10 NYC Startups with Content that has Got me Seriously Hooked

10 NYC Startups with Content that has Got me Seriously Hooked

One side effect of being a content marketer is constantly consuming other people’s content - hundreds of blog posts, eBooks, email newsletters and social media posts make their way into my line of sight a day.

There are some brands that stand out to me more than others, and not just to me as a marketer, but as a consumer - they’re the ones with the content that has some heart.

Here are my favorite NYC startups with great content for you below.

Casper

This NYC startup is taking the mattress world by storm. They provide just one type of mattress for a fairly low price, and they swear by its quality.

Not only that - they have a beautiful brand. The illustrations they’ve created to build the Casper personality are quite dreamy - pun intended - and that beauty has translated into great content.

What I love:

The Blog Name: Pillow Talk

Branded content names don’t get much more perfect than 'Pillow Talk' for a mattress company. Casper nailed it with the relevance, cultural reference and punchy breadth that most objective publications have yet to achieve.

Storytelling Images

Each image they choose has an emotional impact that resonates with the topic at hand, and you can immediately tell they’re all about sleep. What is it about floating stuff that automatically makes me think I’m dreaming?

Creativity and Snarkiness

It’s hard to write about sleep over and over again without, well, falling asleep. Casper’s marketing team faces the challenge of keeping readers awake, while also convincing them to buy. They’re up for the challenge, as demonstrated by this Sleeper’s Dictionary.

WayUp

This recruiting marketplace is run by a very interesting CEO. Liz Wessel is only 25, and worked for Google for a bit before launching her first business, WayUp.

I had the pleasure of meeting her at a co-hosted party between BountyJobs and WayUp at the 2016 ERE Recruiting Conference, and haven’t been able to get enough of their content since.

What I love:

Actionable Tips and Advice

WayUp does a great job at not just talking about a topic, but getting right to the heart of the matter - what actionable steps can college students take to land their first internships and full-time positions?

Top-notch Reading Experience

Their blog is just really pretty. It’s got pretty awesome sorting capabilities, and it segments its resources by its readership, not topics - making it easy to find the resources that would be the most relevant for you right up front.

Audience Relevance

They stay relevant by incorporating pieces of pop culture their readership would be interested in - which of course means they write about T-swift.

The Trade Desk

A leader in the adtech industry, The Trade Desk is a demand-side-platform (DSP) empowering some of the most sophisticated buyers with programmatic advertisements. They partner with several other industry leaders, like Adweek, to give their content the best bang for their buck.

Only six years old, they broke through the adtech industry at a breakneck speed, due to their decision to build a platform with multi-channel targeting capabilities, and a business model where they work exclusively with agencies. Their expertise and leadership shows in the content they produce.

What I love:

Their Data

The Trade Desk has a lot of data. Their platform’s ability to optimize ad campaigns across multiple channels at the same time - social, TV and mobile to name a few - is unique, and means they have insights that players in the industry can’t get anywhere else.

Content Structure and Design

They certainly make their content pretty, but more importantly, their infographics makes sense, and flow in a way keeps readers engaged. They can take a general holiday like Mother’s Day, and produce an infographic that’s short, captivating and relevant to their audience.

Newsjacking the Right Way

Adtech is lucky from a content perspective, because anyone can buy an advertisement. That means their relevant content spectrum is a lot wider than other businesses. The Trade Desk talks about global events like the Super Bowl in a relevant way to their consumers, and newsjack the right way.

Betterment

Betterment is an automated investing service that optimizes investing options, including individual IRAs and 401ks. They have a lot of targeted and interactive investing content that I always read all the way to the end.

What I love:

Interactive Content

When it comes to finances, I don’t want generalizations. While there are many best practices that one can follow when it comes to investment plans, the best advice is personalized. Betterment provides interactive content in the form of free calculators that help you make better investment decisions for your own personal portfolio.

Showcasing Talent

Betterment does a really great job of showcasing their team through their content - an aspect of content marketing you only see in organizations that strive to make good hires. It builds trust with their customers and prospects, since their audience gets a chance to know the people helping to manage their money.

Relevant Newsjacking

This investment platform does something really important - they talk about global news that’s important to their audience. As an example, they took the recent Brexit news, and explained to their audience how it may affect them, and their investments.

KISI

KISI is a universal authentication tool for businesses. The tool gives you smartphone access to your building, and increases security and efficiency for members of your organization that control access.

The content from KISI shines because it’s centered around one universal message - access to your building and office space can touch every aspect of your business.

What I love:

Expert Advice

Enterprise technology companies have a tendency to only rely on their internal resources for expertise regarding any type of technical conversation, but this isn’t always the best way to go about it. KISI does a fantastic job of balancing their own voice with that of other industry experts, making their content even more credible.

Direct Customer Conversation

KISI uses their content to programmatically talk directly to you (and no, I don’t mean that as an oxymoron). You can build your own KISI plan right from their website, and get their feedback on the best results for you, all from filling out a form. It doesn’t really get more efficient than that.

Problem Solving

There are a lot of reasons an organization might be looking to purchase technology. Each of those solutions will always do a great job telling you why their product is a good fit for your needs, but they don’t always do a great job of addressing how they fit in the wider picture. KISI does both - and they do it with fun videos.

TheSkimm

TheSkimm is a fantastic morning news round-up for those of us who like the sassy side of writing. It’s a little bit unfair for me to call them out as a company whose content I like, because their content is their product.

One thing that TheSkimm does better than all the rest - they know exactly who they are and how to express that personality through content.

What I love:

Awesome Tone

The writers at TheSkimm have NAILED tone - and I really mean nailed it. They present the facts, with a little twist of humor in between the lines. Not only is it a fantastic way to get your morning news in short snippets, but it’s equally as entertaining.

Clean Design

Their content design is simple, clean, and ultimately achieves the goal of providing you with a visually pleasing experience that allows readers to focus on what they’re saying, not what they’re selling. It’s not just for their newsletter either - they provide short guides and overviews to bring you up to speed fast on some of the hottest topics of the day.

Engagement Tactics

TheSkimm crew wants their readers to be as excited about their content (and the news) as they are, and they’ve come up with one of my favorite on-going marketing campaigns to make it happen. Skimm’bassadors are readers of TheSkimm newsletter that share the content with their own audiences every morning - and they get cool prizes like wine bottles and branded beach towels when they do so.

Gimlet Media

Gimlet media is another company whose content is their product - and it works because their content is awesome. This Brooklyn-based podcast company produces a variety of quality shows on some really cool topics - the internet, unsolved mysteries and science to name a few.

They’ve absolutely nailed the art of keeping their audience engaged (they even talk about how they do it in one of their podcasts).

What I love:

Quality Storytelling

The Gimlet crew is really good at storytelling. They review each of their podcasts with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that the entire podcast is optimized for their audience’s entertainment. This is one of my favorites.

Unique Interests

The one thing that will really get you hooked on Gimlet Media is their ability to catch your interest on topics you've never thought you wanted to know. They dig into the small details you wouldn’t immediately think are interesting, and they do it in a way that keeps you coming back for more. One of their producers even discovered he was accidentally speaking a secret code.

Topic Variety

There’s something at Gimlet media for everyone. They produce shows on business development, the internet, podcasts, science, mysteries and surprisingly awesome things. So far, the only bandwagon they haven’t jumped on is true crime - but they’re getting close.

Rocketrip

Rocketrip organizes your business rewards in a way that makes them ridiculously easy to understand and use. There are a bunch of ways you can get the most out of your travel rewards - both as a business and a consumer - and Rocketrip is the authority on how to do it.

As you can imagine, their authority on cheap travel tips makes their content ridiculously interesting to read and consume.

What I love:

Customer Call-outs

Rocketrip does a great job of talking about their customers. They personally include them in their community, and make customer's use of their product easier by showing them how they can get even more out of their service.

Simplified Topics

I really can’t think of many things more complicated than trying to navigate travel rewards (other than maybe corporate insurance). Rocketrip dives into the hard-to-understand topics, and looks forward to the future to see how their industry will keep moving.

Awesome Toolkits

As a marketer, I love toolkits - mostly because I know how much thought goes into creating them. As a consumer, toolkits are my favorite pieces of content because the calculators, checklists, spreadsheets, and any other digital tools you can imagine, are tailored to work specifically for my individual needs - and Rocketrip nails them.

Managed by Q

Managed by Q is making the process of keeping your office clean ridiculously easy. They keep your office clean with regular cleaning schedules, fully stocked with food and drinks, and generally running smoothly.

In addition to their fantastic service, Managed by Q has built a fantastic company culture (combating the traditionally negative stereotype of being a ‘cleaning person’) and created some fun and effective pieces of content from that culture.

What I love:

Company Culture Photos

The marketing team at Managed by Q has built a content strategy around images - which works for a cleaning company (because really, who’s going to read content about the perfect cleaning supplies?) The images help build what is really an envious company culture - and it’s perfect for tumblr.

Creativity to Blast Stereotypes

There’s a pretty strong stereotype around being working in the hospitality industry, cleaning homes or working as a maid. Managed by Q impressively blasts this stereotype out of the water by making the care of their employees one of their selling points. It works in the favor of their customers because happy employees are usually better workers.

Show, Not Tell

Finally, they don’t talk about how awesome they are, they show it. With employee testimonials, photos of impressively clean offices, and professionally produced videos that showcase their company culture, you don’t have to guess what it’s like to work for, or to be a customer of Managed by Q.

Poppin

Poppin is an office supplies company that believes everyone should be happy at work. It shows with their product - fun colors, whimsical lines and trendy setups made by this company will make you excited to come to work (or school) everyday.

Poppin is meticulous about how they present themselves, their product, and their personality on the web. It makes for an enjoyable experience no matter how you consume their content.

What I love:

Photography Genius

There’s no arguing against the fact that the Poppin people are fantastic photographers. The photos of their products achieve everything they strive for - fun, whimsy, organization and productivity. You have to see them for yourself.

Digestible Content

When you’re shopping for office products, you probably want the process to be as easy and cheap as possible. The Poppin crew tells their story effectively, and they keep it short, sweet and to the point.

As a marketer who’s always looking for inspiration and ways to keep content relevant, keeping up with these brands reminds me and inspires to keep my content fresh, and to always entertain my audience while also solving their problems.

If you’ve had an trouble building your content strategy and want to talk about it, leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I’d love to hear your story.

The Ultimate Guide to Completely Screwing Up Your Personal Brand (and How to Fix It)

The Ultimate Guide to Completely Screwing Up Your Personal Brand (and How to Fix It)

personal brand

Creating a personal brand is helpful for so many reasons - and it’s not just important to you - 71% of CEOs believe human capital is key source of economic value, according to a recent study from IBM.

It can help you build your own business, gain influence in your industry, make connections both online and offline, and even help you find a new job. Creating one isn’t so easy. You’re essentially creating a persona in which you want the entire world to view you upon first impression. No pressure there.

You also need to attach a visual element to that persona - what are your brand colors? What will your website and social properties look like, or talk about? Are you edgy, creative, a suit, a nerd, or a mixture of the thousands of other boxes you can squeeze yourself into? But you don’t fit in a box. You’re your own person, and now you have to define what that means - succinctly, and with flare.

The fact that you probably don’t fit in a box means your personal brand is going to be hard to develop - and also easy to screw up. 

Coined by Tom Peters in his predictive article, “The Brand Called You” in 1997, he spoke of a world where employees think of themselves as brands, and use the same tools to accomplish the same tasks.

His words are even more relevant today:

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.

It’s that simple — and that hard. And that inescapable.
— Tom Peters

Inescapable is a very strong word, and it was one I took to heart about a year ago. January of 2015 was when I really decided I was going to take a crack at developing my own personal brand.

Spoiler alert: I completely sucked at it.

The good news is that I tracked exactly how and why I sucked, learned a hell of a lot about design, writing, my voice, and what it means to truly have marketing goals for yourself online.

If you’re struggling with your personal brand, don’t panic. As a personal brand newbie, I don’t have all the answers, but I do have some insights to share from my own mistakes, as well as pointers for success.

Website Mania: Don’t Try to Do Too Much

personal brand

Your website is the most important part of your personal brand - it’s your opportunity to showcase exactly who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Unlike social media, its look and feel is completely under your control.

I’ve been dabbling in running various blogs and websites since my teen years, so it’s not too surprising that the thought of building a portfolio site about a year ago was very exciting.

I gave my best shot at branding myself - and that included creating graphics for a very image-heavy website.

I am not a graphic designer. The images ended up looking something like this:

personal brand
personal brand
personal brand

While these aren’t the worst social media and website graphics in the world - I don’t feel like they’re particularly impressive, or reflected my skill set in the way that I wanted.

Suggestion 1: Don’t Market Skills You Don’t Have

The problem was that I was using my number one method of communication, my website, to primarily showcase a skill that I didn’t have - design.

This wasn’t a conscious decision of mine, but it did subconsciously work against the confidence that I had in my brand, and in turn, my motivation to promote it.

I solved this problem with keeping the an image-heavy brand that I loved, but focusing on unique photos as opposed to original graphics:

personal brand
personal brand
personal brand

Not only was I more confident in this brand, my website, and my presence online, but choosing photos over graphics proved to be more versatile for me. It also drove me to think deeper about why it was there in the first place.

Suggestion 2: Clearly Define Your Goals

My website had no real purpose - I didn’t have any goals. I didn’t care about web traffic. I was only driving an average of ten visits a month.

When I decided it was time to fix it, I had real goals in mind - I wanted to convert more freelance gigs, showcase my work more simply, and spend less time maintaining my site.

Once I figured out these goals, everything else fell into place. Images, content, SEO and a social strategy practically created themselves, and I started seeing more web traffic by default.

I’ve had the most website traffic than I’ve ever seen with any of my other website portfolios - 25 percent of which was from Twitter (my main source of amplification).

personal brand
personal brand
personal brand

Check out those graphs - some actual traffic! Those are the numbers Squarespace has been tracking for me since launch, and I’m very excited to be keeping track of them from the start.

My ultimate goals are to start driving much more traffic than this of course, but it was good to see that the launch of a stronger website improved my SEO by default.

Suggestion 3: Track the Performance of Those Goals

I’ve never tracked the performance of my personal website, but now that I have real goals, I plan on it. I’ll be tracking the following with Squarespace’s built-in analytics:

  • Sessions - I want to know how many people are coming to visit me, and when.
  • Unique Visitors - I want to know how many new people are coming to visit, and how many are returning.
  • Acquisition Channels - I’m hoping to learn which social media channels provide me with the most success, and keep an eye on my SEO.
  • Bounce Rates and Exit Rates - For these, I will focus on the pages with forms first, and I hope people click through and convert here.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the metrics you could track for your personal brand website, but they’re the ones that make the most sense for me to start with.

Defining these metrics drove me to take a closer look at my main method of content amplification - social media. I took a closer look at my social media properties, which weren’t consistently branded or using the right messaging any longer.

Social Media: Consistency Nightmare

personal brand

My biggest problem with social media was sustaining the amount of content that I needed to share to keep it afloat - I wasn’t producing enough content to keep my audience.

I didn’t have the right audience, or the right content.

Once I realized that not all social content was created equal, I kind of gave up for a little bit - this is not the personal brand journey I envisioned. This is most reflected in my Twitter analytics for the 2015 year.

Twitter: Keep the Content Relevant and Consistent

There is really nothing consistent in my Twitter analytics for the year - in fact they’re kind of sad - but trial and error showed me exactly where I went wrong, and the few times where I got it right.

According to Internet Live Stats, a lot of tweets go out regularly:

Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter (visualize them here), which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year.

This year I sent 2,865 of those 200 billion tweets, but it wasn’t nearly as consistent or impressive as it should have been (but don’t worry, I think I’m fixing that for next year).

The biggest example of this is my summer months in 2015 - everything basically stops (possibly due to the amount of time I spent on the beach versus the amount of time I spent in front of a computer).

After seeing these highly fluctuating graphs, I decided to take a deeper dive into why this was happening.

Suggestion 1: Don’t Just Tweet to Tweet

personal brand

Quite a lot of people we’re viewing my tweets, about 50K for every 90 day period. This was happening even during the months where I wasn’t really posting.

The problem was the amount of people clicking:

personal brand

Basically no one clicked on anything all summer - probably the most accurate reflection of my lag in posting during these months. The meager but steady flow of clicks from January to May came as I was trying hard to promote content that I didn’t care about, just to boost my numbers.

I was tweeting with myself in mind, not my audience - I was breaking the cardinal rule of social media marketing.

Not only did this hurt my social media conversion, it affected the audience I attracted and how much they engaged.

Suggestion 2: Know Your Audience, Then Target Them

Because I had no goals, I really had no idea what audience I was targeting. All I knew was that I worked in digital marketing and PR, so it made sense for me to talk about those things.

The blue line below is the number of tweets I sent out per month. It pretty much stays the same all year, with the dip in the summer that I previously mentioned. Same goes for impressions, the yellow line.

personal brand

If I’m tweeting consistently and people are consistently viewing my tweets, those green and red following lines shouldn’t be flying all over the graph like that.

My following was inconsistent because I didn’t have any consistent topic, goals, or strategy in mind - plus I kept switching it up, as I hadn’t really thought about what I wanted.

The bump from March to June happened when I was consistently blogging on LinkedIn and my website about different general trends in digital marketing and PR. But honestly, it was kind of boring. Everything was general and didn’t require research. It was cookie cutter stuff.

It wasn’t until I started working in HR technology in September that I really started to get a grasp on how I wanted to present myself, and how to do it right (see how the lines shoot up at the end of the graph there.

It all happened because I started to get consistent about my goals and what I really wanted. It didn’t just reflect in the type of people that were following me, but  how they were talking to me too.

Suggestion 3: Pay Attention to How People are Interacting with You

When I started building my personal brand at the beginning of 2015, all I cared about was my following - huge mistake.

It wasn’t until a couple of months into my personal branding journey that I really started to pay attention to not only the quality of my audience, but how they were engaging with me.

This lack of strategy led to yet another disparate graph:

personal brand

At this moment, the two engagement metrics that are performing the best for me are URL clicks and likes (the top blue and green lines). I’m happy that URL clicks are included in this, but I would have liked to see more metrics that support a conversation - re-tweets and shares.

My numbers started to improve when I wasn’t just talking about what I was doing anymore, I was talking about what my audience was doing.

Since then I have started to tweet and write about the things my target audience cares about - marketing their technologies, whether it be HR tech, environmental tech or any other type of enterprise technology.

The trick is going to keep up with consistently writing, tweeting and engaging about the right topics with the right people - and not just on Twitter.

LinkedIn: More is Not Always Better

Generally if you’re concerned about your professional appearance, you have a LinkedIn. I already had a profile when I started this journey, but it wasn’t optimized, and I wasn’t making any type of effort to engage with an audience.

I did the same thing on LinkedIn that I did on Twitter - yes, breaking another cardinal rule of social media marketing: don’t just spray the same content across all of your social profiles.

I tried tackling all of LinkedIn’s capabilities at once - I optimized my profile, starting posting regular updates, and started taking advantage of the LinkedIn publishing platform. It didn’t really work out as well as I had hoped.

Suggestion 1: Your Profile Should Accurately Reflect Both Your Brand and Your Experience

My profile was all over the place - It wasn’t formatted nicely, and contained literally everything I had ever done in my life (half of which wasn’t relevant to the types of opportunities I wanted to pursue).

This confuses an audience - the types of things I was posting weren’t immediately connected to the type of persona I was projecting. “Who is this person,” they were thinking, “and why should I follow her?”

You know how you can tell when you didn’t get your LinkedIn profile right? When you start receiving messages from recruiters for positions that have absolutely nothing to do with what you do. It was time to fix something.

personal brand

Fixing this problem took a bit of soul searching - in order to better optimize my profile, I needed to know exactly what types of opportunities I wanted to land long-term.

I optimized my profile with better keywords, and cut out the experience that wasn’t relevant. I also pursued some recommendations, and started giving them myself. Once it was done, I tackled my outreach.

Suggestion 2: Don’t Post Too Much About Yourself

People tend to talk a lot about themselves on LinkedIn, and this makes sense. The platform’s purpose is to promote yourself, but you can have too much of a good thing.

I tried to balance promotion with engagement by spraying my entire feed with links to cool content, but I wasn’t stopping to ensure that they were providing value for my connections.

Links drove 69.9% of my engagements this past year, most of which were clicks. I’m hoping this number will grow to include images next year, now that I’m posting more images in light of the LinkedIn’s new update.

I was getting some clicks, but they weren’t consistent, and I wasn’t starting any valuable conversations with my connections.

personal brand

In the end, I decided to start talking directly to my audience a little bit more.

My text posts ended up being the posts that got the most engagement, and I intend to make my promotional posts a bit more conversational in the future.

personal brand
personal brand
personal brand

My image posts drove way more clicks, but my text posts were the ones that really got people commenting and liking. My goal is to combine the two in 2016 - your personal brand on social media should be about your experience with others, not about your vision for yourself.

Suggestion 3: Blog on LinkedIn - Carefully

My biggest challenge with LinkedIn’s new publishing platform (which as a blogger, I was very excited to try) was that I wasn’t sure exactly how my blogging and voice on LinkedIn would target my audience there.

Generally, career advice does the best on LinkedIn, with business topics coming in second, but I was spreading myself too thin by trying to find topics for both my website and for LinkedIn.

I didn’t approach blogging on LinkedIn with a careful enough strategy, and when you don’t do this, blogging gets annoying for a LinkedIn audience. It gets annoying because LinkedIn blasts all of your connections with a notification every time you post something.

personal brand

As a result of my non-strategic efforts and LinkedIn's built-in promotion efforts, I was getting a lot of views but not a lot of engagements. I was posting things too often, or things that weren’t of real value to my audience, I was essentially being annoying.

This is the opposite of how I wanted to create a loyal audience and following - and in the end, drive more traffic back to my website.

I stopped posting on LinkedIn early in the year - it just wasn’t a sustainable enough feat without a solid plan, and it honestly is working better for me.

Maybe it’s something I will pick up again in the future (I do think the concept is really cool), but until I can find a real purpose or motivation behind it, the numbers just weren’t strong enough.

Overall, these insights helped me to improve my LinkedIn strategy for this year and get to the right place with my audience and goals.

Finally Landing in the Right place

personal brand

While I am absolutely sure it’s not perfect and that there’s room for improvement, I think I finally landed in the right starting point with my personal brand.

I’m excited about my new website, my new voice, and the goals that I have set for myself.

This year I want to drive more conversions through my site, start more conversations on social media, let my personal voice shine, and really track my progress.

My personal brand journey isn’t over, but I’m happy to definitively say for the first time - things are looking up.

If you’ve had an trouble building your personal brand and want to talk about it, leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. I’d love to hear your story.


Content Marketing: What's The Big Picture?

Content Marketing: What's The Big Picture?

Create content. Amplify the content. Get the customer to convert. That’s it, the main goal of content marketing. Or is it?

Those three steps are in the minds of most marketers during the content creation process, but there is one focus many of us can sometimes forget – forging strong customer relationships.

No matter what type of content you produce, we’re all focusing on the same thing – building connections, forging relationships and developing a voice that we hope people hear for every content strategy – video, infographics, blogging, and more.

That’s the big picture – you want to be heard by more people. Successful content marketers do this by getting other people to do the heavy lifting, getting customers so excited about their content that they do the amplification themselves.

This is powerful stuff, and businesses are taking notice.

According to a Starfleet’s B2B Content Marketing Survey, 52 percent of marketers allocated a larger portion of their budgets to content marketing this past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. In addition, 26 percent plan to more than double their spending on content marketing over the next 12 months.

Money talks, and marketers wouldn’t be spending money on content marketing if it wasn’t working. So how do you make a content strategy with the big picture in mind?

Before you create your content, listen.

Writers can sometimes fall into a pattern of talking about the things that are easiest for us to understand – a.k.a the intricacies of our jobs. Everyone is on the ground floor of his or her industry, and each person is a wealth of knowledge waiting to be tapped.

But the point of your content is not to simply dump that knowledge onto the page, but to forge a relationship with your potential customer. As marketers, we have to give before we can get, and before we can give, we have to listen.

Social media is one of the best ways to listen.

A social media monitoring survey conducted by Businesswire and PR News found that 72 percent of communication professionals use social media to listen to customers and prospects while 60 percent use it to find influencers.

The individual social media platforms make this easy. With the advent of hashtags, lists and groups, it is easier to find specific communities of people, but don’t stop at just social media.

Listen to your customers during all of your interactions with them. Read blog post comments, pay attention to industry news, or ask them questions during conversations you have in person.

Most importantly, leverage this information to make it worthwhile for them. Use it to create killer content that people want to talk about.

Check out some of these awesome resources on how to write great problem-solving content for potential customers:

  1. 8 Ways to Solve Prospects’ Problems Through Your Marketing
  2. Content Marketing 101: Tell The Stories Of The Problems You Solve
  3. 4 Powerful Content Marketing Frameworks to Jumpstart Your Blog Traffic

Big Picture: If your content is helpful, people will come back for more. Not only will they come back, but hopefully they will spread the content on their own, further increasing it’s organic reach. You have just taken the first step in forging a valuable customer relationship.

You have to tell people about the awesome content you create.

person-woman-hand-smartphone.jpg

Now you’ve created some top quality content. It’s data-based, backed by awesome sources and is relevant to your target audience.

Now what do you do?

“Build it and they will come.” – Field of Dreams

This is a lovely little quote that the business world loves to tout, but unfortunately, that’s not the way it works in the internet age. While it may work to draw customers to a bustling metropolis rising in the distance of a farm town, the internet isn’t always so visible.

In order for people to come and consume your content, they have to see it first.

Where do people see content on the internet? Mainly, it’s two places – publications and social media channels.

Most of the time, internet browsers aren’t headed to the webpages of their favorite brands unless they’re already planning to buy something. You have to do some heavy lifting to direct them there.

The easiest solution – get your brand on social media. Share your content, engage with your customers and talk to them about their problems. You won’t be alone:

According to Viralheat’s Social Marketing Impact Report, social media marketing has seen significant adoption by brands: 78 percent of companies now say they have dedicated social media teams, up from 67 percent in 2012.

That’s great news, but social media isn’t the only content amplification channel. Brands can’t rely on just their own voices to get their content out there (seeing a theme here?)

Contacting influencers and asking them to share, write about or even re-print your content is an extremely effective way to boost your content across the web. Having a third-party influencer vouch for your service or product is very valuable.

If you don’t have the budget to invest in a real public relations professional or agency, you can start to build some of these influencer connections through article submissions and social media on your own.

Here are some of my favorite articles on amplifying your content.

  1. Make Your Content More Shareable With These 5 Simple Tricks, Backed By Research
  2. How to Amplify Your Reach With Content Discovery Platforms
  3. Amplify Your Content Strategy with Influencer Marketing

Big Picture: Amplifying content through those social media channels helps build relationships. Having an influencer discuss your products and services helps build credibility and trust.

You’ve done it. Your audience is paying attention. Now what?

Generally, brands want their content marketing strategy to produce a good Return On Investment (ROI). They don’t want to spend the time and money creating content that won’t eventually lend a hand to their ultimate goal – a conversion.

Research conducted by ALF shows that 43 percent of brands are actively tracking their content marketing return on investment. About 62 percent of polled marketers cited as web traffic the most reliable metric to measure the results of their content marketing efforts.

Not surprisingly, most people define a conversion on the web. What is a conversion? I don’t know. That’s up to you.

The agency I work for defines a conversion as a website visitor filling out the ‘Contact Us’ form. For a product site, a conversion might be someone checking out in an online cart. Decide what a conversion means for you before you begin to ensure a clear understanding of your goals.

Even with clear goals, you might run into some bumps.

You’ve defined your goals, and created content in order to gain more web visitors. As your web traffic increases, you’re could run into some problems such as a high bounce rate, no website funnel movement or a lack of new traffic. Don’t panic.

Start with web design. Is there anything about your website that might make a user nervous? Is there anything that would drive an incorrect audience to that page?

If you know what’s wrong, change it. If you don’t, implement some A/B testing in order to figure it out.

Next, think about your call to action. Is there a clear and concise ‘next move’ for the customer to take after they have consumed your piece of content? Is there a form for them to fill out, a prompt for them to read similar content on your site or an extra incentive that you can trade for their information?

If not – define the customer’s next move after content consumption is complete.

Check out some of my favorite resources for driving conversions to your website:

  1. 9 Chances for Website Conversion Optimization You Don’t Want to Miss
  2. How B2B Content Marketers Can Drive Conversions
  3. How to Drive Conversion Rate by Understanding Visitor Intent: Article 3 of 4

Big Picture: Every experience that a customer has with your content and your website is an experience with your business and brand. A good experience may earn you a conversion, but a great experience might just get them amplifying your content for you, turning them into a brand ambassador that will help drive more customers to your site.

Ultimately, it’s the way your customers feel, respect and interact with your brand that matters. This keeps them coming back for more, and hopefully, encourages them to leverage their own internet influence to help drive more web traffic, more social engagement, and ultimately, more customers in the long run.

I’m always looking to connect with others! Connect with me on LinkedIn orTwitter and we can talk more about content marketing – if you’re thinking big picture that is.