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Savvy Sisters - Fri May 04, 2012 @ 07:00AM
Comments: 25

Savvy Week in ReviewHappy Friday, everyone! We hope that you are enjoying spring and getting outside when you can. To reduce the time you spend looking for the most useful posts from the week, check out our favorites below. Did we miss something? Add them in the comments!

Enjoy the weekend, and see you on the other side.

The Savvy Sister

Is Your Content Supporting or Sinking Your Thought Leadership Efforts? by @kevinrcain via @Junta42

Kevin Cain of OpenView Venture Partners offers up a set of criteria to separate what’s often passed off as thought leadership from the real deal.

On-demand Sessions from the B2B Content2Conversion Conference via @DG_Report

DemandGen Report hosted a content marketing conference in NYC on April 24 and you can watch all the sessions for free online! Don't pass up this opportunity to hear from Ardath Albee, Christina "CK" Kerley, Jeanne Hopkins of HubSpot, Elle Woulfe of Eloqua and more.

New Research: B2B Content is a Dead End by @wittlake

Eric Wittlake shares the results of his informal survey of white papers produced by 10 large B2B companies. Find out why these papers fail to keep prospects engaged.

B2B Content Strategy Should Never Be a Wallflower – by @ardath421

Ardath Albee discusses why transitions between channels in B2B marketing.

Ten Brands Doing Post-Adverting Right: Spring Edition – by @Story_Jon

Here are 10 great examples of content marketing and brand storytelling.

Does Your Website Need a Mobile Makeover? 8 Mobile Optimization Tips To Improve Your Site’s UX – by @KISSmetrics

If you are looking for examples of how mobile optimization can help your website, check out this image-rich post from KISSmetrics.

How to Write a Better Call to Action via @MarketingProfs

Next to your headline, your CTA is the most important piece of copy on your page. Do you know how to write a good one?

5 Steps Brands Can Take to Tell Better Stories by CMO.com via @getcurata

Do you know how to get the best stories in front of your customers? This post includes five tips on how to maximize your storytelling opportunities.

Five of the All-Time Biggest Blogging Questions Answered by @markwschaefer

You have questions, Mark has answers. Come and get 'em! 

 

Comments: 25
Kate Headen Waddell - Thu May 03, 2012 @ 10:23AM
Comments: 71

Grandma.jpgMy grandmother was not a business woman. She was mostly a mom, a grandmother and a homemaker. She passed away when I was only 16, but I still remember (nearly every day!) some pearl of wisdom she passed along in the form of an old saying or another.

One that I have been thinking about A LOT lately is “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

It seems like in B2B we are always in a rush. The next trade show, the next product release, the upcoming networking event. And unfortunately, it seems like content is always the last thing on the to-do list for these events. That results in a rush job that stresses everyone out (from the sales person to the print shop) and all that effort frequently ends up getting scrapped after the event because the content was done in a rush and doesn’t quite hold up to scrutiny.

How can you ensure that you always have quality content to back you up when you take your B2B products and services out for a spin? Yep. Grandma had this one covered to: “Plan your work and work your plan.”

You see, content shouldn’t be created for events. It should be created for products and services. It should be as much a part of the creation process as coding, manufacturing and packaging. Making content a part of the process results in better content that connects more effectively with prospects. So how can you work content into your product and service lifecycle?

1.       Plan ahead

This can be as simple as having a list of every piece of content needs to be developed to accompany a new product or service launch. Maybe services only need web copy, solution briefs and sales presentations while products require case studies and white papers on top of that, but encoding content requirements is a big step in ensuring your content library stays current.

2.       Get it in the workflow

When does content creation need to start? Perhaps not from the very beginning, but certainly once the launch date is set. Be sure to start with high level messaging that gets approved up and down the chain of command – that way you can create individual pieces of content with greater confidence – and fewer review cycles.

3.       Refresh often

Product update? Brand re-launch? Time to go through your content with a fine tooth comb to make sure it always represents the latest messaging. Do not, I repeat, do NOT send your sales people out with content they have to qualify.

4.       Curate

“Clean as you go along” grandma always said. And this is the one content item that is the most likely to get overlooked. If you just keep stacking up content without keeping track of it and culling it down once in awhile, you will end up with a big mess that no one can navigate. Creating (and sticking to) an iron-clad versioning system and cleaning schedule can help a lot here.

5.       Send out content with confidence!

About the author: Kate Headen Waddell is a strategic copywriter specializing in web copy, white papers, case studies, blogging and other B2B marketing tools. You can visit her website at www.smartb2bmarcom.com.

Comments: 71
Savvy Sisters - Fri Apr 27, 2012 @ 05:00AM
Comments: 101

Savvy Week in ReviewTGIF, people! 

Another week, another tasty selection of fabulous posts from around the blogosphere. Welcome to our smorgasbord of the best B2B blogging tidbits this week. We hope you enjoy them and then go unplug for the weekend - spring is coming into full swing all over the place and you ought to go out and have some fun in it.

Happy reading & see you next week! 

The Savvy Sister

How to Get People to Click a Link in a Newsletter by @jonbuscall

Don't overcomplicate things. This post includes several experienced-based tips on how to make your email work harder. 

How Content Marketers Can Reach a Larger Audience by Redefining the eBook by @Wogahn via @junta42

Great ideas on how to go bigger and better with your ebooks - get more bang for the buck, so to speak.

Are You Worthy of Social Media? The 2 Types of Talk Triggers by @jaybaer

Do you know how to earn engagement on social media? This post will help you get it. 

How to Discover the Key Words People are Searching For by @SEWatch via @GetCurata

Key words. Everyone knows they are important, but do you know which ones you should be using?

My Blog Made Over 2 Million Dollars in Sales: How’s that for ROI?  by @TheSalesLion

Want proof of social media ROI. Here it is in black and white. How d'you like them apples?

Marketing Scores Leads, So Why Doesn’t Sales Score Opportunities? by @DataDrivenSales via @bobapollo

Swayne Hill shares a proven way for sales to save significant admin time better deal with sales forecast risks. 

The mainstreaming of content marketing: ten implications by @dougkessler via @Econsultancy

How to stay ahead of the pack even as content marketing becomes the norm.

... and just for fun: Top 10 Most Unforgivable Twitter Spelling Mistakes on @buzzfeed (Thanks to @shellykramer for the tip off!) 

And last, but certainly not least, we hope you'll enjoy this great interview of B2B marketer extraordinaire and Savvy B2B Marketing friend @DiannaHuff being interviewed by @MonicaMagnetti about her wonderful Women Achieiving Dreams ebook. 

 

 

Comments: 101
Wendy Thomas - Thu Apr 26, 2012 @ 01:57PM
Comments: 11

 

This week my kids are on spring vacation from school. One of my sons, who had done poorly on the writing essay portion of 

the SATs, along with two of his buddies, will be taking a class I am teaching on how to write an essay for the test. Photo credit: aaron13251

The SAT does not ask you to be creative; instead it asks you to follow a format. It wants to see if you can follow rules. When asked for an essay, you had better provide one using 5 paragraphs with the following format:

·         Introduction

·         Example 1

·         Example 2

·         Qualification

·         Conclusion

Or you will fail.

“Can I use “I”?” one of the kids asked.

Nope, the graders don’t care what you think.  They only want to see that the structure has been followed - is your thesis sentence in the right place, do you have 5 facts in each example paragraph, and have you acknowledged the other point of view?

“I’m not teaching you how to be a good writer,” I started the class with, “I want you to understand that I am simply teaching you how to write for a specific test.”

“What about personal opinion?”

Not allowed.

“What voice should I use?”

Only authoritative and never chummy, do not have a friendly discussion with your reader. Assume that you are in a court of law and you need to convince the jurors of your position.

One boy in the class told me that he was told by his English teacher that if he couldn’t come up with a reference for the test essay to make one up, but to be sure to make it “looks like it’s real.”

*sigh*

This is what writing has come down to. And while I understand the need for some sort of metrics, it makes me sick that our kids, the future of tomorrow, are being taught to write like this.

This is a formula - follow it. Breaking from the mold will result in failure.

If you can’t make it, then fake it, as long as you can conform to the standards.

While we are rapidly heading into a world where group allegiance to the whole will be demanded from kids who are taught to numbingly follow the rules, in my world of art and creativity, we are silently weeping.

***

 

 

Wendy Thomas is a writer, journalist, and blogger on subjects ranging from social networking and e-marketing to owning backyard chickens. She spent more than 20 years as a technical writer and has taught classes in technical writing and instructional design both at the graduate and undergraduate level. Through her business; Jackson and Thomas e-Writing, her work with marketingprofs.com, and as a Savvy Sister at savvyb2bmarekting.com, she regularly consults with companies advising on best practices to use when trying to effectively get their brand and platform recognized on the Internet.

Wendy has been a guest speaker, a columnist, and has been published in regional and national newspapers and magazines, as well as on many blogs. You can contact Wendy at Wethomas@gmail.com.

 

 

Comments: 11
Comments: 13

Marketing Sherpa is running a Reader's Choice Best Marketing Blogs.  They are asking for nominations in a 13 categories!!!  We applaud the diversity in their options.  So often all marketing blog "Best of" lists lump all blogs into a single category or into just B2B and B2C.  So check out the list below and nominate your favorites by commenting on this Marketing Sherpa Blog post!

 

Here are the categories:

  • Best B2B Marketing Blog
  • Best Email Marketing Blog
  • Best E-commerce Blog
  • Best Inbound Marketing Blog
  • Best Copywriting Blog
  • Best PPC Blog
  • Best SEO Blog
  • Best Marketing Strategy Blog
  • Best Social Media Blog
  • Best Viral Marketing Blog
  • Best Marketing Operations Blog
  • Best Design Blog
  • Best Optimization/Testing Blog

Nominations are open until Sunday May 13th.  If you are a fan of Savvy B2B we would love to have your vote of confidence with a nomination in the Best B2B Marketing Blog category.  We particularly love being recoginized in Reader's Choice lists because we value your opinion of our work first and foremost!

 

Comments: 13
Heather Rubesch - Tue Apr 24, 2012 @ 08:56AM
Comments: 43

easel_ly.pngThe Savvy Sisters love a good infographic!  We post them in this Toolkit feature, share them in our original posts and on Twitter.  We are information junkies and we know many our readers are too!  So when Jamie came across this new infographic creation tool easel.ly we were excited to share it with all of you.

Please check it out and tell then fill out the feedback form for the easel.ly development team.  

A word of caution about infographics, they are only as good as the information behind them.  They are a powerful tool but you still need to use solid research techniques to gather the data you put in them.  You might want to check out this post on 7 Critical Steps to Collecting Effective Survey Data.

Comments: 43
Savvy Sisters - Fri Apr 20, 2012 @ 09:00AM
Comments: 18

Another week, another set of inspiring posts. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

savvyweek2.jpg

The Savvy Sister

The Myth of Having To Post Every Day to Be a Successful Blogger by @DannyBrown via @BlogTipsOnline

Here's some proof that you don't have to blog every day to make blogging worth your while.

LinkedIn 4x better for B2B leads than Facebook or Twitter says HubSpot study by @dmscott re: @Hubspot

Hubspot reports that LinkedIn is the place to be if you're trying to generate leads.

A Strong Cast of Characters is Vital to Telling Your Company’s Story  by @bradmarley via @SpinSucks

How do you create affinity for the people behind your company? Take a notes from Brad Marley who works with GM to create stories that help build community.

75 Top Marketing Blogs to Make Your RSS Reader Fat! – via @unbounce

Not that you need more to read, but if you are looking for new blogs to follow, check out this post from Kristi Hines. She packages up categories of blogs into RSS feeds so you can easily subscribe to multiple blogs at once.

Social Media Time Savers: 4 New Productivity Tools and How to Use Them – by @jessostroff via @jaybaer

I’m all about finding tools to make help with collaboration and productivity. Here are four you should try out.

5 Unorthodox Tips For Finding Blog Inspiration – by @pushingsocial

We are all looking for inspiration at some point, and Stanford Smith has some ideas that may help.   

How Asking “Why” Helps Us Get to Our Larger Story by @Robert_Rose via @Junta42

The 5 "whys" critical to content marketing.

 

Comments: 18
Heather Rubesch - Thu Apr 19, 2012 @ 05:22PM
Comments: 28

 

Help-Wanted1.jpgI recently heard Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, speak at DemandCon.  He spoke about marketing departments hiring former journalists as Content Directors for their organizations.  He gave several examples of valuable insights that trained journalists bring to the role of Content Marketer.  To watch Joe’s entire presentation visit the DemandCon BrightTalk channel here.

As moved as I was by Joe’s presentation I began to reflect on my own career and path to success as a content marketer.  I do have a marketing degree but I spent most of my actual work career as a project manager, professional services manager and pre-sales engineer.  I think all of these areas provide skills that could be leveraged by the marketing department to create good content.  As guest authors on blogs, to contribute to or author white papers and they are invaluable resources in the creation of case studies.  I will give you a few examples of skills I picked up in each of these roles that prepared me to be the content marketer I am today.

Project Managers

As a general rule project managers are skilled documenters.  They are responsible for keeping their projects on-time, in scope and under budget.  Because they rarely have direct supervisory responsibility for those under them they have to use well honed people skills and wide array of motivation tactics to keep their teams performing in harmony.  They also must constantly balance the needs of both internal and external customers.  I truly never had such a challenging job as the 5 years I spend managing IT implementation projects.

Why those responsible for content marketing should get to know their organizations project managers?  Because they know what happens after the sale.  They can review your content marketing materials with a finely honed BS meter.  They have tremendous contacts within the organization to the deepest Subject Matter Experts on any given topic.  They know where the product guys and gals go for lunch and what kind of beer the Quality Testing staff drinks. 

Professional Services

These are the road warriors of any B2B organization.  They are the folks who are tasked with going to whatever remote area your customers data center, warehouse, etc is in and physically implementing the product.  Whether that be software, hardware, a conveyor belt these soldiers of your industry have seen more Hampton Inn’s that anyone else and they are the “face” of your organization to end user. 

Marketers need to know them because they know what customers say about your organization during the implementation, what the hidden benefits of your product are and what ends up making the biggest difference to customers in the end.  They know what your customers say about your competitors that you are either replacing or got selected over.  Once a Professional Services person has been on site with a client for several weeks they often develop a closeness that can’t be duplicated.  I once spent 9 weeks at the same company in rural Wisconsin doing a proof of concept.  When I was done with that implementation I knew more about the internal politics of my customer and their buying process than many of their internal staff because the CIO’s secretary who arranged my hotel and travel was very talkative.  We used feedback I picked up from that client to reshape our whole ROI model and value proposition for all deals within that industry.

Pre-Sales Engineer

If a Content Marketer wants to float some possible messaging, a new product brochure, sales deck out into the world their best friend is the Pre-Sales Engineer.  Pre-Sales are the technical grunts that travel around to most product demo or second tier sales meetings and sit silently waiting to expound on the deep intricacies of the product when the Salesperson has run out of blurbs and drivel they memorized off the slicks that marketing provided them.  In most meetings that means the Pre-Sales person spends the first two-thirds or three-fourths of the meeting sitting and watching the crowd.  They are lying in wait for the moment when the sales rep says “would you like to see a demo”. 

Why is this valuable to content marketing?  Because Pre-Sales is trained to listen to what departments / pain points are represented in the meeting and then when it comes time for their demo to make sure they include some sort of example or benefit for everyone in the room.  “Jane, I remember you mentioned you are from inside sales.  I wanted to make sure I showed you the workflow component of our application which allows you to quickly enter data one place and have it populate the CRM and ordering system.  It sounds like that is a two step process for you with your current application”.  Once you get a vigorous head nod from a department or a request for a follow up case study / white paper on a particular pain point then you know you have hit pay dirt. 

If Pre-Sales is actively involved in contributing to your blog or is aware of your editorial calendar they can help engage these departmental attendees and evangelize engagement in your community.

I would love to hear examples of other Content Director working across their organizations to get content contributors in unexpected places.  Please comment below!

Comments: 28
Savvy Sisters - Fri Apr 13, 2012 @ 10:01AM
Comments: 10

Friday the 13th is upon us!  The only bad luck we see this week is if you don't catch these great posts we've found across the blogosphere. 

savvyweek2.jpg Enjoy -- and have a great weekend!

The Savvy Sister

Meet Generation C: The Connected Customer by @BrianSolis

Eye-opening overview of statistics on the next generation of consumers. This will undoubtedly have repercussions in all areas of business and marketing. 

How PowerPoint + YouTube = Great Content Marketing by @brencournoyer

Excellent idea on how to turn all those PowerPoints you have lying around into YouTube gold.

50 Content Ideas to Create Buzz by @ConversationAge

Excellent and thorough list of great ideas - each with a linked example.

Redesigning Your Blog to Drive Reader Behavior by @jaybaer

Detailed, behind-the-scenes look at Convince and Convert's strategic makeover. 

10 Tips for Creating Effective Calls to Action – via @B2Community

Once you have great content, you often need to get people to sign up. Marianne Cellucci shares concrete ideas and examples on how to get a visitor to complete a goal.

Content Marketing for In-Person Events: 15 Ways to Extend Your Reach – by @Juntajoe

This is a must-read article from Joe Pulizzi if you work on in-person events.

35 Beautiful Landing Page Design Examples to Drool Over [With Critiques] – via @unbounce

If you are creating landing pages, bookmark this post from Unbounce. You’re certain to be inspired!

 

Comments: 10
Michele Linn - Wed Apr 11, 2012 @ 07:00AM
Comments: 18

avtoportet_13_08_06_hrustall.jpgLike any marketer, I believe in the value of listening: monitoring multiple sources for information about my industry and company to keep on top of trends, find relevant info to share, connect with others in my field and participate in conversations. While I've followed blogs, used Google Alerts, followed Twitter streams, and subscribed to a lot of emails for years, I'll admit that I was a bit of a disorganized mess. Not only do I get my info from different sources, but I use multiple devices: a MacBook Pro, an iPad and a Droid. So, even though I was listening, I was missing information and spending too much time in the process. 

If you are looking to streamline your listening process, here are are some of the challenges I faced with solutions for each. 

I needed a more robust RSS reader for my iPad.

I do most of my reading on my iPad, so I needed a reader from which I could do everything I need. I settled on Feeddler Pro ($4.99), which I really like because it meets many of my requirements:

  • It syncs with Google reader and all of the folders I have set up
  • I can easily add new feeds directly from Feeddler Pro
  • It has a straightforward interface
  • I can easily share posts directly to Twitter or email
  • I can easily send posts to Evernote (my new content repository, which I LOVE)
     

Now when I have a few minutes to spare, I am much more productive because I am sharing and saving the info that is most relevant to me. 

I signed up for industry-related emails, but I hated all of the clutter in my inbox. 

While I see value in getting industry news via email, I found that all of the emails would distract me from necessary work, or worse, clog up my inbox, resulting in me losing important emails admist all of the clutter. One solution was to  simply delete these messages without reading them in an attempt to keep my inbox clean(ish), but then I was missing some good info! 

To combat this issue, I first unsubscribed from all of the emails that I no longer found useful. Then, I set up filters on emails that I still wanted to still review (I use gmail-based accounts, so I followed these instructions). These filtered emails automatically bypass by inbox and are fed to a folder so I can see them when I have time, but they don't distract me from my other mail. It's amazing how much less email I see in my inbox, which is a huge time-saver. Out of all of the changes I made, this is one of my favorites as I can now more easily focus on the emails that need my attention while accessing the industry-related emails when I want to listen. 

I wanted to limit my time on Twitter.

I use Hootsuite, but I don't love having it on in the background because it's another distraction. So, I  started subscribing to NutshellMail, which delivers a digest of Twitter @and LinkedIn) info via email. You can customize what info you want to receive and choose the exact frequency of the emails. I have one email delivered around 11 so it's something I can review when I am eating lunch. Just knowing that this info will be delivered has helped me focus on Twitter in a more productive way. 

I wanted to end the feeling of information overload.

No matter what process I use for listening, there is always going to be more info than I can possibly consume, so I allocate a certain amount of time to listening each day. I only read what I can, and I no longer worry about "keeping up." Having this change in attitude has really helped.

These small changes have resulted in great productivity gains for me. What other tips do you have to streamline the listening process for marketing? 

About the author: Michele is the Content Development Director of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.
 

 

Comments: 18
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