The Content Marketers – List of Lists – Part 1

This is the second installment of Content Marketing lists for the month of May. The first installment was The Content Marketers – List of ‘How To’ Blog Posts

There is a treasure trove of information in these lists on Content Marketing and how to attract customers with good content. I separated the list into three sections:

  • The first section is a roundup of insights into how to leverage Content Marketing for your business(Published in this blog post)
  • The second section is a list of blog posts on how to attract customers with good content(To be published next week in Part 2)
  • The third section is an assorted list of blog posts related to Content Marketing (To be published next week in Part 2)

How to leverage Content Marketing for your business

This section is a roundup of insights into how to leverage Content Marketing for your business. All of these blog posts have many ideas and tips on Content Marketing. There are many valuable lessons in these blog posts to leverage for creating and marketing white papers. Below each blog post, I have outlined one key takeaway from the blog post that is relevant for creating and marketing whitepapers or eBooks.

3 Steps to Initiating a Successful Online Content Marketing Program

How to implement a content marketing program step-by-step? Joe Pulizzi gives the initial 3 steps to creating an effective online content marketing program in his blog post on 3 Steps to Initiating a Successful Online Content Marketing Program.

Lesson

Businesses create specific content so that customers react in very specific ways. Without a clear understanding of the customer’s information needs, any reaction that is close to the end goal is pure dumb luck. Before creating a white paper, understand your customer’s information needs.

The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing

How do you capture customer’s attention? Sonia Simone gives three key elements to focus your attention on to make content marketing work for you. The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing.

Lesson

You want to ask for the order with a strong call to action. But keep the balance right. Use your content to build desire for your product, and to create an unshakeable relationship with your audience, then ask for the sale. Strategically place a call for action in your white paper.

4 Content Marketing Essentials for Every Business

What should every business be doing on a regular consistent basis that involves high-value content? Joe Pulizzi covers this topic in his blog post 4 Content Marketing Essentials for Every Business.

Lesson

Custom published white papers can serve as excellent thought leadership and lead generation pieces for your company. The key with white paper programs is consistency. If you launch a program, make sure you have at least one white paper per quarter. Although you can use white papers as collateral that your sales force hands out to prospects, they can most easily be downloadable from your Web site or from a partner website to which you have syndicated your white papers.

5 Tips for Getting Your Content Marketing Initiative Started


How do you get started on your Content Marketing initiative? What’s your first step? Read Russell Sparkman’s 5 Tips for Getting Your Content Marketing Initiative Started.

Lesson

You’ll need to think, plan and act like a publisher. If your organization is a thought leader in your sector, offer professionally generated white papers to your prospects and customers.

Five Content Marketing Books You Need to Read


What books are on your Content Marketing reading list? Joe Pullizzi’s Five Content Marketing Books You Need to Read gives you a great start point.

Lesson

Read all 5 books that Joe recommends to understand the changing landscape of marketing.

5 Key Content Marketing Posts for Your Business Blog


What are the 5 important stand-alone articles that are key for your business blog? Patsi Krakoff discusses this in her blog post 5 Key Content Marketing Posts for Your Business Blog.

Lesson

Persuasive writing is key. Good content should capture reader’s attention and leads them to an action. That action can be other things besides a sale: you can build trust, establish expertise or connect emotionally. Connect with your readers in your white papers by providing solution to their problem rather than blindly pitching your product.

Five Content Marketing Ideas that Will Pay Dividends


How do music marketing ideas apply to Content Marketing? Joe Pulizzi’s give ideas to seriously consider for your brand in his blog post Five Content Marketing Ideas that Will Pay Dividends.

Lesson

Be the “editor” in a market and present people the best content in that market or that topic. Be the enabler of the information they are looking for. Show thought leadership in your white papers. Educate and inform.

Five Reasons an e-Book Should Be a Core Component Of Your Content Marketing Strategy


How to distribute your content marketing message using the power of eBooks? Newt Barrett give tips of this in his blog post Five Reasons an e-Book Should Be a Core Component Of Your Content Marketing Strategy.

Lesson

You can quickly, compellingly, visually, and inexpensively establish thought leadership with an e-book or white paper that provides relevant information on the toughest challenges your customers face.

5 (More) Reasons an Ebook is a Must for Content Marketing


Patsi Krakoff adds to Newt Barretts blog post on Five Reasons an e-Book Should Be a Core Component Of Your Content Marketing Strategy at 5 (More) Reasons an Ebook is a Must for Content Marketing.

Lesson

Ebooks or white papers doesn’t have to be complicated, long or elaborate. It does have to offer valuable information that is helpful to your readers. Don’t waste people’s time with sales hype though, or it will backfire.

The Five Pillars of Content Marketing – The Ultimate Definition


Joe Pulizzi says that Content Marketing is Editorial-based, Marketing-backed, Behavior-driven, Multi-platform and Targeted in his blog post The Five Pillars of Content Marketing – The Ultimate Definition.

Lesson

The creation of great, story-form content (through any channel) is what ultimately influences someone to buy your product or generates a desired behavior. In your white papers, tell a story about the solution. Don’t just pitch the product.

6 Ways Content Marketing Can Help You Survive the Recession


Newt Barrett recommends you to focus on a content marketing strategy that will require a whole lot of thought and effort, but will not require a lot of money. 6 Ways Content Marketing Can Help You Survive the Recession.

Lesson

Develop a deep understanding of your customers and what is most important to them. Determine what problems are most vexing and what solutions they require. Once you do this, proposing a solution in your white paper in a language that ‘talks to the customer is easy.

6 Key Content Marketing Lessons to Learn from Great Presenters


Newt Barrett recommends that you apply lessons from Nick’s book, “Give Your Speech, Change the World” to content marketing in his blog post 6 Key Content Marketing Lessons to Learn from Great Presenters.

Lesson

You have to understand your audience in order to communicate effectively with them. Too often we begin with a feature set that we assume is important to our customers without having done the necessary research to know what they really care about. Take a solution based approach when creating your white paper.

6 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Your Most Important Social Media Tool


Is blogging on your Content Marketing list? Newt Barrett points out that blog is a very important social media weapon in your arsenal. 6 Reasons Why Your Blog Is Your Most Important Social Media Tool.

Lesson

By defining the most important areas of information that you will cover in your white paper and laying them out in the beginning, you enable your readers to find exactly what they want with minimal effort. What do you want your customers or prospects to do after reading your white paper? Work backwards and decide what are the important points you want to educate your customer on.

Seven Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


What are the mistakes that businesses make regarding their content strategies? How can they fix them and avoid making them in the future? Joe Pulizz discusses this in Seven Content Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them.

Lesson

Create valuable, compelling and consistent content (articles, blogs, videos, white papers) as the core of your web site. There is no better way for you to show prospects that you are a trusted expert.

Don’t Make The 7 Deadliest Content Marketing Mistakes


What deadly traps to avoid as you role out your Content Marketing Initiative? Newt Barrett discusses tips in his blog post Don’t Make The 7 Deadliest Content Marketing Mistakes.

Lesson

Develop content that’s just right for your readers. Don’t aim too high or too low. Understanding precisely who your prospects are makes all the difference. Understanding not just what they need to know, but where they are on the learning curve is critical to creating content that resonates with your prospects.

8 Great Content Marketing Takeaways from 2009 Custom Content Conference


Newt Barrett shares is takeaways from 2009 Custom Content Conference in his blog post 8 Great Content Marketing Takeaways from 2009 Custom Content Conference.

Lesson

Get in the shoes of your customer and find out what their biggest problem is and how your product will solve that problem. This mind-exercise will help you write a great white paper that appeals to your customers.

Nine Strategies to Create a World-Class Content Marketing Company


What are the important New Rules of Custom Publishing that publishers and marketers need to know? Joe Pulizzi highlight these in his blog post Nine Strategies to Create a World-Class Content Marketing Company.

Lesson

What’s going to differentiate your company from the masses? Does your white paper clearly identify your products value proposition and competitive differentiators?

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Tips on how to write a better White Paper

White papers are marketing tools for showcasing thought leadership and generating leads. Read more at What Is a White Paper? We have invited White Paper Experts to shed light on the following question: If you could give our readers one tip on how to write a better white paper, what would that be? Read on to get their insights.


Michael Stelzner

Blog WritingWhitePapers Twitter Mike_Stelzner

Michael Stelzner’s Bio

Michael Stelzner is one of the leading authorities on the topic of writing and marketing white papers. Michael is also the author of the bestselling book, Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged.

Michael Stelzner’s Tip

Put yourself in the shoes of your reader. Understand his or her pains, time constraints and interests. Then turn around and write something that will appeal to the reader without ANY overt sales messages. If there were only one thing to suggest, it would be this: Abandon any and all traditional product marketing that you may have learned in school. Instead think about how you can educate rather than sell.

Michael Stelzner Recommends

Jonathan Kantor

Blog WhitePaperPundit Twitter Jonathan_Kantor

Jonathan Kantor’s Bio

Jonathan Kantor is the principal and founder of The Appum Group, “The White Paper Company“, and has been producing enterprise white papers for the past 11 years. He is also the author of the “White Paper Pundit” blog.

Jonathan Kantor’s Tip

Don’t Assume your Reader Knows What You Know. I read a lot of white papers, and this issue is a common problem that I see very quite frequently. The problem of assuming the reader’s level of knowledge with a white paper topic is apparent when:
1. The writer uses industry/technical/complex terminology without a thorough explanation or description of that terminology and its reference to the white paper content.
2. When the size of the white paper is purposely downsized (to save costs) and the remaining (but limited) number of pages are solely focused on the solution and its attributes or advantages.
3. When there is an insufficient number of pages devoted to background information, common business problems, or industry issues that could bring the reader up to speed on the white paper topic. Including this information is especially important for a high-level decision maker that may not be fully informed with regard to the topic but may need that additional information to make an appropriate business decision (such as a highly technical subject and a non-technical business professional).

Jonathan Kantor Recommends

  • WritingWhitePapers Blog
  • WhitePaperSource online forum
  • Scribd for reference and distribution of white papers
  • Google Alerts set to keywords such as “white paper” or “white papers” for news, articles, stories, or examples of white papers

Jim Lodico

Blog WhitePaperSolution Twitter Jlcommunication

Jim Lodico’s Bio

Jim Lodico is a white paper specialist who combines more then 20 years experience in writing and editing with a background in journalism and education.

Jim Lodico’s Tip

Focus on the process as opposed to product features. A good white paper helps the reader solve a problem. Demonstrate the proposed solution and its benefits. The idea is to inform and educate which in turn, leads the reader to your product.

Too many white papers read like extended sales brochures because they focus on product and fail to provide objective information. Help the client solve a problem and they will be inclined to return the favor (especially if you’ve got a good call to action but that’s a different tip).

I would also suggest that those interested in writing white papers or ebooks also explore research methods and effective interviewing techniques.

Jim Lodico Recommends

Phil Dunn

Blog QualityWriter Twitter PhilDunn

Phil Dunn’s Bio

Phil Dunn helps companies sell more and communicate more effectively with clear, compelling marketing and advertising writing. He’s also co-author of The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing

Phil Dunn’s Tip

Put yourself in the white paper reader’s shoes, and ask one simple question: “Do I have a problem/issue/pain/challenge?” If you flesh this out on page one of any white paper, you’ve overcome your biggest hurdle.

Too many white papers start by

  • trumpeting their solution first
  • assuming they know the reader’s problem and they don’t [do your research before you hit the keyboard]
  • crafting lofty, academic prose around grandiose, complicated or overly layered concepts

My advice is to paint that challenge/issue/problem/need picture first – use examples and anecdotes where possible – then transition into the solution or a higher level discussion of approach/theory. When the reader picks up the paper, he needs to answer those questions… “Is this my problem?” “Do I identify with this?” “Are they talking about me here?” If you can connect on that level, your solution positioning will be that much more effective.

Phil Dunn Recommends

Bob Bly

Blog CopyWriting

BOB BLY’s Bio

 

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant with more than 25 years of experience in B2B, high-tech, industrial, and direct marketing. He is the author of “The White Paper Marketing Handbook” and numerous articles, books on direct marketing.

BOB BLY’s Tip

Ask your client: what do you want the reader to do, think, or believe after reading your white paper?

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Have you adopted Content Marketing?

Management Guru Peter Drucker wrote about Information Revolutions (invention of writing, invention of the written book, invention of Gutenberg printing press) in his book ‘Management challenges for the 21st century’. According to him, the first printers of the Gutenberg Press were 15th-century technologists similar to the digital technologists of today. Once the technology of printing had leveled, the wealth shifted from the technologists to the content providers – just like the power is shifting to content providers today. Drucker also rightly predicted that the questions in the next information revolution would be “What is the meaning of information, and what is its purpose?”

The Content Era

Let us race forward to today….We find ourselves yet again at the crossroads of an information revolution. Change has come. The Content Revolution is here. And yes, the rules of marketing have changed forever, once again.

Content, whether it is produced by enterprises or individuals, whatever form it is in, is being published and distributed to multiple platforms like never before. The flood gates have been opened and publishing and distribution have been democratized. Distribution of content has become very fragmented thanks in part to the unforeseen growth of channels and forums and new media outlets. Haven’t eBooks changed the face of the book publishing industry in just a few years?

What does this Content Era mean to you?

Every digital marketer is being told to develop blogs, wikis, podcasts, webcasts, youtube videos (and the list goes on..) to market their content. You are under high pressure to develop and publish content quickly in order to reach customer and prospects. Have you stopped to ask:

  • Why? What purpose do these contents serve?
  • How does this content fit in with my overall marketing strategy?
  • How does marketing change with social media?
  • What can content marketing do for my business?
  • How do I reach prospects and customers by providing valuable content?

What is Content Marketing?

Wikipedia defines Content marketing as an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases. In contrast to traditional marketing methods that aim to increase sales or awareness through interruption techniques, content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action.

How is the new digital world content marketing different from traditional content provided up until recently? In the new digital world, content creation and distribution have the following attributes:

  • 2-way interaction rather than a 1-way “push out” content mode of traditional media
  • Many more vehicles to transmit content
  • Increased user interaction & instant feedback
  • Rapid spread of information

High quality, compelling content is the one of the important routes to finding potential customers. Content is any piece of information used to inform, educate or entertain. Examples: video, blog post, white paper, podcast, webinar etc. More and more marketers are moving away from traditional marketing materials like ads towards an integrated content marketing strategy to get their message across.

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Content Strategy: The Philosophy of Data

Developing content, either for white papers, thesis, the web or any other platforms, is not an easy task. Everyday we are confronted to increasing amounts of information that we need to process and make sense of – thousand of blogs keep popping up each day while Twitter’s incessant feed adds noise to the mix. More than ever before, having an efficient content strategy is crucial to produce relevant and significant information.

Razorfish has been producing quality white papers for years. InContent Strategy: The Philosophy of Data, author Rachel Lovinger explains why content strategy needs to be considered:

Perhaps the problem is that, because content is so pervasive, everyone thinks they know all there is to know about it. If you can read and write, you can make content, right? (Nearly 60 million blogs may prove that.) But the fact is, as interactive experiences become more complex, so does the nature of content. A superficial understanding of content isn’t going to cut it anymore. Content strategists in the digital age need to become data philosophers and explore the metaphysics of content, starting with the question “What is content?”

Developing Content Is Like Building a Relationship

Content goes beyond literary and semantics. There are relationships between pieces of text, text and images, images and images, text and links, links and structure – the list goes on. According to Lovinger, building meaningful content means you have to build relationships between all elements that constitute your content. For instance, if you’re writing a white paper, you need to consider other writings on a similar subject as well as the relationship between your text, graphics, images and layout. Creating content means that you’re setting the table for interactive experiences.

The Razorfish white paper makes for a great introduction to content strategy and how strategists can help you construct meaningful relationships. You may also want to have a look at this article by Jeffrey MacIntyre and this one called The Discipline of Content Strategy by A List Apart.

Have you used content strategies to write and market your white papers? Please tell us about your experiences! We’re always eager to learn about your practice.

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