content gets shared more often when accompanied by an image. Visual marketers know this. They also know that you don't have to be a Photoshop wizard to win big with visual marketing. No surprise that this rising interest in visual presentation has been accompanied by an increase in the number of related applications. From this large universe, we’ve selected a number of tools that cover a wide variety of uses in B2B marketing including image creation, presentation, editing and optimization.


This simple yet powerful design tool enables visual marketers to quickly create decent-looking visual content. Creating online promotional material for blog posts is straightforward as there are dozens of templates already sized for popular social media platforms. Producing offline marketing collateral like event flyers, business cards and postcards is also a snap. Versatility and ease of use are two reasons that makes this product particularly appealing.


Placeit lets visual marketers quickly create product mockups. Provide a screenshot or URL of your site and this app creates a mockup on a variety of desktop and mobile devices. As of this writing there are dozens of devices and hundreds of shots from which to choose. Posters, banners and packaging mockups are also available, saving time when pitching offline concepts.


Visme is a tool for creating presentations, infographics, reports, web content, product presentations and wireframes. Create interactive presentations in your browser, share them on social media, embed them on your website, view them on any device or download for presentation offline.


DataHero helps visual marketers take complicated data, make sense out of it, and create stunning and informative visuals. Design beautiful charts and dashboards from your data, export them in a variety of formats and use them in your PowerPoint, or any other presentation. DataHero connects to a number of leading cloud services, decodes your data, combines it across any service (even spreadsheets), and recommends appropriate visuals. You can accomplish all this without waiting for IT provide you with insight.


niche networksAccording to conventional wisdom, Twitter is dead, LinkedIn is the place for B2B marketing, and the rest is just filler. As discovered in our recent post, “Finding the Right B2B Social Network For Your Business,” things aren’t always as simple as they appear. A small and highly engaged audience can turn out to be significantly more profitable than one that is large yet indifferent. It might be time to consider throwing niche networks into your marketing mix. It’s not only about size, nor is it just about engagement. It’s the combination of the two that brings the greatest reward. While a high degree of attention is focused on the major social networks, a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center revealed that Internet users are moving away from big social networks, and towards simpler and more refined mobile based apps. This may well signal the beginning of fragmentation in the social media landscape. Marketers using social media platforms have a tough time. It’s hard to know whether a new platform is going to break out into the mainstream or disappear into oblivion, taking with it all that effort spent gaining traction on the channel. Then there are the constant algorithm changes and the significant impact they cause. Social media success is often fleeting. As a network matures, organic reach significantly drops until the only choice left is paying to play. This is no accident, but rather an event created through design. Social networks are for-profit corporations that, once they have a sufficient audience, naturally want to start seeing a profit. The reality is that all good things come to an end, so you need to continually test and refine your marketing approach. One strategy worth exploring is incorporating niche networks into your overall marketing program. There are two things you need to consider for this technique to work. First, you’ll need to create a process to research and identify promising social media platforms, test them and scale your activities should initial results prove favorable. Second, you’ll want to have some form of risk management in place. You don’t want to spend a major portion of your marketing resources on one platform only to see it die an agonizing death. You want to keep testing different niche networks until you find one that works and then double down on the winner. Eventually, the channel will become saturated, and you’ll have to repeat the process yet again. This is a simple strategy, yet very challenging to execute. You are faced with constant algorithm changes and the learning demands of new and evolving platforms. In this environment, a T-shaped skill set and the ability to adapt quickly to change will be highly valued assets. It will definitely require a high level of commitment. But your social media niche marketing process will give you a substantial competitive advantage. While others lament over declining organic reach or desperately seek salvation on another popular platform, you’ll be executing your find, test, and scale strategy. Just rinse and repeat. Nevertheless, there remains a serious drawback with social media marketing on any platform. Your audience doesn’t belong to you. In fact, you’re renting it. You’re playing in someone else’s ballpark. It’s their game and their rules. One day you could find yourself shut out with no recourse available. It’s a risk every social media marketer takes, but it doesn’t make it any easier. However, there is another possibility:

TrackMaven's recent B2B Industry report revealed drastic differences in the impact and use of social media across different industries. This post looks at those distinctions and how brands can focus their efforts on the right B2b social network.

Conventional wisdom holb2b social networkds that LinkedIn is the dominant B2b social network, and TrackMaven's report supports that notion for B2B overall. When considering audience, LinkedIn is number one followed by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. However, it's important to note that there are distinct differences based on industry. Some of the data might surprise you.
  • Facebook is where Manufacturing brands find their largest audience. Yet the extremely high engagement rates on Instagram make that platform a serious contender for these brands.
  • Aerospace and Defense get their largest audiences on LinkedIn, accounting for over half of their social media following. Yet engagement rates are low with only 1.14 interactions on average per post per 1,000 followers. Instagram, although small in size, is highly active with engagement rates 25 times that of LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn is the principal channel for building Biotech audiences, accounting for nearly 95% of followers. Although Facebook provides these brands with a smaller audience, it's a very effective B2B social network, sporting engagement rates 31 times higher than LinkedIn.
  • Chemical Manufacturers also find the majority of their audience on LinkedIn, with roughly two-thirds coming from this one platform. However engagement levels are the lowest with a ratio of just 1.02. Instagram is the most successful for these brands, with engagement ratios averaging 29.25.
  • Computer Hardware brands find that Facebook brings the largest audience, both as a percentage and in terms of sheer numbers. Despite the small audience size, the superior engagement ratio of Instagram offers brands far better results.
  • Construction brands attract about three times as large an audience on LinkedIn than Facebook. Yet Facebook offers roughly four times the engagement rate of the other B2B social network. Brands in this market should consider using both platforms to maximize their potential.
  • Electrical Equipment brands have LinkedIn audiences that are about three times as big as their Facebook followers. However, Facebook audiences are nearly four times as engaged. Like the construction industry, brands in this niche should step up their game on Facebook.
  • Regarding audience size, LinkedIn accounts for two-thirds of

After Disney issued extremely conservative predictions for “The Jungle Book,” the live-action film by Jon Favreau obliterated expectations with its massive $103.6 opening weekend. These powerful results make this our IMC Campaign of the Month. Disney made several smart marketing choices during the lead-in to the release of The Jungle Book that helped build hype and buzz for the movie. They combined typical marketing approaches, special opportunities available only to Disney and a few unique techniques and messaging particular to this film. Each of these aspects of the IMC campaign were deployed with terrific skill and a keen eye toward how each part of the plan fit together. The result was maximum marketing impact. Recognizing that the Disney Magic Castle logo is not an automatic plus for the male demo, Disney aggressively and repeatedly pitched the movie to male audiences. Commercials on ESPN created the perception that The Jungle Book movie was not coming from the studio that made Cinderella but from the studio that produced the Pirates of the Caribbean series. An extended 3D trailer for The Jungle Book was played during the showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, of which the majority of the audience was male. Disney also rolled out an action-packed trailer during the Super Bowl. Plus Disney’s marketers targeted the Hispanic audience by teaming with Univision, the American Spanish-language TV network, for a five-week stint that brought The Jungle Book characters and clips to telenovelas, talk shows and sports coverage. Disney even built a tool to allow Univision personalities to appear in scenes. Word of mouth spreads faster than ever in the age of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. The Jungle Book had everything in its favor, and with the help of social channels, went over the edge in terms of popularity. Disney’s savvy online marketing campaign also contributed to the buzz. "With each new piece of material, you’re showing [fans] enough to have them understand what you are doing, but also just enough to keep secrets so there’s still excitement and discovery when they go to the theater," The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau told Mashable in a phone interview. To emphasize the “immersive world” (think Avatar)

content shockIt's been two years since Mark Schaefer declared that content shock is here. Since that time B2B brands have continually increased their marketing budgets while technological advances like ad blockers threaten to disrupt the industry. Still the problem of content shock remains. There’s an overwhelming amount of free content on the web -  far more than any rational human being can consume. As a result, people have become increasingly selective about the content they consume. Internet users are coping with information overload by scanning faster and reading with less intensity than before. This, in turn, makes it harder for B2B brands to reach their audience. To continue connecting with prospects, marketers will have to continually refine their niche. Yet, they face another problem.