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Thought Leadership Strategy | Content Marketing Institute

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Thought Leadership Strategy | Content Marketing Institute

Many enterprises never built the all-important bridge between content marketing and sales operations.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of enterprise marketers say they struggle to communicate across business functions, according to the 2023 Enterprise Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends research.

One clear sign your organization belongs in that group? Sales reaches out to you for new thought leadership content for their next lead-generation campaign, but they don’t share how that content performs or involve your team in ongoing initiatives.

Limited collaborations like these can fuel top-funnel goals but contribute little to the bigger brand picture. They don’t help sales nurture initial leads into customers. They force content creators to work as an assembly line, filling content buckets at the expense of developing fresh ideas and multipurpose storytelling.

Top-of-the-funnel #ThoughtLeadership content does little to help the sales team nurture initial leads into customers, says @Joderama via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

To expand your thought leadership collaborations, rethink your strategy and reimagine how it can help fuel every stage of the customer journey. In a recent webinar on enterprise marketing (registration required), ON24’s Mark Bornstein and CMI’s Robert Rose discuss what those changes might look like and how to get started. Here are some ideas they shared, along with some examples, to guide your efforts:

1. Refresh your thought leadership approach

Robert says many B2B organizations view sales’ role in content as a distribution channel – using the latest thought leadership to generate leads. Given buyers seek educational content long before they ever connect with sales, that sounds like a good strategy.

But here’s the problem: Every one of your competitors does the same thing.

That forces consumers to sift through all the available information to find the answers they need. It also does little to distinguish your content from your competitors’ – a challenge faced by 37% of enterprise marketers, according to CMI research.

“Buyers have zero interest in becoming subject matter experts,” Robert says. “How do [you] start creating content that actually is different and helpful?”

Buyers don’t seek #content so they can become subject matter experts. They want helpful #content, says @Robert_Rose via @Joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The answer lies not in empowering consumers but in empowering your sales team with better stories to tell. Robert says that should involve supplying sales with thought leadership content that supports customer goals across the journey. Create stories that progress from why the prospect should change to how the prospect should change and, ultimately, how you can help them change.

TD Bank Group exemplifies this concept in its TD Stories. This content hub’s mission is to build stronger customer relationships by demonstrating how TD can add value to their lives, according to its 2022 Content Marketing Awards submission. (TD Stories won Best Content Marketing Program in Financial Services.)

TD Stories hosts a slate of multimedia offerings that provide expert thought leadership on a range of financial topics. That content includes updates on TD Bank Group’s technological advances and community involvement, as well as recommended approaches consumers can follow to better manage their finances.

For example, in a recent TD Stories article about credit cards, the brand highlights the benefits some customers might not know and explains how to use them to optimize their spending power. It is grouped in the Your Money section. Other categories include innovation, colleagues, community, insights, and news.

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2. Stop conflating content and containers

Content teams that function as internal order takers have little say in how other teams in the business should use the content. However, you can shift how you execute and package those factory-like content creations to serve more than the original requested purpose.

“I’ve seen so many great, big, wonderful thought leadership ideas trapped in the context of a blog post because that’s what was requested first,” Robert says.

Instead, to prevent big ideas from getting stuck, discuss ideas first, then work out the most appropriate containers. Breaking out of format-centric thinking also allows the brand to extend the value of its content assets by repackaging the big ideas in multiple formats or in pursuit of additional brand goals.

Marketing company Epsilon created its Personalive event to empower and inspire the world of personalized marketing, as it explains in its Content Marketing Awards entry. It took the content from the event and transformed it into an online resource center, repurposed its demos into how-to blog posts, and used the assets for a multi-touch demand generation initiative and other vertical campaigns. (Personalive won top honors for Best In-Person or Virtual Event.)

3. Expand the potential of your chosen channels

ON24’s Mark Bornstein says marketers also can benefit from expanding their vision beyond traditional formats you favor for telling certain stories but not others.

For example, though 77% of enterprise marketers create webinars, virtual events, or online courses, too many stop there. They don’t tap into the full storytelling potential of this channel. That should change.

We’re seeing the event technologies being used in new and creative ways. Whether it’s a talk show, a discussion forum, or a community event … They’re all experiences, and they can be any kind of experience you want,” Mark says.

Too many enterprise marketers create webinars or virtual events without tapping into the full storytelling potential of the channel, says @4markb via @Joderama @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Just as content marketers should expand their thinking in repurposing content and rethinking formats, they also should rethink how they define their role in the organization.

“You need to start thinking of the content marketing team as producers and programmers of ideas,” Mark says.

4. Program inviting spaces for conversation and collaboration

Fifty-three percent of enterprise marketers say their organization plans to invest in social media/community building in 2023 – that’s a 64% jump from those who said the same about 2022.

Robert and Mark contend marketers can achieve that goal by leaning into owned media experiences as opposed to social media experiences. They recommend building spaces where consumers can gather, connect, and have conversations, even those that fall outside your brand’s core expertise.

How can marketers go about building a community-centric conversation space? Mark points to one of his clients: “They’re building a serialized program where they talk about things that matter to health care providers specializing in a specific care area. They’re not talking about their products at all. They’re just creating a place to gather for those conversations.” Mark says.

Salesforce’s Tableau community also puts this concept into play. It has educational resources like blogs and configurator tools, as well as virtual events and advice forums. Programming includes My Tableau Story, which features a rotating schedule of live and on-demand sessions with community experts who can answer members’ questions.

Members can participate in community projects, where they get a chance to show off their creative skills, passions, and areas of expertise. They also can enter challenges and create for fellow community members. One member created this playing card-inspired interactive graphic created for Tableau’s #B2VB visualization challenge. Click on a card to reveal an affordable activity to try when traveling to Las Vegas.

1687124976 206 Thought Leadership Strategy Content Marketing Institute

Image source

A community-centric thought leadership approach can be invaluable for generating vital first-party data. The more an experience enables consumers to choose and interact, the more first-party data the brand will receive about the audience.

“That first-party data is how we help salespeople; it’s how we build relationships, learn about people further, and personalize that journey to serve the next right piece of content better. That’s an important part of the story,” Mark says.

Better thought leadership makes your business better

Expanding your definition of thought leadership content can give your marketing team fresh opportunities to distinguish your brand’s value and drive stronger relationships with customers. It can also help you develop stronger, more impactful partnerships with other functional teams in your organization. Give these ideas a try, and share your thoughts in the comments.

 Register to attend Content Marketing World in Washington, D.C. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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Unlocking AMC Insights Series: Leveraging Media Overlap Analysis for Enhanced Conversions

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AMC Media Mix

Amazon


By Tinuiti Team

In today’s data-driven marketing landscape, the ability to ask the right questions is paramount. Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC) emerges as the magic 8-ball of advertising solutions, offering advertisers a robust platform for precise analytics and strategic decision-making. If you’re new to AMC, it’s a secure, privacy-friendly, dedicated cloud-based measurement and analytics solution introduced in 2021.

Understanding the Value of Amazon Marketing Cloud

Built on Amazon Web Services (AWS), AMC provides a flexible environment that empowers advertisers with customizable reporting capabilities based on event-level data across various data sets. These data sets can encompass both advertiser data and Amazon Advertising data, granting advertisers a comprehensive view of campaign performance. In essence, AMC equips advertisers with transparent, cross-channel data essential for making informed marketing decisions, a necessity in today’s marketing landscape.

For a comprehensive understanding of AMC basics, Tinuiti’s AMC overview provides all the essential information about the Amazon Marketing Cloud.

This article marks the first of a 3-part series where we dive into specific AMC use cases. In this installment, we focus on the Media Overlap analysis, guiding you through utilizing this report to address critical business questions, pinpoint key metrics, and strategically apply derived insights.

What is the Media Overlap Analysis? 

The Media Overlap analysis determines the collective impact of Amazon ads and isolates the incremental impact of a specific media type. The metrics provided by this report analyze reach and performance across a full-funnel strategy, including DSP Display, Streaming TV, and Sponsored Ads. 

To utilize this report, it is required to have data from at least two of the aforementioned ad types in a single AMC instance. The same products must be advertised in each ad type, and each ad product must have been running for at least one week during the same time period. It is recommended to wait 14 days after the query’s end date to use this analysis to capture all conversions due to Amazon’s 14-day attribution window. This use case is designed to help answer business questions surrounding how to best leverage the array of Amazon Ad products.

Here are a few examples of the types of questions the Media Overlap analysis addresses:

  • When shoppers are exposed to any combination of Display, Streaming TV, Sponsored Ads, what is the impact on conversion rates?
  • What impact does each ad type have on conversion beyond ROAS or last-touch attribution?
  • What is the average order value when shoppers are exposed to a combination of ad types?

The following metrics tend to be the most useful in addressing the business questions above:

  • Purchase rate: Percentage of unique users who purchased at least one time compared to unique users reached
  • Reach: Number of unique users reached
  • Users that purchased: Number of unique users who purchased at least one time.
  • Purchases: Number of times any amount of a promoted product or products are included in a purchase event. Purchase events include video rentals and new Subscribe & Save subscriptions.
  • Order value: Total amount resulting from a single purchase event

Below is a sample case study used to address the following question: When shoppers are exposed to any combination of Display, Streaming TV, Sponsored Ads, what is the impact on conversion rates?

Here is an example of a what a finalized report looks like: 

Top 7 Media Type Mixes based on Purchase Volume (CE Advertiser) 

Unlocking AMC Insights Series Leveraging Media Overlap Analysis for Enhanced

To answer the original question, the key metric to review here is the Prospective Purchase Rate (PPR). When exposed to fewer than three ad types, the PPR is significantly lower. However, when exposed to three or more ad types, the PPR increases. For users who were exposed to Sponsored Display (SD), Sponsored Products (SP), Demand Side Platform (DSP), and Sponsored Brands (SB) ads, the PPR was 8.19%, demonstrating the correlation between the number of ad types shoppers were exposed to and an increased Prospective Purchase Rate.

As a result of these findings, two prominent potential opportunities to improve performance emerge:

  1. Continuing to invest, or increasing investments, in DSP and video as they are key drivers in a user’s path to conversion. The advertiser should diversify their media mix with these ad products.
  2. Due to the correlation between Sponsored Products ads in combination with other ad products and higher conversion rates, there is an additional opportunity to build an AMC audience retargeting SP clickers. This will ensure advertisers are capitalizing on shoppers moving through the lower to upper funnel in their shopping journey.

AMC’s Media Overlap Analysis: Key Takeaways and Next Steps for Enhanced Conversions

AMC’s Media Overlap analysis highlights the impact of middle and upper funnel ads on conversion rates. Tinuiti’s teams observe many brands prioritizing Sponsored Products due to their perceived low risk and high returns under Amazon’s last-touch attribution model. However, this approach overlooks the influence of other ad types. Data from this analysis underscores the effectiveness of a holistic strategy. While a Sponsored Products ad may lead to a sale, it doesn’t consider other ad exposures that shape purchase decisions. The Overlap analysis underscores the value of a full-funnel strategy and the impact of DSP media on overall performance. Advertisers should consider adjusting budget allocations to DSP and streaming video based on these insights.

Furthermore, a full-funnel strategy can drive higher average order value.

The average order value significantly increases when exposed to a media mix of three or more ad types. While each advertiser should analyze their own business, Tinuiti consistently observes that users exposed to a greater number of ad products typically correlate with higher conversion rates and higher order values.

The Media Overlap analysis is part of the Instructional Query Library (IQL), which offers pre-built templates by Amazon to get started with the basics. If you’re seeking deeper insights with the guidance of experts who understand AMC’s unique landscape, reach out to Tinuiti today.

Liked this article? Don’t miss Part 2 of our AMC use case series on Tinuiti’s blog next month!

This post was authored by Averie Lynch, Specialist of Strategic Services at Tinuiti.

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Introducing Variation Generator for Web Experimentation

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Introducing Variation Generator for Web Experimentation

If you attended Opticon ’23, you saw first-hand how Optimizely has been investing in AI. Optimizely introduced Opal, an AI assistant designed to accelerate the entire marketing lifecycle. Opal is ever-present across Optimizely One, providing generative AI, smart insights, and recommendations to transform how our customers create, test and personalize digital experiences.

Now, our latest AI capability is here: Variation Generator. Available for all Web Experimentation customers, Variation Generator helps experiment authors expedite the ideation and creation of test variations.

What does it do?

Variation Generator leverages generative artificial intelligence to create a list of phrasing suggestions based on a site’s text elements like headlines, product descriptions, or call-to-action (CTA) wording, ultimately making it easier and faster for experimenters to plan multiple variations for their tests, which can be quite time-consuming.

Who is it for?

Based on our research, around 30% of experiments include text changes. So, experiment authors like optimization managers or digital marketers are spending a lot of time ideating/brainstorming multiple versions of the original copy to decide which should be tested. Variation Generator empowers users to add more variations in an experiment, which we strongly suggest after our Experimentation Benchmark research found that experiments with more variations (4+) tend to see higher win rates and return higher uplifts on the metrics tracked.

Cool…but generative AI is popping up everywhere, why does it matter here?

  1. Directly embedded into our UI: No separate tools or tabs to click out to…No typing out a prompt to a chatbot…just click the text element you want suggestions for, and click “generate.” All interaction stays within our Visual Editor.
  2. Reduce time and effort in variation ideation: Shorten the time it takes to come up with new experiment variations, allowing experiment authors to get more time back into their day.
  3. Optimize each variation in an experiment: Variation Generator provides unbiased and creative alternatives to experiment authors so they can make sure that each variation is different enough to avoid duplicative messaging, yet effective enough captures visitors’ attention.
  4. Increase a test’s chances of winning: Our Benchmark research shows that experiments with 4+ variations are ~90% more likely to win than experiments with just 2 variations. Variation Generator helps experiment authors create more variations, leading to higher lifts.
  5. Fine-tune brand positioning: Improve existing headlines, product descriptions, CTA buttons, and more, ensuring a consistent and impactful brand message across digital properties.

Increase a test’s chances of winning

This outcome is important enough to highlight a second time. Mentioned earlier, we know from our Experimentation Benchmark research that tests with more variations (4+) are more likely to produce a winning (statistically significant) result versus a traditional A/B test that pits a baseline (original version) against a single variation. Variation Generator can help experiment authors get into the habit of testing more variations and producing more winning results.

Future enhancements

Optimizely is committed to continuous innovation and improvement. Potential enhancements for Variation Generator include generating suggestions for other content types like images, icons, HTML, and CSS, as well as giving users more control over output fine-tuning, such as adjusting length, tone, and other fields.

At the end of the day…

Optimizely’s Variation Generator is a simple yet powerful feature that empowers experiment authors to create more effective and winning experiments. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, this feature saves time, optimizes variations, and fine-tunes brand positioning, ultimately leading to better results, stronger brand presence, and an effortless workflow.

Want more info? If you’re an existing customer, ask your account manager about Variation Generator, and if you’re a future customer, contact us to learn more.

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Tips and Tricks for Digital PR

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Tips and Tricks for Digital PR

In the bustling digital landscape of the 21st century, public relations (PR) stands as a beacon of brand visibility, trust-building, and reputation management. As businesses navigate the complexities of online competition, the synergy between search engine optimization (SEO) and PR has become increasingly evident. This article delves into digital PR, exploring how strategic integration with SEO practices can elevate brand visibility, drive organic traffic, and amplify PR success.

The SEO & Digital PR Power Couple

In today’s digital landscape, success hinges on a strong online presence. Two crucial aspects of achieving this are SEO and Digital PR. While they may have functioned as separate strategies in the past, they’re now recognized as a powerful team.

SEO focuses on optimizing your website and content to rank higher in search engine results, driving organic traffic. PR, on the other hand, builds brand awareness and cultivates positive press mentions.

However, creating compelling content that resonates with audiences and search engines can be challenging for many PR professionals. A recent Institute for Public Relations study found that nearly three-quarters (70%) of PR practitioners struggle with content creation. This is where the magic of SEO and digital PR working together comes in.

Combining these forces creates a synergy that delivers impressive results. Effective SEO techniques in PR campaigns can amplify brand messaging and ensure it reaches the right audience through search engines.

Conversely, strong PR efforts can generate backlinks to your website, a significant factor influencing SEO ranking. This teamwork propels brands to industry leadership by establishing online authority and positive brand sentiment.

Optimizing Your PR Efforts for SEO

PR and SEO go hand-in-hand in today’s digital marketing landscape. By aligning your PR activities with SEO best practices, you can significantly boost your online presence and reach a wider audience. Here’s how:

Keyword Research

Just like any successful marketing campaign, PR needs a strong foundation. Keyword research is crucial for understanding the language your target audience uses online. According to Google, more than half of consumers (53%) consult online resources before purchasing a product or service.

This includes potential students researching educational options. For instance, terms like “best online degrees for 2024” can be valuable keywords for online schools to target in their PR efforts to reach potential students actively searching for programs.

By identifying relevant keywords with high search volume, PR professionals can craft messaging that resonates with their audience and increases the discoverability of their content in search results.

Content is King (and Queen)

Compelling and newsworthy content is the cornerstone of any successful PR campaign. But for SEO, it’s not just about capturing attention.

High-quality content, such as press releases, blog posts, and infographics, should also be optimized for search engines. This includes using relevant keywords strategically throughout your content and adhering to on-page SEO best practices. By creating content that is both informative and search-engine friendly, you attract not only readers but also valuable backlinks and organic traffic.

Building Backlinks

Backlinks are links from other websites pointing back to yours. Search engines consider backlinks a sign of trustworthiness and authority.

Strategic PR campaigns can help you secure these valuable backlinks by pitching newsworthy content to relevant websites, building relationships with journalists and influencers, and leveraging social media to promote your content. However, focusing on earning backlinks from reputable sources is crucial, as spammy tactics can hurt your SEO efforts.

Optimizing Media Coverage

Every media placement you secure, whether an article, interview, or social media mention, presents an opportunity to enhance your SEO. Encourage journalists and influencers to include relevant keywords and links to your website in their coverage.

Promoting these media placements on your social media channels can amplify their reach and drive more organic traffic to your website.

Advanced SEO Techniques for PR Success

Today’s audiences crave engaging content; SEO is crucial to seeing your message. Incorporating advanced SEO tactics into your PR strategy can amplify your reach and achieve tremendous success.

Leveraging Multimedia

We’re living in the age of visual storytelling. Eye-catching images, infographics, and videos aren’t just trends; they’re powerful tools for grabbing attention and boosting SEO.

A Demand Metric report highlights the power of video marketing for conversions. 93% of marketers agree that video is just as practical, or even more effective, at driving conversions compared to other content formats.

These elements enhance user experience and provide opportunities for keyword optimization. Descriptive alt tags and strategic file names can help search engines understand your content and improve your ranking for relevant searches.

Data-Driven PR

Gone are the days of guesswork in PR. You can achieve laser focus and maximum impact by integrating SEO data with your PR strategy. Tools like keyword research can help you identify topics and language your target audience is actively searching for.

Analyzing website traffic and other SEO metrics allows you to tailor your content for optimal performance. This data-driven approach ensures you craft content that resonates with your audience and achieves your PR goals.

Collaboration is Key: Aligning SEO & PR Teams

Many companies have separate SEO and PR teams, but these teams should work together closely for maximum impact. By collaborating, SEO and PR can achieve more than they could. Here’s why:

  • More robust results: When SEO and PR share information, like keyword research and content plans, they can create campaigns strategically placed in search engines and reach the right audience through media coverage.
  • Unified Voice: Consistent team communication ensures a consistent message across all channels, from website content to press releases. This builds trust and credibility with your target audience.
  • Measurable Success: Working together allows SEO and PR to track the combined impact of their efforts. This data can refine future campaigns and demonstrate the overall value they bring to the organization.

In short, by breaking down silos and working as one unit, SEO and PR can create a powerful force for achieving your company’s goals.

The Future of SEO & Digital PR

The digital world is constantly changing, and how we approach SEO and digital PR also needs to evolve. Here’s a look at some of the biggest trends we can expect to see:

AI-powered everything

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to become a game-changer in SEO and digital PR. AI can help create high-quality content tailored to specific audiences, analyze vast data to identify trends and opportunities and personalize outreach efforts for journalists and influencers.

Voice search is king

With the rise of voice assistants like Siri and Alexa, voice search optimization is becoming increasingly important. This means websites must be optimized for natural language queries and focus on long-tail keywords that people might use when speaking.

Focus on user experience

Search engines are becoming more competent at understanding what users are looking for and giving more weight to websites offering a positive UX. This means creating sites that are easy to navigate, load quickly, and provide valuable and relevant information.

Building trust and authority

Search engines also emphasize Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) when ranking websites. This means businesses must establish themselves as thought leaders by creating high-quality content and building relationships with other reputable websites.

By staying ahead of these trends, businesses can ensure their websites are visible, and their brands are well-represented in the ever-changing digital landscape.

Beyond the Buzz: Building Lasting Success with SEO-Fueled PR

In the dynamic realm of digital PR, mastering the art of SEO integration is paramount for sustained success. By optimizing PR efforts through strategic keyword research, compelling content creation, and targeted link-building strategies, brands can amplify their visibility, drive organic traffic, and forge lasting connections with their audience.

As we march towards the future, the synergy between SEO and PR will continue to be a guiding light, illuminating the path towards digital supremacy.

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