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Whether you’re in your first job out of college or you’ve been in the marketing game for years, we all arrive at aha moments that mark turning points in our careers.
So, we turned to our resident marketing experts from studioID and Industry Dive for an answer to the question: what do you wish you knew sooner that positively impacted your marketing career? Their responses spanned from brand personality tips to SEO best practices to nurturing freelancer relationships and more. Read on to check out the round-up of their game-changing content marketing and demand gen tips to see your program in a new light.
Create Data-Driven Content
On-Image Quote Above: “Data-driven insights drive content marketing. Businesses can’t afford to make educated guesses as to what their audience wants and needs. Instead, leverage data to create timely, relevant, and ‘sticky’ content.”
In today’s data-driven world, consumers expect personalized and customized experiences. And as marketers, we’re on the hook to deliver just that, or risk having our efforts fall into the content abyss. That’s why studioID Content Strategist, Sarina McGowan, is so keen on the importance of leveraging data to deliver content specifically for your target audience.
“Leveraging first-party user data allows you to create content addressing your users’ paint points in a ‘timely, relevant, and ‘sticky’ way, shares McGowan. And it’s this practice of mining and using data that marks the difference between okay content and content that drives serious ROI. According to Forbes, companies that utilize data-driven marketing “are six times more likely to be profitable year-over-year.”
Data-driven content speaks to what your target market cares about, thus capturing their attention, and increasing site traffic, time on site, quality of leads, and more as a result. In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, it’s simply a must-do.
📊 Related Reading: Audience Data and the Future of Content Marketing + Demand Gen
Quick Tips for Creating More Data-Driven Content
Polish your skills surrounding measurement & analysis of engagement analytics of your own program to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why
Interview internal stakeholders (including your sales team) to uncover new audience pain points to research and address
Focus on Content Distinction
On-Image Quote Above: “Focus on content distinction. Instead of searching for new topics to cover, offer unique perspectives on table-stake conversations. Doing so will carve out a competitive advantage for yourself.”
Not only is it unrealistic to try to cover every new topic that emerges in your industry, it’s also not the most tactical approach. Odds are, your brand isn’t an expert on every single new topic. So, why add to the noise when you could produce expertise-driven coverage that sets yourself apart?
VP, Marketing Strategy at studioID, Lieu Pham, suggests pivoting to content distinction. Look to the conversations that are already ‘table-stakes’ for your industry and target market and zero in on the ones your brand has expertise around. Then, find ways to add something to that conversation that only your brand can.
Pham’s dubbed this strategy ‘ownable conversations’ and she’s even created an entire methodology to help you land on yours.
After all, according to LinkedIn-Edelman’s B2B Thought Leadership Report, “81% of respondents want proactive insights that challenge their assumptions rather the validation of their current thinking.”
So, give them what they’re after, and keep your brand in the cultural zeitgeist while showing off your expertise in the process.
Quick Tips for Finding Distinctive Perspectives to Offer:
Identify your brand’s value proposition
Create a list of the most critical topics and issues going on in your industry — including significant shifts, emerging themes, opportunities, and challenges
Find a topic that is at the intersection of your brand’s value proposition and the cultural zeitgeist
Spotlight Your Brand’s Personality
On-Image Quote Above: “Brands have personalities too. Many consumers want to understand the personality of the businesses they interact with. They want to know ‘why’ you are as much as ‘what’ you are.”
It’s easy to take your eye off of showcasing your brand’s unique tone and voice when creating content, especially in the B2B space. But Nathan Nzuwah, Marketing Programs Manager, Industry Dive emphasizes the importance of developing and showing off a brand personality. Not only does a distinct brand personality create an engaging and consistent experience for consumers, but it allows the consumer to develop a relationship with your brand.
A brand personality is what transforms a product or service into something that people can connect with on an emotional level.
A brand’s products and services are of utmost importance, but without a great personality to convey them, fostering a genuine connection with consumers is going to be an uphill battle. And it’s this genuine connection that lays the foundation for building trust with your audience, which is the all-important element that causes your target to choose your brand over another.
Quick Tips for Spotlighting Your Brand’s Personality
Develop a unique tone & voice for your brand using authentic language and maintain consistency across all of your channels
Produce a unique and modern visual identity to match your tone & voice and maintain consistency across all assets
🎨 Related Reading: 4 Forces Shaping Visual Storytelling + Content Marketing Today
Use Strategic Copy for Pop-Ups
On-Image Quote Above: “How exclusivity + immediacy drives conversion rates. For sign-up or download pop-ups, copy that nods to uniqueness (“exclusive access”, “inside look”) and/or urgency (“get X now”, “instant access”) tends to convert best.”
Wondering what works best to grab the attention of — and convert — site users? Sondra Hadden, Senior Director, Audience Growth at Industry Dive has the demand gen insight you’re looking for. Hadden advises marketers to harness the power of exclusivity and immediacy when writing copy for pop-ups. A user’s first instinct is to exit a pop-up, so if you want to have them actually interact, your copy must capture their attention immediately, and an air of exclusivity is one way to do the trick. Think phrases like ‘exclusive access,’ ‘inside look,’ or ‘just for you.’
Similarly, urgency is a great way to promote action. Think copy like ‘get X now,’ ‘get instant access,’ or ‘ending soon.’ In fact, pop-ups with countdown timers generate 112.93% more conversions. Better yet, think of ways you can couple both urgency and scarcity to grab attention, drive clicks, and up those conversion rates.
Quick Tips for Writing High-Converting Pop-Up Copy
Emphasize time-limited offers, limited availability, or impending deadlines
Include a clear call to action
Continuously A/B test and optimize
📈 Related Reading: How to Measure the Success of Your Marketing Campaigns
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Boost SEO Ranking With Indexed Lists
On-Image Quote Above: “Why indexed lists are great for SEO. Search engines reward convenience. So, when you include a clickable index at the top of your long-form content, it helps readers find what they’re looking for more easily, and it can boost your ranking.”
You may create compelling, five-star content — but no one will see your masterpieces without SEO optimization. That’s why studioID Senior Marketing Strategist, Liam Berry, is so passionate about the details when it comes to SEO and cracking the code to rank higher in Google results. Berry suggests adding indexed lists at the top of long-form articles — i.e. a clickable table of contents that jumps a user to various headlines/sections. Not only does this improve the user experience, allowing them to easily get to exactly what they’re looking for and increasing their time on site as a result, but indexed lists also make it easier for Google to parse the page and understand what it’s about, ultimately boosting your search rankings.
SEO and organic search are top of mind for marketing professionals this year, as indicated by studioID’s 2023 Content Marketing Predictions Survey.
Respondents ranked SEO/organic search as their #1 ” distribution channel for success in reaching their prospects in 2023.
SEO remains a critical channel and it’s not going anywhere soon. So, get those indexed table of contents lists in there to increase traffic and delight your users.
Quick Tips for Boosting SEO Rankings
Conduct keyword research using a reliable tool
Structure your content with appropriate headings and subheadings
Don’t create just to feed the algorithms. Instead, create high-quality, well-researched content that’s valuable to your audience
🔎 Related Reading: studioID’s 2023 On-Page SEO Checklist
Don’t Dull Down Your B2B Content
On-Image Quote Above: “Smart = serious. B2B marketing gets a bad rap for being boring … so don’t be. If it makes sense for your brand, experiment with more playful tones and creative approaches to better connect with your audience.”
Harnessing your creativity in the B2B space can be a tall task, but B2B content doesn’t have to be dull. Emily Noel, Content Marketing Associate at Industry Dive, shares her content marketing tip on creating B2B content that stands out. Noel proposes that when the time is right, experiment with your brand’s tone and voice to be animated, witty, and even cheeky.
Take a look at the list of springboard’s Top 50 Content Marketing Programs. You’ll see a bevy of some of the most successful B2B brands included. And you’ll see that a majority of those that made the list know how to have fun with their audience without compromising their intelligence or authority.
Creativity is no longer just an option; it’s a necessity in B2B marketing. To break through the clutter and engage with your audience, you need to deliver compelling and memorable content.
— Ann Handley, The Content Marketing Handbook
So, don’t be afraid to push the envelope on creativity within B2B marketing to foster a deeper connection with your audience. By infusing creativity into B2B marketing, you can cut through the monotony and give your audience a reason to keep coming back for more.
Quick Tips for Creating Compelling B2B Content:
Have a clear sense of your audience’s pain points, challenges, and goals and use this information to guide all of your content creation
Ensure the humor and wit align with your brand’s personality and values. Ensure your brand guidelines inform creators when it’s the right time to get a bit cheeky (e.g. on social) and when it’s best to stay a little more buttoned-up (e.g. a sponsorship email), with good examples for reference
Experiment with content formats that allow your brand to show off a more lively and casual side
💡 Related Reading: 3 Myths About Creativity in B2B Marketing
Build Relationships With Freelancers
On-Image Quote Above: “The value of working with the same freelancers. Don’t ship your content off to just anybody. Find a few freelancers you love, and work with them again and again. They get to know your brand voice and become true extensions of your team.”
Mastering a brand’s unique voice takes time, practice, and skill. So, trusting your brand’s content creation to just anyone can be risky business. That’s why Lauren Smith, Editor-in-Chief of springboard suggests establishing a long-term partnership with a select group of freelancers. Smith shares that doing so will improve your content quality and consistency, and decrease the load on your internal team to constantly find and train new freelancers to work with.
Continuity and consistency are essential in marketing. By working with the same freelancers, you establish a shared language and vision, resulting in seamless execution and stronger brand messaging.
— Pam Didner, “The Secrets of International Marketing”
In doing so, your freelancers get acquainted with your brand’s unique voice, your SEO approach, the sorts of topics you cover and how you cover them, and become seamlessly integrated into your core team. As a result, you can expect a higher level of creativity, efficiency, and effectiveness in your content marketing. After all, an editor knows no bliss quite like getting back a near-perfect first draft. So, do yourself a favor and form your circle of freelancers. And if you’re finding it difficult to track down vetted freelancers with niche industry expertise, we’ve got you covered.
Quick Tips for Nurturing Freelancer Relationships
Devise a brief template that clearly defines guidelines, personas, expectations, keywords, and objectives for each project
Set fair rates that align with industry standards, as well as the length and difficulty level of the project
Provide constructive feedback, recognizing their strengths and providing areas for improvement
📁 Related Reading: 5 Smart Ways to Scale Your Website’s Content
Showcase ROI With Clean Data
On-Image Quote Above: “Prioritize data cleanliness. Showcasing marketing ROI is one of the most important, yet daunting tasks for organizations. Set yourself up for success and create consistent data cleanliness practices.”
Every marketer has experienced the uphill battle of demonstrating the success of a marketing campaign to leadership. That’s why Connor Flanagan, Director of Revenue Marketing at Industry Dive, is all about squeaky-clean data. Flanagan recommends going the distance to make sure no wonky data throws you off course. This equates to things like ensuring you’ve properly implemented and tested your data tracking and analytics tools from the very start, but also periodically testing to ensure nothing has gone awry since launch.
This also involves ensuring the people responsible for pulling and analyzing your data are well-trained in processes like merging data sets, standardization, normalization, deduplication, and beyond.
57% of marketers are getting diminished results as a result of misinterpreting data.
Bad data is a plague for your marketing program and will result in wasted resources and budget. While accurate and reliable data not only strengthens campaign measurement and demonstration of ROI, but also enables you to make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and allocate resources more efficiently, setting yourself up for success in the future.
Quick Tips for Data Cleanliness
Establish consistent and standardized data processes
Invest in data visualization and reporting tools
Regularly audit data to reveal and correct inconsistencies
📊 Related Reading: 4 Steps to Prepare Your Marketing Practice for Data Deprecation
Interested in connecting with marketing experts to create connections, build trust, and drive demand? Let’s talk.