Best-of Content Marketing eBooks – Filayed & Digested

Best-of Content Marketing eBooks – Filayed & Digested

I’m not huge fan of the eBook, but the “register for this valuable resource” marketing ploy is obviously working for many. It hasn’t worked for me, but perhaps I don’t have the volume, the right ebook, or the right offer. Free is a good start. Today, I stumbled upon the motherload of ebooks on content marketing and I wanted to give back to the community by distilling the best of the best, so you don’t have to download and not open these ebooks yourself. For convenience, of course, I have given the source links to the actual ebooks, if you want to see the uber-cool graphics and illustrative pictures.

[An uber.la quickie is a streamlined takeaway from today’s best marketing sources]

Paid-Earned vs Owned-Shared by Christopher S. Penn

We know that digital marketing of any kind is primarily focused on driving revenue. Mr. Penn has an interesting concept called ZMOT – zero moment of truth. Here’s the graphic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 8.10.21 AM

 

In our digital experience as consumers, we are stimulated by marketing that brings us to our ZMOT. The first moment is when you enter the product/service into your shopping cart and discover the full price, and either make the decision to buy or not to buy. In my understanding of the process, this is the Golden Moment of Truth (Did you get the sale?). In this book we also look a the overall customer experience as the second moment of truth.

Here’s the second WINNING graphic from the book.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 8.16.29 AM

If the experience went well, or even better than expected, we will often become advocates for the brand/company by telling our friends, writing reviews, or giving back “earned media” on the company. This is the Social Moment of Truth (Did your customer rave about your experience online?). I never found a definition in the ebook for FMOT. (Future?)

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 8.21.14 AM

What we get from the chart above is that earned media can drive a good volume of stimulus, or awareness and traffic to the target site. Advertising is starting to take a back seat to social media. And in terms of effectiveness, Search and Social at the big winners.

The Funnel Graphics are a favorite of sales mechanics. Here’s a pretty good analysis of the process in digital marketing and how to figure the cost and value of those leads.

sales funnel of digital marketing

In this wonderfully simple analysis of the digital sales funnel, we can see if we’re paying more than $0.31 per activation, we need to adjust things.

And when we dig into our own metrics we can see where the value of social marketing comes in.

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In this example we can see that social media was the “last interaction” before the person made their purchase. What we can also see, is that social had 22 assists. (just like in sports) And is one of the big misses in measurement of social media. If you only count the direct conversions and not the assists, you are missing 54% of the value the social interactions had on the sales process. And if you’re watching the effectiveness of your social marketing programs you should be able to measure its effect on these metrics:

Direct traffic – people heard about you and typed your name in their browser

Referral traffic – as people are inspired to click on a link from a review or rave on someone’s site

Search traffic – if they hear about your product they can search for it by name

Social traffic – if people are talking about your product on social media, you should see an increase in traffic from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or whatever social channel is most appropriate for your business

If you can measure these increases as your activity and focus increases, you can show how social marketing is having a positive effect on your ROI. And if you can add in the digital assists, you can show how social is also an accelerant to the other channels of your sales funnel. Overall, we know social works, but we need to get better at harnessing that value and then assigning dollar values to those “wins.”

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Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media from digital relevance

Right off the bat I have a problem with this advice. Here’s their opening graphic.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 8.46.15 AM

I’m still looking for the substantiation for this astounding graphic. The words of Prince Bride come to mind, ‘Inconceivable!”

This booklet is more of what I would consider a puff piece, or slide show packaged up as an ebook. Nice graphics, little data to support those graphics, and some statements that need a lot of substantiation are not backed up with numbers. Here’s the process as illustrated in this ebook.

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Cute, but not very illuminating. Do you need an explanation of these four terms? Um, I don’t think so, unless you really are in digital marketing 101.

There was one informational graphic that provided a nice concept of “stacking” your campaigns for maximum benefit. Each program feeds into the next, and as the first campaign is dying, the second one comes in to boost and drive additional value.

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I’m guessing this is a major selling point for this company’s process. Um, but it looks like good common sense to me, if you are doing integrated campaigns and optimizing over the course of the entire program. And other than this nice waterfall graphic, the real payoff in this ebook seems to be the last page. I’ll skip the courtesy link on this “free assessment” but you can find it by downloading this Powerpoint presentation dressed up as an “ebook.”

freeassessment

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Advanced Guide to Content Promotion from BuzzStream

Okay, I can see why this company led off with Christopher Penn’s book. Because even the table of contents of this one breaks down for me pretty quickly.

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Man, that is a lot of pages to give you this basic formula.

Goals > Content > Promotion Paid > Promotion Earned > Fusing it all together.

I’m going to flip through the first 63 pages, and my guess is we’re not going to get any major ah-ha moments.

Um, here’s an interesting formula, that looks pretty official. The idea here is to figure out how long your campaign should run.

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 9.04.14 AM

 

Maybe I should be more versed in this type of math, but I tend to think Mr. Penn has more useful calculations.

And it is nice of them to give us a full marketing plan outline. Well, I guess. But this is the kind of straw man we’ve all built 100 times. The trick is to fill in the tactics and strategies, not just the “when to do it.”

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And there are a few data charts that are useful, but readily available elsewhere. Here’s one, that this book as incorrectly attributed to 2012, when the data in the chart clearly says Q3 2011. (grin)

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 9.09.01 AM

If you’re looking for another 101 overview of social and promotional marketing, this might work for you, but for advanced marketers this one comes across as a very long research paper by some interns who don’t provide much insight into what was being presented.

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That’s the problem with ebooks. They are often repackaged slide presentations that are very light on actionable information. C. Penn is a social pro. His ebook is a small section of a real book. And you get valuable information even from this short excerpt.

The other two ebooks are really marketing puff pieces, or gimme’s to attempt list-building for the individual companies. And this if often what most free ebooks look like. Heck, even mine has some elements of both.

I hope you found some valuable ideas in the first one. I was worried about how long this post was going to be after I created the overview of Mr. Penn’s book. But the next two books were more of what I expected. I’m guessing you’ve downloaded 10 or 20 of these marketing expert guides, and I’m guessing you’ve opened less than half of them. The ebook download always seems like a great idea, until you actually open the book to find there’s nothing of value there.

creative commons usage: all images have been used for review purposes only and are owned by the creator of the individual ebooks reviewed.

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
All three full ebooks can be downloaded from their respective sites from this page:

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