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This Week in Content Marketing: Why Won’t CMOs Consider Buying Media Companies?

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Episode210-01PNR: This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose can be found on both iTunes and Stitcher. If you enjoy our show, we would love it if you would rate it or post a review on iTunes.

In this week’s episode

In this final regular episode, Robert ponders the nature of doing nothing (and doing it well). We discuss which company we feel is most likely to buy Fox, and whether Apple will ever really buy Disney. We also examine an increasingly disturbing web content trend, and media companies’ rush into the agency services business. Our rants and raves include net neutrality and audio content; then we sign off with an example of the week that takes us back to our own humble roots.

Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast

Show details

  • (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “A show about nothing”
  • (01:00): Robert muses on this week’s theme: Are you doing nothing?
  • (08:31): Welcome to Episode 210: Recorded live on November 19, 2017 (Running time: 1:11:05)

Content love from our sponsor: Storyblocks (45:25)

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The quick hits – Notable news and trends

  • (12:30): Why Comcast, Verizon, and Disney should and shouldn’t try to acquire Fox. (Source: Adweek)
  • (23:40): Something is wrong on the internet. (Source: Medium)

The deep dive – Industry analysis

  • (35:42): Holiday cards and house ads: The role of publishers’ content studios is ever-expanding. (Source: Digiday)

Rants and raves

  • (47:55): Joe’s rave: Considering recent findings from Edison Research that audiobook revenue surged to more than $2.1 billion in 2016, it should come as little surprise that publishers in this sector are experimenting with new ways to meet the feverish demand for audio content. For instance, Hachette Audio is taking advantage of the tremendous opportunity by pursuing audio-first content deals, in which the company would either generate a print version after the audio version gains sufficient traction, or would bypass the print book entirely, as detailed in this fascinating article from the Chicago Tribune. 
  • (52:56): Robert’s call to action: Long-time PNR listeners have no doubt heard Robert’s take on the importance of net neutrality; and now, it’s time for supporters to take their last stand. The FCC vote to overturn earlier decisions to preserve net neutrality has been scheduled for December 14. If maintaining an open internet is something you are just as passionate about as Robert, please take a minute to educate yourself on the issue, call your state representatives and let them know how you feel, or donate to organizations that are helping to fight for our digital rights – including Fight for the future, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 
  • (55:28): Robert’s rave: Though it’s more of a content story than a content marketing story, Robert still highly recommends that everyone check out this Medium article, which examines, in detail, what might just be the greatest sales pitch ever. Delivered by Drift director of marketing, Dave Gerhardt, at an OpenView Venture Partners recent speaker event, the brilliant narrative describes how the live chat tool company transformed its content operations into a movement, of sorts, by including five specific attributes in every one of its storytelling efforts.

This Old Marketing example of the week

(57:30): This Old Marketing: As we close this current chapter of our podcast collaboration, Robert and I decided to bring things full circle by focusing on This Old Marketing as our final Example of the Week. In addition to fueling a tremendous amount of content for our site, the show has made some other significant contributions to the CMI brand: Since its launch in November of 2013, our podcast has generated 2 million downloads, from listeners in 200 countries. It has also generated approximately a half-million dollars in direct revenue from sponsorships. But, perhaps even more importantly, it has served as a powerful, community-building forum, where our true fans could get more informed about our industry, get inspired to improve their own content, and get involved – in everything from sharing their perspectives on the topics we discussed, to suggesting story ideas and source articles, to submitting their favorite content examples for us to highlight, and more. We are truly grateful for your support, your participation, and your encouragement, and we look forward to sharing our future endeavors with you all.

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For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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The post This Week in Content Marketing: Why Won’t CMOs Consider Buying Media Companies? appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.



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In (partial) defense of Apple’s HomePod

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Apple’s HomePod is being hailed as the best speaker among the current smart speaker cohort, which includes Google Home, Amazon Echo, Alexa-enabled Sonos and others. But it’s also being heavily criticized for several flaws.

The consensus of the criticism basically focuses on two or three main areas:

  • It doesn’t natively support music services other than Apple Music (and iTunes Match).
  • Siri isn’t as “good” as Alexa or Google Home (and there are no “skills”).
  • It won’t work with Android devices (or as a conventional bluetooth speaker).

I own multiple Echo devices (Show, Dots, original Echo), two Google Home devices and a Home Mini. I don’t own the Google Max or the Cortana Harman Kardon speakers. I’ve placed the HomePod right beside Google Home and a Ninety7-enhanced Echo Dot in my living room.

In terms of sound quality, I agree: it’s not close. It’s hard to go back to listening to music on the other devices after the HomePod, although one could argue whether HomePod has too much bass (believe it or not). Again, I haven’t heard the Home Max.

But Apple’s decision not to support Spotify or Pandora natively on the device is regrettable and somewhat coercive. It’s a poor decision that the company hopefully will change later. You can, however, stream music from either of those services through your phone and AirPlay. I’ve been using Pandora, and it works perfectly well.

But after having read multiple criticisms of Siri’s capabilities and functionality, I was very pleasantly surprised by its performance. Siri isn’t integrated with calendaring, which is a disappointment. But that could change with a software update.

It also isn’t quite as good as Google for answering general knowledge questions. But it was much closer and a much better performer than one might imagine from all the criticism. Local recommendations were a major weakness, although nobody did a great job.

Side by side, I asked the Google Assistant, Alexa and HomePod/Siri lots of questions. Among them:

  • How long would it take me to get into San Francisco right now?
  • What’s the weather tomorrow?
  • What’s healthier: spinach or kale?
  • Set timer.
  • What’s the best Mexican restaurant near me?
  • How far is Earth from Mars?
  • Who was the 44th president?
  • Who discovered America?
  • Convert euros to dollars.
  • What’s the best-selling rock album of all time?
  • Who was Shakespeare?
  • What does dilly dilly mean?
  • What’s the oldest fast-food restaurant in the US?
  • Define (multiple words).
  • Did the Golden State Warriors win their last game?

Overall, as mentioned, Siri didn’t do quite as well as Google Home. But it did about as well as Alexa. There were isolated questions Google Home fumbled, but it got the most correct. Siri and Alexa were a couple of questions behind, at parity.

However, one might have expected Siri to underperform the others; the opposite was true. In addition, Siri is more responsive than Google Home or Echo/Alexa when music is playing loudly. I never had to say “Hey Siri” multiple times to get its attention, as I sometimes have to with the others.

The fact that HomePod doesn’t connect to third-party apps (other than through HomeKit) is not a big deal, in my view. There are two major problems with Alexa skills right now: The vast majority are worthless, and they’re difficult to discover.

I suspect that Apple will ultimately enable third-party apps on HomePod, as it has with iMessage, Maps and Siri on the phone. We can probably also expect that Siri’s full capabilities (e.g., calendaring) will come to HomePod. And Apple should make HomePod accessible to Android users.

Given the negative (or ambivalent) coverage and its relatively high price ($349), it’s unlikely that HomePod will gain significant adoption versus its rivals. But price would be much less of an issue if the other complaints were addressed.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.



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How to Develop and Grow a Successful Podcast

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develop-grow-successful-podcast

Robert Rose and I just completed four years and over 200 episodes of our podcast, This Old Marketing. While far from the most successful marketing podcast on the planet, our one hour of weekly shenanigans has done fairly well.

Since we launched in November 2013, the podcast has been downloaded nearly 2 million times from listeners in 200 countries, while generating approximately a half-million dollars in direct revenue in sponsorship support.

this-old-marketing-podcast

But the best part is what we know about our listeners. Those marketers who regularly listen to This Old Marketing are CMI’s true fans … they are more likely to come to Content Marketing World, attend one of our master classes, purchase training, attend our webinars, engage in our content, and talk about us on social media.

At our recent master class in Washington, D.C., one of the attendees asked me to write an article about creating a successful podcast. And so, Mike, here you go.

The podcast should not be first

This Old Marketing was successful from Episode 1 because we already had an audience of over 75,000 email subscribers who opted to receive CMI content. Once we notified this audience that a podcast was available, a good percentage listened to it.

Now, I’m not saying you can’t be successful by launching a podcast first. John Lee Dumas was incredibly successful with his Entrepreneur On Fire podcast. Pat Flynn also accomplished this feat. But it’s rare.

Most successful podcasts started with an audience already in place. Just look at the ones you listen to and do your research. They probably started with a blog or a video series, or maybe a network or print magazine, or the podcaster was a published author with a following. If I were starting a podcast today, I would work for 12 months to build a solid list of email subscribers first, and THEN diversify the platform with the podcast.


#Podcast Tip: Work for 12 months to build a list of email subscribers then launch the podcast. @JoePulizzi
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Identify the content gap in the marketplace

This Old Marketing started with a simple phone conversation between Robert and me. We chatted for over an hour, ranting and raving about the news of the day.


#ThisOldMarketing podcast originated after a phone conversation the creators wished they recorded. @JoePulizzi
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At the end of the conversation, we lamented that we didn’t record it.

The next day we talked seriously about the fact that no resource in the industry regularly covered the news around content marketing. Sure, Adweek, Ad Age, Digiday, and others covered it on occasion, but no resource took all the content marketing news from all the sources and distilled it for an audience.

After talking to the staff about it and doing more due diligence, we had enough data to tell us a podcast could be successful if we executed it correctly and delivered consistently.

We were lucky to identify a gap that was truly needed in the marketplace. If five or more competitors already were vying for that space, we probably would have passed on the opportunity or tilted in a different direction.

Format and frequency

In the marketing industry, most podcast formats revolve around one host with a new guest every week. We wanted to do something different. Plus, we didn’t think we could accomplish our goal of delivering the most important news each week with variable guests.

Add to that, we wanted to make sure CMI’s point of view on content marketing was delivered consistently each episode. It made sense that Robert and I serve as co-hosts with a no-guest format.

And, just like any news program, we wanted a consistent format for the show. We believed that ESPN’s PTI (Pardon the Interruption) format, where the two hosts bicker over the news of the day, worked best for Robert and me. We thought it would be entertaining, plus the format would make sure we could cover multiple news stories in one show.

One of the podcast’s goals was to make sure that the audience knew content marketing had been around for a long time, and we needed to learn from these older case studies. That’s where the idea of “This Old Marketing” came from. Every week we would include one “older” content marketing case study.

History

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Although we’ve edited the format on occasion, it hasn’t changed much from the first episode.

  • Opening thought (from Robert)
  • News of the day (generally three to five stories)
  • Rants and raves (something each of us loved or hated from the week)
  • This Old Marketing example of the week

Initially the podcasts lasted around 45 minutes. Over the first few months, we added more to the introductions and more news coverage to go for 60 minutes every week.

As for the consistency, we didn’t feel we could be great by delivering a daily podcast. We simply couldn’t make the time with our travel schedules and other assignments. Plus, there wasn’t enough content marketing news for a daily show, and we were certain our audience couldn’t handle us on a daily basis.

We settled on a weekly schedule, delivering every Monday night via iTunes and Sticher.com.

Production

Robert and I quickly worked out who would do what for the show. He managed the content for the program. He created an Evernote email address where we would send all news stories and then select the stories for the show.

Later, as we gained popularity, listeners began to send stories and This Old Marketing examples through a Twitter hashtag (#ThisOldMarketing) and directly through email. We asked for this at the end of every show. Ian’s Maxwell House Haggadah example was used in Episode 209.

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Robert also put together the introduction. At first, he read the introduction as we recorded the podcast, but, after about 100 episodes, Robert started to pre-record these five-minute introductions, adding music and clips. Frankly, the introductions might be the best part of the show.

All in all, Robert spends about two to four hours producing his part of each episode.

I handled the post-production. Robert recorded directly to his laptop wherever he was in the world, while I did the same. We both used professional microphones, which is about the most important thing you can do. I use an Audio-Technica AT2020USB and cannot recommend it highly enough. It plugs directly into the computer and can be taken anywhere (I travel a lot with it, often recording from hotel rooms). My recommendation is not to spend time building a studio and just find a quiet room and get a great microphone.


#Podcast Tip: Forgo building a studio. Find a quiet room & a great mic like @USAudioTechnica. @JoePulizzi
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While Robert uses GarageBand (Mac user), I use Audacity for PC. Audacity is a free and easy-to-use program. Robert and I talk via Skype to record the show, but we record our individual tracks separately.

Once completed, Robert sends me his MP3 file and I merge the two in Audacity. It’s really easy – just import the MP3 file into Audacity and make sure it’s synced. I almost never need to adjust the timing since we use a vocal countdown to hit record for each episode.

After the episode is recorded, I paste each of our files into the template (that includes the up-front and back-end music), save the file, and then export the file as a WAV file.

I take the WAV file of the episode and run it through another free program called Levalator. This makes sure that all the audio levels are even so Robert isn’t louder than me or vice versa.


Use a free tool like @levelator to make sure all audio levels are even, says @JoePulizzi. #ThisOldMarketing
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levalator-program

Then I import the WAV.OUTPUT file into Audacity, add Robert’s new intro and output as a final MP3 file. The process takes 60 to 90 minutes.

Distribution and integration

Once the podcast’s MP3 file is complete, it is published using Liberated Syndication (Libsyn). In this program, we add tags such as the episode title and metatags, and then publish on iTunes and Stitcher.com. (We later added distribution on Soundcloud and Google Play, but this needs to be done separately.) Libsyn starts at about $10 per month, depending on usage.

Libsyn also provides the download stats and a dashboard, much like you find in Google Analytics (iTunes doesn’t provide any data).

From there, I notify the editorial team, so it can prepare the show notes for publishing on the CMI blog. We decided that Saturdays would be a good time to distribute the show notes because that gives the editorial team time to construct the textual content, verify the links and images, and allow for uploading and approving the content into our WordPress platform.


Publish your #podcast show notes on your blog for extra promotion, says @JoePulizzi. #ThisOldMarketing
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We found approximately half our audience subscribes to our podcast in iTunes and Stitcher. The other half waits until Saturday when the show posts on the CMI site. About half our overall audience subscribes to CMI’s daily email, which promotes the show notes on Saturday.

Summary

While there is never one way to execute a successful content initiative, I believe our success was tied to the following factors:

  • CMI had a fan base of followers who were open to checking out the initial podcast. It would have been much more challenging to build an audience from scratch.
  • Finding a content gap where we could offer something truly differentiated was critical. The news coverage worked. We were able to save our audience time every week and told them what we thought was the most important news of the week.
  • Audio quality is critical. Spend the money and get a microphone that emits a professional sound. Don’t skimp here.
  • Integrating the podcast into our weekly articles and email newsletter was essential for success. The podcast shouldn’t sit outside your other content marketing efforts. Find a way to weave in the content to everything you do.

For other great resources on how to start a podcast, check out this post from Pat Flynn and this amazing resource from John Lee Dumas. Good luck!

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Want to be in the loop of CMI’s new content and activities? Subscribe to the daily email or weekly digest recapping the highlights from the blog and exclusive email-only content. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

 

The post How to Develop and Grow a Successful Podcast appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.



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SMX West is coming! Here’s everything you need to know

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Search Engine Land’s SMX® West is just five weeks away, and it’s shaping up to be an exceptional show. You can expect the quality content, speakers, networking activities and meals for which SMX events are famous.

SMX West features three packed days exploring the marketing topics that matter most to professionals like you — SEO, SEM, retail, analytics, social media marketing, local, mobile and much more. Each expert-led session dives deep, covering aspects of search marketing that many may not have considered. Our goal is to “wow” attendees, to go above and beyond the ordinary industry conference and to arm them with actionable tactics they can implement as soon as they return to the office.

If this sounds like it’s up your alley, continue reading my big show preview, and then register today to save $100 off on-site rates.

Stay sharp on the cutting edge of online marketing at SMX West

Anyone who’s tried to stay on the cutting edge of online marketing knows that from time to time, you get thrown by things like unexpected algorithm changes, newly introduced ad enhancements or formats, experimenting with seemingly benign tactics that go wrong or even doing nothing… and watch your hard-earned traffic slip away for no apparent reason.

This is why world-class marketers are on constant alert for solid, proven information and actionable tactics that keep them on the cutting edge of search marketing. And that’s why we designed SMX West to offer both full-scale preventative advice as well as state-of-the-art triage techniques for experienced marketers.

The art & science of SEO

In the early days of search marketing, Bruce Clay popularized the use of the phrase “search engine optimization” (SEO) as the term to describe the art and science of achieving good rankings in the dozen or so search engines that were popular at the time. A lot has changed in the nearly two decades since Google arrived on the scene; today, SEO pretty much means achieving success within Google.

Google has changed a lot in two decades as well. Rather than relying primarily on PageRank to evaluate the quality of webpages, Google now uses a vast array of techniques to suggest a wide range of content in response to queries, from simple, direct answers to multimedia audio and video files to spoken responses — and all this across a variety of devices.

With loads of guesswork and assumptions, the debate about Google’s ranking factors is never-ending and evolves with every algorithm update. What’s on the rise, what’s on the decline, and what still works? How does machine learning affect the tactics SEOs use to influence results? And what impact does voice search have on what works today?

At SMX West, we have SEO sessions dedicated to answering these questions. We’ll cover the ever-changing expanse of issues and tactics SEOs need to keep up with to maintain their edge and achieve exceptional search marketing results. Such sessions include:

  • All Google Manual Penalties Explained.
  • AMP: Do Or Die?
  • SEO For Google’s Mobile-First Index & Mobile-Friendly World.
  • SEO Ranking Factors In 2018: What’s Important, What’s Not.

Untangle yourself from crazy-complicated technical SEO issues

Even SEO veterans can run into serious challenges when they dive into website infrastructure and find that things are more complicated than they expected. URL parameter facets + pagination + canonicalization? Mobile + hreflang + international versions? AJAX multiget calls? And if you don’t solve these issues, the fantastic content you’ve created may never be indexed.

Need a life preserver? Our deep-dive sessions into technical SEO include:

  • Going All-In On AMP.
  • JavaScript & PWAs: What SEOs Need to Know.
  • Solving SEO Issues In A World Of Constant Change.
  • Successful SEO Using Markup & Structured Data.
  • The Latest In Advanced Technical SEO.

See the SEO track.

SEM for fun & profit

Think you know everything about Google AdWords or Bing Ads? Have all the best practices nailed? Are you a master of extensions with encyclopedic knowledge about gaining the upper hand when sparring with the quirky idiosyncrasies of bidding, scheduling and conversion optimization?

Think again. As kung fu masters remind us, “The wise always remain humble, grasshopper.”

You’ll get plenty of unique insight, shared experiences and practical hands-on tips during the SEM sessions at SMX West, including:

  • Conversion Optimization: Turning Quick Wins Into Winning Streaks.
  • Faster & Smarter: Moving From Manual to Automated SEM Campaign Management.
  • How To Maximize & Measure Performance On The Google Display Network.
  • Must-Have Reports For Search Advertisers.
  • The Art & Science Of Crafting Successful Ads.
  • The Great SEM Toolbox Roundup.

See the SEM track.

One of the harsh realities of being a search marketer is that you can become incredibly skilled at your job, technically adept and masterful of all of the nuances of SEM… yet still struggle to get the kind of results you hope for. Why? Because your competitors are working just as hard, or they may be using tactics or techniques that you’re unaware of.

At SMX West, you’ll get content that’s specifically focused on how to do competitive research for SEM. You’ll also learn how to optimize and re-architect your campaigns for maximum effectiveness, taking advantage of new ad formats, extensions, enhanced campaigns and other changes. Our speakers will discuss everything needed to squeeze new levels of performance out of existing campaigns, from design and testing through execution and measurement. If you’re looking for practical tips or just a bit of inspiration to tackle a necessary job, you won’t want to miss these sessions:

  • Competitive Research For SEM.
  • Advanced Audience Targeting & Management Tactics.
  • B2B SEM: Meeting Specific Challenges With Really Smart Tactics.
  • Beyond Text: Mastering Other Ad Formats.
  • How To Develop Multichannel Attribution Models That Move The Needle.
  • Perfect Your SEM Testing: How & Why To Evaluate Everything.
  • Thinking Outside the SEM Box.

See the SEM track.

Focus on e-commerce & retail

Key for online merchant success is the ability to run effective marketing and advertising campaigns. Both Google and Bing have had shopping search options for ages. But both introduced big changes over the past few years that changed the experience for shoppers. You need to understand these changes to be a successful online vendor. And it’s not just Google and Bing. Amazon is racing to market with powerful e-commerce tools, as are Reddit, Pinterest, and of course, social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Each has its pros and cons, and all are all great channels to interact with and sell to customers in their own ways. At SMX West, you’ll get juicy insights into critical aspects of running profitable e-commerce efforts across these channels if you attend these retail sessions:

  • Driving Sales On Social Media.
  • Shopping Campaigns That Keep Paying Off.
  • Winning More Customers With E-commerce Offer Testing.
  • Your Mission: Increase Sales, Cut Costs, Maximize Profits.

See the retail track.

SMX Boot Camp gets you in shape

If you’re new to search marketing, our SMX Boot Camp will get you up to speed. Boot Camp runs during the first day of the show, Tuesday, March 13. Attend and you’ll learn the fundamentals you need to get in shape quickly. Sessions include:

  • Keyword Research & Copywriting For Search Success.
  • Link Building Fundamentals.
  • Paid Search Fundamentals.
  • Search Engine Friendly Web Design.

To encourage new people to learn about search marketing, we offer all of these sessions through a low-cost SMX Boot Camp ticket. Boot Camp includes admission on the first day to the Expo Hall, networking lunch and that evening’s Expo Hall reception. You can upgrade to a full pass if you want to attend more sessions on the second and third day of the show.

SMX Boot Camp is also open to anyone with a full All Access conference pass. Everyone who attends every Boot Camp session gets a Certificate of Completion.

Exploring important search marketing issues

We all love the art and science of search marketing, the tactical aspects of optimization or bid management and the thrill of seeing analytics demonstrate successful and improving campaigns. But there are other aspects of online marketing that are often overlooked and just as important.

Each of the sessions below features speakers who take deep dives into a topic, providing you with actionable, thought-provoking insights, often sharing the results of their own research. You won’t want to miss out on:

  • How Cisco Harnesses The Power Of SEO For Digital Transformation.
  • Local Search: Significant Changes On The Horizon.
  • Optimizing Content For Voice Search & Virtual Assistants.
  • Using Search Ads & Social To Deliver The Ultimate Knockout Punch.
  • Understanding Offline Targeting And Attribution.
  • Unleashing The Power Of Online Video Ads.

See the complete agenda.

The clinics are open!

Craving specific advice from experts about issues with your own sites or campaigns? The specialists will see you now! On the second and third days of the show, our popular clinics return, covering these areas:

  • SEO Site Clinic.
  • Social Media Clinic.
  • Link Building Clinic.
  • PPC Tune-Up Clinic With The SMX Mechanics.
  • Analytics Clinic.

See the complete agenda.

Ask the experts who are obsessed with SEO & SEM

Got a puzzling issue? Wondering about emerging trends or tips and techniques? Ask the experts! During the “AMA (ask me anything) With Google Search” session, Webmaster Trends Analyst Nathan Johns will open up about how Google interacts with your site and content. And he’ll also answer your questions about algorithms, ranking factors and other components of Google’s “black box.”

And during the “Meet The SEOssession, it’s no-holds-barred as veteran practitioners take any and all questions.

We know you wish you could attend every session at the conference, but have no fear! SMX West wraps up with a perpetual favorite: “Best Of Show / Key SMX Takeaways.” In this session, speakers and fellow attendees will share their personal highlights from SMX West.

You’ll also be able to identify, document, share and take home key pieces of information, new tactics and ideas via our event hashtag: #SMXInsights. We’ve asked each speaker to include up to three key, actionable takeaways in their presentations. And best of all, we’ll discuss those insights during our Best of Show session, and we’ll share them on Twitter in real time. Follow along, add your own insights and share with your colleagues!

Quality programming & speakers

All of the 50+ sessions I’ve described above are editorial sessions. People are speaking on them because we feel they have great information to offer. No one bought their way onto a panel.

Each session is developed by a session coordinator who reviews speaking pitches and reaches out to knowledgeable people to assemble a panel. The coordinator works with speakers to create a session where presentations support each other, rather than overlap. Formats also vary. Sometimes we have panels with multiple people or only one or two speakers. Some panels are all Q&A. Some feature formal presentations. We use several formats because different topics require different approaches. This makes for the optimal SMX experience.

View all SMX speakers.

Expo Hall & Solutions Track

Our many SMX West sponsors and exhibitors also have great information to share with SMX attendees. That’s why we provide several ways for attendees to hear from them.

Solution Track sessions are part of the agenda; they are produced by sponsoring companies. These companies know they are competing for your attention with our educational sessions, so they’re highly motivated to deliver quality information and top value.

Google will conduct a full day of programming on its search advertising offerings we call “Learn With Google.” LwG will run all day Tuesday, March 13.

The Expo Hall is open Tuesday, March 13, and Wednesday, March 14. In the Expo Hall, you can get information from exhibitors and sponsors about the many products and services that can accelerate your business and performance.

Looking to exclusively network and explore the Expo Hall? An Expo+ Pass might be the right fit for you. Learn more.

Hands-on workshops

You deliver results daily, but keeping up is a challenge. And you know staying successful means identifying opportunities, implementing new technologies and processes, developing great people and preparing for the next big thing.

Agree? Then attend one of the SMX intensive workshops.

Invest a day learning from thought leaders in search and online marketing. Our experts will address topics that push your performance to the next level. You’ll benefit from their wisdom and meet them in an intimate, hands-on environment.

These small-group in-depth workshops and training classes take place a day before SMX West on Monday, March 12. The workshop topics include:

Want an even better deal? Save $200 off on-site rates when you register for an All Access + Workshop combo pass.

Networking with like-minded peers

SMX West brings together the most accomplished search marketers in the world, and we provide plenty of organized and social networking activities for you to connect with them.

If you’re new to SMX, be sure to attend the SMX Kick Off, where we’ll show you how to optimize your conference experience and give you the scoop on accessing presentations, WiFi, power food, networking and more great content.

Then we’ll go into high gear with a round of Speed Networking, where you’ll meet some of the SMX team and get to know other attendees with quick introductions. Share your reasons for attending, exchange business cards and make powerful connections before the show even starts.

The SMX Kick Off and Speed Networking are Monday, March 12, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Salon III on the second floor of the Marriott. It is open to All Access attendees and speakers.

Immediately after the SMX Kick Off, relax and enjoy the SMX Opening Reception, sponsored by Bruce Clay, Inc. Pick up your registration materials and join us on the second-floor Ballroom Foyer of the Marriott for an informal evening reception with fellow attendees, speakers and invited guests.

During lunch, sign up for a Meet & Eat/Obsessed With networking table, where you’ll network with other attendees and discuss specific topics over a delicious hot meal. Being grouped with people who share a common interest is a great icebreaker.

The SMX Expo Hall Reception, sponsored by Stone Temple Consulting, takes place on Tuesday, March 13, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The reception offers another great chance to mingle and check out the best-of-breed marketing solutions from our exhibitors and sponsors.

Our featured networking event is the always-popular SMX After Dark party, sponsored by WordStream. After Dark takes place Wednesday, March 14, from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the awesome Tech Museum of Innovation, just a block away from the convention center in downtown San Jose.

All of this information can be found on our SMX West networking page. We keep SMX West intentionally intimate, so you are guaranteed to meet plenty of amazing people!

I hope you’ve found this preview useful and that you’ll be joining us in San Jose. Register today!


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Are You Ready for Content Marketing in 2018? 60+ Predictions

Grazie per il tuo voto!


content-marketing-predictions-2018

It’s hard to believe that, after 10 years, this will be the last time I share my annual list of content marketing predictions for CMI. Not to get all sentimental or anything, but looking into the future of our industry and anticipating the content and media trends most likely to impact our businesses has always been a favorite part of the job … and it will be one of CMI’s content experiences I’ll miss the most as I retire from CMI this month. 

But, as change is the only constant, it’s time to put the past aside and focus on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. And, if anyone can help lead the content marketing industry forward and prepare you for what’s to come, it’s the group of experts who contributed to our 10th annual e-book of content marketing predictions.

In 60+ Predictions on Content Marketing in 2018, some of our favorite content marketing colleagues and compatriots share their thoughts on what it takes to build an audience; how advanced technologies and newer techniques – like AI, voice-enabled search, and virtual reality – will impact the content landscape; how troubling trends like “fake news” and data breaches will add complexity to the marketing equation; and more.

As for my own predictions for the upcoming year, they are rather simple – though somewhat aspirational:

  1. Apple will buy Disney. Although I think this transaction is a few years away, I want to go on the record now. As Apple continues to invest in original content, it will discover an out-and-out acquisition makes far more sense. It will see the light and purchase what is perhaps the greatest media company on the planet.

Apple will buy Disney in a few years, says @JoePulizzi. #Predictions2018
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  1. In 2018, at least two major Fortune 500 brands will hire former publishers and/or media executives to serve as their chief marketing officers.

2 major Fortune 500 brands will hire former publishers and/or media execs as CMOs. @JoePulizzi #Predictions2018
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  1. At least one Fortune 100 company will announce it is transforming its marketing department into a true profit center.

1 Fortune 100 company will transform its #marketing dept into a profit center. @JoePulizzi #Predictions2018
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Of course, these ideas are the tip of the iceberg. Take a look at a few more highlights from our new e-book:

 In 2018, I expect to see more diversification of content formats. More live streaming on social. More audio/podcasts. Alexa skills. Content will continue to expand beyond the traditional web and print approaches. Brands will continue to invest in content, as they have been over the last few years; but that investment will shift from mostly writing services and paid distribution/promotion to a whole host of services production, more animation and video-related graphics, voice talent, etc. It’s no longer just about words – content is about creating experiences. Amanda Todorovich, content marketing director, Cleveland Clinic


Expect to see more diversification of #content formats, says @amandatodo. #Predictions2018
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Virality and reach will become less important, and marketers will instead focus on better segmenting and targeting capabilities, enhanced with the help of AI. This will finally lead to the downfall of the recent trend of snake-oil salespeople who promise to hack your way into millions of meaningless views, comments, and likes. Content marketing will no longer be a game of volume and bloated numbers but will instead promote empathy, relevance, and exclusivity. Jason Miller, global content marketing leader, LinkedIn


A downfall of snake-oil salespeople who promise meaningless views & likes. @JasonMillerCA #Predictions2018
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2018 will see the rise of employee brand advocates over paid influencers. Companies will embrace employee advocacy programs in greater numbers because of the need to produce thought-leading content to break through online noise and the growing body of evidence supporting better outcomes for brands that take this approach. Cas McCullough, CEO, Writally


2018 will see the rise of employee brand advocates over paid influencers, says @casmccullough. #Predictions
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In a world of increasing scandal (think Wells Fargo) and people slapping “fake news” labels on content with increasing frequency, success will come from telling the truth. Always. David Meerman Scott, marketing strategist, Freshspot Marketing LLC


Success will come from telling the truth. Always. @DMScott #Predictions2018
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Brand marketers will make the transition from creating branded content to building content brands. The most successful marketers will make an appointment with their audience, develop a format for their content, attach talent to their content and, most importantly, create a hook. Those that create a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to ensnare or entrap a buying audience will be the big winners in 2018. Content builds relationships. Relationships build trust. Trust drives revenue. Build a buying audience, and the rest will take care of itself. Andrew Davis, best-selling author, Monumental Shift


Marketers will transition from creating branded content to building content brands. @DrewDavisHere #Predictions
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Do you have a prediction on content marketing in 2018? Why don’t you share it with us in the comments?

Curious about the accuracy of our past predictions? Check out our forecasts for 2009, 20102011, 2012, 20132014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, to see what we got right, and where we went way off track.

 Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute                                                                           

 

The post Are You Ready for Content Marketing in 2018? 60+ Predictions appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.



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Unlocking the wisdom of crowds at your agency or on your marketing team

Grazie per il tuo voto!


Generally speaking, our culture values the opinions of experts. Just tune into any of the leading news channels, and you will quickly see what I mean. At no point in time have we had more people, with more divergent opinions, who have ready access to one of our modern-day soapboxes. But time after time, these experts miss the mark, and their predictions are far from the reality of what actually happens.

Why are experts not that smart? Because experts tend to be and think alike, and thus do not reflect a maximum diversity of opinions; they tend to be internally inconsistent and poor at calibrating their position. In short, they are overconfident.

In a group, they tend to decide by authority (“groupthink”), which makes dissent within the group improbable — conformity and bias rather than challenge is the result. Finally, as is often quoted by members of my team, past performance is never a predictor of future success.

What is the wisdom of crowds?

In his 2005 book, “The Wisdom of Crowds,” New Yorker business columnist James Surowiecki argues that “under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.”

Surowiecki explores a deceptively simple idea: Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant — better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.

In his work, he suggests that if four basic conditions are met, a crowd’s “collective wisdom” will produce better outcomes than a small group of experts, even if members of the crowd don’t know all the facts or individually choose to act irrationally.

“Wise crowds” need:

  1. Diversity of opinion.
  2. Independence of members from one another.
  3. Decentralization.
  4. A good method for aggregating opinions.

The diversity brings in different information; independence keeps people from being swayed by a single opinion leader; people’s errors balance each other out; and including all opinions guarantees that the results are “smarter” than if a single expert had been in charge.

‘Collective wisdom’ is put to good use to tackle three kinds of problems

  1. Cognition problems: Such problems arise when we can only guess the answer — for example, how many jelly beans there are in a jar or how the future will unfold. How do we get the guess right?
  2. Coordination problems: How do we coordinate behavior with each other, say, across teams in our agency, with our clients or with other agencies?
  3. Cooperation problems: How do we get cooperation among those with a strong self-interest, like those who naturally feel the need to prove that the marketing channel they manage or the company they represent is an important part of a client’s success and who may be less inclined to advocate for the ideas of others to work together?

Unlocking the wisdom of crowds

Many of these problems are those in which, in order to solve them, a person has to think not only about what he believes to be the right answer, but also about what other people think the right answer is. This particular challenge can be difficult to navigate, especially for agencies where there is an inevitable sense that we have to get it right. We naturally, and understandably, tend to anchor on our recommendations or perspectives and advocate for them as being the most accurate or beneficial.

But when different strategies are devised, the diversity tends to yield a far better result. I was struck by the lengths to which one of our clients goes to elicit this diversity of opinion. The CEO, who is leading a well-known consumer brand, when asked his opinion about what should be done, most likely will reply, “I’m not sure, what do you think?” Please don’t take this as indecisiveness. When it’s time to act, this leader moves with confidence, knowing that he and his team have explored many options and have collectively come up with what will most likely be the “right” decision for the company.

Perils to avoid when seeking to harness this wisdom

A challenge, however, remains. In order to take full advantage of the wisdom of crowds, a team must have access to reliable, independent, third-party data that can be used to assess the performance of the decision taken. Ad tech expert and Acceleration Labs principal Max Mead recently wrote about this in his article titled, “Get Politics Out of Your Marketing.” He talks at length about the importance of building a team culture driven by data and insights and not by politics. Access to this data is key to building trust amongst teams and successfully eliciting the ideas needed to get the benefits of the collective wisdom.

Agencies, and the clients with whom they work, also have to fight against convention. These ideas are convenient as we try to navigate a complex and ever-changing marketplace. They’re the shortcuts that help us get through the day. In this context, the “devil’s advocate” or “outsider’s perspective” can be very helpful. Please do not take this as a blanket exhortation to do the unconventional. The conventional may be the right decision. However, the unconventional perspective can be very helpful as we seek the collaborative wisdom of the team.

Another peril to unlocking this wisdom is the tendency for small groups of people or teams to succumb to groupthink. In this case, rather than exploring alternative solutions, members of the team may seek and assimilate information that confirms their underlying bias or opinion. Members of the team may seek to influence others’ opinion, thereby eliminating the diversity of approaches. Or, candidly, the team may defer to the most opinionated person — who may simply be the one talking the loudest or the most.

A key to overcoming these challenges is the team leaders’ or agency members’ ability to create an environment in which the diverse opinions can be gathered without the influence of other team members. One will want to gather all the options to have a healthy conversation about the right direction.

Please don’t take this to mean that I believe all ideas are good ideas. However, you want to save the conversation and debate about the merits of ideas for later in the process. While it may seem inefficient, research has shown that this process helps teams come to conclusions faster and make better decisions than if they had relied on their “smartest member.”

Ingredients for successfully employing the wisdom of crowds

Here, in more detail, are some ingredients you’ll want to make sure you have in order to unlock the wisdom of crowds:

  1. A clear understanding of the problem: Team members need to have an awareness of the problem you’re trying to solve. However, in presenting the challenge, you’ll want to avoid suggesting potential solutions you’re already pursuing or those that may not have worked.
  2. Group member independence: Ideas and guesses need to be developed independently of each other. Each person has to share their thoughts without the knowledge of other people’s perspectives. One client uses sticky notes distributed at the start of a meeting to gather these ideas.
  3. A diversity of opinion: It’s very important to have a diversity of opinions in the room. Try to invite those who might see themselves as “experts,” but include those who may just have familiarity or a passing interest in the challenge. You want to have a heterogeneous group of people who have access to different perspectives on how to solve the problem.
  4. Don’t share too much information: The people providing input or ideas should be able to draw from their own personal knowledge about how to solve the problem.
  5. Aggregating the ideas: You’ll need a way of collecting and categorizing the ideas to both discuss and then ultimately vote on which the group thinks has the highest probability of success.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Rex Briggs is Founder and CEO of Marketing Evolution and has more than 20 years of experience in research and analytics. Rex focuses on omni-channel personal level marketing attribution and optimization. He served on the review board of JAR, and serves on Research World’s editorial board. He is the best-selling author of two books, “What Sticks, Why Advertising Fails and How to Guarantee Yours Success” (2006) and “SIRFs Up, The Story of How Algorithms And Software Are Changing Marketing”.



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