The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling

Storytelling is an art.

Not a process, method, or technique. And — like art — it requires creativity, vision, skill, and practice. Storytelling isn’t something you can grasp in one sitting, after one course. It’s a trial-and-error process of mastery.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is, and rightfully so because storytelling is a crucial part of the most successful marketing campaigns. It sets vibrant brands apart from simple businesses and loyal consumers from one-time, stop-in shoppers.

It’s also the heart of inbound marketing.

Storytelling is an incredibly valuable tool for you to add to your proverbial marketing tool belt. That’s why we’ve compiled this guide, to help you discover and understand storytelling and weave gorgeous, compelling tales for your audience.

Pick up your pen, and let’s dive in.

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Because storytelling can take so many forms, it can be a challenge to create a good story. Here are some quick do’s and don’ts to get you started:

Storytelling Do’s and Don’ts graphic

The Art of Storytelling

Art of Storytelling graphic

Since the dawn of human language, storytelling has been how cultures pass on shared beliefs and values. Some of the stories told today come from stories our ancestors were sharing over 6,000 years ago.

Every person has a story, but the art of storytelling can make a story transformative. There are a few qualities that can push a basic story into the art of storytelling.

Narrative

While the setting will influence what a story can be, all great stories have a narrative, a spoken or written account of events.

For example, stand-up comics sometimes tell stories during a set. The structure, setting, and details of this narrative may not feel the same as they do in a Shakespeare play. But both storytellers are sharing a narrative.

Attention-Grabbing

But it’s not enough to just tell the story. The storytelling that resonates with people grabs their attention. There are many ways to grab and keep an audience’s attention in a story.

Creating suspense is one option. Stories that are full of mystery are interesting because of their unanswered questions. Surprising your audience is also a great way to pull readers in.

Another way to captivate your audience is to add details that bring your story to life. A popular way to describe this storytelling technique is “Show. Don’t tell.”

For example, say your company is launching a new product. In your story, you can share details about the moment your team came up with the idea. This is more exciting than telling your customers that you’re about to release the best new product. Talk about the roadblocks and small wins that led up to launch. This makes your audience feel like they’re part of your process.

Interactive

Storytelling isn’t just the story that you tell. It’s also the way that your audience responds and engages. Some kinds of storytelling require the reader to take part in the story, like the Netflix interactive film Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

But with most stories, the interaction comes from the relationship that the audience builds with the storyteller. Your audience might be a fan group for the latest Harry Potter movie. And your favorite storyteller could be a TikTok influencer.

That feeling of connection and interaction is essential to storytelling.

Imaginative

Many movies come from popular books. And it’s not unusual for viewers to rate the quality of a book-based movie on its ability to match what they imagined as they read the book.

When someone listens to storytelling they often run a picture show in their mind. This picture show can be incredibly detailed, including characters, setting, and events.

These imaginings often pull up memories for individual readers, or they might see their qualities in one of the story’s characters. No story is complete without the listener or reader adding these imaginative details on their own.

Telling a story is like painting a picture with words. While everyone can tell a story, certain people fine-tune their storytelling skills and become a storyteller on behalf of their organization, brand, or business. You might’ve heard of these folks — we typically refer to them as marketers, content writers, or PR professionals.

Every member of an organization can tell a story. But before we get into the how, let’s talk about why we tell stories — as a society, culture, and economy.

Why Do We Tell Stories?

There are a variety of reasons to tell stories — to sell, entertain, educate or brag. We’ll talk about that below. Right now, I want to discuss why we choose storytelling over, say, a data-driven PowerPoint or bulleted list. Why are stories our go-to way of sharing, explaining, and selling information?

Here’s why.

Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages.

We’ve all experienced confusion when trying to understand a new idea. Stories offer a way around that. Think about times when stories have helped you better understand a concept. Maybe your favorite teacher used a real-life example to explain a math problem. Maybe a preacher illustrated a situation during a sermon or a speaker used a case study to convey complex data.

Stories help solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages. Taking a lofty, non-tangible concept and relating it using concrete ideas is one of the biggest strengths of storytelling in business.

Take Apple, for example. Computers and smartphones are a pretty complicated topic to describe to your typical consumer. Using real-life stories, they’ve been able to describe exactly how their products benefit users. They use storytelling instead of relying on technical jargon that few customers would understand.

Stories promote and shape ideas.

Throughout history, people have used stories to promote cooperation and influence social behaviors. And there is scientific evidence that stories can change our behavior.

This is because stories engage our emotions. So, even if you’re stressed out and overwhelmed, you can still connect with a story. That connection might lead you to be less critical about facts, less defensive, and more open to changing your ideas.

Data is powerful. But data without storytelling can result in confusion, frustration, and conflicts of opinion. This is because listening to stories engages different parts of the brain than data does.

When you tell a story, you’re asking someone to see a series of events from your perspective. The person listening to that story believes in the truth of what you’re saying.

If you’re good at storytelling, you might influence the future behavior of that person. And cultures often honor skilled storytellers. They appreciate brands that tell stories to promote wider societal values too, like this Ben & Jerry’s example in support of the People’s Response Act.

Storytelling example: Ben & Jerry’s

Stories bring people together.

Like I said above, stories are a universal language of sorts. We all understand the story of the hero, of the underdog, or of heartbreak. We all process emotions and can share feelings of elation, hope, despair, and anger. Sharing a story gives even the most diverse people a sense of commonality and community.

In a world divided by a multitude of things, stories bring people together and create a sense of community. Despite our language, religion, political preferences, or ethnicity, stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them. Stories make us human.

Storytelling example: TOMS

TOMS is a great example of this. By sharing stories of both customers and the people they serve through customer purchases, TOMS has effectively created a movement that has not only increased sales but also built a community.

Stories inspire and motivate.

Stories make us human, and the same goes for brands. When brands get transparent and authentic, it brings them down-to-earth and helps consumers connect with them and the people behind them.

Tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad is how stories inspire and motivate and eventually, drive action. Stories also foster brand loyalty. Creating a narrative around your brand or product not only humanizes it but also inherently markets your business.

Few brands use inspiration as a selling tactic, but ModCloth does it well. By sharing the real story of their business, ModCloth not only makes the brand relatable and worth purchasing, but it also inspires other founders and business owners.

Storytelling example: ModCloth

What makes a good story?

Words like “good” and “bad” are relative to user opinion. But there are a few non-negotiable components that make for a great storytelling experience, for both the reader and teller.

Good stories are:

  • Entertaining: Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Believable: Good stories convince the reader of their version of reality and make it easy to trust and engage.
  • Educational: Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Relatable: Stories remind readers of the people and places they know. They help their audience recognize patterns in the world around them.
  • Organized: Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable: Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.

How to Tell Great Stories

According to HubSpot Academy’s free Power of Storytelling course, there are three components that make up a good story — regardless of the story you’re trying to tell.

1. Characters

Every story features at least one character, and this character will be the key to relating your audience back to the story. This main character is often called the protagonist.

Your characters form the bridge between you, the storyteller, and the audience. If your audience can put themselves in your character’s shoes, they’ll be more likely to follow through with your call-to-action.

2. Conflict

The conflict is the lesson of how the character overcomes a challenge. Conflict in your story elicits emotions and connects the audience through relatable experiences. When telling stories, the power is in what you’re conveying and teaching. If there’s no conflict in your story, it’s likely not a story.

3. Resolution

Every good story has a closing, but it doesn’t always have to be a good one. Your story’s resolution should wrap up the story, give context to the characters and conflict(s), and leave your audience with a call to action.

If you’re new to storytelling, there are a couple other elements you’ll want to think about as you build your first story.

4. Structure

Your plot is the structure of your storytelling.

A blog can have great writing and relatable characters. But if you don’t create a natural flow of events, your blog will confuse your reader.

Your “About” page on your website can run through the story of your business. But if you don’t break it into clear and useful segments, your site visitors might bounce before they get to the good part.

Plots don’t need to be in chronological order. There are many ways that you can experiment with the structure of your story.

But your story should have a beginning, middle, and end. This structure is familiar, so it makes your audience more comfortable and open to new information.

5. Setting

The context of your storytelling impacts how your audience takes in your story. The setting is more than where a story takes place. It’s how you can:

  • Share the values and goals of your characters
  • Shift the tone of conversations and action
  • Make it easier to show instead of tell

For example, say you’re creating an ad campaign that features two main characters. One runs a small startup and the other works for a large enterprise. Where would it make sense for these two to meet up? How could their location impact the conversation?

Now that you know what your story should contain, let’s talk about how to craft your story.

The Storytelling Process

We’ve confirmed storytelling is an art. Like art, storytelling requires creativity, vision, and skill. It also requires practice. Enter: The storytelling process.

Painters, sculptors, dancers, and designers all follow their own creative processes when producing their art. It helps them know where to start, how to develop their vision, and how to perfect their practice over time. The same goes for storytelling – especially for businesses writing stories.

Why is this process important? Because, as an organization or brand, you likely have a ton of facts, figures, and messages to get across in one succinct story. How do you know where to begin? Well, start with the first step. You’ll know where to go (and how to get there) after that.

1. Know your audience.

Who wants to hear your story? Who will benefit and respond the strongest? To create a compelling story, you need to understand your readers and who will respond and take action.

Before you put a pen to paper (or cursor to word processor), do some research on your target market and define your buyer persona(s). This process will get you acquainted with who might be reading, viewing, or listening to your story. Understanding who your story is for will also offer crucial direction as you build out the foundation of your story.

2. Define your core message.

Whether your story is one page or twenty, ten minutes or sixty, it should have a core message. Like the foundation of a home, you need to set up your core message before moving forward.

Is your story selling a product or raising funds? Explaining a service or advocating for an issue? What is the point of your story? To help define this, try to summarize your story in six to ten words. If you can’t do that, you don’t have a core message.

3. Decide what kind of story you’re telling.

Not all stories are created equal. To decide what kind of story you’re telling, figure out how you want your audience to feel or react as they read.

This will help you figure out how you’re going to weave your story and what goal you’re pursuing. If your goal is to:

Incite Action

Your story should describe how you completed a successful action in the past and explain how readers might be able to create the same kind of change. Avoid excessive, exaggerated detail or changes in the subject so your audience can focus on the action or change that your story encourages.

Tell Your Story

Talk about your genuine, humanizing struggles, failures, and wins. Today’s consumer appreciates and connects to brands that market with authenticity. Your storytelling should reflect your authentic self.

Convey Values

Tell a story that taps into familiar emotions, characters, and situations so that readers can understand how the story applies to their own life. This is especially important when discussing values that some people might not agree with or understand.

Foster Community or Collaboration

Tell a story that moves readers to discuss and share your story with others. Use a situation or experience that others can relate to and say, “Me, too.” Keep situations and characters neutral to attract the widest variety of readers.

Impart Knowledge or Educate

Tell a story that features a trial-and-error experience, so that readers can learn about a problem and how you found and applied a solution. Discuss alternative solutions too.

4. Establish your call-to-action.

Your objective and call-to-action (CTA) are similar, but your CTA will establish the action you’d like your audience to take after reading.

What exactly do you want your readers to do after reading? Do you want them to donate money, subscribe to a newsletter, take a course, or buy a product? Outline this alongside your objective to make sure they line up.

For example, if your objective is to foster community or collaboration, your CTA might be to “Tap the share button below.”

5. Choose your story medium.

Stories can take many shapes and forms. Sometimes people read stories. Other times they watch or listen., Your chosen story medium depends on your type of story as well as resources, like time and money.

Here are four different ways you can tell your story:

Writing

Written stories take the form of articles, blog posts, or books. They’re mostly text and may include some images. Written stories are by far the most affordable, attainable method of storytelling as it just requires a free word processor like Google Docs or a pen and paper.

Speaking

You tell spoken stories in person, like in a presentation, pitch, or panel. TED talks are an example of spoken stories. Because of their “live”, unedited nature, spoken stories typically require more practice and skill to convey messages and elicit emotions in others.

Audio

Audio stories are spoken aloud but recorded — that’s what sets them apart from the spoken story. Audio stories are usually in podcast form, and with today’s technology, creating an audio story is more affordable than ever. (For great story-driven podcasts, check out The HubSpot Podcast Network.)

Digital

Digital storytelling comes in a variety of media, including video, animation, interactive stories, and games. This option is by far the most effective for emotionally resonant stories and active, visual stories. This is why they can be expensive to produce. But don’t fret: video quality doesn’t matter as much as conveying a strong message.

6. Plan and structure your story.

You have an idea of what you want to include in your story, how you want to organize it, and what medium is best. If you were doing some creative writing, your next step might be to jump right into writing and work on the structure of your story later.

But while storytelling in marketing is creative, it also has a goal in mind. This means it may need a more structured process because every step from intro to CTA needs to meet a specific goal.

Your storytelling should ignite imagination and emotion no matter where you share it. But marketing storytellers are also tracking metrics once their story goes out into the world.

With this in mind, you may want to create a detailed outline of your story. You might develop storyboards, wireframes, or a PowerPoint presentation. These can help you stay focused as you craft your story. They can also help you keep your original vision of your story as you move through the approvals, meetings, and pitches that often come with business storytelling.

7. Write!

Now it’s time to put pen to paper and start crafting your story.

You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point. For many storytellers, this is the fun part. It can also be the hardest part because it can be tough to create on cue.

As of this writing, there are over 215,000,000 links on Google for the search “writer’s block.” If you feel stuck, you’re not alone. But help is on the way.

You might want to check out some quotes about storytelling to get inspired. And these excellent tips for writer’s block can get you writing again if you feel stuck.

Remember, you’ve got this. Every person is a storyteller, and audiences aren’t just waiting for any old story. They want to hear from you.

7. Share your story.

Don’t forget to share and promote your story. Like with any piece of content marketing, creating it is only half the battle — sharing is how your audience can complete your story.

Depending on your chosen medium, you should definitely share your story on social media and by email. Promote written stories on your blog, Medium, or by guest posting on other publications. You can share digital stories on your website, YouTube, or a mobile app. While spoken stories are best conveyed in person, consider recording a live performance to share later.

The more places you share your story, the more engagement you can expect from your audience.

Storytelling Resources

Storytelling is a trial-and-error process, and no one tells a story perfectly on the first try. That’s why we’ve collected these resources to help you fine-tune your storytelling skills and learn more about the different ways you can tell a story.

For Writing

For Speaking

For Audio Stories

For Digital Storytelling

Start Telling Your Story

Storytelling is an art. It’s also a process worth learning for both your business and your customers. Stories bring people together and inspire action and response. Also, today’s consumer doesn’t decide to buy based on what you’re selling, but rather why you’re selling it.

Storytelling helps you communicate that “why” in a creative, engaging way. You are a storyteller. So, pull together your ideas, find the right channel and tools, and share your story.

This post was originally published in November 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

brand consistency

Blogging Time Management: How to Blog When You Have No Time

Finding the time to blog is a frequent challenge for many marketers. Marketers often wear many hats and it can be difficult to focus long enough to churn out quality articles when you’re pressed for time.

→ Download Now: 6 Free Blog Post Templates

How to blog when you have no time? We spoke with author and marketing expert David Meerman Scotton how to avoid common time management mistakes by developing a routine.

No matter what you’ve got on your marketing plate, it won’t get done without proper time management. Learning how to make the most of your time will greatly affect your productivity and overall success as a blogger.

Why is blogging time management important?

When it comes to creating content, maintaining consistency is key. This is why blogging time management is so important. You may not always feel motivated to create on a regular basis, but establishing a schedule will help you to stay consistent with your blog output.

For example, you may find that you’re better at writing in the mornings. So you can set aside 2 to 3 hours each morning to work on writing based on how many articles you’d like to produce each week.

Create a content calendar to help you plan your content in advance and set reasonable deadlines. Make note of holidays or seasonal events that may impact your content schedule.

Getting organized will help you set and achieve goals for your blog. If you’re starting from scratch, check out our guide to starting a blog.

How to Blog When You Have No Time

1. Use blog templates.

An easy way to jump-startyour creative process is to start with a template. Why suffer through writer’s block staring at a blank document if you don’t have to? HubSpot’s free blog post templatescan help you format your article and get started writing faster than starting from scratch.

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Templates function as an easy to follow outline where you can organize your thoughts and start to flesh out your content. HubSpot’s offer includes six templates ranging from how-to posts to pillar pages and infographics.

2. Develop a blogging routine.

In many ways blogging reminds David of exercising. In order to be successful at it, you will need to develop a routine. “It is programmed in,” David says. “It is about building it into your life and making it a second nature, like running in the mornings or doing yoga after work.”

Dedicate time each day to writing or allocate one to two designated writing days per week. Block time off on your calendar and turn off messaging apps to avoid interruptions while you write.

Once you’ve gotten organized and created a routine, you may find you had more time to write than previously thought.

3. Keep a list of ideas.

One way to save time coming up with content is to make sure you always have a running list of fresh ideas to work with. That way you’re not scrambling at the last minute for worthy topics.

Creating topic clusterscan help you flesh out your blog content strategy. A topic clusteris multiplearticles grouped by a shared topic or related topic. For example, you may have one pillar page that gives a broad overview of a topic. From there, you can create more in-depth, specific articles on related subtopics.

This will not only help you plan content but organize your site architecture as well.

4. Perform research prior to writing.

It’s much easier to write when you have all the pertinent information you want to include in one place. Research your chosen topic before sitting down to write and organize the information in a quick outline.

Include any keyword researchin this process so you can ensure your content aligns with what readers are searching for online. This way when you sit down to write, your only job is to write — not look up new facts.

5. Don’t edit while writing.

When writing it’s very tempting to want to stop and make corrections. Don’t do this. It breaks your writing flow.

Instead, write a rough draft withjust pops into your mind first. Follow your train of thought without stopping to fix typos or edit. The goal is to just get your thoughts on the page. Once your initial draft is written, you can always go back and make changes.

6. Perform article updates.

Another strategy is to build upon existing content by performing an article update. Giving your older content a refresh is not only good for SEO and your readers, but it can be a quick win for adding new content in a time crunch.

With older content, you may need to include additional research and update it for accuracy, but it generally takes less time than writing a new article from scratch. Review your existing content. Are there articles you can do a deeper dive on? Have there been industry advancements you can include? Is there a new angle to explore?

7. Find content ideas wherever you go.

By making blogging a life routine, you will come across creative content ideas much more frequently. Keep an open mind, observe new things that interest you personally and find ways to turn them into fodder for a blog post. By noticing world dynamics that get you excited and relating them to your audience, the process of blogging becomes a lot more natural and fun.

Accumulate content ideas from different situations in life and find ways to apply them to your industry.

8. Hire a freelancer.

Sometimes your workload is just too heavy and your efforts can be better used elsewhere. If you have the resources and budget to do it, hiring outside help may also be a great option.

Sites like Upwork, Contenta, and MediaBistro make it easy to find writing professionals. If looking to generate content on a larger scale, consider working with a content agency.

Blog Like A Pro

Creating content with a consistent cadence is an obstacle busy marketers frequently struggle with. Creating a schedule and mastering blogging time management will allow you to create even when you’re short on time.

This article was originally published in December 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Beginner’s Guide to the Competitive Matrix [Template]

Have you ever been playing a game and had to look around to check out the competition?

Whether you currently own or you’re looking to start your own business, you need to do the same thing. Luckily, there’s a methodical way to do that: by conducting a competitive analysis and creating a competitive matrix.

Access Now: 10 Competitive Analysis Templates [Free Download]

A competitive matrix will help you identify your competitors and lay out their products, sales, and marketing strategies in a visual format. By doing this, you’ll learn where you’re positioned in the market, how to differentiate yourself from your competition, and how to improve upon your processes so you can beat them in the marketplace.

Below, you’ll learn what a competitive matrix is and review some templates and examples.

Competitor Matrix Types

Before you dive into the world of competitive matrices, it’s important to understand that there are different types you can use to compare your company to your competitors:

  • SWOT analysis
  • Competitive Advantage Matrix
  • Competitive Profile Matrix
  • Sales Matrix
  • Product Feature and Benefit Matrix
  • Price Matrix

SWOT Analysis

competitive matrix type: swot analysis

A SWOT analysis is a technique used to assess how your business compares to its competitors. The acronym stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It analyzes internal and external factors that affect the current and future potential of your business. By identifying these elements, you create a space to capitalize on your strengths, improve your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and eliminate threats.

If your company has an excellent profit record, this is a strength. If your company offers a small variety of products to its customers, this could be seen as a weakness. How do you determine what information goes into your SWOT analysis? Below are some questions you can use to guide you.

Strength Questions

The following questions should help you discover where your company excels. This information will help you attract and draw in new customers as well as maintain existing ones.

  • What are your assets?
  • What resources do you have?
  • What makes you better than your competitors?
  • What do your customers like about your product/services?

Weakness Questions

It’s difficult for your organization to improve if you have no system to determine your weaknesses. To remain competitive within your industry, you need to discover these faults to correct them.

  • What do your customers dislike about your products/services?
  • What areas do your competitors have an advantage in?
  • Do you or your employees lack knowledge or skill?
  • What resources do you lack?
  • Are you making enough profit?

Opportunity Questions

Keeping an eye on your competition is necessary; however, watching for available opportunities will give your business a competitive advantage. These opportunities can come from both monitoring your competitors as well as industry trends.

  • What are the current trends?
  • What is the market missing?
  • Is there available talent that you could hire?
  • Are your competitors failing to satisfy their customers?
  • Is your target market changing in a way that could help you?

Threat Questions

Threats can come up within a business at any time. These can be internal or external factors that potentially harm your company and its operations. Identifying these threats will help your business run efficiently.

  • Who are your competitors?
  • Has there been an increase in your competition?
  • What are the obstacles you are currently facing?
  • Are your employees satisfied with their pay and benefits?
  • Are government regulations going to affect you?
  • Is there a product on the market that will make yours outdated?

As demonstrated by these questions, a SWOT analysis matrix can help your company identify elements that are often overlooked.

Competitive Advantage Matrix

competitive matrix type: competitive advantage matrix

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A competitive advantage matrix analyzes your company’s competitive advantage by assessing volume production and differentiation. Its purpose is to determine how your company can grow.

This matrix has two axes — vertical and horizontal. The vertical axis evaluates the number of opportunities available for achieving a competitive advantage, while the horizontal axis measures the potential size of the competitive advantage. Using this information, the competitive advantage matrix is segmented into four boxes:

  • Stalemate – Few advantages with small potential
  • Volume – Few advantages with great potential
  • Fragmented – Many advantages with small potential
  • Specialized – Many advantages with great potential

Using this information gives you the tools to determine where your competitive advantage comes from.

Competitive Profile Matrix

competitive matrix type: competitive profile matrix

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A competitive profile matrix is a tool your company can use to directly compare your strengths and weaknesses to industry competitors. For this matrix, you will use four elements: critical success factor, weight, rating, and score.

Critical success factors are areas that will determine your success. Examples are brand reputation, range of products, customer retention, and sales per employee. Once you have selected these factors, you will assign a weight. This is a measure of their importance, ranging from 0.0 (low importance) to 1.0 (high importance). Each factor should have its own weight, as each varies in importance. Avoid assigning a weight of 0.3 or more, as most industries are determined by many factors. This high value can decrease the number of factors you’re able to list in your matrix. When assigning weight, make sure the sum of all weights equals 1.0.

The third step is to rate your company and its competitors from 1 to 4 in each critical success factor. Rate:

1 – Major weakness

2 – Minor weakness

3 – Minor strength

4 – Major strength

The final step is to calculate the score. First, evaluate each critical success factor by multiplying the weight by the rating. Once this has been done for all, add each company’s score for the total score. This, when compared to your competitors, will show if you’re behind the curve, ahead of the curve, or on par with the industry.

Sales Matrix

A sales matrix is a tool used to help gauge the urgency and viability of sales opportunities. It evaluates potential customers’ interest in your business against their fit for your product or service.

competitive matrix type: sales matrix

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Imagine focusing all your efforts on a potential customer. You send content and numerous promotions only to discover that they aren’t interested in your company and are a bad fit. It’s unlikely you’ll get that sale, and it feels like time wasted. Now, imagine giving all that energy to someone interested and a good fit. The sale becomes a lot more likely. A sales matrix uses interest and fits to help you decide how much attention to give your potential clients at any given time.

Product Feature and Benefit Matrix

The product feature and benefits matrix evaluates how your offer matches customer needs. It’s weighted by its importance versus its perceived distinction or advantage. When using this matrix, your features fall into the following categories:

  • Irrelevant – Low importance and low distinction
  • Overinvested – Low importance and high distinction
  • Key liabilities – Low importance and high distinction
  • Key differentiators – High importance and high distinction

This information tells you what features to keep, what features to get rid of, and where you might be able to save money. Consider an iPad. Say Apple spends a large portion of the manufacturing budget to produce a high-quality camera, only to find out that most users don’t even use it. The camera has a high perceived distinction, yet it’s of low importance to iPad users. This information would tell Apple that they overinvested in this feature and could potentially reduce it to save costs in the future.

Price Matrix

competitive matrix type: price matrix or pageA price matrix is a tool used to define product costs, features, and tiers. It allows you to determine how much you will charge for specific levels of service. Unlike the other matrices on this list, a price matrix is a customer-facing competitive matrix type. You are creating it for your potential customer.

When building your price matrix, start with your tiers. It’s common to lay out two or three levels. Once you’ve named them, create a short description. Depending on the industry, you might find it easier to include a few features associated with the category. Once you do, list the prices. If not, create a call-to-action (CTA) for your potential customer to contact you for a quote.

Remember, as you build your tiers, the price will go up with each one. To stay on par with the perceived value, ensure you offer additional features or benefits to justify the cost.

The Benefits of Competitive Matrices

Essentially, you can use a competitive matrix to compare any characteristics of your company with a competitor.

Sometimes these matrices will be more visual in nature (a plotted graph), but sometimes it’s just an Excel document with the information listed in columns.

The goal of the competitive matrix is to see at a glance the competitive landscape and your position in the marketplace. This will help you see gaps in the marketplace and hone in on your unique value proposition.

Perhaps, after looking at a competitive matrix, you brainstorm new product ideas or new tools or features that you hadn’t considered before. Or maybe you come out of it with a ton of ideas on how to improve your content marketing strategy.

Regardless, you can use a competitive matrix for a lot of reasons. You can use it to develop new ideas, or you can use it to train sales staff on how to differentiate your company from the competition.

After figuring out what you’re going to do with the information, make sure you write down your ideas, develop KPIs, and regularly conduct this analysis to stay up to date with your strategy.

Now that you know what a competitive matrix is and how to use one, let’s review some templates you can use for your own strategy.

 

Competitive Matrix Templates

Competitive matrices are used to facilitate the process of comparing your business with other industry competitors. They help you take advantage of strengths and opportunities, while identifying weaknesses and threats before they become detrimental. Ultimately, a competitive matrix is an industry-analysis tool that makes your life easier. To make the process even easier, use the following competitive matrix templates.

1. Two-Feature Competitive Landscape Chart

One type of competitive matrix you can do is a simple comparison of features. You can use this information to plot where your company is compared to competitors.

The features could be something like price or customization potential. Then, you’d place the logos of each company (including yours) on the graph, depending on how well a company executes a certain feature. The point of this matrix is to visualize who does what better, so you can see what you have to work on and how to differentiate yourself against the competition.

competitive matrix template for two features

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2. Content Marketing Analysis Template

As a content marketer, this is my favorite template. With this, you can compare social media followers, blog strategy, email strategy, SEO, etc. This will help you decide where you need to focus your content strategy. Should you place emphasis on Twitter rather than Facebook? If you download this template, it also includes a graph and more strategies to analyze.

competitive matrix template for a content marketing competitive analysis.

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3. SWOT Analysis Template

A basic competitive matrix is the SWOT analysis. Conducting a SWOT analysis will help you identify areas where you could improve. You should conduct a SWOT analysis for yourself and your competition. Knowing what weaknesses your competition has will help your sales reps and help you make improvements in those areas.

competitive matrix template for a SWOT analysis.

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4. Review Tracker

A review tracker matrix will help you see at a glance the types of reviews you get versus your competitors. It’s important not to forget about reviews because they can have a significant impact on a business. With this template, you can also use a scoring system to normalize the averages.

competitive matrix template for a review tracker analysis.

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After reviewing those templates, it’s time to see what a competitive matrix looks like in action. Here are some examples below.

Competitive Matrix Examples

1. HubSpot

This is a public HubSpot competitive matrix comparing the overall pricing of our CRM versus Salesforce. It’s a standard matrix meant to help people see the difference between the CRMs at a glance.

HubSpot vs. Salesforce competitive matrix example.

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2. SugarSync

This is a great example of what a feature matrix might look like. SugarSync compares its feature offerings against the competition in an easy-to-understand visualization.

SugarSync competitive matrix example.

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3. 360iResearch

In this example, 360iResearch reports on survey management software. This is a competitor grid showing which companies have the best product satisfaction and business strategy.

360iResearch competitive matrix example.

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No competition, no progress.

Innately, competition feels unpleasant; however, that’s not all it has to be. It can lead to growth and make you look deeper into your business to find ways to improve. Competitive matrices are great tools to help you uncover how you’re different from your competitors. They show areas of improvement and where you excel. If you’re having trouble evaluating your company’s position in your industry, use this article and the above tools to help.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation

Content creation is what happens behind the scenes. It’s how Google can offer the perfect answer to your problem. It’s the videos you watch on YouTube after a tough day.

Download Now: 150+ Content Creation Templates [Free Kit]

Content creation is also what helps people discover your business, brand, and products.

And that content helps you attract, engage, and delight prospects and customers. It brings new visitors to your site and ultimately generates revenue for your company.

In other words, if you’re not creating content, then you’re behind the curve.

Why is content creation important?

Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.

You’re also generating some major value for your company, as these content marketing stats show:

  • Almost 40% of marketers say content marketing is an essential part of their marketing strategy. 81% say their company sees content as a business strategy.
  • B2B marketers have data that says content marketing is a successful tool for nurturing leads (60%), generating revenue (51%), and building an audience of subscribers (47%).
  • And 10% of marketers who blog say it generates the biggest return on investment.

Content equals business growth. So, let’s get started with the types of content you can create and then review your content strategy.

Content Creation Ideas

1. Blogs

One type of content creation (the kind you’re consuming right now, actually) is blog posts. Blogs can educate, entertain, and inspire your audience through the written word. When someone types a query in Google, the posts that pop up are usually blog posts.

Content creation ideas example: Blogs;

Content Creation Ideas for Blogs

Blogging is worth the time and effort, and 56% of marketers say that blogging is their most effective content strategy.

But it can be tough to narrow your focus and start writing. In addition to opinion pieces and product announcement posts, these are some proven ideas for blog content creation.

Answer a Question

If you’re not sure which question to answer first, start with questions from beginners. These can create a foundation you can use to continue growing your blog.Content creation ideas example: Answer questions

Another way to use questions as a starting point is to think about the questions you had when you were a beginner. Even questions from your more recent experience can help someone else in your industry.

Once you’ve figured out the right questions, write a complete answer. You might want to skim over the details, but this is where you can add the most value for your readers.

People are often shy about asking questions because they don’t want to sound foolish. Anticipating and answering their questions can help you earn their trust. It can also improve your search engine results.

Compare and Contrast Solutions to a Problem

Another way that you can serve your readers is by helping them make a decision. There are answers online, but it can sometimes feel like there are too many answers.

If you are an expert in your niche, you can share your expert opinion and help out buyers who want to make an informed purchase at the same time.

As you choose what you’re going to compare, make sure that the products have more similarities than differences.

For example, you wouldn’t want to compare a project management tool with email marketing software.

When you’re writing compare and contrast blogs for a product or service, be as open and transparent as you can. List all the possible positives and negatives you can think of. Then, get into detail about how you came to those decisions.

Teach Something

Some of the most popular blogs are educational. If you want to use your blog as a teaching tool, there are a few things you’ll want to think about.

As you choose a topic, it’s smart to start small. So, instead of covering a broad topic, choose a niche topic that people in your industry might be asking about.

For example, instead of writing about website design basics, write about how to design the home page for an automotive dealership.

As you start writing how-to blogs, there are a few things to remember:

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs and create a clear structure. This will make your instructions easier to follow.
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms if you can, and use examples to make new information easier to understand.
  • Keep in mind that your directions should be easy for a beginner to follow, so don’t skip steps or offer shortcuts.

These tips should help your readers learn and bring you more traffic and interest in your educational content.

Daily, Monthly, or Weekly Series

Writing a series of posts can be useful for your readers, and it can help you grow your blog. A series will usually run for a set period of time. You can choose to publish the series every day or on a set day every week or month.

A series can generate content that you can easily repurpose for other channels. For example, if you run a blog about social media, you could turn a blog series about Instagram Reels into a podcast, ebook, or video.

This strategy makes it simple to fully explore a particular topic. It’s useful for building internal and external links, and for establishing you as a thought leader.

Quizzes and Surveys

Blog surveys are a great way to collect feedback from your audience. This can help with more than website traffic.

Responses from quizzes and surveys can also help you:

  • Figure out other types of content your audience likes
  • Choose which products to promote and sell
  • Grow your social media following
  • Go viral with interactive content
  • Anticipate customer service issues

For an effective quiz or survey, define your goals before you start creating. Keeping your quizzes short and offering incentives can improve response rates.

Curated Content for Target Audiences

While your blog could appeal to just about anyone, your goal is to connect with your ideal buyer personas.

Curated content will make your most important audience members feel important. This could mean that this audience turns into a group of promoters who share your content and encourage others to buy your products.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to create curated content that’s specifically for this audience. For example, say you’re selling sandals. You’ll want to write different content for people who wear sandals year-round and people who only wear sandals at certain times of the year.

To curate your content, start with detailed buyer personas and competitor research. Next, create clusters of content that are just for that specific buyer persona.

Curated content is also where you’ll want to highlight quotes and insights from industry leaders. This content shouldn’t just inform a targeted audience. It should make them feel like they are part of an exclusive group.

If you’re looking for help curating your content, check out this useful list of tools.

Celebrate Wins

Most blogs are evergreen. This means that once you publish a blog on the internet, it can be a resource for many years. This makes blogs a great place to celebrate wins.

Whether you’re calling out top-performing employees or thanking customers, you can use your blog to celebrate.

Remember to celebrate the little things. Then use images, videos, and design to make celebration posts feel extra special.

2. Podcasts

Podcasts are like listening to the radio. But anyone can make and broadcast a podcast. This means that professional and beginner podcast hosts are competing for the same listening time.

But they also have a big audience, and 28% of Americans 12 years old and up listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.

Podcasts are extra interesting to listen to when the audience likes the host and wants to learn something from them. Keep reading for more podcast content creation ideas you might want to try.

Content creation ideas example: Podcast

Content Creation Ideas for Podcasts

Generally, a great podcast will center on a great idea and then expand on that topic with listener and expert feedback. Storytelling podcasts are popular, and so are educational podcasts.

If you are launching your first podcast, be sure to post with a consistent schedule. It’s also a good idea to follow the same structure for every episode.

Other than that, it’s about being your authentic self.

Thought Leadership

This type of podcast content centers on your professional experience. Be sure to include case studies and other real-life scenarios in this content.

Remember that your audience is listening in for different reasons and often have different levels of industry experience. So, offer insights for a range of listeners and share advice that you think your listeners could apply themselves.

Interview Influencers

If you want to add influencer interviews to your podcast, knowing who to interview comes first. Don’t just go for the biggest names. Instead, choose interesting guests who can offer value to your listeners.

Be sure to research your guests and ask original questions. For example, the success of the YouTube show “Hot Ones” comes in part from the well-researched questions its host asks each celebrity guest.

Other ways to get the most out of influencer interviews on your podcast include:

  • Asking for follower suggestions
  • Encouraging participation from your featured influencer’s followers
Discuss Trends

Trends are great content for a podcast. Whether you’re discussing a long-term trend or the latest fad, this is a smart context to show how your products are relevant to what’s new.

While many people listen to daily or weekly news podcasts, most podcasts are evergreen like a blog. Many podcast listeners will tune into a podcast years after the podcast was first released.

This means that you’ll want to tie trends to larger topics.

For example, Marketing Against the Grain covers trends like the creator economy on their podcast, but they talk about it as part of marketing as a whole. This strategy grounds what could be a fleeting trend into a topic with more staying power.

Contests and Giveaways

Contests give your podcast listeners a fun way to participate while also giving you a chance to grow your subscribers.

One way to launch a podcast contest is to post to social media about a prize or giveaway. Interactive contests where a listener can call in to be a part of the podcast are another option.

If you plan to offer a prize, make sure it’s unique and fitting for your unique audience.

3. Video

Whether you want to post videos on social media or YouTube, video marketing is a type of content creation that becomes more popular every year. Short-form and long-form videos both have their place in your content creation strategy. So, be sure to come up with ideas for both types of content.

Content Creation Ideas for Video

86% of video marketers say that video is effective for generating leads. This makes original video marketing an important strategy for anyone who is working on content creation.

Some solid video content ideas include behind-the-scenes or time-lapse videos. Let’s go over some other useful ideas for video content creation.

Animate Hard-To-Understand Ideas

Animation makes it easier to understand new or complex information. So, use video to show your viewers how your product works or to talk about the specific problem your product solves.

Choose scenarios that people can relate to that clearly connect to your product. Whether you choose to use digital animation or stop-motion, animation can bring a dry topic to life.

For example, tech products often solve problems that the average user doesn’t deal with every day, like a broken connection with an API.

But what about an animation of what happens when the wireless at home gets cut off? A video with this scenario could make that abstract idea easier for the average user to understand.

Repurpose Blog Content

Another quick video idea is to use the text from your most popular blog as a voiceover. Long blogs make great content for a video series.

You can also break up key points from blogs into bite-size videos for your social media posts.

Then, add your videos to your blog posts. This gives people who find your blog on search engines another alternative to get the information they’re looking for.

How-tos and Tutorials

How-to content is also very popular in video formats. To create a powerful instructional video, stick to short and specific steps. Don’t skip anything, but you also don’t want to overwhelm your viewers with extra information.

Use simple visual steps to help your viewers learn, and offer a clear call-to-action at the end.

It’s also a good idea to engage with the comments on these videos. This reassures your audience that you are available if they have more questions, and could help you come up with more video ideas.

Product Demos and Unusual Use Cases

Product demos can make it easier for potential customers to see how they can use your products. It’s also a chance for you to share some product design processes.

By sharing the problem you initially solved with your product, and how the solution changed through the process, you’re building a relationship with your viewers. This relationship builds trust and makes them more likely to engage with you and your products.

Show how your product works in an interesting way. For example, the “Will It Blend?” video series on YouTube was a winner for Blendtec because it didn’t just show the power of its blender.

They were inventive and asked for customer suggestions for each video. And the videos were blending objects you normally wouldn’t throw in a blender, like cell phones, golf balls, or glow sticks.

You can also personalize your video content. Video product demos are a great option for connecting individual customers to your products.

4. Graphics

In your blog posts, or in your social media posts, you might want to post original graphics. These can be infographics, photography, GIFs, memes, illustrations, or screenshots.

This type of content creation usually requires a graphic designer or a design tool to help you get the job done.

Content creation ideas example: Infographic

Image-based Content Creation Ideas

Photo and image-based posts are the content types businesses use most to increase audience engagement.

As you begin to create visual content, make sure you have a strong grasp of the basics. These include:

  • Choose the right subject to illustrate your idea
  • Think about composition
  • Use contrast and color
  • Keep it simple
Visual Storytelling

Visual content is great for quick storytelling. As you start to experiment with storytelling, remember to show, not tell.

For example, say you’re telling a story about meeting a tough sales goal. A picture of a sales rep talking on the phone won’t tell the story as well as an image of that same sales rep scaling a tall mountain.

Try to use setting, clothing, lighting, and motion to emphasize the action and drama of every scene in your images.

User-Generated Content

Fans of your products are often looking for ways to get involved. And there’s nothing like user-generated content to show your followers that you care about their opinions.

To get your users to create and share content for your brand, invite them to get involved. Try a custom hashtag or contest on social media to start. Email is also a great channel for collecting photos, quotes, and stories from your customers.

That said, don’t use content from users without asking for their permission. You also want to make sure you credit users for their contributions. Nothing can damage your relationship with a customer like using their images without consent.

Infographics

There is proof that data visualizations can decrease errors and improve learning and retention by as much as 80%.

If you want your content creation strategy to include infographics, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Choose the right data for your target audience
  • Choose the right graph or chart for your data
  • Do your research
  • Tell a simple visual story
  • Don’t add too much data
  • Make your main points easy to read and remember
Go Behind the Scenes

Sharing industry and product secrets is exciting and interesting for your readers. It’s also an interesting way to share information about how you make, package, and update your products.

To create visuals that take your audience behind the scenes, start with a plan. Whether you’re sharing photos from a tour of your manufacturing facility or documenting an average day on social media, make it cool.

Think about lighting, composition, and the little details. You don’t want a great product shot ruined by a big messy trash can or a warning sign in the background.

At the same time, make your images feel authentic. Don’t set up your photos in a space that feels too perfect to be real.

5. Content Offers

Another type of content is content offers. These are templates, whitepapers, worksheets, or ebooks that your visitors can download. This is gated content — meaning your audience will need to fill out a form and provide their email to have access to it.

Content creation ideas example: Content offer

Content Creation Ideas for Content Offers

67% of companies use lead generation as the primary metric for content success.

This means that you should combine any content creation efforts with content offers to draw new leads. The best lead magnets solve a problem for your followers. Usually, they solve urgent issues and offer lasting value to your target audience.

To be immediately useful to your users, a content offer should be specific and quick to use. It should also offer value that reflects your high level of understanding and expertise.

This will keep your audience coming back for more and help you convert more leads into delighted customers. These are some content offer ideas for you to start with.

Ebooks or White Papers

Long-form written content creation is where many businesses start for content offers.

Ebooks and white papers can give your readers a deeper understanding of a topic. They can also help them solve an urgent problem.

While ebooks can be intense projects, you can also use existing content, like blogs, to build your ebooks. A great ebook template can also speed up the process.

Original Research

Data drives many businesses, but not every business has the time or the resources to put together the data they need. You can use your knowledge and network to put together research that your visitors can use.

To create high-quality research you’ll need:

  • Goals for your research
  • A process for sampling and analyzing your data
  • Questions
  • A process for managing the project

It’s important to figure out how much time and what resources you’ll need to complete the research. A market research template can make it easier for you to organize and compile your research.

Then, you’ll want to decide the best format and channels to present your research to create a stellar content offer.

Tools and Templates

A great content offer helps your audience solve a problem faster than they could figure it out on their own. This makes tools like calculators, swipe files, and checklists invaluable. It means that your templates can be useful for your fans both now and later.

And these useful lead magnets don’t just give you a chance to help out your community. They’re also excellent resources for leads and to create advocates for your brand.

If someone uses one of your templates regularly, they’re more likely to tell someone else about it. This makes content offers a great way to grow your following by word of mouth. And word of mouth is one of the most trusted sources for consumers. This makes this type of content offer a win-win.

While some templates and tools need you to have advanced coding or technical knowledge, most are simple to put together. You can easily create a template with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs, tools most people use every day.

As you start building, keep in mind that creating something useful is more important than making it look perfect.

Kits and Workbooks

Once you’ve put together a few of the resources listed above, you might be ready to create a larger content offer.

Kits and workbook content offers usually include a range of different resources that work together. For example, say you’ve made a few different templates for social media captions on different platforms. You can put these together to create the ultimate social media caption kit.

To keep your leads from getting information overload, think about structure. It’s a good idea to break your kit or workbook into bite-sized pieces. You’ll also want to use graphics and other media to break up dense sections of text to keep things engaging.

A workbook or kit might also include:

  • Worksheets
  • A Q&A
  • Checklists
  • Schedules
  • Journal prompts

Content Planning and Strategy

You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, a sculpture without a sketch, or a company without a mission statement. So, there should be no content creation without a plan. Otherwise, you risk getting derailed from your objective.

A content strategy includes everything from brand and tone to how you will promote your content and eventually repurpose it. Let’s go over how to create your content plan, step-by-step.

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Set your content goals.

Similar to a traditional marketing campaign, your content strategy should be centered on your marketing goals (which should, in turn, be derived from your company goals).

Your goals could range from attracting more visitors to your site to generating more leads to anything in between — as long as they’re SMART goals. An example of this kind of goal would be to increase organic traffic to the blog by 25% in the next quarter.

Content creation strategy example: SMART goals

Once you determine that, each piece of content you create should be aligned with your goal and contribute to your desired outcome.

In sum, start with your goals, then create your content.

Create a buyer persona.

Building a content strategy is more than considering what type of content you want to create. You first need to know who you’re speaking to, how you want to speak to them, and where to find them.

Content creation strategy example: Buyer personas

The key to creating successful inbound content is to make each reader feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

The only way to do this is to get intimate with your visitors, leads, and customers — you need to know them like you know an old friend. You should be aware of their obstacles, their pain points, their challenges, and their fears. Similarly, you should understand their best possible outcome, their dream solution, and their biggest fantasies.

Always remember that you are marketing to humans that want to feel connected.

Ideally, you’d know and be able to speak directly to every individual that visits your website, but you can’t. The solution? Create a buyer persona.

Your buyer persona is the person that you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character serves as a representation of your target audience, i.e., the people who are most likely to benefit from your message and become customers.

Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research, some guesswork, and tweaking. But the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to and someone who will happily consume your content.

Not sure where to start? Use Make My Persona to build out your buyer persona.

Rely on the buyer’s journey.

If you’ve ever had a headache, the first thing you likely did was try to figure out the cause. Perhaps you were dehydrated, or caffeine-depleted, or maybe you were sick. After you diagnosed the problem, you moved on to solutions — drink some water, grab an espresso, or take some medicine. Finally, you decide between solutions: Evian or tap water? Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee? Aleve or Tylenol? Hopefully, your headache then subsided and you were able to go about your day.

This is a representation of the buyer’s journey. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution — that path involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. But each of your prospects is in a different part of that journey, so it’s important to use your content to appeal to each stage.

Content creation strategy example: Buyer’s journey

By creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re ensuring that no visitors fall through the cracks and that every individual that comes to your site feels like they are receiving relevant, useful information.

You also want to select a format for your content so that it’s tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey. A new visitor in the awareness stage won’t want a live demo of your product, but they would read a quick checklist or blog post that helps them better understand their problem. A prospect in the decision stage doesn’t need to know about all the possible solutions, they need a consultation or demo that shows them that your product is the right solution. Always meet your audience where they are.

Here’s a guide to the best content formats for each stage of the buyer’s journey:

Content creation strategy: Content examples for stages of the buyer journey

Perform a content audit.

Whether you’ve been creating content for a while without any clear direction or you’ve been following a strategy all along, every marketing department can benefit from a content audit. Just because you didn’t start out with a clearly defined strategy doesn’t mean that the content you already have won’t fit into one.

A content audit is simply taking inventory of the work you’ve already done, then organizing it to fit under your new content plan.

The process might involve some re-writing, or it could reveal gaps that need to be filled with content that appeals to your persona and their journey stage.

Here’s how you’d perform your content audit:

  1. Gather all of your content in a spreadsheet.
  2. Create columns for target keywords, buyer persona, buyer’s journey stage, format, and main topic, then fill these in for each content piece.
  3. Add columns for your key metrics, like page views, shares, engagement, etc.
  4. Finally, categorize each post (using highlights or another column) by those that are doing well, need improvement, should be rewritten, or can be merged with another post.

While a content audit may seem tedious, all the manual labor will be worth the increased traffic and leads. Plus, you’ll have a verified plan moving forward.

If this process seems a bit overwhelming, check out this post for some more guidance.

Choose the right format.

Remember that buyer persona you created? You’re creating content for them. That means you should be crafting content in a format that is most easily and enjoyably consumed by your prospects.

The format you choose might be a blog post, video, Slideshare, graphic, ebook, whitepaper, podcast, or whatever your creative mind can conceive. As long as it serves your persona, you’ll be in good shape.

Also, you don’t need to stick to one format for every piece of content that you create. But you should be able to create content — in whatever format — on a consistent cadence. What I mean is, a podcast series might be a great marketing tactic, but if you lack the resources (and patience) to stick to it, then a blog might be a better route.

Digital content creation is the process of choosing the format (usually digital), and then utilizing the right tools to publish and promote your content online.

Use these questions as a guide when choosing your content format:

  • What stage of the buyer’s journey is this for?
  • How easy is it for your audience to consume this content?
  • Where does your persona spend their time online?
  • What format can you create on a consistent basis?
  • Are you able to produce this content at a quality level that’s competitive?

Choose capable content creators.

At this point, you’re ready to start creating content, but first, you’ll need to build a team of content creators. To get started, categorize the type of content you want to create and the type of content creator it takes to produce that content. Below is an example list:

  • Blogs — Writer
  • Social media posts — Social media coordinator
  • Podcasts — Podcast host/producer
  • Graphics — Graphic designer
  • Webinars/Lead Magnets — Lead acquisition expert (content offer producer)
  • Videos — Videographer/editor

As you can see, there are many different types of content creators you’ll need to either outsource or hire to produce high-quality content that converts your audience from viewers to customers.

In many organizations, there is one person responsible for a lot of this content, and that is a content marketing strategist. While having one content marketing strategist might make sense, expecting one person to be able to produce all of that content doesn’t.

The best way to go about content creation is to collaborate with freelancers, use influencer marketing to increase your audience reach, and hire a content strategist (or several preferably) to help you organize your content creation.

Promote your content.

What good is it to create all this great content if no one sees it? In a perfect world, herds of people would flock to your site every time you published a new post. In reality — especially when you’re just starting out — you’ll need to entice people to consume your content and even shepherd them into your online space.

Hence why content promotion is just as important to your strategy as whatever content you create.

Your promotion plan should be guided by your persona. Where do they spend their time online? What time of day do they use a particular platform? How often do they want to see content from you? How do they like to consume content? What email subject lines get them to click?

Content promotion varies by medium, and there are specific rules to follow for each.

Social Media

While social media is a relationship-building tool, it can be used to promote content. It’s all about finding the right balance between self-promotion, sharing useful information, and entertainment. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are all great mediums to both create and share relevant content. The key is modifying that content to fit the platform.

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Email Marketing

Email is one of the best ways to reach your audience for any reason, especially to promote content. The reason is anyone on your email list has opted in to hear from you and you can guarantee that they’ll get your messages. Better yet, you can improve your open rates by sending relevant content to segmented lists, meaning they’ll be eager to read everything you send their way.

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Paid Promotion

Pay-per-click (PPC) helps you get your content in front of new audiences through targeted, paid advertisements. These ads can run on social media, search engines, or other websites. Once you define your buyer persona, you’ll want to go the paid route so as not to waste money targeting uninterested parties. Once you have your audience down, paid promotion can yield a great ROI.

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Syndication

Getting your content promoted through authoritative, third-party channels is a great way to build your audience. Syndication gets your brand in front of fresh eyes (and wallets) that you wouldn’t otherwise reach with your own efforts.

Repurpose your content.

When you repurpose content, you’re reusing something you spent a lot of time creating and transforming it in various formats so that it can be more widely consumed.

Think of it as recycling. You want to spend less time creating and more time getting your content in front of your audience. For example, that blog post that you wrote on marketing stats can also serve as a great infographic or even a video.

If you created something in one format, try to think of all the other ways that you could reuse that information that might be just as effective.

Creating a Content Plan

Content exists everywhere, but its success relies on your ability to adapt it to the medium on which it lives. One size does not fit all when it comes to posting on different mediums — or the platforms within those mediums, for that matter.

Social media content varies from blog content, which is different than website content. So, you need to know how to tailor your creation to reach your audience where they are.

Let’s dive into some guidelines for sharing content on various platforms.

Social Media Content

There is an art to creating content for social media. But it’s well worth your time since there are 3.96 billion users across social media platforms worldwide. Plus, someone who follows you on social media is like a warm lead — they already like you and are interested in what you have to say. So, you have an eager audience that’s ready to engage with your content.

Here are a few quick tips for creating content on some popular social channels.

1. Facebook

Facebook can be used to build micro-communities via Facebook Groups or to share to a mass audience on Facebook Pages. When it comes to sharing content, questions and videos reap the most engagement.

2. Instagram

Instagram is best for sharing high-quality imagery and short videos with brief captions. Hashtags work well on this platform as long as they’re relevant to your account and business. Instagram Stories has introduced a new way to engage with your followers, from quick polls to questions to real-time videos.

3. YouTube

YouTube has 1.3 billion users and counting. Users frequent this platform to watch content ranging from DIY videos to parodies. Some of the most successful content on this platform are how-to guides, vlogs, product reviews, and educational videos.

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4. TikTok

TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms of our time. It’s best known for fun, short-form videos. It can be used to engage with your Millennial or Gen Z audience.

5. Twitter

Twitter best practices include short messages, supporting images, relevant hashtags, and retweets. And, of course, replies go a long way to win over your audience.

Website Content

Website content should focus on three things: your persona, your target keywords, and your solution.

Like your blog content, the copy on your website needs to guide visitors to your solution in a cohesive and natural way.

Think of web content like a map to your product.

Be careful not to turn visitors away through social media feeds and other distracting elements. Once you’ve attracted a potential customer, you must do everything you can to keep them there, and that’s the key function of your website content.

Blog Content

The purpose of blog content is to support your business by attracting strangers and bringing in qualified leads.

Blog content is a free resource that’s not often directly tied to sales, but don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted blog to ultimately generate revenue for your business.

Research shows that companies that blog more get more traffic and more leads than those that don’t.

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The Content Creation Process

We, marketers, are busy. We don’t have time to waste on inefficient systems. That’s why we create processes for everything we do. We devise a system, roll it out, tweak it until it works, then repeat that system over and over to generate the results we want.

Think about every marketing campaign you’ve ever done — webinars, autoresponders, surveys. Each of them had a process. Content creation is no different.

Follow these steps to create content, remove the guesswork, and allow for more creative mental space.

The content creation process

1. SEO Research

Creating your buyer persona likely gave you some ideas about what topics to write about and what questions your audience might have, which is a great start.

Now, you need to confirm if those ideas can apply on a bigger scale to a larger audience. Sure, it would be great to write a blog post directed toward a single person, but, boy, would it be a waste of energy.

SEO research — a.k.a. keyword research — will show you the search volume of a specific keyword phrase and whether it’s worth the investment of creating a piece of content around it.

A good way to go about keyword research is to write down some questions that your persona might have based on their obstacles and goals.

Then, perform some keyword research around those queries to see if enough people are searching for them.

Content creation process: Keyword research

A good approach is to target keywords that are attainable, meaning that they have a monthly search volume (MSV) and keyword difficulty that corresponds to your domain authority.

Trying to target high volume (read: highly competitive) keywords when you’ve just started blogging won’t pan out too well for you.

Before we go any further, let’s detour into a quick-and-dirty SEO explanation:

One important factor that helps you to rank in search engines is domain authority. You gain domain authority by how many external sites link back to your content.

In order for this to happen, you need to have a pretty large library of content that is valuable enough to cite.

That means, the longer you write high-quality content, the higher your domain authority and the easier it is to rank for highly competitive keywords that will put you on the first page of Google.

If you’re not quite there yet, the best thing to do is to target long-tail, low-volume keywords with minimal keyword difficulty (<50) — we’re talking 200-1000 MSV. This will give you the best chance at ranking for keywords and getting your content in front of more people.

SEO lesson concluded. Back to our scheduled programming.

There are a few ways you could perform your keyword research:

  • Use keyword research tools, like SEMRush or Moz Keyword Explorer.
  • Type your keyword into a search engine and take note of the auto-filled queries.
  • Check out the related searches section on search engine results pages (SERPs).

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2. Ideation

Now that you’ve determined which keywords to target, it’s time to brainstorm some content ideas.

HubSpot research shows that the best way to organize content is through topic clusters, meaning you create a long-form, comprehensive pillar page based on a keyword that then links to content you’ve created on related subtopics (think blog posts).

Content creation process: Topic clusters

To illustrate the point, it looks something like this. The topic cluster model makes brainstorming because it gives you a structure to follow.

You can use your main keyword to create a pillar piece that covers that topic in-depth, like … say a guide to content creation. Then, you can create shorter pieces of content like:

  • Infographics
  • Blog posts
  • Templates

These will help your audience dive deeper into the topic and target long-tail keywords.

If you’re stumped for ideas, you might want to consider looking for inspiration from books you’ve read, industry studies, your competitor’s sites, or related searches on SERPs.

Once you have all of your ideas down, you can develop your editorial calendar and start creating.

3. Writing

Your specific content creation strength might be videos or graphics or podcasts, but writing is the foundation of most content generation. Whatever content you make, the creation process follows some pretty similar guidelines.

Let’s go over some helpful tips for great content creation.

Write to your persona.

Use their voice, their euphemisms, even their humor to construct a piece that resonates.

Tell your audience why your content is important to them.

Use titles, meta descriptions, and other teasers to compel your audience to read your content. Put the benefit of your content right in the title to let them know why they should read it.

Create something unique.

Don’t just regurgitate the information that’s already out there. Infuse a unique style or cite new research to emphasize your points.

Stick to one idea.

Then, use your content to reinforce it. Don’t confuse your reader by going on tangents or trying to explain multiple semi-related topics in a single piece.

Stay true to your voice.

Don’t try to impress your audience with eloquent prose or an expansive vocabulary if they don’t speak that way.

Be clear and concise.

You want your audience to relate to you and derive value from your content. So, don’t ask them to sift through jargon or confusing metaphors.

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4. Editing

The way you edit your (or others’) work is a very subjective process. You may want to edit as you go, or you might wait a few days and review the work with fresh eyes. You might care a great deal about grammar, or you might aim for a more colloquial piece.

Either way, there are a few things that you should definitely look out for as you refine your content, like active voice, clear language, short sentences, and plenty of whitespace. Consider having a colleague or manager review your work, too.

Some tools that will help you cut down on your editing time are Grammarly and Hemingway Editor.

5. Uploading

Now that your content is ready, you’ll need to put it somewhere that people can access it. A content management system (CMS) is software that hosts digital content and allows you to display it on your website (or anywhere else on the web).

Content creation process: CMS upload

The benefit to a CMS is that it connects all of your content and stores it in one place. So, you can easily link to a landing page in your blog article or insert a content offer in an email.

Not only that, but you can analyze the results of all the content you created for a specific campaign (which can help with content audits). A CMS saves you from having a disjointed content marketing system.

For example, CMS Hub is home to our blog, where you get access to all of our great content and useful free offers.

6. Publishing

Publishing content is as simple as clicking a button. So, why include a section on it? Well, because it’s not always that simple.

You can publish your content immediately after uploading, or you can maximize its impact by waiting for an optimal time. If you’re just starting out, then clicking publish right away probably won’t impact your audience too much.

But if you have committed to a regular publishing schedule, like delivering a new post every Wednesday, your audience will expect to see posts published on Wednesdays.

Something else to keep in mind is to publish according to trends or time-sensitive events. For example, if you create content about national holidays or current events, then you’ll want to publish those at specific times.

A CMS will allow you to schedule posts for a future date and specific time, so you can click, schedule, and forget.

7. Promoting Content

Finally, it’s time to promote the content you’ve created. You can do this through various mediums including social media, email marketing, and even pay-per-click advertising.

To promote your content, think about what channels your audience is on. Are they on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube? Wherever it might be, it’s important to meet them where they’re at and promote your content on that medium.

Additionally, collaborating with influencers or other brands will help you promote your content and reach more people.

Analyzing Your Content

The final, and arguably most important step in content creation is analyzing your content. Without data, you can’t know what’s working or how to improve it.

There are several data points you could track when analyzing your content, so use your goals as a guide to set some parameters. Whatever you want to accomplish with your content will help you choose your metrics. (Remember that initial goal we talked about?)

What you analyze is completely up to you, but here are some ideas for metrics to track:

Page Views

The number of users that visit your content. For blog posts this page views, but for any type of content, there is usually a “views” metric that will let you know how many times your content has been viewed and by how many unique users.

Organic Traffic

The amount of traffic that comes from search engines. This is unpaid traffic that you get from ranking high on Google or other search engines.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors who leave your site after visiting only one page. This is an important metric to track because it can let you know that people are interested in clicking your posts, but then the content is immediately unsatisfying.

Conversion Rates

The percent of visitors that engage with a CTA — whether it’s a content offer, or filling out a form.

Engagement Rates

The number of people that interact with your content through likes, shares, comments, or in other ways.

Audience Growth

The new subscribers or leads that are generated from a piece of content.

Time On Page

The amount of time a user is on your page, whether it’s a blog post, or a video (for video content this might be average watch time). It’s important to keep track of where users drop off. Do they stay on the page long enough to read the post or consume the content?

Paid Campaigns

The amount of traffic that comes in from paid campaigns. If you sponsor posts on social media or pay for search engine ads, it’s important to track how much traffic comes from those campaigns.

If you need more tips on analyzing your content, check out this free HubSpot Academy course.

Content Creation Tools

While a CMS will help you manage your content, it won’t help you create it. That’s where content creation tools come in handy. These are especially useful if you’re artistically impaired, like me, or if you don’t have the capacity to hire help. From GIFs to infographics, these content creation tools will help you look like a professional, regardless of what kind of content you’re making.

1. Make My Persona

MakeMyPersona is HubSpot’s own nifty tool that will walk you through the process of creating your buyer persona. You can generate a document to reference throughout your content creation process.

2. Blog Ideas Generator

This free tool from HubSpot can give you a full year of blog post ideas in just a few seconds. All you need to do is add a few nouns to get smart and relevant ideas for your blog. This is super helpful, especially if you get stuck while putting together your editorial calendar.

3. Canva

Canva will help you create beautiful designs for any platform, from social ads to Facebook cover photos to infographics. The software features aesthetically pleasing templates that you can customize with colors, images, and text … for free.

4. Giphy

Giphy The GIF has replaced emojis as a completely normal form of communication, and, therefore, an acceptable way to present content. Giphy allows you to search millions of pre-created GIFs in their database or even create your own.

5. Vidyard

Vidyard is a video hosting platform that was made for marketers. The software allows you to customize your video by adding overlays, text, or CTA buttons, split test, transcription, and it also has SEO features.

6. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is a leading survey creation platform. Why might you need such a thing? Because a good marketer knows that customer feedback is critical to an effective marketing campaign.

7. Anchor

Anchor is a podcasting tool for beginners. It’s free, allows you to record and store unlimited episodes, and you can easily upload to any third-party platform.

This is far from an exhaustive list of all the great content creation tools out there — this list of content marketing tools is even better!

Content Creation Examples

Now that you’ve got a strong foundation for your content planning, strategy, creation, and analysis, it’s time to get inspired. These are some of our favorite examples of great content.

1. HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers free online training, teaching marketing, sales, and customer service. It offers a range of valuable certifications and its teachers are leading experts in their fields.

Many courses are short and self-paced, giving users a chance to learn topics in less than 30 minutes.

Content creation example: HubSpot Academy

Why HubSpot Academy is great content creation: If you’re new to marketing, HubSpot’s training is the top industry standard. These courses are also free, which makes them accessible for anyone who wants to learn.

Not every student will become a customer, but every student can experience the impact of these lessons. This means that every student has the potential to become a vocal advocate for the HubSpot brand.

2. Whiteboard Friday, Moz

For 10+ years, Moz has created content for Whiteboard Fridays. Rand Fishkin started this series, and members of the Moz team continue to teach weekly sessions about SEO and marketing.

In this video and blog series, an actual whiteboard takes center stage. The whiteboard features an outline of that Friday’s topic, and then the host breaks the topic down in more detail.

Content creation example: Whiteboard Friday

Why Whiteboard Fridays are great content creation: This series uses a simple and consistent visual tool to draw the audience in. They use that format to teach valuable ideas that a wide range of people can use.

This series also lends itself to many different formats. The whiteboard outline can become an infographic, the video narration can be broadcast as a podcast, and the transcript from the video can become a blog for people who’d rather read than watch.

3. Home Buying Stories, NerdWallet

Whether you’re in Seattle, Des Moines, or Madison, it can be tough to buy a home. Besides the initial investment, homebuyers have a range of personal and financial questions they need to process.

This blog series interviews first-time homebuyers in different cities. Each post asks the same questions, but also offers a unique window into the challenge of buying a home. They cover the surprises, challenges, and gifts that come with this intense process.

Content creation example: NerdWallet

Why Home Buying Stories are great content creation: Besides offering useful content with a personal touch, this series is an excellent strategy for growing traffic. The series offers a range of ideas to solve a common problem.

Content creation example: News example for home buying stories

At the same time, it’s a topic that’s a regular feature in local news, which means this content is often shared with new audiences.

4. Creative Routines, InfoWeTrust

This attractive infographic uses research to show the habits and schedules of creative thinkers from the past. It’s a stunning example of how an infographic can make data easier to understand and use.

Content creation example: Creative routines

Why Creative Routines is great content creation: Besides showing the value of InfoWeTrust’s services, this content teaches us something. It makes data that could be difficult to understand easy to consume and remember.

It’s also super shareable. People shared this infographic in the press, on blogs, and on social media. This kind of mass appeal is how brands go viral.

5. Trending Quizzes, BuzzFeed

Raise your hand if you’ve taken a Buzzfeed quiz. Quizzes are interactive, so they get your audience involved. They’re also games, and gamification is more popular than ever.

Past quizzes from this dynamic brand include:

  • Correctly Answering These 11 Logic Questions Means You Have A High IQ
  • If You’ve Read Over 28 Of These Books From Back In The Day, You’re A Proper Bookworm
  • If You Did 23/31 Things On This List As A Teen, You Were Definitely A Rebel

Each quiz is unique and appeals to a different buyer persona. At the same time, these quizzes are fun, quick, and easy to share.

Content creation example: Buzzfeed Quizzes

Why Buzzfeed quizzes are great content creation: They created design templates that made it easy for people to create and share their own quizzes. Not everyone is great with Photoshop, and these templates made quizzes great to look at. By appealing to both the mind and the eye, they broadened the appeal of their quizzes.

But what’s most important is that people talk about quizzes. When someone takes a quiz, Buzzfeed makes it easy to share the results, which continues to expand that conversation.

Start Creating

Content creation is an iterative process that pays off tremendously with your audience. Once you have the content creation process down, you’ll be able to generate creative work that not only delights your audience but also grows your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

content templates

The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation

Content creation is what happens behind the scenes. It’s how Google can offer the perfect answer to your problem. It’s the videos you watch on YouTube after a tough day.

Download Now: 150+ Content Creation Templates [Free Kit]

Content creation is also what helps people discover your business, brand, and products.

And that content helps you attract, engage, and delight prospects and customers. It brings new visitors to your site and ultimately generates revenue for your company.

In other words, if you’re not creating content, then you’re behind the curve.

Why is content creation important?

Content creation is the ultimate inbound marketing practice. When you create content, you’re providing free and useful information to your audience, attracting potential customers to your website, and retaining existing customers through quality engagement.

You’re also generating some major value for your company, as these content marketing stats show:

  • Almost 40% of marketers say content marketing is an essential part of their marketing strategy. 81% say their company sees content as a business strategy.
  • B2B marketers have data that says content marketing is a successful tool for nurturing leads (60%), generating revenue (51%), and building an audience of subscribers (47%).
  • And 10% of marketers who blog say it generates the biggest return on investment.

Content equals business growth. So, let’s get started with the types of content you can create and then review your content strategy.

Content Creation Ideas

1. Blogs

One type of content creation (the kind you’re consuming right now, actually) is blog posts. Blogs can educate, entertain, and inspire your audience through the written word. When someone types a query in Google, the posts that pop up are usually blog posts.

Content creation ideas example: Blogs;

Content Creation Ideas for Blogs

Blogging is worth the time and effort, and 56% of marketers say that blogging is their most effective content strategy.

But it can be tough to narrow your focus and start writing. In addition to opinion pieces and product announcement posts, these are some proven ideas for blog content creation.

Answer a Question

If you’re not sure which question to answer first, start with questions from beginners. These can create a foundation you can use to continue growing your blog.Content creation ideas example: Answer questions

Another way to use questions as a starting point is to think about the questions you had when you were a beginner. Even questions from your more recent experience can help someone else in your industry.

Once you’ve figured out the right questions, write a complete answer. You might want to skim over the details, but this is where you can add the most value for your readers.

People are often shy about asking questions because they don’t want to sound foolish. Anticipating and answering their questions can help you earn their trust. It can also improve your search engine results.

Compare and Contrast Solutions to a Problem

Another way that you can serve your readers is by helping them make a decision. There are answers online, but it can sometimes feel like there are too many answers.

If you are an expert in your niche, you can share your expert opinion and help out buyers who want to make an informed purchase at the same time.

As you choose what you’re going to compare, make sure that the products have more similarities than differences.

For example, you wouldn’t want to compare a project management tool with email marketing software.

When you’re writing compare and contrast blogs for a product or service, be as open and transparent as you can. List all the possible positives and negatives you can think of. Then, get into detail about how you came to those decisions.

Teach Something

Some of the most popular blogs are educational. If you want to use your blog as a teaching tool, there are a few things you’ll want to think about.

As you choose a topic, it’s smart to start small. So, instead of covering a broad topic, choose a niche topic that people in your industry might be asking about.

For example, instead of writing about website design basics, write about how to design the home page for an automotive dealership.

As you start writing how-to blogs, there are a few things to remember:

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs and create a clear structure. This will make your instructions easier to follow.
  • Avoid jargon and technical terms if you can, and use examples to make new information easier to understand.
  • Keep in mind that your directions should be easy for a beginner to follow, so don’t skip steps or offer shortcuts.

These tips should help your readers learn and bring you more traffic and interest in your educational content.

Daily, Monthly, or Weekly Series

Writing a series of posts can be useful for your readers, and it can help you grow your blog. A series will usually run for a set period of time. You can choose to publish the series every day or on a set day every week or month.

A series can generate content that you can easily repurpose for other channels. For example, if you run a blog about social media, you could turn a blog series about Instagram Reels into a podcast, ebook, or video.

This strategy makes it simple to fully explore a particular topic. It’s useful for building internal and external links, and for establishing you as a thought leader.

Quizzes and Surveys

Blog surveys are a great way to collect feedback from your audience. This can help with more than website traffic.

Responses from quizzes and surveys can also help you:

  • Figure out other types of content your audience likes
  • Choose which products to promote and sell
  • Grow your social media following
  • Go viral with interactive content
  • Anticipate customer service issues

For an effective quiz or survey, define your goals before you start creating. Keeping your quizzes short and offering incentives can improve response rates.

Curated Content for Target Audiences

While your blog could appeal to just about anyone, your goal is to connect with your ideal buyer personas.

Curated content will make your most important audience members feel important. This could mean that this audience turns into a group of promoters who share your content and encourage others to buy your products.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to create curated content that’s specifically for this audience. For example, say you’re selling sandals. You’ll want to write different content for people who wear sandals year-round and people who only wear sandals at certain times of the year.

To curate your content, start with detailed buyer personas and competitor research. Next, create clusters of content that are just for that specific buyer persona.

Curated content is also where you’ll want to highlight quotes and insights from industry leaders. This content shouldn’t just inform a targeted audience. It should make them feel like they are part of an exclusive group.

If you’re looking for help curating your content, check out this useful list of tools.

Celebrate Wins

Most blogs are evergreen. This means that once you publish a blog on the internet, it can be a resource for many years. This makes blogs a great place to celebrate wins.

Whether you’re calling out top-performing employees or thanking customers, you can use your blog to celebrate.

Remember to celebrate the little things. Then use images, videos, and design to make celebration posts feel extra special.

2. Podcasts

Podcasts are like listening to the radio. But anyone can make and broadcast a podcast. This means that professional and beginner podcast hosts are competing for the same listening time.

But they also have a big audience, and 28% of Americans 12 years old and up listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.

Podcasts are extra interesting to listen to when the audience likes the host and wants to learn something from them. Keep reading for more podcast content creation ideas you might want to try.

Content creation ideas example: Podcast

Content Creation Ideas for Podcasts

Generally, a great podcast will center on a great idea and then expand on that topic with listener and expert feedback. Storytelling podcasts are popular, and so are educational podcasts.

If you are launching your first podcast, be sure to post with a consistent schedule. It’s also a good idea to follow the same structure for every episode.

Other than that, it’s about being your authentic self.

Thought Leadership

This type of podcast content centers on your professional experience. Be sure to include case studies and other real-life scenarios in this content.

Remember that your audience is listening in for different reasons and often have different levels of industry experience. So, offer insights for a range of listeners and share advice that you think your listeners could apply themselves.

Interview Influencers

If you want to add influencer interviews to your podcast, knowing who to interview comes first. Don’t just go for the biggest names. Instead, choose interesting guests who can offer value to your listeners.

Be sure to research your guests and ask original questions. For example, the success of the YouTube show “Hot Ones” comes in part from the well-researched questions its host asks each celebrity guest.

Other ways to get the most out of influencer interviews on your podcast include:

  • Asking for follower suggestions
  • Encouraging participation from your featured influencer’s followers
Discuss Trends

Trends are great content for a podcast. Whether you’re discussing a long-term trend or the latest fad, this is a smart context to show how your products are relevant to what’s new.

While many people listen to daily or weekly news podcasts, most podcasts are evergreen like a blog. Many podcast listeners will tune into a podcast years after the podcast was first released.

This means that you’ll want to tie trends to larger topics.

For example, Marketing Against the Grain covers trends like the creator economy on their podcast, but they talk about it as part of marketing as a whole. This strategy grounds what could be a fleeting trend into a topic with more staying power.

Contests and Giveaways

Contests give your podcast listeners a fun way to participate while also giving you a chance to grow your subscribers.

One way to launch a podcast contest is to post to social media about a prize or giveaway. Interactive contests where a listener can call in to be a part of the podcast are another option.

If you plan to offer a prize, make sure it’s unique and fitting for your unique audience.

3. Video

Whether you want to post videos on social media or YouTube, video marketing is a type of content creation that becomes more popular every year. Short-form and long-form videos both have their place in your content creation strategy. So, be sure to come up with ideas for both types of content.

Content Creation Ideas for Video

86% of video marketers say that video is effective for generating leads. This makes original video marketing an important strategy for anyone who is working on content creation.

Some solid video content ideas include behind-the-scenes or time-lapse videos. Let’s go over some other useful ideas for video content creation.

Animate Hard-To-Understand Ideas

Animation makes it easier to understand new or complex information. So, use video to show your viewers how your product works or to talk about the specific problem your product solves.

Choose scenarios that people can relate to that clearly connect to your product. Whether you choose to use digital animation or stop-motion, animation can bring a dry topic to life.

For example, tech products often solve problems that the average user doesn’t deal with every day, like a broken connection with an API.

But what about an animation of what happens when the wireless at home gets cut off? A video with this scenario could make that abstract idea easier for the average user to understand.

Repurpose Blog Content

Another quick video idea is to use the text from your most popular blog as a voiceover. Long blogs make great content for a video series.

You can also break up key points from blogs into bite-size videos for your social media posts.

Then, add your videos to your blog posts. This gives people who find your blog on search engines another alternative to get the information they’re looking for.

How-tos and Tutorials

How-to content is also very popular in video formats. To create a powerful instructional video, stick to short and specific steps. Don’t skip anything, but you also don’t want to overwhelm your viewers with extra information.

Use simple visual steps to help your viewers learn, and offer a clear call-to-action at the end.

It’s also a good idea to engage with the comments on these videos. This reassures your audience that you are available if they have more questions, and could help you come up with more video ideas.

Product Demos and Unusual Use Cases

Product demos can make it easier for potential customers to see how they can use your products. It’s also a chance for you to share some product design processes.

By sharing the problem you initially solved with your product, and how the solution changed through the process, you’re building a relationship with your viewers. This relationship builds trust and makes them more likely to engage with you and your products.

Show how your product works in an interesting way. For example, the “Will It Blend?” video series on YouTube was a winner for Blendtec because it didn’t just show the power of its blender.

They were inventive and asked for customer suggestions for each video. And the videos were blending objects you normally wouldn’t throw in a blender, like cell phones, golf balls, or glow sticks.

You can also personalize your video content. Video product demos are a great option for connecting individual customers to your products.

4. Graphics

In your blog posts, or in your social media posts, you might want to post original graphics. These can be infographics, photography, GIFs, memes, illustrations, or screenshots.

This type of content creation usually requires a graphic designer or a design tool to help you get the job done.

Content creation ideas example: Infographic

Image-based Content Creation Ideas

Photo and image-based posts are the content types businesses use most to increase audience engagement.

As you begin to create visual content, make sure you have a strong grasp of the basics. These include:

  • Choose the right subject to illustrate your idea
  • Think about composition
  • Use contrast and color
  • Keep it simple
Visual Storytelling

Visual content is great for quick storytelling. As you start to experiment with storytelling, remember to show, not tell.

For example, say you’re telling a story about meeting a tough sales goal. A picture of a sales rep talking on the phone won’t tell the story as well as an image of that same sales rep scaling a tall mountain.

Try to use setting, clothing, lighting, and motion to emphasize the action and drama of every scene in your images.

User-Generated Content

Fans of your products are often looking for ways to get involved. And there’s nothing like user-generated content to show your followers that you care about their opinions.

To get your users to create and share content for your brand, invite them to get involved. Try a custom hashtag or contest on social media to start. Email is also a great channel for collecting photos, quotes, and stories from your customers.

That said, don’t use content from users without asking for their permission. You also want to make sure you credit users for their contributions. Nothing can damage your relationship with a customer like using their images without consent.

Infographics

There is proof that data visualizations can decrease errors and improve learning and retention by as much as 80%.

If you want your content creation strategy to include infographics, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Choose the right data for your target audience
  • Choose the right graph or chart for your data
  • Do your research
  • Tell a simple visual story
  • Don’t add too much data
  • Make your main points easy to read and remember
Go Behind the Scenes

Sharing industry and product secrets is exciting and interesting for your readers. It’s also an interesting way to share information about how you make, package, and update your products.

To create visuals that take your audience behind the scenes, start with a plan. Whether you’re sharing photos from a tour of your manufacturing facility or documenting an average day on social media, make it cool.

Think about lighting, composition, and the little details. You don’t want a great product shot ruined by a big messy trash can or a warning sign in the background.

At the same time, make your images feel authentic. Don’t set up your photos in a space that feels too perfect to be real.

5. Content Offers

Another type of content is content offers. These are templates, whitepapers, worksheets, or ebooks that your visitors can download. This is gated content — meaning your audience will need to fill out a form and provide their email to have access to it.

Content creation ideas example: Content offer

Content Creation Ideas for Content Offers

67% of companies use lead generation as the primary metric for content success.

This means that you should combine any content creation efforts with content offers to draw new leads. The best lead magnets solve a problem for your followers. Usually, they solve urgent issues and offer lasting value to your target audience.

To be immediately useful to your users, a content offer should be specific and quick to use. It should also offer value that reflects your high level of understanding and expertise.

This will keep your audience coming back for more and help you convert more leads into delighted customers. These are some content offer ideas for you to start with.

Ebooks or White Papers

Long-form written content creation is where many businesses start for content offers.

Ebooks and white papers can give your readers a deeper understanding of a topic. They can also help them solve an urgent problem.

While ebooks can be intense projects, you can also use existing content, like blogs, to build your ebooks. A great ebook template can also speed up the process.

Original Research

Data drives many businesses, but not every business has the time or the resources to put together the data they need. You can use your knowledge and network to put together research that your visitors can use.

To create high-quality research you’ll need:

  • Goals for your research
  • A process for sampling and analyzing your data
  • Questions
  • A process for managing the project

It’s important to figure out how much time and what resources you’ll need to complete the research. A market research template can make it easier for you to organize and compile your research.

Then, you’ll want to decide the best format and channels to present your research to create a stellar content offer.

Tools and Templates

A great content offer helps your audience solve a problem faster than they could figure it out on their own. This makes tools like calculators, swipe files, and checklists invaluable. It means that your templates can be useful for your fans both now and later.

And these useful lead magnets don’t just give you a chance to help out your community. They’re also excellent resources for leads and to create advocates for your brand.

If someone uses one of your templates regularly, they’re more likely to tell someone else about it. This makes content offers a great way to grow your following by word of mouth. And word of mouth is one of the most trusted sources for consumers. This makes this type of content offer a win-win.

While some templates and tools need you to have advanced coding or technical knowledge, most are simple to put together. You can easily create a template with tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs, tools most people use every day.

As you start building, keep in mind that creating something useful is more important than making it look perfect.

Kits and Workbooks

Once you’ve put together a few of the resources listed above, you might be ready to create a larger content offer.

Kits and workbook content offers usually include a range of different resources that work together. For example, say you’ve made a few different templates for social media captions on different platforms. You can put these together to create the ultimate social media caption kit.

To keep your leads from getting information overload, think about structure. It’s a good idea to break your kit or workbook into bite-sized pieces. You’ll also want to use graphics and other media to break up dense sections of text to keep things engaging.

A workbook or kit might also include:

  • Worksheets
  • A Q&A
  • Checklists
  • Schedules
  • Journal prompts

Content Planning and Strategy

You wouldn’t start building a house without a blueprint, a sculpture without a sketch, or a company without a mission statement. So, there should be no content creation without a plan. Otherwise, you risk getting derailed from your objective.

A content strategy includes everything from brand and tone to how you will promote your content and eventually repurpose it. Let’s go over how to create your content plan, step-by-step.

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Set your content goals.

Similar to a traditional marketing campaign, your content strategy should be centered on your marketing goals (which should, in turn, be derived from your company goals).

Your goals could range from attracting more visitors to your site to generating more leads to anything in between — as long as they’re SMART goals. An example of this kind of goal would be to increase organic traffic to the blog by 25% in the next quarter.

Content creation strategy example: SMART goals

Once you determine that, each piece of content you create should be aligned with your goal and contribute to your desired outcome.

In sum, start with your goals, then create your content.

Create a buyer persona.

Building a content strategy is more than considering what type of content you want to create. You first need to know who you’re speaking to, how you want to speak to them, and where to find them.

Content creation strategy example: Buyer personas

The key to creating successful inbound content is to make each reader feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

The only way to do this is to get intimate with your visitors, leads, and customers — you need to know them like you know an old friend. You should be aware of their obstacles, their pain points, their challenges, and their fears. Similarly, you should understand their best possible outcome, their dream solution, and their biggest fantasies.

Always remember that you are marketing to humans that want to feel connected.

Ideally, you’d know and be able to speak directly to every individual that visits your website, but you can’t. The solution? Create a buyer persona.

Your buyer persona is the person that you want to reach with your content. This semi-fictional character serves as a representation of your target audience, i.e., the people who are most likely to benefit from your message and become customers.

Creating a buyer persona takes a bit of research, some guesswork, and tweaking. But the end result is a clear picture of the person you want to market to and someone who will happily consume your content.

Not sure where to start? Use Make My Persona to build out your buyer persona.

Rely on the buyer’s journey.

If you’ve ever had a headache, the first thing you likely did was try to figure out the cause. Perhaps you were dehydrated, or caffeine-depleted, or maybe you were sick. After you diagnosed the problem, you moved on to solutions — drink some water, grab an espresso, or take some medicine. Finally, you decide between solutions: Evian or tap water? Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee? Aleve or Tylenol? Hopefully, your headache then subsided and you were able to go about your day.

This is a representation of the buyer’s journey. Each of your prospects follows a path to a solution — that path involves awareness, consideration, and decision stages. But each of your prospects is in a different part of that journey, so it’s important to use your content to appeal to each stage.

Content creation strategy example: Buyer’s journey

By creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’re ensuring that no visitors fall through the cracks and that every individual that comes to your site feels like they are receiving relevant, useful information.

You also want to select a format for your content so that it’s tailored to each stage of the buyer’s journey. A new visitor in the awareness stage won’t want a live demo of your product, but they would read a quick checklist or blog post that helps them better understand their problem. A prospect in the decision stage doesn’t need to know about all the possible solutions, they need a consultation or demo that shows them that your product is the right solution. Always meet your audience where they are.

Here’s a guide to the best content formats for each stage of the buyer’s journey:

Content creation strategy: Content examples for stages of the buyer journey

Perform a content audit.

Whether you’ve been creating content for a while without any clear direction or you’ve been following a strategy all along, every marketing department can benefit from a content audit. Just because you didn’t start out with a clearly defined strategy doesn’t mean that the content you already have won’t fit into one.

A content audit is simply taking inventory of the work you’ve already done, then organizing it to fit under your new content plan.

The process might involve some re-writing, or it could reveal gaps that need to be filled with content that appeals to your persona and their journey stage.

Here’s how you’d perform your content audit:

  1. Gather all of your content in a spreadsheet.
  2. Create columns for target keywords, buyer persona, buyer’s journey stage, format, and main topic, then fill these in for each content piece.
  3. Add columns for your key metrics, like page views, shares, engagement, etc.
  4. Finally, categorize each post (using highlights or another column) by those that are doing well, need improvement, should be rewritten, or can be merged with another post.

While a content audit may seem tedious, all the manual labor will be worth the increased traffic and leads. Plus, you’ll have a verified plan moving forward.

If this process seems a bit overwhelming, check out this post for some more guidance.

Choose the right format.

Remember that buyer persona you created? You’re creating content for them. That means you should be crafting content in a format that is most easily and enjoyably consumed by your prospects.

The format you choose might be a blog post, video, Slideshare, graphic, ebook, whitepaper, podcast, or whatever your creative mind can conceive. As long as it serves your persona, you’ll be in good shape.

Also, you don’t need to stick to one format for every piece of content that you create. But you should be able to create content — in whatever format — on a consistent cadence. What I mean is, a podcast series might be a great marketing tactic, but if you lack the resources (and patience) to stick to it, then a blog might be a better route.

Digital content creation is the process of choosing the format (usually digital), and then utilizing the right tools to publish and promote your content online.

Use these questions as a guide when choosing your content format:

  • What stage of the buyer’s journey is this for?
  • How easy is it for your audience to consume this content?
  • Where does your persona spend their time online?
  • What format can you create on a consistent basis?
  • Are you able to produce this content at a quality level that’s competitive?

Choose capable content creators.

At this point, you’re ready to start creating content, but first, you’ll need to build a team of content creators. To get started, categorize the type of content you want to create and the type of content creator it takes to produce that content. Below is an example list:

  • Blogs — Writer
  • Social media posts — Social media coordinator
  • Podcasts — Podcast host/producer
  • Graphics — Graphic designer
  • Webinars/Lead Magnets — Lead acquisition expert (content offer producer)
  • Videos — Videographer/editor

As you can see, there are many different types of content creators you’ll need to either outsource or hire to produce high-quality content that converts your audience from viewers to customers.

In many organizations, there is one person responsible for a lot of this content, and that is a content marketing strategist. While having one content marketing strategist might make sense, expecting one person to be able to produce all of that content doesn’t.

The best way to go about content creation is to collaborate with freelancers, use influencer marketing to increase your audience reach, and hire a content strategist (or several preferably) to help you organize your content creation.

Promote your content.

What good is it to create all this great content if no one sees it? In a perfect world, herds of people would flock to your site every time you published a new post. In reality — especially when you’re just starting out — you’ll need to entice people to consume your content and even shepherd them into your online space.

Hence why content promotion is just as important to your strategy as whatever content you create.

Your promotion plan should be guided by your persona. Where do they spend their time online? What time of day do they use a particular platform? How often do they want to see content from you? How do they like to consume content? What email subject lines get them to click?

Content promotion varies by medium, and there are specific rules to follow for each.

Social Media

While social media is a relationship-building tool, it can be used to promote content. It’s all about finding the right balance between self-promotion, sharing useful information, and entertainment. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat are all great mediums to both create and share relevant content. The key is modifying that content to fit the platform.

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Email Marketing

Email is one of the best ways to reach your audience for any reason, especially to promote content. The reason is anyone on your email list has opted in to hear from you and you can guarantee that they’ll get your messages. Better yet, you can improve your open rates by sending relevant content to segmented lists, meaning they’ll be eager to read everything you send their way.

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Paid Promotion

Pay-per-click (PPC) helps you get your content in front of new audiences through targeted, paid advertisements. These ads can run on social media, search engines, or other websites. Once you define your buyer persona, you’ll want to go the paid route so as not to waste money targeting uninterested parties. Once you have your audience down, paid promotion can yield a great ROI.

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Syndication

Getting your content promoted through authoritative, third-party channels is a great way to build your audience. Syndication gets your brand in front of fresh eyes (and wallets) that you wouldn’t otherwise reach with your own efforts.

Repurpose your content.

When you repurpose content, you’re reusing something you spent a lot of time creating and transforming it in various formats so that it can be more widely consumed.

Think of it as recycling. You want to spend less time creating and more time getting your content in front of your audience. For example, that blog post that you wrote on marketing stats can also serve as a great infographic or even a video.

If you created something in one format, try to think of all the other ways that you could reuse that information that might be just as effective.

Creating a Content Plan

Content exists everywhere, but its success relies on your ability to adapt it to the medium on which it lives. One size does not fit all when it comes to posting on different mediums — or the platforms within those mediums, for that matter.

Social media content varies from blog content, which is different than website content. So, you need to know how to tailor your creation to reach your audience where they are.

Let’s dive into some guidelines for sharing content on various platforms.

Social Media Content

There is an art to creating content for social media. But it’s well worth your time since there are 3.96 billion users across social media platforms worldwide. Plus, someone who follows you on social media is like a warm lead — they already like you and are interested in what you have to say. So, you have an eager audience that’s ready to engage with your content.

Here are a few quick tips for creating content on some popular social channels.

1. Facebook

Facebook can be used to build micro-communities via Facebook Groups or to share to a mass audience on Facebook Pages. When it comes to sharing content, questions and videos reap the most engagement.

2. Instagram

Instagram is best for sharing high-quality imagery and short videos with brief captions. Hashtags work well on this platform as long as they’re relevant to your account and business. Instagram Stories has introduced a new way to engage with your followers, from quick polls to questions to real-time videos.

3. YouTube

YouTube has 1.3 billion users and counting. Users frequent this platform to watch content ranging from DIY videos to parodies. Some of the most successful content on this platform are how-to guides, vlogs, product reviews, and educational videos.

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4. TikTok

TikTok has become one of the most popular social media platforms of our time. It’s best known for fun, short-form videos. It can be used to engage with your Millennial or Gen Z audience.

5. Twitter

Twitter best practices include short messages, supporting images, relevant hashtags, and retweets. And, of course, replies go a long way to win over your audience.

Website Content

Website content should focus on three things: your persona, your target keywords, and your solution.

Like your blog content, the copy on your website needs to guide visitors to your solution in a cohesive and natural way.

Think of web content like a map to your product.

Be careful not to turn visitors away through social media feeds and other distracting elements. Once you’ve attracted a potential customer, you must do everything you can to keep them there, and that’s the key function of your website content.

Blog Content

The purpose of blog content is to support your business by attracting strangers and bringing in qualified leads.

Blog content is a free resource that’s not often directly tied to sales, but don’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted blog to ultimately generate revenue for your business.

Research shows that companies that blog more get more traffic and more leads than those that don’t.

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The Content Creation Process

We, marketers, are busy. We don’t have time to waste on inefficient systems. That’s why we create processes for everything we do. We devise a system, roll it out, tweak it until it works, then repeat that system over and over to generate the results we want.

Think about every marketing campaign you’ve ever done — webinars, autoresponders, surveys. Each of them had a process. Content creation is no different.

Follow these steps to create content, remove the guesswork, and allow for more creative mental space.

The content creation process

1. SEO Research

Creating your buyer persona likely gave you some ideas about what topics to write about and what questions your audience might have, which is a great start.

Now, you need to confirm if those ideas can apply on a bigger scale to a larger audience. Sure, it would be great to write a blog post directed toward a single person, but, boy, would it be a waste of energy.

SEO research — a.k.a. keyword research — will show you the search volume of a specific keyword phrase and whether it’s worth the investment of creating a piece of content around it.

A good way to go about keyword research is to write down some questions that your persona might have based on their obstacles and goals.

Then, perform some keyword research around those queries to see if enough people are searching for them.

Content creation process: Keyword research

A good approach is to target keywords that are attainable, meaning that they have a monthly search volume (MSV) and keyword difficulty that corresponds to your domain authority.

Trying to target high volume (read: highly competitive) keywords when you’ve just started blogging won’t pan out too well for you.

Before we go any further, let’s detour into a quick-and-dirty SEO explanation:

One important factor that helps you to rank in search engines is domain authority. You gain domain authority by how many external sites link back to your content.

In order for this to happen, you need to have a pretty large library of content that is valuable enough to cite.

That means, the longer you write high-quality content, the higher your domain authority and the easier it is to rank for highly competitive keywords that will put you on the first page of Google.

If you’re not quite there yet, the best thing to do is to target long-tail, low-volume keywords with minimal keyword difficulty (<50) — we’re talking 200-1000 MSV. This will give you the best chance at ranking for keywords and getting your content in front of more people.

SEO lesson concluded. Back to our scheduled programming.

There are a few ways you could perform your keyword research:

  • Use keyword research tools, like SEMRush or Moz Keyword Explorer.
  • Type your keyword into a search engine and take note of the auto-filled queries.
  • Check out the related searches section on search engine results pages (SERPs).

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2. Ideation

Now that you’ve determined which keywords to target, it’s time to brainstorm some content ideas.

HubSpot research shows that the best way to organize content is through topic clusters, meaning you create a long-form, comprehensive pillar page based on a keyword that then links to content you’ve created on related subtopics (think blog posts).

Content creation process: Topic clusters

To illustrate the point, it looks something like this. The topic cluster model makes brainstorming because it gives you a structure to follow.

You can use your main keyword to create a pillar piece that covers that topic in-depth, like … say a guide to content creation. Then, you can create shorter pieces of content like:

  • Infographics
  • Blog posts
  • Templates

These will help your audience dive deeper into the topic and target long-tail keywords.

If you’re stumped for ideas, you might want to consider looking for inspiration from books you’ve read, industry studies, your competitor’s sites, or related searches on SERPs.

Once you have all of your ideas down, you can develop your editorial calendar and start creating.

3. Writing

Your specific content creation strength might be videos or graphics or podcasts, but writing is the foundation of most content generation. Whatever content you make, the creation process follows some pretty similar guidelines.

Let’s go over some helpful tips for great content creation.

Write to your persona.

Use their voice, their euphemisms, even their humor to construct a piece that resonates.

Tell your audience why your content is important to them.

Use titles, meta descriptions, and other teasers to compel your audience to read your content. Put the benefit of your content right in the title to let them know why they should read it.

Create something unique.

Don’t just regurgitate the information that’s already out there. Infuse a unique style or cite new research to emphasize your points.

Stick to one idea.

Then, use your content to reinforce it. Don’t confuse your reader by going on tangents or trying to explain multiple semi-related topics in a single piece.

Stay true to your voice.

Don’t try to impress your audience with eloquent prose or an expansive vocabulary if they don’t speak that way.

Be clear and concise.

You want your audience to relate to you and derive value from your content. So, don’t ask them to sift through jargon or confusing metaphors.

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4. Editing

The way you edit your (or others’) work is a very subjective process. You may want to edit as you go, or you might wait a few days and review the work with fresh eyes. You might care a great deal about grammar, or you might aim for a more colloquial piece.

Either way, there are a few things that you should definitely look out for as you refine your content, like active voice, clear language, short sentences, and plenty of whitespace. Consider having a colleague or manager review your work, too.

Some tools that will help you cut down on your editing time are Grammarly and Hemingway Editor.

5. Uploading

Now that your content is ready, you’ll need to put it somewhere that people can access it. A content management system (CMS) is software that hosts digital content and allows you to display it on your website (or anywhere else on the web).

Content creation process: CMS upload

The benefit to a CMS is that it connects all of your content and stores it in one place. So, you can easily link to a landing page in your blog article or insert a content offer in an email.

Not only that, but you can analyze the results of all the content you created for a specific campaign (which can help with content audits). A CMS saves you from having a disjointed content marketing system.

For example, CMS Hub is home to our blog, where you get access to all of our great content and useful free offers.

6. Publishing

Publishing content is as simple as clicking a button. So, why include a section on it? Well, because it’s not always that simple.

You can publish your content immediately after uploading, or you can maximize its impact by waiting for an optimal time. If you’re just starting out, then clicking publish right away probably won’t impact your audience too much.

But if you have committed to a regular publishing schedule, like delivering a new post every Wednesday, your audience will expect to see posts published on Wednesdays.

Something else to keep in mind is to publish according to trends or time-sensitive events. For example, if you create content about national holidays or current events, then you’ll want to publish those at specific times.

A CMS will allow you to schedule posts for a future date and specific time, so you can click, schedule, and forget.

7. Promoting Content

Finally, it’s time to promote the content you’ve created. You can do this through various mediums including social media, email marketing, and even pay-per-click advertising.

To promote your content, think about what channels your audience is on. Are they on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube? Wherever it might be, it’s important to meet them where they’re at and promote your content on that medium.

Additionally, collaborating with influencers or other brands will help you promote your content and reach more people.

Analyzing Your Content

The final, and arguably most important step in content creation is analyzing your content. Without data, you can’t know what’s working or how to improve it.

There are several data points you could track when analyzing your content, so use your goals as a guide to set some parameters. Whatever you want to accomplish with your content will help you choose your metrics. (Remember that initial goal we talked about?)

What you analyze is completely up to you, but here are some ideas for metrics to track:

Page Views

The number of users that visit your content. For blog posts this page views, but for any type of content, there is usually a “views” metric that will let you know how many times your content has been viewed and by how many unique users.

Organic Traffic

The amount of traffic that comes from search engines. This is unpaid traffic that you get from ranking high on Google or other search engines.

Bounce Rate

The percentage of visitors who leave your site after visiting only one page. This is an important metric to track because it can let you know that people are interested in clicking your posts, but then the content is immediately unsatisfying.

Conversion Rates

The percent of visitors that engage with a CTA — whether it’s a content offer, or filling out a form.

Engagement Rates

The number of people that interact with your content through likes, shares, comments, or in other ways.

Audience Growth

The new subscribers or leads that are generated from a piece of content.

Time On Page

The amount of time a user is on your page, whether it’s a blog post, or a video (for video content this might be average watch time). It’s important to keep track of where users drop off. Do they stay on the page long enough to read the post or consume the content?

Paid Campaigns

The amount of traffic that comes in from paid campaigns. If you sponsor posts on social media or pay for search engine ads, it’s important to track how much traffic comes from those campaigns.

If you need more tips on analyzing your content, check out this free HubSpot Academy course.

Content Creation Tools

While a CMS will help you manage your content, it won’t help you create it. That’s where content creation tools come in handy. These are especially useful if you’re artistically impaired, like me, or if you don’t have the capacity to hire help. From GIFs to infographics, these content creation tools will help you look like a professional, regardless of what kind of content you’re making.

1. Make My Persona

MakeMyPersona is HubSpot’s own nifty tool that will walk you through the process of creating your buyer persona. You can generate a document to reference throughout your content creation process.

2. Blog Ideas Generator

This free tool from HubSpot can give you a full year of blog post ideas in just a few seconds. All you need to do is add a few nouns to get smart and relevant ideas for your blog. This is super helpful, especially if you get stuck while putting together your editorial calendar.

3. Canva

Canva will help you create beautiful designs for any platform, from social ads to Facebook cover photos to infographics. The software features aesthetically pleasing templates that you can customize with colors, images, and text … for free.

4. Giphy

Giphy The GIF has replaced emojis as a completely normal form of communication, and, therefore, an acceptable way to present content. Giphy allows you to search millions of pre-created GIFs in their database or even create your own.

5. Vidyard

Vidyard is a video hosting platform that was made for marketers. The software allows you to customize your video by adding overlays, text, or CTA buttons, split test, transcription, and it also has SEO features.

6. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is a leading survey creation platform. Why might you need such a thing? Because a good marketer knows that customer feedback is critical to an effective marketing campaign.

7. Anchor

Anchor is a podcasting tool for beginners. It’s free, allows you to record and store unlimited episodes, and you can easily upload to any third-party platform.

This is far from an exhaustive list of all the great content creation tools out there — this list of content marketing tools is even better!

Content Creation Examples

Now that you’ve got a strong foundation for your content planning, strategy, creation, and analysis, it’s time to get inspired. These are some of our favorite examples of great content.

1. HubSpot Academy

HubSpot Academy offers free online training, teaching marketing, sales, and customer service. It offers a range of valuable certifications and its teachers are leading experts in their fields.

Many courses are short and self-paced, giving users a chance to learn topics in less than 30 minutes.

Content creation example: HubSpot Academy

Why HubSpot Academy is great content creation: If you’re new to marketing, HubSpot’s training is the top industry standard. These courses are also free, which makes them accessible for anyone who wants to learn.

Not every student will become a customer, but every student can experience the impact of these lessons. This means that every student has the potential to become a vocal advocate for the HubSpot brand.

2. Whiteboard Friday, Moz

For 10+ years, Moz has created content for Whiteboard Fridays. Rand Fishkin started this series, and members of the Moz team continue to teach weekly sessions about SEO and marketing.

In this video and blog series, an actual whiteboard takes center stage. The whiteboard features an outline of that Friday’s topic, and then the host breaks the topic down in more detail.

Content creation example: Whiteboard Friday

Why Whiteboard Fridays are great content creation: This series uses a simple and consistent visual tool to draw the audience in. They use that format to teach valuable ideas that a wide range of people can use.

This series also lends itself to many different formats. The whiteboard outline can become an infographic, the video narration can be broadcast as a podcast, and the transcript from the video can become a blog for people who’d rather read than watch.

3. Home Buying Stories, NerdWallet

Whether you’re in Seattle, Des Moines, or Madison, it can be tough to buy a home. Besides the initial investment, homebuyers have a range of personal and financial questions they need to process.

This blog series interviews first-time homebuyers in different cities. Each post asks the same questions, but also offers a unique window into the challenge of buying a home. They cover the surprises, challenges, and gifts that come with this intense process.

Content creation example: NerdWallet

Why Home Buying Stories are great content creation: Besides offering useful content with a personal touch, this series is an excellent strategy for growing traffic. The series offers a range of ideas to solve a common problem.

Content creation example: News example for home buying stories

At the same time, it’s a topic that’s a regular feature in local news, which means this content is often shared with new audiences.

4. Creative Routines, InfoWeTrust

This attractive infographic uses research to show the habits and schedules of creative thinkers from the past. It’s a stunning example of how an infographic can make data easier to understand and use.

Content creation example: Creative routines

Why Creative Routines is great content creation: Besides showing the value of InfoWeTrust’s services, this content teaches us something. It makes data that could be difficult to understand easy to consume and remember.

It’s also super shareable. People shared this infographic in the press, on blogs, and on social media. This kind of mass appeal is how brands go viral.

5. Trending Quizzes, BuzzFeed

Raise your hand if you’ve taken a Buzzfeed quiz. Quizzes are interactive, so they get your audience involved. They’re also games, and gamification is more popular than ever.

Past quizzes from this dynamic brand include:

  • Correctly Answering These 11 Logic Questions Means You Have A High IQ
  • If You’ve Read Over 28 Of These Books From Back In The Day, You’re A Proper Bookworm
  • If You Did 23/31 Things On This List As A Teen, You Were Definitely A Rebel

Each quiz is unique and appeals to a different buyer persona. At the same time, these quizzes are fun, quick, and easy to share.

Content creation example: Buzzfeed Quizzes

Why Buzzfeed quizzes are great content creation: They created design templates that made it easy for people to create and share their own quizzes. Not everyone is great with Photoshop, and these templates made quizzes great to look at. By appealing to both the mind and the eye, they broadened the appeal of their quizzes.

But what’s most important is that people talk about quizzes. When someone takes a quiz, Buzzfeed makes it easy to share the results, which continues to expand that conversation.

Start Creating

Content creation is an iterative process that pays off tremendously with your audience. Once you have the content creation process down, you’ll be able to generate creative work that not only delights your audience but also grows your business.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

content templates

The 17 Best Resume Templates for Every Type of Professional

While an eye-catching resume alone probably won’t land you your dream gig, it doesn’t hurt to put a little extra effort into how you present yourself on paper, so we’ve scoured the web for some of the best resume templates to help you stand out in a sea of Times New Roman and crowded copy.

The right resume design speaks to your skills and personality and can propel your application to the top of the stack. But finding a cool design that also fits your professional identity can be a major hassle. Applying for jobs is already hard enough.

→ Download Now: 12 Resume Templates [Free Download]

Best Resume Templates12 customizable resumes templates free download

Download 12 free, editable resume templates.

Best for Creatives

These templates emphasize the design, color, and typography skills that creatives need to show.

1. Resume Template with a Photo Background

This template from Polish designer Patryk Korycki is perfect for photographers, graphic designers, and other creatives looking to showcase a sample of their best work. It uses simple graphics to show language fluency and skill proficiency and images to represent an applicant’s interests. The template can be downloaded here for free.

Best Resume Template: photo background resume

2. Modern and Distinctive Resume Template

This design from freelancer Mohamd Hgag is an elegant take on traditional resumes. The floral illustration adds a playful element, while the two-column layout keeps everything from looking too busy or crowded. You can download this resume design here for free.

This template includes a unique font, social media handles, and space for an image so creative job seekers can personalize their resumes with a headshot or logo.Best Resume Template: modern and distinctive resume

3. Vibrant and Visual Resume Template

Alessia Curcio, a Copenhagen-based designer, gives us a perfect example of how to incorporate kaleidoscopic color without going over the top. Infographic-inspired elements help clearly display work experience and skills with minimal text.

The colorful header, footer, and accented experience slider add a bright, creative flair to this infographic resume template. This template is perfect for graphic designers, art directors, artists, and other professionals searching for positions in visual arts.

Download Curcio’s free template here.Best Resume Template: vibrant and visual resume

4. Infographic Style Resume Template

Created by digital art director and freelance designer Fernando Báez, this unique, infographic-inspired resume template helps you organize your work experience and skills into a minimal visual layout.

Báez’s template uses bold graphics to draw attention to important metrics such as years of work experience. This eye-catching template also includes a section for hobbies and interests, which sets it apart from most resume templates. This template is ideal for designers and programmers.

Báez has made the template available for free download here.

Best Resume Template: infographic style resume

Best for Freelancers

These templates emphasize the headshot photo for freelancers who might not meet their employers in person and need substantial text space and a visual to offer something memorable.

5. Resume Template with a Simple Color Accent

Adding color to a resume might seem intimidating at first, especially if you’re applying to a more traditional workplace. However, a few sophisticated pops of color can add some interest without compromising professionalism.

This template from designer Eduardo Ogawa uses bright accents to spice up the traditional layout. In addition, the template includes space for a headshot and a section for passions, letting freelancers add a unique personal touch to their resumes that sets them apart from others in their fields.

You can download it for free here.

Best Resume Template: accent color resume

6. Bold Classic Resume Template

If you’re looking for a more traditional resume template that still makes a bold impression, check out this creation from Finnish designer Mats-Peter Forss. The template includes space for a headshot and is available for free download here.

This resume template adds a personal touch without distracting from the content by including a bold black-and-white headshot. It is a good fit for freelance designers and programmers.

Best Resume Template: Bold classic resume

7. Resume Template with Pops of Primary Colors

Proof that color can be professional, this template boasts a compact, sophisticated layout and bright, colorful accents. It also has room for a substantial summary. Designer David Gómez uses this resume template himself, and he’s been generous enough to share it for free download here.

This colorful resume template is great for freelancers, who can customize it with their headshot and personal brand colors.

Best Resume Template: bold pops of color resume

Best for Recent Graduates

These templates make great use of empty space through eye-catching designs that help these candidates make a splash in their industry. They’re perfect for students who are still building experience.

8. Graphic and Adventurous Resume Template

This is not a resume template for wallflowers. Instead, it takes advantage of empty space with bold colors and an asymmetrical design that will easily draw any hiring manager’s attention.

This template is perfect for recent graduates searching for entry-level jobs as designers or artists.

The folks at Createer whipped up this daring design as part of a free resume template pack, which you can check out here.

Best Resume Template: graphic and adventurous

9. Resume Template with an Unexpected Format

If you really want to stand out in a crowded applicant pool, this resume is definitely for you.

This template uses fun icons and geometric shapes to help it stand out in the stack. It’s ideal for recent graduates. The graphics take up space and make the minimal amount of text seem to fill the page.

Graphic designer and freelance photographer Paolo Pettigiani created this bold template for his own professional use but has made it available for free download here.

Best Resume Template: unexpected format

10. Center-Aligned Resume Template

If you want to mix up your resume format without going too crazy, try a center-aligned layout, like this clean, modern design by Zohan Habib. The custom icons and colored border add a nice creative touch.

This template’s center-aligned layout helps draw your eyes down the page, making it a great choice for recent graduates who don’t have much experience. In addition, with a center-aligned layout, small amounts of text seem to fill the page and leave minimal white space.

This template is available for free download here.

Best Resume Template: Center-aligned resume

Best for Executive/Upper-Level Professionals

These templates offer ample real estate for candidates to express their deep experience in the plain but formal manner that many employers expect.

11. Black and White Resume Template

Running low on colored ink? Check out this minimal black and white template from editorial designer Bro Luthfi. The simple design is anything but boring, and the custom icons add a fun, personalized element that is sure to stand out.

This template is suited for job seekers in upper-level positions in industries such as graphic design and art direction.

You can download the free template here.

Best Resume Template: black and white resume

12. Clean and Modern Resume Template

Your resume is your first impression with a potential employer, and this template design from the team at GoaShape is modern without being too edgy.

This two-page template uses a headshot and graphics to differentiate it from other upper-level resumes. It’s ideal for professionals in creative industries.

The template pack includes a two-page resume layout and cover letter design and can be downloaded for free here.

Best Resume Template: clean and modern resume

13. Simple Professional Resume Template

The team at Career Reload serves up a simple resume template for more advanced professionals.

This sleek two-column template’s header and contact information icons give the resume a subtle pop of color that helps set it apart in the applicant pile.

Download the template for free here.

Best Resume Template: Simple professional

Best for People Changing Careers

These templates help job seekers who are changing industries organize their experience by skill rather than employer. In addition, the sections can be customized for candidates who need to show how their background can transfer.

14. Resume Template with an Organized Use of Space

When you’re trying to crunch years of work experience and a laundry list of skills onto a single sheet of paper, things tend to get crowded quickly. This template from Resume Genius invites you to simplify.

This template saves space by placing the contact information, education, and skills in a column to the right of the work experience. This allows the work experience to take up the entire length of the page.

This template is ideal for older professionals who have a lot of employment history.

Download the template here.

Best Resume Template: Minimalist resume

15. Playful and Professional Resume Template

Italian designer Martina Cavalieri created this resume template with 16 custom icons to highlight your interests and skills.

This template’s bold two-toned border and custom icons that indicate skills and interests add just enough color to its modern layout to help your resume stand out in the pile.

This resume template is perfect for job seekers who want to add a fun, colorful element to their resumes while keeping them professional.

Cavalieri offers this template for free download here.

Best Resume Template: Playful and Professional Resume

Best for Hardcore Marketers

We couldn’t help ourselves. Although every template in this blog post can work for marketers, the templates below are perfect for those who love to brand themselves.

16. Heavy Header Resume Template

“Hey, you!” That’s what I think of when I see this flashy yet classy template. Made by designer Mike Bradshaw, the resume features a variety of sections without seeming too cluttered.

This template is great for marketers who want to make a bold statement. The template’s design evokes the image of a leaflet and is sure to grab a hiring manager’s attention.

Long names might look overwhelming with this header, but it certainly does a good job conveying a breadth of information. Download it for free here.

Best Resume Template: Heavy Header Resume

17. Managerial Resume Template

This last resume was designed by the company, LiveCareer. This classic resume is great for professionals in all industries.

While LiveCareer suggests that this template appeals to people searching for managerial positions, we think it’s perfect for job seekers at all professional levels.

You can customize this template with your initials and brand colors to add a professional yet personal element to your resume that will catch the eye of hiring managers as they leaf through piles of resumes.

Build a resume with this template for free here.

Best Resume Template: Managerial Resume

Stand Out From the Crowd

A professional resume template tailored to your industry and level of experience can go a long way. Download one of our resume templates and fill out your information. Then, customize it to fit your style. You’ll be one step closer to landing your dream gig.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October, 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How Full-Cycle Recruiting Can Improve Your Recruitment Process

Job vacancies can cost a company an average of $500 per day.

Companies can save money, improve the quality of their hires, eliminate communication gaps, and increase accountability during the recruitment process by implementing a full-cycle recruitment strategy.

Free Download: 6 Customizable Company Profile Templates

The full-cycle recruitment process is managed by a single full-cycle recruiter or full-cycle recruiting agency.

Full-Cycle Recruiting Process

full cycle recruitment process

The full-cycle recruiting process includes six stages: preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

Preparing

The first stage of the full-cycle recruiting process is the preparing stage. A recruiter will begin this stage by working with a hiring manager to identify a hiring need and create a persona — a fictionalized profile of your company’s ideal candidate.

During the next step of the preparing stage, the recruiter and hiring manager will determine how much compensation a candidate will be offered. This information will be used to create a job posting that includes an overview of the role, responsibilities, salary range, benefits, and information about the company.

Sourcing

After creating a persona and job posting, a recruiter will use word-of-mouth, internal recruiting, employee referrals, social media, job boards, or career websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find jobseekers that fit the ideal candidate persona.

Screening

After finding potential candidates, a recruiter will carefully review applicants’ resumes and cover letters with the help of HR software. Then, the recruiter will perform a phone screen or on-demand interview.

For most talent acquisition leaders, resume screening is the most time-consuming and challenging part of recruitment.

Selecting

After screening and shortlisting candidates, the recruiter will determine which candidate is the best fit for the role by conducting face-to-face or virtual interviews.

A recruiter will ask candidates in-depth questions to learn more about their professional background and qualifications during a face-to-face interview. The recruiter may also have candidates complete writing assignments or a series of tasks to prove they are a good choice for the position.

Once the recruiter selects the best candidate, they will check the candidate’s references or order a background check.

Hiring

The hiring stage is the most important of the process.

After choosing the best candidate for the role, the recruiter will contact the candidate with an official job offer and may have to negotiate the terms of the offer. The candidate may feel more comfortable receiving a job offer from the full-cycle recruiter rather than the hiring manager because the recruiter has been the candidate’s primary contact throughout the hiring process.

Onboarding

The final stage of the full-cycle recruiting process is the onboarding stage. During the onboarding stage of the process, a hire is integrated into the company. The full-cycle recruiter will familiarize the new hire with the company culture and team members using a welcoming orientation or introductory path.

1. Identify the ideal candidate for the role.

A candidate persona is a description of your ideal applicant. Creating a candidate persona will help your recruiter choose the best applicant for the role by honing in on the criteria that your ideal candidate should meet.

To create a persona, start by asking yourself questions about your ideal candidate to identify their skills, qualifications, experience, education, and background. For example, what industry do they currently work in? Do they hold the role that you are hiring for? What are their professional goals? What work environment do they thrive in?

Once you have answered the questions, interview managers at your business who would oversee your ideal candidate and ask about the skills that would help employees thrive in the role. Use the managers’ recommendations to help craft your ideal candidate’s persona.

2. Find potential candidates.

Create advertisements that target jobseekers who fit your ideal candidate persona. Post the advertisements to social media websites and job boards such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Glassdoor to reach potential candidates searching for new positions.

You can also use promotions and transfers to recruit existing employees who may qualify for the position. Internal recruiting can help your company reduce onboarding time, boost morale, and save time and money.

3. Review candidates’ resumes and cover letters.

Use applicant tracking software (ATS) to scan applicants’ resumes and cover letters for criteria that matches your ideal candidate persona, such as education, years of experience, and previous job titles.

If you are reviewing resumes and cover letters manually, scan each resume for keywords that match the open position. Next, separate them into 3 categories: resumes that do not meet the criteria for the position, resumes that meet some of the criteria, and resumes that meet all of the criteria. Double-check the resumes in each category.

Place the candidates that are closest to your company’s ideal candidate persona on a shortlist.

4. Conduct face-to-face or virtual interviews with shortlisted candidates.

Interviewing shortlisted candidates can help you find the best fit for the job. By interviewing candidates, you can learn more about their experiences and qualifications, their potential to fit into your company culture, and their soft skills, such as how they perform under pressure.

Conducting standardized interviews can also help you view candidates objectively and prevent bias in the hiring process.

5. Contact the best candidate with an official job offer.

After conducting interviews, extend an official job offer to the best candidate. Indeed recommends contacting the candidate by phone the same day as their final interview or within one day of making your decision.

Benefits of Full-Cycle Recruiting

Full-cycle recruiting improves the efficiency of the hiring process in five key ways:

Faster Hiring

The full-cycle recruiting process reduces time-to-hire, making the recruitment process more efficient. Time-to-hire is a measure of the time between when a candidate enters the pipeline and when they are officially hired. A shortened time-to-hire reduces the risk of a company losing out on highly qualified candidates that may be simultaneously interviewing at other companies.

Streamlined Strategy

Using a full-cycle recruiting strategy streamlines the recruitment process. It eliminates delays caused by communication gaps because the process is handled by a single recruiter or agency that can construct a simple strategy and follow it through to the end.

Improved Quality of Hire

Quality of hire measures the value a new hire contributes to a company’s overall success. Improving the quality of hire increases employee engagement, improves job satisfaction and productivity levels, and decreases turnover costs.

A full-cycle recruiter implements a more personalized and thorough process than a traditional recruiter. As a result, full-cycle recruiting improves the quality of hire by precisely identifying the best candidate for a position.

Increased Accountability

Because one person manages the entire full-cycle recruiting process, all of the successes and failures of the process are their responsibility. The recruiter benefits from this responsibility because they can’t lose a candidate due to someone else’s mistakes.

Improved Communication

In full-cycle recruiting, candidates remain in communication with a single person throughout the hiring process. Therefore, the process alleviates any possible concerns a candidate may have about delays caused by miscommunication between hiring personnel.

Full-Cycle Recruiting Process Results

A well-executed full-cycle recruiting process will result in an employee who feels prepared on their first day. This is all thanks to a full-cycle recruiter who guided them through the recruitment process, maintained communication, and provided necessary information about the job position and the company.

Discover videos, templates, tips, and other resources dedicated to helping you  launch an effective video marketing strategy. 

How Video Can Humanize Your Brand in 2022 & Other Insights from Wistia’s CEO

One of the main things we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic in regards to how people consume content is that they want to be entertained in different ways.

Consumers want the convenience of being able to consume content where they spend the most time, and on their own terms. If your brand doesn’t give consumers this option, then you’re missing out on a big fraction of your audience — that’s where the powerful tool of video comes into play.

In our recent 2022 State of Video Report, we found that people were watching more videos than ever before in 2020 as many spent extended periods of time at home due to the pandemic. But even more shockingly, as the world opened up and employment rates rose, consumers watched even more video content.

With all this talk about video, you may be wondering a few things: What length should my video be? How do I create videos that stick? And where should I promote my videos?

In other words: What’s the best video marketing strategy for 2022 and beyond? 

HubSpot Blog Research surveyed 518 video marketers in the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and the U.K. to find out about their goals and strategies going into 2022. Let’s dive into what you need to know so you can make your next, or first, video strategy a success.

→ Access Now: Video Marketing Starter Pack [Free Kit]

What is the optimal length of a marketing video?

Short and sweet is generally a safe strategy — especially if your company is just starting to use video. According to 36% of video marketers, the optimal length of a marketing video is one to three minutes.

optimal marketing video length according to HubSpot research

If you’re new to video, starting with short-form videos will help you get a feel for what resonates with your audience and where you can add the most value.

Consumers are inundated with videos, so it’s critical to create meaningful content that can be consumable within a few minutes. Shorter videos are great for establishing an initial connection where you can introduce your brand or product. For instance, a snappy video showcasing a product feature can build interest and anticipation before a product launch.

We know that time, resources, and cost are three major barriers to creating videos.

The solution? Shorter videos — they are less time-consuming, perfect for various platforms (like social media), and typically cheaper to produce.

Short-form videos lead in usage (58%), ROI, lead generation, and engagement. So, if you’re looking to get more bang for your buck, then shorter videos are the way to go. In fact, 83% say the optimal length is under 60 seconds.optimal length of short-form video hubspot research

Believe it or not, longer videos are also on the rise. With more brands planning to create original branded series, product-specific demos, case studies, and customer stories this year, it’s important to find what works best for your company and audience.

What people are willing to watch is correlated to how connected they are to your brand or video topic. Don’t underestimate how much time someone will spend with your brand.

People who want to learn more about your company or product will do so through long-form video content, such as a webinar.

Yes, shorter videos will be the most leveraged form of video this year, but don’t take creating long-form video content completely off the table.

Which social media channels should your content live on?

Most B2B marketers often don’t take a video-first approach when it comes to their social media strategy.

But here’s why you should.

Social media is the top channel used to share marketing videos (76%) and has the biggest ROI by far. Incorporating video into your social media strategy differentiates your brand and can bring your brand’s story to life in ways that other content can’t.

So, what social platform(s) should you use? Begin by identifying your business and marketing goals. Once you have those set, nail down your strategy by figuring out how video will meet those goals. This will help give your video strategy a framework and determine which social media channel can tell your story.

For example, while Instagram is the top social media platform for ROI, engagement, and lead generation for marketing videos, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your brand. Figuring out what social platforms to use depends on whether your brand is B2B or B2C, and what type of video you want to create.

Customer stories or case studies might do really well on a landing page, whereas company culture videos would do really well on LinkedIn.

For B2B, LinkedIn and Twitter – my personal favorite social channels – are good places to start. You may gradually incorporate other platforms into your social media strategy, but if you aren’t engaging on LinkedIn and Twitter, then you’re missing out on a big opportunity.

If you’re B2C, you should be on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Do video marketers create videos in-house or with an agency? 

Have I convinced you yet that your brand needs to start using video? If your answer is yes, you may be wondering if you should try and create videos yourself or hire an agency.

While nearly half (49%) of video marketers create videos both in-house and with an agency, it can be tough to figure out what route you should take.

do marketers create videos in-house according to hubspot research

If you’re thinking about doing video in-house, you need to figure out what types of video and how many you want to create for your business.

Maybe you want a video that answers frequently asked questions or one to onboard new users. These types of videos don’t always need the flashiness of a branded series. Doing videos in-house can help save you money and empower your team to get involved. And, there are certainly many DIY resources to help you create video in-house.

You may even have employees who have video experience and can help pitch in. HubSpot’s report found that 69% of video marketers own their video equipment.

do marketers rent video equipment or own according to hubspotAdditionally, we found that most companies use their own in-house video experts to create video content on a weekly or monthly basis. Other companies rely on a mix of talent, calling on freelance help and video production agencies to fill in the gaps.

Agencies that specialize in marketing videos are certainly worthwhile if you are looking to create an array of public-facing video content. Zeroing in on an area of your business where video can make a big splash will help the agency tailor a video strategy that meets your goals.

I suspect that companies are going to invest more of their time in creating in-house videos in the coming years — but most of these videos will be created by people whose job isn’t strictly focused on video.

Whether it’s someone on your design team creating a product tutorial or your CEO leading a webinar, there will be an uptick in businesses that leverage internal resources to create their video content. The good thing is that there is countless video editing software that your company can use.

According to HubSpot’s Blog Research, Adobe Premiere Pro (36%) and iMovie (18%) are the most popular video editing software, but you’ll definitely want to explore all your options.    

best video editing software according to hubspot research

Thinking about doing more in-house video content? Make sure you have the right amount of people helping with your video content.

The majority of marketers (45%) have two to five people on dedicated video marketing teams; with another 37% reporting six to 10 on a dedicated video marketing team, and 15% reporting 10 or more employees on a video marketing team.

While this is dependent on your business and where you are in your video journey, it’s important that you have a solid in-house team that can handle the amount of video that you intend to put out there.

How do you create better videos? 

The most important factors for creating an effective marketing video are effectively promoting your video (36%), capturing viewers’ attention in the first few seconds (36%), and keeping your videos short/concise (33%).

All marketers want their videos to be successful — but what your audience takes away from your video content is perhaps the most important.

most effective factors for creating video content according to hubspot

As an example, let’s say your video isn’t getting enough clicks. You need to put yourself in the consumers’ shoes and figure out why they didn’t engage with your video. More times than not, they aren’t getting what they expected.

To solve for this, you’ll want to ensure your video thumbnail is encouraging people to click your video. Your thumbnail offers a first impression of your video, so make sure you use it to tell potential viewers what your video is about.

Interest wanes as viewers get distracted or realize the video isn’t for them. The best way to grab the attention of viewers is to hook them the moment the video starts. For example, the John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum trailer tells viewers the title of the movie within the first few seconds rather than saving it to the end.  

You also need to approach video creation similar to how a journalist writes a news article — where the first line is the entire crux of the story — rather than approaching a video as a movie. It’s often better to put what consumers need to know upfront.

Once you’ve created a dynamic video that grabs viewers’ attention, it’s time to start thinking about promotion. While the most effective video promotion strategy is promoting on social media (63%), there are other effective, and fun, ways to get the most out of your video.

future of video according to wistia cofounder

Placing videos in unexpected places

Ever click a link and wind up on a 404 error page? This can be frustrating for the consumer, but use this as an opportunity for your brand. Making your 404 pages friendly and helpful to avoid deterring potential customers can go a long way. Add videos to these pages to help guide viewers back to the main page and highlight your products in a non-intrusive way.

Creative looping videos or videos of team mascots can help customers feel connected to your brand. If you’ve ever found yourself on a 404 error page on the Wistia site, chances are you have seen our team mascot Lenny:

wistia 401 page leading to a videoEmail signatures are another great place to add videos. Adding video to your employees’ email signature can really make your brand memorable and can capture the attention of new customers. A personalized video connecting them to your brand in an email signature can really go a long way in building trust and loyalty.

What type of videos will brands start making in the future?

Video content showcasing your products/services is the most leveraged type of content and has the highest ROI, according to 66% of those who use it. Content that reflects your brand’s values is the second most leveraged type of video content. With this in mind, you need to figure out how you want to portray your brand within the content.

Do you want it to be relatable? Would adding a nostalgic element to your video add value? Asking yourself these questions will help kickstart the video process. Trendy, funny, and interactive content all have high ROI and can boost engagement.

Nostalgic content and user-generated content (UGC) consistently rank in the least popular types of video content, though nostalgic content will still see 19% of video marketers using it for the first time this year, compared to 3% for UGC.

Let’s face it, millennials are becoming the decision-makers. Marketers need to focus on incorporating emotional elements into the content they produce. Topics that harken back to millennial youth, like Saturday morning cartoons, is a great way to instill nostalgia and emotionally connect with viewers.

future of video according to wistia ceo

What comes next?

Once you make a video and feel confident, you have the power to make more. As companies invest in video, I predict they’ll put out more short, authentic, niche, and relatable content. Why? Because this type of content is what consumers crave. Video helps to humanize your brand and makes consumers feel like they can relate to you.

Brands need to figure out how to not only educate, but also entertain. With so many brands competing for viewers’ attention, it’s up to you to keep people coming back to your brand. With the right video strategy, you’ll be able to achieve strong, lasting relationships with your audience.

Discover videos, templates, tips, and other resources dedicated to helping you  launch an effective video marketing strategy. 

What is Employee Engagement? [+11 Data-Backed Benefits and Strategies]

If you’re playing along with buzzword bingo, you’ve heard the term “employee engagement.” But it would be a mistake to dismiss it as just a buzzword. Ignoring engagement costs the global economy 8.1 trillion dollars each year, according to a study by Gallup.

Thankfully, the opposite is also true. Improving employee engagement can boost profitability, improve customer satisfaction, and even make for a safer workplace.

Design and document a culture code for your business with the help of this  free template. 

Read on to learn what employee engagement is and what factors affect it. Then discover 11 strategies for improving employee engagement at your workplace.

Engagement means that employees:

  • Know what they contribute toward their team’s success.
  • Work toward their company’s goals and values.
  • Are connected to and supported in their role.
  • Look for ways to learn and grow in their role.

Employee engagement isn’t the same as job satisfaction or employee happiness. Although those ideas are a part of the equation, employee engagement speaks to motivation. An engaged employee invests time, energy, and talent to benefit their team and company.

As Kayla Marchetti – engagement manager for Seismic – puts it, “I want any individual who joins us to feel passionate about our mission and work, to feel a sense of belonging, and to know they have opportunities to grow and develop their career here.”

On the inside, engagement embodies feelings like purpose, trust, and autonomy. On the outside, it looks like a collection of behaviors and attitudes. Let’s take a look at some examples to better understand what these behaviors look like.

Examples of different levels of employee engagement

Employee Engagement Examples

Employee engagement isn’t a switch that gets turned on or off. It exists on a spectrum from highly engaged, to non-engaged, to actively disengaged. Most employees will fall somewhere in between, and their level of engagement can change over time.

Here are some examples of how engagement can show up. For each example, we’ll also highlight a stat showing how many employees fall within that engagement group, as per the Gallup study we noted in the introduction:

36% of US workers were highly engaged in 2021

Highly Engaged [36% of U.S. workers in 2021]

  • Enthusiastic about their work
  • Helps out co-workers
  • Gives extra effort when needed
  • Seeks out new responsibilities and learning opportunities

49% of US employees were non-engaged in 2021

Non-Engaged [49% of U.S. workers in 2021]

  • Relatively satisfied with their job, but not committed
  • Will do what they need to, but not more
  • May have a 9-to-5 attitude
  • Could be at risk of accepting a new job opportunity

15% of US employees were disengaged in 2021

Disengaged [15% of U.S. workers in 2021]

  • Complains to co-workers (and possibly customers, too)
  • May damage company culture and office morale
  • Unwilling to join in social activities
  • Likely looking for a new job

It may be tempting to think of these behaviors as personality traits, but they may say more about your company culture instead. Even star employees can become disengaged if they don’t have clear expectations and the resources to do their job well.

Why is employee engagement important?

“You can have the best services and best team, but if you don’t have engaged and enthused employees it won’t matter,” says Maryanne McWhirter, Sr. Inbound Marketing and Sales Consultant for LeadG2.

There’s no aspect of your business that isn’t affected by employee engagement. Your employees are the engine that makes your business function. And when those employees feel invested and respected, that engine performs at its best.

“The experience an employee has at your company soon translates to employee sentiment, which drives company culture over time. Company culture impacts your employer and consumer brand in a big way, so if we want happy, engaged customers who stay loyal, we have to implement that same strategy with our employees first.” ~ Leanne Poirier, Manager of Internal Communications at ZoomInfo

That’s why decades of data from Gallup show the following benefits of employee engagement:

Why is employee engagement important?

1. 10% Higher Customer Loyalty

From sales to service, highly-engaged employees deliver a great customer experience.

Again, Kayla from Seismic tells us “When we do [employee engagement] well, we can attract, develop, and retain the best talent, which means our customers are more likely to be well-served.”

2. 23% Higher Profitability

It makes sense that higher customer loyalty would lead to increased sales and reduced service costs. But highly-engaged employees also reduce costs associated with turnover, absenteeism, and injury.

3. 18% Boost in Productivity

When employees feel connected to their work, they work harder. They’re also more likely to go above and beyond their daily tasks. Engaged employees are more likely to suggest new ideas and innovate new processes.

4. Up to 43% Less Turnover

Highly-engaged employees feel recognized and rewarded. They understand their growth potential and see development opportunities ahead.

On the flip side, the Gallup study also shows that 74% of disengaged employees were actively looking for new employment.

5. 64% Fewer Workplace Accidents

It’s easy to get complacent about routine tasks, which can lead to carelessness. But when employees are engaged they focus on the work they’re doing. They’re also more aware of their surroundings, and more likely to follow safety rules.

6. 81% Lower Absenteeism

Whether because of increased drive or decreased burnout, engaged employees are more likely to show up.

This doesn’t mean normal sick-days or personal time. Absenteeism refers to habitual and intentional unscheduled absences. The kind that, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), reduces productivity by 36.6% as co-workers take on added work.

How to Measure Employee Engagement

Measuring employee engagement can be difficult because it’s a subjective experience. To get a full picture, you need to pay attention to both the quantitative and qualitative signs.

    • Seek ongoing feedback. Individual conversations are one of the most powerful ways to discover engagement levels. Ask if your employees feel valued. If they understand their growth potential. If they have the resources they need to do their job.
  • Find your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Your eNPS is a great way to get a snapshot of employee sentiment. This is especially helpful when you also give your employees a chance to say why they gave the score they did.
  • Watch your rates of absenteeism and turnover. Spikes in these metrics are common symptoms of low engagement, and a sure sign something has gone wrong.
  • Do exit interviews/stay interviews. Exit interviews can be a good source of candid and honest feedback. Just be sure these interviews aren’t the first time you’re asking these kinds of questions.

How to Improve Employee Engagement

Employee engagement should be thought of as an ongoing process, like developing your company culture. Engagement isn’t about ping-pong tables and casual Fridays. There are no quick fixes, so think about the full picture instead.

Marchetti of Seismic, tells us, “Our goal is to create an environment that supports and encourages our people to do their best work every day.”

With that in mind, here are some strategies to consider for improving employee engagement:

1. Start with a plan.

Poirier from Zoominfo suggests, “Taking the time to ask questions like ‘Who is our typical employee? What does their work-life balance look like? What challenges do they face? What do they need and what do they want?’ We know good marketing strategies lead to increased revenue; employee experience works the same way. When companies treat their employees with the same thought and care they do with customers, everybody wins.”

2. Communicate clear expectations.

Engaged employees understand their tasks, responsibilities, and goals. More than that, they understand how those things fit into the wider company goals. That understanding can only come from leadership.

This means holding goal-setting meetings, performance reviews, one-on-ones, and regular, ongoing feedback.

3. Provide the knowledge and tools they need to do their job.

This may seem like common sense to some, but many times employees are only given enough information or resources to do the next task. Sharing knowledge and access empowers employees to contribute beyond their to-do list.

4. Give them trust and autonomy.

Trust and autonomy go hand-in-hand. When employees feel trusted enough to work autonomously, they feel like their skills and contributions are valued. This fosters a sense of responsibility and satisfaction toward their work.

5. Offer ongoing training and development opportunities.

Developing new skills encourages employees to think of their role in terms of a career. Investing in new skill training encourages them to think of that career within your organization.

Workplace training programs help to engage and retain employees. This can take the form of an education stipend, internal training programs, peer-to-peer training, lunch-and-learns, and more.

6. Provide a clear growth path.

Having a roadmap for career growth helps create a sense of purpose at work. Managers should have regular discussions about career goals and development with their employees.

This is especially true for younger generations. A study published in the Journal of Leadership in Organizations found that 91% of Millennials valued discussion about career progression as early as during recruitment.

7. Be transparent about compensation.

According to PayScale’s survey of over 500,000 employees, pay fairness and transparency were more important than market value.

Put another way: believing their pay was determined fairly had a greater impact on employee engagement than being paid more.

8. Start employee recognition programs.

Everyone wants to be recognized when they do good work. Whether it’s a few kind words or a small perk, public recognition can go a long way toward boosting engagement.

Design a program that highlights behaviors that align with your company values. This not only encourages those behaviors but helps to show that your values aren’t just a slogan.

Pro Tip: Rewards can be difficult to coordinate with remote employees. Third-party vendors make it easier to distribute incentives. We like personalized swag from companies like Reachdesk that give a human touch to your gifting. Or virtual gift cards from services like Rybbon, because cash is always a welcome bonus.

9. Start peer recognition programs.

Peer recognition programs are a great way to create a sense of community and collaboration. They also help to celebrate successes that may otherwise go unseen by management.

One lightweight solution is to make an outlet for public kudos. Matthew Stibbe, CEO of Articulate Marketing suggests, “Set up a ‘validation channel’ in Slack or Teams and encourage your colleagues to use it to recognise great work across the business. Peer and manager recognition can be very motivating.”

You can also give your employees the power of perks. At HubSpot, each employee has a quarterly opportunity to nominate a teammate that’s helped them in some way. The nominated employee gets a monetary bonus and the knowledge that their help was valued.

10. Create social outlets.

62% of employees with one to five work friends would reject an outside offer, according to SHRM’s Workforce study. Creating a sense of community and belonging is a powerful driver of engagement.

It’s even more important for remote employees who may not have daily positive interactions with co-workers.

“In the remote world we’re living in, a great way to create the employee experience is through building a virtual community and destination for the employee base. Company intranets are often outdated and overlooked, but when given the right resources, they’re an exceptional tool for employee connection and helping your employee engagement program reach its potential,” adds Leane Poirier from ZoomInfo.

Here are a few ideas for virtual socialization to get you started:

  • Shared virtual activities. Think wine-and-design, book clubs, or even Dungeons and Dragons.
  • Optional drop-in “water cooler” meetings. No talking about work allowed.
  • Slack channels dedicated to shared interests. HubSpot has hundreds of Slack channels, for everything from pet pictures to true crime podcasts.

Just be sure to make these activities optional. Nothing ruins the mood like mandatory fun.

11. Seek ongoing feedback.

Communication should be a two-way street. Listening to your employees– and then acting on that feedback– makes them more likely to contribute.

Upward reviews, employee surveys, and feedback discussions should be regular features. Be receptive to, and transparent about, the feedback you receive.

Again, be sure to act on it. Few things destroy employee engagement faster than making them feel ignored.

12. Prove It.

Any company can say they live their values, but can they prove it? Outside frameworks like B corp certification or ‘Investors in People’ accreditation show where your priorities are.

Stibbe from Articulate Marketing points out, “The best people want to work in companies that reflect their own values and priorities. If you want to engage employees, you need to show them what you believe in. Words matter. Commitment is important. But in our experience, externally-audited standards such as B Corp and Investors in People are essential to set objective standards and demonstrate our progress towards them. It’s not just words. It’s proof.”

Getting Engaged.

There’s a lot to consider here, but you don’t have to do it all on day one. Choose a few strategies and commit to taking action. Be upfront with your employees about your engagement goals, and then share the progress you’re making.

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

15 of the Best Public Relations Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign

Journalists crave juicy stories and viral marketing campaigns, but standing out in a sea of conventional pitches is one of the biggest challenges for any public relations professional.

When you need a dose of inspiration, it can be helpful to explore the most compelling PR plays in recent years. To save you some time, we curated a list of the absolute best of the best to get the creativity flowing for your next campaign.

Download Now: Free Press Release Template

Read on to get inspired by some of the best minds in public relations.

1. Spotify: Wrapped

public relations example: Spotify Wrapped

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Spotify’s Wrapped campaign has quickly turned into a viral, end-of-year event. Since 2016, the streaming app has provided each user with a “wrap up” of their listening habits which are delivered in colorful, eye-catching graphics. Naturally, you can share your stats on different platforms, like Instagram and TikTok.

Spotify’s Wrapped is not just another marketing campaign— it’s a viral, multi-platform, FOMO-inducing social campaign. It’s highly personal, relevant, and shareable. It’s this winning combination that its rivals, namely Apple and YouTube, haven’t been able to recreate.

2. Subway: Eat Fresh Refresh

For the longest time, Subway has rolled out countless marketing campaigns featuring its trusty tagline, Eat Fresh! But now, in light of changes to both its brand and menu, a new campaign has emerged, fittingly titled “Eat Fresh Refresh.” The campaign includes many sports stars, like Steph Curry and Serena Williams, who lend their humor to promote Subway’s new meal options.

In one commercial, Tom Brady pulls a loaf of bread from an oversized perfume bottle. “Smells so good, you can almost taste it,” he narrates. It’s a humorous take on the moody, often confusing perfume ads – while highlighting Subway’s new ingredients and options.

3. HostelWorld: Even Divas are Believers

Traveling the world can give you some of the best experiences of your life, but it can also thrust you into situations that you’ll want to scrub from your memory, like staying the night in a hostel. There are countless hostel horror stories online and hundreds of videos that mock their hospitality scattered throughout social media — so needless to say, they don’t have the best reputation.

But HostelWorld, a hostel booking website, decided to team up with Mariah Carey to freshen up their image and showcase the pleasant reality of staying in a modern day hostel. Together, they blasted through affordable accommodation stereotypes by spotlighting the lesser known luxuries of hostels like having access to the same facilities as more expensive accommodations, but at a cheaper price, and being able to connect with other fellow travelers.

HostelWorld’s message is simple: if hostels are nice enough for divas like Mariah Carey, then they’re nice enough for everyone..

4. Lego: Rebuild the World

According to Lego, rebuilding the world starts with a single (lego) brick. It’s a powerful message for those rebuilding their lives following several tumultuous years — and one delivered by a company that believes in building, experimenting, and breaking the rules. 

This campaign is not only well-timed, but it effectively presents its products in such a way that goes beyond their basic functionality.

5. Dove: #TheSelfieTalk

When it comes to creating positive brand associations, Dove is in a class of its own. For example, its #TheSelfieTalk campaign takes a poignant look at the pressure young girls feel to look “perfect” — and the lengths they take to appear this way online.

It’s one of many campaigns by Dove that explores how the beauty industry impacts women’s self-esteem and body image. As a result, the brand is often associated with positivity, self love, and confidence.

6. Ikea: #StayHome

During periods of lockdowns, Ikea wanted customers to see their homes from a new perspective. Enter the #StayHome campaign, a love letter to our homes, and all the life moments that happen there. It reframes the idea that our home is a place we’re trapped in, to a place of warmth, shelter, and growth. It’s a message of hope that leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

7. Stabilo Boss: Highlight the Remarkable

There have been remarkable women throughout history that might not have been celebrated as they should have been. Stabilo Boss — the company that sells highlighter pens — started a campaign to highlight these women and their incredible accomplishments. 

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Stabilo took famous black-and-white photos from historical moments and drew a yellow highlight line to showcase the woman in the photo that made it all happen. The Boss PR campaign highlighted women like Katharine Johnson, the NASA mathematician responsible for the calculations that sent Apollo 11 to the moon. Other examples include Nobel Prize winner Lise Meitner and First Lady Edith Wilson.

The campaign blew up on social media and went on to win multiple awards.

8. Logitech: BS Detection Spoof

Hours after April Fools Day, almost every marketing publication rounds up the best spoofs, pranks, and stunts that distracted everyone at work that day. One of the funniest spoofs that earned a spot in all the major roundups this year was Logitech’s fake Business Speak Detection product video. By giving their product a punny, yet subtly accurate name, the video pokes fun at most businesses’ obsession and overuse of buzzwords. But it also has the feel of a real product overview, which makes it even more hilarious.

9. Old Spice: Paper Blazer Ad

public relations example: old spice

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When Fragrance brands advertise in magazines, they usually show off their aromas by drenching an ad with their latest cologne or perfume. But Old Spice realized people usually don’t enjoy unexpectedly pungent scents violating their nostrils when they’re flipping through their favorite magazine.

So, in typical Old Spice fashion, they gently ribbed other fragrance brands by inserting a paper blazer doused in their new cologne, Captain, in their print ad in GQ magazine. Then they wrote about how these paper blazers can help men attract attention not only with trendy style, but also with masculine smell. The only drawback of the blazer is that it’ll turn into papier-mâché on you in the rain.

Humor and cleverness is one of the best ways to appeal to your audience and gain earned media attention, and it seems like Old Spice can leverage them both on any marketing channel.

10. Star Wars: Passing the Box-Office Baton to The Avengers

Avengers: Infinity War recently shattered Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ record for the biggest opening weekend ever by grossing over $250 million. LucasFilm, the studio that created and produced Star Wars, wasn’t bitter though.

Instead, they were proud of their friends over at Marvel Studios, and sent them a heartwarming congratulatory tweet. By applauding them for their incredible accomplishment, and not sulking about their broken record, Star Wars earned the respect of movie lovers everywhere — not to mention some media coverage for the gesture.

11. Johnnie Walker: Jane Walker

public relations example: jane walker

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To promote gender equality and honor the many achievements of women throughout history, Johnnie Walker launched a female version of its whisky on International Women’s Day called Jane Walker. The limited-edition bottle featured a woman on their iconic logo, instead of a man, which connected the brand to individuals who also support their commitment to social progress.

In March 2018, Johnnie Walker released 250,000 bottles of Jane Walker, and for every bottle sold, they donated $1 to organizations that empower women. This tangible impact helped their campaign gain even more support and publicity.

12. AirBnB & BBC Earth: Night at Blue Planet II

Blue Planet II is considered the greatest nature series of all time, with its first episode attracting over 14 million viewers and earning the title of Britain’s highest rated TV show in 2017. Watching the show can almost place you into the habitat they’re filming, but BBC Earth wanted to take things to the next level for their biggest fans: they offered them a chance to experience what it’s like to be a researcher and filmmaker for Blue Planet II.

To do so, they teamed up with AirBnB to run a contest for their members, and two lucky winners got to spend three days and two nights in the Bahamas on the research and exploration vessel used in the show’s filming. During their expedition, they lived with and discussed work with researchers and dove deep into the Atlantic Ocean in a submarine with filmmakers to observe some of nature’s most unique underwater wildlife. By offering a once in a lifetime opportunity, BBC Earth could get more people to watch their hit show, and AirBnB could build their brand affinity.

13. SpaceX & Tesla: SpaceX Sends a Tesla into Outer Space

Everyone knows Elon Musk wants to send humans to Mars. So when SpaceX launched their newest rocket, Falcon Heavy, into space, it made some headlines. But when the Falcon Heavy suddenly shot a cherry-red Tesla Roadster blasting David Bowie’s 1971 hit “Life on Mars?” into orbit, it was being called the greatest automotive PR stunt in history.

The car will now float between Earth and Mars for millions of years, and serve as reminder for current and future generations to always reach for the stars. The success of both launches also improved SpaceX and Falcon Heavy’s reputation. Falcon Heavy is now the most powerful rocket on earth, so it’s realistic to say it can launch heavy satellites and future space stations into orbit, shuttle cargo to Mars, and even transport humans to the moon. And that’s exactly what Elon Musk needs the public to think if he wants to accomplish his ambitious goals.

14. State Street Global Advisors: Fearless Girl

On the morning of International Women’s Day, the world woke up to find a four-foot high statue of a girl across from the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street in New York. She is standing tall and brave, hands on her hips, in a dress and high top converse. 

Fearless Girl, as she is called, was commissioned by the investment management firm State Street Global Advisors as a part of their campaign to pressure companies to add more women to their boards. By standing up to Charging Bull, she is standing up for gender diversity on Wall Street. 

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Some argue that the girl’s defiance toward the bull — and male-dominated corporate boardrooms more generally — is controversial. There has been lots of pushback to the statue, but in general, this PR campaign received widespread support for the women’s movement and diversity in the workplace and remains outside the New York Stock Exchange.

15. ALS Association: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

A few years ago, videos of people dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads flooded social media, now known as the Ice Bucket Challenge. The viral sensation of 2.4 million videos was a way to raise awareness of a neurodegenerative disease called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The idea was to raise money for the ALS Association and research on the disease. 

The viral challenged raised more than $115 million dollars, with almost $80 million going towards research. The campaign was a massive success — awareness and funding for ALS has skyrocketed, all thanks to millions of people giving themselves brain freeze.

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