3 Things I Learned About Content Marketing From Robots and Drones

content-marketing-robots-drones

You may be wondering what a content marketer can learn from 170,000 engineers and product specialists operating drones and robots. I asked myself that same question. And then I discovered the C Space at the Consumer Electronics Show and realized what a powerful impact technology has on content strategy, creation, and distribution.

I walked away with three key takeaways — opportunities, really — to keep in mind over the coming year.

1. Technology innovation is moving faster than content innovation

With Gartner’s prediction of seeing more than 500 smart objects connected to smart households by 2022, there’s surely no shortage of technology in our daily lives. But consumers often have slim pickings when it comes to authentic, premium content to consume on these devices to take full advantage of whiz-bang features like 4K, Ultra HD, and 4G.


.@Gartner_inc predicts more than 500 smart objects connected to smart households by 2022 via @amanda_vasil
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What gadgets am I talking about? Virtual-reality headsets, augmented-reality glasses, and smart watches, to name a few. While the hardware is available for consumers to play with (as evidenced by the nearly 4,000 exhibitors at CES), one of the biggest user complaints is that the software applications and overall experience leave much to be desired.

This presents an incredible opportunity for content marketers. But it requires us to think a little differently and a little bigger. Yes, there’s still a need for traditional long- and short-form content to fit existing mediums. But when brands like Best Buy, NBC Universal, Coca-Cola, and others are asked what keeps them up at night, the answer is unlocking the secret to creating the perfect omnichannel user experience. And they’re not necessarily talking about their e-newsletters and blogs. Keeping up with 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions and 1 billion tablets is just the start.

How do we apply the fundamentals of audience segmentation and message hierarchy to creating the type of content that not only makes sense but also functions properly on more complicated devices, reaching a more tech-savvy user?

The answer is twofold, and both components require humans. Content marketers are no doubt going to be the leaders in this revolution. But we need to get comfortable leading strategy in uncharted areas, trusting content marketing fundamentals applied in new, unfamiliar ways. We also need to check egos at the door and diversify teams with a new mix of experience and skills, such as coding, analysis, and even industrial design. Bottom line? Have the confidence to smartly experiment and lead in areas where other content marketers are struggling, and in some cases being left behind.

2. If you build it, they will not necessarily come

Rightfully so, content marketers spend significant time creating valuable engaging content. But unlike Kevin Costner’s baseball diamond in Field of Dreams, if you build great content, audiences — the right audiences — nonetheless won’t serendipitously stumble across it. This isn’t telling content marketers anything new, but it’s an important reminder — especially since distribution means more today than checking a box labeled paid, earned, or owned.

Instead, distribution is about leveraging a multichannel, multi-device strategy and treating content published on Twitter differently than you treat content on digital signage, the iPhone mobile app, the Android mobile app, a digital catalog, etc.

Effective distribution is also about convenience. Who’s doing it right? Netflix. Not only is CEO Reed Hastings responsible for adding the term “binge-watch” to the Collins, Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, he’s also behind the more than 600 hours of original programming queued to hit subscriber profiles in 2016. Netflix has been so successful at carving out on-demand viewing, Nielsen now has a separate “subscription video-on-demand” or “SVOD” services category for measuring on-demand viewership.

Making content available on demand, in its simplest form, could be the difference between hosting a webinar on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET and making it available for download anytime on any device for more universal access that meets today’s consumer’s consumption and lifestyle habits. It’s an evolution, really, of audience segmentation and profiling, creating a personalized experience for consumers how they want it, when they want it.

3. Mass personalization is not an oxymoron

Repeat after me: Mass personalization is not an oxymoron. If this sounds too good to be true, let me assure you that it isn’t. For too long, content marketers have felt the need to choose one of two extremes: cater to the masses with a one-size-fits-all solution or take a highly customized approach that appeals to one or a few. But not only is there a middle ground, there’s also a way to mass communicate and still target VIPs.

Let’s take EA Sports’ Madden NFL, for instance. Madden gaming activity has quieted despite the growing popularity of the NFL and, in turn, increased tune-ins to weekly matchups. Last year, AdWeek told us that 87% of consumers are using more than one device while watching TV. This, combined with the trendiness of GIF-based memes, birthed the Madden GIFERATOR. In addition to capitalizing on real-time marketing by pulling in clips of big plays as they happened, the GIFERATOR hit gold on mass personalization. It empowers individuals to create their own content and share it to their networks — all the while establishing brand awareness for Madden.


87% of consumers are using more than one device while watching TV via @Adweek. #contentmarketing
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There are countless examples of other brands embracing mass personalization, everyone from MasterCard’s resurgence of its 18-year-old priceless campaign to the White House making its annual holiday lighting display accessible through a self-guided virtual reality tour.

When Google hosts a Content Cocktail Party, you know that it’s a place content marketers will want to be. Surprising that it’s part of a consumer electronics convention? Maybe. But 15,000 marketers showed up to that convention this year, and I for one, am already looking forward to seeing how content will intersect with technology next year.

This article originally appeared in the June issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bimonthly print magazine.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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Why Content Marketers Need Digital Librarians

Marketers-Digital-Librarians

When you or your marketing team members need a graphic, a photo, or a video from your own content collection (that is, your content library), can you go right to it? Or do you call that what-would-we-do-without-you person who knows where everything is?

If you call for help — whether your content library resides in a digital asset management (DAM) system, a content management system, some other kind of repository, or a patchwork of shared folders — it may be time to call in a digital librarian.

At my company, we have certainly suffered the pains of content overload. Three years ago, we began working with John George, an independent information professional based in Seattle. Since we sell DAM systems, it was ironic to discover just how badly we needed help organizing our own assets. (“Assets” are simply the reusable files enriched with metadata stored in the content library.) Today, I see other companies either contracting with specialists like John or hiring full-time digital librarians to manage their content.

To explore the ways that digital librarians help companies make the most of their content assets, I interviewed John and our training specialist and another digital librarian, Lexy Spry. I also drew from off-record conversations with digital librarians at a global health-care organization, an advertising company, and a furniture manufacturer.

How do you know you need a digital librarian?

If someone in your marketing department spends a lot of time finding images for everyone else, that’s a red flag. Finding stuff isn’t this person’s job, but his or her title might as well be “finder of stuff” because no one else understands how to navigate your content library. Consequently, the finder of stuff spends hours every day emailing content to people who request it. If your finder of stuff goes on vacation, gets sick, or leaves the company, you’re in trouble.

The finder of stuff probably doesn’t track rights and licenses. He or she could easily send out expired stock images. Even rights for images from your photo shoots expire. You probably signed a contract with the model limiting the duration of your rights. (Three years is a typical limit.)

If your team relies on a finder of stuff — especially if your content library is loaded with marinating copyright lawsuits — consider hiring a digital librarian.

What does a digital librarian do?

What, you might ask, will a digital librarian do differently from your finder of stuff? John explains it well:

It’s easy to get assets online or into the library. It’s more work to make them discoverable. That’s what the metadata is for and where librarians prove their value. Your librarian will either manage that process outright or set up workflows that make it easy for others to add assets that are well-cataloged.

Digital librarians use metadata to make the right content assets accessible and the wrong assets (like expired images) inaccessible. They also train people to use the system and maintain its integrity. Unlike the finders of stuff, digital librarians architect an information management system that scales.


Digital librarians architect an information management system that scales says @jakeathey. #contentstrategy
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Ultimately, a digital librarian’s work should empower people to find what they need, when they need it, without assistance.

Toward this end, the digital librarian must tackle perhaps the hardest task: figuring out which assets should be deleted or archived. Just as you can’t quickly grab the socket wrench you need when it’s buried under a jumble of tools you never use, and just as it’s tough to pick an outfit from an overflowing closet that includes clothes that no longer fit, it’s painful to go looking for a piece of content you want to reuse when it’s surrounded by redundant, outdated, or trivial content (ROT ).

Smart digital librarians use content analytics to weed ROT efficiently. Based on internal downloads, shares, embeds, reach, and other engagement metrics, the librarians can identify which content assets are being used and which ones may be considered for retirement. Those that don’t fit quality and brand standards can also be removed. Librarians can also establish a workflow that automatically retires content assets as usage rights expire. Assets may be versioned or overwritten as the creative team updates them to avoid duplicates.

Who is qualified to do this work?

People who are qualified to be digital librarians share several traits. First, they have a graduate degree in library and information studies. Unlike the finder of stuff, who typically has a marketing, communications, or design background, the digital librarian is trained to manage information.

Second, digital librarians know how to organize and describe stuff. Specifically, they have studied metadata, taxonomy, cataloging, and ontology — they know how to categorize information. The librarian has the skills to “create a vocabulary for your organization,” as Lexy puts it.

Third, digital librarians understand how information needs vary across business departments. They use this knowledge to determine settings for permissions and security. They understand, for instance, that images created by R&D shouldn’t be accessible to marketing and sales. Likewise, they know that graphic designers and video editors need access to all versions of a file, whereas social marketers need only final, approved images.

To find qualified digital librarians, start on LinkedIn. Search skills that the social network recognizes: library science, digital libraries, archives, metadata, taxonomy, cataloging, content management, digital preservation, collection development, information literacy, library management, content management, and digital asset management.

Give priority to candidates with a master of library and information science (MLIS). You can look at the U.S. News ranking of library and information studies grad schools to see if the candidate studied at a well-regarded program. Don’t give too much weight to the ranking of the school — just note whether it shows up on the list.

How do you measure the success of a digital librarian?

Measuring the librarian’s success is tricky because, as John says, “It’s hard to measure what people aren’t doing.” Eventually, the finders of stuff should receive no image requests at all. Everyone in the marketing department should spend less time requesting, awaiting, and hunting down assets.

To quantify success, you need to examine change over time. Before contracting a librarian, estimate:

  • Cost of searching and sharing
    • Multiply the average hourly salary of content marketing team members by staff hours per week spent finding and sharing assets.
    • Use a survey or conduct an observational study to get realistic numbers.
  • Cost of asset fulfillment
    • Multiply the number of assets downloaded per year by the average number of minutes required for each download. That gives you the time spent on fulfillment.
    • Multiply hours spent on fulfillment by the average hourly salary of content marketing team members.
  • Cost of asset loss
    • Come up with an average value for the assets in your content library.
    • Multiply that value by the number of lost and unused assets.

Once a digital librarian has revamped your content library, and your team has used it for several months, you can recalculate those three costs and note the difference. Keep in mind: If users spend a lot of time in your content library but download few assets, the librarian still has more work to do. You want to see a high volume of downloads achieved in minimal time per session.

Metrics alone cannot tell you if the librarian has succeeded. Use your content library for several weeks to gauge its performance. If you enter a keyword, do the results make sense? Do the filtering options quickly lead you to the content you want? Is what you find useful? Or do you feel like an exasperated character in this Bing commercial?

When should you call in a digital librarian?

Ideally, call in a pro before your content becomes a big, hairy mess. Think of it as preventive librarianship. At a small or mid-sized company, a digital librarian might seem unneeded, but today’s seemingly inconsequential issues grow up to be tomorrow’s monsters. Instead of waiting for content overload to kill your productivity, hiring a digital librarian early — the sooner, the better — can help you avoid problems in the future even as you reap the immediate benefits of making your content more findable now.

Contract librarians can help with needs assessment, evaluation, strategy, people wrangling, data, and systems, but you need a dedicated person to maintain your content library. In a small-to-medium-sized business, that maintenance could easily consume 50% of an individual’s work hours. With proper training, someone in your marketing department could maintain the system with a quarterly checkup by your librarian.

In a large business, you need one full-time team member to maintain your content library. In an enterprise dealing with multiple divisions, entities, brands, departments, and agencies, you need two or three full-time digital asset managers. At least one of them should be a formally trained librarian.

Conclusion

If videos, images, graphics, and PDFs fuel your content marketing strategy, but your team members can’t find that content on their own, you have a problem. Just think about all the hours you’ve lost hunting or waiting for content, and then do something about it. A finder of stuff can’t solve your problem, but a trained librarian can implement an appropriate content library and professionally organize your assets. Trust a librarian to win back your time and sanity.

Want to improve your internal structure for content marketing effectiveness? Sign up for our Content Strategy for Marketers weekly newsletter, which features exclusive insights from Robert Rose, chief content adviser. If you’re like many other marketers we meet, you’ll come to look forward to his thoughts every Saturday.

Cover image by Viktor Hanacek, picjumbo, via pixabay.com

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Top 10 Blogs for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs

Sometimes a single insight can completely change the direction of your startup or business, so make sure you are reading blogs that can offer such sparks of creativity and mindset change.

Below you will find a list of blogs that every startup founder or entrepreneur should read regularly. Enjoy.

1. Paul Graham Essays

Perhaps not a blog in the strict sense of the word, but close enough, given it’s a collection of essays he writes and publishes online. Paul Graham is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Y Combinator, and as a result of that he has worked with hundreds, if not thousands of tech startups over the last 10 years.

2. Ben Horowitz Blog

Ben is a seasoned technology entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. He co-founded Opsware, which was acquired by HP. More recently he started a venture capital firm with Marc Andreessen, called Andreessen Horowitz. Curious fact: Ben is a fan of rap music, and he starts most of his posts with rap lyrics!

3. Quicksprout

Pretty much every business has a digital component these days. That is why you need to know about digital marketing, which includes SEO (Search Engine Optimization), email marketing, content marketing and so on. There is no one better to teach you about that than Neil Patel. His posts are always value-packed and straight to the point.

4. Fred Wilson – A VC

Fred Wilson has been playing the venture capital game for a long time. According to his website, he started in 1986! Was it even called venture capital back then? You’ll find new posts on his blog almost daily, and most are packed with useful information and insights about the tech scene.

5. Steve Blank

Author and serial-entrepreneur Steve Blank shares his views about technology, startups and business in general on his blog. He has worked with 8 startups over the years, 4 of which have gone public!

6. Chris Dixon

This guy co-founded SiteAdvisor (sold to McAfee), co-founded Hunch (sold to eBay), invested in Uber, Makerbot, Buzzfeed, and more! He probably knows what he is talking about, right? The link above is to his Medium profile, where he blogs these days. You can also visit his old blog to read over 400 articles he published there.

7. Jason Ball

Jason is a partner at Qualcomm Ventures. On his blog you’ll find his analysis of the latest technology trends and startups, as well as pieces about personal development, like this one.

8. Seth Godin

It’s all about marketing, and Seth Godin is the master marketer! One big advantage of Seth’s blog posts is that they are very short (from 200 to 300 words) and straight to the point. If you are not reading them, don’t say it’s because you are busy!

9. Both Sides of the Table

Mark Suster is an American entrepreneur, angel investor and investment partner at Upfront Ventures. In his blog you will find tips about books, trends, analysis of startups, markets and so on.

10. 500 Hats

Dave McClure is an entrepreneur and angel investor based in the San Francisco Bay Area, who founded and runs the business accelerator 500 Startups. His blog is updated quite regularly, and he is always very outspoken about tech and business issues.

Original post: Top 10 Blogs for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs

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15 Experts Reveal the No. 1 Thing You Should Do in Content Marketing

number-1-thing-content-marketing

Eager for Content Marketing World, I got a head start and asked 15 presenters to answer one simple question: What is your No. 1 tip on how most companies can improve their current content marketing?

Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute founder and author of Content Inc., says:

“I would take a six-month period and focus everything you can on building subscribers in one of your programs (let’s say, your email newsletter). Take out the sales messaging for a while, take out the unnecessary content, and just focus on building an audience. How does that change your content?

“Look at the CTAs in and around your site and improve them for subscriber growth. Often we are so busy extracting value from customers and prospects that we don’t focus on providing true value in our content products. This will help you focus on that.”

Andrew Davis, founder of Monumental Shift and author of Brandscaping, says:

Changing the way you measure the impact of your content marketing is one of the easiest ways to improve. Instead of measuring views, visits, leads, or downloads measure revenue per subscriber.”

Andy Crestodina, principal strategic director at Orbit Media and author of Content Chemistry, says:

Formatting is a fast, cheap way to improve your current content. Make sure your articles use subheads, short paragraphs, internal links, bullet lists, and multiple images. This will slow down the scanners and reduce your bounce rate. If your visitors hit a wall of text, they’re likely to bounce.”

Jay Baer, president of Convince and Convert and author of Hug Your Haters, says:

“The best way to improve your current content marketing has nothing to do with your content. Instead, the best way to improve the success of your content is to amplify that content better. The days of “if you write it, they will read it” are over. Smart content marketers flip the script and think about how they can successfully promote and amplify their content first, and then build content to align with those strengths.”

Ardath Albee, CEO of Marketing Interactions Inc. and author of Digital Relevance, says:

“My top tip for improving current content marketing is to take the time to really get to know your audience by building personas. With this depth of audience insight to inform your content development, you’ll be able to raise relevance with content that resonates and spurs buyers to take action.

“Your content will become more purpose-driven and meaningful when it’s focused on the issues your audience is trying to resolve and the objectives they are trying to achieve. Developing personas will enable you to create less content that delivers a higher level of effectiveness than what most companies are seeing today.”

Marcus Sheridan, founder and president of The Sales Lion, says:

“The biggest mistake we see organizations making with their content marketing right now is that they lack bottom-of-the-funnel types of content. Too much content is fluffy – stuff that doesn’t truly address buyer questions, concerns, worries, fears, etc.

“Look at it this way: What percentage of your content would a member of your sales team want to send to a serious prospect? If the number isn’t 75% or higher, then you can take it as a sign that your content strategy and focus have gone off the rails and needs a readjustment.”

Rand Fishkin, co-author of Art of SEO and Wizard of Moz, says:

“Nine out of 10 times, when I talk to content creators and marketers, I find they’re ignoring a massive, crucial aspect of content marketing – amplification strategy. We all generally agree that it’s fairly useless to produce content unless that content will be shared, talked about, reach people, rank in search engines, and generally, attract the visitors you’re hoping to reach. Yet, I find that a huge number of content marketers follow the practice of creating something, sharing it across their social networks, and then hoping for the best. This is folly.

“Before you ever create content, I urge you to ask the critical question: Who will help amplify this and why? If you don’t have a great answer, a specific list of people, don’t create it. Granted, there are vast quantities of tactics for improving amplification and for reaching more people, but if you don’t have that initial match between content and audience nailed to the degree where people won’t just appreciate your work, but will actually share it, you shouldn’t be investing time to create it in the first place.”

Ian Cleary, founder of RazorSocial, says:

Create super valuable content that is so good people will welcome the fact that you reach out to tell them about it. Unless you’re a media site publishing many articles every day I’d focus on fewer articles, more depth and higher quality.

“It’s more and more competitive and one of the best ways of standing out is the quality of your content. When you do create that content, it is important to have an outreach strategy and a paid promotion strategy. You need to reach out to relevant people and boost this post using ads to a relevant audience.”

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Carla Johnson, president of Type A Communications and co-author of Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, says:

“The No. 1 tip that I give companies on how to improve their current content strategy is to document their strategy, and include how it will drive business objectives. I still see marketers operating in ‘marketing land’ without understanding that the purpose of everything that they do needs to drive business growth. That, ultimately, is the “why” behind everything we should be doing as content marketers.

Rakhal Ebeli, chief executive officer of Newsmodo, says:

“Know your audience, have a strategy, don’t feel you have to do everything, just make sure that what you do, you do it well.

“Create content that adds value, invest in experienced journalists to investigate, unearth and write your stories and finally, expect that it will take time to position your brand as an authority in your space.”

AJ Huisman, founder of Y Content and co-founder and chief content officer of Content Marketing Fast Forward, says:

“What never ceases to amaze me is that companies start content programs without actually truly knowing what their (prospective) client’s information needs are. They think or assume that they know, but they don’t. You might think this is so obvious that it is a given, sadly it is often not.

Keep researching your clients’ needs by always asking them questions. Next time you organize a client event don’t just ask if the room temperature was all right, but ask them what the next event should be about. What you’re actually asking is what is on top of their mind, use that to produce content that really resonates.”

Paul Roetzer, founder and CEO of PR 20/20 and author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint, says:

“Always be activating! Too many marketers invest the majority of their time and money planning and creating the content, and not nearly enough on promoting it to their audiences through a variety of channels. A simple rule to consider is to spend 20% of resources on production, and 80% on promotion.”

Christoph Trappe, author of Authentic Storytelling and senior director of content marketing + content creation at MedTouch, says:

“If there’s only one thing people could do for better content marketing it’s this: Tell better, more relevant and more unique stories. Many are pushing out content, but it’s too similar to others and not really a differentiator. Go story shopping, find those unique stories and share them.”

Bert Van Loon, independent strategist at BertvanLoon.com and author of Agile Content Marketing Roadmap, says:

“Check the ‘oh!’ rank of your content. As content marketing is becoming mainstream, there’s both the risk of working on an automatic pilot and the increasing need to stand out of the crowd. Remember, your audience should smile and think “Oh!” when your content hits them.

To make that actionable, go out and ask existing and potential customers to rank how your content and your competitor’s content has an ‘oh!’ impact on their life. If there’s no top-ranking ‘oh!’ in your content, you should immediately take action and increase your ambition to make your content be c-oh!-ntent.”

Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich Inc. and author of Spin Sucks, says:

“The best way companies can improve their current content marketing is to measure, measure, measure. Too often, we hear things such as, ‘We don’t know if our content marketing is working, but we sure are spending a lot of time and resources on it.’

“It’s pretty easy to measure with just a spreadsheet and Google Analytics to start. If you’re not measuring results right now, start there. You can build something prettier as you begin to show your efforts are contributing to the overall strategy of the business.”

Conclusion

These experts’ advice is designed to help you improve your content marketing program — whether you need to show its value (measure), extend its reach (promote), stand out in a crowd (be unique), or connect better with your audience (be relevant). The first step is to pick one thing and put your effort behind it for an extended time to do it well, then move on to the next. You’ll improve your content marketing step by step.

What’s the one thing you are doing now to make a difference in your current content marketing?

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Your first step to improve your content marketing program could be to attend Content Marketing World to hear these and many other experts share valuable information on topics from content development and promotion to lead nurture and measurement. Register today and use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post 15 Experts Reveal the No. 1 Thing You Should Do in Content Marketing appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

How to Create a Culture Where Content Marketing Thrives

culture-content-marketing-thrives

When Dusty DiMercurio began his work at Autodesk, he had a bold vision of what was possible for the design-and-engineering software company. To win over allies, however, Dusty started small by launching a blog called Line//Shape//Space. Four years later, he’s grown that small pilot project into a multi-award-winning publication and is influencing the entire organization to think differently about content.

Leading by example, Dusty and his team are changing the culture of Autodesk, teaching how to tell stories that are so good their audience wants to engage with them. For all those qualities, Dusty is one of our 2016 Content Marketer of the Year finalists.

We asked Dusty to highlight how the culture at Autodesk has changed and what lessons he has learned from his years inside the organization.

Learn the ropes by starting small

Line//Shape//Space was among Autodesk’s first concerted efforts to connect with very small businesses (VSB). Autodesk’s business traditionally came from larger companies, so focusing on the small business market was a substantial shift.

The research into VSBs uncovered common needs and pain points among customers regardless of industry. First, Dusty learned many VSB owners had worked for larger companies and were familiar with the types of tools Autodesk offers. Paired with that finding, the research also showed that business owners’ greatest challenges were less about learning Autodesk software, and more about the struggles of running a business — which became the focus of Line//Shape//Space in those early days.

Dusty and his team set off to build a site specifically for this audience. They studied other successful content hubs targeting similar audiences, including American Express Open Forum. He says that understanding what others are doing is incredibly helpful as you build your own hub.

You can read about the ins and outs of how Line//Shape//Space was created in this recent profile from Chief Content Officer.

Help internal teams realize that marketing is fundamentally changing

Dusty’s team models what’s possible using content marketing, and in doing so helps the larger organization recognize the importance of great content as a means of pulling audiences in (while Dusty’s team runs Line//Shape//Space, the organization has industry-based content teams outside of Dusty’s purview). And Line//Shape//Space continues to inspire dispersed content teams to try something new, including new approaches to blogs and content hubs.

In fact, the Autodesk home page now leads with stories of customer success and achievements. Dusty describes this as an important shift of focus for the brand: “Our stories were more focused on customers’ struggles and successes, rather than the usual focus on products and solutions. In that way we were a catalyst to help drive cultural change … It wasn’t a forced change, but people saw the impact Line//Shape//Space was having and wanted to be part of it.”

autodesk-website

Leverage formal, internal partnerships

Dusty’s team has a formal partnership with the Autodesk public relations team, which works to get the company earned media.

Line//Shape//Space often publishes bylines from executives at Autodesk that articulate the organization’s vision and point of view. These are written through a collaboration between the editorial team and subject-matter experts inside the company. The Line//Shape//Space editorial team shares these stories with the PR team which pitches them to media partners. The PR partnership results in a much wider reach than Line//Shape//Space could attain alone; the partnership has yielded bylines in Forbes, Huffington Post, and many others. What’s more, the PR team no longer relies on independent freelancers, as it can now leverage the editorial resources of the Line//Shape//Space team to grow earned-media wins.

Have a plan to get people to the next step

Line//Shape//Space has several goals:

  • Attract an audience
  • Serve up highly relevant, industry-specific content
  • Send readers ultimately to industry teams who can nurture the relationship

As with most content marketing efforts, the goal is not simply drawing in the audience but ultimately creating demand for a product or service using content. To that end, it’s critical that the content team work closely with sales and marketing to ensure a tightly aligned strategy.

The Line//Shape//Space team often partners with industry teams at Autodesk to figure out the most promising stories to tell. For instance, the editorial team may tag along as industry marketing creates a video about using an Autodesk product in a manufacturing setting. While the marketing team’s end-game is a product video, Dusty’s team uses the experience to write an article about a manufacturing success story — and includes a related-content link to the marketing video.

Connecting what Dusty’s team works on with industry-specific content and marketing efforts has been a key way to demonstrate the value of the Line//Shape//Space team. Though the industry teams are not reliant on Line//Shape//Space and drive traffic their own way, they gain from the Line//Shape//Space team’s journalistic skill set.

Focus on the right metrics

Choosing the right metrics and extracting meaning from them often separates good content marketers from great ones. Dusty’s efforts show how even the most sophisticated marketers focus on continuous learning and evolution. Among the notable actions Dusty and his team take to ensure that their efforts deliver results:

Focus on unique metrics for stages of the sales cycle: For pre-funnel content, the team wants to ensure that readers are spending more time onsite, soaking in knowledge and value from the resources on Line//Shape//Space. One useful metric is total-time read (TTR), or as Dusty puts it, “How much of people’s attention can I earn?” For readers who are more informed, and perhaps ready to consider an Autodesk product, the team aims to move them along the sales cycle toward more product/solution-centric content.

Analyze micro-movements: The Line//Shape//Space team uses a custom dashboard that examines the minutiae of how readers engage, going into far more depth than what Google can offer. The team looks at micro-mouse movements and scrolling, as well as whether someone opens a new tab while on the page. The dashboard also calculates how much time someone should be spending on the page (based on a simple WordPress plug-in) vs. how long they actually are spending. This is the completion rate.

Content Measurement Example

They also track some of the more traditional metrics such as:

  • Number of pieces published — they see a connection between that and site growth
  • Page views from organic traffic
  • Unique page views
  • Social actions — tweets, shares, up-votes
  • Sign-ups — number of customers who create an account

Help teams rethink how they engage via email

While marketers still use email marketing, each year it becomes more challenging to do it well. As such, Dusty’s team helped influence an initiative Autodesk marketers have implemented, which they refer to as “Earn the Right.” If an Autodesk marketer wants to email someone, she or he needs to have someone willingly follow the company or person. No longer can staff go to the marketing operations team and request an email list for a certain demographic to blast a promo.

“It’s a really interesting time because this initiative reflects the organization’s recognition that we need to engage differently with our customers; we need to earn the right to engage with them,” Dusty says. “Our email inboxes overflow with ‘offers’ on a daily basis; the only way to cut through that and stand out is to earn your audience’s attention.”

The result? People are thinking more carefully about creating great content that the audience really wants to consume. Through these efforts Autodesk marketing teams are focused on generating content that audiences actually want.

Train HR about the type of talent you need

Publishing so much great content, Autodesk is often looking to expand its marketing footprint with new hires — yet to stay effective, HR needs to understand the type of person who will succeed in the organization. To ensure a good fit, Dusty and his team helped create an outline of what the modern marketer looks like, which is a combination of right- and left-brain skills and competencies. Autodesk created a model called CAA (Content, Analytics, Automation) to coach hiring managers about the kind of people the marketing team seeks. These are the three attributes of CAA:

  • Content: First and foremost, the hires need to know how to tell great stories.
  • Analytics: New hires need to understand how to measure what they are publishing so they can refine what stories they are telling based on what they’re learning.
  • Automation: Marketers often think automation equals marketing automation, but this skill is broader. Dusty looks for people who understand the latest tool sets at marketers’ disposal to engage customers in new ways at scale. This includes tracking customer’s digital body language (explained in the “metrics” section above).

Recognize there is no substitute for quality

The editors and writers for Line//Shape//Space are all journalists — individuals trained in the complexities of telling great stories. Not only is high-quality writing important to attract and retain an audience, it’s also one of the reasons senior executives support the platform. Many of the senior executives with bylines on Line//Shape//Space collaborate because they know the site has high editorial expectations. Explains Dusty, “they wouldn’t want to be featured on it if it didn’t frame their vision in the right light.”

Dusty is also quick to explain that Autodesk has storytelling as part of its DNA because it sells tools that help others tell their own stories. For instance, Autodesk has tools to help architects create a project proposal or a video-game company create its story in a visual way.

As such, senior executives understand the importance of storytelling, which has helped with buy-in.

“At Autodesk, we recognize how important storytelling is. We’re self-reflective and think about the ways we want to be engaged. It’s an important part of the evolving ethos of Autodesk and our communication style. I call it karmic marketing: Engage people in the way you want to be engaged with … kinda like the golden rule of new marketing.”


Karmic marketing: engage people in the way you want to be engaged with says @dustycd #cmworld
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Looking forward

Dusty’s team recently moved over to digital marketing and e-commerce — meaning that instead of focusing exclusively on Line//Shape//Space, the team is now responsible for all content published on Autodesk.com. With a much larger scope of work, Dusty now needs an integrated content strategy — one that connects the dots across everything Autodesk is doing.

“It’s a continued revolution,” Dusty says.

Autodesk’s Dusty DiMercurio is a finalist for 2016 Content Marketer of the Year, which will be announced live at Content Marketing World Sept. 6-9. Register today to be there in person and to grow your content marketing skills. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Editor’s note: A special thanks to Ardath Albee who scoured the planet looking for the best of the best content marketers. She was instrumental in helping us find our 2016 Content Marketer of the Year finalists. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post How to Create a Culture Where Content Marketing Thrives appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers

linkedin-tips-marketers

Content marketing careers are constantly evolving, but one thing is certain: The power of LinkedIn for personal branding is here to stay, especially when you’re aware of all the tricks that can help you strengthen your profile.

If your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” chart is flatlining week after week, these tips will help breathe new life into your profile, improve your presence in search results, generate more views, and impress your audience.

Finish your profile

According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities such as job offers, mentors, or new business. Your LinkedIn profile is your digital resume. You can add more detail than you can on your printed resume. It will set you apart from your competition.

To achieve unofficial “all-star” status, include:

• Your industry and location
• Current position, including description
• Two past positions
• Education
• A minimum of three skills
• At least 50 connections

Bonus tips:

  • Don’t get too creative in the name field, but add professional credentials, suffixes, and designations (i.e., MBA, Jr., PMP).
  • Don’t use symbols, numbers, special characters, email addresses, or phone numbers in the name field because that could prompt LinkedIn to restrict your account.
  • Name field character limit: 60

Add a headshot that reflects your industry

A photo puts a face to a name so you’re not just another silhouette. It helps establish trust. A photo makes your profile seven times more likely to be found in a LinkedIn search.


A photo makes your profile 7x more likely to be found in a LinkedIn search via @LinkedIn #LinkedInTips
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What’s acceptable? If you’re a creative director, you might want an edgier photo, as compared to a CMO who might want a more traditional pose. CMI’s community manager Monina Wagner’s photo radiates her personality, making her likability factor skyrocket.

monina-wagner-profile-photo-screenshot-example

Whatever you do, don’t use a selfie, company logo, you with your furry friend (unless you are a veterinarian), or your #TBT college photo. These types of images could damage your personal brand. If someone wouldn’t recognize you at a professional event based on your profile image, change it.


If your LinkedIn profile photo is outdated, change it says @Brandlovellc #LinkedInTips
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Bonus tips:

  • Be mindful of your background. Using a bright color (like orange) will help you stand out from the crowd, especially in a thumbnail view. See what I mean?

michele-linn-thumbnail-view-profile-photo-linkedin

  • Use the same image on all social media channels to help build your personal brand.
  • Headshot pixel size: 400 by 400 is ideal. Width or height cannot exceed 20,000. File size cannot exceed 10MB.

How to do it:

  • Move your cursor over Profile at the top of the home page and select Edit Profile. Move your cursor over your photo and click Change Photo.

Incorporate branding into your background photo

Your background photo is like a billboard for you. Use it to generate interest, build credibility and trust, and give your audience a quick glance at who you are, what you do, and why they would want to connect with you. Use the space wisely.

For example, if you are an author or consultant, include your book covers. Doing so will help position you as a thought leader and help build credibility. Check out the profile of CMI’s Robert Rose.

robert-rose-background-photo-linkedin

If you want to promote your company, include a branded image like the example below from CMI’s Michele Linn.

michele-linn-linkedin-profile-background-photo

Or show your company pride as Amy Horgan does in her background photo.

amy-horgan-background-photo-linkedin-example

Bonus tips:

  • Consider these things when designing your background photo:
    • Creating a collage (see Robert’s photo)
    • Advertising an employer event (see Michele’s photo)
    • Showing your company pride (see Amy’s photo)
  • Creating custom art is always best if you have design capabilities or can hire a pro.
  • If you don’t have budget and don’t have time or the skill to create custom art, LinkedIn premium members (paid accounts) have access to an image gallery. Choose industry-related art. LinkedIn offers a free one-month trial. (You’ll also be able to see exactly who your competition is in “how you rank for profile views.”)
  • If your photo is blurry or pixelated, LinkedIn recommends using a compression tool such as Trimage for Windows or ImageOptim for Mac before uploading it.
  • Background image pixel size: Between 1,000 by 425 and 4,000 by 4,000 is ideal. File size cannot exceed 4MB.

How to do it:

  • Hover your mouse over the background area (in the middle) and click on the Edit Background rectangular button that pops up.

Use keywords in your headline

Your headline — the text below your name — is prime real estate. The LinkedIn algorithm seems to consider it one of the few heavily weighted areas in search, and it is one of the first things your audience sees.

Your headline defaults to your current or last position. Customize it. Tell the world (specifically your target audience) who you are and what you do:

  • Be descriptive and use keywords that uniquely define you.
  • Include your city to help your profile stand out 23 times more.
  • Support what your headline says throughout your profile.
  • Use searched-for words like: content strategist, B2B blogger, author, content creator, social media community manager, or content marketer. Pamela Muldoon’s headline is a great example.

Include your city to help your profile stand out 23x more in location-based searches via @LinkedIn
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pamela-muldoon-headline-example

  • Promote your value proposition. Here’s an example: Proven Program Manager | Demand Generation Expert ► Driving Brand Awareness Through Integrated Marketing Campaigns

amy-horgan-headline-example-linkedin-example-001

Bonus tips:

  • Don’t use words like ninja, guru, super star or rock star. Instead of saying you are great, demonstrate it in your profile.
  • Use keywords that your target audience would use to find someone like you. Incorporate them in your headline and summary description.
  • If you need help finding relevant keywords, use the free Google AdWords tool even though it’s not directly connected to LinkedIn search.
  • Headline character limit: 120

How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, move your cursor over your professional headline section (or any section) and click to add, edit, or remove content.

Tell your work story in your summary

Think of your summary as your elevator pitch. Brag about yourself, but keep it real and back up your claims throughout your profile.

While not talking specifically about LinkedIn, Jonathan Kranz’s advice applies to your summary: “Facts, figures, concrete examples — these are fundamental pillars for good content.”


Facts, figures, & concrete examples are fundamental pillars for good #content says @jonkranz
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Follow this approach to a well-crafted summary:

  • Say things like “award-winning” if you have won awards.
  • Cite publications where you’ve contributed articles.
  • List the industries in which you have expertise.
  • Add an “areas of expertise” section to incorporate relevant keywords that describe your skill set.

Dianna Huff, president of Huff Industrial Marketing, makes great use of her summary section:

dianna-huff-summary-example-linkedin

Bonus tips:


Add personality to your @LinkedIn summary says @brandlovellc. 87% of recruiters are looking for it.
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  • Summary character count: 2,000 — use them all if possible (Write a summary of at least 40 words to rank higher.)
  • Use bullets and/or symbols, in your summary section to stand out but use them conservatively. Feel free to copy and paste the symbols and bullets for your profile.

Arrows

►    ◄    ▲    ▼    ⇒  ⇓  ⇔   ⇕   ⇖   ⇗   ⇘   ⇙   ⇚   ⇛

Stars

★    ☆     ✱     ❉     ❊

Traditional bullets and ticks

■    □     ◊    ●    ♦    ◘    √

Miscellaneous symbols

™    ©    ®    ℠

Email

✍     ✎   ✑     ⌨

Phone

✆    ☏

Horizontal lines (copy and paste the lines several times)

☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲☲

▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, move your cursor over your summary section (or any section) and click to add, edit, or remove content.

Create a vanity URL

Your profile’s default URL doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Create an easy-to-understand URL. Customize like I did: http://www.linkedin.com/in/lisadougherty. This URL is far more SEO friendly.

Bonus tips:

  • Include your custom URL in your email signature, resume, blog, etc.
  • Vanity URL character limit: Recommended to use between five and 30 — don’t use spaces, symbols, or special characters.

How to do it:

  • Change your URL by clicking “customize your public profile URL” on the right. You can learn more about the process here.

customize-vanity-url

Add work samples

Images, media, and documents make your profile stand out and support the claims you’ve made in your summary. For example, if your summary or headline says you are a sought-after speaker, author, or consultant, upload examples that demonstrate your experience like Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, did:

michael-brenner-media-example-linkedin

Another great example is from Roger Parker, publisher, blogger, and author. He includes a few SlideShare presentations, articles, and a book excerpt.

roger-parker-media-samples

Bonus tips:

  • Find a couple statements in your summary to represent visually. Have you contributed to an industry blog or written a post for your company? Have you given a talk or presentation? Share the link, badge from the site, slides, or video.

Buddy Scalera shares a link from an article he contributed to the CMI blog.

buddy-scalera-media-samples

  • Use Internet Explorer, as I’ve had trouble doing this in Chrome.

How to do it:

  • Add media samples to your summary, education, and experience sections on your profile by moving your cursor over each section and clicking the “add media” icon.
  • Ensure that your video, audio, and images are on the list of supported file types that your profile can link to.

Publish directly from your profile

Writing long-form posts on LinkedIn can entice viewers to stick around to read what you have to say. It also helps you be seen as an influencer to a targeted audience — your connections.

You also expand your reach to the first-degree connections of anyone who engages with your post — a previously unreachable audience. Plus, LinkedIn automatically sends a push notification to all your connections notifying them of your post, reducing your content distribution efforts.

Bonus tips:

  • Create a short, catchy title. Paul Shapiro of Search Wilderness found that titles between 40 and 49 characters received the greatest number of views.

LinkedIn titles between 40 – 49 characters received the greatest number of views says @fighto #LinkedInTips
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  • Add a custom image to your post. (LinkedIn adds the three most recent posts to your profile.)
  • Don’t publish anything that is self-serving. Provide high-quality, relevant content to your audience that will help them solve a problem or inspire an aha moment. Make it useful to the reader, as CMI’s Cathy McPhillips does:

cathy-mcphillips-linkedin-self-publishing

  • Include a clear call to action at the end of your post. Ask your readers a question to encourage them to comment. If your post earns comments, “likes,” and shares, it has a better chance to be featured on LinkedIn Pulse, expanding the reach of your content to the potential of millions of views.
  • Send a tweet to Tip@LinkedInPulse with your post to improve the odds a LinkedIn editor will see it. One of Cathy’s posts was featured in the marketing and advertising category.

cathy-mcphillips-linkedin-pulse-screenshot

How to do it:

  • Learn how to publish long-form content on LinkedIn.
  • Not all geographic locations have this capability at this time. You’ll see a Publish a post button on your home page when you have access.

Complete your contact information

Make it easy for people to contact you. At the bare minimum, you should include your email, location, Twitter handle, and website address. If you don’t have a personal website, include your company’s, your blog, or your LinkedIn company page. The Contact Info tab is under your connections number on the right side of the top half of your profile.

Bonus tips:

  • Display up to three website links customized with your company or blog name. For example, rather than choosing LinkedIn’s standard “blog” label, brand it with keywords that indicate what your blog is about, like BrandLove Social Media Blog or Follow BrandLove on LinkedIn. This optimizes your profile and drives traffic to your other online properties.

lisa-dougherty-contact-info-example

  • Website anchor text character limit: 30
  • Website URL character limit: 256
  • Phone number character limit: 25 (only first-degree connections see)
  • Street address character limit: 1,000 (only first-degree connections see)

How to do it:

  • Customize the links by editing your profile, clicking edit on your website links, and selecting “other” in the drop-down menu to customize the anchor text.

Complete your experience section

At the bare minimum, include your current position, industry, and dates of employment. LinkedIn members with current positions receive up to five times more connection requests. Also, include a high-level summary of what your role is and some key achievements. A good rule of thumb is two to four sentences to summarize each job (plus bulleted achievements).

Amy Horgan’s experience section is a great example of describing her role and work achievements:

amy-horgan-experience-linkedin-example (2)

Bonus tips:

  • Link to projects, courses, certificates, honors and awards, work samples, recommendations elsewhere in your profile that relate to the position. This is more proof that you are who you say you are.
  • Add your work history, not just your current job. You never know what criteria people are looking for.
  • Customize your job title and company name so it’s more descriptive. You don’t have to use the default, as shown in Dianna Huff’s profile.

dianna-huff-experience-linkedin-example

How to do it:

Get written recommendations

While LinkedIn no longer requires three recommendations to have a complete status, it still is important to have them from colleagues, management, people you manage, vendors, or customers. Recommendations show up underneath each position for which they are written along with a thumbnail profile photo of the person who wrote it.

Bonus tips:

  • Be specific when requesting a recommendation. Suggest points that:
    • Qualify your relationship by including how long you have known each other and describing your relationship.
    • Describe a project that you worked on together.
    • Note if they would work with you again or to provide their contact information for more information.
  • Have at least two or three recommendations for each position.
  • Solicit C-suite endorsements, which could do more for your brand than 10 recommendations from colleagues.
  • Gain additional exposure when the recommendations appear in your connections’ news feeds.

C-suite endorsements will do more for you than 10 recommendations from colleagues via @brandlovellc
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How to do it:

Add skills and get endorsements

Endorsements are one-click acknowledgments of your talents from your network. They also affect your ranking in LinkedIn’s search algorithm. Having at least five relevant skills help people connect you to opportunities. According to a LinkedIn study, inclusion of these skills will result in up to 31 times more messages from recruiters and other members.

For example, I have 99-plus people who have endorsed me for social media marketing. When a hiring manager or recruiter is searching for people with the skill “social media marketing,” my profile is more likely to come up on the first few pages of the search results.

lisa-dougherty-skills-endorsements

Bonus tips:

  • Rearrange your skills in the order you prefer. Drag and drop the skills that match your work experience the best (and number of endorsements) near the top.
  • Endorsing your connections’ skills first encourages them to endorse you. (LinkedIn notifies them that you have endorsed them.)
  • Don’t send a mass email asking for endorsements. Segment your network according to how you met them or what industry they’re in. Write a personal e-mail telling them why you feel they best understand your expertise in (fill in the blank) and that you would appreciate an endorsement — if they feel you deserve it.

How to do it:

Showcase the extras

Volunteer experience and causes you care about

What you do out of the office says a lot about you and contributes to a higher search ranking. In fact, 42% of hiring managers said they view volunteer experience equal to formal work experience. Also, viewers may want to connect with you if they are passionate about some of the same causes. Take a look at Monina Wagner’s profile.

monina-wagner-volunteer-causes-linkedin-example

Organizations

Adding organizations and professional memberships are another way to incorporate keywords into your profile and show viewers your commitment to your craft, as shown in Dianna Huff’s profile. They also can boost location-based searches.

dianna-huff-organization-example-linkedin

Publications

The Publications section is the perfect place to link to your contributed blog articles, e-books, and other cited work. Take a look at Buddy Scalera’s profile. He links directly to Amazon where you can purchase his book. Brilliant.

buddy-scalera-publications-linkedin-example

Courses

If you don’t have a degree or certification that reflect your experience but have taken professionally related classes or received on-the-job training, showcase those in the Courses section.

lisa-dougherty-courses-linkedin-example

Certifications

If you have some college education but didn’t finish, add any industry-specific training you have completed in the Certifications section. Include a link to allow viewers to learn more.

certifications-linkedin-example

How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, move your cursor over each section and click to add, edit, or remove content. Click on the View More button to see all the profile sections available.

 Add projects

Adding a Projects section allows you to name your project and input a URL so viewers can click to see what you did and give the originating site an inbound link. You can specifically relate your project to a position that you currently hold or to a previous position.

Bonus tips:

  • Add side or personal projects. Andrew Hanelly, creative director at Rev, says, “Usually, marketing job applicants emphasize the wrong details to an agency or brand. They focus on work experience, but what I get excited about are side projects. One amazing hire had a Tumblr (account); it was just a small note on his resume, but I found out he had about 100,000 followers, and I recruited him based on that.”
  • Add team members if you are connected to the project collaborators.

lisa-dougherty-projects-example-linkedin

How to do it:

  • Add sections for projects by moving your cursor over each section and click Projects to add content. Click on the View More button to see all the profile sections available.

Join groups

Join groups related to your industry or niche and be an active participant in two or three. Only 16% of LinkedIn members are in the maximum number of groups (50). According to LinkedIn, your profile is five times more likely to be viewed if you join and are active in groups.


According to @LinkedIn, your profile is 5x more likely to be viewed if you join & are active in groups.
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When participating in group discussions, remember that groups are about community not about you or your services. Andrew Davis generally suggests sharing four relevant pieces of content from influencer targets and one original educational piece of content for every sales-related piece of content.


For every 1 sales-related content piece, share 4 from influencers & 1 original educational. @DrewDavisHere
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Bonus tips:

  • Directly message a member of the same group, bypassing the first-degree connection requirement.
  • View profiles of members of the same group without being connected.
  • Read these best practices on group participation so you don’t get sent to LinkedIn jail.

How to do it:

  • Find and join a group by searching for relevant groups from the search field at the top of your home page.

Rearrange your profile

LinkedIn enables you to reorder the sections of its profile template. For example, Vishal Khanna moved up his Honors and Awards section to directly below his Summary section.

vishal-khanna-rearrange-profile-example-linkedin

Bonus tip:

  • You only have a short time to impress your viewer. What are you most proud of? Awards? Skills? A SlideShare presentation? If you’re a recent grad and don’t have robust experience, move Education to the top. Rearrange your profile so your most important work is at the top.

How to do it:

  • LinkedIn provides instructions on how to change the order of sections on your profile page.

Change your public profile settings

Once you’re satisfied that your LinkedIn profile is the best version of yourself and all sections are complete, choose to show all sections or just a few by adjusting your public setting. Setting your profile to full public view gives you several advantages:

  • Your LinkedIn profile will appear when anyone searches for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.
  • It can be displayed to LinkedIn members who email or have meetings with you if they connected their email or calendar apps to their LinkedIn account.
  • You can print your profile to a PDF format.

Bonus tip:

  • Including most sections of your profile adds credibility to your profile when potential hiring managers are trying to determine the credibility of a potential candidate or execs looking to do business with you.

How to do it:

  • Go to your profile, and click the “settings” icon next to your URL. Next, click on the pencil icon to edit. Make sure that you enable the setting that allows anyone to see your public profile.

lisa-dougherty-public-profile

Build your network

Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network — not only does this help you grow your connections, it also helps you get found more through search. It makes good sense to surround yourself with good company. Start building up your network with vendors, industry influencers, friends, coworkers, and former coworkers to build up your personal brand. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • When asking to connect with someone, use “we’ve done business together” rather than “friend.” Do some quick research before reaching out and include a personal note that explains how you know the person, or where you met, or who you have in common. For example, let them know you just purchased their book, are in the same group, or saw them speak at a conference.
  • Beware. If you invite too many people to your network and they mark your invitation as someone they do not know, you will be banned from inviting new people to your network unless you know their email address. LinkedIn doesn’t say specifically how many is too many, but I’ve heard between five to seven “I don’t knows” triggers restriction.
  • You are allotted 3,000 invites and required to enter a Captcha (verifying you’re human) for each invite over 100 sent in 24 hours.

Bonus tip:

  • LinkedIn has a feature that allows you to segment your connections. Once you’ve made the connection, make sure you “tag” them into certain folders. This turns LinkedIn into a powerful CRM tool that allows you to target messages to individuals or groups of people. There isn’t an easy way to go back and tag your contacts except one by one, so I highly recommend doing this each time you add a connection.

aaron-orendorff-crm-tool-example-linkedin

How to do it:

  • You can tag or untag anyone who’s saved in your LinkedIn Contacts. They can be added to a person’s profile or from your Connections.

Conclusion

With over 433 million members and recognition as the go-to social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn cannot be ignored. A lively and comprehensive profile can be your ticket to a plethora of opportunities that will come knocking on your virtual door. If you follow these tips, you’re well on your way to making a killer first impression and your Who’s Viewed Your Profile chart will no longer be flatlining week after week.

How has your LinkedIn profile helped your personal branding? What opportunities have you seen because of it?

Want specific insight and help for your LinkedIn profile? The author, LinkedIn expert and CMI’s Director of Blog Community and Operations Lisa Dougherty, has offered an hour of consulting time for one lucky reader and CMWorld registrant. Register for Content Marketing World by Friday, August 28, 2016 for your chance to win! Use code BLOG100 to save $100 on registration.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

The post 60+ LinkedIn Profile Tips for Marketers appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

10 Interview Questions to Find the Best Content Marketers

interview-questions-best-content-marketers

Organizations of all sizes and across a range of industries are busy hiring people to manage their content. After all, the expertise and skills needed to run a successful content marketing strategy differ from those of the average marketer, so it makes sense to bring content specialists into the fold.

But how do you go about finding the right person? What competencies should you look for? And how can you determine if a job applicant fits the bill? Below I outline three critical core competencies for content marketers of all levels, along with 10 interview questions you can ask to determine candidates’ proficiency in each area.

Talent for writing AND passion for content marketing

Content marketers must be great writers and editors, with a strong ability to tell a story. However, beyond that, they need to love what they do. Ask:

1. What do you enjoy about writing?

Look for signs of excitement and enthusiasm. You likely have a keeper if the person touts the personal benefits of creating great content.

2. How did you determine the style, tone, and voice for a recent piece of content you wrote?

Content marketers should have their own voice and writing style. However, they also need to be able to adapt to fit the company, the audience, and the content format. Ask for specific examples of how they’ve modified their style — and why doing so was important.


Content marketers should have their own voice & writing style says @TweetsFromPawan #hiring
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3. Have you created content that entertained or educated your readers? Describe it.

Every content marketing piece should benefit readers in some way while maintaining their attention. Look for examples of storytelling, humor, or educational information that go beyond selling products.

4. Has your content been critiqued in the past? How so?

Watch their body language and listen for cues that indicate they see feedback as an opportunity to improve — and that they willingly apply it to their writing.

Ability to align content with readers’ needs

Content marketers must understand the market, industry, and audience they’re serving. That means listening to customers and influencers, identifying customer needs, and providing content relevant to the industry. Ask:

5. How do you decide what topics to focus on and what format to use?

It’s important to understand candidates’ thought process when it comes to generating ideas or deciding which are worth pursuing. You want someone who has a plan for surfacing the best ideas rather than relying on a supervisor to tell them what to do.

6. If it were your first day here, what steps would you take to develop a content marketing strategy?

This one tells you whether candidates can handle the role you have in mind for them. For example, if you need a complete overhaul, does the person have the initiative? Or if you need someone to step in to an established system, can the person adapt to your way of doing things?

Understanding of what drives successful content

Being a successful content marketer is equal parts writing skill and marketing acumen. Even the best writers won’t succeed if they don’t have a general awareness of what sells, how to measure performance, and how to translate data into action. Ask:


A successful content marketer has equal parts writing skill & marketing acumen says @TweetsFromPawan
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7. What makes content successful?

Candidates must be able to define what “success” is when it comes to generating content. As they respond, you should hear the words “traffic,” “repeat visitors,” “retweets and likes,” and “search engine ranking” to show their understanding. Even better if they provide details about their own successes in those areas.

8. How do you decide what content to create?

The ideal candidate will talk about industry news and trending topics, and explain how to use Google AdWords to find topics that will drive the most traffic to your website.

9. After you have published your content, how do you promote it?

With this one, you learn if candidates can think beyond writing and can come up with a plan for promoting content. Ideal candidates will lay out a marketing plan, including sharing it on multiple social media accounts, repurposing it in outgoing newsletters and emails, and finding influencers to link to it.

10. How do you know if your content has performed well?

Sending content into the world isn’t enough. Candidates should know how to monitor and analyze content by tracking social media shares and using Google Analytics to evaluate the success of each piece.

Of course, finding a well-rounded candidate doesn’t stop with those questions — you’ll need to dig deeper to find the perfect fit for your team. For a full list of questions, the ideal responses, and evaluation criteria, download Curata’s Content Marketing Interview Template.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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