content

  • Video and Social Media Marketing: Which Platform Will Boost Your Brand?

    I’m sure you’ve noticed it yourself. Given the choice between watching a quick video online, or reading a long swath of content, which would you choose? If you’re like 59% of the senior executives interviewed by Forbes Insight on the subject, you’d prefer the video. It’s no wonder, then, that video marketing is growing by leap and bounds. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and it’s true, as the right image online draws exponentially more eyes than a simple headline ever could, no matter how carefully crafted. But according to Forrester Research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. 1.8 million! That’s a pretty bold assertion, but the stats bear it out – using video in online marketing delivers a powerful ROI. Especially in the realm of social media marketing, where videos help posts rank higher in the algorithms determining who sees what in their newsfeed, as well as drawing more interest and engagement from audience members, combining the natural appeal of video with the power of social media. Online shoppers who view a video about a product are 64% more likely to buy that product from that business – and 90% of those…

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  • 21 Common Questions About Content Marketing Answered

    Next up in our “21 Common Questions Answered” series, in which we answer the top questions we commonly receive about various aspects of online marketing, is the topic of content marketing. (Check out the previous posts in this series for answers to your questions about email marketing and social media marketing!) The importance of content in an online marketing strategy has undergone a meteoric rise over the last few years, so it’s only natural that businesses have questions about just how to harness this marketing tool. And as usual, we’re here to help. So without further ado, here are the answers to 21 common questions about content marketing: 1. What is content marketing exactly? Content marketing turns traditional marketing on its head. Instead of focusing on a company and its products or services, it focuses on the consumer’s needs first. The goal of content marketing is to provide valuable, genuinely helpful information to consumers for free, in order to create a relationship with them based on trust, which eventually leads them to make a purchase.  2. What qualifies as content? When most people think of content marketing, they think of a blog. And blogs are certainly one of the easiest…

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  • shAMA: Ask Me Anything: How to Land Epic Guest Post Opportunities & Is Marketing a Deal Breaker?

    In this week’s shAMA: Ask Me Anything, Shama answers Ulyses’ question about how to land guest post opportunities, and talks about whether marketing can make the difference between two equally solid brands. The Coke versus Pepsi wars are real, people. As always, a transcript is below. Hey Zen Nation! Shama here, and we have another episode of “Ask me Anything,” where you guys ask questions and I do my best to answer. Our first question comes from Ulyses on YouTube and he asks, “How do you build relationships with editors or influencers of publications like the Huffington Post, Search Engine Journal etc…so that you can get introduced and start writing guest posts?” So here’s my answer.  The first thing you want to do is establish a base outside of these platforms. So that means whether you’re writing a blog, or on other sites – remember, these are really high-tier publications, so you want to work your way up. Focus on the things that you can do, build up your name, build up a base so when you do get that introduction you can have a much easier time guest posting. I’m a big fan of momentum and I always say, “success…

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  • How to Brainstorm Content: 6 Tips to Catalyze Ideas

    Are you a content writer? If you are, then, we’re offering you a high-five, up top! Why? Because writing content is hard work. Beyond that, if you are writing for the same client consistently, you’re going to need to be able to come up with unique content, whether it’s on landing pages, blogs, email newsletters, or anything else. But if you’re a content writer and a content marketer, you’re also going to have to make sure that your content can be easily found. What does that mean? Having a great strategy for search engine optimization (SEO). But even with a great strategy, it’s hard to constantly be coming up with fresh ideas for the same client and their same target keywords again and again. So, what can you do? Simple, you brainstorm. Or, is it simple? That’s just the thing. In order to be competitive and create truly good content that is going to have great SEO and result in a fantastic ROI for your client, you’re going to need to become an expert at brainstorming. That’s where Marketing Zen comes in. If you know us, you know our content, social media, and search teams are always working together. That…

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  • Influencing Influencers – What Seed Content Can Do For You

    Top of mind for most marketing directors is the eternal quest to create relationships with influencers. Capturing their attention, forging a relationship, fostering good will – and getting them to share your content. Every content marketer knows this is the alchemy that turns base metal into gold. But achieving this transmutation is often easier said than done. Value Is The Measure And it comes down to a simple reason: how can you even approach a famous (and busy) influencer without seeming self-serving and off-putting? Ask not, O despairing creator of content, what value you seek to gain, but what value you bring to the relationshi Knowledge Is Power Capturing the attention of influencers is first and foremost a matter of understanding those influencers. What matters to them? What do they care about? Not knowing their passions and peeves can mean that generic emails and other clumsy attempts at contact will bounce higher than a rubber ball. Like a general planning an extended campaign, your first concern is climate and terrain. Stalk those influencers whom you hope to woo; understand where they’re coming from. Once you can grasp solidly what they value, you can plan on bringing that value to the…

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  • 4 Engaging B2C Content Marketing Ideas for the Holidays

    Yes, we know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet…but just take a look at your local store displays, and you’d think it was Christmas already. Holiday marketing season 2014 is in full swing, and those who don’t take advantage of every last second of it will be left behind. Of course your B2C business will be running online holiday specials and promotions to persuade consumers to make that purchase now, but the thought of trying to come up with almost 2 months’ worth of engaging holiday marketing content to support those sales can be daunting, to say the least. Won’t readers eventually get sick of all the hype? Not if you come prepared with a content marketing strategy to keep them interested – and coming back for more. We’ve put together a list of 5 B2C content marketing ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Creating blog posts, infographics, and even longer-form content such as eBooks around these ideas will be just the thing to attract traffic to your site and convince them to buy this holiday season. 1. Gift Buying Guides: This is an idea with almost endless possibilities. Post lists of gift ideas to fit any theme, from gifts for…

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  • The Content Marketing Powerhouse You’ve Probably Never Considered

    Recent research in the field of online marketing suggests that adopting a structured and centralized methodology for content marketing exponentially increases the efficiency of the process. For example, instead of simply having a blog section on the main website of a business, creating an entire resource center for all of the business’s content – blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, articles, etc. – streamlines the effort. This creates a healthy mechanism for your website’s returning and potential readers to have easy access to all new and old content – and prevents older content from seeming old or outdated. The research was specifically focused on content marketing for B2B businesses, but of course, creating a resource center is not restricted to just B2B brands. Centralized resource centers can be equally useful for retail businesses involved in B2C content marketing. B&H and Crutchfield Electronics and Video are two successful examples of content driven retailers. These companies took advantage of e-commerce in its adoption phase and surpassed competing retailers of electronics and video. For example, Blockbuster, a video retailer and once a Fortune 500 Company, lost significant revenue and went bankrupt after the advent of e-commerce, because they failed to stay relevant within the changing dynamics…

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  • 8 Ways To Ruin Your Branded Content

    Brand content is among the most useful online marketing tools. A recent study by Online Publishers Association revealed that “web sites featuring branded content outscored internet industry norms 41 out of 43 times across a wide range of advertising metrics.” But branded content is a two-edged sword: do it poorly and you’re almost worse off than having no content at all. Here are some of the most common traps the unwary marketer can succumb to. Don’t listen. The modern consumer wants dialogue with business, so relaying on outdated advertising that only talks about the company and products in hyper-glowing terms is a safe bet to alienate consumers. Hard sales tactics couched in the language of self-flattery is marketing suicide to an age jaded and skeptical of marketing claims. Listening to customers’ concerns gives you the means to gather data and make informed decisions with accuracy and speed that marketers of a generation ago could only dream about. Write primarily for SEO. You’ll never fool anyone. Focusing on keyword density is not going to be the portal to quality content. Instead focus on developing an authentic voice to share useful information about your products and services. Consumers use internet searches and…

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  • The Most Effective Content Marketing Tool You’re Not Using

    White papers are an excellent way to disseminate your expertise to an industry community. By sharing your knowledge, not only are you establishing yourself as a thought leader, but you’re also providing the groundwork for launching content in other channels like blogs and e-mails. Aren’t White Papers Dead? You sometimes hear opinions expressed about the declining value of the white paper, or that the function of the white paper has largely been subsumed by the ubiquitous ebook. While some of this is fuelled by exposure to just plain badly written white papers, the truth of the matter is that, although not as ‘sexy’ as other marketing tactics, the sturdy white paper can boost SEO, enhance your brand, and directly contribute to sales. White Papers: The Rationale Here are solid reasons to consider including white papers in your marketing endeavor: Make Google love you. With the regularity of a plague, Google releases its algorithm changes. As it stands now, the king maker of search engines punishes sites offering poor quality content – in other words, mere content designed for searches. To gain that traffic that drives your business you need to offer value, not linkbait. Provide shareable social media content. To…

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  • Social Media Marketing Tips for the Changing Digital Landscape

    Do you have a dark social media secret? Apparently, many people these days do. According to a recent study by the folks at MIT, social media users are leaning more and more towards what’s called the “liquid self” – changing the way they behave online depending on who they’re interacting with and where. As proof of this, they offer up the rising popularity of services and apps such as SnapChat and WhatsApp, which allow for completely contextual conversations that disappear soon after being sent – interactions whose tenor varies widely based on who can see and take part in the fleeting conversation. Most of us do behave differently, even in real life, when we’re interacting with someone from our professional life, for example, than we do when interacting with friends or family. It’s not usually a matter of changing our entire personality, but there are definitely conversations that take place in certain social circles that just aren’t appropriate for others. But the permanence of what we post on traditional social media sites seems to have spawned a new generation of more ephemeral means of online communication, allowing people to act according to the conventions of the group they are interacting…

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  • A Blog’s Not Just a Blog: The Evolution of Content Marketing

    It’s a question just about everyone gets on a regular basis: What do you do? And as someone who ghostwrites client blogs for a living, the right answer has often eluded me. If I say I’m a writer, people automatically assume I’ve written a book, or that I write for a magazine. It’s a response that instantly elicits a high level of prestige and respect. But while I have written for magazines, that’s not what I do now. If I say I’m a ghostwriter, people usually need clarification. They have a vague idea of a ghostwriter as someone who writes a book for a famous person who couldn’t string two words together on his or her own, but then gets none of the credit – still a respectable job in their eyes, just one that keeps a writer out of the spotlight. Interestingly, though, if I say I’m a blogger, all I get are polite but disinterested – and sometimes even dismissive – responses: “Ohhhh….” or “Huh. Really? Ha-ha!” “Blogs” have become so ubiquitous, and “bloggers” so numerous and varied, that most people associate the terms with mediocre-quality writing and an inflated sense of self-importance. My own parents told me…

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  • MZ Featured Content Marketing Intern: Matthew McFarlane

    Here at Marketing Zen, we’re pretty much obsessed – we eat, breathe, and sleep online marketing, and absolutely love what we do! So it’s only natural that we’d want to share the fun with the next generation. Our internship program gives college students the chance to dip their toes into the waters of web marketing, and learn valuable skills to help them land their dream jobs when they enter the workforce Today, we’d like to introduce you to Matthew McFarlane, one of our promising young content marketing interns. We’ll let Matthew tell you himself how he’s enjoying the experience. 1. Tell us a little bit about yourself! My name is Matt McFarlane, I’m from Alton, Illinois and I go to the University of Missouri- Columbia (Mizzou). I’m currently about to enter my senior year and I’m an English major with a minor in Italian Language. 2. What is something unusual about you that makes you unique? This past semester I studied abroad in Perugia, Italy for four months. I got to travel all over Italy and Europe, meet incredible people, and experience some unforgettable settings. It was really just an amazing experience for me. 3. How did you first hear…

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