9 Reasons to Invest in a Professional Content Writer in 2018

When looking at your marketing budget for this year, add a professional content writer to the list. It’s an expense well worth the investment.

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4 Unlikely Videos with Compelling Messages for Marketers

We’ve gathered four highly entertaining and unlikely videos with valuable marketing lessons to bring levity to your day and remind you of a few modern marketing truths.

This is Broken by Seth Godin

This incredibly endearing, Larry-David-esque speech by Seth Godin delves into the reasons why some things and ideas just don’t work. Besides offering the chance to indulge in the absurd humor of everyday frustrations, Godin sheds light on our inherent reactions to poorly designed products and concepts — and reveals why consumer opinions should matter to product designers and marketers alike. In a comic journey through the world of poorly executed ideas and nonsensical products, it becomes clear why it pays to pay attention to the unique values, challenges, lifestyles and experiences of your target audience.

404: The Story of a Page Not Found by Renny Gleeson

 

In this short and sweet video on the evolution of 404 error pages, Gleeson speaks to the digital user experience — and argues that strong customer relationships are not predicated on perfection, but on our ability to understand and respond to our mistakes.

The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold by Morgan Spurlock

Humorist and documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (creator of the film Supersize Me) talks about his somewhat rocky attempt to make, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” in a TED talk aptly titled, “The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold.” True to the satire genre, Spurlock’s superficial look at the superficiality of paid advertising is entertaining, but also indicative of popular attitudes and truths about the ad world — truths that, when viewed as a case study, can have instructional value for marketers.

In the talk, Spurlock plays clips of himself interacting with representatives from different brands and asking them to descirbe their unique brand identity. The responses he receives range from cringe-worthy silences to humdrum adjectives — in short, they further the assumption that advertising is surface-level fluff, at best. He asks the same question to the individuals he meets on the street regarding their “personal brand.” Although the responses are often humorous, the exercise itself — which asks people to reflect on their values and on how they outwardly represent different internal qualities — is worth emulating at a brand level.

The TED talk serves as a compelling reminder that, especially in today’s over-saturated product marketplace people value authenticity, self-awareness, creativity and honesty when fostering relationships with brands as much as they do in human interactions. As a marketer, it’s always worth remembering the individual on the other end of your ad campaign — and putting time and thought into understanding their needs, nurturing their trust and adeptly communicating what your company stands for, why you’re different and why they should care.

Selling Condoms in the Congo by Amy Lockwood

In a much different vein than Seth Godin’s “This is Broken,” marketer-turned-international-developer Amy Lockwood uses her marketing background to investigate why condom brands donated by Western relief agencies aren’t being used in the Congo, where AIDS levels remain high. In her answer, she discusses why it’s important for marketers to understand the perspective of their target audiences and create brand messaging that is consistent with those values. Especially in cases where product branding is aimed at motivating behavioral change, there’s no substitute for knowing your audience.

Customer-centricity is the credo of Inbound Marketing and the secret to sustainable and scalable business growth in the modern age. Ready to embrace all the value that the inbound methodology has to offer your company and your customers? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing below to learn how and why inbound represents the future of digital marketing.

 The Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing - Free Download

Your 9 Step Guide to Building a Successful Webinar Strategy

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If you haven’t incorporated webinar development into your inbound content strategy yet, it’s time to start. Webinars don’t take a lot of your budget to implement, but provide an immediate lead capture opportunity and enable you to directly engage with qualified prospects. Best of all, they’re an effective way to provide comprehensive, educational content for your buyer personas. If done right, webinars can significantly drive lead generation and boost ROI.

Planning your first webinar can be an overwhelming process, so we’ve created a list of the nine essential steps to take to ensure your next webinar is successful.

1. Be smart about your timeline

Any marketing professional understands that timing is everything and webinar development is no exception.

When it comes to choosing a day and time for your webinar, consider when people are most likely to tune in. If you’re trying to reach business professionals, airing your webinar mid-afternoon on a weekday is a safe bet. Webinars offer the opportunity for prospects to learn in a way that can be more engaging than reading a lengthy ebook or whitepaper. Tuning in to listen to a short webinar on a lunch break is often a much-desired change of pace for busy professionals.

Your webinar should last from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the density of your chosen topic. Avoid hosting webinars longer than an hour. A lengthy time commitment may deter busy professionals from registering. After determining the length of your webinar, organize the script and slide deck to match your time frame.

Your timeline for planning should kick at least one full month ahead of the established webinar air date. This lead time will ensure you can implement effectively and see ROI on your marketing efforts. We recommend allotting a minimum of three weeks for ongoing promotion. The longer you promote your webinar, the more leads you’ll capture and the more revenue you’ll generate in the long run.

2. Identify a prospect list

Now that you’ve set a time and date, you’re ready to figure out who your target audience will be.

What buyer persona(s) do you want to reach? What are their pain points and how can you address them through this content medium? Rather than sending out an invitation to your entire contact database, establish an ample prospect list based on specific qualifying criteria. From there, focus on the different attributes and challenges of your targeted personas to shape your webinar content strategy.

3. Choose a relevant topic and knowledgeable speakers

Now that you’ve identified the prospects you aim to target with your webinar, it’s time to a choose a topic and speakers.

Inbound best practices dictate that your content should provide value for your buyer personas in the form of education. Select a topic that is timely, relevant, educational and alleviates a pain-point of your targeted buyer personas.

Next, it’s time to consider connections within your network who are experts on this topic; they’re going to be the most effective speakers. Be aware of your selected speaker’s comfort and skill level with public speaking. Verbal clarity and succinctness are key to conveying your content in a compelling way.

4. Establish a content outline

Once you’ve found the perfect subject matter experts to speak about your topic, you can begin to outline the content of your webinar. Create a script, slide deck and any other documentation necessary to your preparation.

Your script can be cursory or calculated depending on the style of your webinar. Brief, informal scripts are great for conversational presentations. If you are covering a general topic at a high level, this style of webinar is a great choice. Conversely, deep dives into complex topics often demand comprehensive, rehearsed scripts. Determine your topic’s level of intricacy and choose your presentation style accordingly.

Your slide deck should not be text-heavy or overly exhaustive. It should provide sufficient information to supplement your verbal presentation. Bullet points and images are effective ways to keep text minimal and points concise.

 Download the Free Video Strategy Workbook: Build Your Video Marketing Strategy  in 9 Easy Steps

5. Create a gated registration page with persuasive copy

The copy on your registration page must clearly communicate the value of your webinar and include all essential information. Remember to consider varying time zones when sharing your webinar’s air time and date.

To support your lead generation efforts, we recommend requiring users to submit a form in order to register for your webinar. Webinars are usually a middle-of-funnel content offer, so your form strategy should mirror requirements corresponding to this stage of the buyer’s journey. Content at the middle of the funnel aligns with the “consideration” stage of the buyer’s journey — meaning that the buyer is deciding whether or not your solution could be a good fit for their business.

Because the buyer is showing a high-involvement interest, your form can ask for personal details without seeming invasive. Capturing this critical information can help your team better tailor their sales conversion efforts and build rapport with leads post-webinar. Don’t forget to configure your landing page so that form submission automatically registers users through your webinar-hosting software.

Lastly, be sure to route users to a thank-you page that incorporates inbound best practices and a relevant content offer upon submission.

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6. Create promotional content with appropriate methods of measurement

Your returns will depend on your promotion efforts. We recommend promoting your webinar via email and social media for at least three weeks prior to the air date. It’s critical that you clearly communicate the value of your webinar through concise, persuasive copy. Furthermore, be sure to supplement your copy with engaging visuals and actionable CTAs.

The only thing as important as your promotional content is your method for attributing how it contributed to lead generation. Understand your means and method for measuring the value of your efforts. Define it and share it with team members. Doing so will enable you to identify strengths and weaknesses within your webinar promotion strategy and ultimately improve upon it in the future.

7. Set up an email workflow to urge prospects to register

Your prospects are busy people and it’s likely that a single promotional email won’t suffice to bring in your desired number of registrants. A prospect could initially dismiss your promotion as spam without realizing that they’re missing out on a premium content offer.

Thankfully, your marketing automation platform can help you avoid falling victim to miscommunication. Consider creating a workflow of three to four promotional emails to encourage registration in the weeks leading up to your air date. Once your prospect completes the desired action (webinar registration) they’ll be unenrolled from your workflow and will stop receiving promotional content.

By creating a workflow to nurture prospects who have received promotional content for your webinar but still haven’t registered, you can ensure that prospects aren’t mistakenly dismissing your offer.

8. Host your webinar

After weeks of preparation, it’s finally time to air your webinar. We recommend recording a test run with your speakers prior to the actual air date to troubleshoot any technical complications and help everyone get comfortable.

Make sure you’ve configured a platform like GoToWebinar to host and record your presentation. Confirm that all guest speakers who will be attending remotely are given the necessary permissions to attend the webinar as a co-host.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy your experience as a speaker or host. Surely, it can be intimidating to consider the prospect of public speaking, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Focus on effectively communicating your message to your audience in a way that is both easy to follow and engaging. In the end, what matters most is the value you’ve provided your prospects — so make sure you take your time to emphasize key insights.

9. Conduct post-webinar follow-up with registrants

After the webinar airs, follow up with registrants via email to thank them for taking part. Be sure to provide a recording of the webinar for registrants who were unable to attend the live airing or would like to re-watch it.

If you’d like to promote the webinar recording to non-registrants, we recommend creating a new landing page to fuel your lead generation efforts. Even though your webinar has officially passed, the recording still has value as a middle-of-funnel content offer, so tailor your form strategy accordingly.

Be a webinar star!

Incorporate webinar development into your content strategy to promote lead generation and drive revenue. As long as you follow the nine steps detailed above, your next webinar is sure to be a success.

Interested in learning more best practices for incorporating video into your inbound marketing strategy?

simple video strategy guide

Tips to Optimize Video for Different Social Media Channels

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By 2020, over 80% of all consumer internet traffic will be in video format. Social video marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage and connect with your target audience. We’ve taken a look at some of the most vital social media video statistics to provide a comprehensive list of tips to help you get the most out of video on all your social channels.

Facebook

More than 8 billion videos are watched on Facebook every day and video gets 135% more organic reach than photos posted on Facebook.

1. Add Captions

85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, so it’s vital that your message isn’t missed. You could also feature a message within your video asking users to tap the video to hear the sound.

2. Upload Video Directly to Facebook

Native videos get 109% higher interaction rates and 477% higher share rates than YouTube videos uploaded to Facebook. So if you’re looking to increase engagement on Facebook don’t just link to YouTube videos — upload to Facebook itself.

3. Choose a Preferred Audience

Facebook allows you to target native video to the most relevant users and you’d be crazy to ignore this marketing feature. You can also restrict access to certain audience groups, so your video reaches only your specified audience and engagement rates aren’t skewed by disinterested users.

Twitter

Videos are six times more likely to be retweeted than photos, so if your brand is active on Twitter, you can’t afford to ignore video content.

1. Include Your Brand Logo

Purchase intent increases by 9% when you include your brand’s logo in Twitter videos, so be sure to feature yours.

2. Go Live

Videos focused on a live event increase favorability of a brand by a whopping 63%, so tap into this by using live, real-time video with Periscope. You could showcase the launch of a new product or give insights into an event you’re hosting; whatever even you’re capturing, having a live video feed builds excitement and inspires engagement.

3. Choose Native Video

Rather than sharing video from other sites, upload directly to Twitter. Much like Facebook, Twitter’s autoplay feature for native video has been proven to increase views and user engagement.

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Instagram

Since it’s the most visual social media platform, your Instagram video marketing campaigns need to be aesthetically pleasing, while also remaining short and sweet. Instagram videos are limited to just 60 seconds, so focus on creating succinct, eye-catching and meaningful (yet focused) content.

1. Use Animation or Explainer Videos

Colorful, animated video is a great way to grab attention on Instagram (as are short, how-to videos), but with a limit of 60 seconds, you need to be creative with how you spend your time. If you don’t have the capability to execute animation in-house, it’s worth finding a video production company with the skill and experience to execute exciting concepts that further your brand’s messaging and draw attention to your product.

2. Be Selective With Hashtags

Hashtags can help increase the exposure that your video receives, but overwhelming your audience with a wall of hashtags usually indicates a lack of direction and can distract from your intended message. Instead, pick three to five of the most relevant hashtags for each Instagram video you post.

3. Ask Users to Share Their Photos With you

Use your video as an opportunity to garner engagement by asking users to share posts using the hashtags you’ve created. If you shared a short recipe video, for example, it would make sense to ask viewers to share their variations of that recipe by using a hashtag that features your brand name.

Download the Free Video Strategy Workbook: Build Your Video Marketing Strategy  in 9 Easy Steps

YouTube

The Internet’s biggest video sharing platform shouldn’t be ignored when creating a comprehensive social video marketing strategy. There are plenty of YouTube marketing tips to consider, but here are our top three:

1. Collaborate with YouTube Influencers

60% of YouTube subscribers follow buying advice from their favorite YouTube creators over the advice of movie stars or TV personalities. In short, if you have the budget to collaborate on videos with YouTube influencers that fit your brand identity, it could be a productive marketing strategy.

2. Crosslink Videos for Maximum Impact

Be sure to link to other relevant videos from your channel to increase the chances of viewers consuming more of your content. Creating a series of videos that focus on a particular topic and linking between videos is a great way to inspire greater engagement.

3. Focus on Tutorials and How-to Videos

100 million hours of how-to videos were watched on YouTube within a five-month span in 2015. Offering viewers valuable information on a subject that’s within your company’s wheelhouse can help foster trust and nurture engagement more effectively than pushing sales or brand-centric messages.

LinkedIn

Because LinkedIn is a B2B-focused social platform, it’s perfect for identifying and building relationships with potential customers. LinkedIn has only recently introduced native video for users, but that means it’s the perfect time to beat your competitors to the punch by formulating a social video marketing strategy.

1. Share Your Expert Knowledge

LinkedIn is known as a site to connect with other professionals and share industry knowledge, so keep consistent with this theme in your videos. You could create FAQs video related to your products or services, for example, or showcase product demos and how-to videos.

2. Don’t be too Pushy on Sales

This tip should really be applied to every social media platform, but with LinkedIn, it’s particularly important because you need to attract viewers with valuable information, rather than bombard them with sales messages. Focus on providing insight, then mention additional products or services which could add value to your message when the timing and context are appropriate.

3. Cater to Short Attention Spans

LinkedIn videos can be up to 10 minutes long but start with videos shorter than 2 minutes since this is the length that garners the most user engagement. LinkedIn users are busy professionals, so they’re not likely to engage with longer content unless you’ve built demand for it.

Best Practices for all Platforms

Finally, let’s finish with some best practices that you can apply to video on every social media platform.

1. Think Inside the box

Literally, keep it square. Square video outperforms landscape in both views and engagement across all social media platforms, so bear this in mind when filming and editing your video.

2. Grab Attention Within the First Three Seconds

Most social platforms autoplay video, so if you can capture the interest of users in the first three-seconds, your video is more likely to be watched in its entirety. That means avoiding lengthy stills featuring the video title or your brand name at the outset. Instead, get straight into the action (and straight to the point).

3. Tailor your Video Titles and Descriptions for Each Platform.

No two social media sites are quite the same, so don’t treat your copy as such. Think about the tone and function of a platform and try to keep your messaging consistent with that aesthetic. Social media platforms vary in their level of formality, post length, audience age, demographics, type of user engagement and much more — bear all these factors in mind and create smart copy that resonates with the standards of the platform it will be hosted on (without straying from your brand identity).

4. Add a Call to Action

Make the most of your video views by adding a call to action. This could be within the video itself or in the post content. Make it relevant to the video content and try to demonstrate what value the viewer gets from fulfilling the action.

Interested in learning more inbound marketing tips and tricks to grow your business? Look inside our video strategy workbook to learn more valuable video marketing strategies.

simple video strategy guide