B2B Content Marketers

[Infographic] 9 Content Curation Best Practices

In one sentence, content curation can be described as the act of discovering, collecting, and presenting relevant content around a specific subject or area of interest. And it happens all around us: retweets, Pinterest boards, Amazon Lists, and even the collection of movies Netflix recommends to us — these are all examples of content curation.

Leveraging third-party content has become table stakes for most content marketing strategies. Curation allows us to engage our audience more frequently without the tremendous amount of work and money that goes into creating custom content. We can simultaneously build a solid readership while improving brand visibility. Essentially, curation allows us to have a museum without creating each painting.

If you’re new to content curation, follow our list of best practices so that you can see for yourself the undeniable benefits of curation.

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Download our free eBook “Create, Curate, Dominate” for more infographics, templates, and canvases on content marketing!

The Content Creation Canvas (or How To Be More Efficient With Your Content)

Planning for original content takes much more than just an outline.

In order to get the most out of your content, you need to approach it with every piece of the puzzle figured out. Things like KPIs, Call-to-Actions, distribution channels, and headline ideas should be clearly laid out and planned for. Not only will this make the entire creation process fast and more efficient, you’ll figure out what’s missing before it’s time to ship your content.

Borrowing heavily from the Business Model Canvas, we’ve created the Content Creation Canvas to help you plan out your custom content. Lay out all the key pieces before putting your head down to create your awesome piece of content.

For content teams, use the canvas as a way to coordinate with one another. Make it public and accessible so that every member knows what’s needed.

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To find out more on how to create content that engages, check out the third chapter of our eBook “Create, Curate, Dominate” for a step-by-step guide. Download it today!

Stay Calm and Track the Right Metrics

By now, it should be pretty obvious: content marketing requires far more than just publishing a blog post and seeing if it works. Tracking and analyzing how your content performs is a critical part of ensuring the success of your strategy. You need to dig deep into the numbers and learn as much as you can from your audience with every piece of content you publish.

But with so many different metrics that you can pull from, it can quickly become overwhelming to know which ones actually matter and which ones are just adding to the noise.

Before you start keeping tallies on everything, work backwards: decide on the main business goal you hope to achieve with content marketing, then figure out the Key Performance Indicators that are aligned with it.

To help you get started, use our handy cheat cards that cover the most common business objective of brands today. Keep track of the corresponding metrics and efficiently know whether or not your content is working in achieving those

Remember: metrics should be looked at in context: numbers can mean different things when you exclude the external factors around it. Be sure to check out the last chapter of our eBook where we delve deeper into how to track your content’s performance and measure the right things.

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BONUS: Use our old school metrics tracker to take a snap shot of your brand’s current online presence. It’s always good practice to write down your goal in numbers and methodically work towards it.

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For more actionable templates like this one, check out our comprehensive eBook to content marketing, “Create, Curate, Dominate“. It’s free to download!

Convince Your Boss (or anyone!) on Content Marketing

Having done it an umpteenth number of times, we know that describing how content marketing works can sound vague and hazy. Because unlike traditional ads where the mechanism is simple and instant, content marketing involves many sub-steps, routes, and methods executed at a much longer time span.

It may not be a click-and-convert operation but content marketing’s enormous ROI is obvious when you simply look at the results.

Whether it’s your boss or someone you met at a dinner party, here’s an infographic to convince anyone of the irrefutable benefits of content marketing. It includes a collection of the most recent industry data that really brings home what Seth Godin once famously said: “Content marketing is the only marketing left.”

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For more infographics like this one, check out our free eBook “Create, Curate, Dominate” and learn how you can nail content marketing. Download it today!

Day 4 of #DF14: What you can’t miss today at Dreamforce

It is Day 4 of Dreamforce 2014  – the last hours of an action-packed week of product releases and inspiring speakers. Here’s your must attend list for the day and the newscaps from yesterday to catch you up. (All times are local time, San Francisco).

3 Things You Don’t Want to Miss Today

1. Arianna Huffington and Eckhart Tolle

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Moscone South

Also part of the Reimagine Everything keynote, Arianna Huffington and author Eckhart Tolle will join forces to talk about what it means to truly thrive as human beings. This keynote is sure to inspire and leave attendees acutely aware of their own personal power.

 

2. Al Gore and Neil Young

10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Moscone South

As part of the Reimagine Everything keynote, Al Gore and Neil Young will form a visionary pair working to transform the world. Young will showcase his newest venture: Pono Music, which gives listeners access to the highest quality sound that has ever been created, just as the artist intended it. Gore will discuss the critical need to develop greater awareness of our global ecosystem.

 

3. Marc and Parker Q&A

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM Moscone West

Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, joins his co-founder, Parker Harris, at a town hall session. Bring your thoughtful questions and get them answered first-hand by these two visionary founders.

Highlights from Day 3: The new wrist wearable that isn’t a watch

Yesterday featured an exciting and highly anticipated launch from will.i.am, but before the singer took on the wearable tech scene, we were treated to a sit down chat with one of the most renown VC investors on the planet, Marc Andreessen.

The investor – who was one of the first to back Twitter – gave some startling insights into the world of the venture capitalist. He talked about the low rate of success when you place a bet, but how important is to be really, really right on the bets that do pan out (this is what they call looking for at least the 10x pay out). He also touched on women’s issues, clamorouing for fairer pay and disparaging the low numbers of female workers in the STEM areas.

But his primary message of the night was about innovation. Apple is losing its edge. And all tech companies will inevitably become obsolete, he said. You better start truly innovating, or fade away. Period.

Great content aside, the true gem yesterday was something you wear on your wrist and does a lot of the things the Apple Watch will do. But don’t call it a watch. It’s really more of a fashionable, standalone super-cuff, and its founder, will.i.am unveiled the gizmo for the first time on stage last night.

The PULS is highly focused on bringing fashion into the tech industry – something the singer claimed is often neglected. Which it doesn’t boast the same health monitors that Apple’s does, it makes up for the shortfall with some unique features: you don’t need a phone to send texts or call for example. With Neil Young showing his Pono player off later today, the world of tech seems to be getting enmeshed ever tighter with the world of music.

Next Year

Kinda like advertising for Christmas on Boxing Day, it’s confirmed that the speakers will announce some early details about next year’s confab as the #DF14 ceremonial closing winds down. Get your calendars out.

The Tony Robbins Effect at Dreamforce: AKA Day 1’s Mind Explosion

Dreamforce 14 has kicked off with a bang. CEO of Salesforce Marc Benioff welcomed over 130,000 attendees, with over 3 million people following the action online, via dreamforce.com/live stream. Tony Robbins had the room literally dance their minds out and shaking it off like the pros. PayPal Mafia trio talked all things money, from early days of PayPal to Bitcoin. And Tony Prophet spoke about giving back, the value of philanthropy and empathy as key to success in life.

“As a leader you have to be ready for inevitability of change and keep the beginner’s mind” - Marc Benioff of Salesforce.

Focus on Giving Back

Focus on creating more value than you capture, and give back. Marc Benioff asked everyone at Dreamforce to bring canned food, to deliver millions of meals to fight hunger. And in the spirit of giving back, who was the speaker to kick off the Dreamforce experience? Tony Prophet, VP of Microsoft who spoke about community service and philanthropy. Prophet is focused and passionate about improving health care for children and HIV positive women, and helping teens get college education. “No one should be treated unfairly, just because they’re different. We all have the same rights. Having impact beyond the bottom line. That’s what I’m most proud of,” Prophet said. Can an intense focus on empathy be a key to success?

PayPal Trio on Data, Hiring People Who Failed and eBay

The firechat with the PayPal Mafia trio – Max Levchin of Affirm, Jeremy Stoppelman of Yelp, and Reid Hoffman, an entrepreneur and investor – took everyone back to the early days of Silicon Valley, when PayPal was just a crazy idea of a bunch of people who wanted to “disrupt money.” Levchin shared thoughts on the recent split between PayPal and eBay: “It’s great they’re splitting, because, being part of eBay there’s lots of things we never touched on, like small business lending. We’ve been huge and steady for so long. Pulling PayPal out into the wild is a good idea. PayPal makes more sense as an independent company.” Key to PayPal success? Hiring passionate entrepreneurial people during tough times. “The company became composed of the bunch of smart, entrepreneurial and driven folks. Half of the people we recruited was from the companies that failed,” said Levchin. Then the conversation moved on to the value of data as the driving force for innovation. The panel was in agreement: Data is the new overlord, and our collective future depends on it.

Tony Robbins set Dreamforce on Fire

Tony Robbins took Dreamforce by storm and yes, this is how the room looked like. That’s when you know Dreamforce is not your average conference.

Tony Robbins pulled off an epic talk, covering lots of ground from how your decisions and focus in life affect your emotions and success, to engagement to money and giving it all away. Bonus: most people in the room got their workout in for the day, because Robbins is just that intense. “What are you going to focus on? Whatever you’re focused on you are going to feel. Focus equals feeling and when you start to control your focus, you start taking control of your life. The meanings we give to things control your life.” said Tony Robbins.

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Don’t leave Dreamforce without attending these 4 sessions

With only days now until Dreamforce 2014 is finally here, it’s about time to start nailing down your schedule. There are hundreds of events and sessions, across a wide spectrum of industries, trends and business goals. But as with any event of this size, finding the right sessions to spend your limited time in can be like searching for the needle in the haystack.
We’ve done the hard work and come up with this list of four sessions we think you must attend this year at Dreamforce to get the most insight as marketers.

1. The Dawn of Wearable in Business

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It was the most anticipated Apple event in recent memory, with CEO Tim Cook uttering his own “One More Thing” to unveil the Apple Watch.  Now, only a few weeks later, Salesforce.com has started to answer the questions: how will Apple’s foray into the wearable revolution affect Sales and Marketing? How will we start using it to profit more, and connect better with customers?
With the announcement of their developer kit aimed at bringing functionality and customer insight right onto the wrists of your sales team, as well as opening up their platform to partners to come up with new ideas, Salesforce.com seems to be on the cutting edge of wearables in business. During Dreamforce this year, you can catch up and see where the future will lead in this promising talk: “Salesforce Wear Keynote: The Dawn of Wearables in Business”
 
From smart watches to head-mounted displays, this is the year of wearable technology. Perpetually connected wearables will enable workers, partners, and customers to experience new levels of immediacy, simplicity, and context in their mobile computing experiences. Join us to learn how Salesforce Wear — the industry’s first initiative for wearable computing in the enterprise — is enabling you to use wearables to connect with customers in new ways.
 
2. Boring is never Better
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This week, GE took over social media channels with a new ad directed by the ever-weird comedy duo Tim and Eric. It starred a hairy-chested, overly suave, hammed-up Jeff Goldblum. It was incredibly messed up. But it sure caught a lot of eyeballs – and I have to admit, made me want to go out and buy a new lightbulb or two.
When brands like GE are making spots like this, it’s clear the rule book has completely changed in how brands are connecting with customers. Today we are entertainers, informers, publishers. Which means everything about the way we speak, and the stuff we talk about, has got to get more interesting.
And the secret to success might just be how weird you can be. Which is why you should attend this session at Dreamforce, titled: “The Science of Weir: Why Weirdo Outperform Normals.” 
Join us to hear Salesforce executive and Buddy Media founder Michael Lazerow share his journey as he makes an argument for why we should strive not to fit in, but to stick out. Join Mike as he celebrates all that is weird and outlines a five-step process to embrace weird to reach new personal and professional heights.

3. A Community is Key

Customers are also expecting unprecedented levels of satisfaction and service. Businesses can no longer get away with delivering bad experiences because the internet has given every unhappy customer a megahorn, and the potential to cause serious negative feelings about a brand to go viral.
Dreamforce this year will offer an in-depth look at how their Community Cloud platform is making it easy for brands to offer incredible mobile experiences and customer service. This keynote will offer best practices and useful advice for any company hoping to improve the relationships they foster among customers, employees and partners. The Community Cloud Keynote is a must attend.
Today’s customers expect a new level of engagement from the companies they do business with. To achieve this, customer companies of all sizes are creating communities to connect employees, partners, and customers like never before. Join Nasi Jazayeri, Community Cloud GM & EVP, and top executives from industry-leading companies to hear how they are unlocking hidden innovation, engaging with customers on a whole new level, and creating extraordinary mobile experiences using the Community Cloud.

4. Chart the path

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Good marketers know that, in a way, they are all just map makers. They know where the customer starts. They know what leads her to point B. And they know how to get her to treasure below X, and beyond. Optimizing the steps your customer takes from discovery to purchase to repeat business can make all the difference.
ExactTarget is known for its focus on this kind of path building success, offering great insight and tools along the way to make the customer journey as painless, informed and effective as possible. Which is why the Exact Target Marketing Cloud Keynote is bound to offer any business some useful insight on how we can start doing a better job of guiding our customers to the sale.
Your customers are on a journey. At every turn, they have choices–choices to engage with, buy from, or walk away from your brand. And the stakes are high. If you don’t lead your customers through this journey, delivering what they need, when they need it, and how they want to receive it, they’ll find someone who does. Join Scott McCorkle, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud CEO, and leaders from the world’s most powerful brands to hear how they’re building 1:1 customer journeys across email, mobile, social, web, and more.

Have your own must attend tips for Dreamforce? Share on Twitter with #RoadToDF

 
 

The 3 Big Trends at Dreamforce 2014

You don’t need a crystal ball to see where the future will take your business. You just need to get yourself to Dreamforce, and mingle with the brightest minds and most intelligent thought leaders on the cutting edge.

But with hundreds of break out sessions, workshops and keynotes, it might seem overwhelming. Which is why we took the time to sort through the most compelling events to give you a bird’s eye view of the major trends and emerging stories. These are what we see as the three biggest themes for business leaders to watch out for at this Dreamforce 2014:

Customer Service, Evolved

THE BUTLER

A Dreamforce conference wouldn’t be complete without a cornucopia of customer service best-practices insight. Yet, this year’s event marks a new direction in the industry. From connected devices to API’s to new self-service opportunities, customer service is getting a facelift. And Dreamforce will give you a sneak peek at what that looks like.

Selected Sessions:

  • CEB – The Effortless Self-Service Experience
    Customer’s don’t want to deal with you anymore. They want to do it themselves. But research shows a huge portion of complaints originate from confusion during the self check-out period. Find out how you can make self-service as painless as possible.
  • Desk API’s: Creatively Support Your Customers
    Desk.com has been reengineered to meet the needs of this new generation of customer service. Take a look behind the scenes and see what magic is possible with their new API integrations opportunities.
  • Navigating the Future of Customer Service
    Join guest speaker Kate Legget of Forrester Research as she surveys the top 10 trends to move the needle on higher quality customer service in this new era.

Connected Devices  

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One of the most exciting trends – if only for the really cool gizmos – is the come-uppance of the Internet of Things (a.k.a #IOT, Internet of Everything, Connect World, and so on). As we wait for Apple to finally unveil its own Smart Watch, and companies like Nike, Google and Samsung are all making gigantic in-roads into wearable tech,  every marketer worth his or her salt needs to know all about this explosive new movement.

Selected Sessions:

  • Apps for the Connected World: Supercharge Customer Data with Code Halos
    Today’s outlier companies are winning with a new set of rules: the dominate by managing the data that surrounds people, organizations, processes and product –  a “Code Halo”. Find out how you too should be building these ideas into your business model.
  • Connected Products: It’s Not Just for iPhones Anymore
    By 2020, there will be an estimated 75 billion connected devices. You’ll want to catch this session to find out exactly how and why your company can join this rapidly growing space.
  • Heroku: Your Window into a World of Connected Devices
    Join this sessions to see how Heroku Connect can send device data directly into your Salesforce Clouds to help you better understand your customers, create value and generate revenue.

For a full list of the trend setting events at Dreamforce, visit their site, here.

Gamification

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While the term has been on the buzz charts for some time now, Gamification seems to be popping up more than ever. Perhaps it’s because mobile devices and tablets have become ubiquitous, making turning processes and business apps into games easier, and more technologically feasible than ever.

Whatever the cause, it’s undeniable that gamification is reaching new heights and is bound to enter more workplaces, marketing strategies and our daily lives, as a result. If you’re keen on understanding how this major theme can affect your company and life, there are plenty of great sessions planned at #DF14.

Selected Sessions:

  • Finding Flow: A Beginner’s introduction to Gamification
    Exploring its roots in psychology and lessons learned when applied in real life situations. A great starting point on the topic.
  • Compete to Win (Don’t Motivate to Lose)
    Amazing conversation abut a powerful way to motivate your employees, and bring gamification to your team. You can forget incentives, this approach offers huge ROI.
  • Gamification: Open Forum with Thought Leaders and Experts
    A chance to ask your questions, share concerns, and get personal with the world’s foremost gamification pundits.

What Conversation Are You Leading?

Whatever the big trends are, businesses coming to Dreamforce will all be competing to own the conversations around the ones that matter most to their customers.

Pressly is a new platform that lets any business create a centralized hub and provide potential customers with a valuable content resource. And for businesses coming to Dreamforce we are offering a limited-time promotion to help you get started.

See the details here.

Happy Dreamforcing!

 

One thing every marketer should do for Dreamforce

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If you don’t do this at Dreamforce, you’re leaving money on the table

The countdown is on for Dreamforce 2014, one of the most spectacular marketing events of the year. Aside from a saliva-worthy roster of keynotes, break-out sessions, tech displays and parties, there’s one reason companies get excited for attending: the prospect of reaching your next customer.

Over 130,000 attendees live, and nearly a quarter million watching online, guarantees an active, enormous and like-minded audience, just ready to hear your message and perhaps do business with you.

But with all that traffic, comes noise. You certainly will be just one of hundreds of other companies, many of them with similar value props, vying to turn Dreamforce attendees into their next set of leads.

While there are endless tactics available to catch their limited attention and make the sale, there is one approach in particular that every company should think of before hopping on the plane to San Francisco:

“Own a conversation that your customers care about”

What is Owning a Conversation?

In the age of content marketing and brand publishing, Dreamforce attendees (most of whom are marketing and technology pros) no longer want to be advertised “at”. They want and expect to be engaged by brands, intellectually, and to be given valuable information. This is nothing new, of course. But the concept of “Owning a conversation” is an important key to keep in mind as you prep your marketing and sales strategy for the event, which is only a few weeks away.

Surely, your brand has a topic, conversation or timely event that is both relevant to your target customers, and unique enough to stand out from the crowd. In particular at Dreamforce, you may want to dig deep into how you tie into Salesforce.com or any of the major marketing automation platforms like Hubspot. Think of what Dreamforcers care most about, about the kinds of content they are already consuming and then pick your angle.

Why is this so important?

There are a number of reasons laying claim to a theme is so crucial to events such as Dreamforce.

  • You are sharing already: as a modern day organization, you likely already have teams of social and content sharing and pumping out some content. However, if you haven’t though through your conversation, how can you expect your readers to connect to or care about what you are saying?
  • Your readers want more than just your POV: a crucial aspect of conversations is that they have multiple points of view. Of course, you can take a stand, but as a curator, you’re job is also to bring on broader, perhaps conflicting elements and angles.
  • You want to convert that traffic: Owning is end to end. It means you own the experience, too, not just the message. It’s not enough to share across fragmented social channels and platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. You’re just sending your prospects to another company’s site. What you should be doing is upstreaming that conversation by actually owning the real estate, not just the message.

Tips:

  • Pick an angle: Pick a polarizing, authentic stance that your company believes in. There is far too much unbiased slop out there, your customers won’t have any time for that.
  • Discovery tools: One of the hardest parts is finding enough great content to fill the channel. There are hundreds of powerful tools. Find a few you like. To see what we use, read this.
  • Curation and Publishing tools: This is what demands your smarts and most of your time. How will you collect, present and share that content in a meaningful and business-driving way? Tools such as Pressly are designed exactly for that.

Want help? We’ve got you covered

If you’re planning on attending Dreamforce, we’re offering a limited time promotion to get you using Pressly’s end to end content curation service. In just a matter of minutes, you can be up and running with your very own branded content hub, which will look great across devices and platforms.

See the details of the promotion here: pressly.com/dreamforce

 

Convince your boss to send you to Dreamforce

We’ve all been there. You’ve found out about an incredible conference coming up. And you just know it’s going to be a great learning experience, and lead to serious value for both your career and potentially your company’s business.

The only catch is: does your boss see it that way too? We found this awesome post from Saleforce.com all about building the business case for going to their annual shindig, Dreamforce 2014.

Content Marketing? See more ways you can profit during Dreamforce 2014

 

So your boss needs some persuasion to agree to your trip to Dreamforce. And the fact that 95% of attendees recommend it to others is not convincing enough. Are the sessions, training and events really worth the cost and the time away from your desk?  The answer is yes, yes, yes. Let us help you prepare with four ways to convince your boss.

“Dreamforce will elevate our ROI”

Attending Dreamforce can help you maximize your Salesforce ROI. 96% of attendees surveyed said their business improvements outweighed the cost of going to Dreamforce. Attendees reported gains across key business metrics for sales, service and support, collaboration, marketing, and IT, including:

1499502_10152096414824231_1274837211_n30% average increase in sales productivity

33% average increase in customer satisfaction

32% average improvement in employee productivity

41% increase in lead volume

58% faster deployment of IT programs

“We will be motivated and inspired to perform better”

Every year, Dreamforce hosts keynotes that inspire and engage. There is no doubt that these keynotes will elevate your mind. Don’t believe us? Check out last year’s keynotes to feel the power of Dreamforce.

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“There are countless learning opportunities at Dreamforce”

1231103_10152096396249231_1145106261_nAt the heart of Dreamforce are the amazing learning opportunities. The community comes together to learn and share best practices through 1450+ expert-led sessions, hands-on training, two Cloud Expos featuring Salesforce solution showcases and thousands of partner solutions, Circles of Success where you can get your real questions answered by product experts, and even more. Explore some of the breakout sessions catered to your interests and areas of expertise here.

 

“There are networking opportunities galore”

1505341_10152096396639231_2028971390_nDreamforce is the largest gathering of the Salesforce community, and it’s your opportunity to make connections and share best practices. Whatever your role, company size or industry, the community is ready to share their knowledge, skills or a Dreamforce lunch with you. These could be potential partners, employers, employees, mentors or simply kindred spirits. Relationships are built morning and night throughout the event. Dreamforce is designed to connect you to people you can learn from, both in the online Dreamforce community prior to the event, and with the many networking events throughout the conference. Between the Welcome Reception, the Dreamforce Gala, the Dreamforce Plaza activities, and many more, you will have so many opportunities to spend time with your peers and learn from their experiences.

The Dreamforce society doesn’t end with the conference. Online and offline communities are created to continue networking opportunities and the sharing of knowledge and information.

We want you to join our keynotes, our community, and us at Dreamforce, so we’ve crafted a letter you can download, personalize, and send to your boss to justify your trip. Or get additional info on why you specifically should attend by clicking here. There’s something for everyone in your company. So pass it on.