B2B buyers consume an average of 13 content pieces before deciding on a vendor

A mix of first and third party content is required to seal the deal.

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The average B2B buyer’s journey involves consumption of 13 pieces of content. That’s the principal finding of a new survey from market research firm FocusVision. The company polled marketing executives at companies with at least 500 employees and $50 million in annual revenue who had purchased a martech solution in the past year.

A mix of 1st and 3rd party content. The 13 content pieces breaks down into an average of eight vendor-created pieces and five from third parties. This content ranges from video to blog posts, white papers and customer testimonials to software reviews and analyst reports.

According to the report, the B2B buying process takes on average two to six weeks and involves 3 – 4 internal decision makers. The top source of content was the vendor’s website, followed by search and social media. Asked “how did you find content,” these survey respondents said:

  • Directly through vendor website — 70%
  • Internet search — 67%
  • Social media  — 53%
  • Sent to me via email — 41%
  • Word of mouth — 33%

FocusVision identified four buying stages (and the content reviewed at each stage in the process): 1) understanding the problem, 2) looking for vendors, 3) short-listing and 4) final decision.

Content reviewed at each stage of the B2B buyer’s journey

Source: FocusVision (2020)

Websites and peer reviews. The consumption of content is not entirely liner. Vendor websites, for example, are visited throughout the buyer’s journey. Peer reviews were consulted at the top and bottom of the funnel as well.

The most useful types of content to aid purchase decision-making were those that addressed: product specifications and functionality (67%), product comparisons (65%), product success stories (60%), content to specifically show value to internal stakeholders (54%), product tutorials (49%) and guidance on my problem/how to solve it (48%).

Larger companies, with revenues above $250 and $500 million, displayed some differences from the average according to FocusVision. Larger companies tended to rely more heavily on third party sources — third party websites, analyst reports and third party articles — probably because of their perceived independence.

Why we care. We know that content is incredibly important for ranking in search. It’s also critical for sales support. But this report makes clear there are a broad range of first and third party content types that are highly influential to B2B buyers. It also shows how critical the vendor website is in the buying process. Indeed, the report basically outlines a content strategy for the entire B2B buyer’s journey.

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How to create amazing infographics

Writing for an infographic requires a delicate balance between telling a story and
providing hard-hitting points to drive your message.

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CopyPress has a defined process on how to create amazing infographics for their clients. With a little effort, you can follow their breadcrumbs and create amazing infographics of your own!

To start, they segment the process into three groups: the business team, the graphic design team, and of course the audience who consumes the infographic. None of these people approach infographics in the same way, which can lead to miscommunication and potentially a bad customer experience.

This white paper will demystify these three roles to help you and your team create something your audience will love. By following these steps, all teams should be able to work together to turn your infographics from tolerable to top-sharers.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download“How to Create Amazing Infographics,” from CopyPress.

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Pro Tip: Here’s why content audits are so important

Content management is never a one-and-done process so a revitalization plan is simply good SEO strategy.

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One common mistake when it comes to developing and publishing content on a site is never touching it again. Having a content revitalization strategy to ensure content is relevant is just as (if not more) important than adding new content to drive organic traffic.

If it’s been a while since older posts on your site have been updated, it may be time to conduct a content audit.

I’ve followed this process with several SEO clients and it yielded impressive results. One client in the employment industry saw a 40% lift in organic traffic and a 131% increase in goal completions in nine months. A client in the education space saw a 42% lift in overall organic traffic and 40% increase in goal completions over three-and-a-half months after following the steps below and implementing changes based on the findings.

Here’s how you need to review your content:

1. Create a list of all URLs into a spreadsheet (you can pull this from the sitemap).

2. Use Google Analytics to determine how many sessions each page had over the past six months (or longer depending on how much traffic comes to your site). Also, check how many backlinks each post has. This process will take quite a bit of time depending on the amount of content on your site, but posts that have no backlinks and aren’t generating traffic likely need to be revised to provide SEO value.

3. Identify pages with “thin content” that don’t satisfy a user’s search intent. Build these posts out to provide more information on the topic.

4. Identify posts with duplicate or similar topics, then determine if they should be combined into one longer authoritative post or if one should be removed completely.

5. Identify posts with outdated content or older statistics and update to include more recent information. It also helps to keep a running list of posts that need to be updated regularly. For example, if it’s a post about mileage tax rates that might change every year.

6. Don’t forget to redirect posts removed from the site to avoid 404 errors.

7. Repeat this process on a regular basis (annual or bi-annual) to keep your content relevant.

Remember: Content revitalization should never be a one-and-done process.

Pro Tip is a special feature for marketers in our community to share a specific tactic others can use to elevate their performance. You can submit your own here.

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GoDaddy buys content creation app Over, plans to integrate features into its product suite

Small businesses use Over to easily create digital content.

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GoDaddy announced on Wednesday it had acquired Over, a mobile app designed for SMBs and entrepreneurs that allows them to quickly create content for social media platforms, email and websites. The app’s capabilities will be integrated into GoDaddy’s Website + Marketing platform in the near future, according to a company spokesperson.

The app will also continue to offered as a standalone app, available via Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and the team will continue to develop new features for it.

Why we care

The Over app has gained popularity as an easy-to-use content creation tool — it has more than a million monthly active users with 220,000 projects created daily by SMBs. GoDaddy’s move to integrate the app’s features into the Website + Marketing product suite will expand GoDaddy’s capabilities. Depending on how GoDaddy integrates Over’s tech into its platform, “non-designers” most likely will be able to create content that can be used on their GoDaddy-built website, as well as their company’s social pages and in their email marketing efforts.

More on the news

  • The Over app includes a library of professionally designed, customizable templates, hand-curated videos, graphics and font collections and collaboration tools.
  • The entire Over team will join GoDaddy while remaining in their Cape Town offices. No financial details for the acquisition were disclosed.
  • Squarespace made a similar acquisition last October with its purchase of Unfold.

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Develop the content your target audience actually wants

Focus on making better content. Not less, not more—just better.

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Happy people reading online content

In the ebb and flow of content marketing trend analyses comes the return of the “content fatigue” narrative. We’re told content marketing doesn’t work as well as it used to, that it’s redundant and that there’s too much of it.

But as long as we have the Internet, content is going to be the playing field for our sport. So the question isn’t whether or not we should be doing content marketing, but rather how we can make our content marketing better. What tools, strategies and tactics can we deploy? How do we create compelling content that will provide real value for our audiences?

We need to focus on making better content. Not less, not more—just better.

In this issue of Agency Perspectives from SharpSpring, you’ll learn how to develop content your target audience actually wants and get tips on sharing and distributing content across relevant channels.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “Mission Possible: Quality Content Marketing.”

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Systematically upgrade your existing content: Here’s how (and when) to do it

Leverage your current SEO after an analytics review to see what types of search queries generate impressions and clicks.

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The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to build a new content strategy for your business. One of the easiest tactics to generate new traffic is also one of the most overlooked: Updating and expanding your old content.

The benefits of content upgrades

Unlike fine wine, the content on your site doesn’t necessarily age well, with some pieces degrading as time goes on. Creating new content is not always needed when you have a body of good content that can be made to work harder and deliver quick results with some refreshing.

Upgrading existing content provides the following benefits:

  1. Provides a better user experience: Users read your content for information, but if yours is out of date, it’s not useful anymore. Ensuring your content is current and accurate is the single best thing you can do for your readers’ experience.
  2. Maintains URL authority: Every time you create a new page on your site, the new URL has zero authority. The URLs of older content have existing authority from any links they’ve acquired, and just from being aged.
  3. Can be optimized for new or more keywords: As you’ll see below, one of the biggest benefits of checking your data is to see what types of search queries are resulting in impressions and clicks. Sometimes you’ll see a good keyword with a very low click-through rate. Simply editing content to include that keyword or its variations helps the content rank better and gain higher click-through rates.

How to decide what content to upgrade

Step 1: First, go to Google Analytics and select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.

Make sure that you first segment the data by Organic Traffic so you’re viewing only the most-visited pages by organic users. Make a note of the top 10 to 15 pages driving the most organic traffic to your website. You can either use the export feature in GA or simply copy and paste the list into a google sheet.

Note: Google doesn’t show the root URL, which is fine for the next steps.

Step 2: Next, you can use Google Search Console data to provide insights into how to upgrade the new content.

In Search Console, go to Performance report in the left navigation, select your date range, and click the  + NEW button to segment the data by page URL. I normally select the filter “URLs is exactly” and then copy and paste the top URL from our list.

Once you have added your URL, you will see all of the search terms that people used to find your page.

We wrote this particular article to cover the issue of the “Chrome not secure notice” if your website wasn’t secure, but saw that we had a lot of searches related to “how to make a website secure.” You will want to find similar search patterns that your initial article didn’t cover or didn’t delve into and upgrade that section of your article to better align with the search patterns.

Make sure you choose search patterns that are relevant for your business and the original article. In this case, you can see a nice increase in traffic until the November Google core update that targeted relevance. The intent of the original article was about the “Chrome not secure warning” rather than how to make a website secure.

We are following these same tactics to try to recapture the lost traffic in a more relevant way.

Other content upgrade tactics to use

  • Fix any broken links: This tactic goes to both user experience and SEO. If you have content with a lot of links, or links related to seasonal/dated content, regularly check to make sure the link is still live and current to avoid negative effects on SEO. When you make edits or changes, republish your content.
  • Add more images or video: Images and video can become outdated as well. Always check to make sure any media on your posts are still relevant. Another way to upgrade is simply adding new media, especially videos. We’re seeing more interest in videos as time progresses—if it’s feasible, create and add a relevant YouTube video to your posts.
  • Add or change a call to action to increase conversions: Your content is probably meant to push a reader from a tire-kicker into some sort of customer. Experiment with your calls to action and headings that can lead to increased conversions.

How often should you update your content?

There is no set standard for updating frequency and realistically this varies by website and industry.

If you are just starting out, you won’t need to focus on updating content for at least 12 months. If you have an existing blog that gets traffic, every six months is a good timeframe to review data and determine which content is doing well or could benefit from updating. If your industry is often in flux, you may find that content needs to be updated much more often to stay current. If, however, you have more than 10,000 visitors a month, you might want to update your content quarterly.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to boost your rankings, improve your SEO and provide better information to your readers, consider updating your existing content. This is a good option to leverage your current SEO and avoid creating new content that will likely take time to start working. Don’t forget: Once you’ve updated your content, it’s time to share and promote it as well.

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Pro Tip: Manage writers the way they want to be managed – with structure

Be clear with writers fueling your content marketing strategy about each step of your content development, review and approval process.

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It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post, a news article, or even a novel: Writing takes time. And even if you have the most capable of writers fueling your content marketing strategy, the exact same is true for managing writing. If you’re finding too much of your time is going towards revision after revision, taking a step back to better structure the way you manage your writers might be your best tactic for taking back your schedule. Here’s how.

1. Standardize structure

Creatives thrive with structure. Identify each step of your content development, review and approval process and establish processes to turn a blank page into a conceptual playground everybody can share:

  • Develop a standard creative brief template so each assignment comes with the same set of parameters
  • When subject matter experts are needed, create an umbrella interview document for consistency
  • Formalize a copy deck to capture all relevant information for a piece of content, including SEO keywords, images, social copy, disclaimers and target audiences
  • Standardize a versioning architecture that makes it clear on every piece what you’re looking at, like this: Blog Post Draft-V1.docx

2. Clarify deadlines

Deadlines don’t mean the same thing to every writer – or to every marketing manager. Remove uncertainty and increase accountability by defining your deadlines and what is expected whenever a due date rolls around:

  • Talk with your writer before setting a deadline, not after, to ensure plausibility
  • Don’t be afraid to push urgent deadlines, but do acknowledge that pre-existing deadlines may need to shift
  • Consider adding a deadline three days before your deadline to allow time for yourself or other editors to review content and give your writer ample time for revisions

3. Optimize feedback

Writing is a process, and writers thrive on valid feedback to get a piece of content where it needs to be. Though you may have an idea of what a “perfect” piece looks like, there’s no such thing as an objective perfect draft. Get the work you have in mind with clear feedback:

  • Be as specific as possible
  • Don’t exaggerate; if one sentence is an issue don’t tell your writer the piece is a disaster
  • Don’t get hung up on grammar or style; your writer knows their craft
  • Remove emotion from your feedback and focus on outcomes

Pro Tip is a special feature for marketers in our community to share a specific tactic others can use to elevate their performance. You can submit your own here.

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When a natural disaster hits, know when to talk business (and when not to)

Think carefully about your brand before wading into conversations during a disaster.

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The Australian bushfires have become a global conversation, with celebrities and brands voicing their concern everywhere from social media to the Golden Globes. The sheer scale of this disaster and the climate change-driven dryness of this season, along with parallels to other natural disasters such as California’s string of wildfires, make it likely that we will continue to talk about this issue well into the coming months.

With such a huge impact, it’s natural that many businesses would see this as a time to share their expertise and knowledge – about what’s happening, what it means for business, and what to expect in the future. But there is a right way and a wrong way to offer expertise during a disaster. You should think carefully before wading into these conversations. If done incorrectly, you can come off as callous and insensitive, or even worse, manipulative.

To participate in natural disaster conversations in a manner that is helpful and supportive, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Do you have a reason to be here?

All types of businesses are impacted during a natural disaster, but it doesn’t mean there’s an urgency for their expertise or products. There’s a clear need for your voice if you can offer immediate assistance or can alleviate current concerns. After that, it’s about offering insights into the bigger picture of a disaster’s impact – what does this mean for the economic future of the affected area?

For example, the insurance industry, responsible for responding to claims and helping homeowners and businesses return to normal, can address many questions about how they are responding to these wildfires. Questions that consumers are asking now. Meanwhile, the automotive industry, which might see an impact in car sales from the disaster down the line, is far less likely to face urgent consumer concerns.

It’s absolutely not about you (unless it is)

If there’s ever a time to avoid inside-out thinking and messaging, it’s during a natural disaster. The consumers or businesses that you are trying to reach are dealing with potentially life-changing events – the last thing they want to hear is about you and your company. Avoid statements that lead with “I,” “me,” and “my.”

The one exception to this is if your company is directly involved in the disaster or the recovery. For example, in the case of a chemical spill or building accident. In such cases, legal may limit what your statements can focus on. Even then, it’s best to focus as much as possible on impacted consumers and what your organization is doing to support them.

Lead with empathy

Who can forget former BP CEO Tony Hayward and his disastrous “I’d like my life back” comment in the wake of the Deepwater oil spill? It made BP’s efforts to help the area recover all about him getting back to normal, and not about the hardships that residents were facing. While it was just one throwaway sentence at the end of a much longer interview, it was the only part that anyone heard.

With emotions running high, flippant comments during a disaster can bury even the best-intentioned messages. Whatever you wish to communicate, start and end with concerns for those most impacted. This isn’t the time to be glib or edgy, and this definitely isn’t the time to meme.

Offer help, not products

While it can be tempting to promote a product that would be perfect for recovery or future prevention in the wake of a disaster, proceed with caution. Consumers are primed to view such as promotions negatively or even as scams. You’re much more likely to have a positive role in the conversation if you use those products or expertise to offer help.

For years, Anheuser-Busch has periodically paused beer production to focus on producing safe, canned water, which it provides to communities after disasters. Chef Jose Andrés used his cooking expertise to organize 19,000 volunteers to serve millions of meals after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Both have built up a great deal of goodwill for the brands without ever making their efforts about their products.

Build community, not follower counts

Social media channels play a bigger role than ever before in communicating about and recovering from natural disasters. Australian comedian and actor Celeste Barber just raised more than $32 million to support fire companies fighting bushfires throughout Australia on Facebook, setting a global fundraising record for the platform.

This is a great way for personalities and big brands with larger audiences to use the community they’ve built to provide support. Others, however, are tying their support to their own audience building, offering a donation for each new follower, or like on a particular post. While this may offer a quick boost for social numbers, it’s an effort that runs the risk of backfiring. Consumers can see this approach as too self-serving, and your channels may just gain a lot of temporary followers that don’t really care about engaging with your brand.

Smart organizations recognize that there is a role for them to play in responding to natural disasters and it’s often one that doesn’t speak immediately to their bottom line. By focusing on the needs of impacted residents first, and their own needs second, businesses can make sure they’re seen as supporting and not exploiting recovery situations. Sacrifice a bit of sales and profit in the short run, and you’re sure to build the goodwill and trust that will best serve your business in the long run.

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7 easy ways to multiply your conversions

Personalize your marketing with dynamic content and connect with audiences in a more organic way to increase conversions.

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Ask marketers what their goals are, and one of the first things they will say is to deliver a more personalized experience to their customers. This isn’t a goal aimed solely at increasing conversions; it’s also about meeting customers’ growing expectations.

To put this into context, five years ago, people were awed when Amazon could recommend a product they’d love. Today, users expect that Netflix will recommend to them another binge-worthy series based on their tastes.

So how does a marketer meet this high demand for personalized communications? The answer is in understanding the power of dynamic content and how it makes static content marketing obsolete.

In this free guide, Sharpspring outlines seven simple ways marketers can use dynamic content to connect with audiences in a more organic and personalized way.

Grab your copy to find out:

  • How top brands like Netflix and Amazon use dynamic content.
  • The marketing automation features that enable you to deliver personalized experiences.
  • Ways to personalize your emails, landing pages, forms, pop-ups and more using dynamic content.

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download “7 Easy Ways to Multiply Your Conversions.”

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How the ‘Peloton Woman’ in Aviation Gin’s ad will be a case study on marketing genius for years to come

The ad from Aviation Gin used viral momentum to give us the sequel we didn’t know we needed.

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It’s the holiday ad that caught fire for all the wrong reasons: A young, seemingly fit woman is gifted a Peloton stationary bike (presumably by her husband) and proceeds to vlog her fitness journey over the course of a year.

The ad, produced by creative agency Mekanism, went viral almost immediately, sparking criticism about Peloton’s unhealthy depictions of body image and marriage – not to mention the “Peloton Woman’s” concerning expressions (which some have quipped resembles a face of fear). Naturally, Twitter users couldn’t contain themselves, dragging the cringe-worthy campaign with labels like sexist, elitist, and entirely unrealistic.

Soon after the spot aired, actor and liquor brand owner Ryan Reynolds cashed in on the drama – and marketers everywhere scrambled to pick their jaws up off the floor. The ad spot for Ryan Reynold’s liquor brand, Aviation Gin, cast the same actress from the Peloton ad — in a sequel that tells the story of where the Peloton Woman is now. Spoiler: She’s downing Aviation Gin in a bar with two friends, wallowing in the aftermath of Peloton’s ill-conceived commercial. We’ll toast to that.

What makes the gin ad brilliant real-time marketing?

For starters, it’s clear the Aviation Gin ad is a tongue-in-cheek response to the viral Peloton commercial. The ad shows the Peloton Woman (portrayed by actress Monica Ruiz) projecting a deadpan stare as she sits quietly with her martini sans wedding ring – all while her friends tell her she’s “safe here” and “looks great, by the way.” She then downs her entire drink in one gulp.

Did the Peloton Woman heed the advice of Twitter and leave her Peloton husband? Most likely.

In a maneuver that combined timeliness, meme culture, and a simple product message, Aviation managed to capitalize on another brand’s moment of infamy with striking success. The commercial garnered immediate responses after its release, with Reynolds tweeting a link to the video along with the caption, “Exercise bike not included.”

An old tactic with a viral twist. What Aviation Gin did isn’t new. Poking fun at other brands is an old ad trick that’s been used by the likes of Sprint (remember Verizon’s “Can you hear me now” guy?) and Samsung, which has been known to mock Apple product users. But the Aviation Gin ad has raked in praise from advertisers and consumers alike – not because it’s a new concept, but because it came with timely delivery and contextual relevance.

The ad’s success hinged on the brand’s ability to quickly produce a made-for-web commercial in nearly real-time. The video was produced with a tight lead time – only 15 days elapsed between the Peloton ad and Aviation Gin’s commercial.

It’s an undertaking that would be difficult to achieve in traditional TV advertising, which has longer turnaround times and stricter regulations around ads containing alcohol. This, coupled with the commercial’s cheeky release on social media, created the perfect recipe for a viral campaign that launched on the right platform, at just the right time.

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