How AI Will Power the Future of Successful Content Marketing


Provided by Copy.ai

What’s next for content marketing? As writers look to streamline their creative processes and scale their ability to craft engaging, impactful marketing conversations, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will play an increasingly significant role. Just not necessarily in the way you might think.

No matter how sophisticated the technology may become, AI won’t replace the human content creators on your marketing team. Instead, it will help make their work more relevant, easier to produce, and better aligned with their audience’s needs and interests.

In other words, AI will empower writers to achieve their marketing goals with greater creativity, efficiency, and effectiveness.

Why AI won’t replace writers

If you’re reading this, you recognize the value of content marketing. You’ve probably also seen articles predicting that AI and machine learning will eventually replace the need for human workers across a broad spectrum of industries and roles. But when it comes to content marketing, creative marketers need not worry about machines taking over their jobs and rendering them obsolete.

The role tech will play is much more nuanced. Content is essentially a form of communication between two human beings; while automation can certainly enhance many aspects of its creation and delivery, it probably will never replace writers entirely.

Instead, it will make the writing process easier and more intuitive than ever, unlocking new opportunities for creators and dramatically transforming how marketers approach high-quality content creation at every level.

A creative revolution is on the way

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a massive shift in how brands leverage creativity to build their businesses online. Today, AI-powered writing tools are leading the charge to democratize content marketing success for businesses of all sizes and skill levels.

Just as the printing press and other disruptive technologies have previously evolved human communication, AI offers a tremendous potential to improve how we manage some of the most tedious, costly, and frustrating creative tasks, as veteran copywriter Jacob McMillen explains:

“I’ve paid several hundred dollars for first drafts I then rewrote completely. I’ve spent hours hung up on phrases and ideas that had me in a mental rut. I’ve procrastinated for days on pieces of articles that were simple and boring but mandatory. GPT-3 tools like Copy.AI have allowed me to skip some of the worst, most frustrating parts of what I do as a writer and jump straight to developing and polishing the core substance of my copywriting pieces. It’s the single most effective productivity tool I’ve ever used as a writer.”

AI offers a tremendous potential to disrupt how we manage some of the most tedious, costly, and frustrating creative tasks, says @chris_lu of @copy_ai #Sponsored #AI #Copywriting Click To Tweet

3 ways AI will empower writers

1. Writer’s block will become a thing of the past

We all know how frustrating writer’s block can be – nobody likes staring at a blinking cursor for hours before churning out a single paragraph worth keeping. This is especially common if you find yourself writing about the same topic frequently – like content marketers often do when writing blog posts or crafting social media updates. Top writers are already outsourcing their first drafts to junior writers — now, imagine a world where anyone can write the first draft of a high-quality blog post in under five minutes.

Author and entrepreneur Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income explains:

“One of the hardest parts of writing is staring at a blank screen, aka. ‘the blinking cursor of death.’ AI can get us from 0% to 60%, and sometimes even up to 75% of the way there, so we’re no longer starting from scratch. It’s such a time-saver.”

Imagine a world where anyone can write the first draft of a high-quality blog post in under five minutes, says @chris_lu of @copy_ai #Sponsored Click To Tweet

2. Writers will work faster

As AI tools become more sophisticated, writers will be able to rely on them for many of the tasks that currently slow them down. For example, AI-driven software like Grammarly and Hemingway Editor can already help writers spot grammatical errors and sentence structure problems with ease. By reducing the need for writers to edit their own work, they’ll have more time for the fun stuff: researching new topics, exploring new formats, and coming up with appealing headlines.

3. Writers will learn more as they write

The latest natural-language AI models, such as GPT-3, are trained on a massive amount of data from the internet, giving them a far broader understanding of the world than any human could hope to achieve in their lifetime. As AI writing tools become more sophisticated, writers will be able to draw from an ever-expanding base of information as they compose their works. Not only will they write faster and smarter, but they’ll also uncover new ideas, insights, and perspectives they may not have considered before.

As AI writing tools become more sophisticated, writers will be able to write faster – and uncover new ideas, insights, and perspectives, says @chris_lu of @copy_ai #Sponsored Click To Tweet

Content marketing is here to stay, but AI will make it easier than ever

It’s hard to imagine a world where machines produce content. But it’s not difficult to envision a future where AI, writers, and marketers can work together to make their content better and more effective.

Machine learning should not be viewed as a threat to people’s livelihoods, but rather as a valuable tool for creating better workflows and producing more effective marketing campaigns. Ultimately, AI will complement human efforts, enhance our workflows, and make us more creative as we move into the future of marketing and technology.

Not convinced? Try out an AI writing tool yourself!

About Copy.aiCopy.ai logo

Copy.ai is the leading provider of AI-generated content in the world. We create everything from copy for your website to social media posts, email blasts, and more, all with a click of a button.

We believe that incredible ideas don’t have to be created by just a select few—instead, we should all be able to access our creativity and make it work for us. We’re here to help you achieve your goals with the power of artificial intelligence.





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Netflix lays off bulk of Tudum brand journalism team, Airbnb touts ‘work from anywhere’ and the management gap threatening ESG messaging


Hello, communicators:

Duolingo’s social media presence isn’t only about posting thirsty videos and threatening users who don’t complete their language lessons.

The language education app’s Twitter strategy includes #StreakOfTheWeek, an initiative in which the account asks users to share stories about how they keep their Duolingo streaks alive:

It’s a good example of taking advantage of the ways audiences are already interacting with your brand to create user-generated content.

Here are today’s other top stories:

Netflix lays off bulk of brand journalism team

Streaming giant Netflix has laid off most of its 10-person Tudum editorial staff, according to reporting by The Verge.

While this appears to be a big setback for the company’s brand journalism efforts, a Netflix spokesperson told Protocol “that there were no plans to shutter the site, calling it ‘an important priority for the company,’” despite recent news that the streamer had lost subscribers for the first time in 10 years.

From The Verge:

Most of the 10-person Tudum culture and trends team was let go, according to one person with knowledge of the situation. They said the staff was given no prior warning of the layoffs, and other workers found out their colleagues were laid off via Twitter. Many of the writers were experienced journalists that Netflix lured from other outlets, the person says. The person also claims news of layoffs on other teams is forthcoming.

Why it matters: Without the Netflix representative’s statement to Protocol, it would appear that the company is abandoning ship on its nascent brand journalism program. The company’s efforts to recruit a diverse team of journalists to Tudum is now marred by the layoffs, signaling that it may be difficult for the company to hire more journos in the future.


MEASURED THOUGHTS

A recent report from WE Communications and YouGov shows a disconnect between the expectations of C-suite members and middle managers about company sustainability measures.

(Image via)

While 61% of executive leaders and C-suite members said that their company is planning to implement a just transition strategy to more sustainable operations, just 40% of senior and middle managers said the same.

“The disconnect between managers and CEOs reveals an opportunity for education and collaboration within the enterprise,” PR Daily’s Ted Kitterman writes.

If your organization’s sustainability goals and practices are murkier than a sparkling clean waterway (see what we did there?), then it may be time to work with your internal comms team about getting everyone on the same page.

Read more from the WE Communications/YouGov report here.

Airbnb announces most employees can work from anywhere

Travel company Airbnb announced this week it will allow most employees to work remotely from anywhere without changing their compensation.

In a blog post on the company website, Airbnb shared an internal email sent to employees by CEO Brian Chesky.

From the blog post:

Now, I understand the anxiety of not seeing people in an office — how do you know if your employees are doing their jobs when you can’t see them? For me, it’s simple: I trust you, and flexibility only works when you trust the people on your team. You’ve shown how much you can accomplish remotely. In the last two years, we navigated the pandemic, rebuilt the company from the ground up, went public, upgraded our entire service, and reported record earnings, all while working remotely. It’s clear that flexibility works for Airbnb.

Chesky also notes several steps the company will take to encourage collaboration and engagement while much of its workforce is remote, including regular in-person meetups and primarily operating on Pacific time.

What it means: Employees want flexibility, and employer branding is becoming increasingly more important as the power in the job-seeking market has shifted to the worker. Chesky’s email addresses what many see as the major drawback to working remotely: A lack of engagement and face-to-face interaction. By emphasizing the trust he has in his workforce, Chesky’s statement speaks to a sense of positive rapport between the C-suite and Airbnb employees.


ATTEND OUR MEDIA RELATIONS CONFERENCE

Join us in New York City on May 11 for a one-day, in-person conference all about media relations and measurement.

At PR Daily’s Media Relations & Measurement Conference, you’ll learn how to score the coverage your brand deserves and generate results—and then showcase those results to management. You’ll also learn the latest measurement tools and methods for everything from internal comms and media relations to social media.

Each attendee will receive a Media Relations & Measurement Conference Certificate of Completion.

Register here before April 27 to receive a special attendance rate.

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How AI lets marketers create human-centric CX at scale


“Why is marketing struggling with customer experience?” asked Blueshift co-founder and CEO Vijay Chittoor. “Why is it not easy for every marketer to just create human centric experiences? After all, everyone wants to do that. We believe every marketer really wants to connect with their customer.”

By personalizing and scaling brand interactions like never before, AI can help brands create a human-centric customer experience. Chittoor explained how during a session at The MarTech Conference.

The answer, he said, is in part because there are so many customer touch points.

“Ten, 15 or 20 years back the only way you could proactively engage your customers was through channels like email,” Chittoor said. “But today more and more channels have become engagement channels. … It’s very hard for marketers to think about millions of individualized personalized experiences. And all of that is further hampered by an incomplete understanding of customers.”

Intrusive instead of helpful

Because of that it’s easy for marketing to become intrusive, instead of helpful. And that’s a problem. Blueshift’s research found that 65% of customers say a positive brand experience is more influential than great advertising. On the other hand, 32% of customers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one negative experience.

“Every time marketers, or any other function in the customer experience realm, annoys the customer,” he said, “it creates some kind of friction, and shows that they don’t truly understand that customer.”

This is where AI becomes invaluable. 

As a marketer, your job is to deliver the next best experience to each and every customer. AI lets you scale that by taking care of the who, what, when and where of customer connection.

Who to target: “How do we segment customers with precision? how do we know where they are in their self directed customer journey?”

What to recommend: “What do we say in our message? Should we put an offer in front of them? Should we put another piece of content? Should we try to sell them product? Should we try to advance that customer journey in some form?”

When to engage: “It’s an always-on world. People are always connected, but what is the right time at which they are really responsive to your messages? What’s the right time at which you can interrupt them without annoying them becomes very, very critical.”

Where to connect: “On this omni-channel, customer-journey engagement cycle, … you have so many digital channels, but you also have a ton of offline channels and human assisted channels.”

Chittoor pointed out that AI can answer those questions individually for thousands and thousands of customers at once. For example, instead of relying on generic marketing content, AI uses all the information to make predictive recommendations. Previously contact would happen when it best suited marketers, like the old spray-and-pray method which meant sending a batch of messages at 8 AM to millions of customers. This changes with AI which can determine best times to send materials based on peoples’ online behaviors.

The results are in the numbers and the numbers are staggering. He pointed to bedding brand Tuft and Needle, which increased its email revenue by 181%. Similarly, clothing brand Jumper increased leads, which are an indicator of revenue, by 384%, while Carparts.com increased engagement by 400%. 

“Forrester Research quantifies the impact of AI-driven engagement on so many different channels” Chittoor said. “And they were talking about how the average customer is seeing $128 million revenue lift and a 781% ROI by using AI and the AI-based targeting is the most important part of that.”

Read next: Why we care about AI in marketing


About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.



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How to Learn SEO — Whiteboard Friday


Whether you're just getting started, figuring out how to fill in knowledge gaps, training your team on SEO fundamentals, this is the Whiteboard Friday episode for you! With over a decade of experience in the SEO space, Moz’s head of content, Jo Cameron, dives into her own learning journey and talks through everything from understanding your resources and your budget to strategies to keep you on track in real-world projects.

whiteboard with tips on how to learn SEO

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Video Transcription

Hello, everyone, and welcome to this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I wanted to talk you through a topic that is close to my heart, which is how to learn SEO. I'm Jo. I'm the head of content here at Moz, and I feel like I've been learning SEO for the better part of a decade. So I feel like I can speak from experience, although I do know that everyone's methods for learning new information, whatever it is, is different.

To get started, I'll take you through how you might want to begin to learn SEO, whether you're getting started from scratch or you're already working in SEO and you're figuring out how to fill in knowledge gaps. Or maybe you have a team and you would like to train them up and get them ramped up on some fundamental SEO topics.

So I'll dive into my own learning journey when I was learning SEO and the fundamentals of SEO. I'll also talk through understanding your resources and your budget so that you can achieve your goals in the time and budget available to you. I'll also talk about a few additional strategies to keep you on track, including topic immersion and applying your learning knowledge to real-world projects.

Why learn SEO?

But first of all, I'll start with why. Why would you want to learn SEO and start to fill in the knowledge gaps with core, fundamental SEO topics? Learning SEO can help you to build your business. It can help you get more traffic to your website, and it can also help you advance your career. 

I began to learn SEO because I wanted to sell more jewelry that I was making on my own website. So my motivation was to get more traffic, and my focus was on what I could do to my website authority, understanding the fundamental knowledge of how search engines function so that I could create content that was exciting to my audience and was digestible for search engine bots at the same time. 

So ultimately driving more traffic to increase my revenue was what started me on this journey. You may as well want to grow your knowledge in order to advance your career, or you may already be working in SEO and want to fill in some of those gaps so that you can achieve your professional business goals.

So whether you are currently running your own business, whether you're working in-house, client-side, or building up a strong SEO team, developing tangible, fundamental, core SEO knowledge is a great way to help you achieve your goals.

Outline your learning journey


The thing I would recommend starting out with, whether it's for you or your team, is to outline your learning journey. 

The first thing to understand is what exactly you want to learn and within what time frame. So this can help you to set your own expectations and keep you on track.

Core SEO concepts

When I was discovering how to sell more jewelry, my learning pathway covered the following fundamental topics. I started out with the fundamental, core SEO concepts. So as part of this experience, I was searching a lot, I was reading a lot online, and I was just trying to digest the lingo. I wanted to understand how Google algorithms worked and what was changing with each update so that I could get a better understanding of how search engines function, how their bots function, and then building up that fundamental knowledge in that area.

Keyword research

That then led me into keyword research, exploring what exactly it involves and then trying to understand how I get in front of my audience, how do I create content that they're searching for, and how do I meet that need. I also wanted to do my keyword research in an organized way, so understanding the strategy behind that, building out a comprehensive strategy that made sense with the time that I had available. Ultimately, what I was trying to get here is to understand and get better insights into the different language that my audience was using, so what people were searching for in my industry.

Page optimization

This then led me into page optimization. So this is all about the different page elements, and I was trying to understand which of these elements I could actually affect in the CMS that I was using at the time. I was also trying to understand how to create the structure in my content so that it was optimized not just for the bots but also for my human visitors so I could give them that great experience when they landed on the page.

Link building

Then I also started to explore link building because building my website authority was really important to me and I didn't understand how to do that. This was quite a big learning curve. I did end up getting a little bit confused around the concept of building and how that worked, how you tread that line between creating content that people want to link to, creating good quality content, 10x content that's impactful and interesting, and then the difference between that and the different link building strategies, and generally how do you build your website authority and how do I do that so that I could achieve my goals and drive more traffic and generate more revenue. 

Digital PR

Then all tied in with that also is understanding that whole spectrum of PR and how it intersects with link building, also more core technical link building strategies and outreach along with broken link building and how you go about putting that into process in a way that makes sense with the time that I had available.

Then I also wanted to explore how to show the impact of my results, so understanding reporting, what to report on, how to track results. This is important whether it's for yourself or for your client and how do you know what you have achieved and whether it has achieved the desired effect.

SEO certification

So undoubtedly there is a vast amount of information available online that covers these topics. But if you do find that overwhelming and you would like a more clearly defined learning pathway outlined for you, there is the Moz Academy SEO Essentials Certification. We cover all of these fundamental topics, and they're all neatly wrapped up in a six-hour course. So if you're wanting to display your knowledge, you can also link up your certification badge with your LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your skills there. The course covers all of those topics. It starts with understanding how search engines determine a site's value, how you identify good keywords and map them to semantic topic groups, along with how SEO fits in with the sales funnel, how to prioritize SEO tasks which is really important when you're time-strapped, how to determine your most valuable content which is great for your website or if you're working with a client who currently already has a bit of content there, and then understanding how to evaluate links, and then, of course, that all-important reporting in order to measure the impact of SEO.

I would have been super excited to take this course when I was learning, and I know it would have saved me a ton of time so that I could have just ingested all of that fundamental information, covered the essential topics when I was getting started.

Understand your resources and budget

So now that you have outlined the topics that you're wanting to cover, I would then recommend getting started understanding your resources that you have available to you. The first one is obviously time. How much time do you have in a day, in a week, and when do you want to get this learning experience completed, whether it's a particular topic or more broadly speaking?

The second one is, of course, budget. So do you have any professional development budget available to you? Is this something that you can potentially build into your current role? Maybe there's a stretch assignment in there. Are there people available to you in your current network that can potentially assist you in understanding what you need to learn and then help you to figure out how you're going to learn it?

Resources

Now that you have outlined the topics you want to cover, let's explore the resources you have available to you. The first big one is obviously time, and the second one is your available budget. So how much time do you have available in a day, in a week, and then also how long do you have available for you to get this learning experience completed? Then also, can you build this into your current role, maybe as a stretch assignment, and how do you have that conversation with your peers? Then exploring whether you do have a professional development budget available to you.

Now the good news is that there is a learning pathway for everyone whatever your budget. If you're still exploring what exactly it is that you want to learn, then the best place to get started is the Beginner's Guide to SEO, which is available on the Moz Learn Center. This is a fantastic piece of content that has helped people learn SEO for nearly a decade now. It was refreshed quite recently by the wonderful Britney Muller. You can take yourself through and teach yourself the fundamentals at your own pace. Honestly, so many professional SEOs tell us that they learned SEO from Moz, and this is often the place they start out. So you'll be treading a path many have walked before you.

But, of course, if you do have a bit of budget and your timeline is kind of tight and you want to put some guardrails around it and you want to keep yourself on track or you want to keep your team accountable, then you would want to look at the courses available on the Moz Academy. The SEO Essentials Certification, which I have mentioned previously, is key for building up fundamental knowledge. We do also have the Technical SEO Certification. So if you want to just launch your knowledge into this next stratosphere, this is becoming more critical as topics like Core Web Vitals bring the world of SEOs and developers closer together. Then, of course, if you're wanting to better understand your industry's competitive landscape, we also have the Competitive Analysis Certification.

With each of these certifications, we have gathered together all of the core fundamentals of each of these topics, and we've supercharged them with unique learning methodologies and you'll be able to engage with on-demand educational videos, quizzes, and task lessons so you can also keep track of your progress as you learn. So if you're finding it a bit of a hard time keeping on track or if you want to speed up your learning or the learning of your team that you're training, then this is a really great place to start.

Long-term learning strategies

So once you've figured out what it is you want to learn, what resources you have available to you, your timeline, I think it's interesting to better understand and explore some long-term learning strategies. So something that we have found quite important, when we build out the SEO certification, is the concept of learning, digesting that theoretical information, confirming it with a quiz, and then being able to apply it, so whether that is within a toolset or in addition to with your own project, whether that's your own website or a client's website.

Apply your knowledge

So when I was starting to learn SEO fundamentals, with each of those topics that I learned about above, I explored how I could apply this to the work that I was doing. I wanted to keep on track with my primary goal, which was to drive more traffic and generate more revenue. By doing this, it helped me understand how much effort it took, and over time I got a better understanding of the impact and roughly how long it took to see results.

So this is a methodology that we apply as part of the Moz Academy certifications. With this combination of theoretical information, educational videos, being able to confirm it with the quizzes and task lessons, you'll be able to flex your recently acquired knowledge.

Now, obviously, the pro tip here that I don't want to skip over is that no matter which pathway you take, you're really looking to apply this to your real-life projects. Whether it's your own website that you have set up on WordPress or you're working with a client, applying this knowledge is key to better understanding how it works, the time it takes to implement, and also better understand the potential outcomes for your site.

Of course, if you are new to Moz, I would also recommend starting the Moz Pro free trial so that you can get stuck into building keyword lists, track your site's performance or your client's site's performance, better understand your site's authority as well as your competitors, and much, much more.

Top up regularly

The other thing that's interesting to understand is that you may be involved in learning something intensely as part of a certification or engaging in free content, and as you go, you'll find that you'll just be topping up on that information. You may not be as focused on a learning pathway. You'll just be topping up. This is something that people will be doing long term. Even if you are working professionally in SEO, you may find that there are changes in the industry or there's a gap in your knowledge that you want to fill. This is a different experience for everyone. So there's nothing new here that I can offer you that hasn't been said before, but spending a little bit of time engaging with blogs, the latest news, following folks on Twitter, and so on is a great way to help you top up on your knowledge and keep on top of any changes going on in the industry.

Connect and engage

The next level to that is turning that social connection and finding a way to engage, so whether that's virtually or in real life. So following industry folks and influencers on Twitter is a really great starting place. But if, like me, you're finding it can become a little bit unruly and you're easily distracted, then it can help to use the social media connections to identify events, whether they're virtual or real life meetups or conferences, so that you can find a way to turn that connection into an opportunity to network and gather more information. Some of the biggest advances in my knowledge have come from engaging in events. I've been fortunate enough to go to a few of those in my time, and I always come away feeling very inspired and have a renewed drive to try new things. Don't forget that we do have MozCon coming up this year in Seattle, and we have some incredible speakers joining us, which I know are going to be very inspirational.

Topic immersion

Then the other thing to consider is topic immersion. Of course, learning does not happen in isolation. So you may find that you spend a dedicated amount of time actually learning, understanding the fundamentals, ramping up on the lingo, and then that is a great way for you to immerse yourself. Then, ongoing, find a strategy or a way that you can continue to be engaged in that topic. 

So whether you are following a more free-flow approach by digesting content that's available online or you want to follow a structured learning track with the Moz Academy, I would advise finding a way that works for you to immerse yourself in the topic regularly. For you, it may look like a couple of minutes a week reading the Moz blog, what we published lately. You could visit the Learn Center and dive into a particular topic. Or you can jump on Twitter and catch up with the latest from Dr. Pete on his featured snippets research.

Whatever that looks like, look back at your goals and what you're hoping to achieve and then identify a way that you can continually immerse yourself in this topic and familiarize yourself with it in a long-term way that is sustainable for you. Remember to check back in and see how you're performing and keep yourself on track.

Best of luck with your learning journey. Whether you are topping up knowledge or learning something new, I hope this has been helpful. Bye for now.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com



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8 Brilliant Content Marketing Examples to Take Your Company Out of the Unknown


If you want to grow your brand, you need a content marketing plan. Why?

Seventy-eight percent of companies that produce effective content have a documented marketing strategy.

That said, there’s no use in creating content if it won’t help you achieve your marketing goals. Instead, you need to know how to recognize great content.

To help ensure your brand doesn’t fade into the background, let me walk you through eight great content marketing examples you can learn from.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is content created and shared for a specific commercial purpose, such as gaining website traffic, increasing brand awareness, or influencing people to buy your products.

A recent survey taken by professional content marketers found the following:

  • 88 percent of content marketers say content marketing is effective for branding.
  • 88 percent of marketers say content marketing is effective at building brand trust.
  • 80 percent said content marketing works to educate audiences.
  • 72 percent said content marketing is effective for lead generation.

The survey respondents said other effective uses of content marketing are driving audiences to events, building loyalty with existing customers, supporting the launch of a new product, and building subscriber lists.

“Content” has a wide definition, including podcasts, eBooks, infographics, and blog articles. Essentially, if it’s a form of media designed to acquire and influence an audience.

How do you know what makes “great” content? One of the best ways to learn content marketing is by looking at real content marketing strategy examples.

My step-by-step guide breaks down content marketing in detail.

8 Content Marketing Examples

While these content marketing examples are all unique, they have something in common: a clear purpose.

Bear that in mind as you read through these examples and you’ll better appreciate how to create successful content.

Without further ado, here’s a look at some amazing content marketing strategy examples.

1. MoonPie: Brand Voice

Content marketing is all about standing out from the crowd. One way to do this is by developing a memorable brand voice.

Why does voice matter?

According to Sprout Social’s research, 33 percent of customers say a distinct personality helps a company stand out on social media, and 46 percent appreciate brands who engage their audiences, so developing your voice is worth a shot.

MoonPie’s Twitter feed is a great example of a content marketing strategy. Not only does every Tweet have a clear purpose, but the brand uses a consistently fun tone to encourage engagement:

Content Marketing Examples  - MoonPie

Here’s another example. Rather than just posting a product link, the social media manager appeals to followers with a quirky tone:

Content Marketing Examples  - MoonPie on Twitter

What’s the lesson here? Refine your brand voice. Here’s how.

  • Revisit your company’s mission. Your voice should align with your company’s values, so make sure you’re clear on what your business stands for.
  • Research your target demographic. What is your audience looking for? What do they care about? Use your answers to refine your voice.
  • Take a look at your most successful content. Figure out what works and replicate this. For example, if your most successful content focuses on, say, your company’s eco-friendliness, create more content emphasizing this value.

2. Gymshark: Video Ad Campaign

Another way to stand out from your competitors is by making video content: 81 percent of marketers believe videos help them increase sales. Let’s break down a great content marketing example from Gymshark.

Gymshark wanted to promote a key message: fitness unites everyone. To do so, they ran the “United We Sweat” campaign, promoting inclusivity, diversity, and overcoming obstacles. They also designed promotional images to accompany the campaign:

Content Marketing Examples  - Gymshark

The content works because it showcases the brand’s core message: uniting people through fitness. The slogan “United We Sweat” is simple and memorable, too, which helps.

How do you learn from this example? First, think about what makes your brand special. Revisit your mission statement and target market if you need a refresher.

Then, consider your campaign goals. Gymshark wanted to move away from its association with super-fit athletes and instead show why it’s a universal fitness brand. Placing “united” and “sweat” together makes sense.

Finally, keep it simple. When it comes to slogans and taglines, less is usually more.

Need some more inspiration? I walk you through how to write business slogans elsewhere.

3. Nadaré Co: Viral Content

Viral content instantly boosts your visibility, spreads your brand message, and generates more traffic, so it’s a worthwhile goal.

Let me use content marketing examples from Nadaré Co, a jewelry company, as an example of a successful content marketing strategy in action.

Nadaré Co’s founder began posting TikTok marketing content to promote the brand’s unique waterproof jewelry. She now has over 91,000 followers, over 1.3 million TikTok “likes,” and videos watched by thousands of people daily!

The secret to achieving this example of a content marketing strategy?

Post useful, highly targeted videos designed to entertain viewers, answer questions, and solve problems. For example, here’s a video on how to find your ring size, so customers know exactly which ring size will fit them before they order:

There’s also a video advertising the jewelry’s waterproof features and worldwide shipping:

Content Marketing Examples - Nadare Co Advertises on TikTok

Here’s what we can take away from this content marketing strategy example.

  • Keep your videos short and engaging.
  • Highlight what makes your brand special in every video.
  • Use relevant hashtags to improve your content’s visibility and reach.

4. Ridester: Long-form Content

To educate your audience, you need long-form posts in your content marketing strategy.

Research shows that in-depth posts typically outrank shorter, less comprehensive blogs, and the average first-page search result on Google has over 1,400 words.

In other words, long-form content is worth your time and Ridester has some great content marketing examples.

After losing a significant amount of traffic, Ridester prioritized writing long-form content to answer the questions readers care about.

In one blog post, for example, Ridester sets out actionable steps for making more money as an Uber Eats driver. There’s no fluff; it’s comprehensive but concise:

Content Marketing Examples - Ridester

After revamping its long-form content, Ridester saw a 487 percent organic traffic increase and improved its search rankings for 16 search phrases. Cool, right? Here’s how you can emulate this success.

  • First, use search tools like Quora and Reddit to discover what matters to your audience and what questions they’re asking.
  • Next, try out Ubersuggest to find the right keywords to target in your content.
  • Do some competitor research. Where are the content gaps? What questions have they failed to answer? Use the answers to these questions to complete your research.

5. Cricut: Influencer Marketing

Depending on your audience, influencer marketing is a highly effective strategy. Cricut, a DIY crafts supplier, illustrates why.

Cricut teamed up with “New Girl” actress Zooey Deschanel to promote its products. Deschanel, a real-life crafts enthusiast, brings authenticity and fun to Cricut’s content:

Content Marketing Examples - Circut

As we saw with Nadaré Co, videos are a great way to bring your product to life and build audience trust in your brand. Now, here are some tips for using influencers effectively in any content marketing strategy.

  • Define what you need help with and determine how an influencer can help you achieve it.
  • Make sure your influencer aligns with your brand. For example, Deschanel works great for Cricut because she’s a real-life crafts enthusiast.
  • To maximize engagement, choose campaign-specific hashtags for the influencer to use to promote your products.

You can find influencers through social media keyword searches and influencer marketplaces.

6. Storiarts: User-generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is proof your products work. You’re not paying a marketing team to write ads or promote an item. Instead, you’re letting your products speak for themselves through satisfied customers. That’s why consumers are 2.4 times more likely to say UGC is more authentic than branded content.

Storiarts does this well. Storiarts turned to Instagram with two goals in mind:

  1. Driving sales of its literary-themed products.
  2. Highlighting the brand’s commitment to ending illiteracy.

Users can post pictures of themselves enjoying Storiarts products on a dedicated hashtag, #committolit:

Content Marketing Examples - Storiarts

How did this campaign work out for Storiarts?

They’ve grown from an obscure Etsy store, into a recognizable brand with over 82,000 followers and counting.

Want to best take advantage of UGC? Here’s how.

  • Create a dedicated hashtag on social media. Keep it short and memorable.
  • Engage with customers who post on the hashtag to encourage participation.
  • Choose a campaign that promotes your brand’s mission to boost your company’s profile.

Got a goal like ending illiteracy? Tell the world about it!

7. Fire & Ice: Product Videos

Want to showcase what’s so great about your products? Successful content marketing examples often come down to high-quality product videos.

When you create videos as a content marketing strategy, you aren’t alone. In fact, 69 percent of marketers increased their video budget for 2022 per the results of a recent Content Marketing Institute survey.

Videos show your products in action and, ideally, they should answer questions your target audience might have about your services.

Fire & Ice made a video explaining how their air conditioner repair service works.

In just a few minutes, the video sets out what customers can expect from their service and how much it costs. Most importantly, it includes a clear CTA (how customers can book an appointment.)

Content Marketing Examples - Fire and Ice

Here are some actionable takeaways from this example of a content marketing strategy:

  • Do some market research to learn what your customers want.
  • Consider repurposing existing content into video form.
  • Break your videos into sections so viewers can jump to the most relevant part for their query.
  • Always end with a clear CTA and include your contact details somewhere obvious.

8. Vienna Beef: Web Content

For our last content marketing strategy example, we’re talking about first impressions.

Why? Because first impressions matter.

In fact, 94 percent of consumers decide whether to browse a website based on its look and feel. In other words, when prospects land on your website, you want to set the right impression.

Vienna Beef, a Chicago-style hot dog manufacturer, knows this. After partnering with a digital marketing agency for a website redesign, they:

  • tripled their website traffic
  • reduced shopping cart abandonments
  • increased sales

Here’s the homepage. It’s optimized for sales without being pushy. It’s also vibrant and engaging, with clear links to product pages:

Content Marketing Examples - Vienna Beef

Scroll down and you’ll find links to hot dog stands and local stockists:

Content Marketing Examples - Vienna Beef Store Locator

It’s easy to overlook website design when you think of content marketing, but actually, web copy and design are among your most important content.

My suggestion? Set clear goals. Vienna Beef knew exactly what they wanted from their redesign which is how they achieved it so successfully.

Then, hire a website designer. Effective website design is an art, and if you’re serious about content marketing and conversion, it’s worth the investment.

Finally, run some A/B testing to check which design elements work best. You might find my A/B testing guide helpful.

Content Marketing Examples: Frequently Asked Questions

What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves creating useful and engaging content across all mediums to organically grow your business, boost your visibility, and increase sales.

How can you recognize a good example of content marketing?

Whether it’s an informative blog post or an eye-catching graphic, all good content serves a purpose. It tells a story and reinforces a company’s brand identity. Great content marketing allows a brand to connect with its audience, so look for authenticity, professionalism, and strong messaging with a clear CTA or desired result.

How can you recognize an example of poor content marketing?

Again, it’s fairly easy to spot. Simply look for muddled messaging, unnatural or “keyword stuffed” writing, and content that lacks any clear CTA or purpose. Poorly-timed marketing campaigns which are insensitive to current news always fall short, too.

How can I best learn from examples of content marketing strategies I come across?

Be intuitive. Explore what you think works (or doesn’t work) and why. If you’re impressed by a content marketing example, consider how you can apply the principles such as engaging visual elements and strong brand messaging to your marketing efforts.

Conclusion: Content Marketing Examples

If you’re serious about growing your business and getting some brand exposure, then you need a content marketing strategy.

Research successful examples, take what works, and identify how you can implement those techniques in your content.

Don’t forget to track your key metrics, too, so you can see what’s working…and fix what’s not.

Struggling to produce the right content for your goals? Check out my consulting services and discover how I can steer you in the right direction.

Have you found any other great content marketing examples? What did you learn from them?

Consulting with Neil Patel

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Yet Another Reason Not To Build Your Content Home on Rented Land


It seems like a good time to talk about rented land again.

This week, Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s bid to purchase the company in a leveraged buyout and take it private. Apparently, Musk loves the product so much that he bought the company.

Does that sound familiar? Gen X and Baby Boomers might remember the catchphrase “I liked it so much, I bought the company” from Remington electric shaver commercials in the 1980s.

The seemingly ubiquitous ads featured Remington Products President Victor Kiam explaining how he’d been a dedicated blade shaver before his wife gave him a Remington Micro Screen shaver. Kiam bought the company in 1979 (in another leveraged buyout) and took it from losing $30 million a year to profitability in only one year.

His role as the spokesperson for the Remington shaver made the brand a cultural phenomenon.

And it’s a safe bet that Musk will quickly become one of the (if not the) most notable spokespeople for Twitter. Only time will tell whether he can duplicate Kiam’s success – especially since he’s such a polarizing figure.

@ElonMusk liked #Twitter so much, he bought the company. (Remember those Remington ads?) Will he be as successful as Victor Kiam? @Robert_Rose has some thoughts via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Everyone – from Twitter users to observers to employees – seems to have a strong opinion about the company’s acquisition and future. In a recent poll of Twitter employees, 44% said they were “neutral” on Musk, 27% said they loved him, and 27% said they hated him.

One thing’s for sure – the deal gives Musk complete control over the social media network.

The risky business of building content homes on rented land

At CMI, we’ve been warning people not to build their content homes on rented land for nearly a decade. CMI founder Joe Pulizzi and I often get credit for that warning. But we took our inspiration from something we read on Wired founder John Battelle’s (still excellent) blog way back in 2014.

Batelle wrote:

If you’re going to build something, don’t build on land someone else already owns. You want your own land, your own domain, your own sovereignty.

This phrase restated advice from an earlier post and speaking engagements:

If you are a brand, publisher, or independent voice, don’t put your taproot into the soils of Facebook.

I’m not gonna lie. The revision works much better than the original.

Anyway.

Battelle was referencing the growing notion among brands at the time that websites and other owned media were unneeded. Ten years ago, many marketers thought the fast growth of Facebook Pages made it a good idea to build their entire online presence within Mark Zuckerberg’s walled garden.

Here’s the problem: Investing in “rented land” (e.g., social media) means spending on something you don’t own. You’re risking your entire investment on a platform whose leaders could make changes that don’t benefit you.

Over-investing in #SocialMedia means you’re risking your #ContentMarketing budget on platforms you don’t control, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Cautionary tales have emerged about entire audiences wiped away by algorithm updates or other changes that took the value of being on a platform like Facebook (or Twitter) to zero.

But what if your audience loves those platforms? Doesn’t it make sense to spend time where your audience does?

Let’s break that advice down.

What “rented” means

The first confusion arises from what “rented” means. Any content platform you don’t control is rented land. Any platform that doesn’t allow immediate access to all your content and everyone in your audience is rented land (regardless of whether you pay for the space to build or promote your content).

You’re on rented land if you depend on a platform’s algorithm (or paid promotion) to deliver your content to an audience (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.)

But social media platforms aren’t the only landlords. Any network where access to the audience or your content is at the platform’s discretion, including podcasting distribution networks like Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and long-form or multimedia platforms like Medium or Clubhouse.

How to use your rental the right way

Renting isn’t a bad thing. Finding your audience on rented platforms is critical for content and marketing strategy. But think of these platforms as rivers, not lakes. Use them to flow users to your own home (a website, resource center, email newsletter, etc.).

Think about how to encourage visitors on a rented platform to visit your home. Remember, a social media platform’s goal is to get you to help build their audience. Your goal should be to use a social media platform’s audience to help build yours.

Build an outpost, but own your home

I often hear pushback about the advice to avoid building on rented land. The argument goes like this: Marketers have no choice but to invest in rented land because that’s where our audiences are.

I agree. This isn’t a zero-sum game.

But don’t get hooked on the rush of finding audiences on social media or other rented platforms. I’ve watched brands pour money into social media platforms only to see their initial traffic and engagement eventually go up in smoke.

What to build

Yes, you can and should build on rented land. But only build things you’re willing to lose or that you can easily transfer elsewhere. Any marketer who ignores search engine marketing does so at their peril. The same is true of social media.

So, use social platforms, podcasts, and other rented lands to reach audiences. But don’t build a strategy designed to keep them there. That approach benefits the landlords in the long run, not you.

You can (and should) build on rented land, as long as you only build what you’re willing to lose or can easily transfer, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Subletting through influencers is renting, too

Creating relationships with industry influencers, celebrities, and other content creators has become one of the most significant go-to-market strategies.

Working with an influencer lets you access their credibility to convey your brand or product story. You’re banking on their influence with an audience to provide a “halo effect” for your brand.

Craft the right agreement

Just as your strategy with social media platforms should direct their audience to your home (owned) property, your approach with influencers should be to lead their audience to you.

But influencers want to keep audiences loyal to them, not you.

This tension is healthy – until it isn’t. For example, one big B2C brand we worked with recently featured an up-and-coming pop star as an influencer. But every mention of the star on the brand website simply linked to the upcoming concert tour. How did that benefit the brand?

Remember that people evolve (and sometimes devolve) over time, just as algorithms do. Be careful about building anything that relies too much on an influencer who may change in ways you can’t control.

The house always wins

Elon Musk has taken the advice to avoid building your home on rented land quite literally. He found he’d already invested enough time and energy into land he couldn’t control. So he bought the land.

Will Twitter go the way of Remington Products, with a new owner and spokesperson elevating the brand and resonating with new audiences? Maybe.

In the meantime, everyone who has invested in a Twitter presence finds themselves facing the whims of a new landlord.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “In a tavern, everybody puts on airs except the landlord.” He meant that no one is themselves in the public square except the person who owns the square.

I think it’s fair to adapt that quote for Twitter and other rented platforms, where nobody gets free speech except the landlord.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just three minutes

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week.

 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute





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Axios’ Alayna Treene offers glimpse of her role as a congressional reporter


Friday_reporter_Pod

Alayna Treene is employee No. 17 at Axios — before the publication had even formally been named — and is now five and a half years into her tenure there.  She is the congressional reporter for Axios, the co-author of “Axios Sneak Peek” and covers both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Her experience has given her opportunities to visit with some of the most senior members of House and Senate leadership, as well as a very unique point of view on the happenings inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

Her hustle and hard work has not gone unnoticed, having been named one of Forbes’ “30 under 30,” this amazing Jersey Girl is showing up everyday to share news and trends that you’ll not find anywhere else.

Listen in to today’s last episode in the Axios April series:

Listen to all episodes of the Friday Reporter Podcast here.

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How to empower your agile marketing team


When working with agile marketing teams, leaders should adopt a values-based approach that includes empowering their team members. Place individuals and interactions above processes and tools, and stop treating marketers like kindergarteners, said agile marketing expert Stacey Ackerman at The MarTech Conference.

Micromanaging is rampant in marketing. Being an effective leader means treating team members like adults.

“We really want to empower them to be able to work individually and think about how they can really grow and form,” said Ackerman. 

To accomplish this, Here are some guidelines on leading through empowerment.

Present your team with a problem, not a solution

Don’t lead with a command. Instead, present the problem and allow your team to formulate the remedy.

For instance, sales are down. Start there. Your team might suggest sending out a direct mail piece. Or maybe posting a video on YouTube is preferred. Give your talented team the opportunity to help solve the problem with their creativity.

“If we always give the teams the solution, they’re not going to be empowered to have that creativity that we need,” said Ackerman.

Read next: How marketers embrace agile ways of working

Brainstorm for a solution

To arrive at the right solution, draw on the creativity of the entire team through a brainstorming session.

“It’s a good use of time,” said Ackerman. “We typically run our teams on about 110% capacity to just execute, execute, execute, and the problem is we don’t account for [better use of] time [through] brainstorming.”

She added, “Brainstorming is really where the magic happens, and building this into the way we work and allowing teams to be part of that solution to your problem through brainstorming is very empowering and gives you great results.”

Give your team space to solve

Don’t rush to a solution. Let your team think about the problem, brainstorm, and problem-solve in their own time.

“If we’re always solving the problems for the team, they no longer feel empowered and they really can’t grow,” said Ackerman.

And when a team member comes to a leader with a problem, the leader could always ask this member what they think about a solution. This gives the team an opportunity to solve problems on their own. The result? Better problem-solving all around.

Ask your team for the data

Remind team members about the importance of past experiences. It’s all in the data. How did similar campaigns perform in the past? Give them an opportunity to present the data to back their solution.

“A lot of opinions happen in marketing,” said Ackerman.

 “If you come back to the team member and ask how it performed, they have to own that they have to look at it. They start to become more results-oriented.”

Trust the team to own the solution and deliver great work

Trust is built over time. If you don’t have it, then leaders are checking all of their team’s work without giving ownership to team members.

It doesn’t mean that a leader will be entirely hands-off on a presentation made to the board of directors. But maybe there are smaller projects that don’t need so much micromanagement.

“I ask you to examine yourself and think, ‘what is the worst thing that could happen?’” said Ackerman. “Is there something that team members are doing to break your trust? What would make you feel more comfortable? Are there things that the team could experiment on more that are maybe less risky?”

More leeway can garner more trust across the team. And where there’s trust, there’s more ownership, creativity and growth.


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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country's first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on "innovation theater" at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.



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New Competitive Research Suite: Actionable Data to Drive Real Results


I once compared keyword research to an avalanche – it’s loud, exciting, and you’re likely to end up buried alive. Over the years, as I’ve tested new product ideas (even with enterprise SEOs), I’ve found that people don’t really want all the data. They want the right data.

I’m thrilled to announce Moz’s Competitive Research Suite, built from the ground up to drive targeted data and actionable insights about your competitors, your competitive keyword gap, and your content gap. Instead of telling you, though, let us show you.

Your keyword gap, reinvented

I recently bought some sunglasses from Goodr. Let’s pretend I’m analyzing their competitive SEO landscape, and I’ve picked three targeted competitors in the online sunglasses market that specialize in active customers and sports sunglasses. I’d first enter the sites in the mini-wizard:

You can choose your market and either Domain or Subdomain for the target site and each competitor. After some summary statistics about the sites, you’ll see the “Keywords to Improve” section, which looks something like this:

Scroll horizontally to see our all-new Traffic Lift metric, Keyword Volume, Keyword Difficulty, your current ranking, and the ranking of each of your chosen competitors.

More signal = actionable results

If you did a traditional keyword gap analysis, you might look at each competitor individually and manually dig through the intersections. Let’s say we put SportEyes.com into our own Keyword Explorer. The first few results look something like this:

This is perfectly useful data about one competitor’s rankings, except for one problem — Goodr doesn’t sell swim goggles or ski goggles. Even intersecting a couple of competitors could easily produce irrelevant results, competitors’ branded terms, or keywords where your site already outranks competitors and has very little to gain. Put simply, there’s a lot of noise.

Keywords to Improve is a new way of thinking about the competitive keyword gap. We focus on keywords where your site ranks in the top 20 (you can easily expand this in the filters), but is outranked by one or more competitors. We also attempt — by analyzing on-SERP signals — to filter out branded and brand-like terms.

We cut through the noise, boost your SEO signal, and surface actionable results.

Lift your traffic, lift your ROI

We SEOs love big keyword volume numbers, but here’s the hard truth — even if we could perfectly accurately estimate volume, it’s a bit of a fantasy. If you create a competitive keyword research spreadsheet with 10,000 keywords with an average volume of 1,000, are you going to guarantee your boss those 10 Million visitors? Of course not.

What if you have no capacity to rank for that keyword? What if sites like yours (including your competitors) have a realistic ranking cap? SEO isn’t a process of going from no ranking to #1 on every keyword imaginable, and even #1 doesn’t get all the clicks.

All of this is why we’re introducing Traffic Lift. The Traffic Lift column looks at what we think you could gain by moving from your current ranking to your competitors’ best current ranking. In part, it’s tough love. Living in a fantasy isn’t good for business. More importantly, it’s a way to prioritize. See the sample results below:

Unlike swimming goggles, a product Goodr doesn’t even sell, cycling and running sunglasses are product categories that are very relevant and where they’re outranked by similar competitors. There is ample room for improvement here and real ROI. Traffic Lift finds the wins.

Your competitors’ top content

A little more tough love — keywords aren’t action. Keywords are potential. A mountain of keywords is more likely to bury you than benefit you. We can help you find the best keywords, but ultimately, we want to understand how those keywords are shaped into content.

Our first-generation (and there’s much more to come) Top Competing Content report shows you how your keyword gap is being served by your competitors. Let’s look at the Goodr data:

The “Top Ranking Keywords” are just a sampling, but here we can see, for example, how one competitor’s page is capturing multiple keywords related to “cycling sunglasses”. Now, you can start to see how those keywords function as a concept and you’ve got specific competitor pages to target.

This is the next step of competitive keyword research — going beyond a pile of individual, unrelated, and even irrelevant keywords to a plan of action that includes targeted, high-lift keywords, targeted content, and a top-level view of the competitive landscape.

If you want broader data or a different viewpoint, there’s a full range of filters and sorts to let you adjust our default settings. Of course, you can also export both Keywords to Improve and Top Content Competitors to carve through the pile as you please.

True competitors, truer results

In September of 2021, we launched True Competitor, and I promised that it was a first step in Moz’s new approach to competitive analysis. True Competitor is now more than a stand-alone tool — it’s a starting point to understanding your keyword and content gaps:

From True Competitor, you can now easily select up to three competitors and run your Keyword Gap analysis. As you can see, this is how I kicked off my Goodr example, even though I had almost no knowledge of their competitive landscape. Imagine what you could do with your actual knowledge of your site, your customers, and even your prospects.

Even for Goodr, this journey I took is just one possible journey. I chose to focus on sports sunglasses, but there are dozens of niches that they could explore, even as a relatively small site. Competitive analysis isn’t one and done — it’s a process of surfacing opportunities, acting on those opportunities, and re-evaluating as your competitors evolve.

The Competitive Analysis Suite is now available to all Moz Pro customers, and we’d love to hear your feedback via the ‘Make a Suggestion’ button in the app.

Sign up for a free trial to access the Competitive Research Suite!

Already a Moz Pro customer? Log in now for instant access!



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HR and marketing leaders reflect on creating a culture of learning


Talk of a “Great Resignation” has dominated conversations about recruitment, retention, and workplace culture since midway through 2021, as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic prompts a widespread reassessment of priorities and working conditions.

The Marketing Week Career and Salary Survey 2022, which surveyed more than 4,400 UK marketing professionals to form a snapshot of marketers’ experiences, salaries, and career prospects, found that more than half of marketers were pondering a change of role, with 20.8% saying they were “definitely” looking for a change, while 36.1% were “considering” one.

Another finding from the survey indicates that companies may be fuelling the Great Resignation by predominantly hiring in new talent instead of investing in their existing talent: 40.1% of marketers said that their organisation’s approach to bridging the skills gap was to hire external talent, while only 21.3% said that their company was training existing staff.

Findings from Marketing Week’s Career and Salary Survey 2022 suggest that employers are contributing to the ‘Great Resignation’ by favouring the hiring of new talent over upskilling existing staff. Source: Marketing Week

 

At Econsultancy’s second quarterly briefing of 2022, Econsultancy Director Richard Robinson highlighted that a potential antidote to the ‘Great Resignation’ is creating an organisational culture of learning. According to a June 2021 study by Amazon and Gallup, 61% of US workers say the opportunity to participate in an upskilling program is an “extremely” or “very” important factor in their decision to remain in their current role, while 48% of respondents said they were “extremely” or “very” likely to switch roles if their new employer offered upskilling opportunities. In other words, training and learning can be a major factor in turning the Great Resignation into a Great Retention.

But is this as simple as laying on the odd training day? How can organisations make upskilling and learning a part of their organisational culture, and in the process, offer as many opportunities to their employees as possible?

Robinson put this question to a panel of expert leaders from major organisations: Gayla Wright, Senior HR Business Partner at Specsavers; Steven Javor, Director of Ecommerce – USA & Canada at Schneider Electric; and Ellie Norman, who spent four years as the Chief Marketing Officer at Formula One. Here is some of the advice they shared for how to create a learning culture within an organisation, including the importance of leadership involvement, setting aside time to learn, and ways to identify a ‘growth mindset’ in job candidates.

Causes for optimism

As a discussion starter, Robinson asked each of the panellists to share what gives them optimism for the year ahead when it comes to people.

Specsavers’ Gayla Wright said that the brand has noticed people wanting to work for a purpose, and linking in to their passions, which then gives rise to new opportunities. “If we’re able to really harness that and think around – where can we get people working on different things, different projects, coming up with different ideas; that’s then going to aid the business. That’s really a win-win – because it makes sure that people have that variety in their roles, and that we get the very best out of our people.”

Schneider Electric’s Steven Javor observed that, now that organisations are in a position to return to the office and reunite in person, there is a new energy among their staff. “[People] are more excited to learn about the possibilities that they are creating from the experience that they’ve had – and we’re really looking for those people that have that joie de vivre, that curiosity, that are always learning.”

Schneider, said Javor, seeks out employees who are “T-shaped” – combining a deep specialist knowledge of an area such as sales, marketing, or distribution with a broad understanding of the wider ecosystem. “By having that overall view, we believe that they understand that customer experience – because we believe that the customer is loyal to the experience. They’re not loyal to brands as much anymore; they’re loyal to that experience.”

“What made me excited, during my time in Formula One,” said Ellie Norman, “and, I think, a positive of Covid – was because businesses had to transition so quickly to being omnichannel and focused on the digital transformation and ecommerce, it actually raised the profile of customer experience, of the required martech, of the required resources inside the organisation, to a much higher level than I think had previously existed.

“And therefore, the conversation to get under the skin of required investment upfront; what type of skillset you need inside your organisation; where are the gaps, and how do you go on that journey together – was able to be had at a board level. … I think that’s one thing that definitely kept me excited: conversations being elevated to the highest level.”

Overcoming barriers and making time for learning

What does creating a “culture of learning” with an organisation look like in practice, and what are the challenges that come with it? One audience member asked the panel what barriers organisations might encounter when moving to a “learn it all” culture, and how to overcome those.

Javor pointed to the need for management, and not simply lower-level staff, to become involved and invested in the concept. “It comes down to the governance, and of course supervisors have to approve employees’ ability to take on new training programmes,” he said. “We have a mandate within Schneider that every single employee has to have a certain amount of training that they take on every year. Some of it is mandatory training about our brand, and our position – and a lot of it is also a choice of hundreds of different programmes that you can engage in either remotely, virtually, or in person.

“There is a real striving for the company to increasingly encourage people to continue their own career path – even providing funding for you to take university courses. … We need to have our managers on board [with that] as much as we need to have employees on board.”

Robinson agreed with and echoed this sentiment based on his experiences with overseeing learning initiatives as part of Econsultancy. “We see time and again that if the most senior leader in a company is engaged and involved in learning, and they understand the value behind it – the priority then goes through the entire company,” he said.

“When leadership visibly and verbally communicates ownership of learning, and the reason why it’s priority status, I think it’s something that can make a really tangible difference.”

Wright also argued for the importance of not just limiting “learning” to literal training programmes, but thinking about how learning can come from the work employees do every day and making that an integral part of the organisation’s mindset. “Organisations can create that culture in terms of how they approach their roles, and how they approach the work,” she said. “By giving that test and trial approach, by trying new things, that in-the-moment learning, as opposed to signing up for a workshop or a course, or whatever it might be – that all goes towards creating that culture.

“It’s very much a combination, because it is going to be some more tangible, skills-orientated development that some people will want to do, and that we need to do – but we should be learning every day in our roles: trying different things, and doing new things, and going out and finding out what’s happening in other organisations and bringing those ideas into your organisation.”

Econsultancy Digital Skills Index™

Robinson followed this up with a question about another barrier: making time for learning. Even in organisations that are committed to a culture of learning, it can be a challenge to balance everyday tasks with the time investment required for training and upskilling, and it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day work and not get around to setting time aside for learning, no matter how much you want to. What can be done to avoid that?

“It can be tough, because when you’re in the midst of the day job, and you’ve got the pressures and the deadlines, we can all be at risk of not putting our development at the forefront,” said Wright. Specsavers tackles this by creating an event to block off time in people’s diaries, “Power-Down Friday”. “It’s about … making sure you ringfence that two hours – listen to a podcast, read an article, do a virtual workshop on project management or soft skills development. We want it [at the] forefront of people’s diaries, so that when they are putting in their meetings, there’s that visual reminder, just to help embed that – make sure that you are taking time out.

Robinson recalled an example of this in practice that he’d seen “in the wild”: a CMO that he had emailed had set an Out of Office message to say that he was working on the Mini MBA programme from Marketing Week. “He was actually signposting it to his team that he was learning – so it was a double positive: he was learning himself, but his team was seeing, ‘It’s okay to learn’, and by diarising the time, no-one else could drive into his diary and try to take that slot. It’s a really terrific way that he went about it.”

Javor also emphasised the importance of approaching learning from an overall development perspective, and thinking about the skills that you want to acquire and the goals for your personal development. “At Schneider … part of our plan is that every year, you need to go through your goals and objectives for your job, and there’s a section you have to dedicate to your development.

“That development … comes under three different ways: one, by taking courses; two, by aligning with mentors – we have a mentorship programme, so if you want to get into something you’re not super familiar [with], you can sign up with a mentor and shadow them; and the third one is getting experience, and actually jumping into something, maybe in a minor role at first. It’s not just sitting back and listening to someone lecture to you, but it’s also getting some shadowing experience, and also some practical experience as well. I think those three work together to really foster that learning culture.”

Finding job candidates with a growth mindset

Even while aiming to retain and upskill existing talent as much as possible, there will always be a need to bring on new additions to the company, and ideally organisations will want to look for candidates who approach their role with a ‘growth mindset’: always looking for opportunities to learn and improve, and/or for their teams to learn and improve. An audience member asked the panellists how they identify this mindset in job applicants; what do they look for in the interview process?

“There’s something so simple in language and body language,” said Norman. “All of us have recruited people, and very, very early, you’ll intuit whether someone is in that mindset, but I think it will often come across in language and the way that they’re thinking and being able to holistically join dots – even if they don’t understand how your organisation works. Through the questions that they’re asking you, or how they’re responding, you get a real sense of their critical thinking, and where they’ve got gaps or opportunities.”

Wright added some examples of questions she likes to pose in an interview to get candidates to reveal their approach to growth: one being asking candidates to talk about something that didn’t land as well as they’d hoped, and what they would do differently next time. “Inevitably, when you’re in an interview, you want to be putting your best side forward – but there’s always those things that we go, ‘With hindsight, knowing what I know now, I would approach that differently’,” she said. “And I like to hear those things when I’m speaking to people, because it gives me the reassurance that they have thought about this.

“Another staple is – what are you doing around managing your own development? Really putting it back on them to [say] what are the things they’re looking at to keep those skills alive, or how are they going to engender that in their team. Having those sorts of answers prepared would really show me that someone has got a growth mindset.”

Javor replied that he looks at a candidate’s energy and their ability to tell a story and to talk about the challenges they’ve faced. “I believe that if they’ve made it through the initial stages of the interview, and ended up talking to me, they’ve already qualified themselves as being technically capable for the role; now I’m looking at fit.

“And I’m always surprised at how many people, at the end of the interview, don’t state that they really want this job – and that they’re really impassioned to fight for that position. My suggestion to anybody is that, when you’re having an interview, make sure that you’re saying that you want the job, and that you’re not just going to be sitting there passively hoping that you’re chosen.”



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