7 Key Considerations for Scaling Your Content Team

scale

According to the Content Marketing Institute, approximately 92% of marketers are now using content marketing strategies and roughly 60% of B2B and B2C marketers anticipate increasing their content marketing budgets over the next 12 months.

If you’re one of these companies, know that simply throwing more money at your content campaigns won’t likely lead to the kinds of marketing gains you hope to achieve.  Instead, you’ve got to be thoughtful about the way you scale your content team.  Keeping the following seven considerations in mind as you grow your marketing initiatives will help ensure a positive ROI on your new expenses: Continue reading

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11 Rules to Add to Your Brand Guidelines

I think we can all agree that branding is important for growing businesses.  However, saying that branding is good and actually doing it well are two different things entirely!

Establishing a brand” isn’t just industry jargon; there are actual, concrete steps you’ll want to take to ensure that your brand is both distinct and memorable.  One of these steps is establishing a set of clearly-defined brand guidelines that dictate how you’ll present your company to the world.  If you haven’t yet created these all-important rules for your business, the 11 recommendations below should help you get started: Continue reading

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25 Tools Content Marketers Can’t Live Without

tools

There’s no doubt that content marketing has grown in popularity over the last few years to become one of the web’s most important promotional strategies.  And while I’ve always been a major proponent of this technique, it’s thrilling to see interest in this subject grow universally, as this surge in interest has led to the development of great new content marketing tools.

When it comes to these tools, the following are 25 of my favorites.  This list certainly isn’t comprehensive, but I hope it gives you the resources needed to take your content campaigns to the next level! Continue reading

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Are You Working Hard or Hardly Working?

busy work

If you read my recent “Hitting the Reset Button” post, you know I’ve made some pretty major changes in my life over the past few months.  But there’s one specific aspect of my story that I want to draw your attention to today – the fact that I was able to work 60+ hours a week and still feel like I wasn’t getting anything done.

Chances are that sentiment resonates with most of you.  The reality is that we’ve created a culture that rewards people for being busy – not necessarily for being productive.  See that middle manager running around the office like he’s late for the birth of his child?  Give that man a raise!   See a cashier bustling around a busy store trying to handle ten things at once?  A promotion’s in order!

When we use being busy as a proxy for being productive, we fail to identify situations in which habit and environment changes could lead to lower stress levels and more work being completed overall.  Let’s keep going with that middle manager example to see what I mean… Continue reading

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Don’t Just Build a Business – Build a Brand!

coca cola

When it comes down to it, the basic mechanics of building a business are pretty simple.  Offer a product or service that your customers either need or want, at a price they’re willing to pay (and that leaves you with sufficient profit margins).  Use marketing best practices to put your offering in front of your customers and then fulfill orders according to the terms you and your customers agreed upon.  Lather, rinse and repeat.

So why is it that some businesses take off while others languish – even if they’re selling similar products to comparable audiences?  The answer is branding. Continue reading

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17 Copywriting Tips to Boost Website Conversions

don draper copywriting tips

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean that the words found on your website aren’t powerful as well!

To see just how important they are, consider a research study from Carnegie Mellon, which found that changing the phrase “a $5 fee” to “a small $5 fee” on a sample free DVD trial program website increased sign-up rates by more than 20%.  That’s pretty powerful stuff for such a small change!

If you aren’t a great writer, don’t worry.  The science of copywriting has been studied for so long that many of its most popular tips can be applied even if you don’t quite understand why they work.  Give any of the following recommendations a try if you want to make a measurable difference in your website’s conversion rates: Continue reading

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Business Lessons Learned From One Day of Navy SEALs Training

Navy SEAL photo downloads

I thought I was tough…  I’m a fit guy who’s able to run 10-15 miles at a time and knock out 2,000 pushups in a day.  But recently, I had the privilege to train with the Navy SEALs for a day and in just an hour’s workout, I got my butt whooped.  Despite my sore muscles (and bruised pride), the experience taught me more about myself, my limits and my approach to business – not to mention how intense the SEALs are! Continue reading

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10 Startup Companies to Watch Out for in 2014

smartthings

Last year was something of a mixed blessing for growing tech companies.  While some young startups achieved multi-billion dollar valuations (for example, Snapchat and Uber), others struggled when it came to obtaining the funding needed to power growth (as evidenced by both Fab and Rdio’s staff layoffs).

Will 2014 be any different?  It’s tough to say.  The success of the recent Twitter IPO seems to have increased investor interest in social and tech IPOs, which could lead to more money rolling in to promising startups.  Given how fickle the tech investing world can be, it’s difficult to determine exactly where this interest will lead.  But based on current trends, I’ll be keeping an eye on all of the following startups: Continue reading

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Hitting the Reset Button (and Doing What Makes You Happy)

hitting the reset button

A few months ago, I woke up on a Saturday morning and found myself staring down a mountain full of work.  Sure, my inbox was empty, but I’d gotten so busy that I could no longer finish my work between the usual 9:00am to 6:00pm window I gave myself.  I had just wrapped up a 60+ hour work week and felt like I hadn’t finished anything – even though I was working weeknights and weekends just to try to keep up.

WTF, right??

For all of the changes I’ve made to make my days as productive as possible, I had to own up to the fact that my life was spinning out of control.  With the example of Buffer’s CEO Joel Gascoigne – who periodically fires himself from his company – in mind, I finally got up the courage to ask myself the tough questions I’d been avoiding for months.  What am I doing with my life, and – more importantly – why am I doing it?  If things are obviously this broken, how do I go about fixing them? Continue reading

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17 Unexpected Places to Find Inspiration Content Ideas

content inspiration ideas

Content truly is king these days.  If you aren’t actively putting out blog posts, videos, interviews and other content pieces that build your brand and establish your authority, there’s a good chance you’re falling behind to a competitor who’s taking advantage of these powerful tools.

But that said, becoming a round-the-clock content creation machine isn’t easy.  Finding inspiration for all the different content pieces you should be producing can be challenging, which is why I’ve put together the following list of unexpected sources of content inspiration.  Stop back and read through the list whenever you need help! Continue reading

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