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The Content Marketer’s Toolbox: 3 ‘Real-Life’ Tools for Gaining Insight, Inspiration, & Amplification

The Content Marketer’s Toolbox of Non-Tech Tools

The Content Marketer’s Toolbox of Non-Tech Tools In the modern content marketing age, leveraging a diverse set of tools is par for a successful marketing course. Tools help unlock insight. Tools help capture attention and reach. Tools help drive efficiency. Tools help you measure, analyze, and optimize for better success. The simple truth is: Every content marketer needs a robust toolkit that’s tailored to their unique business and marketing needs—but that toolkit doesn’t begin or end with your martech stack. Uh-oh-oh. via GIPHY There’s no denying the importance that marketing technology plays in today’s ever-changing and sometimes tumultuous digital landscape. But your toolbox needs more than software. It also needs more tangible, real-life tools to help you uncover the context and insights that can help you be more effective (and help you use martech tools more effectively).   From my perspective there are three key, non-tech tools that should be content marketing toolbox staples. And with the help of a few fantastic insights and tidbits of wisdom from marketing industry leaders, I dive into them below. via GIPHY

The “Real-Life” Staples to Gain First-Hand Insight, Inspiration, & Amplification

#1 – Your in-house team members from across departments.

For eons it seems, sales and marketing team alignment has been a top struggle yet a key best practice for gaining marketing (and business) traction. Today, that still holds true—but now it’s increasingly crucial for marketers to widen their collaboration scope to include other key departments. Why? Creating an incredible customer experience is the new challenge and opportunity for marketers. In addition, better alignment across major business functions ensures your efforts are truly contributing to the growth of the company—whether that be sales, talent retention and recruiting, product development, or customer service. “Marketers need to work collaboratively across the various areas of marketing as well as partnering with other parts if their company such as sales,” Justin Levy, public speaker and the new Director of Paid Social Media Operations at ServiceNow, told us not long ago. “Marketers need to be integrated and focused, working off of the same strategy instead of working in silos on their own projects.” [bctt tweet=”#Marketers need to be integrated and focused, working off of the same strategy instead of working in silos on their own projects. @justinlevy #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”] Beyond creating synergy, your internal team members are insight tools. Sales and customer service reps are talking with customers every day. Your product development team is creating products or services that aim to alleviate customer and prospect pain points and solve problems. Your human resources department is actively recruiting and looking for ways to engage current employees. Your organization’s employees are insight engines who can help you craft more helpful, interesting, and inspiring content—and they’re also engagement and amplification powerhouses, ripe for a little employee advocacy and/or thought leadership. “Leveling up content marketing means going beyond creating consistent customer-focused content. It means engaging your internal experts to share their expertise,” Michael Brenner, Founder of Marketing Insider Group, shared earlier this year. “And it means activating the entire organization to share your passions, your stories, and your expertise.” [bctt tweet=”Leveling up #contentmarketing means going beyond creating consistent customer-focused content. It means engaging your internal experts to share their expertise. – @BrennerMichael” username=”toprank”] Think of your collaboration with other key departments like the bond a hammer and nails share. Without one another, the work doesn’t get done. via GIPHY

#2 – Your “captive” audience.

Customers. Prospects. Social followers. Newsletter or blog subscribers. You have a “captive” audience that has sent signals that they’re interested in what you provide and what you have to say. But when’s the last time you leveraged your known audience to gather intel or simply connect at any stage of your content marketing process? “If you haven’t spoken to anyone in your audience in the last month directly—about their work and their lives, not about your company or products—then you aren’t ready to plan anything,” Jay Acunzo, Founder of Unthinkable Media, said in relation to content strategy and planning. He goes on: “It’s so breathtakingly simple: If you have a 40-hour per week job, then take literally .2% of your month (20 minutes) and have an informal conversation with a customer or prospect. You will be shocked at how much easier content marketing gets.” [bctt tweet=”It’s so breathtakingly simple: If you have a 40-hour per week job, 20 minutes a month and have an informal conversation with a customer or prospect. – @jayacunzo #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”] Not only can you leverage your audience as a tool to make content marketing “easier,” but you can also create content that is more impactful and targeted. “When it comes to content creation, far too often content is created in a meeting room with a bunch of marketers without any thought for the day-to-day reality of the person consuming it. BIG mistake,” Dave Charest, now the Director of Content Marketing for Endurance International Group, says. “Level up your approach by creating content in partnership with members of your target audience.” [bctt tweet=”Level up your approach by creating content in partnership with members of your target audience. – @DaveCharest #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”] Think of audience insights as your Swiss Army knife. They’re a trusty tool that can lend insight and tactical help in nearly any marketing situation. via GIPHY

#3 – Your team of external partners.

Your internal marketing team as well as your key contacts across departments are flush with insight and expertise. But there are undoubtedly gaps that need to be filled—resource gaps, budget gaps, and knowledge gaps. This means that in order to get the kind of marketing traction you need and want, you need to build out your team—with people who serve specific purposes. After all, a tool by definition is a device that is used to carry out a particular function. Hilarious and seasoned marketer, Tim Washer, PowerPoint Comedian/Emcee at Ridiculous Media, suggests thinking outside the box when it comes to building out your team. “Build a virtual team. Recruit talented freelance writers and videographers, including college students, to help contribute engaging content production,” he says. [bctt tweet=”Recruit talented freelance writers and videographers, including college students, to help contribute engaging content production. – @timwasher” username=”toprank”] Whether you’re looking for execution help or need a larger force to handle strategy, creation, and optimization, an agency partner can be an incredible tool in your toolbox. (Not that we’re biased or anything.) “One of the primary responsibilities of any marketing agency is to lighten your workload and alleviate some of the stress that comes with it—and do it in a way that helps drive results,” Alexis Hall, TopRank Marketing’s Vice President of Client Accounts, shares. “From conversion rate optimization (CRO) to reducing cost-per-lead on PPC campaigns to expanding your search footprint, a full-service digital marketing agency can have its subject matter experts dig into the data and make actionable recommendations for optimizing your content or strengthening your tactical mix.” [bctt tweet=”One of the primary responsibilities of any #marketingagency is to lighten your workload and alleviate some of the stress that comes with it—and do it in a way that helps drive results. – @Alexis5484″ username=”toprank”] Think of your external partners like duct tape. They can be molded and implemented for a variety of different functions to help you achieve your ultimate goal. via GIPHY

Bolster Your Content Marketing Toolbox with Real-Life Tools

Your martech stack is just one piece of the content marketing toolbox pie. You also need to look internally to leverage the real-life tools that are right in front of you and ripe with opportunity. Start by looking inside your organization to identify opportunities to collaborate and gain alignment with internal stakeholders and partners. In addition, commit to connecting with your captive audience on a regular basis to gain insight. And finally, add to your tool stack with external partners to fill gaps and add third-party insight and expertise. Oh. And fear not. We’ll cover some martech tools you should consider for your content marketing toolbox next time. What does the future of content marketing look like? Get the scoop on the latest content marketing trends that you need to pay attention to in the new year.

The post The Content Marketer’s Toolbox: 3 ‘Real-Life’ Tools for Gaining Insight, Inspiration, & Amplification appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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About Daniel Rodgers

A lot of news that you will not see in the paper. A lot of technology that is coming out that will not see in the paper.

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The Next Level of Influence: 30 Essential Influencer Marketing Statistics

30 Essential Influencer Marketing Statistics

30 Essential Influencer Marketing Statistics

Pop Quiz: When influencer marketing is done right, who wins?

a) Your brand
b) The influencers
c) Your audience
d) All of the above

In case you missed the last few classes, the answer is D. In the ideal influencer marketing engagement, your brand gets a boost in credibility, authority, and exposure to a new audience. The influencer gets a cool content asset to promote, association with other thought leaders, and is able to grow their influence in their niche. And the audience gets awesome content neither the influencer nor the brand could have produced on their own.

Getting to that “everyone wins” stage requires strategic planning and execution, though. You can’t just throw money at someone with a big Instagram following and expect results.

Our agency was a pioneer in B2B influencer marketing, and we’re invested in taking it to the next level. Our approach has seen amazing results for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses alike.

To help you reach the next level of influencer marketing — what we call Influence 2.0 — this post combines our experience with original research from other thought leaders in the industry:

  1. Influencer Marketing: Science, Strategy & Success (Zine)
  2. An Evaluation of Brand Influencer Partnerships (Onalytica and Smart Insights)
  3. Two Sides of the Same Coin: Exploring the Brand and Influencer Relationship in Influencer Marketing (Activate)
  4. State of Influence 2.0 2018 (Traackr & Altimeter Group)
  5. Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing (TopRank & Altimeter & Traackr)
  6. The State of Influencer Marketing 2017 (Linqia)
  7. Sponsored Spenders Survey (Collective Bias)

Read on to upgrade your influencer marketing and get ready for what comes next.

30 Essential Influencer Marketing Statistics

Influencer Marketing Works

  1. Over half of brands say influencer content outperforms brand-created content. Only 6% said it underperformed brand content. 6
  2. 78% of consumers will buy when recommended by someone they feel they know and trust. 1
  3. 67% of consumers have no negative reaction to sponsored content. 7
  4. 58% of brands have seen improved brand awareness and perception from influencer marketing campaigns. 2
  5. 54% saw an increase in leads and revenue. 2

Influencer marketing works because the message comes from people your audience already trusts. It also works for awareness and brand positioning, but also for driving revenue.

As our CEO Lee Odden defines it: "Influencer marketing activates internal and industry experts with engaged networks to co-create content of mutual value and achieve measurable business goals."

[bctt tweet="#InfluencerMarketing activates internal and industry experts with engaged networks to co-create #content of mutual value and achieve measurable business goals. - @leeodden" username="toprank"]

Very Few Influencer Marketing Programs are Fully Mature

  1. Only 10% of organizations are fully mature with influencer marketing; that is, running a cross-functional program. 4
  2. 46% are using influencer marketing tactically, but have not integrated it across marketing. 4
  3. 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities by 2020. 5
  4. 62% are going to spend more on influencer marketing in the year to come. Only 4% will spend less. 4

Marketers have a ways to go with influencer marketing sophistication. Investing more time and budget is a good start, but sophistication really comes from integrating influencers across your marketing initiatives on an ongoing basis, from strategy to content to promotion and beyond.

[bctt tweet="#B2B #influencermarketing is still in its infancy—which means there are plenty of opportunities to begin implementing it today. @azeckman" username="toprank"]

Sophisticated Influencer Marketing Involves Deeper Relationships

  1. Nearly half of marketers are working on long-term campaigns w/influencers. 2
  2. 40% of influencers say they’re in long-term partnerships. 2
  3. 48% of B2C influencer programs are ongoing, but only 11% of B2B are. 5
  4. Only 29% of influencers are asked for their opinion on content direction. 1
  5. 55% of marketers say content strategy and direction are decided well before influencers are added. 1
  6. Only 25% of influencers said brands shared engagement goals with them. 1

Building long-term relationships with influencers is crucial for sustainable influencer marketing. The relationship-building should include working with the influencers on content strategy, direction, and engagement goals.

As Rani Mani, Adobe's Head of Social Influence Enablement, recently told us in an interview: "We at Adobe pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long term relationships with our influencers. We look at it as dating with an eye towards long term commitment which means we are always looking to establish a 'give to get' exchange where all parties come out ahead."

[bctt tweet="We look at #influencermarketing as dating with an eye towards long term commitment, which means we are always looking to establish a 'give to get' exchange where all parties come out ahead. - @ranimani0707" username="toprank"]

Influence Is More than Follower Count

  1. Only 25% of consumers are more likely to buy a product when someone with over 1 million followers recommends it. 1
  2. As reach grows, engagement tends to drop. 1,ooo-10,000 is the sweet spot for engagement. 1

It’s time to rethink what makes a good influencer, especially for B2B brands. Reach is only one part of the equation; resonance and relevance are even more important than size of audience.

Not long ago, our own Ashley Zeckman, Senior Director of Digital Strategy, wrote: "Social reach should be a consideration for your B2B influencer marketing program, but not the only one. Sometimes the influencers with the largest reach may not be engaging their audience in a meaningful way that leads to more users connecting with your content."

Look for people who are actively engaging with their audience, and are talking about topics relevant to your brand.

[bctt tweet="#Social reach should be a consideration for your #B2B #influencermarketing program, but not the only one. @azeckman" username="toprank"]

Aim for Content Co-Creation, Not Sponsorship

  1. 73% of influencers said they put more effort into content when they’re passionate about the brand/product. 1
  2. Only 27% said they put in more effort when the campaign involves financial compensation. 1
  3. Only 34% expect financial compensation. 1
  4. However, 65% expect some form of reward. 1
  5. Only 14% said being paid well was the most important reason to work with a brand. 2
  6. 52% say building their influence on key topics is most important reason to be an influencer. 2
  7. Top criteria for influencers choosing brands? Most important is “I love the brand and already post about them organically.” 3

While financial compensation can be part of your influencer marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the whole strategy. Money can’t buy genuine enthusiasm and emotional investment. Look for influencers who are already excited about your brand, are eager to share their thoughts and expertise on a relevant topic, and work with them to create content you both can be proud of.

[bctt tweet="While financial compensation can be part of your #influencermarketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the whole strategy. Money can’t buy genuine enthusiasm and emotional investment. @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Level Up Your Measurement

  1. 78% of marketers surveyed use influencers to build brand awareness. 3
  2. 45% cite sales conversion as their primary goal. 3
  3. 5% of marketers surveyed are tracking engagement rate, while only 45.92% track sales conversion. 3
  4. 37% of influencers cite brand awareness as their goal, while 22% cite sales conversion. 3
  5. 74% of marketers surveyed said sales conversion was one of their top goals for influencer marketing. 5
  6. 76% of marketers surveyed said determining ROI was their top concern. 6

Influencer marketing isn’t just for brand awareness. Like every other marketing tactic, your influencer efforts can contribute to revenue and that impact should be properly attributed. It’s important to make revenue measurement part of your initial planning and goal-setting.

[bctt tweet="#InfluencerMarketing focuses on the entire customer journey, driving demand, leads and to help with nurture. @AmishaGandhi @SAPAriba" username="toprank"]

The Next Evolution of Influence

As these statistics show, it’s time to rethink what influencer marketing is and what it can do. It’s more than one-off sponsorship deals with celebrity contributors to boost brand awareness.

Influence 2.0 means finding the true influencers for your audience. It means developing long-term relationships to co-create valuable content worth getting excited about. And it means setting goals throughout the marketing funnel and being equipped to measure them, from engagement down to revenue. When you can do all of that, everybody wins.

Is your B2B organization just getting started with influencer marketing? There are six things you absolutely need to know.

The post The Next Level of Influence: 30 Essential Influencer Marketing Statistics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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