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The Key to Success with Sponsored Content

The use of sponsored content (also known as native advertising**) is on the rise, though not many brands understand exactly what it is, how it works, or who is currently using it. Sponsored content is content (e.g. blog posts, articles, Facebook posts, videos, tweets and Infographics) written (or co-written) by a brand (say SAP) and published on a publisher’s domain (say Forbes.com) for the purpose of acquiring new audiences. Sponsored content is interesting, engaging, quality content NOT a marketing message. It should add value to the user’s experience (i.e. entertain, educate, enhance communication etc.), and always, always line up with the reader’s expectations on the publisher’s site. It should also be labeled clearly as originating from the brand or sponsor and not the editorial team of the publisher. Here’s a great example … [Read more...]

Amazon Publishing: Helping Readers and Writers Find Each Other

In a recent article titled "7 Dirty Little Book Publishing Secrets Every Writer Needs to Know", Susan Daffron at Copyblogger asked an audience of writers, "Where is Your Book?" It is a scary proposition. Most of us are content to write blogs, white papers and all kinds of digital content. Why not printed books? (And no - print isn't dead, just struggling). It is a good time to be a writer. Sure the dynamics of publishing are changing. Amazon has made sure of that with their bold entrance into that industry (which was imminent by the way). "Amazon did what any successful business tries to do: it looked for opportunities to grow by offering different services than its competitors." ~ Laurel Saville, Embracing New Opportunities, New York Times All of a sudden there are now huge opportunities for writers. There will always be … [Read more...]

3 Reasons Why Content Marketing is a Big Deal

  In the second half of 2010 marketing automation software company Eloqua reported $2.5 million in sales generated from clients who downloaded their online content. That's not all. They also secured $3.2 million in sales contracts from consumers who first downloaded exclusive content. One of their best kept secrets is that they work with a 'content marketing journalist' to help them write engaging content and attract relevant audiences. And they're not the only ones to celebrate. Similar content marketing successes are being experienced by big and small brands alike: Kodak, Ford, Reynolds Golf Academy, The Cool Beans Group and The Pioneer Woman. Here are 3 important reasons why content marketing is a big deal: marketing to your prospects through costly interruption techniques such as TV and print advertising is no … [Read more...]

Why You Need A Content Manager

Companies are getting excited about content. They've realized that it's the first point of contact with a customer and many are now 'publishing' their own stories. The problem is that there hasn't been a clear strategy to define content goals and expectations in the organization. Even within management there seems to be a disconnect concerning the role of content - The CEO wants ROI, the Marketing Manager wants SEO, the Sales Manager wants quality leads and on and on. How does the organization deal with these different expectations? I'm not too sure how many companies are intentionally thinking about a Content Manager. Forget about the title it-self and focus on the job description. The person in charge of content in the company is equivalent to an Editor-in-Chief at a publication. According to Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of … [Read more...]

Why You Should Publish ‘Other People’s Content’ (part 2 of 2)

As I pointed out in the previous article, curation is about blending your original content with carefully selected third-party content and presenting it in a way that is meaningful and appealing to your audience. It is a much needed service in a world where readers are drowning in information. As Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics points out, curators are distribution agents for creators helping them to put relevant content in front of the right audience. But don't get me wrong. At some point you must create and publish original content if you want people to take you seriously. That's how thought-leadership is established. In the meantime however, there are real business benefits associated with content curation: Brand visibility: Organizations that are new in the publishing arena may use curated content to quickly 'catch up' and … [Read more...]

Why You Should Publish ‘Other People’s Content’ (part 1 of 2)

Thriving businesses understand that the success of their brand depends as much on the creation of valuable content,  as it does on creating products or services that solve problems. That's because more consumers are relying on additional information or content from trusted sources to make their purchasing decisions. 'Trusted source' content includes opinions of friends, family and peers (as seen on their social media channels), expert blogs, preferred business blogs etc. By taking advantage of the opportunity to create engaging content, winning brands are able to sway consumers in their favor. These brands have taken on the role of 'publisher' - a challenging but necessary enterprise. The problem is that publishing - consistent creation and distribution of content -  is a formidable task. Few brands have the time or the resources to … [Read more...]