The Connected TV Battle – A Song of Traditional and Digital Media

Recently, we kicked off our connected TV series with a look at the convergence of digital and linear models. In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the digital landscape by looking at the growth of connected TV audiences and the major OTT services vying for viewers’ attention. 

It’s been nearly a fortnight since Game of Thrones reached its highly-anticipated conclusion. Over the last week and a half, millions of viewers watched (and re-watched) the series finale to find out which of Westeros’ finest would end up on top, only to see the hotly-contested, blade-forged metal death chair (SPOILER ALERT!!!) reduced to a puddle of melted steel and broken dreams. In the end, 13.6 million viewers tuned in live to catch the finale, with another 6 million or so streaming the episode or watching it on-demand.

As the final clash for the Iron Throne unfolded, a related battle raged across the digital media realm. Over-the-top (OTT) video providers like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video continue to fight for the loyalty of viewers who are increasingly ditching traditional TV providers in favor of internet-connected viewing options.

For marketers, these connected TV audiences represent an increasingly significant opportunity to blend digital’s ad targeting capabilities with traditional TV’s massive reach. To give you a better understanding of the opportunity, here’s a look at the growth of connected TV audiences, the OTT services battling for viewers’ attention (and dollars) and the devices that deliver the content.

Connected TV audiences

Let’s start by clearing up the confusion between connected TV and OTT. Connected TV refers to the devices audiences use to stream video (e.g., a smart TV). OTT services are the apps and providers that deliver the content (e.g., Netflix). To frame up this article, we’ll use connected TV audiences as a catch-all for viewers watching OTT content on internet-connected devices.

Connected TV audiences are comprised of two main groups:

No. 1: Traditional subscribers

Audiences who stream OTT video and also subscribe to traditional TV distributors like:

  • Cable and satellite providers
  • Wireless carriers and fiber operators
  • Major TV broadcast and cable networks
  • Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) providers
No. 2: Cordless viewers

Audiences who don’t have any traditional pay-TV service, comprised of two main groups:

  • Cord-cutters: have had a traditional TV subscription in the past five years
  • Cord-nevers: have not had a traditional TV subscription in the past five years

OTT streaming households by audience type

OTT streaming households by audience type

While traditional TV (i.e., pay TV) viewers still outnumber connected TV viewers roughly 2-to-1, the tides are starting to turn. This trend is significant for brand marketers who will need to reallocate budgets to account for the shift in consumer behavior.

Total pay TV viewers vs connected TV viewers (in millions)

Major OTT players

The growth of connected TV audiences has sparked an arms race among OTT video providers vying for their attention. It seems like a different media company launches a new OTT service every day as existing players jockey for the rights to popular video content and work to develop more original programming. Going back to the GoT analogy, there are three main houses in the race today: Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Think of them like connected TV’s versions of the Starks, Lannisters and Targaryens.

OTT Providers - Netflix - Hulu - Amazon Prime Video

But, like GoT, the OTT realm has a lot more houses, and these services use a variety of content and delivery models. There are way too many models to cover here, but let’s look at a few of the big ones:

  • Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) model: OTT services that give users access to a wide range of original and aggregated content for a monthly rate (e.g., Netflix, Hulu, Amazon).
  • Network-based model: SVOD services built around TV and cable networks (e.g., HBO GO/NOW, Showtime Anytime, CBS All Access).
  • Linear OTT model: OTT services that deliver content from multiple TV, cable or satellite channels in real time (e.g., DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV).

These services are a mix of subscription- and ad-based models, making some of the services less attractive to marketers. Here’s a look at the major ad-based services across the various models.

OTT providers with advertising

OTT providers with advertising


(Source: eMarketer)

Across content and subscription models, there’s plenty of momentum behind OTT right now. Despite nearing what has to be an audience saturation point, market leader Netflix continues to grow. Other major platforms like Hulu and Amazon Prime Video are still growing as well. On top of that, big names like Disney and Apple have plans to launch their own services in the coming months. For marketers, this means OTT platforms will likely become an even more important channel for reaching consumers in the near future.

Connected TV devices

Perhaps the biggest difference between OTT apps and traditional TV providers is how they deliver content to audiences. With traditional TV, audiences are pretty much tethered to their TV sets and – with the exception of on-demand content – are forced to watch programs live. With OTT services, audiences have a lot more control of where and when they consume content.

Connected TV devices come in all shapes and sizes including smart TVs, gaming consoles, streaming boxes/sticks, etc. (Additionally, viewers can use computers, tablets and phones to stream OTT content.)

OTT streaming households by connected TV device

OTT streaming households by connected TV device

As of last year, streaming boxes and sticks were the most popular connected TV device. The two major players in the category are Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick, both of which experienced solid growth in 2018.

Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick penetration of U.S. Wi-Fi households

Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick penetration of U.S. Wi-Fi households

To learn more about connected TV advertising, check out the third installment of this series:

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[Case Study]: Mindstream Media Group Drives 14% Lift in Organic Traffic for The UPS Store

No matter how groundbreaking and spectacular a website is when it’s first launched, it’s inevitable that the site’s design, SEO and copy will eventually become outdated. When this happens, it usually means the roller coaster thrill ride of a redesign is in your future.

If you’ve been through a massive site redesign, you understand the highs of seeing your beautiful new design come to fruition, as well as the lows of watching your website traffic stumble as search engines re-index your site.

The UPS Store site redesign

This is the situation that The UPS Store franchise development team recently found themselves in. After launching a redesign of its website in 2017, the brand saw the site’s ranking in relevant Google search results fluctuate. Thanks to their well-established brand, the site didn’t experience substantial traffic losses, but organic search visits did drop from the previous year.

SEO Sessions – 2016 vs. 2017

For high-volume websites, even a small decline in visits could represent a drop in thousands of leads. To reverse the trend and make sure prospective franchise owners could still find the site, we implemented a combination of SEO and Content Marketing efforts to:

  • Increase earned and owned media sessions by 5 percent in 2018.
  • Increase the site’s ranking in relevant search results to make it easier for prospective franchise owners to find the information they need.
  • Produce engaging content to explain the value of franchising in general, as well as the value of franchising with The UPS Store.

How we amplified their SEO and Content Marketing strategy

Our holistic SEO strategy

Ranking well on Google demands an SEO strategy that optimizes all aspects of the website. For The UPS Store, we implemented a holistic SEO strategy focused on three main components.

  1. Technical SEO
  2. On-page SEO
  3. Off-site SEO

Mindstream Media’s Holistic SEO Approach

Throughout 2018, we completed several major projects to improve these elements, including:

Link acquisition

Since Mindstream Media Group started a backlink campaign for The UPS Store, the link profile has steadily improved thanks to guest posting, manual outreach and other white-hat link building efforts.

Backlink history – referring domains

Backlink history - total links
On-page technical improvements

We updated the site’s internal linking structure, improved site speed, implemented title tags and meta descriptions backed by keyword research, added Schema Markup, updated much of the content and improved keyword rankings for several relevant high search volume keywords.

Accounting for algorithm updates

Google continuously updates its search algorithm to deliver the most relevant results. We monitored all the major updates for opportunities to optimize the site based on the latest SEO best practices. Here’s a look at some of the most significant Google updates in 2018.

2018 Google Algorithm Updates

Our Content Marketing strategy

Mindstream Media Group’s Content Marketing efforts included three main initiatives:

  • Updating and expanding webpage copy to help visitors find the information they need to become franchise owners and improve the site’s ranking in search results.
  • Creating blog posts to help prospects learn more about becoming a The UPS Store franchise owner.
  • Publishing blog posts on the website and Outbrain’s content network to reach a wider audience of potential franchise owners.

Our Content Marketing efforts went hand-in-hand with our SEO work. We used the keyword strategy and technical SEO tactics outlined in our SEO program to guide both webpage and blog content. This approach allowed us to create content that:

  • Was easy for search engine bots to read and index which helped improve the site’s rankings in search results.
  • Was informative and entertaining for prospects to read, which helped nurture leads and encourage them to become franchise owners.

Related: How to Avoid 5 Devastating B2B Content Marketing Mistakes

The fruits of our labor

As we continued to implement our SEO and Content Marketing efforts throughout 2018, traffic to the website started to pick up.
2018 SEO sessions by quarter

Not only did the site’s traffic rebound from the redesign, but there were even more visitors than before.

SEO Sessions – 2016 through 2018

In the fourth quarter of 2018, traffic to the site’s blog took off. We saw improvements in page views, time on site, entrances and bounce rate.

Blog metrics - Q4 vs. Q3 2018

Thanks to our combined SEO and Content Marketing efforts, we exceeded our 2018 goal for SEO sessions by 8 percent.

SEO sessions – 2018 goal vs. actual

Need help driving more traffic and leads to your website? Contact Mindstream Media Group to find out how our SEO and Content Marketing solutions can amplify your brand’s website.

[MAY 2019] The Latest and Greatest in Google Marketing – What Local Marketers Need to Know

Google came out swinging this month. In the first two weeks of May alone, there was a flurry of Google marketing events and news. First, there was Google I/O – the annual developer conference – from May 7-9. Then, the search company (which doesn’t seem like nearly a broad enough descriptor) kicked off Google Marketing Live on May 14.

If you work in the digital marketing space, you can be forgiven for missing some of the biggest news from Google’s fortnight of activity. In the Google Marketing Live keynote alone, the company announced more than 10 new digital marketing products. (And, seriously, why did Google have to do all this while we were all wrapped up in Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones?)

To help you catch up on all that activity, here’s a look at three of the most important Google marketing updates for multi-location brands and local businesses.

Reach nearby consumers with updated Local campaigns

Google specifically designed Local campaigns to help marketers drive foot traffic to stores, restaurants, auto dealerships and other local businesses. Local campaigns allow marketers to use automation to place ads that drive offline conversions. You provide Google a list of locations, a campaign budget and ad assets. Then, Google uses machine learning to optimize your bids, ad placements and asset combinations.

At Google Marketing Live, Google announced a few significant changes to help marketers do even more with Local campaigns, including:

Driving additional conversions

You can now inspire consumers to take additional valuable actions like calling your business or getting directions to your location(s). Early tests of this feature have shown promising results.

Driving additional conversions with Google Local campaigns

Showcasing products

You can now showcase product-specific information and offers.

Showcase product-specific information with Google Local CampaignsImage source: Google

Serving ads in more places

New ad inventory allows you to promote your business to users planning their route and while they browse Google Maps search suggestions.

Promote your business to users planning their route (image source: Google)

Promote your business in Google Maps search suggestions (image source: Google)

How to take advantage of this update

These updates make Local campaigns an even more potent tool for local marketers. If you haven’t implemented this tool already, here’s a quick look at how Local campaigns work:

  • Define the locations you want to promote by linking your Google My Business account or selecting affiliate locations.
  • Your ads are then eligible to appear across Google’s properties. This includes the Google Search Network, Google Display Network, Google Maps and YouTube.

Engage consumers with high-quality ad creative

According to a recent Google/Ipsos study, 76 percent of consumers enjoy making unexpected discoveries when shopping. Inspired by this trend, Google introduced Discovery ads at Google Marketing Live as a new way to reach people in the moments when they’re open to discovering your products and services.

Discovery ads will appear across feeds on Google’s properties including Discover, YouTube and Gmail.

Google Discovery AdsGoogle also announced they’d be launching another highly-visual ad format for Search. With Gallery ads, brands will be able to serve consumers interactive visuals based on their search intent.

How to take advantage of this update

This update is perfect for multi-location brands and local businesses that sell a variety of products. The key is developing high-quality creative and serving ads across Google’s properties to hit a variety of consumer touchpoints. If your brand is already advertising on Google channels, look into adding Discover and Gallery ads to your existing campaigns.

Optimize your search presence with structured data

During Google I/O, Google announced a couple of new ways for brands to appear in organic search results. You can now add structured data on FAQ and how-to webpages to get that content to appear as Featured Snippets. These results are especially valuable as they typically appear at the very top of Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs).

Here’s how properly structured how-to content appears in search results:

How-to Structured Data in Google Search Results

Related: How Featured Snippets Help You Conquer Google’s Search Results

How to take advantage of this update

Before you can use structured data to optimize this content, you need to create it. Here are Google’s guidelines on each:

  • How-to content – walks users through a set of steps to successfully complete a task, and can feature video, images and text. For example, “How to tie a tie” or “How to tile a kitchen backsplash.”
  • FAQ page – contains a list of questions and answers pertaining to a particular topic. Properly marked up FAQ pages may be eligible to have a rich result on Search and Markup Action for the Google Assistant, which can help your site reach the right users.

After you create the content, you’ll need to add structured data to the page to explicitly tell Google that your content falls in the how-to or FAQ category. If you need help creating this content or optimizing it correctly, contact Mindstream Media Group and our Content Marketing and SEO experts will be happy to assist.

Quick hits – more takeaways from Google Marketing Live

As a Google Premier Partner, Mindstream Media Group is committed to keeping our finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest Google marketing news. Mindstream’s Bailey Bosson and Adrian Huth attended Google Marketing Live last week to make sure nothing slipped through the cracks. Here’s a recap of a few of their most important takeaways from the event.

Google ups the ante on automation

It seemed like every major product announcement included (or relied on) a way to use machine learning and AI to improve ad performance. In the future, expect Google to continue integrating more automation features into its marketing and advertising solutions.

Google wades into programmatic TV

Google introduced a batch of new tools for Digital & Video 360 – the company’s programmatic buying platform. The step looks to be Google’s first step toward bringing programmatic ad buys to traditional TV advertising. (Read more on Marketing Land.)

Google adds more flexibility for advertisers

Keeping with Google’s theme de jour, Google introduced new automated bidding strategies to help advertisers customize their campaigns. This includes campaign-level conversion goals, seasonality adjustments and the ability to optimize based on conversion value. (Read more on Search Engine Journal.)

Want to keep up with the latest in Google marketing news? Subscribe to our blog to get the latest media and marketing updates delivered straight to your inbox.

TV Transformed – The Ongoing Value of Linear TV and the Power of Digital

In the first of a series, we’re starting a big picture discussion about small screens. We’ll answer top advertiser questions about the ongoing value of Linear television (think network and cable), where digital factors in and what the TV evolution means for reaching the right audiences.

Getting it straight

First, let’s get the terminology down before answering the bigger questions about strategy and performance.

  • Linear TV. In simple terms, over-the-air, cable and satellite make up traditional television known as Linear TV.
  • Over-the-top (OTT). OTT video comes to viewers by way of internet instead of over-the-air network, cable or satellite distribution. Sometimes it’s ad-supported; sometimes it’s paid for by subscription. The content streams onto devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops, oh, and televisions. But these Connected TVs require more technology like Roku or a gaming console – or they have to be Smart TVs using streaming apps.

Reaching the masses

With so many viewing options, does it still make sense to advertise on Linear television?

Like any media buy, the answer depends on your marketing objectives and whether any given medium, or combination, can support strategies to carry your message, create awareness or generate leads. While usage has dipped with competition from OTT and other digital media options, Linear TV is holding its own. The downward viewership trend is modest, and cable is forecasted to see a 1.5 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) by 2022.

In the U.S., adults spent about 3 hours and 45 minutes daily watching television last year. This year, eMarketer is forecasting a very modest decline of about nine minutes a day.

What about Linear TV’s limitations on attribution?

Previous concerns over Linear TV ad buys centered around forecasting, tracking and an assumed margin of waste. According to Adweek, “Broadcasters are using machine learning to improve forecast accuracy by up to 15 percent. This translates to better pricing, better inventory usage and reduced risk of displacement and spoilage. Class-leading forecasting can dramatically improve monetization of inventory.” Nielsen continues to track viewership, and its processes and technology for doing so have advanced significantly over the decades. Electronic measuring devices and millions of cable and satellite boxes collect local data across the country to better attribute ratings, reach and frequency.

What’s the best use of Linear ad buys?

Linear TV’s strengths are inefficient, mass reach and the ability to create an emotional audience connection. It continues to be an important brand play, especially for B2C, and it’s ideal for national product launches. Linear TV continues to be a powerful top-of-the funnel medium. Linear TV has the ability to target specific content and demographics.  Television has been a brand-building favorite for decades, and now through cross channel coordination (data-driven Connected TV), TV can play a role in full-funnel attribution with Linear driving mass reach and awareness.

How do second screens factor in?

Since phones have practically become human appendages, there is most certainly a relationship between TV as first screen and tablets, smartphones and laptops as second or third screens. The Video Advertising Bureau reports that about 30 percent of second screen viewing is “completely or mostly related to [Linear TV’s] program or commercials.” So, while many assume second screen means competition, it often means increased engagement, including lower funnel activities like researching products and finding store locations.

Until next time

Across delivery methods, TV continues to easily outpace other media for consumer mass reach. Advertisers understand this, too. A 2018 survey showed marketers still rank TV higher than the majority of digital options, like social media, search, display, native and out-of-home.

As with many transformations, time and technology improve, or ultimately solve, bumps along the way. Linear TV’s transformation is no exception.

If you want to learn more, check out the second and third articles in our connected TV series:

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5 Voice Search Optimization Strategies You Need to Know

Voice-enabled speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo have become a significant part of consumers’ everyday lives. According to research from eMarketer, almost 75 million people in the United States will use smart speakers in 2019. And, nearly three-fourths of those users will use their smart speakers to conduct general searches. This rising usage makes voice search optimization an increasingly important effort for marketers.

Smart speaker penetration and activity in the United States

Smart speaker penetration and activity in the United States

Related content: [Infographic] – Smart Speakers: The Rise of the Machines

By optimizing content for voice searches, brands can position themselves to show up in “position zero” (i.e., the only result in smart speaker searches). But smart speakers and voice search haven’t been around for long and brand marketers are still trying to figure out the best way to optimize their content.

Last year, Backlinko conducted a study to find the most important ranking factors for searches on the Google Home smart speaker. Here are five of the most critical findings from the study to help your brand amplify your voice search optimization efforts.

No. 1: Google Home favors pages with fast load times

This factor shouldn’t be too shocking since voice searchers are naturally going to value quick, accurate answers. According to Backlinko, the average voice search page loads in 4.6 seconds (roughly half the time as average webpages).

Page load time: voice search results vs. average webpage

Page load time for voice search results vs. average webpage

Remember, while mobile and desktop search results might list multiple results, smart speakers only provide one. This reality makes voice search optimization on smart speakers a zero-sum game.

Make sure to give your content a chance of reaching “position zero” by speeding up your webpages. Check out this post to learn how to identify page speed and other common SEO issues: How to Conduct a High-level SEO Audit.

No. 2: Google Home opts for more authoritative domains when delivering search results

Pages with higher domain scores (a metric for determining a webpage’s quality and authority) tend to perform much better in smart speaker searches. According to the study, the mean Ahrefs domain rating of a Google Home result is almost 77 percent.

The average domain authority of voice search result pages vs. average webpages

Average domain authority of voice search result pages vs average webpages

A comprehensive SEO program is the best way to increase your domain authority and amplify your voice search optimization efforts. To learn how to improve your SEO strategy, check out this blog post – SEO Fundamentals: What is SEO and How Does It Work? 

No. 3: More than 70 percent of Google Home results were from HTTPS (secure) webpages

If you follow Google’s webmaster guidelines, this voice search optimization finding should make a lot of sense. In July 2018, Google announced it would start marking all non-HTTPS sites on their Chrome browser as “not secure.” This change is almost guaranteed to affect search rankings.

HTTPS adoption: voice search vs. desktop search result pages

HTTPS adoption of voice search result pages


No. 4: Content that’s frequently mentioned or shared on social media tends to appear more in Google Home results

According to the study, an average voice search result has around 1,200 Facebook shares or 44 tweets. Backlinko was careful to note that Google does not include social signals in its ranking algorithm. Therefore, social media popularity is likely a case of correlation, not causation.

Average social shares of voice search result pages

Average social shares of a voice search result

Check out this blog to learn how you can get more social media exposure out of your content: How to Fuel Your Social Media Pipeline.

No. 5: Content that appears higher in desktop search results is more likely to appear in voice searches

A staggering 75 percent of voice search results from Google Home also rank in the top 3 positions in desktop searches. The most likely reason for this is that Google uses similar ranking factors to determine both voice search and desktop results.

Where voice search results tend to rank in Google desktop search results

Where voice search results tend to rank in Google desktop search results

To get a better idea of what you need to do to improve your overall search rankings, check out our recent post: 10 Reasons Why Your Brand Needs a More Competitive SEO Strategy.

These are just some of the most important voice search optimization factors. As virtual assistants and voice search increase in popularity, there will likely be more updates to the ranking factors in the future. For now, this list is a great starting point for your voice search optimization efforts. If you need additional guidance to reach consumers searching on smart speakers, contact Mindstream Media Group today, and our content and SEO experts will be happy to help.

This post was originally published in March 2018. We’ve updated the stats and information to make sure you have the latest voice search optimization tips. 

How to Avoid 5 Devastating B2B Content Marketing Mistakes

This week, eMarketer released a study on the state of B2B Content Marketing that was packed with interesting stats for marketers. One of the study’s most significant findings was the overwhelming amount of B2B companies that currently use content marketing.

B2B Content Marketing usage

B2B Content Marketing usage

With almost nine in 10 B2B companies currently using content marketing, the practice may be reaching a saturation point. And, companies are using Content Marketing for a variety of business objectives. eMarketer kicked off the report by stating:

Content is more than an upper funnel, lead generation device. When crafted with purpose and intent, strategic content can influence audience behavior throughout the B2B customer journey.

I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I recently gave a presentation at LSA19 about that very point (check out the SlideShare below).

Related – The Role of Organic Content in the Consumer Buying Journey

Organic content is an effective way to inspire profitable consumer action throughout the journey when it’s done right. But when it’s done wrong, content can fall flat. Less pragmatic marketers may see initial B2B Content Marketing failures as an indictment against the practice itself, rather than a symptom of faulty tactics.

The truth is, despite this saturation, B2B Content Marketing efforts still haven’t hit full maturation. eMarketer also noted a study that asked B2B marketers about the level of their Content Marketing maturity, and the results were scattered across the board.

B2B Content Marketing maturity level in the United States

B2B Content Marketing maturity level

B2B Content Marketing pros aren’t the only ones to recognize the growing pains. eMarketer’s report also identified the biggest issues that B2B decision makers (i.e., your audience) have with the content they receive.

The biggest issues B2B marketing decision-makers have with the content they receive

If your brand is still working on growing your Content Marketing efforts, here’s what you can do to avoid five of the pitfalls mentioned above.

No. 1: Content is too fluffy and jargony

In order to effectuate consumer action, Content Marketing efforts must create synergy and catalyze a paradigm shift across the organization.

Did your head hurt reading that sentence as much as mine did writing it? That’s because it’s a useless heap of fancy-sounding words incoherently meshed together. Regular consumers don’t want to read it and neither do B2B audiences. To keep your audiences happy, make sure the content you put out is free from fluff and jargon.

No. 2: Content isn’t relevant to my pain points, challenges or responsibilities

“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.” Click To Tweet

One way I see this play out all too often is when brands focus their content on a product’s features rather than its benefits. B2B companies have a habit of getting so wrapped up in how their products work that they forget why people buy them – for the benefits they provide.

I’m not the biggest fan of using random quotes to prove specific points but Seth Godin outlined an interesting way to look at this problem in his book This is Marketing:

Theodore Levitt, a Harvard marketing professor, famously said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want a quarter-inch hole.” But we can take this further: someone wants the hole so they can put a shelf on the wall; which lets them keep their stuff tidy and on display; and, they want to feel good about doing it themselves.

In other words: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. They want to feel safe and respected.” They don’t want the thing you have made, they want what it will do for them and how it will make them feel.

No.3: Content isn’t relevant to my company

If you serve multiple audiences (e.g., different target audiences for different product lines), you’ll probably end up creating content pieces that aren’t relevant to everyone. And that’s OK. The important thing is to try to segment your audiences so they’re only seeing the content that’s most relevant to them. For example, if you’re incorporating email into your B2B Content Marketing strategy (and you definitely should), group your email list by industry and create content for specific audience segments.

No. 4: Content is misleading or doesn’t make sense

This is one I see frequently when brands farm out their content creation to freelancers. I’m not saying all freelancers are bad. I’m just saying you get what you pay for when it comes to content. If a freelancer comes to you with pricing that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you go outside your company for content, make sure to hire a reputable marketing agency or well-vetted freelancers.

No. 5: Content requires me to fill out a form

Here’s a marketing paradox: what happens when an unstoppable force like marketing best practices crashes into an immovable object like consumer preferences? Well, first of all, that shouldn’t happen. Best practices should be based on what consumers want, but contact forms fall into somewhat of a gray area. Gating content allows B2B marketers to gather information from potential customers so they can contact them later on. But, sometimes business consumers just want to access a piece of content without having to surrender their personal information (and deal with the inevitable follow up emails and sales calls).

I’ve been on both sides of this and have some strong feelings on it, some of which may not sit well with other marketers. Here are a few of my thoughts on how your brand should handle this clash of interests:

  • If you use a form, the content behind it had damn well better be worth the consumer’s time to read it. (On that note, I don’t care if you bring in J.K. Rowling to write it, no blog post is worth filling out a form.)
  • If a consumer fills out a form, they’re entrusting you with their personal information – be responsible with it and respectful of it.
  • Filling out a generic form and consuming a piece of content is not an open invitation to call someone repeatedly. Sometimes people just want to read something, don’t harass them for it.

In that spirit, if you’d like to learn more ways to improve your B2B content marketing strategy, fill out the form below. We’d be happy to start a conversation about how our Content Marketing solution can help amplify your brand’s content efforts.