Tag Archives: content development

The Key to Powerful Content: A Strong Brand

March 5, 2015

We hear the success of content marketing strategies: Speaking directly to a target audience. Web traffic. Lead generation.

We want those results and we want them now, so we jump to developing content – webpages, white papers and presentation slides – often skipping the backbone of that content: a strong brand identity.

Silex_Tech_Site

The idea of brand-driven content isn’t novel, but that also doesn’t mean it’s easy to develop, especially for technical and B2B companies. The image of Silex Technology’s homepage effectively showcases its full brand, which flows into other content. “When it Absolutely Must Connect”, it’s tagline is integrated into a feature graphic supported by the proof statement of the 55,000+ hours of video transmission that Silex customers can achieve.

Here are four considerations to get you on track for brand-driven content like Silex showcases: Continue reading

Trends: Content Reuse: Repurpose, Revamp and Reap the Benefits

February 5, 2015

Repurposed content is quite the buzz term these days. It’s widely understood across industries that well-used content can generate new leads and though marketing teams are quick to say “oh, we can repurpose that video on YouTube or post that infographic on SlideShare”…how do we repurpose content in a way that effectively attracts new prospects or engages new markets? What content should we use? And how should we change it?

The answers to these questions lie in knowing when to repurpose content and when to revamp content.

One of our partners, HubSpot, has published quite a few blogs and articles on content, and I especially appreciated Niti Shah’s April 14th post discussing repurposing vs. revamping content. In summary, repurposing content means to post to additional media or target an additional segment, while revamping content involves customizing or updating content to remain relevant or vertical specific. Repurposing could include taking a series of blog posts and bundling them into an eBook, or taking content from a recent analyst study and turning it into a webinar. While on the other hand revamping includes continuing to use a piece of content that you already have and using it for the same purpose it was originally intended, but updating it so it remains relevant. An example of this can be taking an already produced whitepaper and updating it to reflect changes over a given time period.

Repurposing and Revamping Content

 

Here are four more tips for effectively reusing your content:

Repurpose content to reach specific targets along the buying stage

Identify where your prospects are and repackage content specifically to that stage. For example, we know marketing for engineering companies can be complex and most have content at the very top or very bottom of the funnel. Create middle-of –the-funnel content by packaging webinar content meant for prospects in the awareness stage with a customer case study video that goes into more detail and proof for buyers in the consideration stage.

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Want to Market Against Your Competitors? Proceed Carefully

Looking for additional insight? Check out our guide: Smart Marketing for Engineers

Remember when you were young, and there was that kid who spent more time dissing you or others than making something of themselves? Maybe you wanted to let them have it, but you knew (or maybe your parents gave you some advice) that it was best to take the high road and focus on your strengths and success.

There is some wisdom in this childhood scenario for grownups running businesses, product lines, and service areas, who are competing for awareness, customers, and marketshare. In every market, every town, every application space, you are going to face competition. And that’s a good thing – for companies and consumers. But maybe you are considering making a move to directly market against your competitor. Is this a good idea? The answer is, maybe, but be careful.

Let’s look at a a recent example to help illustrate some upsides and downsides for consideration: Microsoft’s recent ad campaign against Google in the mainstream business press. Here is one of their ads:

Microsoft Ad Slams Google

Microsoft ad, Text to the right

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How Search Engine Optimization Results In More Than Just Web Traffic

In the beginning of search engine marketing, marketers stuffed their websites with keywords and links, attempting to convince Google to place them at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). Traditional search engine optimization goals consisted of getting found online and getting clicks. Traffic was key, and lead generation was an afterthought. A decade ago, the creation and manipulation of content on a web page was based on what Google wanted to see, not necessarily what readers wanted to see.

Traditional SEO Goals and Methods Still Apply
Though times have changed for search engine optimization (SEO), traditional SEO methods still apply and are important to supporting the goals for a solid search marketing strategy. For a B2B digital marketing strategy to be successful, companies still need to get found online and drive traffic to their website. Placing the right keywords in your content and linking to and from quality content in other places on the web figures into the results algorithm of Google and other search engines.

Search engine optimization should help you be found online with keywords that represent your company and are being search for by your audience. SEO goals should have a combination of a high organic visitor rate and a low bounce rate (the % of visitors who immediately eave your site after visiting one page). These metrics tell you that the keywords are bringing visitors to your site and the content is keeping them there.

search-engine-marketing-sem-services-houston-texas

Carefully analyzing and choosing your keywords is important to succeeding in getting found, but is also important to prove the quality and purpose of your content.

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Thurs Trends: B2B Inbound Marketing Hacks for 2015 You Should Start Now

As the end of the year sneaks up on us, marketers are beginning to think of their 2015 marketing plans and budgets – or at least, they should be. Here are a few important strategies to have in place before 2015 planning even begins:

Figure out your marketing-sales alignment, and test it now.
One of the biggest challenges every marketer faces is agreeing with their sales team on what success looks like. According to The State of Inbound in 2014, by HubSpot, “more than 25% of respondents reported that their organizations’ sales teams practice inbound.” And with technology following suit – its important that sales and marketing teams have a service-level-agreement (SLA) in place and set realistic goals.

Read the “4 Steps to Tear Down the Wall between Marketing and Sales” by TREW Marketing

An SLA between marketing and sales teams is a ‘hand-shake’ between the two teams, and includes measurable strategies for both parties, achievable goals, and realistic timelines for those goals. Putting together an SLA now, and measuring the success of both teams, gives you knowledge you’ll need to tweak your SLA for 2015.

Caption: According to HubSpot, “Inbound budgets positively correlate to the presence of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales.”

Caption: According to HubSpot, “Inbound budgets positively correlate to the presence of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between marketing and sales.”

Marry your B2B inbound and outbound strategies – and TEST THEM NOW!
B2B marketers have slowly let go of some outbound tactics to make room for inbound ones, yet some outbound tactics are here to stay – at least for the next few years.

For example, B2B marketers still find tradeshows to be a good source of leads, when executed properly. No longer can you simply scan 300 badges of your booth visitors and expect all 300 to answer the phone and sign up for a product demo and quote. You have to utilize the outbound interaction in outbound tactics to improve upon your inbound ones.

Outbound tactics, such as PR and tradeshows, can be complemented with inbound techniques such as social media, email automation, and good content and SEO on your blog and website. And either can come first. For example, sometimes a press release is the first thing people see; so don’t forget SEO best practices for finding later. Add content to your site to compliment the press release so when they get to your site, they have something else to read – and convert on. Incorporating inbound techniques with your outbound tactics are essential in completing the full circle of modern marketing.

Decide on your preferred marketing technology… and train on it!
In a study by Ascend2 featured in MarketingProfs, 45% of marketers agree that the lack of an effective marketing strategy hinders the success of marketing automation, and 40% agree that the lack of skilled end users is another challenge in marketing automation success. Marketing automation makes inbound marketing efficient and effective, but most importantly, provides marketers with the metrics needed to improve upon the ongoing strategy.

Read TREW’s post “Thurs. Trends: Marketing Automation Trends among B2B Marketers

Caption: Ascend2 Marketing Automation Survey, “What are the MOST CHALLENGING OBSTACLES to marketing automation success?”

Caption: Ascend2 Marketing Automation Survey, “What are the MOST CHALLENGING OBSTACLES to marketing automation success?”

According to MarketingProfs, the two most important factors in choosing a marketing automation platform is analytics/reporting and ease of use. Which means you not only need to strategize the use of the tool, but you need to train your team how to use it! Take the time to make sure both marketing and sales users understand the full scope of what the tool can do, as well as what your company uses it for.

Caption: Ascend2 Marketing Automation Survey, "What are the MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS in choosing a marketing automation system?"

Caption: Ascend2 Marketing Automation Survey, “What are the MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS in choosing a marketing automation system?”

In conclusion
Planning your B2B marketing strategy for 2015 shouldn’t put a hold on Q4 of 2014. Use this time to test and train on the new marketing strategy you are implementing in January – and stay ahead of the trends.

Redesigning your website for 2015?
Download TREW’s eBook, Smart Marketing for Engineers: Website Redesign”

Interested in a Marketing Plan for 2015? See the bundles offered by TREW Marketing.

Related Reading:
Top 3 B2B Marketing Trends to Prioritize for 2015 – http://www.trewmarketing.com/smartmarketingblog/marketing-trends/2015-marketing-trends-to-prioritize/

 

 

 

Increase Leads With B2B Video Marketing

Curious about how to incorporate video marketing into your lead generating efforts but unsure where to start? Video marketing has transcended the marketing boundaries and has given businesses the opportunity to have human interaction with their target audience.

The cliché,“people buy from people,” most definitely has some truth behind it and video marketing makes that digitally possible in our technology driven world.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 10.28.36 AM

Video marketing not only helps with your business branding, but it can also attribute to the increase of traffic to your website and landing pages. Statistics from Forrester Research show that your website is actually 53% more likely to be highlighted on the first page of Google if it has a video on it.

But, remember, not every marketing video generates leads. Before you hit that record button, here are a few tips to make sure you’re on the right track to executing a successful lead generating marketing video.

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More FAQs from the “Marketing to Engineers” Webcast by CFE & TREW

Continued from last week’s post, we have more FAQs from the TREW and CFE Media webcast which discussed how engineers respond to inbound marketing techniques such as the use search engines, why they visit company websites, and what they value most in marketing content.

The 100+ attendees had some incredibly insightful questions that further proved the point that engineers what to achieve smart marketing. Read their questions and the answers Rebecca and CFE provided below:

Preferred Content Types

Q: How important is a good mix of different formats of content for them?

Geier: Very important. People have diverse preferences for how they want to consume information, and it varies along the buying cycle. This can be very efficient for marketers, if you do it right. For example, you can take pieces of a white paper and turn it into a video, or compile a series of blog posts into a packaged, gated piece of content.

Q: What is the most desirable content that a consulting engineer will download from a website?

Rourke: Our research clearly finds that anything related to codes and standards are the most viewed and/or downloaded information. If you have a product or service that is codes or standards related, as many are, then you may want to highlight how it uniquely supports specific codes or standards.

Q: To consider for future surveys: What type of specific information do engineers want in case studies? Continue reading

FAQs for Effectively Marketing to Engineers

TREW CEO and Co-founder Rebecca Geier, along with Steve Rourke from CFE Media, held a free webcast last month discussing how engineers use search engines, why they visit company websites, and what they value most in marketing content.  The seminar specifically covered the results and findings of the TREW and CFE Media industry-first survey of more than 700 engineers primarily in R&D.

Throughout the seminar, the 100+ attendees had some incredibly insightful questions that further proved the point that engineers what to achieve smart marketing. Read part I of their questions and the answers Rebecca and CFE provided below:

How Are Engineers Finding Information?

Q: What are some of the best ways to get engineers’ attention?

Geier: Be generous with your content. And be specific about what you do. And give away beer and t-shirts at your trade show booth.

Q: How should you build an audience so they can find your material?

Geier: Be generous with your content, and be committed. It’s a marathon.

Rourke: Understand target audience content needs and behavior, work your way back. Once you understand this you can provide content in a way that most effectively engages/educates/builds your target audience.

Content is King

Q: How important is search engine marketing (SEM) to engineers compared to alternate methods?

Geier: Absolutely critical. Google is where engineers—and everyone else—go first to find what they need. Engineers will go much deeper though. And content is the currency—to get found, you have to be generously committed to producing content.

Rourke: SEM is an important component of most integrated marketing programs. Engineers perform as many searches as anyone but are often more descriptive in their search criteria (list more search terms) and go deeper in results.

Q: What percentage of engineers are willing to or actively participate in online forums?

Rourke: Overall, engineers are willing to join a forum (e.g. there are over 70,000 members in Automation & Control Engineering LinkedIn group), however given their workloads, most of them are not actively engaging in an online forum (e.g. only 140 or 0.2% of member comments per week). It’s simply that many do not have the time to regularly read or participate in forums. And getting them to join and participate in new forums is challenging given the number of already established communication channels available. We understand from our research and experience with several forums that engineers like to help each other and answer questions. For example, on our LinkedIn forum, there is a small group of engineers that are constantly reviewing and answering questions. Some of these engineers are retired and like sharing their experience with other engineers. They also like to read what other engineers are doing and learn from their peers.

More tips from TREW on how to get Engineers’ attention: Smart Marketing Blog: Lead Nurturing & Lead Generation

Cross-Industry Trends

Q: Any insights on how engineers view content relevance from other industries? (i.e. Will an oil and gas engineer read a case study about a similar technology or application, even if the example is in a different industry, like cement?)

Rourke: Excellent question, this is something that we’ve been investigating recently at CFE Media. It’s absolutely true that some industry segments will relate to and be interested in other industry segment applications and technology usage. So yes, it is true that a food and beverage controls engineer will likely be interested in oil and gas controls content. What we’ve found is that oil and gas applications are often considered extremely robust and technically advanced compared to some other industries, often being considered market-leading technical solutions. So industries and specific industry applications that are considered technology leaders are often of interest to other similar industries (e.g. process based industries).

Social Media Platform Use

Q: Can you please share some successful strategies you’ve done to engage engineers on LinkedIn?

Rourke: Sure, our Automation & Control Engineering LinkedIn group has done well by fostering an environment where engineers can interact freely without commercial interruption. We occasionally will ask a question concerning a topic that is of interest to us editorially and then use the responses, with authors’ permission, in an article or use the information for internal intelligence. We used to review the questions being asked in the LinkedIn group each day and would contact people we know in the industry to answer questions if needed. Now that the LinkedIn community is fairly large and active, we find that we do not need to reach out to get questions answered since the community will answer most of the questions.

Activity of Engineers throughout the Buying Cycle

eBook: Smart Marketing for Engineers - Lead Generation

Q: At what point in the buying cycle are engineers doing their research?

Geier & Rourke: Every single point

Q: At what stage of the buying cycle do you engage with a company sales expert versus self discovery?

Geier: That is an excellent question and varies by company, lead volume, average selling price, type of sale (commodity versus consultative), etc. Hubspot’s founder, Darhmesh Shah, cited a study last year that found 63% of the buying process is controlled by your prospect—before a salesperson is engaged. With this in mind, with generous content generation and marketing automation in place, marketing has a huge opportunity to bring efficiency to sales by pushing out the time when sales needs to get involved, giving leads more opportunity to engage, and finally become an SQL that sales reaches out to. The first step in defining this for your company is by having sales and marketing come together to define what an MQL is, what an SQL is, what the SLA is b/w mktg and sales in terms of volume of both, and then put processes in place to execute this plan and get feedback along the way to improve the accuracy.

Rourke: Engineers often like to perform as much research and analysis as possible on their own without consulting a sales expert. When they decide to go to an expert they usually want to be armed with as much background information as feasible to ensure they are prepared for the discussion. They do not like to be “sold” and respect sales people who understand their situation, have done the background work and can quickly give them the information they need to feel comfortable with a decision.

Q: Did you find any information regarding what engineers are seeking at various stages of the buying cycle?

Geier: No, we didn’t ask a question about it this time around, but there may be a way to ask this in a future survey. We have written an ebook—Smart Marketing for Engineers: Lead Generation—that goes into this in more detail. You can find it on our website at trewmarketing.com/resources.

Q: Are engineers often the decision maker or purchaser?

Rourke: We get this question on a regular basis, and the answer is that when it comes to identifying and selecting products/services that will meet a specific project, application, or system need, the engineer is often the decision maker. At a minimum they are a significant purchase influencer, and in many smaller companies and projects they are the ones making the purchase (exception is that consulting-specifying engineers typically only specify types of products). For bigger companies and projects, the engineer(s) will likely be part of a committee or group consisting of other departments (e.g. purchasing, IT, and others), who will make the final purchasing decision together based on many considerations.

To better understand the Buying Cycle, find more articles here: Smart Marketing Blog: Buying Cycle

Read Part II next week for Engineers’ Preferred Content types, Advertising to Engineers and Measuring your Effectiveness. 

Trends: Marketing Content that Wins Long Term Loyalty

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal featured the 2014 collaborative study, Compare Your B2B Content Marketing Maturity, by Forrester Research, the Business Marketing Association and the Online Marketing Institute. There are some important content marketing take-aways from this study for marketers in the B2B space, most notably the need to move from product-focused to relationship-focused marketing content and marketing practices.

In the study, researchers found that “while 51% of B2B marketing leaders rate their content marketing practices as very mature, an overwhelming 85% fail to connect content activity to business value — and, as a result, fail to retain customers or win their long-term loyalty. In fact, when asked to look back at the past 12 months and rate the effectiveness of content marketing efforts, only 14% of those surveyed gave their content practices high marks for delivering value back to the business.”

Does your Content Engage your Audience?

The study found that the majority of content by B2B marketers focused too narrowly on the “early-stage buyer acquisition” (ie, sales-focused at the middle to bottom of the funnel) and not enough throughout the buying cycle and their lifetime relationship with the company.

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NEW DATA: Google Authorship: The Ever-Changing Buzzword

So, after all I said and wrote about Google+, SEO, and Google Authorship, Google has decided to pull the plug on featuring authorship details in the search engine results page (SERP) – specifically, the author’s picture and his or her Google+ Circle count.

Turns out, 13 days after I published the blog, “Google Authorship: The New Buzzword affecting SEO,” Google decided that its SERP needed a facelift – AGAIN.  It decided it wasn’t fair to include pictures of Google+ users nor the count of other Google+ users who were in their Circles. Sneaky marketers were stuffing their Google+ profiles with links and people in their Circles. These stuffed profiles were ranking highly in the SERP and, therefore, were getting more clicks because – as we know – images are more appealing to click.

Googleauthorship

How this Affects your Content Marketing:

Basically, they are making it difficult again to optimize Google+ to help with search results. Good thing you’ve got killer content to get results anyway! As well, don’t forget to follow the guidelines from my original post. Even without your photo in the SERP, using Google Authorship to tie your content and Google+ profile still has weight with Google.

Read more in the articles below posted by HubSpot to see the new details they’ve uncovered, and keep on posting quality content! 

Thanks for reading! Hopefully Google will give me at least 30 days this time before it makes me a liar.

Original Post Content with New Data:

Technical audiences are in need of following Google’s newest update by placing more weight on optimized Google Authorship for longer lasting SEO and quality content marketing.

NEW DATA: Remember, your Google+ profile linked to your content strengthens your Google Authorship. No longer including the Google+ profile picture in the SERP (by Google) is what has changed.

Gone are the days when you can outsource content to “ghost writers” that fill your blog and website with keywords and links in order to shoot to the top of the search engine rank page (SERP).  Additionally, simply adding an “expert” author to your blog along with search engine optimization (SEO) tactics will no longer automatically and exponentially raise your “Author Rank.”

Google puts more effort into ‘author rank’ algorithm

Just like previous SEO trends, Google has decided it is tired of trying to weed out the quality content from the spam content through simple link building and authorship algorithms. Instead, Google has drilled deeper into its version of “Author Rank” in order to decipher accurate and useful content based on the quality of the author, or as Google has coined, ‘Authorship.’

Google Authorship Using Google+ for Author Rank

Source: wpseotricks.com

Rich Snippets are becoming more selective

Additionally, Google cut the use of rich snippets (the few lines of text under a search result that give more information) for low quality sites by 15%. It also indicates that rich snippets using authorship found in the SERP will be focused on more in-depth content. This means that author rank is more competitive and the gap between authoritative authors and “ghost” authors will be larger, which is very good news for technical audiences who seek out in-depth content.

Rich Snippets in the Google SERP

NEW DATA: The author’s image and Google+ circle count in this image will no longer be included in the SERP. The author will still be included. 

Summary: Authorship is key

As content marketing becomes as important as – and interchangeable with – search engine optimization, expert authors become more important to Google and its searchers. Predicted in the near future by Forbes, sites that do not create and maintain author rank will be in risk of not ranking at all on the SERP. Fortunately, technical content for marketing to engineers and scientists is tends to be already naturally optimized for the high quality and in-depth content Google is now valuing more highly, so long as the author is following authorship best practices.

To get started on building your authorship, contact TREW Marketing about our Search Engine Marketing and Content Marketing services.

Want To Be More Effective With Your Content Marketing?

Watch the video “Marketing Content Planning to Drive Leads” as part of our two-part series to learn how strong marketing content builds your B2B company’s reputation, improves your site’s SEO, and increases leads.