It’s out! The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs B2B “Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report” for 2017 has landed. CMI vice president Michele Linn joined the team to discuss the annual snapshot of the state of business-to-business content marketing in the North American market.

 

 

Here are some key take-outs:

 

  • 62 per cent of marketers say they feel more successful with their content marketing this year than they have in the past.
  • Top performing marketers have a documented strategy, clarity about what success is, commitment to content marketing, and a consistent approach to publication.

“The content marketers that are staying the course are starting to realise that this works. Content marketers have known that for a long time but we’ve been asking our employers and clients to trust us on that.” — Sarah

 

  • 89 per cent of marketers (B2B in North America) are doing content marketing and of the 11 per cent not doing content marketing, 52 per cent plan to start within the next year.
  • Businesses and brands that are struggling with content marketing aren’t actually doing content marketing, they’re just using content in their marketing. Content in marketing does not equal content marketing.

“We took a new look at the data to provide marketers with different insights. We wanted to figure out what (kinds of content) marketers found the most critical.” — Michele Linn, Content Marketing Institute vice president.

 

  • Ask yourself what kinds of stories you’d tell if you didn’t have to make money. Now tell those stories.
  • The most successful content marketers know success doesn’t happen overnight. You need to stick with it. This year’s data shows that.

“We have a lot of new data around people’s attitudes to content marketing and the people who are most successful have a strategy — they know what success looks like and they give it time.” — Michele Linn, Content Marketing Institute vice president.

 

Here are the links you might need

 

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic spoke to Jonathan Crossfield about avoiding epic social media mistakes.

 

And here’s a discussion about the world’s top content marketing projects, based on the Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Awards.

 

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How do you avoid making epic social media mistakes? The team discusses one of their favourite topics with storyteller, marketer, and social media guru, Jonathan Crossfield. Among his many titles he’s the Editorial Director behind Telstra’s content hub, Smarter Business Ideas. He is fresh back from Content Marketing World in the US, where he presented a paper on social media and audience: “the proper approach to social communications”.

 

 

Here are some key take-outs:

  • First, this isn’t a witch-hunt for bad social media examples. Looking at any kind of failure is about trying to learn the lessons. Often, you can learn more when something goes wrong than you can when it goes right. The fact things keep going wrong suggests we still have a lot to learn, so let’s learn from each other.
  • Jonathan’s suspicion about the social media mistakes made by big brands is that often they’ve been made by an agency or someone posting on behalf of a brand, rather than someone inside a brand. They may be a little too removed from a brand and less able to reflect the brand correctly — especially if posting has been left to inexperienced staff.

“It has become predictable that brands will run into these walls. You know they’re going to stuff up before they do. So if we can see it, why can’t they?” — Jonathan Crossfield

 

  • Connecting your brand to any kind of “bad news” almost always blows up in a brand’s face (metaphorically speaking). It’s certainly not a good idea to do it deliberately in order to “troll” the consumer because, as Jonathan explains, “you might get the sentiment but the numbers are going to be through the floor”.
  • Treat the emotions your audience are experiencing at the time with respect.

“It doesn’t matter if you didn’t mean offense; if the audience took offense, it was offensive.” — Jonathan Crossfield

 

  • We’ve become too fixated on getting big engagement numbers because big numbers look good on the report card you’re giving to your client. But numbers are only ever part of the story — we need to think about how the message actually resonates with the audience.
  • Social media and content marketing are long-term strategies and big engagement numbers are borne out of the old month-to-month campaigning thought processes. They shouldn’t be part of your long-term strategy because they don’t prove anything of value to your business. Think more about your messaging and resonance than about the reach.

“You need to focus on building your audience and serving your clients and quite frankly, if you’re trolling your audience, they will never engage with your brand again and they won’t say anything nice about you ever again.” — Sarah

 

Here are the links you might need

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at the lessons that can be learned from the world’s best examples of content marketing.

 

And here’s a fascinating discussion about the digital marketing strategies of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, based on an experiment Sarah conducted.

 

Like what you’ve heard?

Give us a follow on Soundcloud to get the latest episodes.

Or, you can subscribe or leave a review on iTunes.

 

One of the most common questions journalists get asked is ‘where do you get all your stories from?’ Generating story ideas is a reporter’s bread and butter and these days it’s also an essential skill for the content marketer. Today, the Brand Newsroom chats with longtime reporter (and content marketer) Dan Hatch about how to generate article ideas like a journalist.

Here are some key take-outs

  • You’re never starting with a blank sheet of paper. News is always happening. You just need to work out what the angle is that suits your brand and that your audience will find interesting.
  • Open the paper. Open Google. Open Twitter’s Trending Topics. These places will tell you what people are talking about.

“Go away and ask people in your own team, in your own business. They’re the greatest resource when it comes to generating ideas”. — Nic

 

  • Run an editorial calendar. Keep an eye on the events that are coming up — be it a holiday, an International Day of Whatever-it-is, or even the new season of Game of Thrones You can plan great and relevant content well in advance because you know these are things people will be talking about down the track.

“Your clients may not realise the really good stories they’re sitting on either because they don’t have the editorial experience, or ‘news sense’, or they’re too close to it and they just don’t see it”. — Dan

 

  • Use your curiosity, use your contacts. Make sure your articles are a two-way street. Invite feedback. Get people bringing stories to you, but don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions because curiosity is a fantastic way to find really interesting story ideas.
  • Use social media to interact with your audience. You should be following influencers. If you begin to understand what’s important to your influencers, you’ll have so much opportunity to get them to comment on your stories, appear on your podcast, appear in your video series, etc.

“I keep a folder with original research, survey results, and so on – these are coming out all through the year. If you go back and really mine through those, you can draw so many stories from them — beyond the headline figures”. — Sarah


Here are the links you might need

  • Here’s a blog post by Dan Hatch explaining where journalists get their ideas. There are a lot more tips for generating story ideas there.
  • Here’s another post by Dan talking about the importance of value-adding on your editorial offering if you want to grow your audience.

 

Have you heard the one about…

Recently Dan joined James, Sarah and Nic to talk about managing editorial workflow.

 

And here’s a discussion with reporter Simon Holt about how to pitch to journalists.

 

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Editorial workflow can be messy. There are too many stages involved, too many approvals, and often something like 15 interested parties getting out their red pen to make unnecessary changes. It shouldn’t be this hard.

So how do you streamline your editorial workflow processes to ensure they’re as efficient as possible while still remaining flexible?

This week James, Nic and Sarah go in search of some insights from traditional newsrooms. Their guest is long-time journalist and Lush Digital managing editor Dan Hatch.

Here are some key take-outs:

  •  The editorial process should be as linear as possible: Articles are assigned, written, reviewed and then published. Everyone on the team should have a defined role and as few people should be involved as possible (especially in the review process).
  • The key to achieving this is trust; build a good team of writers and trust them to deliver. Build trust with your client to the point where they don’t feel they have to endlessly review every piece of content.

“It’s marketing’s job to get out of the way. If you want to have a good process then what you need is to allow your writers or brand journalists to do their jobs without constant interference from subject matter experts, boards of directors, executive teams, product managers… otherwise the audience will never be served. — Sarah

  •  Communication is key. Have a clear editorial calendar and make sure all your team is working from it, so everyone is “singing from the same song sheet”.
  • Have defined roles for everybody. Make sure everyone in the chain knows exactly what their responsibilities are and to whom they’re delivering their content.

“Once you know someone is good at the role you’ve defined for them. Trust them to deliver. They’ve got a deadline, they will deliver by that deadline.” — Dan

  •  Your workflows and processes should support your overarching strategy. Clients will have more faith in you if they can see everything fits into wider plan.
  • Give your writers enough time to produce quality articles. But be nimble and flexible when something comes up that requires a quick turnaround.

 “You have to be responsive. You have to be able to see opportunities and put your response together quickly to get the maximum amount of engagement. ” — Nic

Here are the links you might need

Here’s Brand Newsroom Episode 59 featuring James Dillon of Gorilla 360, who suggested this week’s topic:

 

  • You can find James on Twitter here, too.
  • You can also find Dan Hatch on Twitter here.

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at brand journalism versus traditional journalism.

 

And here’s a chat from a couple of weeks ago about how the major shake-up of the new industry is a real opportunity for content marketers.

 

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Give us a follow.

Subscribe or leave a review.

This week after 44 years of operation, staff at the Australian magazine, Cleo, were told to apply for jobs elsewhere. The instruction came after months of rumored closure for the magazine, and after extended struggle overall throughout the magazine industry 

So what do announcements like this say about audiences preferences for content? In this episode of the Brand Newsroom podcast, the team discuss how digital publishing will continue to affect traditional media unless they choose to adapt.

Links