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3 Questions To Help You Evolve Your Content and Marketing

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3 Questions To Help You Evolve Your Content and Marketing

Revolution brings sudden, radical, or complete change. And we’ve experienced enough of those 180-degree shifts to leave us all exhausted.

Evolving, on the other hand, happens more subtly over a longer period. Still, change for the better (rather than change for change’s sake) requires a series of decisions and actions.

Here’s the good news: You don’t need to radically change everything you’ve learned or processes you’ve relied on to meet content marketing’s challenges. But you will need to evolve.

Thousands of content and marketing professionals came to Content Marketing World in Washington, D.C., last week to share ideas on how.

As you might have guessed, many of the conversations involved artificial intelligence. Some of the brightest minds in AI shared their views on the state of AI and what it means for the future of marketers. I can’t share all the nuances and details in this recap without drowning out the rest of the week’s lessons (more to come in our ongoing coverage). But here’s a TL;DR version: AI will continue to have an extraordinary impact on our industry but so will humans.

With that understanding, I offer some provocative questions to consider based on the ideas keynote speakers shared for evolving to meet the challenges of 2023 and beyond.

1. Are you crystal clear about your content mission and purpose?

I’m sure you’re familiar with Zillow – the brand name has morphed into a verb to describe looking up home values.

You might think Zillow becoming a household term means the brand has achieved marketing rock-star status. Job done. Why would their marketing team change a thing?

But even established brands need to maintain and build on their reputation. As much as the Zillow team appreciated its funny and cool reputation, the company isn’t in the business of giving people a peak behind the curtains of houses – it’s an online real estate marketplace.

As Beverly Jackson, the company’s vice president of brand and product marketing (and Content Marketer of the Year finalist in 2018), explained, the team needed to evolve that reputation.

How did they do it? First, Beverly shared, they crystallized their purpose and centered their content on one mission – to make it easier for people to go through the home-buying process.

To do that, the team created a central hub where people can find everything they need. To promote it, they launched a campaign that embraced the reason most people know Zillow (i.e., to find out how much their boss paid for their home) and let them know it was so much more (i.e., a place to help them buy their own home).

That campaign returned a 94% unaided brand recall. “When customers started talking about Zillow the way we talk about our brand, we knew we were onto something,” Beverly said.

How can you adjust your organization’s marketing messages to get the company and the audience speaking the same language?

When customers talk about your brand the way you talk about it, you’re on to something, says @BevJack via @EditorStahl @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

2. Have you fallen for the biggest lie in marketing?

Derek Thompson is a writer and editor for The Atlantic, author of the bestselling book Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction, and host of the Plain English podcast. So he was a natural fit to interview the insightful, smart, and funny actress, producer, and director Elizabeth Banks (we’ll bring you more on that talk another time).

1696551964 900 3 Questions To Help You Evolve Your Content and Marketing

But I’m still thinking about the ideas in his solo keynote speech a week later.

Derek challenged what he called the biggest lie in Hollywood, marketing, science, academia (and pretty much everywhere else): that people need (and like) new things.

“The truth is that the most fundamental human bias is toward familiarity,” he said.

He only needed to point to the top-grossing movies of this century (think Avengers, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.) to get nods of agreement from the CMWorld crowd.

“In an infinitude of choice … we are pulled toward the familiar,” Derek said.

Need more proof? Think of Spotify. New music floods the platform every week. Yet, listeners opt for the tunes they already like.

Derek shared what happened when Spotify tried to push subscribers to new music by creating Discover Weekly, a playlist of 30 new songs that drops into listeners’ feeds every Monday.

A bug in the algorithm let a few familiar songs creep into the playlist. When Spotify fixed the problem, it found the number of people listening to the playlist plummeted. “A little bit of familiarity in a product designed for novelty made it more popular,” Derek said.

Derek used an acronym – MAYA – to describe the process of evolving beyond the familiar frontier. The letters stand for Most Advanced Yet Acceptable, a descriptor coined by Raymond Loewy, the father of industrial design. (Air Force One and the 1953 Studebaker, which launched the automobile’s more aerodynamic look, are among his more famous works.)

Here’s Loewy’s MAYA philosophy: You can sell something familiar by making it surprising. You can sell something surprising by making it familiar.

What new things can you sneak into old things to engage your audience or guide them toward something new?

The idea that people need and like new things is the biggest lie in marketing, science, and academia, says @DKThomp via @Editor_Stahl @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

3. Are you running enough content experiments?

Phyllis Davidson, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, advocated for experimentation. I see that as the logical next step after following Beverly’s and Derek’s counsel.

But before I get into that, consider this jaw-dropping stat Phyllis shared from Forrester’s B2B research: 77% of customers are unlikely to expand their contracts with a brand if its content isn’t valuable or helpful. And that number jumped 10 percentage points between 2022 and 2023.

Bookmark that statistic for the next time you need to convince your boss of content’s value in the buying process.

According to @forrester’s #B2B research, 77% of customers are unlikely to expand their contracts with a brand if its #content isn’t valuable or helpful via @EditorStahl @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

Back to her theme of experimentation: Phyllis got a chuckle from the crowd when she explained no one at CMWorld could just go to the Olympics as a gymnast. We all got the message: You can’t be proficient at something if you don’t do the work to become an expert.

“Given how risky some of the new tech is in helping us to modify and improve our content, organizations have to learn how to experiment at the content level to use these technologies,” Phyllis explained.

How do you do that? It’s not by innovation, she said. It’s by experimentation. Then she shared this quote she attributed to Isaac Asimov: “Experimentation is the least arrogant method of gaining knowledge.”

But how should you experiment? Return to what you learned in your middle school science classes.

Phyllis refreshed us on the steps and provided a marketing example to illustrate:

  • Ask a question: Will the AI-generated industry version of a white paper perform better than the non-AI?
  • Research: Evaluate differences in knowledge requirements and preferences across industries.
  • Formulate a hypothesis: AI-generated financial services and life science versions delivered in the same channels will perform 10% better.
  • Make a plan: Use outbound email to test versions against industry audience members.
  • Experiment: Run the test with list subsets using the same parameters/timing. Measure performance by the number of white paper downloads.
  • Collect and record results: Compare results across all versions.
  • Draw conclusions: Financial services met the key performance indicator (KPI). Life sciences did not. Run financial services white paper program. Evaluate input for the life sciences version. Consider testing a third industry.

The more marketing experiments you conduct, the more you can move quickly, and failure becomes a lot less painful, Phyllis said.

#Marketing experiments help you move faster – and make failure a lot less painful, says Phyllis Davidson via @Editor_Stahl @CMIContent. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

What will be your next marketing experiment?

Evolution doesn’t require a revolution (even with AI)

As I mentioned, AI was on everyone’s mind. I found these themes (shared by Avinash Kaushik, chief strategy officer at Croud and formerly of Google) particularly helpful.

1696551964 391 3 Questions To Help You Evolve Your Content and Marketing

AI manifestation falls into one of three categories today, he explained:

1. AI gives us tools that help in our work.

2. AI can operate as co-pilots to help us be smarter and faster.

3. AI serves as a muse to help us get started and speed up our human output and quantity.

But AI adoption isn’t a revolution. As Cassie Kozyrkov, former chief data scientist at Google, pointed out, AI has existed for years. What is new, she said, is the user experience and design around AI.

I would describe that as the evolution of AI – from tech to tool applied by people.

Marketers – educators, trust builders, and entertainers – must embrace evolution. We make conscious decisions day after day about what to do next, whether about adapting our messages to our audience’s changing needs, planning our content to guide our audiences along, deciding how we’ll use AI, or something else.

We don’t need a revolution. We just need to keep evolving.

Want more insight from these and other Content Marketing World speakers? Register for an on-demand pass to get access to session recordings through Dec. 31, 2023. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

ADVICE FROM CONTENT MARKETING WORLD 2023 SPEAKERS: 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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Salesforce rolls out new edition of Marketing Cloud for small businesses

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Salesforce summer 2023 release: The business executive's guide

Today Salesforce announced Marketing Cloud Growth, an edition of Marketing Cloud designed specifically for small businesses.

With help from AI, this edition makes it easy for marketers to segment audiences, create and execute email campaigns from text to image, optimize campaign performance and create unified customer profiles. It also has a prompt builder that can store and manage known reliable prompts for organizations.

Dig deeper: 70% of SMB marketers willing to pay more for tools with AI or automation

Salesforce developed the new edition by looking at the most common use cases for which small businesses frequenty don’t have the people or resources. This includes things like personalizing campaigns and advanced testing.

The company is also letting small businesses (those with fewer than 200 employees) that have Sales or Service Enterprise Edition “get started with Data Cloud at no cost.” Marketing Cloud Growth will initially be available in the U.S. and Canada and is expected to roll out to Europe, the Middle East and Asia by the end of the year.

Why we care. First of all, small businesses need all the help they can get. This creates an opportunity to start using AI within a centralized marketing workflow rather than importing content from independent generative AI tools. Perhaps it’s also a sign of Salesforce moving to compete with platforms (can we say HubSpot?) that more overtly court SMB clients.

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

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Elevate Your YouTube Channel: Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Launched in 2005, YouTube now stands as the second largest search engine after Google.

Almost 2.7 billion people use YouTube worldwide every month and 87.7% of those users access it on their mobile phones.

Owing to the large number of video content available on the platform, you want to ensure that yours stands out.

To make it happen, you need to master effective content creation tips, use fantastic lighting, and invest in powerful video editing software.

There are tons of editing tools on the market that promise amazing results. 

To help you cut through the noise, I’ve curated a list of the 4 best YouTube video editing software.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s something for you. Keep reading.

1. Movavi Video Editor

1708399564 369 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 369 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Top on the list is the Movavi Video Editor, one of the best YouTube video editing software for beginners.

It enables you to create compelling videos using advanced tools like audio correction, motion tracking, and chroma key without requiring any technical knowledge.

Additionally, you’ll find several ready-made YouTube intro videos and a large library of background music and audio clips.

Although the user interface is easy to navigate, Movavi still provides video tutorials to make you feel confident while editing.

Movavi runs on Windows (versions 7 to 11) and Mac OS X (10.15 or higher).

Key Features

  • AI background remover: Replaces backgrounds without a green screen
  • AI motion tracker: Sticks effects and images on moving objects
  • Precise frame cuts: Makes cuts with precision and attention-grabbing montages in one click
  • Color correction: Boosts colors so viewers can stay glued to your YouTube channel
  • Overlay effect: Offers 13 blending modes to create professional-looking videos
  • 4k resolution: Saves videos in ultra-high quality form
  • YouTube Integration: Saves you time by sharing videos directly to YouTube

Pricing

Movavi offers a generous free plan and three paid plans with different sets of features. Here are the prices for various plans it offers:

  • Free
  • Video Editor: $49.95/year
  • Video Editor + Effect Packs: $155.95/year
  • Video Suite + Effect Packs: $94.95/year
1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399564 966 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginner/Intermediate

2. Adobe Premiere Pro

1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 365 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking for the best YouTube video editing software that can transform a basic clip into a ready-to-upload video, Adobe Premiere Pro is your best bet. 

It integrates with all the apps in Adobe Creative Cloud to help you streamline your workflow.

Adobe Premiere Pro boasts an extensive range of features, from color correction tools and visual effects to collaboration tools for teams. 

Also, you can optimize the export settings to preserve the quality of your YouTube videos when you share them online. 

Although Premiere Pro is popular among professional video editors, follow the video steps for beginners provided on the platform to learn how to use it. All you need is a powerful computer and willingness to study the available tutorials.

The app is compatible with Windows (10 or later) and macOS Monterey (version 12 or later).

Key Features

  • Text-based editing: Removes pauses with ease
  • Project templates: Retains assets, colors, and branding across multiple projects
  • Speech-to-text conversion: Automatically creates captions and transcripts in over 18 languages
  • Auto reframe: Automatically detects and adjusts aspect ratios to easily upload videos to YouTube
  • Adobe stock library: Offers access to stock video footage, photos, and over 75,000 audio tracks and remix the length to fit your video

Pricing

Adobe Premier Pro offers two paid plans. Here are the details:

  • Premiere Pro: $29.99/month
  • Creative Cloud All Apps: $59.99/month
1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 222 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate/Advanced

3. Shotcut

1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 295 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Available on Linux, Windows, and macOS, Shotcut is a comprehensive YouTube video editing software solution. 

It supports various video and audio files, including AVI, WAV, and MP4.

The video editing software is great for complex projects as it allows you to combine several audio, image, and video files into one video. 

Also, editing on the platform doesn’t follow a chronological order; you can make changes at any point.

Shotcut may not be the best editing tool for new content creators because of the learning curve. 

However, the platform has a video editing guide, including a community of Shotcut users who are willing to assist you.

Key Features

  • Native timeline editing: Supports all video and audio formats, including 4k and 8k resolutions
  • Cross-platform editing: Gives you the option to start a project on macOS and switch to Windows without hassles
  • Video effects: Offers built-in effects like auto-rotate, white balancing, timeline fader, and 360° video filters, without installing any plugins
  • Display and monitoring: Ability to preview videos in low resolution to improve the speed of real-time effects
  • Keyframing: Option to define the start and finish points of effects along the video timeline such as transition, sound, and brightness or contrast

Pricing

 Shotcut is completely free to use as it’s an open-source software solution

Usability

It has a steep learning curve

Tool Level

Intermediate

4. Lightworks

1708399565 259 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 259 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

If you’re looking to create the best videos in a short time, Lightworks is the way to go. 

It’s the best YouTube video editing software for beginners who are willing to learn video editing as they grow their YouTube channels.

Similar to Shotcut, the platform is loaded with all the tools you need to go from a beginner to a pro.

You can edit, color correct, add titles, and more using the drag-and-drop interface. 

Also, it’s compatible with YouTube video format and resolution for ease of uploading content.

All versions of Lightworks can work on Windows (8 and later), macOS (10.14 and later), and Linux.

Key Features

  • Universal timeline: Accommodates video footage of any quality, size, or frame rate
  • Flawless audio editing: Offers various audio effects and the option to sync with video for an immersive experience
  • Visual effects: Offers a simplified suite of over 700 customizable motion graphics and titles for easy to advanced editing
  • Easy export and share: Allows you to share videos on YouTube directly from the platform

Pricing

Here are the pricing plans offered by Lightworks.

  • Free
  • Create: $9.99/month
  • Pro: $23.99/month
1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools1708399565 484 Elevate Your YouTube Channel Top 4 Video Editing Tools

Usability

Easy to use

Tool Level

Beginners/Intermediate/Advanced

Pro Tip: According to Attrock guide, the best video maker can offer training resources for non-technical users. This is particularly designed for video marketers who have no high skills in video creation and editing.

Choosing the Best YouTube Video Editing Software

Getting the best YouTube video editing software shouldn’t cost a fortune. 

Platforms like Shotcut and Lightworks offer free tools for both beginners and expert editors.

However, if your YouTube channel is already monetized and you’re willing to spend money on a super-advanced tool, Premiere Pro will be ideal.

Lastly, if you’re ready to level up your video editing game, try Movavi today. You’ll save money while accessing advanced editing features.


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