Creating reader-worthy content for nurturing campaigns

Our agency partners often ask us to create content as part of a nurturing campaign. The purpose of nurturing content is to build on a prospective customer’s initial interest and nudge them along in the buying process. Your intention is for the prospect to select your client’s product or service. Collectively, this process is called nurturing.
Nurturing programs generally consist of a series of content pieces sent to opt-in prospects. The nurturing content normally does not reside within the solicitation email but on the client’s website. The solicitation email includes a link to the content.
Here, we will answer a few of our most-asked questions on topics such as content structure, content length and when to make the close.

Should we deploy long or short nurturing content pieces?

While most end customers tend to immediately press for longer and deeper nurturing articles at the onset, we caution against this approach. Our experience has shown that shorter, more focused pieces are more easily digested by the reader and drive further secondary actions (e.g., reading other content or completing a registration form for an e-guide).
Remember, prospects at this stage of the purchase consideration process have only a tenuous relationship with you and tend to be closer to the beginning of the process. Use nurturing content to build the relationship and express your client’s capabilities. As your lead makes their way through each stage of the funnel, use automated marketing technology to adapt your content to their place in the buyer journey. 

How long should the nurturing campaign be for my client?

Once you convince your client of the virtues of developing a relationship, it’s time to determine the optimal nurturing campaign length. Generally, the bigger the prospect’s purchase commitment, the longer the nurturing campaign needs to be for maximum effectiveness. 
For example, if your client is selling toner cartridges (< $100), fewer than three sequential nurturing emails should be sufficient to achieve maximum campaign ROI. However, if your client is selling new luxury cars, expect a 50-plus-week nurturing campaign, with the prospect receiving a nurturing email each week. Further, such a campaign would need multiple segments, requiring multiple versions of each content piece. Your B2B content may take 12 months or more to start generating bottom-of-funnel ROI.

When do you push for the sale?

Another mistake both end customers and their agencies make is pressing for the sale too early in the process. On multiple occasions, we have seen end customers push their agencies to focus on the hard sell within the first nurturing pieces. Doing so almost always ends in failure.
Don’t go for the sale until the prospect has read at least several of your content pieces. Even then, it’s better to have the “sale” be an invitation to download a gated e-guide. By taking this approach, your client’s sales team can focus on pitching and closing prospects who have received and read multiple nurturing emails and have downloaded the e-guide. If consumers aren’t opening your emails, then it might be time to reevaluate the way you’re presenting your content to visitors. 

What is the best content structure?

Save the deep-dive content for use behind a gated e-guide download. Based on our experience, we have found that employing the following content structure performs best for nurturing pieces.

100–150 words for an initial hook, introduction and executive summary

The hook should be one or two sentences that quickly get the reader’s attention and draw them into the article. Based on your client’s Voice ProfileTM and audience, there is some room to err on the side of being more aggressive with the hook.
The introduction, which builds upon the hook and sets the stage for the entire article, should really focus on the problem the audience faces (at a high level) and provide the solution (again, at a high level). Some clients opt for an executive summary, which would include a bulleted list.
Given the target reader, we recommend either an executive summary or an introduction but NOT BOTH. This means the overall introduction section should be close to 100 words. Remember, the audience is time-constrained and wants to easily understand what the article is about at a high level before investing the additional time to read the rest of the piece.

200–400+ words for each key point you want to convey

If you’re shooting for a high-level piece that doesn’t go into much depth, aim for 200 words for each point you want to convey. Imagine that point is broken up into several three-to-four-sentence paragraphs. Each paragraph continues to build upon that point. At such a word length, you might expect the use of subheaders and one sourced reference. By the very nature of the word count constraints, you shouldn’t expect to go into much more depth than a narrative.
If you’re trying to provide substance to support a key point, you need to aim for closer to 400 words. The extra space allows for a deeper drill-down. It gives room for bulleted lists, anecdotes, quotes, research statistics and more sourced references. The rationale is that you want the writer to provide more depth than what is considered an overview or general article. 

100–150 words for the close and call to action

There needs to be a paragraph that summarizes the key points conveyed in the content. Expect this to be either a couple of two-to-three-sentence paragraphs or one paragraph of around three or four sentences. In addition to summarizing the key points, it needs to set up the call to action (CTA). The CTA can be one to two paragraphs in length. 
If it’s one paragraph, by nature, it will be more passive. If it’s two paragraphs, it will be stronger. This is because the writer can create a quote from your client, cite an example(s) of your client’s success or refer readers to other content to learn more (like an e-guide on the website).
Listed below is an example of a content outline for a nurturing article, using the principles outlined above. Finding the most effective format for your blogs, articles and digital content can be difficult, so we hope this resource helps.

A deep-dive introduction to Google Analytics

Introduction [100 words]
Key points [Length varies]
Key point 1: Why use Google Analytics? [200 words]
– Provide user-friendly resource to determine characteristics of site visitors, most successful blog content, amount of traffic being generated.
– Why use Google Analytics over other analytics sites?
Key point 2: Understanding your analytics [200 words]
– Explain the most frequently used analytics resources (sessions versus visitors, bounce rate, etc.) before going deeper into what they mean.
– Make sense of the analytics and determine how negative numbers are directly impacting your website.
Key point 3: Making improvements based on analytics [300 words]
– Use poor bounce rate to improve content.
– Maximize the conversion rate on any landing page with a high bounce rate.
– Determine which analytics matter to you based on your site’s goals.
Key point 4: Key tips for Google Analytics [300 words]
– Set up website goals.
– Link to AdWords to track advertising.
– Establish tracking URLS.
Closing and call to action [100 words]
Nurturing campaigns give you the potential to build stronger relationships with your audience, which ultimately ends in more leads and sales. To maximize the success of your nurturing initiatives, identify the optimal content, structure and timeline for reaching your audience effectively.

Need help?

If you have a content marketing program or are planning one, download our e-book “100 Mistakes Businesses Make When Starting, Optimizing and Scaling Content Marketing Programs.”
This e-book will walk you through the mistakes of hundreds of other companies and the challenges they faced in implementing their content marketing programs. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you streamline your content creation process and deliver quality content at scale, contact us today.

Managed Services vs Marketplaces – Which Content Marketing Solution Is Better?

In today’s digital age, creating content is essential for businesses in all industries to attract and retain customers. Often times a business does not have the time or resources to continually produce high-quality content so they look to outsource.
Still, once a business decides to outsource their content needs, they quickly face another crucial decision: whether to use a content marketplace or managed content service (read about the pros and cons to both options). When determining what outsourcing method is best for your business, it is important to keep a few things in mind:

Defined turnaround times

When working with a content marketplace, agencies and enterprises are often not provided with specific turnaround times for their content. Without a specific timeline, it may become difficult for businesses to track and maintain a content schedule. This lack of transparency simply adds another hassle to a business’s end goal of creating consistent, quality content.
Managed services, on the other hand, work directly with their clients to adhere to established turnaround times. Tempesta Media not only provides customers with topic suggestions and editorial calendars but also guarantees that all pieces under 1,000 words are delivered to the customer within five business days.

Scale and quality for B2B content marketing

While both methods of outsourcing allow agencies and enterprises to receive content at scale, the true difference between a content marketplace and a managed service is found in the quality of the content delivered.
When using a content marketplace, customers are confined to a set list of categories for desired tones and styles of their content, ranging from “conversational” to “academic research” and “reporting.” Such broad categories often fail to truly capture the voice and brand of a business’s customers, leading to multiple revisions and unsatisfied customers.
At Tempesta Media, content strategists work directly with customers to create a unique “Voice Profile,” which ensures the content’s tone and style consistently align with a business’s brand. The personalized Voice Profile is a unique and unrivaled step that allows Tempesta Media’s expert team of writers to consistently create high-quality tailored content.

Managed services compared to doing it yourself: Return on time

A managed content service provides agencies and enterprises the best of both worlds – the ability to produce scaled content written by industry experts, while focusing on what they do best: delivering high-quality products and services to their customers.
Don’t fall behind in the digital world by placing unnecessary burdens on your marketing team. It’s time to outsource your content needs to the experts. Contact Tempesta Media today and allow us to be your trusted content provider.

Multiple phases of approving content slows down companies – Part 1

Most companies are challenged with meeting objectives that might be diametrically opposed. For example, how to scale up content marketing while not sacrificing quality, is a challenge that many companies are facing today.
One of the keys to scaling content while still ensuring that the messaging is clear, is to have an effective internal approval process. An internal approval process is necessary for content marketing, regardless of whether you’re creating content in-house, outsourcing your content production, or using a hybrid of the two.
There process needs to be streamlined, because if it isn’t, people will avoid the process, making it useless all together.
Smaller businesses face different challenges than larger businesses when it comes to quality assurance for content. Larger businesses have more complexity and more approvals that are generally required before content can go onto the Web site or be used for the purposes of this article. This article focuses on specifically on smaller businesses.

Approving content could be your bottleneck

So let’s talk about how the approval process goes.

  1. Generally, the first thing that happens is that someone comes up with a topic idea to write about.
  2. Then the topic idea is sent over to a content creator. And it’s that person’s job to create that content.
  3. Once that content has been created it needs to be edited initially for spelling and grammar. Nothing removes credibility from your brand than a typo!
  4. After the initial proofreading edit, the content should be checked for any inadvertent plagiarism.
  5. After a plagiarism screen, the article has to go to the appropriate business people within a company. These people will make sure that what is being covered within the content is aligned with the company’s business objectives.

All the parties involved are capable of editing for spelling and grammar. They are able to utilize a separate software to conduct any plagiarism screening. They may even have internal resources to create the content.
The problems often happen with getting approval. Oftentimes approvals have to be done at an executive level. As everyone knows, most executives never seem to have enough time to handle the myriad of tasks that are put in front of them… approving blog articles being one of them.
Learn more by reading our second series to this post: How to speed up content marketing approval when multiple people are involved.

Are you leveraging the power of quality content?

Technology companies experience fiercer, more unrelenting competition than most other industries. While other regulatory factors and buying trends influence the competition in other industries, technology has so many other factors that influence it. Proprietary inputs, research and development costs, intellectual property and even occasionally just the idea itself must all be carefully handled in order to ensure growth.
Each of those elements work in tandem to create one of the biggest advantages a technology brand has: uniqueness. They lend the brand an inherent authenticity that resonates throughout their story, starting with the elevator pitches that were delivered with fervor in a one-on-one setting.
The challenge, then, is how a progressive technology organization can maximize its brand potential by replicating that passion digitally. Today’s successful technology companies are leveraging quality content in order to acquire and retain customers. The content educates and promotes a brand as an authoritative expert within the industry. However, in order to do so effectively, it must possess that most elusive of qualities: quality.

The necessity of quality

Over the past few years, Google has improved its ability to recognize poor content, putting brands which cannot or do not obtain quality content at risk. The sole benefit of Google’s increased flagging of bad content belongs to competitors, as demoted weak content elevates high-quality content by default.
To qualify content, Google considers average time on page as an indicator of reader intent, factoring in bounce rate (high is bad) and content length (longer is better). Human raters review content to enrich Google’s algorithm. The resulting machine learning robustly connects contextual layers and word associations, interpreting natural language in a more authentic manner. Essentially, Google has learned to read like a human.
Google’s official stance on content indicates that the creation of quality content requires either time, effort, expertise or talent. This level of qualification no longer rewards keyword stuffing and tag management strategy. Punishment from Google can disable your technology brand, and the damage of weak content is far-reaching. From a new technology business standpoint, poor content exposes a lack of digital savvy and fails to impress potential leads.

Delineating quality content

Bad quality is often intuitively evident. However, defining precisely why content is low-quality can be harder to do. But if you want to establish an authentic relationship with your customer base, then establishing your standards and expectations for content is crucial.
Your audience instantly qualifies your content as high- or low-quality. Ultimately, their decision on the authoritativeness and authenticity of your content is the only opinion that matters. Three issues often encountered with poor content are: spun articles, stolen content and non-native English syntax.
Elements that can indicate low-quality content include:

  • Lack of internal site links
  • An inconsistent voice
  • Generic, clichéd tone
  • Overuse of adjectives

Defining high-quality content is much easier and slightly more objective. To determine if the content you have received is good, the primary attribute you should check for is whether it aligns with your company’s brand and voice; while that is the most important factor in an article, it is also the hardest to fake. Also check the logical flow throughout, ensure the presence of well-research links and determine if the prose is tight and easy to read.
Tempesta Media consistently delivers high-quality content – with 90 percent fewer revision requests than the industry average – by thoroughly vetting its writers, working with a company to determine its voice profile and utilizing stringent quality control to ensure that its customers receive only content that will benefit their standing in the marketplace.

Benefits of high-quality content

Brand reputation and authoritativeness benefit from quality content, and quantifiable benchmarks are rewarded by Google in the form of higher organic search rankings for your content. As the strongest discovery mechanism, organic search delivers value over time through consistent authority.
High-quality content acts as the voice of your brand online, speaking on behalf of your technology. A dominant tone demonstrates authenticity. Quality content builds trust in the tech brand, strengthening market presence.

Obtaining quality content

With such a high bar set for it, high-quality content can seem impossible to obtain.However, the good news is that you can infuse quality by utilizing your existing authenticity. When channeling that authenticity, professionally crafted content that adds to the collective conversation defines quality. As you become an established authority on the subject, that content generates a ripple effect. Soon, you will have brand ambassadors creating organic growth via word-of-mouth.
High-quality content that achieves these results need not be expensive or out-of-reach for even a small- to medium-sized tech firm. Technology already has the inherent properties that unique content was made to market: specialized product solutions and innovative ways to change the world. Ultimately, all you must do is find a firm that can accurately and comprehensively determine your best content strategy, then implement it using your specific voice profile. To learn more about how Tempesta Media can help you, contact us today.

Reasons why your brand should invest in high quality content

Have you ever used an outsourced content provider only to receive a deliverable with absolutely no substance? Or worse, have you ever tried marketing yourself with content where the grammar was so atrocious it was clearly written by someone who had not mastered the English language?
Savvy business owners and marketers know high-quality content is critical to online success. Yet so many brands still skimp on content.
At Tempesta Media, we hear horror stories about brands taking the cheap route when it comes to content. This is why we will never stand for it. In this guide, we review the top three reasons brands should invest in great content.

  1. Garbage content hurts SEO rankings

Google’s search engine algorithms are smart enough to detect poor-quality content, which negatively affects a site’s search ranking. Conversely, high-quality content improves the chance a website will be discovered by its target audience.
Panda effectively killed the keyword-centric approach to content creation. Google now indexes sites by keywords and the semantic relevancy of their content. The more value content provides readers, the more its authority increases, which boosts a website’s ranking.

  1. High-quality content builds thought leadership

Today, every business and personal brand have websites and social media accounts for an online platform. To pierce the competition, brands need demonstrable authority to stand out to customers.
One of the most effective ways to accomplish this feat is by consistently and regularly producing high-quality content to show thought leadership. Effective writing takes time and expertise, which is why it makes sense to turn to a reliable copywriting agency employing seasoned writers.

  1. Content is the first touch point between brands and customers

When customers come across a business website, its content is the first thing they review to assess quality and reliability of the services or products. It must be remembered that the first impression goes a long way in making the right impression. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure your content can quickly and concisely show visitors the information they need.
Content should answer customer questions, which builds trust. This is precisely why customer testimonials and reviews are a critical component of any content strategy.

Conclusion

It is easy to see why content affects your brand online, especially when it comes to perception and reputation. To be effective, content must be insightful, informative, valuable, and, most importantly, clear.
Given these demands, it certainly makes sense to trust the process of creating content to a seasoned professional agency. When outsourcing content creation needs, look for a reliable content provider.
At Tempesta Media, all of our writers are from the United States. We subject them to an extensive vetting process to ensure high-quality content.

Good content + social media = marketing win

One of the primary goals of every agency is to get clients more visibility on the Web. This can be accomplished through a strong content marketing campaign that covers a broad range of ways to reach potential customers. This includes websites, blogs, eBooks, white papers, video, images and social media, to name a few of the most common approaches.
While social media may not be the biggest traffic or conversion driver, an attractive presence in the space is still vital. In recent years social media has increasingly grown in use by consumers. According to some statistics, approximately 73 percent of Americans have at least one social media profile.
Consumers often seek out a company’s page to offer feedback, ask a question or share a complaint, and others will follow to see what the company is saying or sharing. That being the case, appearances matter.

Focus on content quality

We’ve all heard that “content is king” and at no time has this been more true. People crave content, and quality will trump quantity every time. Agencies want to make sure their clients’ content is of high quality and interesting enough to make readers want to share on social media. Boring content not only will result in bounced pages; it will bring very little social media engagement.
While not easy to attain, it is nice to get a viral post once in a while to grow visibility and hopefully gain some additional visitors. But without quality, that will not happen.

Carefully choose social media platforms

It is virtually impossible to maintain an attractive and engaging presence on every single social media site. In order to succeed, company profiles have to be actively sharing and being interactive with followers. Do the research and pinpoint which social media outlets where the client’s targeted market is likely to be spending its time. This way, spreading a client’s social presence too thin can be avoided.
Once research is complete, speak with company decision makers and determine which networks are best suited to build a strong profile. Once this is decided, establish the client as an expert on these platforms. Followers interested in the client’s niche are likely to follow an authoritative presence. Expert content matters in this perspective.

How to post

There are no hard-set rules on how to post; this will vary from company to company depending on the industry, time constraints and other factors. However, there are some general rules of thumb that can be followed.

• Don’t be a faceless business; humanize the company’s profile.

• Share interesting content.

• Answer all questions, complaints and compliments.

• Write engaging titles and use good imagery.

Many marketers wonder how often they should be posting. Again, there is no firm number, but buffersocial has some recommendations on often to post on certain networks. Also, it is better to be consistent than post so much the profile cannot effectively be managed. In that case less would be more.

Watch the level of promotion

Ultimately, while agencies want to promote their clients and cast a wider net over targeted audiences, it is important not to be too self-serving. Readers will quickly pick up on this and, chances are, will tune out. This is especially true in the beginning of a campaign. First and foremost, social networks are about being engaging.
Promote content that does not necessarily relate to the client. Choose to curate timely, relevant and interesting content found on the Web or social media to share with readers. Remember to include the company’s insight or thoughts as well. Aim to go beyond the copy/paste.
Establish an interactive presence before jumping into promotion. Convince people to like, follow and connect with the company by sharing interesting content. A good rule of thumb to follow is approximately 25 percent of social posts should be promotional or “owned” content. The rest should be curated from other sources.
Social media have evolved to become a key portion of an overall content marketing plan. For many, consumers may first spot a company on a social media profile and first impressions can mean everything. It is important for agencies to ensure their clients are looking their best.
Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of custom original content for digital agencies, website developers and PR firms. By seeing the content we produce through every step of strategy, topic development, production, SEO optimization and plagiarism protection, we make it easier for agencies to provide their clients with the high quality digital content they need to succeed.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Good content marketing builds trust

Good content marketing develops trust, which is an important cornerstone to any business’s foundation. In order to successfully gain credibility, public relations firms and advertising agencies want to present their clients not only in the best light. In the process, they want to position them as solution providers. This can effectively be established through developing and distributing strong content.

Establish the company’s identity

To start, the client’s website and social media profiles should always list contact information. Consumers should be able to easily find a phone number, email contact and physical address for a company. Not listing these will appear shady and many web visitors will bounce right off the page. People are less likely to buy from companies that appear to be anonymous. Companies should be visible and show they are “real,” not appear as an anonymous Internet entity.

Provide valuable information

A common phrase suggests “Content is King,” and as content strategies become more vital to marketing plans, this saying perhaps has even deeper value. Poor quality or inconsistent content is not attractive to customers or potential buyers. Therefore, it is essential that you provide information of value, such as:

• Helpful and relevant tips.
• Useful information.
• Links to interesting statistics or expert reports.
• Easily digested infographics.

These are only a few examples; videos and other types of content can also augment a content strategy. The key is to provide something of value that helps to increase brand awareness and give the web visitor some good takeaways. This will all contribute to building trust.

Show documentation and be honest

Well-documented content is also important. While the company will want to be portrayed as an expert, no one is proficient in everything. When using statistics or other facts, back these up with outside sources if needed. A study conducted by the marketing firm Kentico found 46 percent of consumers were less likely to trust content not supported with outside sources, and 57 percent said they viewed content as more credible when expert opinions were linked.
Additionally, content should always be honest. Own up to blunders and apologize. Give opinions that are genuine and do not appear to be just what an audience wants to hear. This can appear insincere. Objectivity is another factor to consider. In some cases it is best to keep opinions out of content, but this will vary depending on the industry and type of content being distributed.

Develop a strong social media presence

Statistics highlight that referrals are one of a company’s strongest assets. In 2013 Nielsen reported a whopping 77 percent of survey respondents said the advice of family and friends was the most persuasive when seeking information about new products. In 2015, statistics suggest this number is now at 91 percent.
While traditional word-of-mouth is still vital, social media is increasingly becoming an important source of referrals. Yet, many businesses still do not leverage this power effectively. A company blog post that garners attention and loyal social media followers share can go a long way in gaining endorsements. A strong social media following can contribute to that coveted goal of being perceived as trustworthy.

Ask for testimonials

As already noted, word-of-mouth referrals are some of the best advertising — and they are free. Getting testimonials from satisfied customers also establishes credibility. If buyers are unsure, reading the words of happy customers can help them overcome any apprehensiveness of buying. As Forbes notes, testimonials help build trust, eliminate skepticism and are not “salesy.” Dedicating a page to testimonials is a good addition to a content strategy and helps round out a business website.

Always keep the customer’s best interest in mind

Selfish, one-way marketing does not work in today’s markets. With the advent of the internet came plenty of choice, and consumers and businesses will quickly turn to a competitor if not satisfied with their interaction with a company. Hence it is OK to try selling a product or service via content and social media, but if your client cannot effectively meet a customer’s needs, give a referral. As Salesforce notes, honesty is the best policy. Never propose something that will not deliver what the customer seeks.
In conclusion, building trust and credibility takes time, but it will come naturally and more quickly to companies that display sincerity and engage with their audiences. As an agent you can help build that trust.
Tempesta Media, a managed services provider, assists digital agencies with their content development needs. Contact TempestaMedia.com for more information on what we can do for you and your clients.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.

Get more information on what Tempesta Media can do for you.

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