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Content Marketing Going Into 2015 
Content marketing has had a huge amount of attention and coverage over the past twelve ...
Chad Pollitt VP of Audience, Co-Founder @ Relevance - @ChadPollitt 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in t...
What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? 
Promote, promote and promote some more. Stop thinking ...
Sean Revell - Freelance Consultant http://rvll.co.uk - @rxvxll 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the l...
1. Conversions/sign ups - Has the project provoked conversions? If so how many? How 
does this compare to the pre project ...
Karen Webber - Marketing Director at Axonn Media - @webber_karen / LinkedIn 
We have seen content marketing evolve and gro...
What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? 
1. Build a culture of content. This is where everyone ...
Name: Aran Jackson - Creative Director at JBH - LinkedIn 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last tw...
There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success 
with content marketing, what are you...
2: Get creative 
Creating a lot of content can get expensive, especially if you are outsourcing it all. So 
empower your i...
Sadie Sherran - Head of Online Marketing (today’s role but I get called plenty of things in 
the office) Falkon Digital - ...
Content has always been important but now brands and marketers are recognising its value 
more. Great content is not limit...
Lee Stuart, Co-founder @ Caliber - LinkedIn 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years espec...
These new devices offer a range of new and exciting feedback opportunities to businesses so 
its seems likely that hungry ...
1. Get used to designing ways to garner the views and opinions of your potential 
audience on both customer and influencer...
Ben Harper - Co-Founder, Datify - @benharper87 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years es...
1. Understand your audience: even if you just use free audience insight tools like 
Facebook Audience Insights, it's cruci...
Claire Stokoe Company Secretary/Owner - of Datatrouble.com - 
@killer_bunnie / LinkedIn 
We have seen content marketing ev...
I think creative writers will become more and more important within Content Marketing and 
SEO teams, these will be passio...
Device usage - Is the content being accessed from various devices and if so which one? 
should you be making sure if works...
Gus Ferguson - Founder @ The Tetrad Consultancy - @TetradGus - LinkedIn 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up...
gimmick, to describing more than just a strategy - it's a customer-centric marketing 
philosophy that transcends silos, ch...
Mobile-first content needs to concentrate value. 
Mark Twain famously apologised “I am sorry this is so long. I didn’t hav...
The evolution of analytics will drive this as hard data supports content marketing as being 
the most effective way to att...
Shelli Walsh - creativity101.com / shellshockuk.com - @shelliwalsh 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in t...
What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? 
More cross channel campaigns (online/of...
Gary Buchan Founder & Managing Director at Render Positive - @garybuchan 
We have seen content marketing evolve and grow u...
The idea that a rising tide lifts all ships is valid, but is still hard to prove - especially when you 
have a mix of init...
Hopefully though, and sincerely, I’d like to see more companies disregard the backwards 
legislature of their brand guidel...
--Document End-- 
Questions and document created by Danny Denhard – @dannydenhard
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Content marketing 2015: Where Industry Minds Predict Where Content Marketing Is Going In 2015

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I hand picked a number of content marketing industry minds a number of Content Marketing questions.
The industry minds included range from founders of agencies, freelance consultants, publishers and directors of departments so this ensures the best answers possible to make it as relevant to you as possible.
The questions are aimed to help you develop your content marketing strategy for 2015 and is aimed for any marketer, SEO execs or anyone planning to market in 2015.

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Content marketing 2015: Where Industry Minds Predict Where Content Marketing Is Going In 2015

  1. 1. Content Marketing Going Into 2015 Content marketing has had a huge amount of attention and coverage over the past twelve months. The wider industry has embraced real content marketing over the last twelve months and we have seen a number of brands shifting their focuses to target their consumers with higher quality and relevant content. With all this said, I wanted to ask some of the brightest minds in and around content marketing 5 questions, the content marketers included are from very different backgrounds and include designers, agency leaders, creative leads and freelancers offering great insights, actionable tips and their personal predictions for 2015. The industry leaders included are: Chad Pollitt VP of Audience, Co-Founder @ Relevance - @ChadPollitt ............................. 2 Sean Revell - Freelance Consultant http://rvll.co.uk - @rxvxll .......................................... 4 Karen Webber - Marketing Director at Axonn Media - @webber_karen / LinkedIn ........... 6 Name: Aran Jackson - Creative Director at JBH - LinkedIn ................................................ 8 Sadie Sherran - Head of Online Marketing (today’s role but I get called plenty of things in the office) Falkon Digital - @seobelle ........................................................................... 11 Lee Stuart, Co-founder @ Caliber - LinkedIn ................................................................ 13 Ben Harper - Co-Founder, Datify - @benharper87 ........................................................ 16 Claire Stokoe Company Secretary/Owner - of Datatrouble.com - @killer_bunnie / LinkedIn.......................................................................................... 18 Gus Ferguson - Founder @ The Tetrad Consultancy - @TetradGus - LinkedIn ................. 21 Shelli Walsh - creativity101.com / shellshockuk.com - @shelliwalsh .............................. 25 Gary Buchan Founder & Managing Director at Render Positive - @garybuchan .............. 27
  2. 2. Chad Pollitt VP of Audience, Co-Founder @ Relevance - @ChadPollitt We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? The biggest change I’ve seen is the shift from content production to content promotion. With adoption rates for content marketing hovering around 90% for brands, marketing content has never been more important. Look for this trend to continue in 2015 as more brands seek to drive maximum visibility of their content. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? Next year brands will be experimenting with many different earned and paid content promotion channels. Discovering the right mix will be a huge challenge for brands. They’ll be huge wins and many loses, but by the end of the year many brands that take on content promotion initiatives should have a defined and proven promotion cadence and logistical infrastructure. This will separate the content marketing big boys from tomorrow’s posers. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? I predict content marketing adoption rates will decline. There’s so much content being produced by brands today it’s getting harder and harder to stand out in the crowd. Brands without large existing audience that don’t adopt robust content promotion strategies will achieve little to no ROI. As a result, funding will get pulled and focus on more traditional channels will become en vogue again. Content marketing is a marathon not a sprint. Enterprise brands are under pressure to show a return in the quarter they begin an initiative. Without promotion that’s unlikely to happen. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? Some of my KPIs are unique since I run a publ ication that relies on sponsors. With that said my top KPIs are as follows: 1. Number of impressions 2. Subscribers 3. Conversions 4. Traffic 5. Number of inbound links
  3. 3. What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? Promote, promote and promote some more. Stop thinking about content marketing. Instead, think about marketing content. Use earned channels like influencer marketing and media relations to get your content covered and written about on other sites. Reach out to well-known publications in your industry and ask to write for them. Deploy native advertising and content amplification. Break through the owned media noise and stop relying on organic search and social to drive traffic to your owned media.
  4. 4. Sean Revell - Freelance Consultant http://rvll.co.uk - @rxvxll We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? I think the biggest change within content marketing is probably an 'acceptance' that it can be a useful and effective way to gain visibility and gain links for your website. Personally there is no better and more effective way to do this online. All it requires is the right idea and execution (obviously easier said than done...) I think that the more successful 'big content' projects we see (not the industry but per se but the people holding the purse strings) the more it will be trusted and thus we'll see an increase in budgets/people working within the industry. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? An increase in content production and competition from more websites than ever brings a 'why should I read this' mentality from a user. You have to be able to gain attention and once they arrive be able to keep them interested for long enough that they do what you want them to do. We all like to think that our ideas are unique, remarkable and sticky but what is stopping the reader from closing the page and visiting Buzzfeed? Gaining and keeping readers attention will be the biggest challenge in 2015. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? A real increase in 'show me, don't tell me' content pieces being used to win new business. As in agencies are finally creating interesting pieces to show what they can do without a client being involved. This is something I was talking about a couple of years ago and it looks like people are eventually getting around to it. Why is it important? I suppose it shows that an agency can do what they say they can, adds a layer of trust and shows skill. If you want to be trusted nowadays you have to be able to show people why you're good not just tell them. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? This will vary from client to client, obviously some are less concerned with the SEO benefits and so links are seen as less important. Or perhaps the brand is looking for visibility/traffic but isn't worried about gaining sign ups yet. However these would be the 5 that I'd be reviewing (in no particular order).
  5. 5. 1. Conversions/sign ups - Has the project provoked conversions? If so how many? How does this compare to the pre project goal? 2. Traffic to page/site - How many people have visited the site? What have they done once arrived? How does this compare to the pre project goal? 3. Number of links pointing to content piece/site - How many new links are pointing to the site? How many via outreach? How many are natural? How does this compare to the pre project goal? 4. Social shares, where has it been shared? By who? How does this compare to the pre project goal? 5. Is the person who paid for it happy? A slightly simple KPI perhaps but potentially the most important one. Is the customer happy with the project and it's end result? Did it hit their goals? Would they do something similar again? Most importantly what have we learned? What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? 1. Develop your contacts/build relationships - Whether you need writers, designers, website owners etc. Developing contacts makes the creativity, execution and outreach of your projects just that little bit easier and who doesn't want that? 2. Continue to research/tweak your process - How can you come up with more effective ideas? How can you check to see whether one idea is more likely to work than another? What is fashionable content wise at the moment? Always be thinking about how you can improve your process in terms of quality and speed. 3. Don't be afraid to stand out - This will obviously depend on who you're working with but I find that the projects that are most open and/or don't allow fear to get in the way are the ones that are the most successful. This is in terms of content idea, execution and outreach, sometimes you can get an amazing link purely by just having the gall to ask...
  6. 6. Karen Webber - Marketing Director at Axonn Media - @webber_karen / LinkedIn We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? In 2014 the focus has definitely shifted to a more structured approach to content marketing. We've gone from "WRITE ALL THE THINGS!" to marketers actually thinking about who they are trying to engage with content and to what end. That said, research we've just released with the Content Marketing Institute shows fewer marketers are writing down their content marketing strategies, and this is problematic for a number of reasons. While you need to be able to adapt your plans quickly as a content marketer, it's crucial to have clear objectives as part of an overall strategy. This will be critical to success going into 2015. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? There's more money than ever being put into content marketing, and lots of things to spend it on (in-house people, external experts, design, marketing technology, outreach tools, etc.). In 2015, the challenge for marketers will be how to effectively allocate their budgets so they get the best bang for their buck and have the best chance of achieving their objectives. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important?The proliferation of marketing technologies has to reach a tipping point somewhere - there are so many options, but what marketers really want isn't more choice, it's knowing that one (or a few) tools can do everything they need to do. So I predict marketing technology will become smarter and more integrated to make content marketing simpler for marketers. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? It really depends on the project. This past year I've run campaigns/projects with different end goals e.g. growing our email subscribers, increasing traffic or improving the quality of inbound leads, and obviously they've all had different KPIs. Looking at content marketing as a whole though, i.e. away from specific projects, the most important KPIs of this function in an organisation has to be about the extent to which it has contributed to the overall marketing objectives. This is likely to be measured in the number of sales-ready leads delivered or improvement in brand awareness, measured as a mix of factors like media mentions, backlinks etc.
  7. 7. What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? 1. Build a culture of content. This is where everyone in your organisation understands why content marketing is important and what they can do to contribute to achieve the desired outcomes. (I'll be honest, this is very hard to do and will take a long time to achieve fully, but in a year's time you'll be glad you started this work today.) For this to work, you need to write down your strategy and communicate it clearly to others. This is crucial in order to get buy-in from around your organisation as well as to report properly and secure budget. Make sure you report back to everyone involved on performance and revise your strategy on a regular basis. 2. Embrace marketing technology to make your life easier 3. Get visual.
  8. 8. Name: Aran Jackson - Creative Director at JBH - LinkedIn We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? Creating content for link building was a huge part of content marketing in 2014 and will continue into 2015. Companies created a piece of content that aligned with their brand and the audience’s interests and pitched the piece to a journalist of a big website publication. If the journalist thought it was decent content they would then place the content on their own site with a link back to the author’s site (This is why SEO companies are now creating content for their clients). Moving into 2015 it’s really important not to forget that creating content for this purpose must have relevance to your company otherwise Google will discount the value of the link, or worse, potentially penalise you for it in a future update. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? For most brands there will be a few key challenges. The first will be to produce enough compelling content or finding resourceful ways to maximize the use of each piece of content created. For example, if you’re writing an eBook, use that content to create an infographic, slideshare and blog post too. The second challenge will be finding more budget for content marketing. Some brands will automatically see their marketing budget rise enabling them to allocate more budget to content in 2015. While others may need to take money from their advertising or PPC budget, so more money will be allocated to content marketing as a result. Thirdly - ROI. Not only are marketers having to fight for content marketing budgets, they also have to prove value and often return on investment. This is where having a documented content strategy is key. If you know what your content objectives are and can allocate budget accordingly, it is much easier to set KPI’s and measure your effectiveness for content ROI. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important?Most humans are inherently lazy when they’re being entertained - video is the easiest of all content to consume, I don’t have to click play, hell I only need to scroll past it for it to start. Video will continue to become the primary medium for content and will permeate into other sectors where video wasn’t as strong before. The stats that support video as part of a content marketing strategy are startling and now with apps like Vine, video is much more accessible by companies as an affordable content format than it has ever been before.
  9. 9. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? It’s hard to give 5 specific KPI’s as every project is different. So here's 5 strategic tips to help you plan, track and measure your content marketing activity: 1. Know what you want to achieve. What are your key objectives and how can content help you achieve them? 2. Calculate how much you can afford to spend on this objective and the proportion ear-marked for a piece or series of content and the promotion and distribution of that content. 3. Set key performance indicators for your content. Decide what will success look like at each milestone? 4. Find the best ways to track content performance. You may use a sophisticated inbound marketing platform that can help you track click-throughs, downloads and sign-ups for lead generation and sales etc. but if not, Google Analytics enables brands to track the performance of content quite easi ly measuring traffic, referrals, time-on-page and conversions. It also has an application called experiments so you can test different content variations on your website. 5. Calculate value and ROI. If your objective is sales then there’s a simple calculation you can use: (Revenue generated - Cost of Content Marketing) / Cost of Content Marketing = ROI. 1 =100%. 2 = 200% 3 = 300% etc. You can also use this method for lead generation and compare content ROI to other methods you’ve used in the past. There’s an article in The Guardian that goes into detail about how to calculate the ROI of content marketing, which also offers examples on measuring other non-sales objectives too. What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? 1: Be real, be relevant This follows on from the 'Lifestyle' trend of 2014 that had brands using real -life imagery/footage to paint a more relevant image that the customer could engage with. In 2015, be real and be relevant. Create brand affinity by finding common interests that you and your audience share and use that knowledge to create interesting and relevant content.
  10. 10. 2: Get creative Creating a lot of content can get expensive, especially if you are outsourcing it all. So empower your internal team with apps/tools that enable them to be creative. For example, we have a client that supplies candidates for jobs and they used Polyvore (a fashion app) to create a selection of moodboards These displayed various outfits that candidates could wear to make a great impression at their interviews. A perfect content fit! The cost was minimal but the quality of content was superb. So open up your Vines, Polyvore’s and SnapChats and get creative! 3: Think mobile 1st Don’t forget to think mobile first. We see brands create superb content all the time but often it’s not optimized for mobile devices and the user experience is heavily compromised. It’s a shame because it’s such a waste of great content. Thi s needs to be considered at the start of the planning process, so content, imagery, width and navigation are all optimised to work on mobile devices.
  11. 11. Sadie Sherran - Head of Online Marketing (today’s role but I get called plenty of things in the office) Falkon Digital - @seobelle We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? For years people have been preaching that content is King and good content wins overall but in the past 2 years this has actually become more accurate as there is more onus on earned traffic, earned links, building brands and retaining customers. Content isn’t just making sure you are writing enough to be picked up in search, and stuffing a few keywords in it needs to be memorable and creative. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated it could be a simple idea. Instead of buying links more brands and businesses needed to start producing linkable content, thinking about their demographic and giving them what they want and/or need. With the expansion of ways to get traffic to your site through various social platforms the big G is just another element and brands can win fans and brand ambassadors through great content. This doesn’t eliminate the need for search but is a great opportunity for marketing departments and companies. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? Explaining ROI and helping clients understand the benefits of content marketing from all angles (PR, SEO, Social, brand awareness, sales). What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? Assumptions are out of the window, creativity, psychology and analysis will become more important, the old school ways of marketing, informing the masses, manipulating people into buying using emotions rather than giving the hard sell will be more successful. That being said it isn’t as bad as it sounds, by understanding your target market - the mum who needs nappies, how she feels when she’s buying, how much she has to spend, where she spends her time online and offline, and other things she thinks and cares about - this insight helps brands create a good product, and marketers get in front of users with a piece of creative content that will make them a fan, be remembered and smile. We are going to see more creative content strategies with one concept modified for cross platform performance tied together with one message or hashtag. Video and interactivity will continue to grow and more money will be invested in content as a standalone service rather than an extension of SEO or PR.
  12. 12. Content has always been important but now brands and marketers are recognising its value more. Great content is not limiting you can win fans, get sales, get links and get noticed. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects?  Reach - Measure unique visitors, social shares and links  Engage – measure time on site, comments  Convert – Measure email sign ups, social follows, sales and enquiries  Adapt – identify what worked and what didn’t, analyse designs, tone of voice and adapt  Cost – how much did it cost and how much did it make in terms of enquiries, direct sales, what a fan is worth to the brand What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? Think outside the ‘search’ box - forget about keyword density and Google trends give your audience what they will like not necessarily what they will search for Analyse everything, not just to show ROI but to improve upon things and make the content convert not just get shared Keep it simple stupid – don’t get bogged down by the data and being clever, you don’t always need a huge budget or production sometimes a clever drawing or phrase will do if you overcomplicate things you’ll lose the message.
  13. 13. Lee Stuart, Co-founder @ Caliber - LinkedIn We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? Content marketing has matured significantly in the last 12 months, as an industry we are slowing down just a little, concentrating more on using data to inform our strategies, asking more questions of the audience, being more scientific with our craft. It’s also been a year of increased budgets and awareness of content marketing at the c-level, which in turn, has meant more focus on the attribution of its value in the path to conversion. I think it’s vitally important that this remains in focus going in to 2015 as we are at the edge of new wave of technology advancement; this will mean more opportunities for both quantitative and qualitative research in content development. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? Further advances in technology will come at a price; this will mean more devices, in turn more data points and further complexity, so business wi ll need to invest more heavily in content measurement in terms of both software and people, in order to stay in the game. As the world and its dog is now producing content we have reached a point of sensory overload, its getting difficult to wade through the stream and select what content is relevant to us personally, this will be a significant challenge for content creators. Additionally, consumers will demand more from brands, the standard of their content will begin to define them; audiences will become more intelligent and informed, less likely to be enticed by engagement stunts and will focus more on what content (and therefore brands) mean to them personally. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? I think we will see a new range of personalized content experiences; these new forms will ride along in the ‘slipstream’ created by the wave of adoption of wearable and embeddable technology.
  14. 14. These new devices offer a range of new and exciting feedback opportunities to businesses so its seems likely that hungry development teams will be eager to cash in on any obvious benefits. I think its important now that we get used to asking difficult questions and building our content based on measurement and feedback. Lets get ready to move from content ‘designed with customers in mind’ to content ‘designed by the customer’ which is coming very soon. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? I think it’s a little more complex than that; I like to work downwards in a funnel starting with soft KPI’s moving to more robust measurement at the bottom. This way you can evaluate each stage effectively, each stage consists of both simple and hybrid metrics, which need to adapted to suit your industry and goals. 1. Measure the number (or percentage of your target audience) that interacted with your content. 2. Size of the potential audience reached 3. Unique visits from that audience 4. Measure how they interacted in terms of engagement and sharing. 5. Time on page vs. reading time 6. How many comments, likes and shares – relative to the audience 7. Measure what kind of positive signals that engagement generated for your overall marketing strategy 8. Links and brand mentions with a digital legacy 9. Impact on brand sentiment 10. Measure the impact on conversion goals – again soft and hard here. 11. Increase in primary conversions and or % increase in rate 12. Increase in other conversions – new sign ups etc. 13. Measure the impact on revenue from these conversions 14. Attribute the value of content 15. Assisting value of content What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015?
  15. 15. 1. Get used to designing ways to garner the views and opinions of your potential audience on both customer and influencer terms. Set up (and spend money on) surveys, forms and questionaries’ get new data points. This way when technology advances and content becomes more personalized, you will already have this built into your strategy. 2. Emphasize the importance of universal analytics and a content attribution process with your business; it’s going to be absolutely vital to understand where all your efforts sit within your customer lifecycle and how you should direct future efforts. Without this you could be left behind in the maelstrom. 3. Place a special focus on the distribution of your content in the planning stage, understand what steps are required to maximize the reach and resonance of your content efforts, make a commitment to influencer identification and nurturing the build this into the development process – this insight combined with paid amplification opportunities – will be key to cut through in crowded space.
  16. 16. Ben Harper - Co-Founder, Datify - @benharper87 We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? For me, the biggest change in 2014 was the quality of content needed for a successful campaign. Unlike in earlier years, not just any piece of content will do digitally - only the best pieces make it. That's why it's more important than ever to understand your target audience (in terms of users, influencers, and journalists) to ensure that the content you invest in creating is going to have the best chance of success. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? In 2015, the biggest challenge that we're foreseeing is the sheer volume of content being produced, and ensuring that our client's campaigns cut through the noise. There's an awful lot of businesses out there who are still just catching on about creating content - but naturally the more content that is produced, the harder it is for the best pieces to rise to the top. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important?My biggest prediction for 2015 is that businesses will become a lot more data led. Rather than going just off their instinct or creativity, companies of all sizes will start to use the wealth of data that is available to start to laser target their content efforts - to reduce risk and optimise campaigns for success. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? The top 5 KPI's we use to measure a content based project are: 1. Conversions 2. Positive interactions 3. Visibility/reach 4. Content placements 5. Traffic What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015?
  17. 17. 1. Understand your audience: even if you just use free audience insight tools like Facebook Audience Insights, it's crucial to understand your audience so that you can target your content creation efforts 2. Get creative with distribution: if you've got a piece of content to share, you need to go beyond just asking bloggers and journalists to get involved. Get your PR hat on, and think how to make that buzz around your content. 3. Guarantee reach: use Facebook & Twitter advertising, as well as the likes of Outbrain to guarantee reach from your content pieces. You can control the audience that your content will show to, and achieve a level of reach usually reserved for just the biggest pieces of content.
  18. 18. Claire Stokoe Company Secretary/Owner - of Datatrouble.com - @killer_bunnie / LinkedIn We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? I feel that the global growth in mCommerce has been a huge shift in online content and promotion, with many websites either not prepared or simply unaware of the needs of mobile consumers. Many sites are still not responsive or even have a mobile presence and this is a hugely important opportunity for content marketers. This is still going to continue to surge forward into 2015. Global mCommerce and content that meets this demand is going to be huge over the coming years and could open up paths to global consumers to any SME online. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? I think outreach and placement of content is only going to get harder in 2015. This is due to bad communication from agencies, most companies who hire an SEO agency are still expecting large quantities of links which simply aren't deliverable anymore. The era of churned out garbage is either over or will be coming to a very sticky end and unfortunately a lot of this garbage is now labelled as content marketing. I have seen Infographics go from something mildly irritating a few years ago to something akin to evil spam and this is all due to them replacing guest posts and being churned out like machine made rubbish. This has impacted on outreach because bloggers know there is a window of opportunity and raise their prices and journalists are sick of being spammed with ill -conceived content marketing ideas so shut the doors on pitches. I think sites not being mobile ready for their customers will start to cause a huge problem in 2015 and I can see this bringing Google penalties to even those sites that try and follow all the rules. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? I have a few; Storytelling will become Story-engagement with content becoming more about inviting the reader in to take part and developing the content to respond to their choices, they choose the path they take because it is about them and not the brand. Interactive content is still very much in it's infancy but will become more and more prominent in coming years.
  19. 19. I think creative writers will become more and more important within Content Marketing and SEO teams, these will be passionate experts and already have journalist and blogger connections from a previous employment, that might already be working for Huffington Post or Gizmodo as freelancers. I also think Content Marketing teams will be looking to hire dedicated HTML 5 coders to help them with responsive content and designers to work on Content pieces, and making content that inspires consumers and informs them to make the best choices. I think Vine stars will become more and more prominent in the promotion of Content and also the training of Vine interns in companies that can gain followers that will make traction for promotion and buy in. Data and analysis will need to become part of the life blood of any Content Marketing dept, creators need to start caring about what they create and focusing on issues that people care about or should care about. Data should be treated more respectfully so that is shows a little more truth and less b******. Data should be used to inspire and open peoples eyes, not stifle imagination.  There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? Sales - Is your content marketing impacting sales directly? Are you dropping cookies adding voucher codes or other incentives to track this? Links still play a big part and getting great links from the Telegraph or blogs with a dedicated following are growing more important Traffic and Time On Site is an important KPI as we need customers to spend time on the clients website after all we want this marketing to help clients sell more stuff.. right? You need to track where they go next, see where they drop off, what could you have added that would have kept them reading OR buying? Social Shares - a lot of people discount these, but when potentially 70,000 eye balls have viewed your content in 3 hours.. you need to take notice
  20. 20. Device usage - Is the content being accessed from various devices and if so which one? should you be making sure if works on other devices and or tailoring content to those users? What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? When developing a piece of Content like an interactive parallax timeline for example, create a smaller image that picks out some of the main dates and points that can be used as a promotional tool as many Journalists and bloggers cannot host such a large piece of content (even very large infographics). This could be broken into 3 or 4 sections and slotted into an article for ease, a link at the footer when then take you to the main content. Use all the raw data that you find and have this written up as a blog post or page on the site, this can then be used as a reference that is linked back to from an interactive piece or infographic and is then far more natural. This not only helps with outreach and gives more back to the reader but also means that all the time researching is not wasted as everything is used and the link back to the page is a natural and helpful one. Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and talk to a journalist about a content idea, of course make sure the topic is something they normally write about. FYI don't pitch a fashion idea to a sports journalist. You could sign up to a Journalist Request service, this is a great way of getting to know various Journalists and helping them out whilst at the same time promoting the clients you work.
  21. 21. Gus Ferguson - Founder @ The Tetrad Consultancy - @TetradGus - LinkedIn We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? Short question; huge answer! For me there are four main areas where content marketing has evolved over the past 12 months: 1. No one is calling content marketing a fad anymore - When the first few agencies, such as Quad Digital and Blueglass in the UK, started calling their service Content Marketing, there were a huge number of naysayers making accusations that content marketing was just a rebranding of SEO link building... and that it was a fad that wouldn't last. How wrong they were! The trouble was that there was no agreed definition for the term, and a lot of confusion as to what content marketing actually entailed. In 2014 people started understanding content marketing and I'd say we're all coming to a consensus. I define it as creating communications campaigns that achieve results across SEO, social media and PR metrics through providing experiences that add value to the consumer, which I think is along the lines of how most marketers see it now. The mainstream understanding came from the indisputable successes of brands like Hubspot and Copyblogger who whilst giving tips on how to do content marketing properly, also exemplified smashing it in terms of the results they got from using it as their main marketing strategy! The SEO industry noticed this first in the SERPs (and realised that there's a much less stressful way to market long-term brands in organic search than buying links) and there was a shift with larger players like SEOMoz, and agencies like SEOGadget renaming in order to lose the SEO element. As smart marketers realised that to get organic traffic from Google, they had to expand their activities into social, design, branding and PR, SEO suddenly became a confining description of the results they were achieving for their customers and clients. Progressive PR and social media professionals have also found content marketing strategy much easier to digest and implement than esoteric technical SEO had been previously. They realised that, as storytellers, they held some highly valuable cards to offer clients in terms of achieving organic traffic. Content marketing has gone from being perceived as a marketing
  22. 22. gimmick, to describing more than just a strategy - it's a customer-centric marketing philosophy that transcends silos, channels and even the on and offline divide. The fact that content marketing is now mainstream means that in 2015 the conversation moves on from what content marketing is, to how we can do it better, and then better again. I can't wait to see the awesome integrated campaigns that will come from lots of smart people creating together. 2. The growing realisation that content is not king. In early 2014, there were a few industry voices prophesying that content marketing would eat itself and that the internet would crash under 'the content avalanche'. This was driven by the outdated 'content is king' misconception, which placed the emphasis on quantity of content, rather than quality. Everyone was pumping out as much as possible - infographics, videos, blog posts, social media campaigns were flying right, left and centre! The elephant in the marketing room was that, for most people, content marketing did not appear to work. When meeting with potential client brands, I had the same conversation over and over again - they'd spent a fortune with one agency or another getting content created, posting it on their owned media platforms and... nothing. No traffic. No links. No ROI. The campaigns they'd been running were all, without exception, missing a single vital ingredient - a reason for the reader to be interested! Basically, the customer experience was poor. In 2015, we'll see 'experience as king' become more fully understood by the mainstream, and I've the (probably unlikely) hope that no marketing content will be created before a marketing team asks the question - does this really provide a valuable experience to my audience? 3. 'Fat-free' mobile content - I know; 'mobile' is the go to answer for any question asked of a marketer's since 2006 it seems... But in terms of content marketing, I think it's highly relevant at this point. 4G became mainstream in 2014, my phone is now faster than most of the wifi I can access publicly! It was a hell of a long time coming but the mobile revolution finally happened, everything is now responsive (I wish!) and we're well and truly in a mobile-first world... but still, in my opinion, most content is created for the non-mobile web.
  23. 23. Mobile-first content needs to concentrate value. Mark Twain famously apologised “I am sorry this is so long. I didn’t have time to make it shorter.” and this is totally relevant to content marke ting today. Long form is important and has it's place, even on mobile, but for the majority of copy, videos, images, etc the mobile user won't accept Twain's apology. They'll just ignore undistilled content. It's comes down to the simple fact that it's not as comfortable to consume content on a mobile device as it is on a larger screen, and this further reduces a user's tolerance for a poor experience. Another relevant quote comes from Jefferson who said that "the most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do." This should be a content marketers mantra in 2015. Content needs to be fat-free... , and this doesn't just apply to words. Copy needs to be concise, videos hard hitting, images straight to the point and everything aligned with a purpose - a story of genuine interest to the target audience. In 2015 I think we'll see a huge stylistic evolution across all formats. Dave Trott's one line paragraph format is a great example of fat-free content, where every word is obviously a considered choice, and is perfectly suited to mobile consumption. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? I think the challenge for most brands when it comes to content marketing is for clients that still use archaic budget systems that look at marketing results in terms of silos. In reality there is no separation between results in social media marketing and PR for example, they are all inter-related. Thinking they're not leads to situations where within the same business you have internal teams fighting against each other for budget which is a real results killer. This is hugely difficult to change however, but from helping various brands deal with this issue I think we're getting to the stage where C-level see the value (and opportunity cost) and are ready to invest in change. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? My biggest prediction is more an effect of content marketing and revolves around companies shifting to subscription-based sales models. In 2015 there will be a seismic shift as more and more C-level decision makers realise that content marketing requires integrating teams to deliver awesome customer experiences and achieve optimum results.
  24. 24. The evolution of analytics will drive this as hard data supports content marketing as being the most effective way to attract and engage profitable audiences and drive advocacy. This will lead to more businesses doing content marketing well, and building ongoing relationships with their audiences. They'll find that via the continuous relationship they have with their customers they have many more opportunities to maximise revenue per customer through cross selling and upselling their products... and ancillary services. The first sale per customer will lose it's importance and it will be the 10th, 20th... 100th sale that will become the target. As these businesses realise that this ongoing relationship is a much stronger tie to a brand than simply selling better or cheaper products it will change the focus to creating recurring revenue streams and subscription-based models. A current example of this is P&Gs recent move to start selling razor blades for their Gillette range at a discount in return for an ongoing monthly commitment on the part of the consumer. Gillette now has an engaged audience to whom they can market all their complementary products to every time they deliver blades. It's a huge shift in sales thinking that's going to revolutionise how we buy. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? At a strategic level: Reach, opted-in audience growth, the ongoing subjective engagement metrics for that audience, contract value and recurring revenue. At a tactical level: Views, shares, 3rd party natural coverage, comments and list growth What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? Use strategies such as serialisation of content and repeatable themes to minimise the time taken on ideation Focus on the overall experience that you are creating for your audience Don't forget to sell. I had an agency pitch me a tactic that they called 'irrelevant content' which was basically content that had nothing to do with the brand or products of the client I was working on. This is ridiculous... the goal is to provide valuable experiences which support the idea that your audience should buy your product or service.
  25. 25. Shelli Walsh - creativity101.com / shellshockuk.com - @shelliwalsh We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? Content marketing has existed for a long time. A few early examples being: the Michelin Guides in 1900, Jell-O recipe books in 1904 and the John Deere customer magazine launched in 1895. All the 'classic' marketing tactics that have been employed offline for decades are begin to translate online and considered 'new'. So, I find it difficult to consider that content marketing has evolved and matured over the last few years online. The biggest change I have seen in the industry over the last twelve months is that online marketers are now having to turn to the classic marketing skills to evolve with the changing emphasis on 'brands' now that SEO is no longer reliant on 10 blue links. I expect 2015 will see more cross channel marketing. Online marketers will all turn to developing a brand, telling a story and customer engagement (the classic way of marketing). I expect online 'branding' will be the new buzzword. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? Budgets. To develop a brand and to facilitate all the channels that need attention within an online strategy is becoming much of an investment. Therefore, even more divide of large brands with big budgets and small independents. Much like the high street, big brands will begin to dominate and the polarisation of big brand and niche independent will widen with anything in between falling away, unless it can prove real value. Creativity will be the second challenge. With limitation of any kind creativity can flourish to overcome the restrictions but you have to have serious talent to make this happen. The real challenge will be finding the talented ideas people. They will (and are) in short supply in this industry.
  26. 26. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important? More cross channel campaigns (online/offline). In competitive niches online information and content is becoming (has become) saturated; therefore, there is a need to evolve how the information is presented and promoted. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based p rojects? However you dress it up or granulate - KPIs for content all fall into the following categories:  Links - quality of link, not volume - links that pass authority or referral traffic.  Traffic - and most importantly traffic relevancy  Social shares - brand mentions and awareness  Action (conversion) - this differs for projects and could be a purchase, a download or an email capture  Sales/profits - ultimately why do brands spend money on marketing and content marketing? There is only one reason: to increase bottom line profits. Although content marketing is about brand awareness and customer retention it still all comes down to profit in the end. What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? Series of small 'agile' ideas - classic marketing rules state that advertising budgets are best spent on small ads run consistently rather than a one off double page spread. Look offline for inspiration. Get cultural - go to galleries, museums even junk shops and read books. Feed your mind quality ingredients so that you can be an ideas machine. Talk to your prospect and find out what keeps them awake at night. Answer that question and offer them solutions with your content.
  27. 27. Gary Buchan Founder & Managing Director at Render Positive - @garybuchan We have seen content marketing evolve and grow up in the last two years, especially over the last twelve months, what do you think was the biggest change in 2014 and why is it important going in 2015? First, let’s take a little step back. Content Marketing has been around for a long time. I don’t think it’s fair to say “it’s grown up in the last few years”. Marketers have been doing it fo r a century or more. Certainly in the last decade digital content marketing has ramped up significantly, as you’d expect. With so many new ways to deliver content it’s bewildering to look at what’s out there now. Some of it is amazing. Some of it is utter crap. Probably not much different to how it felt to be a marketer a hundred years ago, then. Yes, online content marketing has definitely grown up a little in the last couple of years. Clients are asking for it by name, and that says it all. Some companies have realised that online content is more important than just doing it to be seen to be doing it and ticking a box, or doing it for “SEO”. Smart businesses have realised it ties into all of their marketing, and drives their social media and search presence. Big companies understand it informs how their brand is perceived. Advertising agencies have long had their own lingo for “our” kind of content, which we’re just catching up to. When we interviewed ad man (and absolute genius, BTW) Rory Sutherland, his view was to always “choose branded utility over branded entertainment” if possible. That nuance shows they’ve explored and evaluated this stuff extensively already. Probably the biggest change is that content now gets a seat at the strategy table alongside search and social and PR. It’s no longer just a tactic that falls under one of the others. All of these channels are growing closer, so this is important. We need to tap into this. Make hay while the sun shines. There are a growing number of companies being run by accountants because of the ongoing financial climate, which is sad. It means that, just like the ad men, we also have to prove the value of creative. Where or what do you think the biggest challenge will be in 2015? There’s a few.
  28. 28. The idea that a rising tide lifts all ships is valid, but is still hard to prove - especially when you have a mix of initiatives going on. There’s definitely a disconnect in some people’s move to rebrand SEO as content marketing, because content is part of the brand play big clients want, but they also want sales. Social media has never really been about sales; it’s much higher up the funnel. Content drives social, but it can also be closer to the sharp end. Throw in UX and CRO, which we’ve found can brilliantly inform all parts of the funnel, and you have a whole bunch of questions. I don’t think anybody can reliably or routinely answer them simply yet, just like nobody can answer the multiple touchpoint attribution question. Brands are going to continue to struggle with creating content that matters, and specifically content that isn’t just about themselves. This is particularly acute for luxury brands and large corporations, and less so for SMEs. There will be an ongoing education process showing content needs to be interesting, entertaining, educational, humorous, useful… and not just a thinly veiled advert. Probably most importantly: Impact. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if it doesn’t get seen. I probably (hopefully) just made my life a lot harder by sharing that video. You’re welcome ;) Finally, there’s some great players in this space. People have been pushing the boundaries even further this year, so now the standard is even higher. What's your biggest content marketing prediction in 2015 and why is it important?People think our industry is fast-paced and constantly changing. It doesn’t move that quickly, even though we like to think it does. Sure, there might be some shiny new things we can proclaim as the NEXT BIG THING… just as there will be a plethora of THIS THING IS DEAD blog posts or the like. None of that stuff matters. My prediction for next year is iterative success. I hope to see more brands dipping their toes in the water, and more success from the ones that did it last year. There will also probably be more Google initiatives that are lazy and lack oversi ght or forethought.
  29. 29. Hopefully though, and sincerely, I’d like to see more companies disregard the backwards legislature of their brand guidelines. Throw out the false way you’ve been taught to speak to people by misguided PR companies for 50-odd years, and say “Yeah, let’s give this a shot. We’re good people. We can talk to good people. It might be worthwhile and fun!”. There are huge debates within marketing teams and businesses around tracking success with content marketing, what are your top five KPI’s for content based projects? We split it into three broad, and sometimes overlapping, areas: brand, demand, and conversion:  Brand is about reach, saliency, and recall.  Demand is rankings, traffic, spread, CTR, and share of market.  Conversion is purchases and leads, or subscribes, follows, views. Any campaign can be about one or more of these things. A strategy should cover them all, but be judged from a higher view than any specific campaign. Find the stuff that matters to the client, and measure that. What are your top 3 actionable tips for content marketing in 2015? 1. Pass the self test for each piece of content you plan. “Would I share this on Facebook?” Obviously adjust to your target audience. “Would my mom share this on Facebook?” is just as valid. If more than half of your team (or their mothers) can answer positively, you might have something OK. But who knows, sometimes the thing nobody reasonable would share wins. Develop your own heuristics. 2. Make it look sexy - As in, get great designers to make the user experience utterly delightful. Not as in any random basic stereotype with lots of bare skin and suggestive poses. 3. Keep learning. As an industry we’re notorious for assimilating huge swathes of information on a daily basis, even on topics we don’t care about. Keep it up. Keep educating. I still get lots of people emailing me saying “I have X budget if you can deliver Y links per month”. And you all get the offshore SEO companies spamming you with a variety of supremely tantalising link building offers (we send all these guys the same response with no explanation..). This really needs to change. Please help!
  30. 30. --Document End-- Questions and document created by Danny Denhard – @dannydenhard
  • AranJackson

    Dec. 18, 2014
  • lbastuart

    Dec. 16, 2014
  • cpollittiu

    Dec. 15, 2014

I hand picked a number of content marketing industry minds a number of Content Marketing questions. The industry minds included range from founders of agencies, freelance consultants, publishers and directors of departments so this ensures the best answers possible to make it as relevant to you as possible. The questions are aimed to help you develop your content marketing strategy for 2015 and is aimed for any marketer, SEO execs or anyone planning to market in 2015.

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