14 Digital Marketing Conferences You Should Consider for 2017

Posted on Nov 29, 2016 1:32:01 PM by Gregg Litman

Like any industry that's tied to technology, it's no surprise that digital marketing is constantly changing. In fact, with new social networks constantly emerging and Google's algorithms constantly evolving, the shelf life for best practices can be measured in months, not years. That's why it's so important to attend (or at least monitor from afar) a number of national digital marketing conferences. These aren't just industry get-togethers, these are the places that new tools are unveiled and new strategies shared. So, with 2017 fast approaching, here is a list of top digital marketing conferences to consider when you start putting together your travel budget. 

B2B Content2Conversion Conference

Feb. 20-22 | Scottsdale

With customized learning paths for content strategy, marketing ops, demand gen, and product marketing professionals, the B2B Content2Conversion Conference covers all key areas of the marketing conversion funnel. The first conference of the year, it's also "conveniently" located in Scottsdale in February. Event Details

SXSW Interactive Festival

March 10-14 | Austin

The South by Southwest Music Festival started in 1987 and added "Multimedia" in 1994. "Interactive" became the term three years later, and now, SXSW Interactive is a stand-alone event that features emerging creative technology workshops by day and so many parties at night. It has a trade show, speaker series, parties, and a startup accelerator with dedicated meet-ups, sessions, and workshops for those just getting their brands off the ground. Event Details

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Posted in digital marketing

The Fall of Traditional Media and Rise of Content Marketing

Posted on Nov 21, 2016 4:53:43 PM by Gregg Litman

Much has been written about the fall of traditional media, but I had a front row seat. I lived through it as a producer for 30-years at one of America's great TV stations, and now I'm on the other side of the equation, managing a thriving marketing firm that specializes in video storytelling and content marketing. How much has the world changed in that span? I went from typing TV scripts on a manual typewriter to writing this blog on a MacBook Pro — a sentence that helps illustrate the dramatic changes in technology that revolutionized the ways information is delivered and the monumental changes in both audience size and expectations. Throw in the rise of search, and the ability of an audience to curate it's own news and information, and you have a new world where brands are basically required to create their own content. How we got here is what's so interesting. 

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Posted in Content Marketing

What Working With Mark Rosen Taught Me About Content Marketing

Posted on Nov 16, 2016 8:49:19 AM by Gregg Litman

I spent my entire TV career working with the best sports anchor in the country. Channel 4's Mark Rosen is unique. When most of the industry was hiring blow-dried announcer types, Mark was focusing on facts. While most other sportscasters were coming up with cute catchphrases, Mark was developing sources and telling stories. He's a sports journalist who just happens to be on TV. And his approach works so well that he has managed to corner two very different markets.

"Mark Rosen was my mentor at WCCO, and I still use some of his lessons in content marketing."

While I was at WCCO, we did research that showed he's not only the thinking fan's sportscaster, but he's also (by far) the most popular among casual fans. Why? Because he built his brand on real stories and information. Casual fans think he's genuine, trustworthy, and when they decide that they do want to know anything about sports, he's the guy they want to get it from. And isn't that what brands want to accomplish with content marketing? Don't they want to be seen as genuine, trustworthy, and a go-to source of information in their field? That's why the lessons I learned from Mark Rosen work so well for content marketing.

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The Future of Inbound Marketing? Reflections from #INBOUND16

Posted on Nov 15, 2016 10:11:58 AM by Kathy Heil

2016: A Milestone in the Inbound Journey

As always, one of the highlights when attending HubSpot’s INBOUND conferences occurs when founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah take the stage to share reflections and inspirations, igniting the audience to continue to embrace technology and challenge the status quo of marketing.
This year’s conference offered an even greater perspective for how we got here and more importantly where we are going as they reflected back on HubSpot's 10-year milestone. 
Brian kicked off the keynote talking about what we know and what we are challenged by — adapting to where and how our customers are consuming information and engaging with our brands. As exhilarating as I found the conversation,  I couldn’t help but think how simple marketing seemed 10 years ago!
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Content Marketing is Growing, is Quality Content Lacking?

Posted on Nov 11, 2016 12:03:22 PM by Ed Heil

B2B marketers are making content marketing a higher priority and they feel they are doing a better job adjusting their strategy and actually creating the content. Which is great news, and yet, creating quality content that is worth sharing seems to be the biggest challenge. A recent report by Track Maven, a marketing analytics software company, says that blog output by brands has increased 800 percent in the past 5 years, but organic social shares of blogs is down 89 percent over the same time period. In other words, content marketing is growing, but is quality content lacking?

Businesses are producing more blogs, but nothing stands out and fewer people are validating the content through social sharing. So, what gives?

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Posted in Content Marketing

Making Content Marketing Your Best Lead Gen Tool

Posted on Nov 10, 2016 2:32:20 PM by Ed Heil

Finger-pointing between sales and marketing has been one of the oldest business blame games for years. Sales complains that marketing doesn’t do anything to help generate leads and marketing complains that sales doesn’t follow up on leads or that they can’t close the leads they get. It’s the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s. Those days are behind us and the modern sales professional can not afford to head off hunting for new deals without joining forces with marketing — and vice versa. Marketing needs sales to help make their work actually work, and content marketing may be their best lead gen tool.

“The lines between sales and marketing are blurring, the roles are blending, and the customer doesn’t care if you’re in sales or marketing,” according to Social Selling Consultant, Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley). “They care about the value you can deliver”.

Rowley, a seasoned and proven sales professional whose resume includes stops at Eloqua, Salesforce, and Oracle, today consults with businesses to improve sales results. She says one of the biggest challenges her clients face is figuring out how to unify sales and marketing efforts.

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Posted in Content Marketing, Lead Generation

[REVIEW] HubSpot Content Marketing Certification

Posted on Nov 9, 2016 11:49:37 AM by Gregg Litman

As a content marketer working on the HubSpot platform, I'm thrilled with the newly-created Content Marketing Certification. Why? Because it puts content in the right place in HubSpot's inbound marketing world. Because, to quote one of the introductory videos, "content marketing is the fuel that makes the inbound marketing machine run".

Without an intelligent content marketing plan, HubSpot is just a wonderful software platform being used for all the wrong reasons. And frankly, it's frustrating to watch companies use HubSpot to add call-to-action buttons all over their websites without the right content behind them. The Inbound Methodology relies on content in all four of its stages — Attract, Convert, Close, Delight — so it's exciting to see them close the loop with the HubSpot Content Marketing Certification. SPECIAL OFFER: Take a 30-Day Content Marketing Test Drive

The 10-part certification course does a nice job of explaining and breaking down many of the strategies and processes we provide for our clients. I recommend it to any HubSpotter — or any other digital marketer looking to use content marketing to drive leads. Here's what to expect:

HubSpot's Content Marketing Certification

1. Understanding Content Marketing

Content marketing has been around since the days of the caveman (cut to images of drawings on cave walls), but it has certainly evolved. In HubSpot's world, content marketing is a subset of Inbound Marketing. It's the fuel that makes the engine run. Or, even more simply, content is the message that your marketing strategy delivers. 

2. The Power of Storytelling

No surprise, this is one of my favorite sections. Stories help people make sense of your message. Stories are what audiences remember. This section starts with Why (based on  Simon Sinek's Golden Circle), and focuses on the foundational elements of storytelling, character, conflict, and resolution.

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Posted in Content Marketing

StoryTeller Wins 4th Midwest Regional Emmy® Award

Posted on Nov 7, 2016 3:46:37 PM by Ed Heil

From the beginning, I thought it would be fun to have a video company that could produce video content powerful enough to win awards. Back in 2005, I really didn't know if we would ever be able to pull it off and yet, last week, StoryTeller earned it's fourth Upper Midwest Regional Emmy® Award on the shoulders of our wonderfully talented video team of Kari Jo Faulhaber and Rob Theoret. This dynamic duo came together to tell the emotional and inspiring story of Jim Chalmers — a marathon runner who lives with Cri Du Chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. 

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