Author Archive

  • CREATE GREAT YOUTUBE VIDEO IDEAS IN MINUTES

    by Amy Biemiller

    Will this be the year that you take your YouTube channel to the next level? You already know that video positively impacts ROI. But to make an impact and enhance your ROI, your videos need to mean something to your audience. Coming up with ideas for meaningful video content can be time consuming at best and frustrating at worst.

    Time for some brain-storming shortcuts to help you fast-track your next video project and authentically connect with viewers.

    Here are some guaranteed-to-inspire ideas. Pick one based on your business objectives, interject your brand voice and start your script!

    • Consult Community: Now’s the time to review all those notes you’ve taken while social listening to your customers and potential customers. What people say about your product or service – good and bad – can be great fodder for video ideas. By monitoring your social media channels for mentions about your brand, your competitors or your industry, you could uncover pain points that you can address through video.
    • Raise Awareness: Are you involved in your local community or a community organization? Use video to raise awareness about important issues, inspiring people to get involved or take action. Consider a script that shares a firsthand account or a story about change. This one we created for Bon Secours Health System illustrated the hospital’s commitment to encouraging a world where mammograms are available to all women.
    • Pull Back the Curtain: People are curious. That’s why behind-the-scenes videos work so well. Think about how you could craft a video that allows people to experience something they normally wouldn’t: a time-lapse of your booth going up at a trade show; a step-by-step look at how your product is made; an insider’s look at a day-in-the-life of one of your employees.
    • Simplify, Simplify, Simplify: Video is tailor-made to break down complex topics, simplify instructions or explain a solution to a problem. It’s also a great tool to use if the benefits of your product or service are not immediately obvious. When Amazon launched Amazon Go, it used video to help people understand the idea and how easy it is to use.
    • Tout the Transformation: Storytelling is easy with video, particularly if you want to explain how your product or service transforms a person, place or system. You can also tout how your product has been transformed, like in this video for the Apple iPhone.
    • Humanize Your Brand: Give people an inside look at your company and its culture. Produce videos that show your employees on the job. Film different employees answering questions about what they do and how the company solves problems for its clients, as PENSCO does in this video series. By including employees in videos, you’ll humanize your brand and create empathy – an important step in getting prospects to trust you.
    • Send a Video Holiday Greeting: Time to have some fun and help your clients and prospects see the humans behind your brand. Consider developing a holiday video message in place of the greeting card. Do a search for “corporate holiday message videos” for a wealth of ideas to start your creative process.

    Every Video Must-Have

    No matter what the subject matter of your video, always include a call to action. Tell viewers where to go to engage with more of your content. Ask them to fill out a form to get something more from you. Invite them to watch another video. Or guide viewers to your product pages. By including appropriate and direct CTAs in your videos, you can track engagement and video effectiveness.

    Still stuck trying to come up with video ideas for your company? Contact us today for help developing original content that will set your brand apart.

     

     

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  • INDUSTRIAL MARKETING MAKEOVER: OVERCOMING TODAY’S CHALLENGES

    By Amy Biemiller

    No matter if your company sells commodity products or customized goods, if you are a marketer in the industrial arena, you probably face at least one of the following hurdles on a daily basis:

    • A layered buying-decision landscape that results in a long sales cycle
    • A need to make technical information easier to understand
    • Increased competition that adds pressure to reduce prices

    Sound content marketing strategy can help industrial marketers overcome the major hurdles to staying competitive and gaining more market share.

    Here are three things you can add to your industrial marketing strategy to overcome those challenges, differentiate your product and compete more effectively in a global marketplace.

    1.Take a different marketing approach to long sales cycles.

    In the manufacturing arena, a long sales cycle is a given because there are layers of decision makers involved at every phase of the decision-making process. To work within those parameters, your industrial marketing strategy should include a plan to create a steady flow of useful content that can help those decision-makers at every stage in their buying journey.

    • Prospects will find FAQs, tip sheets and transaction step-by-step guides supportive.
    • Your top distributors and resellers in mind will appreciate customizable materials they can use to better target their regional audiences. When you provide these resources, their communications will be consistent with your brand look, tone and feel.
    1. Simplify answers to your customer’s complex questions.

    Your buyers and prospects have a lot of technical questions about your products and services and they want answers on the double. Develop a library of content that delivers simplified answers and you will make your content far more accessible and useful.

    Be sure your marketing mix includes instructional videos and infographics. These not only gain attention but can effectively communicate important information in an engaging way. In addition, use case studies that are crafted in a story-telling style to convey important information.

    1. Focus content on value and service.

    No question about it, as competition grows, so does the pressure to cut prices. Instead of discounting your prices, increase your promotion of value to create competitive advantage.

    To do this, you must fully understand the attributes that drive your customers to choose the product or service they do – even if it’s not your product or service. Don’t trust yourself or your team to assume this knowledge. Go find out through surveys and research. Then apply that insight to your marketing communications strategy to promote value and service.

    Conclusion

    The buying process for B2B industrial products and services is vastly different from the B2C space. That means the marketing focus must be, too. Develop relevant, useful content for every stage of your buyer journey and you can help move your company ahead.

    Looking for more insight that will make your content marketing more effective? Let our team make it easier to achieve better results. Contact CrucialContent today.

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  • THE BENEFITS OF LOSS FRAMING IN CONTENT MARKETING

    by Amy Biemiller

    Content marketers know it’s not what you write but how you write something that can make the difference in brand engagement. By understanding human decision-making and how gain or loss is perceived, we can make our messages more persuasive.

    Smart marketers understand the framing effect – the art and science of using specific words to make an issue relevant to an audience and influence decision-making, boost engagement and drive sales.

    How To Use The Framing Effect

    The framing effect can be used in a few words or an entire paragraph. Often, we use gain framing by crafting benefits-oriented language to move a reader to a purchase decision. Examples:

    • 50% Less Sugar!
    • New Ways to Attract More Customers

    By pointing out benefits, we can align brands with the positive feelings that come from taking an action like buying the product, subscribing to a newsletter or supporting a cause. Positively framed messages create an environment that avoids risk-taking.

    But presenting an option as a way to avoid a loss can also be effective. That is because as humans we typically want to avoid loss more than pursue a gain. This is called loss aversion bias. When we express a risk in negative terms and then provide a solution using positive framing, we can also influence decisions.

    How Loss Framing Works

    As humans, we are hard-wired to avoid loss. When an outcome is uncertain, messages that associate prevention of loss with an action can be effective. That’s because we act on fear and go to length to protect what we value. You;ve seen loss framing in action in content that reads like this:

    • Never Miss a Great Story Again
    • Buy Now. Only 2 Left.
    • 7 Little-Known Risks That Could Derail Your Weight Loss

    How to Use Loss Framing for More Effective Content Marketing

    As marketers, we are conditioned to tout the benefits of our brands in our marketing content. But there are times when crafting messages about avoiding loss can work better. To do this effectively, you need two things: First, you need to understand your audience in order to leverage what will drive a response (see more about that in our post about personas). Second, you need to express the negative risk but present the positive solution. Here are some examples:

     

    Instead of:                                                                         Try:

    4 Ways to Gain a Loyal Customer                                      4 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Next Prospect

     

    Order Today                                                                        Don’t Miss Your Chance to Order the Solution to Your Conversion Problem

     

    Save $100 Each Month With This Product                         Without This Product, You Could Lose $100 Every Month              

     

    In Conclusion

    The way you frame the messaging you craft for your audience makes a difference in how that messaging is processed by your audience. When an outcome is uncertain, people are more likely to take an action if that outcome is presented as a loss. While there are plenty of times a marketing message should focus on benefits, sometimes the better option is to define a risk and present a solution.

    Looking for more insight that will make your content marketing more effective? Let our team make it easier to achieve better results. Contact CrucialContent today.

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  • IT’S TIME TO REVIEW YOUR GO-TO CTA’S

    It’s time to review your go-to CTAs and get focused on making them more dynamic. Our quick-reference infographic gives you more than 20 new ways to say:

    • Read More
    • Learn More
    • Contact Us

    CTAs to Boost Conversions

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  • INTRIGUE AND ACCESSIBILITY ARE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL E-NEWSLETTERS

    By Jessica Gmitter

    Email marketing is still one of the best strategies for connecting with current and potential customers or stakeholders. It’s the marketing channel that delivers the highest ROI, data show. When you publish an email newsletter, you can showcase your brand personality, send tailored messages to prospects, gain deeper brand engagement and increase sales. Yet, you’ll only get those benefits if people subscribe and take the time to read.

    Just as you undoubtedly took time to carefully craft customized content and unique insights in your newsletter, you need to be just as careful in crafting the elements designed to boost your subscription and open rates. Here’s how:

    Focus on Simple Sign-ups With High Visibility.

    Add an e-newsletter sign-up call to action in a prominent place on your website and social media pages and posts. Keep the form simple and easy to submit. Avoid asking for too much personal or time-consuming information. It’s also good practice to describe what kind of content people should expect – and how often.

    Spark Interest on Social Media.

    Along with your e-newsletter sign-up prompt, include snippets of the type of content you’ll feature, especially if you have a lot of followers. Social media is a great place to tease longer-form content as well as share photos, updates to previous newsletter content, event details and more, which can complement email communications well.

    Personalize Promotion Efforts.

    Potential readers need to know why they should open your e-newsletter in the first place and follow future updates. On your website and social media sign-up prompts and in your subject lines and preview texts, your goal should be to express explicitly what you’re offering and its benefits to the reader.

    Make Sure Your Message Is Mobile-Optimized.

    More than half of emails are read on mobile phones. That means your e-newsletters must be easily readable and eye-catching on a mobile device. How can you ensure they’ll meet mobile readers’ needs? Keep your design clean and simple with minimal images. Stick to short sentences and paragraphs and keep overall content concise and impactful. Use call-to-action buttons instead of links. And, make sure those buttons direct readers to mobile-friendly webpages, as needed.

    Draw Readers With a Powerful Preview.

    Once you’ve sent the e-newsletter, you want to promote readership – of both that and subsequent messages. What are some of the easiest ways to evoke interest among people likely bombarded with daily emails?

    • Personalize your subject line and preview text. Depending on your intended audience, this may mean including numbers and data you know the reader will care about, creating a sense of urgency with a promotion deadline and/or including a funny or clever pop culture or current event reference.
    • Avoid salesy language or jargon. Stick to a friendly, conversational tone.
    • Keep it concise. Successful subject lines tend to be under 10 words. And, because many people open emails on mobile devices, the shorter the better. The same goes for preview text. Many mobile email apps only display about 40 characters under the subject line, so make them count.

    Let Them Know What to Expect.

    Even after recipients have opened your e-newsletter, you need to ensure they take time to read your content and stay on the lookout for your next communication. Remember, overly promotional or salesy content is a turn-off for most readers. You want to educate, inform and help your audience in some way. Focus on their potential needs or probable goals. Maybe that means simplifying sometimes complicated investment options, helping them understand how new healthcare policies affect them or giving them an easy way to reconnect with their old campus.   

    Don’t struggle meeting all your marketing goals. Get the content marketing help you need.

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  • CONTENT MARKETING EXCELS AS A RECRUITING TOOL

    by Amy Biemiller

    Companies of all sizes are finding it more and more difficult to recruit top talent, according to Monster’s State of Recruiting survey. It’s no wonder, as today’s job market favors the job seeker.

    In an era when hiring qualified new employees is a primary challenge for most businesses, content marketing is an excellent way to boost your recruitment marketing initiatives.

    Content marketing is all about developing and publishing valuable and relevant content to attract and retain a specific audience. For recruiters, that means delivering content that shows off the employer brand, benefits and culture and elevates it above its competitors.

    How can you leverage a content marketing strategy to recruit top talent? Try these tips:

    Create the right content. Candidates want to know about your company values and mission, compensation, benefits and career development. But they really, really want to hear from your employees about what it’s like to work for your brand. Be sure you publish plenty of stories or testimonials from your employees, podcasts with department leaders, day-in-the-life photos and employee profile videos.

    Highlight your distinctive offerings. To gain engagement with a larger talent pool, authentically communicate about what makes your workplace different from the competition. Nontraditional perks like employee discounts, a dog-friendly office or summer hours are great to highlight. So too are the three factors today’s workers want most in a workplace: flexible schedules including work-from-home and unlimited paid time off, workplace wellness initiatives and a culture of gratitude.

    Know where to distribute your content. Work with your human resources staff to identify the types of people your company needs the most, and make a list of how best to reach them. Your careers page should not be the only place where your recruiting content lives. Determine where your employee prospects are going to seek career advice. Do they watch YouTube video tutorials? Do they hang out on community platforms like GitHub? When you know where your prospects consume content, you’ll know where to publish that content for better reach.

    Content marketing can be a huge differentiator in recruiting and make you more effective in engaging with the talent marketplace. Create the right messages and share them on the right channels.

     

    How can we help you use content marketing to enhance your recruiting outcomes?

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  • WHAT EVERY CONTENT MARKETER NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT BLOCKCHAIN

    by Amy Biemiller

    Cryptocurrency may or may not be on your radar. But blockchain — the technology behind cryptocurrency — should be.

    Blockchain has important implications for business and communication, outside of its impact on the financial sector. Content marketers need to be prepared. Here’s your quick tutorial:

    What is Blockchain?

    Blockchain is an advanced record-keeping technology. It was built as a self-auditing log to keep track of Bitcoin digital currency. Because transactions are recorded and stored cryptographically in a decentralized network (there is no middleman that can alter it), it provides a transparent and unalterable way to keep track of who owns a given Bitcoin. A block is a piece of digital information. A chain is the public data base the block is stored on.

    How Does Blockchain Work?

    Blockchain guarantees the validity of a transaction through a record on a main register. The main register is connected to a distributed system of registers, which are all connected through a secure validation mechanism. It is a self-auditing ecosystem that checks and rechecks itself every 10 minutes. Because it is widely distributed (there are about 5 million computers on the Bitcoin blockchain), it is considered unalterable. It would take a massive amount of computing power to override the entire distributed network.

    How Could Blockchain Be Used in The Real World?

    Blockchain technology has great potential in revolutionizing banking, healthcare, supply chains and more. That’s because it is a:

    • More reliable way to store data of all types
    • More accurate record of information
    • Offers more transparency into the stored data

    Consider this futuristic application. Chicken A is hatched and its birth data (hatching location, date, time) are recorded on the block chain. Each time it is fed, that food type and amount is recorded. The chicken’s health data (vaccinations, weight, age) are recorded on the blockchain. Each egg it lays is recorded, as is when the egg is collected, processed, shipped and arrives at the local grocery store. By logging into the blockchain, you could trace the transport of your breakfast egg and check if is truly organic and fresh.

    Aside from supply chain utility, blockchain can also make patient health records more easily shareable by patients, doctors and healthcare workers, while more securely guarding patient privacy. It can enhance transparency in government services. It can decentralize news journalism to prevent government control. And, it can support content marketing.

    How Does Blockchain Relate to Content Marketing?

    Blockchain is all well and good for logistics scenarios as in the example above. But how could it be used in content marketing? Blockchain will likely first disrupt the current digital display landscape. That’s because blockchain will provide consumers full control of their personal data, which will be encrypted and protected. Today that data is collected by ISPs and web browsers and made available to marketers at a price.

    In the new blockchain landscape, consumers could voluntarily decide what content and ads they want to see and marketers will contract with consumers directly for access to their personal information and approval to serve them ads. Content will need to deliver real, authentic value to consumers. And there is an upside for marketers: Blockchain will enable better consumer profile building and assure marketers that their ads are being seen by actual consumers and driving conversions.  

    Similarly, blockchain could decentralize the influencer marketplace, allowing marketers to connect directly to social media influencers. It would allow marketers to directly verify an influencer’s status as a true ambassador of the brand. It would also verify that social media followers are actual consumers and not bots.

    Sound confusing? Remember that in 1994, most people couldn’t really define what the internet was, or think how they could use it in daily life and business. Blockchain has promise to follow the same path, offering numerous advantages for both marketers and consumers.

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  • SEVEN WAYS BLOG HEADLINE WRITING IS LIKE SPEED DATING

    by Kelly Planer

    Surfing the web for just the right content is a lot like a round of speed dating. Think of a search engine inquiry as a room full of hopeful suitors. Everyone has a shot; however, connections must be earned. Each dater – read: your content – has just a few moments to spark some interest. If the headline is intriguing enough, you’ll get a click.

    While a headline might not be the most important content in your post, it’s the gatekeeper. If it’s not focused and compelling, no one will find your content.

    Headlines aren’t easy to write, but they matter. It takes time – sometimes quite a bit of time – to craft an interesting and engaging blog post title. Take the time to do it properly. You’ve only got one shot to get your click.

    Here are seven speed dating strategies that can help you craft better blog headlines.

    Be Honest

    Sensationalized headlines that overpromise and underdeliver won’t earn the trust your content deserves. Just as in dating relationships, honesty is the best policy. Your headline should explain your content without a cringe-inducing exaggeration like “What Happens Next Will Blow. Your. Mind.”

    Be Focused

    When you have just a few moments to get a click, choose words carefully. Headlines should be laser-focused. According to HubSpot, find “the single, most important point [you want your] readers to take away from this article.” Design your headline around that concept.

     Be Efficient

    In speed dating, brevity is key. The same is true in headline writing. Social marketing expert Jeff Bullas notes that efficiency is more technical than psychological: “Try keeping your blog post titles fewer than 55 characters because Google invariably cuts out titles not under 55 characters.”

    Be Savvy

    Savvy headline writers use tactics that create an immediate connection:

    • Question words like “How,” “Why” or “What” create engagement.
    • Keywords placed early in a headline increase SEO.
    • Numbers pique reader interest, for example, Seven Reasons We Are Captivated by the Number Seven and Nine Effective Speed Dating Strategies.

     Be Interesting

    Great headlines reflect what your audience would ask if you were face to face. Forbes Communication Council suggests that you pay attention to what causes you to choose a headline. Did you click because:

    • You’re responding to a question?
    • You’re intrigued by a compelling twist?
    • You feel connected to a conversational tone?

    Be Useful

    A great headline promises to help. For example, a blog post title that offers Four Ways You’re Apologizing Wrong is probably quite useful.

    Be Mysterious

    Intriguing titles generate immediate interest. Examples I love include an orientation video called How NOT to Succeed at College. The content covered all the activities, processes and procedures that made campus life amazing, yet presented each point with wry sarcasm: “Even though you can load funds onto Campus Cards, just carry cash. Lots of it. Especially downtown. At night…”

    A more straightforward title like Campus Activities and Procedures would have told me what I needed to know. However, the negative twist on the title provided the wink and flirt that got my attention.

    Are you ready to make a connection? Write several versions of your headline, then test against our speed dating rules. Is your blog title interesting, honest, efficient and mysterious? If not, keep writing. The effort is well worth the reward.

    And get plenty of additional free content marketing guidance and tips on our CrucialContent blog.

     

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  • BALANCE IS CRUCIAL WHEN READERS WEIGH YOUR NEWSLETTER’S WORTH

    By Jessica Gmitter

    It takes less than a second of searching to read headlines proclaiming newsletters are dead. Don’t believe it. There are brands that are very successfully building audience engagement through their newsletters. For instance: The Daily Skimm, Warren Buffet’s Annual Letter and Think With Google.

    These brands (and many more) know that newsletters are a great way to show off a brand’s personality, effectively drive prospects and customers to a website or landing page, increase social engagement and sell products and services. Plus, there is no denying their cost-effectiveness.

    The bottom line is this: E-newsletters still deliver B2B and B2C marketing ROI, data show. But they deliver that ROI when the content in those newsletters is balanced with informative, educational, relatable and timely information.

    It’s time to take a critical look at your newsletter and determine how you can remake it so that it is about more than just marketing. Unless you’re breaking big news about your organization or an opportunity that could change your market, focus on content that’s important to your audience. Here are four tips to help you achieve better balance:

    1. Remember the 90/10 Rule

    Make sure that nearly 90 percent of your e-newsletter content is educational or of direct help to your reader in some way. Based on your market research, this content should reflect your audience’s primary interests, challenges and goals. By doing this, you’ll show them that your newsletter is designed for their benefit, rather than yours.

    1. Do Your Research

    What do your subscribers want to read about? What are their primary interests, goals and pain points? Positioning yourself as a helpful resource, an expert in your field or a friendly point of contact requires an understanding of your readers’ needs. Focus groups or surveys, social listening and keyword research are a great start to crafting customized content. Keeping a close eye on client or stakeholder demographics and behavioral or lifestyle trends can help you narrow down their needs.

    1. Don’t Forget About Design

    Concise, to-the-point content delivered in short sentences and paragraphs will make your e-newsletter an easy read, even on mobile devices. You can always link to longer-form articles housed on your website. Maintain a decent amount of white space by keeping images at a minimum, in order to further that streamlined, uncluttered feel.

    1. Market Your Services, Products or Campaigns in Ways That Make Sense

    Once your readers feel they’ve learned about a topic relevant to their daily lives, or you’ve given them ways to solve a problem, they’ll be more amenable to seeing what you want to market to them. This is where to incorporate that 10 percent marketing content discussed in Tip #1. Readers are more likely to explore your recommendations and proposals when they don’t feel bombarded by them from the beginning.

     

    Get the content marketing guidance you need to meet all your marketing goals. Email CrucialContent today.

     

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  • HOW TO LEVERAGE FACEBOOK & GOOGLE ADS FOR SHARPER MARKETING

    By Amy Biemiller

    Do you think about your marketing channels as separate ways to attract different audiences? You shouldn’t. Your audiences research and shop across channels. That’s why you need to make your channel marketing work in unison. But where do you start?

    Take a look at your cross-channel marketing strategy with Facebook and Google. You can use each to help the other drive greater awareness and conversions.

    Use Google to target people who are actively searching for keywords specific to your brand’s products or services. In this way, you’ll reach your audience with a relevant message at a specific point in their buyer journey. Then, use Facebook to narrow in on target audiences and deliver personalized messages.

    Here are some additional ways that each channel can help the other achieve powerful marketing results:

    Leverage the Power of Cross-Network Searchers

    Your Facebook campaign is actually doing double duty. It’s great for converting a specific audience. But data show that while some Facebook users may not click on your ad, they do remember it. Then, they go to Google to learn more about your brand. To take advantage of this behavior, use your brand name as a keyword in your search campaigns and match the messaging in your Facebook ads.

    Benefit From Search Query Data

    People type what they are looking for into Google. That search query data can be a gold mine if you use it in your Facebook ad copy. Finding those queries is simple when you rely on the Google Ads Search Terms Report. You’ll see which search terms people used that resulted in your ad being shown and clicked.

    Keep Your Look and Message Consistent

    Keep your look and tone consistent in your ads on both platforms. People trust brands they recognize, and trust comes before a purchase decision. Make sure your look and message are the same on Facebook and Google.

    Both Google and Facebook ads are strong platforms that can deliver maximum visibility when used in tandem. Don’t make them competitors in your marketing strategy. Need some help? Just reach out to the team at CrucialContent team.

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