Top Content Publishers

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Best Practices - Content Influencers

Best practices in content for content influencers include tailoring social media platforms around content objectives, creating interactive content for audiences, being relatable, using a content calendar, and producing evergreen content. Summaries of each best practice and their importance are below.

Best Practice 1: Picking the Right Social Media Platform for Your Content

  • Campaign objectives for content should be taken into consideration when selecting a social media platform to drive an effective content strategy.
  • Examples identified by Danielle Wiley, CEO of influencer marketing agency, Sway Group, include using Instagram or YouTube for beauty content and optimizing content targeted towards teens on Instagram or Snapchat over Facebook, based on platform trends seen in recent years.
  • Platform trends are also critical to consider for timing of content; for example, Pinterest users begin searches for holiday gift ideas twice as early as on other platforms, which prompts the need for brands to generate holiday campaign content around August to optimize this trend.

Best Practice 2: Create Content That Is Interactive

  • Interactive content (e.g., quizzes, infographics, calculators, podcasts) is viewed as the future of content marketing, as identified by Jeff Bullas, one of Forbes' top influencers for Chief Marketing Officers.
  • By creating content that is interactive for its audience, brands may distinguish themselves from competitors in a way that can significantly improve brand awareness and reliability among target audiences; in some cases, growing rates of new leads by 300% through improved brand exposure from interactive content.
  • Interactive content that is useful, informative, and relevant to audiences will generate a large amount of traffic and enhance user experience by offering quizzes, polls, or posing questions that are of interest to audiences.
  • For example, New York Time's most popular content was not an article; rather, it was a dialect quiz, demonstrating the preference for interactive content among audiences.

Best Practice 3: Be Relatable

  • Identified as a best practice by content influencer, Joe Pulizzi, relatability is considered a "content superpower" and a key variable in successful relationship-building between influencers and their audiences.
  • Tweaking language to better align with not only what audiences are talking about but how they talk about them is central to improving relatability.
  • Audiences are more likely to engage with influencers who are relatable: the majority of YouTube's teenage subscribers (70%) relate more to YouTube creators as compared to celebrities, and 40% feel a deeper connection with YouTube creators than their friends.
  • Glossier leveraged relatability in its content marketing strategy by recruiting everyday women and some micro-influencers to promote their cosmetics in a campaign that helped them achieve cult status and the brand's recognition as one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies of 2017.

Best Practice 4: Use a Content Calendar

  • A social media content calendar may be helpful for content influencers to visualize and organize content in alignment with their content strategy consistently and effectively.
  • Content may be repurposed and scheduled for staggered publication across different social media platforms to optimize the amount of impressions that content may receive.
  • Topic ideas are typically planned out in advance onto a blank calendar to ensure that content is delivered at a consistent rate, integrated across multiple platforms, and to connect with audiences in a more human way.
  • Content calendars are identified as a best practice by influencer marketing experts, Danielle Wiley, Pam Moore, and Kim Garst, and by social media analytics company, Sprout Social.

Best Practice 5: Produce Evergreen Content

  • Evergreen content is content that defies time-based trends and does not have an expiration date for when the content will no longer apply to its audiences.
  • Forbes identified three fundamental principles to ensure that content withstands the ever-evolving landscape of social media trends: authenticity in relationships with brands and audiences, clear communication in content creation strategies between brands and content influencers, and optimizing content based on post-campaign results.
  • Tweaking content based on metrics gathered from post-campaign reports (e.g., ROI, conversion rates, sentiment) may also provide the opportunity to optimize content to ensure that it becomes evergreen if it had previously been influenced by evolving trends such as seasonality.

Research Strategy

The research team began its search for content influencer best practices by searching content marketing news sites (e.g., Content Marketing Institute's publications, Forbes, Digital Marketing Institute) and interviews with content influencer experts (e.g., Kim Garst, Mark Schaefer, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer, Pam Moore, Jeffrey Hayzlett, and Michael Brenner). Upon searches for "conflict influencers," the research team discovered that influencer marketing and content marketing are two, distinct strategies. Therefore, the research team leveraged the definition of "content influencer" as identified in the initial Strategy to inform the audience for best practices. The "content influencer" experts identified in the initial Strategy contribute their expertise within content marketing; therefore, the research team assumed that best practices identified by these experts are to be targeted towards individuals generating content in the content marketing industry. Practices identified as best and corroborated across more than one source were selected and are summarized above.
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Best Practices - Digital Media Publishers

Some best practices in content for digital media publishers are choosing the right keywords, ensuring the content is readable, optimizing graphics and ensuring website speed, ensuring the content is easy to share, using a responsive design, approaching social media from a user's perspective, and using different social media platforms.

Choosing the Right Keywords


  • Digital media publishers should make a keyword strategy and "include hundreds of keywords", especially for midsize or large publishers. It is best to build teams composed by digital marketing analysts and "writers who understand audience needs."
  • Publishers must identify the relevant keywords pertaining to their brand, and the ones people commonly search for. It is crucial to understand the needs of the users, the language they use, and the type of content they search. Title tags, as content, have to include keywords, without overdoing it.

Why It Is Important

Ensuring the Content is Readable


  • Digital publishers should ensure the content is clear, consistent, and readable. This can be achieved by using a strong color contrast, and by using the correct line height and font size, which should be large enough to read in any device.
  • It is also best to use shorter sentences and paragraphs, the same way someone would "speak to someone that’s listening."

Why It Is Important

  • This practice is important as "the primary purpose of any digital publication is to be read." Also, this will allow your users to stay more time at a site, which will make Google rank the page higher, making the site more accessible to new audiences.

Optimizing Graphics and Ensuring Speed


  • It is considered best to avoid using raw/full size images and, instead, optimize images to make them "small in file size while maintaining quality."

Why It Is Important

  • Website speed is one of the major concerns of digital publishers. This optimization helps the publication download faster. Because Google rewards websites that download quickly, this would also help get the attention of new audience.

Ensuring the Content is Easy to Share


  • Publishers should ensure their publication is easy to share and is effectively promoted. For this, it is best to use "employees’ digital footprints to promote and disseminate content."

Why It Is Important

  • This practice is important because the regular amplification of content can transform regular content into one with a meaningful engagement and impact.
  • With more shares, the content can reach a wider audience, generate more attention, and provide more value for the brand.

Using a Responsive Design


  • Another good practice is using a responsive design for the content layout. This means that the content can be seen in all types of devices (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.) by adapting the layout to the screen size.
  • It is best to create multiple layouts (e.g. for phone and tablet), without forgetting vertical and horizontal orientations.

Why It Is Important

  • Using a single layout may cause users to be frustrated, having to use "a pinch and zoom experience." By using a responsive design, publishers can achieve "a very compelling user experience" across all devices.

Approaching Social Media from the User’s Perspective


  • Digital media publishers need to "become native users of each platform" where they want to post their content. Also, publishers who want to take advantage of the full potential of social media platforms have to understand that they need to know how to connect to people.
  • For example, while Instagram stories is still a new concept, most of its users now focus on these far more than on regular posts. This would be a good reason why publishers must make an effort to make this feature work for them.

Why It Is Important

  • By thinking like a social media user, digital media publishers can gain more audience and distribute their information through many channels.

Using Different Social Media Platforms


  • It is considered a best practice to use different social media platforms. Depending on the type of content and the type of readers, publishers can distribute information through specific platforms.
  • Another important aspect is to acknowledge that not all content needs to be shared on every platform, as some of this may not be suitable for every social media site. For example, LinkedIn may not be suitable for entertaining content, but would be suitable for a business-focused content.

Why It Is Important

Research Strategy:

In order to provide best practices in content for digital media publishers, we focused on finding recommended practices by experts in digital publishing.

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Best Practices - Brand Publishers

Some of the best practices in content for brand publishers include writing good content and asking for feedback, building a bond with customers through content, personalization of content, carrying out a regular content audit, experimenting with different formats, content targeting, and content sourcing. More details are discussed in the findings below.

Writing Good Content And Asking For Feedback

  • This content practice seems strange, but it works. Asking for customers' feedback after writing content that answers questions or offers help to the customers is essential since it is helpful to both the given firm and the customer. Feedback can determine whether the content was useful to the customer, thus enabling a firm to make it's content more meaningful and targeted.
  • Making changes based on the customers' feedback will make the customers feel appreciated and valued. Mailchimp, for instance, has a long list of support articles for customers to inquire about when they feel confused or frustrated. It gives the customers an outlet to express their thoughts and offers Mailchimp the information they need to make their content more valuable.

Building A Bond With Customers Through Content

  • Building a bond with customers through content is one of the best practices that companies should adopt. Companies can bond with customers by creating content that directly resonates with them and appeals to them at a personal level.
  • Customers love it when brands interact with them on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. When customers get a response from their favorite brand, they get excited, and hence, companies should incorporate this tactic with the content they post.
  • Anthropologie, for instance, takes their time to share repost photos that their fans post while wearing their clothing, a move that makes the customers feel associated with it. Through such steps, the brand can connect with the customer base on a deeper level. They are indirectly influencing their customers to buy their clothing with the hope that their content might get reposted. This is surely an innovative way of supporting and recognizing customers.

Personalization Of Content

  • Personalization allows a firm to grab the attention of customers and tailor their experience to suit them. Personalization makes the customers feel special since it will resonate with them that the company is working for them. Personalization of content can be recommending content that customers might like or putting their names on products like Coke.
  • Coca-cola has put different names on their bottles, a move that has gone well with many customers. Seeing their names on products, excites customers, and makes them want to buy the products. It is a creative way to show customers that a company cares while giving them something fun and valuable. The more relevant content a company shows to individual customers, the more the customers will trust them.

Carrying Out Regular Content Audits

  • A content audit is a comprehensive review of all live content looking for numerous elements such as subheadings or page titles. It also involves collating the data into a single spreadsheet that is suitable for an over-reaching assessment.
  • Brands with the best content know the importance of scheduling a regular content audit. Newspaper content, for instance, goes out-of-date rapidly, given the disposable nature of the medium. Old digital content will not be worthless if it is written to touch upon universal themes. Savvy brands have taken the opportunity to spruce up old content.

Experimenting With Different Formats

  • Brand publishers must present themselves as journalists while, in reality, it is not a good thing to do. People accept promotional content if they are sufficiently entertained. Brand publishers need to be exceptional and try different things to appeal to the target audience.
  • Formatting is an exciting and valuable matter. The title should be given some considerations too. A look at a hit branded content by Forbes, for instance, will clearly show content rich with imagery and narratives. Another glimpse into the Nest-sponsored piece from the Atlantic depicts a mix of media types to provide a more engaging experience a standard article could ever achieve.

Content Targeting

  • Well-targeted content drives business value by saving salespeople time finding content. Content targeting is done by improving earned and owned media effectiveness and creating a foundation for measuring its impact and maximizing its performance.
  • Through content targeting, Cisco, for instance, was able to save $ 17million. Content targeting enabled Cisco to align their content with the customer journey. Digital asset management solutions to Web CMS, sales portals, and marketing resource management are used to measure the effectiveness of the marketing content.

Content Sourcing

  • Problems associated with content that is redundant, poorly targeted, and poorly formatted are managed by establishing a centralized content sourcing function. The importance of content sourcing practice is that it allows for the quality, volume, targeting, and relevancy of the content to be managed at its front end.
  • Content sourcing provides marketers with a systematic way to efficiently manage large numbers of both internal and external content contributors. It also allows for maintaining control of content quality, consistency, and compliance with brands. Unilever, for instance, managed to save $10 million by reducing content waste by using the Percolate Content Marketing Platform.