With 2016 just around the corner, one can’t help but reflect on just how much online marketing has evolved- especially as it relates to content marketing. Marketers alike would be wise to think about just what their online content marketing strategies will look like in the coming year.
Helping out with this thought, Forbes contributor, Jayson DeMers, put together an excellent list of the most recent content marketing stats. Some of these stats are re-posted here. However, we encourage you to view the original article.
B2B Content Marketing Stats
1. 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, yet only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy. (source)
2. 61% of the most effective B2B content marketers meet with their content team daily or weekly. (source)
3. The most effective B2B content marketers allocate a larger portion of their budget to content marketing: 42% of their total budget, compared to 28% for less-effective marketers. (source)
B2C Content Marketing Stats
4. 76% of B2C marketers report using content marketing, yet only 37% say their strategy is effective. (source)
5. 37% of B2C marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. This is up from just 27% last year. (source)
6. B2C marketers use infographics more than any other content strategy. 62% report using infographics, and 63% from this group said they were effective. (source)
General Content Marketing Statistics
7. Self-employed individuals are more likely to use blogging than large businesses (those with 1,000+ employees). (source)
8. B2B businesses are more likely to use blogging than B2C businesses. (source)
9. 45% of marketers say blogging is their #1 most important content strategy. (source)
Brands and businesses alike need to create messaging that resonates with their consumers. If you fail to tune into the needs of your target audience, then you run the risk of them ‘tuning out’ to whatever it is you are trying to say.
Knowing the Micro-Moments
The introduction of mobile technology over the years has resulted in an increasing number of micro-moments, or snippets of time in which mobile users engage in behaviors such as: checking the clock, texting a friend, posting an update to social media, researching products, and more. As Google describes it:
Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device — increasingly a smartphone — to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever.
Marketers need to create relevant, useful content for target audiences.
Marketers should be tapping into these micro-moments to create relevant, rich content that caters to the specific needs of that particular person at that point in time. Weighing into this is the fact that we live in an age of distraction where attention spans are the shortest they’ve ever been. Therefore, there is an even greater need to deliver useful, easily digestible content.
51% of smartphone users have purchased from a company/brand other than the one they intended to because the information provided was useful.1
Offering content that is useful is a key factor in engaging potential consumers as well as ensuring that they continue down the purchase path. Below, we examine the four key types of micro moments as well as how these types of moments may be used to help marketers create content and mobile strategies that are more effective.
4 Types of Micro-Moments
In their recent article, “How to Beat Consumer Tune-Out with Useful Content,” Google outlines four key types of micro-moments along with ways to be useful to each so that you can create content (and mobile strategies) that work. Below, we’ve outlined these four micro-moments.
Micro-Moment #1 – I Want to Know.
What’s the best laptop for college students?
How can I lose 10lbs in the healthiest way?
What’s the most fuel-efficient car?
Nowadays, the first step to a successful sales journey begins with mobile. People on mobile tend to gravitate towards smaller, snackable, educational content (versus more traditional, hard sales).
Offer helpful, short, how-to videos for your customers. Provide quick tips on social media for followers. Whatever you do, make it quick, relevant, and useful. By providing answers to your audience’s common questions, you earn trust, build credibility, and provide value.
Micro-Moment #2 – I Want to Go.
Where is the best Honda dealership near me?
Where can I get custom window tinting done?
With more than half of Google searches now taking place on mobile2, being where your audience is proves vital – especially if you have a brick-and-mortar location. More consumers are apt to buy from companies whose mobile sites are tailored to their specific location – especially if it provides useful information about a product they are looking for.
In fact, nearly 70 percent of mobile users expect a business to be within 5 miles of their location. And 71 percent of consumers commonly look for a store’s location via a mobile device3.
How is your content tailoring to these consumers?
Micro-Moment #3 – I Want to Do.
How do I fix a leaky kitchen sink?
How do I create a simple, elegant hairstyle?
How do I an oil change myself?
Think of step-by-step instructions. Think of YouTube How-To videos. According to Google, nearly 50 percent of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites/apps provide instructional video content.
Micro-Moment #4 – I Want to Buy.
Google points out that this type of micro-moment can happen anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in traffic on the way home from work, or taking a quick lunch break – consumers are more likely to buy from companies who make it easy and seamless to purchase items/services quickly.
Empower consumers to buy from your brand. Do this by providing a mobile experience that is easy, accessible, and FAST, regardless of where that consumer is located.
How is your company taking advantage these key micro-moments that Google mentioned?
1. [Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Wave 3, Google/Ipsos, U.S., August 2015, n=1291 online smartphone users 18+]↩ 2. [Tan, Alicia Marie. More than half of Google searches now come from mobile. Mashable. October 2015]↩ 3. [Google/Nielsen Mobile Path to Purchase, Nov 2013]↩
After reporting financial losses for the third quarter, Yahoo recently announced that it would begin to use Google to help boost some of its search results and advertising. According to Yahoo’s chief executive, Marissa Mayer, the tech company is still in search (no pun intended) of a viable turnaround plan. According to Mayer [https://investor.yahoo.net/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=937519]:
Our Q3 results were largely within our forecasted expectations — our GAAP revenue grew 7% year-over-year and our Mavens revenue grew 43%. As we move into 2016, we will work to narrow our strategy, focusing on fewer products with higher quality to achieve improved growth and profitability. In addition to sharpening focus within core business growth, our top priority is the planned spinoff of Aabaco Holdings. This is an important moment for the Company, and we continue to strive to complete the spin as quickly as we can.
Narrowing Their Focus
Part of Yahoo’s said turnaround plan involves narrowing their strategy, and the first area to feel the effects was Yahoo’s video programming, which is taking a $42 million write-off. You can also likely expect some lay-offs, and scaling back in other areas of the company’s operations.
Making a Deal with Google
Earlier this week, Yahoo signed a mobile search and web deal with Google. The 3-year deal allows Google to supply advertising and search results for some of the search queries made by Yahoo users. And according to Yahoo, this partnership will only serve to bolster their search capabilities as well as complement the search services already provided by Microsoft.
There will also, likely, be a shift towards mobile search initiatives. According to the Yahoo Q3 investor report [https://investor.yahoo.net/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=937519], mobile revenue represented 24 percent of traffic-driven revenue, a 4% increase from 2014. As more companies and brands shift the focus to mobile search from desktop search, Mayer reiterated the point that 90 percent of time on phones are spent in mobile apps, not in the browser. Therefore, audiences may see more online experiences driven by mobile apps.
Turning towards Google for help with search results and advertising is a bandaid that may make investors happy for the moment. However, Mayer’s plan to streamline and focus the company remains to be seen.
Thanks, largely in part to smartphones, today’s online audience can only muster approximately 8 seconds-worth of coherent thought before becoming distracted or bored. That’s a shorter attention span than a goldfish. Thus, many online marketers resort to creative headlines as a means to generate increased traffic to an article, blog post, or other piece of online content. However, creating catchy headlines can often do more damage than good when trying to establish brand loyalty and increase consumer engagement.
Prevalence of Clickbait
What is ‘clickbait’?
Clickbait is any headline or phrase that marketers and/or publishers employ to entice viewers to click. Content marketers often employ clickbait tactics in a number of ways, such as:
Catchy e-mail headlines
Sponsored posts on social networking sites
Why does clickbait exist?
The increasing prevalence of clickbait is due, in part, to the fact that there is more content on the Internet competing for our attention. Therefore, to stand out, marketers will sometimes resort to creating sensationalized titles that grab our attention and pique our interest – enough to make us want to click to find out more. However, the end result is often a title that is better than the actual article. Underwhelmed by whatever content they’ve been tricked into viewing, consumers become turned off and may lose trust in that brand.
Examples of Clickbait Titles:
“You’ll Never Believe This!”
“What Every Budding Entrepreneur Needs to Know”
“You’ll Never Guess Why..”
“The 5 Things You’ve Been Doing Wrong..”
Creating Content that ‘Clicks’
Instead, what content marketers should be focused on is finding a balance: Produce a title that attracts viewers. Create engaging content that encourages customers to share it with others while also motivating them to explore other content on your site. To do this, marketers need to shift away from focusing primarily on clicks. Rather, the focus should be on overall engagement and sentiment. According to a recent article, published by Marguerite McNeal:
While ad revenue might be the end goal for some media companies, content marketers publish stories to engage potential customers. Their aim is to boost brand awareness and draw audiences into the funnel, and a cheap click that doesn’t deliver on its promise won’t keep a customer around for long.
Your headline and content should work in tandem. That said, quality content will always trump any yellow journalism-style approach. Give readers something that goes beyond a creative headline. Deliver an online content experience that aims to inform, educate, or inspire viewers.
Content marketers can create resonant content in a number of ways. Corey Eridon, of HubSpot, offers five examples of how to achieve this:
#1 – Use images.
Images can be a powerful tool to help convey a range of emotions or ideas. They can be used to draw in a reader, and images can also offer SEO value for better searchability.
#2 – Use data.
Well-researched information is made more credible when you actually produce data to back it up. From citing sources to using an infographic, data can provide a better framework for what you are trying to explain to consumers.
#3 – Use your audience.
Pose a general question about a topic to your Twitter followers. Collect some of the responses, and include this information in your next piece of online content. Your audience’s feedback can be valuable in more ways than one.
#4 – Use real-life examples.
Real-life examples can help others understand an otherwise difficult concept. It can also serve to reinforce brand loyalty as well as introduce new customers to your brand. Why? Real-life examples allow us to relate to what is going on.
#5 – Use the right tone.
Content writers have the sometimes difficult task of nailing down what tone to use – something that varies according to what audience is being addressed. For example, you wouldn’t use SMS-speak in an article addressing corporate executives. How you structure sentences, your use of humor, grammar, and even the way you format your text, can have a tremendous impact on how your content resonates with a particular group of people.
Mind Over Metrics: Shifting Your Focus to What Matters
Learn to look beyond the clicks, and shift focus into metrics that offer feedback on how your content is being perceived by those who view it. Metrics to consider:
# of Shares – Did the content inspire others to share it ?
# of Comments – Did your content cause others to voice their opinion(s)?
Sentiment among comments – What trending emotion do you see? (happiness, sadness, anger, relief, etc.)
Post reach – How many people did your post reach?
This type of feedback can prove invaluable to a content marketer (as well as to an organization) as it allows content marketers to refine their content to better suit their target audience.
At LTTR, we are expert content marketers; we produce quality content that appeals to our clients’ target audiences while delivering tangible SEO-valued results. Contact us today at 919-926-8733 to see how we can help your business succeed.
In the race to the top of the search results, companies turn to Internet marketing agencies for solutions. However, when it comes to online marketing, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer.
The marketing world continues to rapidly change and evolve. And thanks to technological advancements and a more Internet savvy crowd, people are able to find and purchase products from brands quickly and easily.
Internet Marketing Companies: Good versus Great
With more people spending time online, it’s no surprise that there are a TON of Internet marketing agencies out there, vying for your business. But how do you separate the chaff from the wheat to reach the ‘cream of the crop’?
A good Internet marketing agency will help you get your website up and running. They may know a thing or two about certain CMS platforms, like WordPress. They’ll help you get your social media accounts squared away, and they may be able to offer input into content creation and hyperlinking.
A great Internet marketing agency, however, will offer a suite of specialized services, including (but not limited to):
A great Internet marketing company knows that simply having a strong online presence isn’t enough. It must be complemented by an equally strong mobile marketing campaign, for example. To connect with your target consumers, you have to appeal to the consumer, which means understanding and knowing that no one person digests information from the web on a single device. Great Internet marketing agencies stay ahead of the latest trends, do the research, and implement changes that drive results.
It’s no longer enough to just specialize in one area. Instead, many companies are looking for a one-stop-shop when it comes to Internet marketing, and the Internet marketing agency you select should be able to deliver tangible, realistic results in a way that is clear, comprehensible, and aligns with your goals.
Great Internet marketing companies do more than simply help your website be found. They take the time to get to know you and your business so that you can work together on a full scale Internet marketing plan that yields positive results.
So, with all of this being said, what sorts of questions should you ask before you decide to hire an Internet marketing agency? We’ve outlined some of these key questions below.
8 Key Questions to Ask an Internet Marketing Agency
#1 – Are they Google AdWords Certified?
Selecting an Internet marketing agency where the staff members are Google AdWords Certified matters. It demonstrates that the company has gone the extra step to obtain certification, and they possess the knowledge and expertise needed to professionally manage your AdWords account.
#2 – What is their fee structure?
While different Internet marketing companies may have different business models for their fees, their pricing information should be transparent and accessible. Some companies may charge a percentage, while other companies charge flat rates for work based on hourly consulting or monthly account management.
#3 – Have they done work with similar clients?
Depending on the line of business you are in, you may feel more comfortable hiring an Internet marketing agency that has current or past experience working with clients in a similar industry to yours. You’ll also want to make sure that there is no conflict of interest, should you decide to become a client (ex: The Internet marketing company is already working with one of your biggest competitors).
#4 – How long has the Internet agency been in business?
How long the Internet company has been in business is relevant. You don’t want to hire a fly-by-night company that was just set up in the past month. Then again, you don’t want to hire a company that has been around but hasn’t been able to achieve any real results for clients in your industry. There are different factors to take into account, many of which will rest on: client testimonials, deliverables, and the company’s level of expertise.
At LTTR, we have been doing business successfully for nearly a decade with clients from a variety of backgrounds and industries – both locally and internationally.
#5 – What sorts of SEO strategies do they use?
Once upon a time, unscrupulous Internet marketing companies employed “black hat SEO” strategies to help achieve success for clients. As the name suggests, black hat SEO is defined as any unethical techniques that are used to obtain higher search result rankings.
Today, the Internet marketing community frowns upon the use of unethical, black hat SEO strategies. And while some companies still employ these practices, they also run the risk of being penalized by search engines.
When speaking to an Internet marketing agency, it is important to make sure that the SEO strategies they are using are ethical and follow the general guidelines set forth by modern practices. The last thing you want is your website being taken down or slapped with a penalty!
#6 – What is the background/experience of the people employed?
An Internet marketing company is only as good as the people it employs. Therefore, it is important to know that the management of your online marketing campaigns and strategies will be in capable hands.
#7 – Can they guarantee a #1 spot on Google search results?
Any Internet marketing company claiming to guarantee you a #1 spot on Google search results is a red flag. While comprehensive Internet marketing plan, fraught with PPC advertising, SEO strategies, content marketing, and more will certainly improve your company’s standings in the results – Internet marketing, as a whole, is not an exact science.
There are a number of factors that can influence the ultimate results you wind up with. A trusted Internet marketing company will be able to give you a general idea of how they think your campaign will turn out, though nothing is ever ‘guaranteed’.
#8 – How do they communicate with clients?
Communication is key, and knowing what to expect and in what form to expect it is important. For example, at LTTR, we send out weekly reporting, and monthly reporting via email with follow up phone calls and/or in-person meetings (depending on the client and preference).
It’s important to set these expectations early on so that you avoid confusion and miscommunication down the road. More importantly, regular communication about how your Internet marketing agency’s efforts are doing helps the both of you to work together to make changes as needed in order to foster better results.
Recently, Facebook took a major step towards getting more serious about search by introducing Facebook Graph Search. Originally rolled out in 2013, Facebook Graph Search recently became available via mobile on iOS devices in the United States.
Facebook Graph Search features a keyword search option that allows users to dig up old News Feed posts by friends. The main focus of this shift, according to Facebook, is to help users rediscover thoughts and memories. However, there are skeptics who think that this latest announcement comes on the heels of concerns that social media giants, like Facebook, are taking another step towards data mining.
How Facebook Graph Search Works
Facebook Graph Search on mobile works similarly to desktop devices. Simply type in keywords (ex: Jason’s birthday), and it will yield a list of filterable results.
You can use the Facebook Graph Search to search for people, posts, photos, places, pages, groups, events, and more.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Facebook Graph Search
Allows you to search for old news, posts from friends, etc. that may otherwise be buried in your news feed
Currently has no ads
Filters are available for a more ‘refined’ search experience
Doubles as a privacy tool, allowing you to change the privacy of your own posts via keyword search
Can act as an information source
Only works within your friends’ posts; strangers do not have access to your posts.
While there are currently zero ads for Facebook Graph Search, speculation points towards Facebook potentially adding ads down the line as a viable revenue source.
While your privacy settings aren’t changing, now anyone armed with the right, or wrong keywords can pull up your worst moments (versus having to dig through tons of old news stories).
While it currently only allows your friends to search within your posts, there is speculation that search may be made public down the line.
Implications of Facebook Indexing Users’ Posts
So far, Facebook Graph Search seems like another harmless tool to make it easier to navigate Facebook. However, there are tremendous implications directly related to the fact that Facebook is indexing 1 trillion of our Facebook posts.
As evidenced by the above bullet points, there are several benefits as well as potential drawbacks to Facebook Graph Search for mobile (and in general). Of major concern is the issue surrounding users’ privacy. Currently, Facebook allows you to set the privacy of your posts. Only those who are friends with you can perform keyword searches on your Facebook. However, there is no telling whether this will remain or whether Facebook will open up the keyword search feature to the public.
With Facebook Graph Search for mobile, any post by you or any of your friends is easily accessed – even those once long, forgotten posts that you thought were safe.
Facebook Search may also rival Google search results by indexing much of the “un-Googleable” information, thus making Facebook more of a threat to search engines.
Finally, Facebook’s News Feed could learn to mimic our external dialogue, examining content that we’ve shared with friends and showing us similar posts. This may eventually lead Facebook to filter certain information out of your News Feed entirely. All of this ties into how Facebook may take advantage of keyword advertising, though this is yet to be seen.
In the meantime, those who are concerned with privacy issues amy view this as a wake-up call to online data sharing. Take advantage of keyword search to filter or remove posts that you don’t want others to see; and as a general rule, if you’re going to share something with your friends online, be absolutely certain that the shared item won’t come back to bite you. If you’re having to filter posts and remove information now, chances are – you shouldn’t have shared it to begin with.