Brand Building

How One Brand Uses Insanely Useful Content to Help Customers Make Better Decisions

With complex decisions to make each year – from adjusting capital expenditures to figuring out the amount and timing of fertilizer applications – farmers must analyze reams of data to keep their operations running profitably. PotashCorp saw an opportunity to provide utility-based content that would not only inform farmers, but also influence mission-critical decision-making. As the largest manufacturer of fertilizers by volume, PotashCorp was particularly hard hit by an industry-wide drop in fertilizer sales. In 2012, it experienced a sales decline of 18% in the United States driven by the cyclical nature of the commodity business. Agronomists at PotashCorp knew, however, that by saving money on potash (a naturally occurring salt mined from the earth), farmers were missing out on higher yields. That calculus – figuring out how much additional fertilizer cost is worthwhile to increase yield and productivity – is a fairly complex problem requiring real-time data and analysis….

Brand Building

2 Questions to Ask Before Becoming a Brand Publisher

A slow and steady stream of articles from reputable sources, including Inc., Fortune and Content Marketing Institute, has been encouraging brands and their marketing teams to think and act more like publishers. They extoll those that do. But is publishing the salvation of content marketing? There are certainly many advantages to creating higher-quality content more consistently – increased audience growth, decreased turnover, improved engagement, better creation of brand value, etc. It’s no surprise that the quality of content is of great importance to brands, however only about one-third of marketers say their organization is effective at content marketing. Content marketing is prolific, and to attract and retain your customers’ attention with content you need to clearly stand out. Publishing, however, is not easy. Becoming a brand publisher is a massive, complex effort. Not every company has an inherently compelling story to tell, and not every company has the resources to…

Brand Building

Bringing Ideas to Life: A Look Behind the Creative Curtain

I was jotting down notes in one of the many journals I have around the office (or The Cave, as it is known around here). I happened to come across multiple pages of notes and sketches created around this time last year when we were formulating ideas for the Content Marketing World 2015 theme. After poring over the pages, I thought it would be neat to share with you the creative process for our biggest project – from simple ideas on paper to the final products – and how we all worked together to get it done. The creative process is collaborative; drawing on team strengths for an effective visual story.Click To Tweet Step 1: Develop the theme We are a pretty fun-loving, close-knit group at CMI. That is why the ideation process for projects is always interesting to say the least. Ideas for various successful CMI projects have been…

Brand Building

A Straightforward Take on 3 Confusing Terms: Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Content Marketing Strategy

Are you looking for a job – or looking to hire someone – in a field associated with “content marketing” or “content strategy” or “content marketing strategy”? Do these terms pop up regularly in your reading and your conversations? If so, you know that people often misuse them. Not that they mean to. It’s just that the terms often are used loosely, interchangeably even, resulting in confusion that can lead to ill will or poor business decisions. For the sake of our businesses and our careers, all of us who work in these fields need to understand and appreciate the differences and similarities among these terms – and use the terms accurately. For example, search job postings for “content strategist.” Go ahead, don’t be shy. You’ll find dozens of positions. In the descriptions, do you notice a theme? I’m willing to bet that you’re staring at a list of duties…

Brand Building

Why You Need Two Types of Content Strategist

Recently I was asked: “How do you define an exceptional content experience?” My response was “I don’t deal with front-end experience. I make the content sing and dance by managing it behind the scenes. A front-end strategist tells me what’s needed, and I develop the back-end strategy to support those needs.” Content strategists come in two main types: front-end and back-end. If you’re a marketer who treats your organization’s content as a business asset, you need to understand both types of strategist so you can bring in the right kind of help at the right time or develop the appropriate skills in-house. RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: 4 Tips for Hiring a Content Strategist with the Skills You Need Two mindsets, each important You must coordinate strategies for both the front end and the back end if your enterprise aspires to a scalable approach to content – an approach that leads to…

Brand Building

How to Increase Conversions at Each Stage of the Customer Journey

Visitors interact with your brand six to eight times on average before they become customers, according to several studies. Keeping that in mind, does it make sense to treat visitors on their first interaction the same as those on their sixth? Trying to get a visitor at the start of the journey to purchase immediately is a waste of time and energy. It might even drive them away. Doesn’t it make more sense to treat visitors based on the next stage in THEIR journey? Visitors interact with your brand 6 to 8 times on average before they become a customer via @Siddharth87Click To Tweet Stage 1: Awareness This is the start of the journey, when someone comes in contact with your brand for the first time. Based on the framework you’re using, this stage is known as top of the funnel, awareness, or acquisition. The concept is the same; it’s…

Brand Building

Host Your Own Twitter Chat: Time-Saving Advice, Tools, and Templates

One of our favorite ways to interact with our community on Twitter is through our weekly #CMWorld Twitter chat. The chat started in 2013 with a 10-week experiment prior to Content Marketing World as a way to connect our speakers with potential and registered attendees. After that event, we received many requests from the #CMWorld Twitter community to continue the chats. Fast forward to today, and we have hosted almost 130 chats and have learned a lot along the way. If you are considering starting a Twitter chat as part of your content marketing efforts or improving your existing chat, read on to get a detailed look inside our process as well as some lessons learned. Identifying your why Like anything you do, you need to consider why you want to invest the time in a Twitter chat and how it will support your other marketing efforts. Asked another way: How…

Brand Building

Finding Your Sweet Spot – An Extreme Content Focus [Exercise]

If you’ve been reading my latest posts here at Content Marketing Institute, you’ll see a trend around differentiation. Specifically, either start telling a different story or don’t bother at all. Related to this, Gary Vaynerchuk made a statement in the first minute of his DailyVee 015 show that’s worth breaking apart: The No. 1 thing that you can do is … you need to decide what’s the one thing that you are better at than anything else … and you need to become the extreme version of that. What’s the 1 thing that you are better at than anything else? Become the extreme version of that via @garyveeClick To Tweet Generalist content doesn’t cut through the clutter, and yet most of the content marketing examples we see are just that – general. Worse yet, they are general and not helpful. In that case, it would be better not to create…

Brand Building

Your Content Team Can Sprint With Agile Marketing

Agile marketing is fast becoming the way for marketing teams to produce impactful, audience-focused resources consistently. I was delighted to hear members of the content marketing community embracing Agile methodologies in my recent #CMWorld Twitter chat. As I answered questions, others chimed in, making the conversation a gold mine of insights and ideas on Agile marketing that I wanted to share with you. What does it mean for a marketing team to be Agile? Some teams are naturally adaptive and data-driven, and could technically be considered agile (lowercase “a”). To qualify as Agile (capital “A”), a marketing team needs a structure that enables it to adapt and iterate. This structure could take various forms, including Scrum (the classic Agile process based around sprints), Kanban (a pull-based system that uses work-in-progress limits), or a hybrid of the team’s invention. Most Agile teams work in sprints – set periods during which team…