The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential

Future of B2B Content

Future of B2B Content

Before starting on any new marketing initiative or trying a new tactic, B2B marketers need to answer and essential question: Why?

While most B2B marketers won’t admit it, many still practice some “spaghetti/wall marketing” wherein each year they throw new digital tactics “against the wall” to see what sticks without really knowing why a tactic would work for their audience over another.

This is not to say that you should slow down on innovating and trying new things. But it’s important for success to be strategic and test. I challenge marketers to do more research around customer insights and preferences so that any changes they make are driven by data and informed hypothesis—rather than simply trying new things just to see if they will work.
Focusing Your Data Lens
For content, we focus on three types of customer data:

Discovery: Where, when, and how buyers find information that helps them identify a solution.
Consumption: Preferences for channels, content types, topics, formats, devices, and experience.
Action: What triggers will motivate the desired action.

With buyer discovery, consumption, and action metrics, you’ll know how to create awareness, great customer engagement, and compelling offers that matter to your customers. And you’ll always know which approach to use to improve your marketing because it will be customer driven.
A New View of Content
What does that customer driven content look like in today’s landscape? It’s data-informed. It’s interactive. It’s influential.

For example, client Prophix provides Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software in an industry not known for exciting marketing. With an understanding that B2B buyers are also consumers, they decided to launch campaigns that would go beyond educating buyers to “info-taining” them.

To create a standout content experience for their annual report for the financial planning and accounting industry, they brought together financial industry influencers with an interactive online game. The quiz-themed game asked questions using data from the report as well as from the influencers who were represented as avatars within the game.

Prophix Crush It Interactive Quiz

The creative element to the content plus the collaboration with trusted industry experts drove performance of this program above and beyond expectations, beating the benchmark for asset views by 600%.

With a taste for what interactive content and working with industry influencers for content and promotion can do, Prophix followed up with another campaign featuring a simulated voice assistant named Penny.

An interactive microsite highlighted the intersection of finance and artificial intelligence with Penny as the guide. By interacting with Penny, users were able to access a group of influencers that provided their expertise via audio and text. The microsite had 189% more views than the benchmark and 642% more engagement.

Interactive Influencer Asset with Voice Assistant

By taking what is often called “boring-to-boring” content and packaging it as an interactive experience with trusted experts providing useful information, Prophix was able to realize their “new lens” of marketing as something that was beyond a shiny object. It was effective marketing.
An Eye to the Future of B2B Marketing
B2B brands are increasingly investing in interactive influencer marketing to engage with industry influencers and co-create content that is packaged with brand content in an experience that is engaging for influencers and buyers alike.

The sheer volume of information and media that confronts people in the business world is overwhelming and often pretty boring. Creating compelling experiences with interactive content is one way to stand out, differentiate, and optimize for effectiveness. At the same time, buyers don’t trust advertising or brand marketing messages. Co-creating content with trusted experts brings credibility and interest to the brand message.

My upcoming presentation at the 2019 Clever Content Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark will help B2B marketers understand how to “break free of boring marketing” by exploring the top interactive formats, best practices for influencer engagement and case studies featuring mid-market and large enterprise B2B brands doing interactive influencer marketing right. Learn more about my Break Free of Boring Marketing presentation here.

If you’re thirsty for more on this topic, check out these other related posts:

B2B Brands Go Bold: 7 Great Examples of Interactive B2B Content
Bye-Bye Boring B2B: Lee Odden Shows B2BMX Attendees the Power of Interactive Influencer Content
Interactive Content Marketing: Why B2B Marketers Should Take Their Content From Boring to Bold

The post The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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When & Why Net-New Content Creation Makes Sense—And When It Doesn’t

When New Content Creation Makes Sense

When New Content Creation Makes Sense

1996: The year content was named “king” in a burgeoning digital world.

2001: The year “content marketing” was officially coined and the modern content revolution began.

130 trillion and counting: The number of webpages currently indexed by Google.

One zillion infinities: The number of pieces of content you stand to create during your B2B content marketing career.

Zero: Perhaps the number of times you’ve asked yourself, “Do I really need to create a new piece of content?”

If the last one strikes a little too close to home, we’re not passing judgement — rather we’re reminding you that you don’t always have to start from scratch.

Consistent quality content creation comes with the territory; it’s an integral part of your B2B content marketing strategy. Content is how we reach, help, and educate our buyer audience. Furthermore, as buyers and buyer committees evolve, there’s always going to be a place for net-new creation.

But many times, refreshing, repurposing, and optimizing can play a major role in the creation process, and sometimes you may just need to stand down.
Do You Really Need a New Piece of Content? Yes. No. Maybe So.
If you need to fill your editorial calendar…
Stop, collaborate, and listen.

via GIPHY

While no content marketer wants to admit they’ve created content for the sake of filling a spot on the editorial calendar, it happens all the time. Again, no judgement here. But we had to call it out.

So, before you feel tempted to fill a calendar opening, consider channeling that time and effort into more research or an audit. For example, performing an SEO and content audit, a task that aims to assess the current state of your internal content ecosystem as well as external variables, can unearth unique opportunities that can fill your editorial calendar with net-new and refresh ideas.
If a relevant and previously uncovered topic, trend, or paint point presents itself…
Go for it.

Your goal is to be the best answer for your audience. In order for your content ecosystem to thrive, you have to have your basics covered (i.e. product explainers or resource guides) and within reach for your audience. If you see gaps in those core areas, you need to fill them.

But as buyers become more empowered and voice search and assistants gain increasing popularity, they’re regularly uncovering new problems they need solved and more pointed questions they need answered. This means regular review of who your audience is and the questions they’re asking is more important than ever.

You should be regularly leveraging website analytics, Google Search Console, question analyzer tools, and the list goes on to unearth and inform content creation opportunities.
If no one’s talking about those relevant topics, trends, or pain points …
Then you should absolutely go for it.

Remember the legendary wisdom of Ricky Bobby’s pop: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

via GIPHY

It’s rare that you’re given the opportunity to create thought leadership and demand around something that’s new to your internal and external content ecosystem. Of course, that window of opportunity won’t be open for long. HubSpot’s Brian Halligan famously did this with the term “inbound marketing” — a term that every marketing department now accepts, understands, and uses.

One note of caution, however: Creating demand around an original idea or rising topic requires vigilance, creativity, and integration with a range of content marketing tactics (i.e. influencers, paid and organic social media, email marketing, etc.) SEO is a long-term factor, but in the short-term, don’t let low search volumes deter you.
And if everyone’s talking about those relevant topics, trends, or pain points …
Proceed with cautious ambition.

Tackling a highly-publicized or popular topic is worth it when you’re confident in your ability to provide new and/or better insight and expertise than your direct and indirect competition. Becoming the best answer for a topic, trend, or niche is both art and science: You need the right expertise and the topic needs to be relevant to your audience. You need credibility and authenticity. And it all needs to be backed by relevant data insights.
If you think that your existing content is too old to be relevant …
Table net-new content creation … for now.

Instead of throwing out or forgetting about the old, consider giving it a revamp. Refreshing content has numerous benefits — from sending positive SEO “freshness” signals to search engines to boosting your efficiency and productivity.

Analyze the performance of that blog post, downloadable asset, or web page to understand traffic, rankings, engagement, and so on. Then couple those findings with first-hand research on other similar content in the external ecosystem. If you determine your existing content has potential for a second life, add new content, insight, resources, and so on. You can then republish and repromote, and continue to optimize.

If you determine it’s a lost cause, recreate and redirect the old content to pass any remaining authority onto your new content.
If you’re trying to reach a new audience…
Net-new or net-old, this one’s a personal call.

Talk of content personalization has reached a fever pitch. That means B2B marketers have more reason and opportunity than ever to create tailored content for new or specific audience.

Identifying a new audience segment fills your content pipeline with additional repurposing opportunities — or it can be the repurposing opportunity. Have you seen the rise of a new purchasing stakeholder group? Develop specialized content just for them. Do you have targeted content on financial management for healthcare companies? Repurpose and personalize your content for your legal or technology verticals.
If your content will target a keyword you already own search real estate for …
Press pause.

Target keywords that are already mapped to other pages — especially your service pages — could hurt your search footprint and cannibalize traffic from other content.

The good news is that your concept can be saved and utilized in a different way in the future.

However, that’s not to say your content concept shouldn’t be saved and utilized for the future. For example, you could evolve your concept to target a longer-tail query that’s related to your original idea. And using the hub and spoke content model, you can build out your authority around the overarching topic and implement strategic cross-linking to turn it into a smart SEO play. Long-tail keyword phrases also allow you to more closely match your audience’s search intent, creating the potential for rising in the (search) ranks.
If new content runs the risk of being duplicative…
Stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Duplicative content is a no-no, and has been and will be forever.

via GIPHY
If you want to launch a new content type …
You have the green light.

Introducing new content types diversifies how your audience can discover, interact with, and digest your content. New content types also cater to changing audience preferences for content consumption. Maybe you want to evolve several statistical roundups into a single infographic. Or perhaps you want to enable your audience to solve problems and find answers to their questions through an interactive quiz.

But a quick note here: This may also be an opportunity for refreshing, repurposing, or optimizing existing content. So, be intentional.

Read: B2B Brands Go Bold: 7 Great Examples of Interactive B2B Content
Key Word: New
Net-new content creation should always be top of mind for content marketers. You should always be thinking about how you can inform, engage, and inspire your audience to action. But new content needs to provide new value — not fill an editorial gap. And not all new content needs to be built from scratch, rather there are several opportunities to refresh, repurpose, republish, and optimize for performance.

If you’re ever in doubt on what to do, we hope this piece lends some perspective. But if doubt persists, remember this tidbit from the incomparable Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs:

“We don’t need more content. We need better content!”

[bctt tweet=”We don’t need more content. We need better content! @annhandley of @MarketingProfs” username=”toprank”]

Want to identify areas where your content can be better? Use these Best Answer Content Examples to see how your internal and external content ecosystem measures up.

The post When & Why Net-New Content Creation Makes Sense—And When It Doesn’t appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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How to Nail a Relationship Marketing Strategy for Your Business Success

Relationship marketing is important in every business. Clients keep your business running. Getting them is one thing, but keeping them is a whole different story.

 

Customer loyalty can ensure a strong long-term relationship with your clients. Having the right tools to manage them and deliver what they need can lead you into that direction. We think that business success relies on the number of satisfied customers, plus other ingredients that make the strategy “spicier” – more elaborated and powerful.

 

How_to_Nail_Relationship_Marketing_Strategies

 

Check out these effective relationship marketing strategies to maintain, engage and convert your clients.

 

Market Your Customers the Right Way
Build a Great Customer Service Team
Create Customer Service Q&A Templates
Implement the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop
Build an Automated Customer Support Process
Always Improve Customer Experience
Setup Specific Customer Retention Actions
Reward Loyal Customers
Set up a Referral Program
Follow Sales Number and Customer Feedback Metrics
Invest in CRM and Other Technology
Create Valuable Content Based on Customers’ Questions

 
1. Market Your Customers the Right Way

Market Your Customers the Right Way

 

 

Before you start building a relationship marketing strategy, you need to know your audience to connect with it. If you’re struggling to figure out your niche, you can follow the following instructions:

 

 

Identify your interests, what you’re good at and what you sell. It is important to know your skills very well, as well as your products or services.
Identify what problem you can solve, whether there’s a market for your niche and if your services can help the user.
Research your competition and see what they’re doing, what they are promoting and what their asset is.
Test your niche.

 

Your clients are an important asset to your business; they make your business work. Your business will exist as long as you have clients. More benefits come from your loyal customers because they continue to bring monetary value to the company. You need to maintain your customers engaged to keep them loyal.

 

According to Gallup’s customer database, half of all customers are satisfied and only 38% of them say they are engaged.

 

Customer engagement doesn’t automatically follow satisfaction.

 

Loyal customers need attention to keep their engagement rate high. According to Experience Matters, loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x as likely to try a new offering. Loyal customers are more likely to create customer lifetime value (CLV).

 

Customer-lifetime-value-curve

Source: Kissmetrics

 
2. Build a Great Customer Service Team

Build a Great Customer Service Team

 

It all starts with building a team to execute quality experience. Helping your customers understand the value of your services is highly important. You need to help them learn your services by making it easier. It’s just like in UX design, the users have a path and your website should follow that path. The picture below is a good representation:

 

User experience

 

As we all probably already know, UX is very important for SEO, too. Many experts think that UX is crucial in the future of SEO, especially with all the evolution of machine learning technology. And UX goes beyond SEO, your team must see what the user wants, what they need, how your services benefit them and achieve their goal.

 

Helping customers understand and value your product over your competitors’ is not a sales tactic.

 

Your support team is in the first line, talking and keeping contact with your customers. Building a great customer service team is number one in developing relationship marketing. Promote a customer-centric policy to your team and try to engage them in providing high customer support services. Your team should know how to deal with both negative and positive situations and offer satisfaction to the user.

 
3. Create Customer Service Q&A Templates

Create Customer Service Q&A Templates

 

To know how to deal in both negative and positive situations you’ll need a Q&A template, that can be modified depending on the user’s needs. There are lots of companies specialized in all sorts of activities, but every single one of them receives lots of questions about what they do, and how they can help the user. A template offers great support.

 

There might be cases when the conversations can be nuanced and get a little tricky. That’s why it is good to have a plan: you can get some ideas, keep you out of trouble and please the customer at the same time.

 

HelpScout created helpful customer service questions and answer template picturing all sorts of situations.

 

For small businesses, it is easier to talk with customers and you don’t require an elaborated Q&A template. In case you have a SaaS or a business that is more complex, it would be awesome if you had some documentation. It could benefit both your team and your customers for future reference.

 

There are lots of situations when you don’t need to play by the book, and let the master team do the job. Skyscanner did an amazing job responding to a man who got stuck with a 47-year flight connection:

 

skyscanner customer-service

 
4. Implement the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop

Implement the A.C.A.F. Customer Feedback Loop

 

 

Short for Ask, Categorize, Act, and Follow-up, the ACAF Customer Feedback Loop is a business strategy that centers itself on the customer. It has 4 steps:

 

 

Ask for customer feedback to see what they need and if their needs are satisfied by your product.
Categorize the feedback. It can be positive or negative, but usually there are 3 main categories: feedback regarding the product, customer service and marketing & sales. You need to see the reasons behind the words.
Act on the feedback: share the feedback with the people in charge.
Follow-up with customers who shared feedback.

 

customer feedback loop

Source: Hubspot

 

Feedback is very important in every business. It helps you evolve and correct the mistakes. Ask for valuable and personal customer feedback from your customers to see what you’re doing right and what’s wrong.

 

Always thank the customer for the feedback and make them feel appreciated. Not to mention feedback creates innovative opportunities, by hearing what your users need and you could develop in your product.  

 
5. Build a Customer Support Process

Build a Customer Support Process

 

Having a plan to provide quality customer support doesn’t require advanced technologies. You need to set up a process: the user sends a message, you need to assign conversations to other people, think about how to engage with the users, how to do the follow-up. After that, think about what to do with the email addresses to send them newsletters or send them special offers.

 

The customer support process tends to be more complex. You’ll need the following:

the right team, that knows their responsibilities;
a solid plan for dealing with issues;
relevant metrics that need tracking and performance analysis;
the right tools for dealing with customer queries and issues.

 

If you’re a small or mid-sized business, then you could use some free options. But an enterprise needs more advanced technologies. Having an automated customer support process can ease your work a lot. Practically, it can be a service such a help center or chatbot or any artificial intelligence, which will elaborate more at point 12.  

 
6. Always Improve Customer Experience

 

Think of this: happy clients that had a good experience will return, unhappy clients that had unsatisfactory experience won’t return and can spread the bad word about the company. Studies show that almost 13% of unhappy clients tell to over 20 people about their bad experience.

 

Knowing what to say to your customers can be a daunting task. You can always improve your customer experience by providing excellent customer service, quickly offering answers, solutions and trying to maintain a strong relationship with your customers.

 

It doesn’t really matter if your product or services are impeccable if user experience is shitty. It is highly important to resolve issues when they appear and provide a clean experience on site without any problems and errors.

 

More than that, you should actively engage customers on social media or blogs. It will strengthen the customer relationship and they can promote your business afterward.  

 
7. Set up Specific Customer Retention Actions

Setup Specific Customer Retention Actions

 

Customer retention shows the companies’ ability to keep their customers for a period of time. A high retention rate means people (users, customers) that continue to bring revenue to the company and buy products.

 

Studies show that acquiring a new customer, however, is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Retaining customers is a pretty important thing. Every single person thinks about the benefits they have when choosing a brand, a product or certain services. And the brand must think about how to keep those customers.

 

There are lots of customer retention strategies you can personalize for your clients to keep and bring ROI, but some of the most profitable are:

personalized messages;
social media interaction;
persuade them through newsletters;
keep the highest standard for customer support services;
appreciate your clients;
collect feedback;
build loyalty programs.

 

These actions can be developed into campaigns and create something really interesting depending on your niche and business. These may come in addition to the strategies we’ve elaborated in the whole article to lead you into setting up a more specific customer retention plan.

 
8. Reward Loyal Customers

 

Reward Loyal Customers

Since we’ve mentioned brand loyalty, you must know it is a good strategy for relationship marketing. Customer loyalty works very well and can strengthen the relationship you have with your clients. Basically, a loyalty program shows you care about your customers first. Loyal customers are hard to acquire, but once you got them, it costs the business about 5-25x less to sell to an existing client than to acquire a new customer.

 

Every business should aspire to customer loyalty. It is a virtue of their existence. There are lots of ideas you could generate by building a loyalty program. You can send the message by email, using an App (if your business has something like that), to the user’s account and so on. It can be a discount, a gift, or something else depending on your creativity. You can also find lots of ways to reward loyal customers in the digital marketing space. 

 

Uber, for example, rewarded Gold members with some interesting perks, not available for all members. The membership levels are Blue (0 points to qualify), Gold (500 points to qualify), Platinum (2500 points to qualify), and Diamond (7500 points to qualify). So, all the member that hit 500 points and join Uber Gold get flexible cancellations that refund your $5 cancellation fee if you rebook within 15 minutes. In addition, members get priority support.

 

Uber-Rewards Loyal Customers

 

The Platinum and Diamond get a lot more services that make the ride more pleasant, such as:

price protection on a route between two of your favorite places regardless of traffic or surge;
priority pickups at airports;
premium support with a dedicated phone line and fast 24/7 responses;
complimentary upgrade surprises  in high-end cars;
no delivery fee for orders and many more.

 

Loyalty programs can boost your ROI and keep the customers that really matter.

 
9. Set up a Referral Program

 

Set up a Referral Program

Creating a referral program is born from customer satisfaction. People that are pleased with the services might tell other people about their experience, so why not take advantage of that? Encourage them and don’t leave room for second thoughts. Satisfied customers are willing to make referrals. Those who receive such referrals are more likely to pay attention to them rather than to the brand.

 

If you got the referrals engaged, then you’ll get some of the best new customers you can get.

 

If you want, we can set aside our reasons why you should use a referral program, and listen to the studies. R&G Technologies discovered that referral leads convert 30% better than leads generated from other marketing channels. More than that, referred customers have a 16% higher lifetime value.

 

There are lots of businesses that use the referral program. Booking, for example, gives you $15 if you recommend it to a friend. You have to invite your friends by sending them the referral link. They book and stay at the accommodation, then after their stay, you and your friend both get the $15 for the next booking.  

 

Booking referral program

 

Your customers can become true advocates, by connecting and sharing your product with others when they have a good experience. Rewarding a satisfied customer through a referral marketing program doesn’t require so much work, and it can bring lots of benefits for everybody involved.

 
10. Follow Sales Number and Customer Feedback Metrics

Follow Sales Number and Customer Feedback Metrics

 

Even if you focus on relationships, you shouldn’t miss customer data and numbers. In order to keep track of your business’s success, you’ll have to follow sales numbers and customer feedback metrics.

 

Some of the most important metrics in this situation is customer lifetime value (CLV). The formula for the metric is:

 

Estimated Average Lifetime Value = (Average Sale) x (Estimated Number of times customers purchased)

 

There are free tools that calculate the metric. Google Analytics, for example, measures lifetime value for users acquired through different channels. You need to select two Google Analytics metrics and compare them to identify the date range during which you acquired users. These are the metrics available:

goal completions per user
pageviews per user
revenue per user
session duration per user
sessions per user
transactions per user

 

Lifetime value analytics

 

You can compare LTV in relation to the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) to measure how long it takes to regain the investment to get a new customer.

 

Marketers agree that growing CLV is essential to the health of their organization and a key success metric.

criteo logo
CRITEO

 

 

Conversion rate is another important metric that should be tracked. Conversions could be under lots of forms, depending on what business goals you’ve set. It can be:

a newsletter subscription;
signing up for an event;
downloading white paper or guideline or something available on the website;
sign-up for a live meeting/webinar;
purchasing a product;
creating an account on the website;
calling the company and so on.

 

The are lots of other metrics you could follow, that can be tracked automatically with lots of services available that regards to the:

experience with the brand;
experience with the customer support team;
experience with the product/services.

 
11. Invest in CRM and Other Technology

Invest in CRM and Other Technology

 

Businesses are more likely to become successful if they build a long-term relationship with their customers. Having a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy in place will bring lots of benefits in the future. You can say goodbye to tangled messages, no customer history in one place, hard customer management, no customer support flow, bad organization and many more. And you can create long-term customers more easily. 

 

There are lots of customer relationship management tools that come in handy when you want to have an efficient and easy management with your customers. You can see customer’s history, lots of data and conversion numbers. Below you can see an example from such a CRM tool.

 

CRM software

 

These tools can save you a lot of time to organize and customize your process. You are able to track and organize every stage of your sales pipeline, manage a large number of contacts, customize the steps as you wish.

 

For managing contacts and conversations you can use apps and services that include customer support technology. Intercom is an example. The messaging platform makes it very easy to:

converse with clients;
see lots of information about the contacts;
look at the latest conversations;
create auto messages;
setup labels and filtering options for conversations;
get reports;
use chatbots and many more.

 

Intercom messages

 

The tool is great for engaging and retaining customers.

 
12. Create Valuable Content Based on Customers’ Questions

Create Valuable Content Based on Customers’ Questions

 

Customer feedback, questions and conversations can be a great starting point for a new documented article. Generating article ideas based on your customers’ question will lead to a high open rate because you’ll talk about something that lots of people search. Imagine if all your articles answered your readers’ questions: the CTR would be very high.

 

There might times when marketers don’t write for the customers but rather for the industry, and they might lose a big part of the audience. If you write for your actual clients you could manage to acquire new customers.

 

Customers’ questions create content marketing gold.

 

When your current customers ask you questions it’s like finding our their needs very easily. You can see if there’s been a confusion, feedback, improvement, something they want to learn or any other thing. More than that, you can use that piece of content in the future as a reference in case there are other customers that ask you similar questions.

 

Conclusion

 

Maintaining a strong customer relationship isn’t the job of a single department. Everybody should work in order to fulfill customers’ needs. Sales teams are not entirely responsible. It should be a synergy.

 

Relationship marketing is a strategy that will foster customer loyalty and ensure long term engagement. You need to master this in order to bring customer retention and satisfaction.

 

The post How to Nail a Relationship Marketing Strategy for Your Business Success appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

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Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool

content ideas

Why do you do keyword research?

It’s to find more lucrative keywords to rank for on Google, right?

But once you find these keywords, you still have to figure out how to rank for them.

For that reason, I decided to update Ubersuggest because I wanted to show you what kind of content to create and even how to promote it.

That way you can start ranking for these newly found keywords.

Here’s what’s new…

Content ideas

The way you rank for a keyword is by creating content around it. I know content isn’t king anymore and that’s because there are over 1 billion blogs on the web. That means Google can be really picky about what they decide to rank.

So now, not only do you need to write amazing content, but you also have to promote it if you want to do well.

To help you with this I created a Content Ideas report in Ubersuggest. So whenever you do keyword research, you’ll see an overview that looks like this:

overview

Just like before, you’ll see a graph at the top with the search volume over time, some keyword recommendations and, at the very bottom, a list of blog posts that performed exceptionally well for that keyword.

When you click on “content ideas” in the navigational menu or you click on “view all content ideas,” you’ll then be taken to a page that looks something like this:

content ideas

This page shows you all of the popular blog posts that have been written related to the keyword or phrase you searched.

The list is ordered by social shares, so the posts with the highest social shares are at the top. At the bottom, you can keep clicking to see more results. Even if your screen only shows 1 or 2 pages, just keep clicking next and you’ll start to see results for pages 3, 4, 5, etc.

We only show you 20 results per page, but each key phrase will typically have hundreds, if not thousands, of results as our database has over 500,000,000 blog posts from around the world.

And because there are so many results, we’ve also created an easy to use filtering system so you can fine-tune your search by including certain keywords or excluding other ones and even putting minimum and maximum thresholds on social shares.

filters

My favorite part about the content ideas report

I know you can do similar things with Buzzsumo and other tools, but this is why I created the Content Ideas report.

As I mentioned earlier, content isn’t king. You not only have to write amazing content (that’s why I sort the content by social shares as more shares typically mean people love it), but you also have to promote it.

You’ll notice that there are two other columns in this report that make the tool unique… one is “Estimated Visits” and the other is “Backlinks”.

headings

Estimated visits will show you how many visits the blog post generated from Google each month. Just click on “Keywords” and it will even show you the keywords that drive those visits and the position the article ranks for each of those terms.

keywords

Backlinks, on the other hand, are all of the referring domains that point to each article. So if 12 unique domains link to that blog post, then you’ll see the number “12” in that column. All you have to do is click on “links” and you’ll see the full list of backlinks.

links

Not only do I provide a thorough list of backlinks, but I also show you the overall page score, domain score, anchor text, and even the type of link.

The reasons I made the Content Ideas report like this are:

By creating content similar to posts that have a lot of social shares, it increases the chances that the content you are writing is going to do well as people have already shown interest in that topic and even shared it on the social web.
By showing you the keywords a blog post ranks for, you’ll know what keywords to focus on when writing the content. This way your post can rank as well.
By showing you who links to your competition, you can now hit up everyone who links to competing articles and ask them to link to your piece of content.

Less fluff and more data

In addition to the Content Ideas report, you’ll now find that Ubersuggest provides you with more data and less fluff when you perform a keyword query.

For example, if you search for the term “dog food,” it will tell you that the average result that ranks in the top 10 has 72 backlinks and a domain score of 82.

speech bubble

This way, if you want to rank for that term or any other term, you’ll have a rough idea of what you need from an authority and backlink standpoint to achieve a spot on page one.

Conclusion

If you are going to create content or write a blog post, you should check out the Content Ideas report each time before you write.

The last thing you want to do is create content that people don’t care about reading. And this report will give you good feedback so that way you aren’t wasting your time creating content that doesn’t generate social shares, backlinks, or rankings.

You’ll also notice that some posts do extremely well from a social sharing standpoint but terrible from a backlink and a search traffic perspective.

Social shares will bring you more short-term traffic and search engines bring you less traffic upfront, but more consistent traffic over time.

This report will help you find a balance so that you can get both short-term traffic and consistent traffic over the long-haul.

So, head on over and try the new Content Ideas report.

What do you think about the content ideas report?

The post Ubersuggest 4.0: The Ultimate Content Marketing Tool appeared first on Neil Patel.

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7 Great Ways to Get Your Resume Noticed

Getting your resume noticed is the first step towards successful employment, and it may lay down the path of the rest of the recruitment stages. Sure, your working experience, skills, and personality may very well be the deciding factor. Yet, if you do not present your qualities in a coherent manner, the recruiter would not be able to objectively assess you as a suitable candidate.

You need to create a resume that brings out the best of what you possess, and do it in such a way that it looks appealing enough to get their attention. Earlier on, I showcased an entry with some really exceptional resumes that are perhaps more fitting for graphic designing posts: Land Your Dream Job With 25 Innovative Resume Ideas.

In this post, however, I’m giving some pointers for those who are more comfortable with the ‘traditional’ kind of resumes where the unspoken rule is to look professional. Even so, there are still ways to tweak and tune your resumes to make it unique and secure you that follow-up interview.

1. Avoid cliche words

After reading one resume after another, the HR personnel would probably get sick of a couple of reused words common among resumes. Words and phrases to describe your past work experiences such as ‘responsible for’, ‘successfully’, ‘developed’, etc, lost their meanings in the pile of seemingly similar resumes.

avoid cliche wordsavoid cliche words

If you wish to stand out and get chosen from that crowd, you’ve got to play around with unfamiliar wordings or phrasings. Do a simple search on the net and you can easily find power verb lists like this one from ResumeEdge.

Also equally important, you need to present evidence on what you label yourself as. Everyone had a different experience as to what leads them to call themselves ‘innovative’ or ‘team player’, for instance. It is these experiences which distinguish each individual candidate. Explain what you meant by being a ‘team player’ that you are.

One example would be to say that you willingly sacrifice your interest for the good of the team in a particular project. The more specific you are, the more you can stand out from the rest.

2. Have an ‘adaptable’ resume

As much as possible, don’t send the same resume to every organization which you are applying for. It’s better to modify your resumes in accordance to the job requirements stated for the particular post. In other words, you should have a resume which ‘adapts’ to the situations. Now, how should you do that?

First, you need to consider the format of the resume. When you list down your work experience and skills, should you use a functional or reverse chronological style?

adaptable resumeadaptable resume

A functional resume categorizes your work experience and skills by skill area of job function. For example, if you had worked under a variety of executive posts in the past, you might have amassed a substantial amount of experience in project management, planning-related tasks and so forth.

What you can do is you create headings such as ‘Project Management’ and ‘Planning’, and you list down in bulleted style the different accomplishments you have under the appropriate headings.

We are more accustomed to the reverse chronological style where we simply list down our work experience over the past decade or so, starting with the most recent one. The recruiter can easily read and comprehend how the candidate progressed in his or her career over time, and see what were the competencies gained through each stage of the progression.

A functional resume allows the recruiter to easily assess the skill sets you to possess and is especially helpful if they match with the job requirements. Especially those who’re making a career switch and lack relevant work experiences, they will be able to single out specific responsibilities they held in their past jobs that are applicable to this post.

On the other hand, a reverse chronological resume would benefit those who stick to their career path as they apply for the new post. This is because those previous posts would be deemed related in terms of job scopes to the current post you are applying.

Secondly, the resume should illustrate how you, as a potential employee, can help the organization with your skills and experience. For that, you would need to research well enough to know how you can contribute to the organization, and sell that through your resume. By selling, I mean you need to know what they look for in a candidate and show that you have those qualities.

3. Be concise and neat

When writing a resume, you must remember that the person reading it has a really short attention span. If he or she reads for 20 seconds and don’t see any point reading further, your resume will be placed on the ‘rejected’ pile. This is understandable because they need to go through many resumes like yours. So you’ll need to get to the point and captivate the recruiter enough to examine your piece.

Writing on and on with chunks of words wouldn’t help your CV. If the recruiter needs to pick out your skills and experience for you, then you have failed. Help them do that by writing in bulleted style to enhance the readability. There’s no one specific format to follow for bullets, but just keep in mind that the purpose is to organize information about yourself clearly for them.

be concise and neatbe concise and neat

Given that recruiter has only that limited amount of time for each resume, do remember to keep your resume short. A rule of the thumb is to restrict it to two pages maximum. Pick words wisely, choosing those that strike a balance between being overly cliché and being informative.

4. Write a Career Summary/Objective

It will be time-consuming for any recruiters to read every single resume in its entirety. So why not help them do that by having a career summary or objective at the beginning? That way, you can score a point for consolidating your facts into a neat paragraph for clarity, and you can orientate the recruiter to areas which you wish to highlight.

Some articles on resume-writing assert that career summary or objective may be outdated because employers are less interested in what you want to achieve in your career than what you can do for them. However, I believe that any job recruitment process involves two parties; the job applicant and the employer.

A seasoned employer would recognize the importance of job-fit between the applicant and the job as a good predictor of future performance and company loyalty. A career summary or objective would allow you to voice out your aspirations so that the recruiter can assess whether you would belong in the company.

You can declare your own career goals, but at the same time, try to relate those to how you can contribute to the company. At the same time, highlight your past major achievements to the recruiter such that you can induce him or her to read further and discover more about you. And as always, try to keep it short, concise and straight-to-the-point.

5. Quantify achievements wherever possible

If you are out there trying to catch the eye of the recruiter through your resume, you’ve got to include in details which would separate yourself from the rest of the crowd. You may be in charge of a team for a specific project in your previous company, but you need the numbers to back you up and strengthen your claims.

Instead of simply putting ‘Led a team in the research project’, you should also say how many people were in your team, and what the output was in quantifiable amount. Now, the claim becomes much more complete when you write, ‘Led a team of 5 in a research project which cuts down annual operational costs of the company by $xxxxx.

quantify achievementquantify achievement

You see, there are many people out there who can lead a team, implement programs or whatever. The only way to differentiate yourself is by showing what it is that you’ve done. Assigning numbers to these accomplishments ultimately translate into what you can value-add to the company you are applying for, and that’s what really appeals to recruiters out there.

6. Explain gaps

One of the things you can be sure that the recruiter would ask you in your interview are those gaps in your resume. If you make it to the interview, that is. To be safe, fill in the gaps for them even in your resume. Briefly explain why you were unemployed for a year or two, and what you did during those times.

If you simply leave the gap unaccounted for in your resume, it might give the recruiter the impression that you have something to hide, or that you didn’t check through your piece.

It’s possible that rather than setting up an interview to find out what it was all about, the recruiter might just prematurely conclude that it would be a waste of time to do so. You wouldn’t want to take that chance with your dream company.

7. Integrate keywords of job post

Most companies process resumes via a tracking system that detects keywords. These keywords are chosen based on what the recruiters are looking for in candidates, and are usually found in the job advertisement itself. With the increasing number of online submissions of resumes, turning to such a system is an obvious solution for the recruiter to effectively screen out candidates.

As such, you as an applicant should do some research on your own to find out what qualities or skill sets are expected of candidates. Fortunately, this tracking system is likely to be only used at the early stages of screening, so all you need to do is make sure that you enter in the most basic prerequisites of the job.

Bonus: Visual appeals?

I’m sure that when most of you think of resumes, the first few things that come into your mind is that they have to be professional, neat and preferably in no-nonsense black-and-white. But if you are also hoping that yours would be able to be distinct from other resumes, you wonder if colors or visual appeals would make a difference.

visual appealvisual appeal

Yes, it probably would, but you don’t want yours to stand out for the wrong reasons. In ‘Land Your Dream Job With 25 Innovative Resume Ideas‘, you see lots of really creative and out-of-the-box ideas for resumes, something that you would least expect from resumes.

As I said, if you are going for graphic designing jobs, you might consider those ideas to illustrate your designing capabilities. But if you are eyeing for a position which has little to do with graphics, I suggest you go conservative with visual appeals.

Now, what can you do to make your resume a little different? First of all, you have to remember that visual appeal has the primary purpose of facilitating the recruiter in reading the resume. It should not distract him or her. In fact, it should be used to accentuate keywords. So, bold or italicize your texts in areas which you want to emphasize.

If you do use colors, try to limit the range of colors that you use; it can get too distracting. Personally, I only use a light blue background and dark blue lines to segregate the various headings and sections. I applied them because it easily enables the reader to see where each section begins and ends.

Essentially speaking, stick to the rule of clarity, clarity and more clarity.

The post 7 Great Ways to Get Your Resume Noticed appeared first on Hongkiat.

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Did the Simpsons Predict Pantone’s Color of the Year?

Interior design covers everything from symmetrical artwork and aesthetically pleasing plants to carpet finishes and colours, and for designers, the reveal of the Pantone Color of the Year is eagerly awaited.

Established in 1962, Pantone originally set its sights on the cosmetic industry. Colour swatching plays a major role in cosmetic companies, which Pantone realised early on so decided to market their colour cards to this market.

In 1963, Pantone launched their famous colour matching system which then allowed many other colour and design lead businesses from creative and commercial fields, to use their colour cards. The business continued to grow and is now one of the most respected names within the design industry.

Today, Pantone’s colour matching system is used all over the world, and they have firmly planted themselves at the forefront of the industry with their ‘dictionary’ of colours.

Their brand identity has been kept strong by their Pantone Color of the Year, and still upholds their identity today. How would we decipher yearly design trends without it?

The guys at Aspire Doors have done a little digging into Pantone’s Color of the Year and have discovered something very interesting. But, before we get into that, let’s take a look at how the Pantone Color of the Year is decided…

How is the Pantone Color of the Year Decided?

Twice a year, colour representatives from all over the world, gather together in European capital cities for a secret meeting. This secret meeting is where the colour is decided and finalised for that year – sometimes, the colour is even decided in advance!

But, what exactly decides which colour will be the Color of the Year, apart from the representatives included in the secret meeting?

There are numerous factors that are taken into consideration when Pantone decide on the Colour of the Year:

Product and industrial designProduct packagingFashionPopular travel destinationsPoliticsMediaFilmThe arts

Collating these findings from the European capital’s, along with the socio-economic conditions, Pantone decide upon the colour that will be showcased as their new Color of the Year.

An Interesting Discovery

So, this ‘big discovery’…

For 2019’s Colour of the Year, Pantone have decided upon a gorgeous, warm colour which they have aptly titled “Living Coral”. The official Pantone website describes this colour as “life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge.”

Whilst this colour is beautiful, Aspire Doors decided to take a look at the previous winners, from 2010 to 2019, and discovered something pretty remarkable…

The last 10 years of Pantone’s Colour of the Year can all be found in the majorly famous living room from The Simpsons!

So, is this a coincidence? Are the Pantone secret meeting just for watching reruns of The Simpsons, or have The Simpsons creators yet again predicted something? Will we ever find out?

Now, you may be wondering how Aspire Doors discovered this… Apart from watching the reruns themselves, here is the evidence that they’ve gathered:

The Evidence

Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2013 was Emerald; the colour used for the carpet in The Simpson’s living room. Another main colour for the living area is the walls; the colour used here is a mixture of 2 colours, Serenity and Rose Quartz, which Pantone made history with by selection two colours instead of the usual one colour card. Bringing us to the colour chosen for 2019, Living Coral, this is exactly the same colour used for skirting boards that run along the bottom of the back wall, behind the sofa.

The last 10 years of Pantone’s Colour of the Year have appeared in The Simpsons since it first started, all the way back in 1989. Are these colours simply coincidental, predictions from Matt Groening, or…

Is Matt Groening a Time Traveller?

We’re sure many of you have pondered this exact question over the last few years.

Matt Groening is the creator and genius behind The Simpsons, and in recent years, it seems he’s predicted many events that have taken place in the world today. These episodes aired way before any of the historical events occurred, leaving people to believe that Matt Groening is, in fact, a time traveller.

What have The Simpsons Predicted Correctly?

Matt Groening has a pretty long list of strange, yet impressively accurate predictions. Here are some examples that we think are a little more than a coincidence:

Back in the year 2000, Donald Trump was shown to be president in the episode ‘Bart to the Future’. Donald Trump created a national crisis during this episode, pretty much like the one that’s happening now…During the same ‘Bart to the Future’ episode, Marge and Lisa talk to each other via video call technology. At this time, this technology wasn’t yet available like it is now – perhaps they just had the inside scoop on this one.In an episode where The Simpsons went to Las Vegas, Gunter & Ernst (fictional versions of Siegfried & Roy) get mauled by a tiger during their act. 10 years later, it actually happened, Siegfried and Roy got mauled by a tiger.In a 1997 episode of The Simpsons, Ebola was the focus for this programme. Sadly, the crisis of the Ebola outbreak dominated the year 2014.Milhouse, Bart’s beloved friend, hinted that MIT Professor Bengt Holmstrom would win a Nobel Prize. A few years ago, Professor Bengt Holmstrom did just that.With major companies merging together in recent years, Walt Disney merging with Fox might not have come as quite a shock, however Matt Groening predicted this outcome a few years before any large business merges began.In 2010, Marge and Homer join the USA team, to compete in the Olympics, as their mixed doubles curling team. Coming from behind, they beat Sweden at the Winter Olympics. In 2018, the men’s team for the USA came from behind and beat Sweden, acquiring an Olympic medal.For the 2017 Superbowl Halftime Show, Lady Gaga descends from the ceiling in a sparkly silver outfit. In the 2012 Simpson’s episode, a character in a sparkly silver dress, also looking a lot like Lady Gaga, is seen to entertain the residents of Springfield after descending in a harness.In The Simpsons Movie, the NSA conduct a mass-surveillance operation that listened to every phone call and watched every resident of Springfield. Im 2013, Edward Snowden confirmed that this is actually true of the US government, too.In 2015 we saw the large-scale corruption scandal of the FIFA organisation. As little as a year before this came to light, Matt Groening aired an episode of The Simpsons with this exact prediction.One of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time, the Higgs Boson, Homer Simpson predicts the scale of this discovery with the accurate equation of the Higgs Boson. Eerily, Homer Simpson predicted this in 1998 – 14 years before scientists used the Large Hadron Collider to prove that the Higgs Boson exists.

Now, we know that some of these predictions could have easily been coincidences or predictions made by anyone who keeps up to date with the news, technology, science…

Yeah, we’re pretty sure Matt Groening is a time traveller. He can’t have just guessed these huge events!

What do you think? Should we all be watching The Simpsons more often? Should we pay a little more attention to the background pictures of sets within The Simpsons? And, more importantly, by keeping a watchful eye on the living room of The Simpson family, can we decide the next Pantone Color of the Year for 2020?

We need answers, Matt Groening!

The post Did the Simpsons Predict Pantone’s Color of the Year? appeared first on SpyreStudios.

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Why You Shouldn’t Try to Rank #1 on Google

google

Do you know what the number one email request I get is?

Come on, take a guess. What do you think it is?

Ok, its people asking me for money.

But, do you know what the second most common email request I get is?

Companies asking me to rank them number 1 on Google for a specific term.

And I have to say, it’s a big waste of time for you to focus all of your energy on ranking number 1 on Google for a specific term or even a handful of terms.

Just take a look at my site… here’s my Google traffic over the last 31 days:

search traffic

As you can see from the graph, I’m generating 2,375,455 organic visits from search engines each month.

And can you guess how many keywords I’m tracking when it comes to my rankings?

A big fat ZERO!

I’m not saying I don’t do SEO, I’m saying I don’t focus on rankings.

Can you increase your search traffic without tracking rankings?

The short answer is yes.

As you saw from the graph above, I’m getting over 2 million visits from organic search each month. If you look back a year, I was getting 970,459 visitors a month from search.

2018 search traffic

In other words, I was able to grow my organic search traffic by 144% in roughly 12 months. That’s not too shabby considering I don’t focus on any one particular keyword.

So why don’t I focus on specific keywords or track my rankings?

Number 1 doesn’t guarantee the most clicks

Ahrefs recently did a study where they showed how being number 1 doesn’t guarantee the greatest number of clicks.

ahrefs number 1

The number 1 listing gets the majority of the traffic only 49% of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather be number 1 than number 2, but getting there doesn’t guarantee the most amount of traffic.

And over time it’s just going to get worse.

Just look at how SERP listing pages looked in 2014.

serp 2014

Now let’s look at how SERP listings look today.

2019 serp listing

What are the big differences that you see?

Paid listings blend in – paid listings aren’t as clearly defined as they used to be. In other words, they blend in, which helps ads generate a higher percentage of the clicks.
Localized listings can be ads – the first listing in the localized listing is also paid.
The right side no longer has ads – most of the elements on the right side, when you click on them, drive you to perform another Google search.
Less organic listings – the homepage only has 9 organic listings if you exclude the localized listings.
Organic results are pushed down – not only do the paid and local listings show first, but news results are also in-between the organic results. This causes the 3rd, 4th, 5th… organic result to get fewer clicks.

The common trend is people are focusing on the paid ads more than the organic listings. And organic listings are no longer guaranteed to be as high up as they once were.

Just look at this eye tracking study of a Google SERPs result.

eye tracking

It clearly shows how the paid ads have the majority of the attention.

So, does this mean you should give up?

No, I am not trying to paint a picture of how you shouldn’t try to rank high on Google or that SEO is useless. Because although Google keeps adjusting the layout of their SERPs page, it’s still the most popular site in the world.

google similarweb

Commanding 57.34 billion visits a month means… you have no choice but to do SEO!

But you shouldn’t waste your time thinking about each and every change Google is making because it’s out of your control.

Just look at how many algorithm changes they made in the last 12 months. It’s too hard to keep up with each change or predict Google’s next move. That’s why I take a different approach to get ahead of Google’s upcoming algorithm changes.

I focus on user experience.

What should you do?

You aren’t going to be able to control your rankings for every single one of your keywords… especially if you are doing SEO the right way.

The majority of your traffic should be coming from long tail phrases. Just look at my blog, I rank for 477,000 keywords.

That’s far too many keywords to track on a regular basis.

I focus on 3 things:

Create an amazing user experience – Google doesn’t want to rank sites at the top that are the “best optimized.” They want to rank the site that users love the most at the top. So, focus on providing that and, in the long run, you should rank higher.
Overall organic traffic growth – keywords have trends and they change in popularity over time. Instead of focusing on a handful of keywords or even a few hundred, I just focus on increasing my overall organic traffic. As long as it keeps climbing quarter over quarter, I’m happy.
Conversion rate – more traffic doesn’t guarantee more sales. I continually optimize my conversion rates so that each additional organic visitor I get has a higher chance to convert into a customer.

And I know I said I focus on 3 things, which is true… but every once in a while I focus on one more thing. It’s updating my old content.

If I had to add in a 4th, it would be updating my old content. Even though I know SEO fairly well, there is no guarantee the even my traffic keeps going up and to the right.

Just like you, my traffic drops every once in a while.

641 decline

It sucks when your traffic just drops 6.94% in a week and it is scary when that trend continues. But when it does happen, follow this and you can reverse the trend of your declining traffic.

Which strategy should you follow?

There are a few SEO strategies I use to get more traffic that still work well today. If you follow them, you should get more traffic over time:

Globalization – search isn’t too competitive outside of English. That is changing fast though, so I would follow these globalization tips as soon as possible.
Off-page SEO – it still impacts rankings significantly and you can’t ignore it. Here are 6 off-page strategies you should follow.
Link building – here’s one of my favorite strategies for link building… it works really well. Even if you have a new site and no one knows who you are, you will be able to build links using it.
Land and expand – you already rank for terms on Google. This strategy will allow you to turn one ranking into hundreds.
Brand building – Google wants to rank brands higher than non-brands. Follow this as it will help you build a brand.

There are tons of other tactics and strategies that people are using, but the 5 main ones I mentioned above still work well in today’s competitive search landscape.

Conclusion

Yes, you want to continually improve your search traffic over time, but obsessing over whether or not a keyword is ranking number 1 doesn’t mean much.

SEO has moved to a long-tail strategy. The goal isn’t to rank for one keyword, or even a hundred or a thousand… the goal is to rank for hundreds of thousands if not millions of keywords over time.

And as long as that trend is continually going up and to the right, you’re fine.

One way to see if things are going directionally right is to use Ubersuggest. When you put in your domain, you’ll see a chart that looks something like this:

keyword rankings

You want the total number of keywords to increase over time and you want the small green bar to continually go up over time as that means a higher portion of your listings are moving up in Google.

So, are you going to continue focusing on rankings?

The post Why You Shouldn’t Try to Rank #1 on Google appeared first on Neil Patel.

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How to Get It Done: Project Management Tips for Content Marketing Managers

When I was in high school, we had a science class project in which we were grouped into teams, and tasked with building a catapult. Whichever contraption could launch a tennis ball the farthest would win the contest.

We quickly learned that the hardest part wasn’t constructing the actual catapult. It was wrangling all the team members, divvying up assignments, and keeping a collective group of energetic teenagers on track. In hindsight, maybe that was the point.
Managing Content Marketing Projects and People
Content marketing managers deal with these types of responsibilities on a daily basis. There are so many roles and functions typically involved with a time bound content initiative that we often must act as project managers, facilitating collaboration and ensuring that everyone is in a position to succeed.

That’s tricky, because in most cases content marketing managers are not trained in project management. Your team is (probably) not a bunch of rambunctious high schoolers, but creatives and specialists can be fickle, and we all know that keeping them happy and harmonious is essential to producing quality work.

It’s also something the business world at large could be doing a better job at. According to the 2019 In-House Creative Management Report from inMotionNow and InSource:

Only 45% of creative and marketing professionals report that morale on their team is high
72% say that “obtaining the necessary information to get started on a project” is the biggest administrative task that consumes their time
22% opine that collaboration between creative and marketing is ineffective

This study represents just one system in a much larger galaxy, but the results feel universally reflective. In the B2B content marketing realm specifically, the 2018 benchmarking report from CMI and MarketingProfs found about one-third of respondents rating their project management flows as Fair or Poor, with only 8% deeming theirs Excellent. (The 2019 report didn’t ask this question, but we’re guessing the percentages would’ve been similar.)

CMI Project Management Flow Data

(Source)

In the symbolic emoji measurement scale above, how can we shift the faces on our team from glum/shifty-eyed to smiling/delighted? Many organizations don’t have dedicated project managers on staff — or don’t have them available to assist with content programs directly — so this often falls on the content marketing managers themselves.
How to Improve Content Marketing Project Management
While orchestrating a variety of different individuals — all with their own personalities, preferences, and styles of working — can be highly challenging, there is a science to collaboration. So let’s map out some ways you can catapult your team to greater results.
Start with Creative Briefs
We’ve been harping on the importance of documenting content strategy, and creative briefs are important incremental steps in this process. This was a key theme in the aforementioned In-House Creative Management Report, which found teams that receive adequate information at project kickoff are:

26% more likely to say marketing leadership is effective
23% more likely to report high morale
14% more likely to get projects approved in three days or less

A good creative brief outlines expectations and deliverables for everyone involved, sets clear timelines, and firmly states the project’s objectives. It will take more time upfront to develop a comprehensive creative brief, but it pays off in the long run because team members can reduce  confusion and answer their own questions.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Even with the right groundwork in place, it’s inevitable that things will pop up over the course of a project requiring back-and-forths with multiple team members. There is a delicate balance in enabling snappy and responsive communications while ensuring creatives have the uninterrupted time they need to produce.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. One company’s ideal communication methods will look vastly different from another’s. In some cases, daily standup/huddle meetings (popularized by the agile framework) are just the ticket. For others, an office communication tool like Slack or Skype is preferred. And sometimes even plain old-fashioned email can suffice, although this seems increasingly rare.

The best approach is to continually consult with your people and absorb their feedback. Figure out what works best for them and tailor it to the needs of your project.
Find the Right Tools and Partners
We mentioned a couple of popular office collaboration platforms in the previous section. There are others built specifically for project management — such as Trello, Workfront, and Basecamp — and others still that are customized for content marketing initiatives. These platforms include Contently, CoSchedule, DivvyHQ, Kapost, Percolate, and more.

If you manage a large, distributed team that produces high volumes of content, it might be worth your while to invest in such a solution for centralized organization and coordination. Many of the options offer free trials.

Additionally, you might consider working with a partner to can lighten your load with time- and resource-consuming projects. For example, an experienced agency that specializes in content marketing (I can think of at least one!) reduces stress in numerous ways, freeing up your people to fully plug into their own work while offloading much of the management and execution.
Standardize Your Review and Approval Processes
This has been an internal focus for us at TopRank Marketing. Quality assurance is a vital component of the content production process, and one where things frequently get bogged down. Nailing down the various considerations above will help smooth out reviews and approvals that push content over the hump.

There are a lot of handoffs, prompts, and dependencies in play during QA, so it’s critical to have those communication lines locked down. Editorial calendar and content management software frequently has built-in workflows for multiple rounds of review. A detailed creative brief will also help provide structure for edits and feedback.
Putting the Pieces Together
Ideally, you’d have a dedicated project manager running point on your content initiatives. But in reality, these responsibilities often fall on the content marketing manager’s shoulders, meaning we need to put on our PM hats and guide the ship as best we can.

Pushing projects to completion, efficiently and exceptionally, isn’t all that different from building a catapult or any other class project. It’s all about understanding your people, establishing clarity with everyone involved, and giving them the tools, partners, and resources they need to succeed individually.

If you’re curious about how my team’s catapult turned out, we decided to put our own twist on the assignment. We jury-rigged a spring-loaded baseball bat that — once triggered — swung forth powerfully and drove the tennis ball like a hundred yards.

Unfortunately we were disqualified from the contest because we failed to adhere to the actual guidelines.

I suppose that if our group had a documented plan, superior communication, suitable tools, and a more stringent review process, we might’ve delivered something more in line with the actual objective.

I guess I did learn something that day. Certainly not how to build a catapult.

Efficiency is often top of mind for any content marketing manager. How can you enhance your ability to manage your work and save time. Check out these tips to overclock your B2B marketing efficiency.

The post How to Get It Done: Project Management Tips for Content Marketing Managers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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WordPress Tutorial for Beginners No Coding Required


In this WordPress tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a website from scratch, in one afternoon. This is the first video in a series where we’ll walk you through the different ways you can make money with your website.

You’ll learn how to get hosting, install WordPress, and how to build the site you want, without writing any code. This tutorial will use Astra theme with Astra Starter sites and Beaver Builder lite, so you can get up and running quickly.

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Sections:
0:00:00 Introduction
0:01:34 What is Hosting
0:02:22 Get Domain Name & Hosting
0:04:21 Install WordPress
0:04:50 Clean up dashboard
0:05:59 Install SSL Certificate
0:08:20 Install Astra
0:10:24 Install Astra Starter Sites
0:14:19 Customize Theme
0:22:25 Edit with Beaver Builder
0:30:12 Add Video to Background
0:33:38 Edit Menu
0:35:13 Add Form to Contact Page
0:39:39 Set up Blog page
0:41:08 Set Permalinks (URL structure)
0:42:12 Add section to homepage with Beaver Builder
0:44:30 Create a Logo Using Canva
0:50:01 Thank you!

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Designing Websites Around Colorblind Users

Colorblind users are more common than you might realize. It’s not hard to design your website to make it easy for colorblind visitors to use. In fact, it will often make your designs more effective for all users, not just those with atypical sight conditions. Learn how to design your website around colorblind users to ensure that all visitors can easily and effectively experience your designs.

Type of Color Blindness

Source: Coblis

First, it’s crucial to understand that color blindness is not a monolithic disorder. The condition involves mutations of malformations of the biological machinery our eyes use to detect colors: the rods and cones at the back of our retina that detect the photopigments that make up the color spectrum. If those rods and cones either do not for or form improperly, color vision will be abnormal or reduced.

The National Health Institute Survey reports that 1.3% of people in the United States have color blindness. Inherited color blindness is carried on the X chromosome, so it’s more likely in males. Genetic males only carry one copy of the X chromosome, whereas genetic females carry two X chromosomes. To simplify broadly, women are less-frequently afflicted by genetic disorders carried on the X chromosomes, as they have a “backup” copy of the genes they can use in place of a mutated chromosomal site.

The three types of visual cones (green, red and blue) connect to three primary varieties of colorblindness: deuter- (green), prot- (red), and trit- (blue). Cones can be absent (-anopia) or weak (-anomaly), leading to the spectrum of color sensing anomalies described below.

Red-Green Color Blindness (deuteranopia & protanopia)

Red-green color blindness is the most common form, affecting up to 8% of males and 0.5% of females of Northern European descent. It comes in a few different forms, but includes the abnormal detection of red, green, or both.

The most common form of this condition is deuteranomaly, affecting 6% of males and resulting in reduced detection of green. Red vision is unaffected. The opposite is protanomaly (1% of males), in which green vision is unaffected by red vision is weaker.

More rare are those whose eyes lack red or green cones completely. Those with protanopia (1% of males) cannot detect red at all, while those with deuteranopia (1% of males) cannot detect green at all.

Blue-Yellow Color Blindness

Blue-yellow color blindness is much rarer than red-green, affecting less than 1% of people. It comes in two forms. Those with tritanopia (1% of males) cannot see short-wavelength colors like blue, indigo, violet, and dark green. Those with tritanomaly (0.01% of males) perceive short-wavelength colors as shifted towards green.

Achromatopsia

Achromatopsia is complete color blindness, and the rarest form of the disorder, affecting 1 in 30,000 (0.0033%) of live births. Those with this disorder cannot sense color at all, instead only seeing lightness and darkness.

Designing for Colorblind Users

People with mild to moderate color blindness (which constitutes most people with atypical color perception) are not aware they have the disorder until they’re tested by a doctor. Because our brains simply accept our sensory input without question, there’s no part of the neurological process that gives the color blind a hint about their disorder.

As a result, the visitors that arrive at your website might not even know they perceive color differently, and wouldn’t know to ask for or enable accommodations. As such, the best accommodations are those that are seamlessly folded into your website.

As with all accessibility issues, adapting to users with color blindness is not an on or off situation. Instead, you can subtly adjust your designs to accommodate users with disabilities, all without dramatically altering the content or appearance. Just choosing colors smartly will often be enough.

Selecting Appropriate Color Palettes

As may be obvious from the descriptions above, certain colors are more relevant than others to colorblind users. While red and green are a great pair of opposite colors for typically-sighted users, they’re not so easy to use for those with red-green colorblindness.

Avoid using red/green contrast without additional backup in terms of shape, position, and labels. Considering the blue and yellow color blindness is less common, you might consider avoiding red and green as key user interface colors entirely.

Combine Color with Shape and Position

The best example of an adaptive design for colorblind users is the standards traffic light. While this uses red, green, and yellow, which are not colorblind-friendly colors, the color of the light is not the sole indicator of information. The position of the lights is also enforced by design, so even completely colorblind users can tell whether they should stop, go, or slow.

Seek to follow the traffic light example in your own work. With careful application, you’ll find that even typically-sighted users benefit. When information is conveyed through multiple dimensions simultaneously, such as through color and position, all users can absorb and process information more rapidly.

Don’t Use Color in Isolation

In general, avoid using color coding or color contrast alone to convey information. Either combine color with shape or position to make its purpose clear.

Take, for example, the red “X” on Windows systems. This X is typically red, but not always. Even so, the user doesn’t need to worry about the color. Even it’s common name, “the x button”, doesn’t convey its color. The label that appears on the button, the X, is more important for conveying information. While color allows for quick acquisition by typically-sighted users, the X allows for a second dimension of conveying information.

Test in Monochrome

Preview your designs in monochrome. While this doesn’t faithfully convey the experience of a colorblind user, it does provide useful insight into how effectively non-color aspects of your design convey information. In a broadly accessible design, users will be able to effective interact even with all color removed.

Outline Selections

For many web applications, selected items are indicated by a specific color. Of course, for colorblind users, such a design choice might make the application unusable. You don’t need to eliminate the colors. Instead, you should outline selected or active objects with a reasonably thick, dark outline. For example, a 2 pixel black border on the selected item is enough to indicate its status to colorblind users, and it aids typically-sighted users as well.

You might also like the following posts:

Effective Examples of Useful Slide Out Panels and Sidebars

Adding Customization Options to Your User Interface

4 Examples of Bad UI and How to Avoid Them

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