Notable & Quotable this Week: Build a Bridge to Your Audience

January 29, 2016

There are more than a few perks to living in San Francisco. There is plenty of art and culture; the temperature has been in the low 60s all week; and the Golden Gate Bridge is an amazing feat of engineering. Not only is it functional, it’s beautiful. Which is impressive, considering it almost looked like this:

The original design gets the job done, sure. But it’s not compelling. It’s hard to imagine the nondescript design above becoming a tourist destination.

Content marketing builds a bridge to your audience. If you want to make your bridge a destination, it must be beautiful as well as functional. Our content should solve a need, but it should also be emotionally engaging.

This week’s notable marketing content can help you build a better bridge to your audience. Read on to learn how to write more compelling copy, get inspired with a nifty content marketing case study, and more.

Here are the marketing discussions that made us sit up and take notice this week.

1. How Professional Writers Grab Hold of Readers

Learn how to write lead paragraphs that compel your audience to keep reading with these tips from The Motley Fool’s John J. Maxfield. John mines inspiration from journalism and literature for this zippy SlideShare.

2. How to Use Content That Isn’t Yours

“When you pull a block quote from Joe Pulizzi’s latest blog post to talk about how brilliant he is, there’s nothing he can do to stop you. But if you copy his entire post, you’re in trouble.”

Even though user-generated content is an increasingly effective marketing tool, reposting other people’s content in any capacity can be a headache for marketers. It can be hard to determine the proper source for attribution. The line between fair use and not-so-fair use is a blurry one. A misstep can get you vilified by the very community you’re trying to reach.

Visually CEO Matt Cooper’s article for the Content Marketing Institute can help you stay on the right side of copyright law and community sentiment. It’s packed with good advice, and includes links to deep dives on complicated subjects like Creative Commons licenses and copyright law. Plus, Matt offers tools and tips to keep your content safe from plagiarism.

3. How One Library is Using Content Marketing to Capture the Imagination

Two things I learned from this content marketing case study:

  1. Public libraries have marketing departments and dedicated content teams (who knew?). Author Angela Hersh is the content team leader for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
  2. Public-sector marketers have the same challenges as we do in the private sector: Telling compelling stories that motivate people to engage with their brand.

When you think about it, who better than a librarian to use storytelling in marketing? This case study highlights the #whatsyourstory campaign for the Leeds Library and Information Service. The campaign collected library patrons’ stories to highlight how many different things a library can be to different people, creating a compelling collection of content that spoke directly to the community.

Angela interviews the creative mind behind the campaign to discuss his methodology and results in the full article.

4. Why You Won’t Recognize SEO in Five Years

“New universes of search are taking shape outside of the browser window.  In many of them the rules for optimization have yet to be defined.”

Few marketing practices have changed more over the past decade than SEO. The keyword-stuffing tactics of the early 2000’s are as distant to modern SEO as a slide rule is to a smartphone. But according to Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Meghan identifies three current trends that are poised to interrupt our current SEO best practices. Her point is that marketers need to prepare to evolve SEO strategy even more widely than we can imagine. By pointing out the upcoming disruption, Meghan hopes to inspire marketers to explore the expanding search landscape.

5. 2016 Web Design Trends to Boost Conversions

Conversion rate optimization is a game of inches—it’s all about testing each element of the user experience and making small adjustments that add up to big wins. This infographic identifies ten up-to-the-minute design trends that are getting results. Some are intensely technical but worth the effort; some are so easy they’re no-brainers. Each one can make your site more user-friendly to compel more clicks.

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