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29 Must-Read Content Marketing Articles of 2014

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Hot on the heels of the release of the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends study from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute, we're taking a look back at the most valuable and indispensable content marketing resources of 2014.

The study found that just 35% of marketers have a documented content strategy, and those without a strategy are eight times less likely to say they're effective at content marketing.

As you prepare your content marketing strategy for the coming year (and you ARE preparing one, right?) ,keep the following  expert tips, advice, and guides in mind.

The Art and Science of Content Marketing and Storytelling

1. The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool—Harvard Business Review


Executive coach and bestselling author Harrison Monarth explains what Budweiser and Shakespeare have in common in this column on the power of storytelling for brands.

2. Introducing the Periodic Table of Content Marketing—Econsultancy

Chris Lake shares a visual guide to the elements of successful content in this quick reference infographic, styled after the periodic table of elements.

3. The Art and Science of Content Marketing [Infographic]—MarketingProfs

Does content marketing success require left or right-brain thinking? This helpful infographic from Salesforce and Kapost points you in the right direction.

4. The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post: The Data on Headlines, Length, Images and More—Buffer

Kevan Lee reveals the seven essential elements of a perfect blog post, with detailed and specific tips for achieving perfection in each one.

5. How to Use Data to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy—Content Marketing Institute

In a sea of data, which metrics actually matter for content strategy? Ben Harper identifies four types of data we should be studying and shares tools for monitoring and measuring each.

6. The Science of Great Digital Content Ideas—Moz

Isn't creativity best performed in an environment free of constraints and boundaries? Simon Penson makes the argument for creativity as a process in this in-depth column on the science behind creative content.

Creating Awesome, High-Quality Content

7. This Writing GPS Helps You Create Ridiculously Good Content—MarketingProfs

"Good writing takes planning and preparation; it doesn't just emerge, fully formed, as if from the head of Zeus. Or your own head, for that matter," writes Ann Handley in this excerpt from her new book, Everybody Writes. Learn from the first person in history to have held the title of "chief content officer" as she outlines a 12-step process for creating relatively long text—blog posts, articles, e-books, whitepapers, website content, and the like.

8. 11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs—Copyblogger

Writing your blog post is only an initial step in creating great content. Demian Farnworth outlines an editing process for ensuring each of the critical elements of an effective blog post is accounted for, with an infographic for easy reference.

9. Seven Content Marketing Tips for Media Pickup and Massive Exposure—MarketingProfs

In this column, I shared a proven, replicable process for creating and promoting content designed to resonate with media, earning your brand valuable media mentions and backlinks.

10. 10 Ways to Create Contagious Content for Your Social Media Marketing—Jeff Bullas

There is an art to creating social content that people just can't wait to share. Jeff Bullas dives into the psychology of social sharing, with a set of guidelines for creating more shareable content.

11. 3 Steps to Identify Blog Topics That Are Relevant to Your Audience—Moz

Aleyda Solis shares a simple, step-by-step process that every content marketer should exercise in the creation of effective content that provide the relevance that audiences crave.

12. 10 Content Marketing Growth Hacks [With Infographic]—Unbounce

Want to become a content hacker? Garrett Moon outlines each of the 10 hacks you can use to gain traffic and increase revenue faster than you might have expected, with an accompanying infographic you'll want to keep on hand.

13. 3 Techniques That Will Double Your Social Media Content With Half the Effort—KISSmetrics

Half the battle in content marketing is finding the time and resources to dedicate to it. Neil Patel outlines three techniques companies of all sizes can use to become more productive and effective at the creation of social media content.

14. Content Without Strategy Is Just Stuff—Joe Pulizzi

Content marketing master Joe Pulizzi shared this entertaining and informative post on his LinkedIn blog. Check it out and learn how to avoid falling into the trap of creating a bunch of stuff.

Converting With Content

15. The Big List of 189 Words That Convert—Buffer

Of course, there's a purpose to all of this awesome content, right? Kevan Lee shares the ultimate list of words that persuade and convert, in this indispensable resource for copywriters and content marketers.

16. Content Promotion: The Difference Between Brands With Fans and Anonymous Content—WordStream

What good is your best content if no one ever sees it? Truly successful content is built for promotion and conversion. Learn how to implement promotion from the early planning stages, as well as how to execute for maximum impact and exposure.

17. Is Your Content Marketing a Failure? These 5 Metrics Can Tell You—MarketingProfs

The volume of data at your disposal can quickly become overwhelming. Alesia Krush points to five metrics content marketers should be tracking to ensure their strategy is heading in the right direction.

18. How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy—Convince and Convert

Having a working content strategy is a must, yet it's where too many content marketers are falling down. Jay Baer outlines a seven-step process for creating a content marketing strategy to guide your efforts in the coming year.

19. Complete Guide to Content Remarketing: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Double Your Leads—WordStream

Content remarketing is a super-powerful way of maximizing the value of each piece of content and boosting your conversion. Get your content back in front of an interested audience and seal the deal.

Super-Helpful Content Marketing Tips

20. B2B Content Marketing Trends for 2015—MarketingProfs

Get a glimpse at content marketing's very near future and prepare for 2015 with this recent infographic from Uberflip.

21. 53+ Free Image Sources for Your Blog and Social Media Posts—Buffer Social

Bookmark this handy list of free image sources and refer to it whenever you're in search of high-quality, royalty-free images to complement your awesome content.

22. Contrarian Content Marketing: How to Zig When Everyone Else Zags—WordStream

If you're doing the same thing as all of your competitors, how can you ever stand out? Elisa Gabbert shares the secrets of contrarian content, with tips to help make it work for your blog.

23. Writing Tips: How to Come Up With 50 Topic Ideas in 30 Minutes—Entrepreneur

Keeping a steady flow of amazing content coming isn't easy—it's a good idea to have a stockpile of ideas on hand for your brainfreeze days. Who better to inspire than Neil Patel? Give his content brainstorming exercise a try.

24. The Prepared Writer's Process for Creating Excellent Content Every Day—Copyblogger

If you feel like you're constantly toiling away at your content creation but not turning out great product, check this out. Katie, AKA The Wellness Mama, reveals the secrets of prepared writers and the benefits of becoming one of them.

25. 5 Surprising Truths About Content Marketing—Inc.

Sometimes, what we should actually be doing flies in the face of conventional content marketing wisdom. See whether you may be falling for any prevalent content marketing fallacies, and discover a few truths to help drive a more successful content strategy in the future.

Must-Read/Follow/See Content Marketing Resources

26. 72 Must Follow Facebook Pages for Aspiring Content Marketers—Post Planner

Content marketing changes quickly, so it's important to stay in tune with the latest strategies, tips, and tools. Pat Parkinson offers a huge list of inspirational content marketers to keep up with.

27. 39 Blogging Tips From the Pros—Social Media Examiner

We're incredibly fortunate in our industry to have such knowledgeable and also giving content marketing leaders to look to for insight and advice. Check out Cindy King's comprehensive collection of blogging tips from some of the industry's best and brightest.

28. The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing—Whiteboard Friday—Moz

Wizard of Moz Rand Fishkin warns content marketers of an overly optimistic mindset and shines a cold, harsh light on the stark realities of most content marketing experiences in this Whiteboard Friday episode.

29. Content Marketing In 15 Minutes a Day: 3 Content Hacks—AnnHandley.com

Many businesses—especially small ones—have time and resource constraints and confront often-ungenerous realities. What if you really have only mere minutes a day to focus on content marketing? Can it be done? Ann Handley says "yes."

Bonus Article

30. The Comprehensive Guide to Content Marketing Analytics and Metrics—Curata.com

As marketers continue to get more comfortable with content marketing strategy and tactics, one question still plagues the industry: What's the best way to measure the effectiveness of your content? Pawan Deshpande, CEO of Curata, crowdsources the most comprehensive article ever about the key performance metrics of content marketing.


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Larry Kim is the founder/CTO of WordStream Inc., provider of the AdWords Grader and 20 Minute PPC Work Week.

Google+: Larry Kim

Twitter: @larrykim

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Comments

  • by Nico Wed Dec 10, 2014 via web

    Great list of articles and as always with such lists, there are one or two that I haven't got around to reading yet ;)

  • by Zo @ Traction Digital Thu Dec 11, 2014 via web

    Very helpful list thanks! The only thing it'd be good to see more of is how to get your content to the right people. For example, we talk about how email can help content marketers target better: http://bit.ly/1psVYLY

  • by GoPromotional Fri Dec 12, 2014 via web

    This is a great post and I have noted plenty of useful areas. However, donít get hung up on metrics you canít act upon. Often, length of visit or the number of page views per visit wonít matter to your overall success. Instead, focus on how many leads and how many opportunities your content marketing team is influencing. At the end of the day the overall goal is to close business, not just increase your number of page views or followers. :)

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