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How to Create a Curated Blog Post [+5 Free Blog Post Templates]

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How to Create a Curated Blog Post [+5 Free Blog Post Templates]

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Not all the content you create has to be 100% original.

Mind-blowing, right? And for you inbound marketers plagued by the incessant demands of content creation, maybe also a little comforting? Now before some of you say “But content curation is lazy.” and “Content curation is why there is so much stuff on the internet,” hear me out.

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

Sure, curated content is a collection of other people’s content and resources from around the web. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be valuable. Just think about a collection of mint-condition vintage toys. Each toy that comprises the collection is valuable in and of itself — but a collection of many is even more valuable.

We’re going to walk you through how to compile a valuable curated blog post in this post. So, keep reading or jump to the section you’re looking for.

Curating is a process that’s best known in the art world. Curators choose, organize, and exhibit the work of different artists in galleries and museums. These exhibits usually come together under a common theme or idea.

Curated content follows a similar process. Content curators collect content that aligns with a specific topic, area of interest, or theme. They can use these groups of content to:

  • Add context to new ideas
  • Make comments on trends
  • Highlight the best new content in their niche or industry

Why is content curation useful?

Managing a content calendar is tough. According to HubSpot research, keeping up with the latest trends is a major struggle. For example, 22% of marketers worry about creating engaging content for social media.

Curating content is a proven tactic for generating new and relevant content. It’s a super time and budget saver, but that’s not all. Content curation can help brands develop thought leadership and add diverse perspectives. It can introduce your audience and team to new ideas and help you fill your editorial calendar with useful and exciting content.

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But content curation is more than resharing or copying whatever there is to find online. If all you’re doing is quickly throwing together a few pieces of subpar content, then yes, content curation can be lazy. But take the time to curate a lot of valuable pieces of content, and you’ll end up with a collection that’s valuable to both the content consumer and yourself.

Because not only does curation save you the step of creating content from scratch, but it also gives the viewer all that awesome content in one place. Great content curation should complement the original content that comes from your brand. It’s a way to highlight your brand’s role in wider industry conversations. And here’s another thing: Curated content also has a lot of potential to rank well in search. Talk about a win-win-win.

Curating content can add powerful value for your audience. But how can you curate content for your blog? Let’s review the process step-by-step.

How to Create a Curated Blog

Before you start reading, download the free blog post templates so you can follow along and easily create curated posts for your own blog. And don’t forget to check out our additional tips for creating curated blog content at the bottom of this post.

For this post, we’re going to use the “Newsjacking” blog post template. Got your template? Great! Let’s get started.

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Plan Your Curated Blog Post

First, take several minutes to plan what you want to write about so that you can stay on topic and keep your readers engaged.

1. Identify Your Audience

Which buyer persona are you writing this blog post for? Complete this field in your template.

Curated content blog template example: Buyer persona

2. Identify Your Key Takeaway

What do you want your audience to learn after reading your curated blog post? How do you want to offer unique value with your curated content? You can write quick notes for this section.

3. Identify Which Types of Content You Want to Curate

What content matters to your audience that you don’t have the time or resources to create? Take a look at these ideas for high-performing blog posts. Then jot down the content types or resources you can curate to support your post ideas. Are they videos? Slideshows? Charts and graphs? Links to articles or ebooks?

4. Brainstorm a Few Possible Titles

You don’t have to pick the perfect title before you finish your blog post, but it helps to jot down a few ideas to help keep you focused during the writing process.

At HubSpot, we call this a working title — a title that you can “work” off of that guides your post. This technique can also help you resist the urge to ramble off in a million different directions. Once the post is complete, we usually fine-tune it to ensure the title accurately reflects the post content, grabs potential readers’ attention, and is optimized for search.

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Use the space in your template to craft a few possible blog post titles, and then choose one as your working title. Don’t worry about finalizing your title until you’re finished writing and curating.

Featured resources:

5. Create an Outline

The typical curated content post consists of:

  • An introduction: sets the stage for what you plan to address through your collection of curated content
  • A body: expands on every bullet, list item, step, and example in a logical order
  • A conclusion: wraps up your post with a brief statement that’s reflective of what your readers just learned

What are all the bullet points you need to cover to introduce your compilation, explain each point, and remind the reader what they just learned? Use these questions to help you create an outline in your template.

Create Your Curated Blog Post

6. Write Your Blog Post

Write the Introduction

When writing your introduction, you want to keep one question top of mind: How can I establish credibility and get my audience to care about the resources I plan to share with them?

Feel free to leave the introduction for last, too. Sometimes it’s easier to introduce your post after you’ve written the real meat of it. When you do write your intro, here’s how we recommend going about it, using this post about motivational Ted talks as an example:

Curated content blog template example: Introduction

Note: The template content we’ve provided here is not intended to be copied and pasted into every blog post you write. That results in duplicate content for which you’ll be seriously punished in the SERPs.

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These templates simply help you start putting pen to paper — or cursor to screen — and help you think through the structure and process of a curated blog post to make the whole writing experience far less painful. We encourage you to incorporate your own original copy.

Write the Body

Remember: The body should follow through with what you promised in the introduction. Your body can be written in paragraphs, with bullets, numbered lists, multiple headings, or a mix of any of these. Feel free to make use of whichever format is easiest for you given the types of content you’re curating.

Curated content blog template example: Body copy

Just be cognizant of these questions: How many examples do I need to include to make this post valuable to readers? How in-depth do I need to go into each example to make them easier to understand? Can I add any visuals that will make my post easier for my readers to understand and consume?

Write the Conclusion

Your conclusion is where you’ll paraphrase the key takeaway you outlined earlier in the planning stages and/or prompt your reader with a question. Check out this example from a blog post about LinkedIn bio examples:

Curated content blog template example: Conclusion

7. Link to Additional Resources Within Your Post

Sometimes it’s hard to say everything you want to say about a single topic in one post. This is why it’s helpful to your readers to find extra resources you can link to for more detail or credibility.

Linking to other blog posts or pages on your site can result in increased visibility in search engines, page views, and time on site. Besides the links to the third-party content you’re curating, think about what other resources you can reference to strengthen the points made in your post, and then place those links in your post.

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When you insert your blog post copy into your blogging platform, create hyperlinks for these resources where they fit best.

8. Finalize Your Title

Revisit your working title and see if you can make it more accurate, specific, sexy, concise, and SEO-optimized.

Need help? Check out this post on writing perfect page titles. Then, put your finalized title in the field on your template.

9. Choose a Call-to-Action (CTA)

At the end of your post, what action do you want your readers to take? Do you want them to sign up for your newsletter? Request more information? Tweet something? Download something? Buy something? Ideally, the action is relevant to the content they just read. For help choosing the perfect CTA for every blog post, check out this list of CTA examples. Once you’ve figured out what you want people to do after they read your post, you should add that to your template.

Curated content blog template example: Call to action

10. Editing is Important

Everyone can use a second set of eyes to look over their post before putting it out into the world, so have a friend or colleague look it over. Another thing that will help? This ultimate editing checklist.

Prep Your Blog Post for Publishing

11. Add Your Blog Post to Your Blogging Platform

Now that you’ve gone through the exercise of outlining and writing your blog post, you’ll want to prepare it for publishing.

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Curated content checklist

A simple way to do this is to select and copy your finalized title and all your blog post body copy and paste it into a text editor like Microsoft Notepad or TextEdit on a Mac. Pasting into one of these programs strips your copy of all formatting.

This way, when you copy and paste it from the text editor into your blogging platform of choice, the formatting you apply within your blogging platform should render correctly. That being said, after pasting this into your platform, you should triple-check that your formatting carried over.

Now’s the time to make your blog post more scannable by using:

  • Headers
  • Bold text for key points
  • Hyperlinks
  • Images
  • Embedded content like videos and slideshows

Also, if your CTA is a button, don’t forget to add that to your post, too.

12. Add an Image

Every blog post should have an image. At HubSpot, we include at least one photo or image in every post we publish so that A) The content is more visual, and B) When the blog post is shared through social media channels, it’s accompanied by a thumbnail image to entice a clickthrough.

Take a look at our free bundles of downloadable stock photos (general and holiday) to see if any of these royalty-free images will do the trick for you. If you want help deciding which photo to use, check out this quick post about choosing the perfect image for your next blog post. You may also want to check out this article on image SEO.

13. Optimize Your Post for Search

If you’ve spent all this time collecting and annotating your curated content, you’ll want to make sure your post is easily discoverable in search engines. Check out our post about blog SEO for tips on how to do just that.

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14. Publish Your Curated Blog

Publish your post, and start tracking its performance.

Content curation objectives should focus on keeping your audience engaged with value-added content. It can help drive increased, pass-along awareness for other brands. These tips will help you make the most of your curated content.

With that in mind, here’s what we recommend for more effective content curation.

1. Keep it high-quality and relevant.

No matter what type of content you’re curating, quality and relevance should always apply. No one wants to access a list of 10 mediocre industry blogs. They want the best. So, the individual content elements you curate should represent the utmost level of quality. You should also explain what criteria you’re using to judge that quality.

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Remember: Quality is what separates valuable content curation from mediocre content curation.

Stay reasonably focused on a small handful of themes, but make sure your curated content also reflects the human element.

For example, most curated content on HubSpot focuses on sales, marketing, services, and website development. But you’ll also see content about conversation starters, boredom cures, emojis, and more.

It’s also important to make sure the content you’re curating is relevant to your audience. That aggregated list of funny viral videos may be funny, but if you’re not in the business of humor or marketing, it might not belong on your blog.

2. Pull from a consistent set of sources.

You can find good content just about anywhere. But it can streamline your process if you keep a core set of sources you can count on for consistently good content. You may also want to curate your sources of similarly-themed content.

Before you begin curating, be sure to bookmark a handful of great marketing examples. Topical aggregation sites and newsletters are also great for this. These sources often pull from a wider variety of sources than you may find on your own.

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3. Use an automated queuing and distribution system.

This technology helps offer a one-click, easy-to-curate process so you can queue content from your browser.

Many of these tools are customizable. So, you can decide what you want to automate and how to make the most of your content workflow. Any tool that makes it easy to pick content to curate, quickly choose which channels to publish it through, and then automatically space it out over days and weeks is preferable. It’s also helpful to have tools that can help you track how your content is performing.

Featured resources:

4. Always give credit back to the original creator.

Since curation involves borrowing content from another creator, you absolutely must attribute and link to the original source. Here’s a guide to proper attribution in blog content.

This act of professional respect could also drive more reciprocation and curation of your own content as a result.

5. Post on multiple channels.

Post across channels to increase reach and awareness growth. Multi-channel marketing and cross-posting are essential to content success. This approach can help you save time and make the most of your resources.

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That said, don’t go overboard on this (as in, don’t post to 50 LinkedIn groups three times a day). But don’t be afraid to curate good content across social media, blogs, and newsletters at the same time.

6. Figure out a schedule for your curated content.

Content marketing sometimes feels like driving by a house at 35 miles an hour and trying to throw a newspaper into the mailbox. Sometimes it’ll get in, but most of the time it won’t.

You may need to play the numbers game a bit so that a small percentage of your curated content reaches and impacts your intended audience. That said, you can also target the right message to the right audience with a content calendar. This written schedule can help you figure out when to post your favorite content.

For example, if you’re using an automatic distribution system, like a social media calendar tool, you don’t need to find and post new content every day.

To keep your process efficient, plan to schedule posts two or three times a week. This will give you time to go through your reading material and queue up new and interesting stuff.

7. Make instant curation one-click easy from your browser.

There is so much content to consume online that it can be easy to get overwhelmed. But there are ways that you can make your collection process easier and more enjoyable.

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Use content curation tools that let you post one-click curated content from anywhere you happen to be reading. You can increase your curating by 2-3 pieces a day this way.

8. Use team tools to increase contributions.

Content curation is sometimes a solo act, but you can create a more diverse and exciting voice for your brand if you bring in other members of your team.

Team collaboration tools make it easy for teammates to suggest their favorite content. It’s also a great way to cut down the time you’d spend curating everything yourself. To make sure that you have a constant stream of new ideas from your team, you may want to create assignments or prompts.

For example, if you want to expand developer content in your curation, ask an engineer on your team to send their favorites once a week. Adding an invite to their calendar can be an easy reminder that simplifies the process for both of you.

9. Spread out posts from the same consistently-good sources.

There are probably a handful of blogs and sources you read on a regular basis. If they have consistently great stuff, they may show up in your content creation more than you intend.

So, stay aware of those habits and try to space them out a bit. Make a point of adding new inspiration to your sources at least once a month. Curating a variety of sources adds to the comprehensiveness and value of your curated blog.

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10. Prioritize content from partners and prospects.

As you curate, make an impression on the people you care about most. Content curation is a chance to show your partners and collaborators that you’re paying attention. It’s also a simple way to show that you appreciate their content.

If you’re still building your co-marketing, start by contacting complementary brands. Curating content from brands you appreciate is a great way to begin new partnerships. You can also use your analytics to find your top referrals, talk to customers, or contact members of your team to find new content partners.

11. Add value.

Content curation is more than a quick repost. It’s using other creators’ content as a jumping-off point to build extra value for your audience.

For example, this collection of famous quotes is more than a compilation of inspirational quotations. It breaks the quotes into useful sections for quicker and easier application in marketing. The offer also includes 20+ image templates to effortlessly make these quotes appealing to the eyes. The templates are in square, horizontal, and vertical formats for use in a variety of channels.

Curated content example: Famous quotes offer with image templates

It usually isn’t enough just to aggregate. A blog post that lists these quotes probably wouldn’t be as useful. By adding value, you create something brand new that builds on great content that already exists.

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Curated Content Examples

HubSpot

HubSpot has more than a useful blog for marketing, sales, service, and website knowledge. It offers how-to guides, product reviews, and original research. The blog is also a great resource for trends and thought leadership.

Curated content examples: HubSpot

If you’re still looking for more curated content inspiration, these HubSpot resources are a great place to start:

The Marginalian

Formerly Brain Pickings, this blog is one of the best-known visions of curated content online. This site combines inspiration from art, science, and literature through the lens of its creator, Maria Popova.

Examples of curated content: The Marginalian

Some of its top posts include:

Sparktoro Trending

Curated content examples: Sparktoro Trending

Sparktoro’s tools focus on audience intelligence, but this side project also offers a lot of value for content curators. It tracks hot topics in marketing based on the number of shares from people in the industry.

HuffPost

Examples of curated content: HuffPost

This news aggregator has had a pulse on celebrity ideas since 2005. The political sections of this site tend to get the most notice, but the scale of this curated blog makes it a great source of ideas for any curious creator.

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but does it float

Curated content examples: but does it float

This curated blog of visual content is a rich resource. Full of photography, illustration, design, and other creative inspiration, this site is a constant source for visual trend-seekers. This is also a good example of content curation from multiple points of view since the blog has two curators.

Buzzfeed

Examples of curated content: Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed has been a source of inspiration for curated lifestyle blogs since 2006. With its popular listicles, quizzes, and pop culture stories, it’s also a great source of user-generated content.

If you’re looking for more blog curation examples, check out these lists of the best sales and customer service blogs.

Content Curation Isn’t Just for Blogs and Social Media

Curated content is a simple and fun way to develop engaging and useful content for your audience. It’s a strategy for promoting ideas from your network, an option to keep up with trends, and a solution for the blank spaces in your editorial calendar. So start collecting and adding your own value and insights. You never know what the next secret to growth might be.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

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How to Use AI For a More Effective Social Media Strategy, According to Ross Simmonds

Welcome to Creator Columns, where we bring expert HubSpot Creator voices to the Blogs that inspire and help you grow better.

It’s the age of AI, and our job as marketers is to keep up.

My team at Foundation Marketing recently conducted an AI Marketing study surveying hundreds of marketers, and more than 84% of all leaders, managers, SEO experts, and specialists confirmed that they used AI in the workplace.

AI in the workplace data graphic, Foundation Labs

If you can overlook the fear-inducing headlines, this technology is making social media marketers more efficient and effective than ever. Translation: AI is good news for social media marketers.

Download Now: The 2024 State of Social Media Trends [Free Report]

In fact, I predict that the marketers not using AI in their workplace will be using it before the end of this year, and that number will move closer and closer to 100%.

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Social media and AI are two of the most revolutionizing technologies of the last few decades. Social media has changed the way we live, and AI is changing the way we work.

So, I’m going to condense and share the data, research, tools, and strategies that the Foundation Marketing Team and I have been working on over the last year to help you better wield the collective power of AI and social media.

Let’s jump into it.

What’s the role of AI in social marketing strategy?

In a recent episode of my podcast, Create Like The Greats, we dove into some fascinating findings about the impact of AI on marketers and social media professionals. Take a listen here:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the benefits of this technology:

Benefits of AI in Social Media Strategy

AI is to social media what a conductor is to an orchestra — it brings everything together with precision and purpose. The applications of AI in a social media strategy are vast, but the virtuosos are few who can wield its potential to its fullest.

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AI to Conduct Customer Research

Imagine you’re a modern-day Indiana Jones, not dodging boulders or battling snakes, but rather navigating the vast, wild terrain of consumer preferences, trends, and feedback.

This is where AI thrives.

Using social media data, from posts on X to comments and shares, AI can take this information and turn it into insights surrounding your business and industry. Let’s say for example you’re a business that has 2,000 customer reviews on Google, Yelp, or a software review site like Capterra.

Leveraging AI you can now have all 2,000 of these customer reviews analyzed and summarized into an insightful report in a matter of minutes. You simply need to download all of them into a doc and then upload them to your favorite Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) to get the insights and data you need.

But that’s not all.

You can become a Prompt Engineer and write ChatGPT asking it to help you better understand your audience. For example, if you’re trying to come up with a persona for people who enjoy marathons but also love kombucha you could write a prompt like this to ChatGPT:

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ChatGPT prompt example

The response that ChatGPT provided back is quite good:

GPT response example

Below this it went even deeper by including a lot of valuable customer research data:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Consumer behaviors
  • Needs and preferences

And best of all…

It also included marketing recommendations.

The power of AI is unbelievable.

Social Media Content Using AI

AI’s helping hand can be unburdening for the creative spirit.

Instead of marketers having to come up with new copy every single month for posts, AI Social Caption generators are making it easier than ever to craft catchy status updates in the matter of seconds.

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Tools like HubSpot make it as easy as clicking a button and telling the AI tool what you’re looking to create a post about:

AI social media caption generator step 1

The best part of these AI tools is that they’re not limited to one channel.

Your AI social media content assistant can help you with LinkedIn content, X content, Facebook content, and even the captions that support your post on Instagram.

It can also help you navigate hashtags:

AI social media hashtags generator example, HubSpot

With AI social media tools that generate content ideas or even write posts, it’s not about robots replacing humans. It’s about making sure that the human creators on your team are focused on what really matters — adding that irreplaceable human touch.

Enhanced Personalization

You know that feeling when a brand gets you, like, really gets you?

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AI makes that possible through targeted content that’s tailored with a level of personalization you’d think was fortune-telling if the data didn’t paint a starker, more rational picture.

What do I mean?

Brands can engage more quickly with AI than ever before. In the early 2000s, a lot of brands spent millions of dollars to create social media listening rooms where they would hire social media managers to find and engage with any conversation happening online.

Thanks to AI, brands now have the ability to do this at scale with much fewer people all while still delivering quality engagement with the recipient.

Analytics and Insights

Tapping into AI to dissect the data gives you a CSI-like precision to figure out what works, what doesn’t, and what makes your audience tick. It’s the difference between guessing and knowing.

The best part about AI is that it can give you almost any expert at your fingertips.

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If you run a report surrounding the results of your social media content strategy directly from a site like LinkedIn, AI can review the top posts you’ve shared and give you clear feedback on what type of content is performing, why you should create more of it, and what days of the week your content is performing best.

This type of insight that would typically take hours to understand.

Now …

Thanks to the power of AI you can upload a spreadsheet filled with rows and columns of data just to be met with a handful of valuable insights a few minutes later.

Improved Customer Service

Want 24/7 support for your customers?

It’s now possible without human touch.

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Chatbots powered by AI are taking the lead on direct messaging experiences for brands on Facebook and other Meta properties to offer round-the-clock assistance.

The fact that AI can be trained on past customer queries and data to inform future queries and problems is a powerful development for social media managers.

Advertising on Social Media with AI

The majority of ad networks have used some variation of AI to manage their bidding system for years. Now, thanks to AI and its ability to be incorporated in more tools, brands are now able to use AI to create better and more interesting ad campaigns than ever before.

Brands can use AI to create images using tools like Midjourney and DALL-E in seconds.

Brands can use AI to create better copy for their social media ads.

Brands can use AI tools to support their bidding strategies.

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The power of AI and social media is continuing to evolve daily and it’s not exclusively found in the organic side of the coin. Paid media on social media is being shaken up due to AI just the same.

How to Implement AI into Your Social Media Strategy

Ready to hit “Go” on your AI-powered social media revolution?

Don’t just start the engine and hope for the best. Remember the importance of building a strategy first. In this video, you can learn some of the most important factors ranging from (but not limited to) SMART goals and leveraging influencers in your day-to-day work:

The following seven steps are crucial to building a social media strategy:

  1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals
  2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions
  3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research
  4. Select the Right Social Channels
  5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs
  6. Choose the Right AI Tools
  7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

Keep reading, roll up your sleeves, and follow this roadmap:

1. Identify Your AI and Social Media Goals

If you’re just dipping your toes into the AI sea, start by defining clear objectives.

Is it to boost engagement? Streamline your content creation? Or simply understand your audience better? It’s important that you spend time understanding what you want to achieve.

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For example, say you’re a content marketing agency like Foundation and you’re trying to increase your presence on LinkedIn. The specificity of this goal will help you understand the initiatives you want to achieve and determine which AI tools could help you make that happen.

Are there AI tools that will help you create content more efficiently? Are there AI tools that will help you optimize LinkedIn Ads? Are there AI tools that can help with content repurposing? All of these things are possible and having a goal clearly identified will help maximize the impact. Learn more in this Foundation Marketing piece on incorporating AI into your content workflow.

Once you have identified your goals, it’s time to get your team on board and assess what tools are available in the market.

Recommended Resources:

2. Validate Your AI-Related Assumptions

Assumptions are dangerous — especially when it comes to implementing new tech.

Don’t assume AI is going to fix all your problems.

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Instead, start with small experiments and track their progress carefully.

3. Conduct Persona and Audience Research

Social media isn’t something that you can just jump into.

You need to understand your audience and ideal customers. AI can help with this, but you’ll need to be familiar with best practices. If you need a primer, this will help:

Once you understand the basics, consider ways in which AI can augment your approach.

4. Select the Right Social Channels

Not every social media channel is the same.

It’s important that you understand what channel is right for you and embrace it.

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The way you use AI for X is going to be different from the way you use AI for LinkedIn. On X, you might use AI to help you develop a long-form thread that is filled with facts and figures. On LinkedIn however, you might use AI to repurpose a blog post and turn it into a carousel PDF. The content that works on X and that AI can facilitate creating is different from the content that you can create and use on LinkedIn.

The audiences are different.

The content formats are different.

So operate and create a plan accordingly.

Recommended Tools and Resources:

5. Identify Key Metrics and KPIs

What metrics are you trying to influence the most?

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Spend time understanding the social media metrics that matter to your business and make sure that they’re prioritized as you think about the ways in which you use AI.

These are a few that matter most:

  • Reach: Post reach signifies the count of unique users who viewed your post. How much of your content truly makes its way to users’ feeds?
  • Clicks: This refers to the number of clicks on your content or account. Monitoring clicks per campaign is crucial for grasping what sparks curiosity or motivates people to make a purchase.
  • Engagement: The total social interactions divided by the number of impressions. This metric reveals how effectively your audience perceives you and their readiness to engage.

Of course, it’s going to depend greatly on your business.

But with this information, you can ensure that your AI social media strategy is rooted in goals.

6. Choose the Right AI Tools

The AI landscape is filled with trash and treasure.

Pick AI tools that are most likely to align with your needs and your level of tech-savviness.

For example, if you’re a blogger creating content about pizza recipes, you can use HubSpot’s AI social caption generator to write the message on your behalf:

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AI social media generator example

The benefit of an AI tool like HubSpot and the caption generator is that what at one point took 30-40 minutes to come up with — you can now have it at your fingertips in seconds. The HubSpot AI caption generator is trained on tons of data around social media content and makes it easy for you to get inspiration or final drafts on what can be used to create great content.

Consider your budget, the learning curve, and what kind of support the tool offers.

7. Evaluate and Refine Your Social Media and AI Strategy

AI isn’t a magic wand; it’s a set of complex tools and technology.

You need to be willing to pivot as things come to fruition.

If you notice that a certain activity is falling flat, consider how AI can support that process.

Did you notice that your engagement isn’t where you want it to be? Consider using an AI tool to assist with crafting more engaging social media posts.

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Make AI Work for You — Now and in the Future

AI has the power to revolutionize your social media strategy in ways you may have never thought possible. With its ability to conduct customer research, create personalized content, and so much more, thinking about the future of social media is fascinating.

We’re going through one of the most interesting times in history.

Stay equipped to ride the way of AI and ensure that you’re embracing the best practices outlined in this piece to get the most out of the technology.

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

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Advertising in local markets: A playbook for success

Many brands, such as those in the home services industry or a local grocery chain, market to specific locations, cities or regions. There are also national brands that want to expand in specific local markets. 

Regardless of the company or purpose, advertising on a local scale has different tactics than on a national scale. Brands need to connect their messaging directly with the specific communities they serve and media to their target demo. Here’s a playbook to help your company succeed when marketing on a local scale.  

1. Understand local vs. national campaigns

Local advertising differs from national campaigns in several ways: 

  • Audience specificity: By zooming in on precise geographic areas, brands can tailor messaging to align with local communities’ customs, preferences and nuances. This precision targeting ensures that your message resonates with the right target audience.
  • Budget friendliness: Local advertising is often more accessible for small businesses. Local campaign costs are lower, enabling brands to invest strategically within targeted locales. This budget-friendly nature does not diminish the need for strategic planning; instead, it emphasizes allocating resources wisely to maximize returns. As a result, testing budgets can be allocated across multiple markets to maximize learnings for further market expansion.
  • Channel selection: Selecting the correct channels is vital for effective local advertising. Local newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms and community events each offer advantages. The key lies in understanding where your target audience spends time and focusing efforts to ensure optimal engagement.
  • Flexibility and agility: Local campaigns can be adjusted more swiftly in response to market feedback or changes, allowing brands to stay relevant and responsive. 

Maintaining brand consistency across local touchpoints reinforces brand identity and builds a strong, recognizable brand across markets. 

2. Leverage customized audience segmentation 

Customized audience segmentation is the process of dividing a market into distinct groups based on specific demographic criteria. This marketing segmentation supports the development of targeted messaging and media plans for local markets. 

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For example, a coffee chain might cater to two distinct segments: young professionals and retirees. After identifying these segments, the chain can craft messages, offers and media strategies relating to each group’s preferences and lifestyle.

To reach young professionals in downtown areas, the chain might focus on convenience, quality coffee and a vibrant atmosphere that is conducive to work and socializing. Targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram or Connected TV, along with digital signage near office complexes, could capture the attention of this demographic, emphasizing quick service and premium blends.

Conversely, for retirees in residential areas, the chain could highlight a cozy ambiance, friendly service and promotions such as senior discounts. Advertisements in local print publications, community newsletters, radio stations and events like senior coffee mornings would foster a sense of community and belonging.

Dig deeper: Niche advertising: 7 actionable tactics for targeted marketing

3. Adapt to local market dynamics

Various factors influence local market dynamics. Brands that navigate changes effectively maintain a strong audience connection and stay ahead in the market. Here’s how consumer sentiment and behavior may evolve within a local market and the corresponding adjustments brands can make. 

  • Cultural shifts, such as changes in demographics or societal norms, can alter consumer preferences within a local community. For example, a neighborhood experiencing gentrification may see demand rise for specific products or services.
    • Respond by updating your messaging to reflect the evolving cultural landscape, ensuring it resonates with the new demographic profile.
  • Economic conditions are crucial. For example, during downturns, consumers often prioritize value and practicality.
    • Highlight affordable options or emphasize the practical benefits of your offerings to ensure messaging aligns with consumers’ financial priorities. The impact is unique to each market and the marketing message must also be dynamic.
  • Seasonal trends impact consumer behavior.
    • Align your promotions and creative content with changing seasons or local events to make your offerings timely and relevant.
  • New competitors. The competitive landscape demands vigilance because new entrants or innovative competitor campaigns can shift consumer preferences.
    • Differentiate by focusing on your unique selling propositions, such as quality, customer service or community involvement, to retain consumer interest and loyalty.

4. Apply data and predictive analytics 

Data and predictive analytics are indispensable tools for successfully reaching local target markets. These technologies provide consumer behavior insights, enabling you to anticipate market trends and adjust strategies proactively. 

  • Price optimization: By analyzing consumer demand, competitor pricing and market conditions, data analytics enables you to set prices that attract customers while ensuring profitability.
  • Competitor analysis: Through analysis, brands can understand their positioning within the local market landscape and identify opportunities and threats. Predictive analytics offer foresight into competitors’ potential moves, allowing you to strategize effectively to maintain a competitive edge.
  • Consumer behavior: Forecasting consumer behavior allows your brand to tailor offerings and marketing messages to meet evolving consumer needs and enhance engagement.
  • Marketing effectiveness: Analytics track the success of advertising campaigns, providing insights into which strategies drive conversions and sales. This feedback loop enables continuous optimization of marketing efforts for maximum impact.
  • Inventory management: In supply chain management, data analytics predict demand fluctuations, ensuring inventory levels align with market needs. This efficiency prevents stockouts or excess inventory, optimizing operational costs and meeting consumer expectations.

Dig deeper: Why you should add predictive modeling to your marketing mix

5. Counter external market influences

Consider a clothing retailer preparing for a spring collection launch. By analyzing historical weather data and using predictive analytics, the brand forecasts an unseasonably cool start to spring. Anticipating this, the retailer adjusts its campaign to highlight transitional pieces suitable for cooler weather, ensuring relevance despite an unexpected chill.

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Simultaneously, predictive models signal an upcoming spike in local media advertising rates due to increased market demand. Retailers respond by reallocating a portion of advertising budgets to digital channels, which offer more flexibility and lower costs than traditional media. This shift enables brands to maintain visibility and engagement without exceeding budget, mitigating the impact of external forces on advertising.

6. Build consumer confidence with messaging

Localized messaging and tailored customer service enhance consumer confidence by demonstrating your brand’s understanding of the community. For instance, a grocery store that curates cooking classes featuring local cuisine or sponsors community events shows commitment to local culture and consumer interests. 

Similarly, a bookstore highlighting local authors or topics relevant to the community resonates with local customers. Additionally, providing service that addresses local needs — such as bilingual service and local event support — reinforces the brand’s values and response to the community. 

Through these localized approaches, brands can build trust and loyalty, bridging the gap between corporate presence and local relevance.

7. Dominate with local advertising 

To dominate local markets, brands must:

  • Harness hyper-targeted segmentation and geo-targeted advertising to reach and engage precise audiences.
  • Create localized content that reflects community values, engage in community events, optimize campaigns for mobile and track results.
  • Fine-tune strategies, outperform competitors and foster lasting relationships with customers.

These strategies will enable your message to resonate with local consumers, differentiate you in competitive markets and ensure you become a major player in your specific area. 



Dig deeper: The 5 critical elements for local marketing success

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

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Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

Battling for Attention in the 2024 Election Year Media Frenzy

As we march closer to the 2024 U.S. presidential election, CMOs and marketing leaders need to prepare for a significant shift in the digital advertising landscape. Election years have always posed unique challenges for advertisers, but the growing dominance of digital media has made the impact more profound than ever before.

In this article, we’ll explore the key factors that will shape the advertising environment in the coming months and provide actionable insights to help you navigate these turbulent waters.

The Digital Battleground

The rise of cord-cutting and the shift towards digital media consumption have fundamentally altered the advertising landscape in recent years. As traditional TV viewership declines, political campaigns have had to adapt their strategies to reach voters where they are spending their time: on digital platforms.

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According to a recent report by eMarketer, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to reach 65.1 million by the end of 2023, representing a 6.9% increase from 2022. This trend is projected to continue, with the number of cord-cutters reaching 72.2 million by 2025.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2023 found that 62% of U.S. adults do not have a cable or satellite TV subscription, up from 61% in 2022 and 50% in 2019. This data further underscores the accelerating shift away from traditional TV and towards streaming and digital media platforms.

As these trends continue, political advertisers will have no choice but to follow their audiences to digital channels. In the 2022 midterm elections, digital ad spending by political campaigns reached $1.2 billion, a 50% increase from the 2018 midterms. With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, this figure is expected to grow exponentially, as campaigns compete for the attention of an increasingly digital-first electorate.

For brands and advertisers, this means that the competition for digital ad space will be fiercer than ever before. As political ad spending continues to migrate to platforms like Meta, YouTube, and connected TV, the cost of advertising will likely surge, making it more challenging for non-political advertisers to reach their target audiences.

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To navigate this complex and constantly evolving landscape, CMOs and their teams will need to be proactive, data-driven, and willing to experiment with new strategies and channels. By staying ahead of the curve and adapting to the changing media consumption habits of their audiences, brands can position themselves for success in the face of the electoral advertising onslaught.

Rising Costs and Limited Inventory

As political advertisers flood the digital market, the cost of advertising is expected to skyrocket. CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) will likely experience a steady climb throughout the year, with significant spikes anticipated in May, as college students come home from school and become more engaged in political conversations, and around major campaign events like presidential debates.

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For media buyers and their teams, this means that the tried-and-true strategies of years past may no longer be sufficient. Brands will need to be nimble, adaptable, and willing to explore new tactics to stay ahead of the game.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday: A Perfect Storm

The challenges of election year advertising will be particularly acute during the critical holiday shopping season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have historically been goldmines for advertisers, will be more expensive and competitive than ever in 2024, as they coincide with the final weeks of the presidential campaign.

To avoid being drowned out by the political noise, brands will need to start planning their holiday campaigns earlier than usual. Building up audiences and crafting compelling creative assets well in advance will be essential to success, as will a willingness to explore alternative channels and tactics. Relying on cold audiences come Q4 will lead to exceptionally high costs that may be detrimental to many businesses.

Navigating the Chaos

While the challenges of election year advertising can seem daunting, there are steps that media buyers and their teams can take to mitigate the impact and even thrive in this environment. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind:

Start early and plan for contingencies: Begin planning your Q3 and Q4 campaigns as early as possible, with a focus on building up your target audiences and developing a robust library of creative assets.

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Be sure to build in contingency budgets to account for potential cost increases, and be prepared to pivot your strategy as the landscape evolves.

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Embrace alternative channels: Consider diversifying your media mix to include channels that may be less impacted by political ad spending, such as influencer marketing, podcast advertising, or sponsored content. Investing in owned media channels, like email marketing and mobile apps, can also provide a direct line to your customers without the need to compete for ad space.

Owned channels will be more important than ever. Use cheaper months leading up to the election to build your email lists and existing customer base so that your BF/CM can leverage your owned channels and warm audiences.

Craft compelling, shareable content: In a crowded and noisy advertising environment, creating content that resonates with your target audience will be more important than ever. Focus on developing authentic, engaging content that aligns with your brand values and speaks directly to your customers’ needs and desires.

By tapping into the power of emotional triggers and social proof, you can create content that not only cuts through the clutter but also inspires organic sharing and amplification.

Reflections

The 2024 election year will undoubtedly bring new challenges and complexities to the world of digital advertising. But by staying informed, adaptable, and strategic in your approach, you can navigate this landscape successfully and even find new opportunities for growth and engagement.

As a media buyer or agnecy, your role in steering your brand through these uncharted waters will be critical. By starting your planning early, embracing alternative channels and tactics, and focusing on creating authentic, resonant content, you can not only survive but thrive in the face of election year disruptions.

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So while the road ahead may be uncertain, one thing is clear: the brands that approach this challenge with creativity, agility, and a steadfast commitment to their customers will be the ones that emerge stronger on the other side.


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