Upcoming Marketing Conferences

Conferences are a great way to remain connected with your industry’s latest developments. It is also a fantastic opportunity to grow your network and score some valuable leads. We’ve gathered for you a list of the best upcoming marketing conferences that will happen in June 09.

SMX Advanced

June 2-3 2009
Seattle, USA
From $1495 to $1595 depending on when you purchase the ticket.

The Search Marketing Expos are a great place to connect with like-minded individuals while perfecting your skills through advanced workshops and conferences. Note that Google’s Matt Cutt and Microsoft’s Qi Lu will both present a keynote at the event. The conference will take place in Toronto.

For more details on the SMX Advanced conference click here.

Mobile Marketing Forum

June 2-3 2009
Grand Hyatt NYC, NYC, USA
From $1195 to $2010 depending on ticket type.

Some people say that mobile marketing will be a vital milestone for marketers in the near future. If you’d like to get familiarize with this fairly new field, this conference would be a great entryway!

For more details on the Mobile Marketing Forum click here.

Velocity, Web Performance and Operations Conference

June 22-24, 2009
Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, USA
From $395 to $1395 depending on ticket type.

If you want to improve your website building skills while also meeting experts in your field, the O’Reilly conference is the place to be.

For more details on the Velocity Conference click here.

White Paper on White Papers – A Review

We recently stumbled upon a great white paper on the topic of… white papers. It seemed unusual at first that a document’s content and form would be so intricately related, but upon reading the paper we realized it made a lot of sense.

The document is appropriately called A White Paper on White Papers: Emerging Strategies for Delivering Traditional Content in New Media Channels and was written by the folks at Eccolo Media. You can download the paper for free upon registering. They introduce the topic of white papers through its technical origins and how it morphed over time to become a business and lead generation tool. They’ve also performed a survey on the matter of white papers and generously shared the data with their readers. Here are some highlights:

  • On 155 surveyed people, 44% mentioned they believed white papers to be very influentials.
  • 67% of respondents reported sharing white papers with their colleagues.
  • 25% of readers shared the paper with more than 5 people.
  • 70% of the people surveyed prefer reading papers on their desktops instead of in print (from MarketingSherpa’s Benchmark Guide).

These data advocate that digital white papers are well-worth looking into. PDFs allow for documents to be easily shared and can integrate hyperlinks. The latter is an incredible addition to your essays since they can redirect readers to your website in order to access more information, or simply to join a discussion on the matter. As Eccolo Media points out, it’s best to “stop thinking of the white paper as an airtight entity that must be consumed in a particular way. Think of it instead as a succession of value-added copy blocks—thought-leadership nuggets that can be lifted wholesale from the white paper and repurposed for maximum sales enablement.” Indeed, digital copies allow you to segment your content, to make it more focused and niche-oriented, but also briefer. People scan digital content, looking for what they’re after.

There’s a whole lot of information in this white paper for those of you who write or commission white papers that could help change the way you market them. It’s well worth looking into!

How to write compelling content and connect with your readers?

This is the fourth installment of Content Marketing lists for the month of May. The first installment was The Content Marketers – List of ‘How To’ Blog Posts, the second installment was The Content Marketers – List of Lists – Part 1 and the third installment was The Content Marketers – List of Lists – Part 2.

There is so much to be learned about writing and how to connect with your readers. Buckle up for a fantastic ride. What follows is a collated a list of (pure gold!) resources for you to enjoy and improve your writing skills.

Today, marketing is a two way conversation. How can you incorporate interactivity in your content? Brian Clark and Patsi Krakoff discuss how to spark interaction with your audience that increases engagement. Although their tips are for bloggers, the lessons are applicable to anybody creating marketing content. Patsi Kraoff’s blog post is 7 Top Ten Ways to Get Readers to Respond. Brian Clark’s blog post is Four Easy Ways to Create Innovative Content With Interactivity.

All content creation is to get the reader to think and take action. How do you connect with your readers and make them think? Patsi Krakoff says that all readers are different and are looking for different things. She discusses how to make a connection in her blog post 8 Simple Writing Steps to Connect with Readers. Once you have made a connection, the goal is to get the reader to ‘think’. Patsi’s insights on stimulating readers is given in her blog post 10 Ways to Write to Make Readers Think. Denise Wakeman’s shares her insights on 10 Ways to Connect with Readers.

Isn’t the goal of all writing to influence the reader in some way? How do you convince your readers to do something or agree with your point of view? Read Brian Clark’s blog posts Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques and The 5 Immutable Laws ofPersuasive Blogging. Jennifer Stewart’s insights on getting readers to follow a particular course of action is at How To Write Persuasively.

Michael Stelzner shares his picks of blogs, blog posts and books where you can find doses of inspiration on writing better. Read Michael’s blog posts Top 10 Blogs for Writers – The 2008/2009 Winners, Top 10 Blog Posts for Writers (The Best From The Best in 2008!) and Top 10 Books for Writers – The Finalists.

Key lessons that apply to writing white papers and eBooks

  • Use a title that is creative, interesting and attractive. The title should indicate what the reader will learn.
  • Capture your reader’s attention by posing questions in the beginning of your content.
  • Focus on the problems of the reader and how your solution will help solve those problems.
  • Show, rather than tell. Give proof of why your solution is the best. For example, use case studies to highlight the benefits of your product.
  • Write persuasively to convince the reader to take action. Talk about benefits of your product solution rather than a laundry list of features.
  • Introduce interactivity in your content. For example, create a video of your product instead of writing a long data sheet.
  • Have an explicit call for action towards the end of your content.

I hope you have found this list and the other three lists from earlier this month(The Content Marketers – List of ‘How To’ Blog Posts, The Content Marketers – List of Lists – Part 1, The Content Marketers – List of Lists – Part 2) useful. There are many valuable Content Marketing tips and lessons in these lists. Which is the one tip that you found most useful? Write it down and implement it.

Best Quotes from the Content Marketing Experts – Chris Brogan

Welcome to our amazing recap of some of the best quotes from Content Marketing experts! We have spent quite a bit of time reviewing influential blogs and articles from the past few years, gathering some great marketing gems along the way. Content and marketing go hand in hand; developing quality, meaningful and unique content is a sure way to growing a fan base, strong link equity and to generate discussions. Intrigued? Just listen to what the experts have to say! Today is all about Chris Brogan.

Chris Brogan

Blog: Chris Brogan
Twitter: Chrisbrogan

Content marketing is the ability to produce useful and entertaining information that is worthwhile on its own, but that might also be useful towards a sale or subsequent action. Why spend time, money, and creative effort making fake, glossy, slick pieces of marketing material when something honest and informative (and ENTERTAINING!) would likely do a better job?

Chris Brogan is on to something here: if you’re gonna create materials for a marketing campaign, why not instead put your efforts in building useful and informative content?

Advantages of Building Original and Informative Content

When creating useful content for your readers, many good things can happen to your site or blog. Indeed, people usually browse the internet to fulfill a need – they want to entertain themselves, source information, connect with their family and friends, organize their data, look for a job, etc. Basically, people use the internet with a purpose in mind. By providing your readers with information they might be looking for, you will attract traffic.

Traffic is a good thing, qualified traffic is even better. Let’s say you have a shop that sells bicycles and you’re looking to increase your traffic. You could spend money on marketing campaigns and on creating great looking ads. These are valuable measures that would attract eyeballs, but these eyeballs might not be qualified. Now let’s say you decided to setup a blog on your site where you would give advices on maintaining bicycles, on the best routes in the area and on winter cycling. You could create video tutorials, host them on Youtube and embed them on your blog. You could also ask for your readers’ participation by asking them to send their favorite cycling itinerary that they created on Google Maps. You could even start a “Pimp my Bicycle” series and ask your readers to send you their photos of their modified bikes to host on the blog.

This sort of content could prove to be very useful to the cycling community. Since content is recurrent, qualified readers will come back for more and start participating. This creates loyalty, trust and a sense of belonging. It’s a great way to introduce your business and your way of doing things to your readers. People tend to trust folks that they know – that is important for your business. By getting to know you, they might be more enticed in becoming customers.

Creating quality content is also the best way to build link equity as other people in your niche will start reaching out to you, and vice versa. The more quality inbound link you receive, the better your search engine rankings will be. As pointed by Chris Brogan, a great Content Marketing strategy will prove more fruitful in the long run than a traditional marketing campaigns.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the wisdom of these Content Marketing Experts in the past two weeks.

Tips on how B2B marketers should do Content Marketing

B2B marketing has gone through dramatic change in the last few years due to the changing landscape of interaction between how consumers and businesses engage with content. B2B marketing is not the same as B2C marketing. So the approach to influencing prospects and customers needs to be radically different. B2B purchases are not “impulse buys”. B2B prospects carry out more research, ask more questions, and examine more competitior products. B2B purchases involve many individuals (with very different perspectives) who are all involved in influencing the final decision-making. One of the most important jobs for B2B marketer’s is to inform and educate prospects and customers about their offering.

B2B marketing really is interesting when you look past the company and realize that you are communicating with actual people. It is amazing how often this fact is forgotten. How do you educate and inform these people if you are a B2B marketer? We asked B2B marketing experts “If you could give our readers one tip on how B2B marketers should do content marketing, what would that be?”

Recommended Resources from B2B Marketing Experts

Blogs

Laura Ramos’ Blog B2B Marketing POST

Modern B2B Marketing Blog

Seth Godin’s Blog

Top42 Content Marketing Blogs

Alltop Content Marketing Blogs

Books

Rohit Bhargava’s book Personality Not Included

Brian Carroll’s book Lead Generation for the Complex Sale

Chip Heath and David Heath’s book Made to Stick

Jon Steel’s book The Perfect Pitch

Solomon Robert’s book The Art of Client Service

Joe Pulizzi’s and Newt Barrett’s book Get Content. Get Customers.

Jon Wuebben’s book Content Rich

Richard Sheffield’s book The Web Content Strategist’s Bible

Jennifer Grappone’s and Gradiva Couzin’s book Search Engine Optimization-an hour a day

Others

Enquiro – Great research, white papers and B2B Experts Webinar Series

B2B Magazine Online

Seamus Walsh’s ‘Assessment to measure how well your content is aligned to sales’

 

Ardath Albee

Blog Marketing Interactions Twitter Ardath421

Map Content to Buying Stages

Ardath Albee’s Bio

Ardath Albee is a B2B Marketing Strategist. Her company Marketing Interactions helps companies with complex sales and quantify marketing effectiveness by using interactive e-marketing strategies driven by compelling content. She empowers her clients to create customer-centric nurturing programs that leverage strategic story development to engage prospects until they are sales ready. Ardath’s book, E-Marketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, will be published this fall by McGraw-Hill.

Ardath Albee’s Tip

Map Content to Buying Stages

B2B marketing is often related to a complex sale over the course of a sales cycle that’s 6 months or longer. That means marketers need to create nurturing programs with increasingly relevant content over the long haul. What marketers sometimes fail to realize is that the information a buyer needs at the beginning of their buying process differs greatly from what’s important to them in the later stages. In the beginning the buyer needs to be educated about the nature of the problem, best practices for solving it and how other companies like theirs are successfully doing so. As buyers become educated, their informational needs evolve. Marketing content must keep step to intensify engagement across the entire buying process.

One way to get started is to pick a problem your offering solves, put yourself in the buyers’ shoes and uncover the questions they have when they begin to think about how to solve the problem. Design your content to answer the questions. Each time you answer a question, given what the buyer now knows, what’s the next question or set of questions that arise? Rinse and repeat across the course of the buying journey.

Remember that B2B buying committees are growing in size. Don’t forget about influencers and recommenders. Each stakeholder in a project will have a different perspective and need related to solving the problem. For best results think about pass-along conversational value when developing your content. One of the best outcomes from B2B content marketing is enabling dialogue among and between buying committee members based on education you’ve provided. By becoming a valued and trusted resource, buyers are already relying on your company which makes purchasing from you a natural outcome.

Ardath Albee Recommends

Rebel Brown

Blog Phoenix Rising Twitter RebelBrown

For every claim you make in your content, ask yourself “So What?”

Rebel Brown’s Bio

Rebel Brown is go-to-market strategist and Spin Doctor specializing in start ups, turnarounds and start-arounds in the high technology arena. She has helped to define, position and launch over 75 individual products and companies since she began consulting 20 years ago. Her clients who are technology vendors and venture firms leverage her strategic marketing and go-to-market expertise. She identifies and transforms differentiation – customers crown jewels – into compelling, customer-centric value that sells. Her blog is Phoenix Rising and her business is PeopleWhoKnow.

Rebel Brown’s Tip

Ask yourself “So What?”. Too often marketing content is based on what we think about the advantage our solutions bring. Customers don’t think the same way as we do – they don’t have the same frame of reference or the same priorities. For every claim you make in your content, ask yourself “So What?” .And keep asking until you have a concise, compelling content statement that reflects what matters to your audience. Then go build the rest of your content from that starting point.

A few questions to help you expand on “So What?” include:

  • What does this mean to my customer’s business?
  • What can they do they couldn’t do before?
  • What can they do better than ever before?
  • What problem or pain am I eliminating from their plate?

Once you get to the real “So What?” benefit statements, your content will hit your audience right between their business eyes. That’s the first step to creating powerful customer conversations that lead to trusted relationships. And isn’t that what all of this is about?

Rebel Brown Recommends

Bob Gilbreath

Blog MarketingwithMeaning Twitter MktgwithMeaning

Differentiate your content

Bob Gilbreath’s Bio

Bob Gilbreath is Chief Marketing Strategist at Bridge Worldwide, one of the nation’s largest digital advertising agencies and part of WPP. Bob leads the Strategic Planning team within the agency, advising clients such as Procter & Gamble, ConAgra Foods, Kroger, Luxottica, and Abbott. His writing has been featured in Brandweek, he has spoken at Ad:Tech and Harvard Business School, and taught classes at NYU and Miami University. He is the author of The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with your Customers by Marketing with Meaning, which will be released by McGraw-Hill in September 2009.

Bob Gilbreath’s Tip

Make sure that your content is differentiated and matching how your company is differentiated from the competition. Chances are there are already content sources out there that your customers are reading or watching, and it’s hard to stand out with me-too information. Audit their current information sources and look for openings that closely match what your firm believes makes it superior.

Bob Gilbreath Recommends

Patsi Krakoff

Blog WritingontheWeb Twitter PatsiBlogSquad

Educate, entertain, and engage with readers

Patsi Krakoff’s Bio

Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D., is a former psychologist and journalist who has been working in online content marketing for the last 10 years helping professionals use e-newsletters and blogs to grow business. Her award-winning blog can be found at WritingontheWeb. She provides quality content and newsletter services for global executive coaches at ContentforCoachesandConsultants. She is co-founder of The Blog Squad, providing blog services and consulting. She lived and worked in Paris for 20 years and now lives in Ajijic, Mexico, where she is an avid tennis player.

Patsi Krakoff’s Tip

I hear so much being blogged and tweeted about Content Marketing these days, it’s like the Buzz-du-Jour. I’m sure it means different things to different people, depending on the size of your company and the type of products or services you’re trying to market.

Forget “How to do content marketing?.” Just remember one key thing: Be real. That means that you have to talk to readers and customers like real human beings do. In a way, it should be called “personality” or “relationship” marketing. You don’t have to sell anything. Instead educate, entertain, and engage with readers. Tell them how to solve their problems. Tell them stories. Show them who you are. Be real, be you.

Patsi Krakoff Recommends

Seamus Walsh

Blog B2BContentMarketing Twitter SeamusWalsh

Know your Customer

Seamus Walsh’s Bio

Seamus Walsh founded VAZT Global Inc. in January 2008. Seamus’ passion for sales, sales process and excellence enabled him to develop a platform that “finds, cares and feeds” prospects until they are ready to buy. Prior to forming VAZT, Seamus worked in sales and strategic account management for The Hackett Group, a strategic advisory and management consulting firm in Atlanta, For Gartner, a research, advisory and consulting company in Stamford, CT and Cambridge Technology Partners, a web development company, prior to its acquisition by Novell. Seamus resides in Essex Junction, VT with his wife and four children.

Seamus Walsh’s Tip

Know your customer. Today having a great looking and content rich site is expected. To differentiate yourself articulate how you can solve client’s business issues by directly speaking to and meeting the needs of a stakeholder. By doing so, you are telling them “I understand your needs and I can meet them.” In this age of information overload, anyone who can provide information that directly addresses the needs of a particular population can gain loyalty by saving the individual time and therefore money.

Seamus Walsh Recommends

To learn more about B2B Marketing, get Marketo’s Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs, Jon Miller’s Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs and Updates to Big List of B2B Marketing Blogs.