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Ten Blogs Every Marketer Should Read

October 25, 2013

Ten blogs every marketer should read

Introduction

As marketers (or aspiring marketers), we have it pretty darn good. Why is that? Because marketers, by our very nature, are accustomed to sharing information, insights, tips and best practices. In fact, sharing (and publishing) knowledge is one of the things we love most about our job.

What can you do if you don’t yet have a body of knowledge to share? You follow and read the marketing thought leaders. Learn from the best, while getting a sense for how they share their knowledge. One day, you may find your likeness etched into the Mount Rushmore of Marketing thought leaders.

Let’s highlight ten blogs that every B2B marketer should read.

Follow Our Twitter List: Top 10 Marketing Blogs

Amy Porterfield: Social Media Strategy

Amy Porterfield is a social media strategist who helps clients “maximize the power of social media and increase the success of their online marketing efforts.” Amy provides actionable tips on social media engagement. She’s a great storyteller, as well – just read through the About page on her site.

Selected post: What to Do After People Opt In to Your Email List

As marketers, it’s quite easy to take our email opt-in list for granted. Source 1,000 new opt-ins last week? Great. We just completed a white paper yesterday, so we’re going to email all 1,000 of them, with “hot off the presses” in the subject line.

Instead, Porterfield encourages marketers to give email subscribers great value over time and make sure your messages resonate with them: in other words, treat them like gold. Your email subscribers should be valued on par with your customers. In fact, many of your customers are already on your email list. Wouldn’t it be bad if they opted out?

Moz: Content on SEO and More

Moz began life as an SEO consulting company and has grown into a content site, online community and software provider. For me, Moz has become a go-to site for all things SEO and Google, from Penguin to Hummingbird to “Not Provided.”

Selected post: Taking Advantage of Google’s Bias Toward Hyper-Fresh Content – Whiteboard Friday

While my schedule doesn’t always sync up, I like to set aside some time on Friday’s to catch the latest “Whiteboard Friday” from Rand Fishkin, Moz’s CEO and Co-Founder. Fishkin always has timely and interesting things to share – and the depth of his content is always impressive. As just one measure of content effectiveness, take a look at the number of Comments he receives (61 comments in the selected post above).

Ann Handley: Social Media and Content Marketing

I’ve been a reader of Marketing Profs for quite some time. I read the book Content Rules, which Ann co-authored with C.C. Chapman. I’ve also attended a number of Marketing Profs webinars and online events.

Selected post: A Simple Content Marketing Org Chart

My selected post is not from Marketing Profs, though. On her personal blog, Ann provides an org chart for the content marketing team. Some organizations have a single person allocated to content, while others may have teams of hundreds. It’s not the numbers that are important here, it’s the roles and personas that Ann outlines. Did you see a role here that’s not filled on your team? Think about filling it.

Seth Godin: Best-selling Author and Thought Provoker

Things I look forward to each day: the sun rising. And Seth Godin’s daily blog post. I’ve enjoyed a number of Seth’s books. On his blog, he takes a different approach. Each post is short and succinct. They deliver a key insight, or they make you think (or both).

Selected post: Marketing good…

This one made me think. My takeaway is: good is no longer good enough. Our marketing, along with the products we’re marketing, need to be great.

Jay Baer: Best-selling Author and Social/Content Guru

Jay Baer is founder of Convince & Convert, who “help you get better at social media and content marketing through audits, strategic planning and ongoing advice and counsel” (source: http://www.convinceandconvert.com/about-us/).

Selected post: 11 Big Myths About Social Media and Content Marketing

I’m not a big fan of myths: after all, if something’s a myth, I shouldn’t pay attention to it, right? Except that I should, when peers, colleagues or industry contacts believe in such myths. I may need to dispel a myth in order to gain budget or project approval.

KISSmetrics: Analytics, Marketing and Testing

KISSmetrics provides web analytics software. Each blog post they publish is so rich in detail, I almost feel guilty getting it for free. Their blog content covers a fairly wide range of topics (i.e. more than analytics and testing). Because I need to allocate a fair amount of time to read and digest their content, I usually save pieces for later (i.e. outside of the work day), when I have dedicated time to read them in full.

Selected post: 58 Resources to Help You Learn and Master SEO

Sometimes, content curation can be as big a task as writing original content. This post features a broad and comprehensive set of SEO resources. I may need to allocate an entire weekend for this one.

Paul Gillin: Speaker, Writer, Consultant

I’ve been reading Paul’s blog ever since I worked with him (a number of years ago). Paul has published a number of books, consults with brands and speaks and writes frequently.

Selected post: 8 Data Points about the Importance of Customer Experience

When assembling a presentation, I often need to find interesting and relevant statistics to include. Sometimes it can be very challenging to find them! If I was doing a presentation on customer experience (or, the related field of Customer Experience Management), Paul’s post would be my go-to source for related stats.

Brian Solis: Author and Analyst

Brian Solis is a best-selling author and principal analyst at Altimeter Group.

Selected post: Broadcast Yourselfie: How teens use social media and why it matters to you

If you’re in B2C, you probably know about the technology and social media habits of teens. If you’re in B2B, your knowledge of teens may related to the ones in your household. I’m in B2B and don’t have a teen at home, so I found this post fascinating. Today’s teens will be your target customer in a few years. It’s best to understand them now.

Jeremiah Owyang: Entrepreneur and Thought Leader

Jeremiah Owyang is Chief Catalyst (and founder) at Crowd Companies. Formerly, Jeremiah was a research analyst at Altimeter Group.

Selected post: Meet the Resilient Corporations

Jeremiah always seems to be at the leading edge of what’s coming next. His current focus area is the collaborative economy and in this piece, he explores the advantages gained by resilient corporations. They gain advantages “by reducing risk through variability, being agile by flexing when needed, and scaling by leveraging others to handle the load.”

I read Jeremiah’s blog for a big picture view of things coming down the road.

Marketo: Best Practices in Online Marketing

Marketo is a leading provider of marketing software. Nearly every week, I learn something new about Marketing via their blog.

Selected post: Here’s How to Maintain Your Email Marketing List for Engagement and Better Deliverability

Whoever proclaimed “email is dead” must not have been a marketer. For demand and lead generation, email is still an important tool in our arsenal. And I think a lot of marketers still struggle with things like subscription management and deliverability. Read this post from Marketo co-founder Jon Miller and your email management will be the better for it.

Our Infographic

We’ve assembled an infographic of these ten extraordinary thought leaders. Enjoy!

Originally published on the DNN Software blog.

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Stand Out From the Crowd with Unique Content Marketing

October 5, 2013

Photo credit: Flickr user theirhistory via photopin cc

Introduction

A recently published report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs noted that 93% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing. Let’s hope you’re not a part of the 7%. With such a high rate of content marketing adoption, competition is fierce. Not only is your content “up against” your direct competitors; you’re also fighting for attention against all other B2B marketers.

Let’s say your content is about marketing automation, while another piece of content is about Hadoop. If your reader chooses to read the Hadoop article and forgets to return to your marketing automation piece, then you’ve “lost” that mini-battle. In this piece, I’ll cover tactics you can use to stand out from the crowd. Since everyone’s doing content marketing, you need to attract attention by being unique.

Create a perpetual motion machine of content.

Consider the top content marketers. They’ll publish multiple times per week on their blog (some may even most multiple times per day). They’ll create new videos, white papers, eBooks and webinars each and every month. They publish so much content that readers can’t even keep up (and that’s OK). And, they don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

Marketers who create a perpetual motion machine of content are unique. And it’s this uniqueness that creates a sustainable advantage for them. Consistently churning out high quality content is not something competitors can easily copy.

Vary your content formats.

Good content marketers re-purpose their content. Great content marketers vary with a purpose. You’ll want to take that webinar and create multiple pieces of content from it: a Slideshare, a podcast, a white paper, a few blog postings (and a little bit of gravy to go on top).

But don’t pigeonhole yourself into a fixed set of media. If you’ve been doing webinars and blog postings for years, plan to do something completely different next quarter. How about a video-based comedy skit? Or a bus tour to visit customers? Maybe doing your next eBook in the form of an audio download (with 25% set to music)?

Marketo did a coloring book. Have a read through this Social Media B2B piece for more on that (and others).

Surprise people.

Each day at work, I either wear khakis or cargo pants (depending on how formal I feel like dressing). I pair a dress shirt with the khakis and a T-shirt with the cargo pants. What if I wore a suit and tie into the office? I’d be noticed and I’d receive comments from at least half of my co-workers (the other half would just think I’m unusual).

If people always expect you to do one thing, then do something completely different, to create attention. So do something that your audience isn’t expecting. Give them free product for a week. Write about a topic you’ve never covered before. Publish something that’s completely unrelated to your business.

Take a stand.

Rand Fishkin, Founder and CEO of Moz, took a stand against Google. By suppressing keyword data on organic search queries (but preserving that data for Google AdWords customers), Google is abusing its monopolistic position, according to Fishkin.

The statement from Fishkin drew a lot of attention. In fact, HubSpot’s Dan Lyons published a blog post with details of Fishkin’s stand, which he (Fishkin) communicated via video (you can find the video embedded in this Moz post).

Fishkin didn’t stop by just taking a stand, however. The bulk of his video informed marketers about how to adapt to Google’s changes. He provided a number of useful tips on how to work around “Not Provided” to infer some of the same data that we used to receive from Google.

So don’t just take a stand for the sake of it. Take your stand, then provide useful information related to it.

Produce and publish long form, ungated content.

Give us useful, in-depth content and “put it out there” for all to see. You’ll still need to produce gated white papers (to drive new leads), but add ungated content to your editorial calendar. A representative from Google once said, “we encourage original, high-quality content, since that’s what’s best for web users.” If your high-quality content is behind a registration page, then Google (and many others) will never see it.

Long form content is a golden opportunity right now: the field is wide open for you to produce useful content that both readers and search engines will love.

For info on how to produce in-depth content, have a look at these two resources:

  1. Search Engine Watch: A Great Strategy to Create In-Depth Evergreen Content
  2. Copyblogger: How to Write the In-Depth Articles that Google Loves

Finally, here are recent examples I’ve come across that are both in-depth and high-quality:

  1. KISSmetrics: How to Regain Lost Traffic with These Remarketing Strategies
  2. Buffer: 7 Big Facebook Changes You Should Know About for a Better Facebook Strategy
  3. Social Media Examiner: Content Marketing: How to Attract People With Content
  4. TOPO: Sales and the Buyer: Why Sales Misunderstands the Buyer
  5. Copyblogger: How a Stay-at-Home Mom Built a Million-Dollar Business

Conclusion

With 93% of B2B marketers doing content marketing, the bar has been raised. It’s no longer enough to produce content. In addition, it’s no longer enough to produce quality content. You need quality plus uniqueness to reach today’s reader. Are you ready to think differently?

Related Webinar

I presented a webinar titled “Content Marketing: 10 Tips in 30 Minutes.” Visit the webinar detail page to view the on-demand replay. In addition, you may view the webinar slides below.

Originally published on the DNN Software blog.


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