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A Food Pyramid for Content Marketing

5 Oct
The following post was initially published on the Content Marketing Institute Blog (September 15, 2011) and Marketing Trenches

At Right Source Marketing, we get a lot of questions about where to allocate content marketing resources.  On blog posts? Webinars? eBooks? The possibilities can be overwhelming. Yet knowing how to allocate resources is essential to successful content marketing. Even though the USDA’s food pyramid has transitioned to a food plate, content marketers would do well to consider a pyramid concept for balancing their use of the many content formats they use. While every content marketing program is different, I’ve created the below chart to show the basic portions of content that should keep most content marketing programs healthy and happy.

The Content Marketing Food Pyramid

The base: Curation, creativity, and coordination

These three concepts form the base of the pyramid because without all of these elements your content marketing efforts will fail.  Here’s what I mean:

Content curation: You’ve probably heard content marketing referred to as “thought leadership.” To be a thought leader, you’ve got to know what everyone else is saying, make sense out of it, and then add something original to the conversation. This means your entire content team will need to spend time reading industry blogs, following industry hashtags on Twitter, and keeping their eyes open for new ideas and trends. Sometimes, this research and reading doesn’t seem to accomplish much, but without soaking in industry content it’s hard to create anything notable yourself.

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Questions to Ask Before Creating Content for a New Company

27 Sep
This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches.

Creating content for a company’s social media properties, website, and blog (just to start the list) can be tough–and without a thorough understanding of the company and its audience, it’s hard to get it right. Whether you’re taking on a new client or starting a new job, you need to ask a lot of questions before you dive into creating content. Every business is different, so at Right Source Marketing, we never ask exactly the same questions for each new client, but below are a few of our staples.

Note: even if you’ve been working for a company or with a client for a while, you may realize that you don’t know the answers to these questions, or that the answers have changed since you started. It’s a good idea to reevaluate and periodically ask these questions again, even if you’re just asking yourself.

1. What’s your audience like? Who are these people who buy your stuff? What age, what gender?  Where do they work? Where do they play? What’s important to them personally and professionally? What do they already love about your business? What do they hate about it?

Keep asking questions to get as full a picture of your audience as possible. If no one can answer this question, then you need to do some research (like a survey), or bring someone who would know in the room (like a salesperson).  Knowing details about what makes your audience tick helps you figure out what topics to cover and language to use. We start with this question because all of the other questions and answers should be colored by a focus on audience.

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Three Key Content Marketing World Takeaways

8 Sep
This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches.

Joining hundreds of content marketers from around the country and the world, Will DavisMike Sweeney and I headed up to Cleveland this week for Content Marketing World.

As I wrote last week in my post about expected highlights, the conference is packed with sessions and speakers, and my biggest regret is that I could not procure a clone for the week.

I’m writing this before the close of the conference, so I may miss some late breaking highlights, but below are some big takeaways from the conference.

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How Writing Better Emails Makes You a Better Content Marketer

7 Sep
This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches.

Improving your skills in email communications improves your content marketing efforts, and vice versa, as an audience member (nonprofit technology consultant Kate Bladow) pointed out after a presentation I gave about writing for the web last week.

I couldn’t agree more. To follow on Kate’s point, here are five best practices to think about when you’re communicating with an audience, whether you’re organizing a team or writing for the company blog.

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10 Ways to Write Like a Content Marketing Jedi

11 Aug
Originally appeared on Marketing Trenches and the Content Marketing Institute Blog (June 30, 2011).

All content marketers can learn from what Yoda said to a young Anakin Skywalker: “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” This very same destructive sequence, which turned Anakin into Darth Vader, all too frequently derails content marketing efforts.

Why? Because, horror of horrors, content marketing involves a large amount of writing, and for many people, writing is terrifying (they may say they hate writing, but thanks to Yoda, we know they’re just scared). Even worse, someone has to gingerly edit that writing without hurting psyches already fragile from the writing struggle. Particularly for content marketing campaigns that involve a lot of blogging, the fear and hatred of writing can cause complete content marketing paralysis.

That way, it does not have to be. To help minimize the fear and suffering in your content marketing—particularly, blogging—efforts, I’ve provided some tips to turn you and your team into writing Jedis:



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