With the likes of Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Microsoft’s Cortana all vying for our attention through myriad voice-enabled connected devices and smart speakers, it makes sense that tech companies would invest heavily in natural language processing (NLP). After all, what’s the point of asking Alexa or Siri to read you the football scores or weather forecast if the digital assistant doesn’t understand your quirky brand of conversational speech?
But NLP is just as important in the written-word realm. Facebook, for example, has introduced NLP processing into Messenger to facilitate better interactions between humans and bots. For companies to embrace computer-powered customer service, machines have to understand things that come up as part of people’s normal parlance.
With that in mind, Google last year launched the Cloud Natural Language API for developers to integrate Google’s NLP technology into their own applications. This effectively means that any company has access to Google’s NLP for their own use-cases, which may include analyzing the sentiment of customer feedback contained on social media or in emails, extracting meaning and metadata from unstructured text, or perhaps even identifying actions contained within minutes of meetings. It’s about automating the process of deriving meaning from vast quantities of content, which would be impossible with purely human involvement.
Today, Google is unveiling two new Cloud Natural Language features designed to help third-party developers organize content and understand their customers’ feelings toward a particular “entity,” such as company, product, or place.
Launching today as a beta feature is the ability to automatically classify content, which means companies can categorize all their content and documents based on shared attributes. Publishers, for example, could sort their articles into topics such as “Politics” and “Sports.”
“Through predefined content classification, Cloud Natural Language can now automatically sort documents and content into more than 700 different categories, including Arts & Entertainment, Hobbies & Leisure, Law & Government, News, Health, and more,” explained Google’s Cloud AI product manager, Apoorv Saxena, in a blog post. “This makes it ideal for industries like media and publishing who’ve traditionally had to manually sort, label and categorize content. Through machine learning with Cloud Natural Language, these companies can now automatically parse the meaning of their articles and content to organize them more efficiently.”
But this extends beyond broad top-level categories and into subtopics. Google said that it analyzed some stories from the New York Times and this lobster salad recipe was correctly filed under “Cooking & Recipes,” but it was also tagged more specifically as “Meat & Seafood.”
For major digital media companies, which may have dozens of websites covering numerous topics, using NLP not only helps categorize things but also helps identify readership trends by tracking how specific types of stories are performing — data that could be used to inform future coverage.
Entity sentiment analysis
The Cloud Natural Language API already offered sentiment analysis, which was capable of figuring out the general mood and emotions in a given piece of text, be they “positive,” “negative,” or “neutral.” But that can only tell you so much — what Google is now allowing through the API is the ability to analyze sentiment as it relates to specific entities, such as products, places, or companies.
This could be useful if you want to drill down into customer feedback forms or messages posted on Twitter. For example, a customer may be generally happy about their experience buying from a company, but they may not like an element of the product they bought. Conversely, they may like the product but not their dealings with the company they bought it from. The key selling point here is that businesses are better enabled to figure out exactly what a sentiment relates to. “Sentiment analysis is one of Cloud Natural Language’s most popular features, now it offers more granularity with entity sentiment analysis,” added Saxena.
(Reuters) — Facebook said on Wednesday it would introduce tougher rules on who can make money from advertising on its network, responding to criticism that it makes it too easy for providers of fake news and sensational headlines to cash in.
With immediate effect, the world’s largest social network will launch new standards to provide clearer guidance on which publishers are eligible to earn money on Facebook and with what content, Senior Vice President for Global Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson said in a blog post.
These standards would apply to ad placements where context could matter, Everson wrote in the post, timed to coincide with an appearance on Wednesday by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg at dmexco, a major digital marketing gathering in Cologne, Germany.
Germany is one of Facebook’s toughest critics on hate speech and privacy. Its parliament passed a law in June to introduce fines of up to 50 million euros ($ 60 million) for social media networks if they fail to remove hateful postings promptly.
Facebook, together with Alphabet’s Google, accounts for around two fifths of internet advertising, which is forecast by consultancy Zenith to grow by 13 percent to $ 205 billion this year — overtaking television as the biggest channel for companies to pitch their wares to consumers.
Facebook has faced criticism from marketers that digital ads distributed to its more than 2 billion monthly active users were not reaching their intended audience, were not being adequately tracked, and in some cases were being placed with content detrimental to the brands being promoted.
“We hear them loud and clear,” Everson wrote.
“We take very seriously our responsibility to earn and maintain the trust of our advertiser partners — and give them the confidence they need to invest in us.”
Facebook will also step up its monitoring of hate speech, adding 3,000 content reviewers to nearly double the size of its existing team.
“There is absolutely no place on Facebook for hate speech or content that promotes violence or terrorism,” Everson said.
“As soon as we determine that content has breached our community standards, we remove it. With a community as large as Facebook, however, zero tolerance cannot mean zero occurrence.”
Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been using the same approach for a while, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy plan — to make sure it’s up-to-date, innovative, and strong.
After all, you’ve got more competition than ever. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers surveyed say they are creating more content this year than they did in 2016.
The first step to getting a leg up on the competition is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place. If you’re having trouble planning for the upcoming year or need some fresh ideas to include in your plan, read on.
In this post, we’ll dive into why your business needs a content marketing plan and the exact steps you will need to take to create one.
What is Content Strategy?
In short, your content strategy is the piece of your marketing plan and development that refers to the management of pretty much any tangible media that you create and own — written, visual, downloadable — you get the picture.
You may have heard how important content creation is, but as we’ll get into throughout this post, it needs to have a well-planned purpose. When you develop a content strategy, there are some key things to consider:
- Who you’re creating it for
- The problem it’s going to solve for that audience
- How it will be unique
- The formats you’ll focus on
- The channels where it will be published
- How you will schedule and manage creation and publication
Why Do Marketers Need to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing helps businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. Think about it — if you can create just one blog post that gets a steady amount of organic traffic, an embedded link to an ebook or free tool will continue generating leads for you as time goes on.
The reliable source of traffic and leads from your evergreen content will give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed content. Plus, your content will not only help attract leads — it will also help educate your target prospects and generate awareness for your brand.
Now, let’s dive in to learn the specifics of how to create a content marketing plan.
7 Steps for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
1) Define your goal.
What’s your aim for developing a content marketing plan? Why do you want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know your goals before you begin planning, and you’ll have an easier time determining what’s best for your strategy. (Want help figuring out the right goals? Download this goal planning template.)
2) Conduct persona research.
To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience — also known as your buyer persona.
This is especially important for those who are starting out or are new to marketing. By knowing your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll want to read and convert on.
If you’re an experienced marketer, your target may have changed. Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to growing your audience.
3) Run a content audit.
Most people start out with blog posts, but if you want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, consider which ones you want to make. For instance, if you’ve been doing weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an ebook that distills all your blog posts into one ultimate guide would be a one way to offer information in a different format. We’ll go over several different types of content you can use further down on the list.
If you’ve been in business for a while, review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach. (Pro tip: Now is a great time to align your team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.)
4) Determine a content management system.
Have a system in place where you can manage your content. A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics.
If you’re a HubSpot customer, you can plan, produce, publish, and measure your results all in one place using HubSpot software. Other content management system options include CoSchedule and WordPress (although we can’t speak to the full range of capabilities of these sites).
5) Brainstorm content ideas.
Now, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project. Here are some tools to get the wheels turning:
- HubSpot’s Website Grader: HubSpot’s Website Grader is a great tool to use when you want to see where you’re at with your marketing. From your blogging efforts to your social media marketing, Website Grader grades vital areas of your marketing and sends you a detailed report to help you optimize and improve each area. With this tool, you can figure out how to make your website more SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.
- What To Write: Get your mind gears going with What To Write’s unique content idea generator. This tool asks you questions that will help jumpstart your brainstorming. It also generates several blog post ideas for you after you’ve completed the questions, so you can use those ideas in your content marketing plan.
- HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator: Get blog post ideas for an entire year with HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator. All you need to do is enter general topics or terms you’d like to write about, and this content idea generator does all the work for you.
- Feedly: This popular RSS feed is a wonderful way to keep track of trendy topics in your industry and find content ideas at the same time.
- BuzzSumo: Discover popular content and content ideas at BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo uses social media shares to determine if a piece of content is popular and well-liked, so this information will help you see which content ideas will do well.
- Content Forest: Content Forest offers free tools, which include KeywordKiwi and ContentIdeator. These tools will help you find popular content from your competitors, effective keywords to use in your content, and great content ideas all in one spot.
- Blog Post Headline Analyzer: CoSchedule’s tool analyzes headlines and titles and provides feedback on length, word choice, grammar, and keyword search volume. If you have an idea in mind, run a few title options through the Headline Analyzer to see how you could make it stronger, and to move your idea further along in the brainstorming process.
6) Determine which types of content you want to create.
There are a variety of options out there for content you can create. Here are some of the most popular content formats marketers are creating and tools and templates to get you started.
If you haven’t already noticed, you’re currently perusing a blog post. Blog posts live on a website and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Posts should provide valuable content for your audience that makes them inclined to share posts on social media and across other websites. We recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but experiment to see if your audience prefers longer or shorter reads.
Check out our free templates for writing great how-to, listicle, curation, SlideShare presentation, and newsjacking posts on your own blog.
Ebooks are lead generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re typically longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than blog posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website. Ebooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process: After reading a blog post (such as this one), visitors might want more content from an ebook and submit their contact information to learn more valuable information for their business. In turn, the business producing the ebook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.
Templates are a handy content format to try because they generate leads for you while providing tremendous value to your audience. When you provide your audience with template tools to save them time and help them succeed, they’re more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.
Infographics can organize and visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are great content formats to use if you’re trying to share a lot of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
If you’re ready to get started, get our templates for creating beautiful infographics in less than an hour.
Videos are a highly engaging content medium that are shareable across social media platforms and websites alike. Videos require a bigger investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual marketing increases in popularity — after all, it’s 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content — it’s a medium worth experimenting with.
Starting a podcast will help audiences find your brand if they don’t have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of podcast listeners is growing — in 2016, an estimated 57 million people listened to podcasts each month. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.
Here’s our comprehensive guide to starting a podcast.
Once you’ve been regularly publishing content on your own site for a while, it might be time to start thinking about distributing your content on other sites. This could entail a few things:
- Publishing website content on social media sites, such as LinkedIn
- Repurposing content into new formats and publishing them on your blog or social media sites
- Creating original content specifically for external sites, such as Medium
And speaking of Medium, if you’re considering that platform, check out our insights from our first year of publishing original content on ThinkGrowth.org.
When you’re ready for more ideas, there are a plethora of different content types to diversify your website. Check them out below:
7) Publish and manage your content.
Your marketing plan should go beyond the types of content you’ll create — it should also cover you’ll organize your content. With the help of an editorial calendar, you’ll be on the right track for publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on your website. Then, create a social media content calendar so you can promote and manage your content on other sites.
Many of the ideas you think of will be evergreen — they’re just as relevant months from now as they are today. That being said, you shouldn’t ignore timely topics either. While they may not be the bulk of your editorial calendar, they can help you generate spikes of traffic.
Most people count on incorporating popular holidays such as New Year’s and Thanksgiving in their marketing efforts, but you don’t have to limit yourself to these important marketing dates. If there are niche holidays that might appeal to your audience, it could be worth publishing content on your blog or on social media. HubSpot Staff Writer Sophia Bernazzani compiled this ultimate list of social media holidays — keep an eye on it when you’re planning your calendar.
Ready to Get Started?
We know this is a lot of information, but the work has just begun. It takes time, organization, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage your content, setting up your strategy for the new year won’t be a hassle if you follow the steps and explore the resources here. For additional guidance, use HubSpot’s Marketing Plan Generator to create a 12-month strategy in just a few minutes.
Customers are more inclined to engage with or purchase from brands they feel the strongest connection with. This isn’t a new development. What is new is the definition of the term “engagement” itself, or more accurately, what defines a customer’s engagement.
For many customers today, an experience is inauthentic if it’s not interactive. Meaning, they have to be able to reach out and feel like they’re grabbing the thing you’re selling, which is a far cry from the days where leaving a comment on a blog post counted as a sufficient interaction.
71% of consumers think a brand that uses virtual reality is forward-thinking. And however you feel about the term “forward-thinking,” one thing is for sure: these brands stand out and gain consumer attention.
Despite what you might think about VR, it’s not a completely inaccessible marketing tactic. Creating a content marketing strategy for virtual reality isn’t that different from a normal content marketing strategy, but it requires an understanding of engagement through interactivity.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for VR
Keep Your Existing Audience in Mind
How does your ideal customer consume your content already? Is it through a weekly webinar or Q&A? Or maybe a daily vlog from the CEO’s desk? Whatever content routine you’ve created, you can continue that strategy while incorporating VR technology.
For example, if your primary medium is Facebook video, you can start producing virtual reality content on Facebook Spaces Although Spaces is still in beta, it’s poised to become a Facebook standard in the not-so-distant future. There’s no better time than the present to start thinking of ways to make it benefit your brand.
Does your business have an app? One emerging trend for app-based businesses is to infuse virtual reality content for use with a Samsung or iPhone paired VR headset. Take mega-ticket marketplace Stubhub as an example. They’ve now added a 360 degree virtual reality view to every ticket purchase, allowing customers to see the view from their actual seats.
Screenshot via Recode
These virtual views have been available on Stubhub.com for a while now, but used to be standard (rather than 360 degree) images. Thanks to the incorporation of VR, the brand has enhanced their customer’s existing experience, and helped them better navigate to a purchase.
Just think of how many times you’ve decided against buying tickets because you weren’t sure about the view. Stubhub is effectively solving this problem by tweaking their existing content to enable VR capabilities.
Don’t Just Content, Create An Experience
The notion of a content marketing strategy combined with virtual reality might be misleading. After all, virtual reality is not about the content, it’s about the user experience. Thus, your content creation strategy should aim to be immersive for the consumer, giving them an in-depth view at your product offerings.
Take the customers through your store, showing them your best inventory and product offerings first hand, like Shopify. The e-commerce giant is about to release their all-new thread studio, which is a VR app that will take consumers into a virtual studio to view t-shirt designs and other apparel.
Image via Shopify
Once they’ve mixed and matched colors and found the design that’s best for their project, they are sent to Shopify’s print-on-demand provider, Printful. From here, they can turn their virtual vision into a real-life, tangible product. As brick-and-mortar stores continue to shut their doors, they’ll be replaced by these virtual stores that allow consumers to walk through and browse without leaving the house.
Seek Long Distance Customers — Yes, Really
Not that you should only seek customers who live far away, but VR will make it easier to craft content to a more widely located buyer pool.
Just think about how VR will transform the home buying process. If you’re a realtor, you’ll be able to take potential buyers through a completely virtual tour of your property. People from around the world can see a home inside and out like they’re visiting in person.
Forbes writes about this in their article about VR in real estate, only they add another possibility to the mix. They posit that realtors would be able to allow their clients the ability to make custom changes to the home through the VR app, helping the user experience become more interactive, and giving clients a clearer vision of what it’d be like to live in the property.
Show Consumers What Products Will Look Like
Giving consumers a visual of what furniture and household items will look like is an important way to encourage them to purchase.
Home improvement giant Lowe’s has already added a VR element that mirrors the home customization idea. Called Holoroom, it takes customers through a model home to provide a look at what the space would look like with their products.
Image via: Architectural Digest
For the record, augmented reality is very similar to virtual reality, only the former layers artificial elements on top of a realistic background whereas the latter generates an entirely artificial environment.
Provide an Emotional Journey
Honor Everywhere provides a virtual reality experience to terminally ill military veterans, allowing them to “visit” the war memorials in Washington D.C. Volunteers are bringing VR headsets into assisted-living centers to give to the veterans and let them enjoy the experience.
Image via WTOP.com
Although there’s nothing quite as unique as this cause, you can still find ways to take customers on an emotional journey through your own VR content.
“Emotional” doesn’t have to mean sadness: think in terms of what your audience is most passionate about and produce content that addresses those areas.
For example, if you’re writing a travel blog that doubles as an affiliate site, your goal is to truly sell the one-of-a-kind experience a customer will feel by purchasing your vacation package. Through the immersiveness of virtual reality, you can take effectively transport them to the beaches of Rio de Janiero, or atop the Eye of London in a millisecond of time.
You can even take a page out of the always adventurous MythBusters’ playbook, and give consumers a first person tour of a wrecked ship that rests in shark-infested waters.
There’s nothing like a swim among sharks to rouse people’s’ emotions.
Embrace Your Location
If the goal is to immerse your virtual audience into a new space, then it only makes sense to show them a fun location.
Offer them a virtual tour around your city, show them a famous landmark, take them to a special event. It’s mid-July at the time of this writing, so a San Diego company might want to show their audience around Comic Con — just an example.
Use Outside Content
Perhaps the most underrated — or under talked about — aspect to content marketing is the cultivation of a community of users, many of whom can contribute their own content.
Thanks to tools like Facebook Spaces, Periscope, and now YouTube, your brand can easily integrate user-produced VR videos onto your website.
Reach out to consumers through channels like social media, email marketing campaigns, and calls-to-action on your website.
What to Do as a Content Creator?
Should you overhaul your entire content strategy to make room for virtual reality? For most of us, the answer is no.
But 2017 is the year we should at least start acknowledging its existence, and begin experimenting with it. Content creators should A/B test with and without virtual reality technology, then gauge the user’s response.
Rather than dedicating your entire site to VR, start with individual posts or pages, then begin building as you see fit.
U.K. startup Lobster is gearing up to scale its user-generated content licensing marketplace, as it closes a £1 million Series A. It’s expecting to have closed out the round next week, with 85 per cent of the funding committed at this point and only its decision on the last few investors outstanding. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch
Social Native has created a marketplace for connecting brands with content creators who can create authentic social media assets that promote those brands.
The startup is positioned for the era known as the “creator economy,” a term coined by futurist Paul Saffo to describe our shift from consumers of content to creators of content.
To help with that mission, the Los Angeles company has hired as executives two of its investors, Jeff Ragovin and Eytan Elbaz, who each have a long history in successful startups.
Social Native is working with 50 top brands to find them low-cost and authentic content. In the age of social media, brands haven’t been able to keep up with the voracious demand for social media assets, such as videos or pictures, on all of the big social sites.
“We are changing the way brands create content,” Elbaz said in an interview with VentureBeat. “The biggest shift that has occurred since the advent of social media is the amount of content people can consume is 100 times great than it was decades ago. You can skim through Instagram and see much more in a minute than you do in an hour reading a magazine.”
Social Native enlists the people who create an enormous amount of assets: the fans. Those fans currently don’t get paid for their authentic expressions of enthusiasm for a brand. Brands can express the kind of content they want, such as fans interacting with a new product. Social Native has identified 14 million of the top content creators in the world, and it has invited thousands of them to create content for social media campaigns.
Social Native uses its algorithms to figure out which content creators are creating the right content for the campaign, and it shows that content to the brands. The brands pay Social Native for the assets, and Social Native shares that money with the content creators who express their love for the products.
Elbaz, who is the co-creator of Google’s enormously profitable AdSense business (acquired for $ 104 million), said that brands that don’t keep up will lose mindshare in this new age of social media.
“Social Native automates a lot of the processes for creating content,” he said.
Elbaz, who is chief strategy officer at Social Native, thinks that content creators can do in a week — at a fraction of the cost — the work that an agency does in a year creating assets for ad campaigns. An agency might charge $ 100 million for 100 campaigns. But content creators, who previously were doing their sharing for free, could be far less expensive and their content could be a lot better because it’s so authentic.
“Jeff and Eytan joining the company as operators serves as a true testament to the power of our technology and growth opportunity ahead,” said David Shadpour, CEO of Social Native, in a statement. “Both Jeff and Eytan have incredible track records of disrupting old standards with technology. Creative is one of the last industries to be merged with technology, and under their leadership we will take on the challenge of giving brands the ability to create personalized content on demand.”
Ragovin, cofounder of Buddy Media (acquired by Salesforce for $ 745 million), said in an interview with VentureBeat, “I’ve seen them address a gaping hole in the demand for content. Brands are clamoring for this content.”
Ragovin invested in Social Native in early 2016. He will now help the company with its aggressive growth plans.
Of course, brands have been going to celebrities and influencers to get content. But that can be very expensive. And those celebrities and influencers aren’t always as passionate about brands as ordinary people, who represent “the long tail,” Ragovin said.
“This is a disruptor in the content creation space,” he said.
Influencers also use their own platforms to distribute content. With Social Native, the brands use their own platforms for distribution. Content creators are approved based on the quality of their content and how engaged they are with brands. They’re not approved based on the size of their followings.
“Over time, the algorithms figure out who is worth what and compensates people appropriately,” Elbaz said. “There are a lot of signals we pay attention to. Part of the job of the tech is to find out where your passions lie.”
Ragovin, a Social Native investor since early 2016, will play a part in developing the scalable and aggressive growth trajectory for Social Native. In his previous role as co-founder and chief strategy officer of Buddy Media, a SaaS platform for brands and agencies to organize and control their social marketing programs, Jeff played a central role in guiding the company from a start-up into the largest enterprise social marketing suite in the world.
As for the creator economy, Ragovin said, “We think creative services is a meaningful piece of this growing digital economy. It is a way to supplement income.”
Elbaz added, “The whole goal is to drive toward true personalization. Personalization is the future of everything.”
According to Social Native research, there are 396 human touch points required in the creative development process. The company automated this process and can now scale the creation of highly personalized, quality creative content.
Polaroid has been using Social Native, and it now sources 71 percent of its social content from Social Native. Polaroid has used that content in social media, paid advertising, ecommerce pages, product packaging, and more.
Elbaz was previously cofounder and former chief strategy officer of Scopely, a fast-growing mobile game producer. In addition, Elbaz served as head of Google’s domain channel, where he grew the business from $ 13 million to $ 600 million annually over four years. Elbaz is also a founding member of Applied Semantics, where he conceived and designed AdSense, DomainPark, and DomainSense.
“I’m a startup guy,” said Elbaz. “I love the beginning, and we have made a lot of great progress at Social Native.”
Not having enough of the right people on your content team is a problem for many of today’s marketers. In fact, 38% of B2B marketers say HR and staffing issues are responsible for delayed success in content marketing, and 22% blame a lack of training and education.
Developing, executing, and measuring a content marketing plan can be difficult under the best of circumstances. But when you’re not adequately staffed, even the most well-conceived content marketing plan can struggle.
That’s why it’s so crucial to have the right roles outlined and fulfilled by the people who can execute them the best. We’ve identified eight personalities that can strengthen your team. As you learn more about them, you might notice that many possess the same qualifications — things like an ability to meet deadlines, good interpersonal skills, and task-specific marketing knowledge.
Check out more about these personalities below — they’ll help bring your content strategy to fruition.
8 Personalities to Look for When Assembling a Content Team
1) The Taskmaster
This person is your project manager — the one responsible for the successful execution of your projects and campaigns. While creative, the taskmaster should also be proactive and action-oriented. After all, this person is your closer, or as we like to say around here, the overseer of getting stuff done.
The importance of well-executed project management is especially clear when comparing high-performing companies to low-performing ones. According to the Project Management Institute, in a workplace culture that emphasizes project management, 71% of projects actually meet their original goals. Compare that to the 51% of projects in non-project-management cultures, and it’s clear — companies that prioritize project management do better — period.
The taskmaster has a lot on his or her plate — things like budgets and being able to identify and prevent possible issues. But there’s technology out there that can benefit the taskmasters of the world, like the Projects app in your HubSpot software.
2) The Wordsmith
Not only does this person write well, but he or she is agile enough to do so in different voices and tones, based on your content topics and personas. In other words, the wordsmith brings your ideas to life through language. Plus, this person is able to create compelling work quickly — like the rest of the team, he or she should be deadline-driven enough to keep deliverables on track.
To state the obvious, you can’t create content without a content creator. And it’s not just about writing — it’s about being able to do it well. These days, that’s a rare asset — American businesses spend up to $ 3.1 billion on training employees for basic writing skills.
The wordsmith should be well-versed in the goals and audience of the content — that’s what’s going to help him or her make it engaging. In many ways, this person is a translator who’s able to convert abstract ideas into tangible composition. And being able to work independently, as well as part of a team, is essential here, as the wordsmith must understand the ideas being communicated by his or her colleagues, and work with it autonomously.
3) The Grammar Geek
While the wordsmith gives the content life, the grammar geek is an editor makes your brand look smart. He or she holds brand values high and serves as the champion for consistency and quality across all channels.
Here’s why your grammar geek is so vital. If you publish content that contains errors, you risk losing sales. For some businesses, in fact, a single typo was speculated to result in an 80% drop in sales.
The grammar geek has a passion for language — preferably, the one in which your content is being published. But he or she also understands how to write specifically for the format of what you’re producing. Digital content, for example, sometimes takes on a different voice than print, so make sure this person is fluent in both.
And make sure this person works well with your wordsmith — chances are, they’ll have to share a back-and-forth to get a polished finished result.
4) The Artist
The strongest content teams have someone who can turns ideas and data into beautiful visuals. The artist supports your content marketing efforts by designing images, infographics, logos, and collateral — online and print — that adhere to brand style guidelines.
Compelling visuals are imperative in today’s landscape — articles with one image for every 75-100 words get twice as many social shares than articles with fewer images. You’ll need someone who can create them in a way that aligns with your brand, and is proficient in the technology used to create them. An innate sense for color, text style and layout wouldn’t hurt, either.
Make sure this person will thrive in a client-facing role, too — he or she will likely have to communicate with multiple parties and be able to understand their respective visions.
5) The Growth Hacker
Of course, it’s always good to have a master of numbers and data on your team. How else can you accurately measure and analyze the ROI of your content marketing? This person love metrics, A/B testing, and proving that ROI. In fact, it’s possible your growth hacker has a t-shirt with Peter Drucker’s famous management quote, “What gets measured, gets managed.”
The growth hacker should be more than just a data hound, though. This person truly understands what Peter Drucker meant when he wrote, “Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results.”
Your growth hacker helps reveal what’s effective. That, in turn, shows the team how to funnel its time and talents into the right actions to produce the right results. That requires an ability to develop, execute and report on a comprehensive content strategy — on that both attracts potential customers and retains existing ones. Plus, this person should be able to collaborate with sales and operations, because you’ll need their help to meet objectives.
6) The Social Butterfly
Your social butterfly is in charge of content distribution, promotion, and amplification. They have an affinity for social media and branding and enjoy interacting with people online.
Why is this team member important? You can thank the rules of good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. After all, After all, content consumption on Twitter has increased by 25% in the past two years alone — and 76% of its users are likely to recommend a brand after a positive social media interaction with it.
Like the rest of your content team, the social butterfly must understand the goals of the project and the audience — that’s necessary in order to effectively communicate on social media. This person should be generally skilled in content distribution and promotion, and know how to engage influencers to drive interest around the brand and build customer loyalty. And it doesn’t hurt if this person knows how to manage paid promotions and campaigns on such social networks as Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Snapchat.
7) The Risk-Taker
Every content team needs someone who challenges colleagues to try something new. Your group needs this dreamer to come up with the occasional crazy idea — because it might just work after all — and, you won’t know if you don’t try.
This individual’s unique perspective keeps your content approach from getting stale, or lost in any project chaos. And while the risk-taker role is a scary one for some teams to embrace, there’s evidence that taking risks can be beneficial — when done with caution.
But maybe that fear comes from a desire to emulate other brand leaders; if the big guys are doing it “this way,” we should, too. Or, a team may be afraid of looking dumb or silly. If you find yourself a little uncertain about the risk-taker role, ask yourself, “What content have I seen that’s really stood out to me lately? Was it the same-old-same-old, or was it something different, edgy or new?”
Obviously, your risk-taker should have a big-picture mindset, and a sense of adventure. This person shouldn’t be too preoccupied with what other people think, either. But remember: He or she must know how to take a calculated risk.
8) The Rule-Follower
To keep the risk-taker (and everyone else) in check, make sure you fill the role of rule-player. This person ensures that your content follows industry best practices. If you’re in a regulated industry, this role becomes even more important — violate any codes of conduct, and your content marketing efforts might get your company into hot water.
This rule-following team member is someone who executes on the finer, more mundane parts of the strategy. Though unsexy to some, the details are important, and they need to be thoroughly ironed out before your content goes live.
To that end, the rule-follower has a meticulous and methodical personality, with the ability to ask critical questions. And believe it or not, there are some who find joy in the execution, so to speak, and not just the strategizing — this person should have that quality.
Make It a Combo
So what happens if you can’t have a team this large? Not every company has the capacity for an eight-person content team. That’s okay — combinations are possible, and some are more important than others.
- Make sure you have one risk-taker and one rule-follower. The risk-taker can come up with all the outta-this-world ideas, and the rule-follower can reel them back to earth. One becomes the yin to the other’s yang.
- However, your taskmaster and growth hacker can be combined. Both are usually super-organized and meticulous; they like numbers, project management tools, and spreadsheets, and it’s fairly easy to find these traits in the same person.
- You cannot combine your wordsmith and your grammar geek. Everybody needs an editor, right? Or as Ann Handley wrote, “Editors are not optional. Period.” And while wordsmiths can make great editors, it’s always challenging to review your own work — that’s why they call it a “second set of eyes.”
- But, you can combine your social butterfly with your wordsmith. Creative types have a natural affinity for promotion, and your wordsmith should be able to compose the right kind of copy for your social networks.
Most content marketers are familiar with the pain of trying to do too much with too few resources. The usual result? We end up doing little to none of it well. Having these personalities on your team will help you produce better, more consistent content that your audience will want to click, read, and share.
How have you made the most of your content team? Let us know about your top content personalities in the comments.
Nearly every smart marketer wants to create content that puts their company on the map and attract more customers.
According to HubSpot’s research, inbound marketing and content marketing have been the most effective method of doing business online. It’s no secret that high quality and shareable content is in high demand, but it is becoming exceedingly difficult to create top-notch pieces that cut through the noise.
A big piece to the inbound marketing puzzle comes from social media. The reality is that a lot of great content goes undiscovered due to improper optimization.
Social platforms can be a highly effective advertising tool for content, but unfortunately it’s all too easy to miss the mark on your strategy — and ultimately, engagement suffers right along with your ROI.
One of the primary focuses of content creation today is shared content optimization (SCO). Shared content optimization is the process of optimizing content to increase the likelihood of social shares, impressions, and even sales.
Without including shared content optimization into a content strategy, marketing efforts can quickly fall flat. The idea behind SCO is to create magnetic content that resonates with the audience, which encourages sharing throughout various channels.
What are The Benefits of Shared Content Optimization?
SCO helps content perform its best on social media platforms. For example, you likely wouldn’t post the same content on LinkedIn as you would on Twitter or Instagram.
In addition, social content optimization ensures that marketers effectively reach the target audience on the right platforms.
As a shared content optimization strategy encourages social sharing, it will naturally lead to more shares. In turn, this increases the exposure of social media profiles and can lead to an influx of followers — especially if the shared content is highly relevant and engaging for the audience.
This blog post will teach you how to apply the best optimization techniques for social media content. It will also explain how to use proper elements such as CTAs and graphics to enhance social shares.
Furthermore, marketers can learn how to properly optimize schedules based on channels and create snack-sized content that’s easy to consume. While shared content optimization isn’t rocket science, there is certainly a method that needs to be applied in order to get the best results.
Further Defining Shared Content Optimization
There are several steps to creating shared content optimization, which includes optimizing for impressions and enhancing the likeliness of sharing.
However, the first step is to understand the true definition of SCO — which is the process of adding relevant hashtags, commentary, questions, and media to spark engagement and increase social shares.
It’s also important to understand that the process optimizing content will vary across social platforms and channels.
In order for shared content optimization to work for a content strategy, there must be a deep understanding of the audience, as well as the ability to track and monitor progress so efforts can be adjusted as needed.
Creating Content for SCO
Marketers can use several components for developing SCO content, including a call-to-action, graphics, hashtags, targeting specific groups, and even using videos.
Once there is content prepared to share with an audience, it will need to be optimized to maximize impressions. This can be achieved in several ways, with one of the most effective methods including the use of trending hashtags.
— Pepsi™ (@pepsi) October 5, 2015
However, there needs to be relevant in terms of the trending hash and the topic at hand—otherwise, the content will simply be viewed as spam.
Other ways to enhance the number of impressions with SCO is adding a call-to-action or graphics to a social post.
A call-to-action can be as simple as asking for a retweet or a Facebook share. As long as the call-to-action is compelling and provides incentive to the audience, increased social sharing and more impressions are sure to follow.
— Wendy’s (@Wendys) September 14, 2012
Enhancing Messages with Visual Elements and Helpful Tools
Graphics are a big part of correctly optimizing content for social media sharing.
In fact, social media posts with images generate more engagement and have up to an 87% interaction rate with followers. Including graphics, videos, and even GIFs can greatly influence an audience to share content.
For example, take a look at BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed is known for its entertaining GIFs, and it’s one of the many reasons its content is shared so frequently on social media. This brand has effectively harnessed the power of shared content optimization, and they use interesting and engaging media for maximized impressions.
Aside from animated GIFs, marketers can also consider adding CTAs and visual cues on graphics, which will help increase shareability.
There are several ways that marketers can create graphic and video content for SCO. Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular tools for graphic design; but if you don’t have time to navigate through this complex software, you can use a user-friendly graphic design program such as Canva.
In addition, video production can be quite simple if you use tools such as VideoMakerFX, which is template-based and easy to customize.
Keep in mind that it’s important to use consistent branding elements across all social media channels.
Marketers need to think beyond their logo and cover images, and expand consistent fonts and color schemes into visual elements. This will ensure that the content is completely connected with your brand, and the audience will realize its original source.
Thinking beyond the logo is demonstrated brilliantly by the Always #LikeAGirl campaign by Procter & Gamble’s:
Optimizing Channels for Maximized Sharing
Data and tracking are critical to optimizing your channels for maximized sharing. One of the most important considerations to track and consider is the audience location and habits, which can help you determine the right schedule for the chosen channel.
Nearly every social media channel offers some form of analytic data. Marketers can dive into these insights to learn more about the target demographic in terms of age, income, education, marital status, and more.
Furthermore, marketers can also discover the best performing posts. This data will help marketers understand the type of content that resonates with audiences the most.
Once marketers have a solid understanding of the audience, best performing content, and peak hours for publishing content, the strategy can focus on SCO, based on audience preferences.
Automating the sharing process will increase productivity for marketers of every level. Consider using tools such as HubSpot’s Social Inbox to publish posts in advance, which also allows marketers to plan out their social strategy on one convenient platform.
Selecting The Best Social Media Channels
While it’s tempting to promote content on every social media channel, this method can actually be counterproductive. Marketers need to focus their time and energy on social platforms that bring them the best ROI and engagement.
Social media channels that offer the best customer interaction, comments, and shares should be the primary focus of any social media marketing strategy. Once the best social media channels are established, marketers can focus on optimizing the content in a method that makes sense for the specific platform. This means to publish posts during peak hours, use relevant hashtags, and appropriately-sized graphics.
Increase Sharing Success with Shared Content Optimization
Shared content optimization doesn’t end with graphics and hashtags. Something as simple as asking the audience to share content can help increase impressions.
Best of all, the CTAs can be directly embedded into visuals — or marketers can just simply ask for the share or retweet by using text.
Another way to increase sharing success is to create bite-sized content. Bite-sized content is easy to consume and it’s fun to scan and share.
Keep in mind that the average attention span of an adult is only 8.25 seconds, so marketers face the challenge of creating content that is quickly absorbed yet engaging.
There are several ways to get your audience to bite on snackable content. For example:
- Promoting large campaigns with bite-sized content
- Offering bits of playful content
- Re-sharing content about your brand that is submitting by users
- Keeping your content suspenseful — make the audience wonder what will happen next
Lastly, marketers can also add content suggestions to encourage extra sharing. This helps further promote existing content while encouraging additional shares on social media.
Motivate The Audience to Share on Social Media
Unfortunately, simply asking for social shares sometimes isn’t enough. However, there are still ways to grab attention of the audience and motivate sharing over multiple channels.
One method is to add a human element and include emoticons within your posts — this will add an extra layer of visual interest, and make a brand stand out from the competition.
— Buffer (@buffer) August 24, 2016
Graphics are always a go-to method of increasing social shares. There is no denying the power of using graphics to optimize and promote content, and numerous studies have shown that graphics can earn content more impression than only using text.
Promoting Optimized Content
Once the content is ready to go, it’s time to put your shared content optimization strategy to the test.
Publish your content on free social media channels to begin testing what works best for your schedule and audience. Do research on demographics on each platform, and carefully review data of your posts while you consistently tweak your strategy.
Furthermore, there is always the option to boost visibility with paid content campaigns. Facebook advertising is relatively inexpensive, yet it can yield great results. Be careful while optimizing paid campaigns, and be sure that the right keywords and demographics are targeted for best results.
One of the last pieces to the puzzle is recommending the content on content distribution channels. This will help promote your hard work to the largest amount of people possible, while ultimately spreading your content far and wide.
Increasing Clickthrough Rates
When you’re working hard to promote and optimize your content, you don’t want to forget about CTR (clickthrough rate). Driving traffic to your website from social media isn’t as complicated as you think — and it all comes down to a few simple strategies.
The first step is to ensure that your posts are attractive and cohesive. Be sure that your graphic or video is properly optimized for your social platform, and your text is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
The next consideration is to give your readers a reason to share your posts. For example, you can create content that hits a pain point and draws readers to your website for a resolution.
You should also try to alternate headlines, use actionable words, and be responsive to your followers on social media.
Enhance Your Content Strategy with Shared Content Optimization
Is shared content optimization part of your digital marketing strategy? By creating quality content, promoting with the right tools, and tapping into the target audience, marketers of every industry can see a boost in online sharing.