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5 Content Marketing Ideas for January 2022

Content connects a business to consumers not just for selling but also for sharing information, humor, and skills. But generating content ideas can be challenging.

Remember that content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and promoting articles, podcasts, and similar that attract, engage, and retain an audience of customers.

What follows are five content marketing ideas almost any business can use in January 2022.

1. Start a Podcast

Podcasting has moved from a fringe medium to a common way to share ideas.

In the U.S., there are approximately 120 million podcast listeners, according to Statista. If all of those are adults, something like 45% of Americans older than 18 listen to podcasts.

So podcasts are popular. They are also versatile.

A podcast can cover any topic. At the time of writing, Privycast, an entertainment show about toilets and bathrooms, had 42 episodes on Apple Podcasts.

Screenshot of Privycast page on Apple PodcastsScreenshot of Privycast page on Apple Podcasts

Privycast is an entertainment podcast about bathrooms.

If a podcast about the restroom can exist and even attract an audience, so can a podcast about fashion, tools, do-it-yourself products, fitness, and so on. Every business can find an opportunity to start and maintain a podcast. Make it a New Year’s Resolution.

2. Public Domain Day: January 1

In the United States, January 1 marks when creative works such as music, films, and books can enter the public domain. This means that the works’ U.S. copyright protections have expired.

Drawing of Winnie the Pooh by a fire from artist E. H. ShepardDrawing of Winnie the Pooh by a fire from artist E. H. Shepard

First published in 1926, the book “Winnie the Pooh” will enter the public domain in the United States in 2022. This illustration by artist E. H. Shepard comes from the 1926 version.

Creative works enter the public domain in America after one of three timeframes:

  • 70 years after the death of the author,
  • 120 or 95 years after creation or publication of a work with multiple authors,
  • 95 years after publication for works created from 1923 to 1977.

All of these groups were given an extension in U.S. copyright protection in 1998 with the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). The bill was nicknamed the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” since the famous character was first seen in 1928 and, therefore, Mickey’s copyright was extended by 20 years with this legislation.

Another interesting fact about the CTEA is that Representative Sonny Bono sponsored the bill. Bono was an entertainer before he was a politician and is the first member of the U.S. Congress with a number one pop single.

Public Domain Day gives businesses a few opportunities for content creation. The most obvious is with booksellers, music-related companies, and art merchants, but many companies will find ways to connect with great works of the past.

For example, a seller of used books could publish a series of reviews. Each would feature a book entering the public domain in 2022. The series might start with Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” Next up could be A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh.”

3. Walk Your Dog Month

Photo of a female walking a dog by a parkPhoto of a female walking a dog by a park

Get out and walk your dog in January as part of Walk Your Dog Month. Photo: The Creative Exchange.

January is National Walk Your Dog Month in a few Northern Hemisphere nations. This event encourages folks to get outside despite the weather.

Content marketers at pet supply or pet food companies could have the best results with this topic, but Walk Your Dog Month might also appeal to outdoor lifestyle brands.

The idea could also be well suited for a listicle. Here are some example titles.

  • “21 Reasons to Celebrate Walk Your Dog Month,”
  • “15 Ingenious Ways to Walk Your Dog,”
  • “9 Health Benefits Associated with Dog Walking,”
  • “10 Mood-boosting Benefits of Walking Your Dog,”
  • “8 Ways Dogs Are Good for Your Health.”

4. King Tut Discovered: January 3

On January 3, 1924, archeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team found a large stone containing a solid gold coffin and the mummified Pharaoh Tutankhamen.

Photo of gold statue of King TutPhoto of gold statue of King Tut

Tutankhamun’s golden mask is one of the most recognizable Egyptian artifacts. Photo: Roland Unger.

Cater had been working in Egypt since at least 1907 and had discovered Tutankhamen’s tomb in November 1922. But it took two more years to find the remains of King Tut himself.

King Tut was not a well-known pharaoh in Carter’s era. But because of the wealth of the tomb and several Western museum tours, Tutankhamen is now, perhaps, among the most recognizable Egyptian pharaohs.

The anniversary of King Tut’s discovery (recovery) is a content opportunity for many businesses, including any apparel, furniture, or home decor retailer with Egyptian or Eastern-themed products.

5. Tweetstorm a Listicle

The term “tweetstorm” can have a negative connotation, but in this context, it describes a long-form Twitter post extended as a thread.

Start with a catchy post. Then fill out the topic by replying to your own post.

The tweetstorm format is a good way to promote a listicle. Imagine you have a 10-item list. Write a “title tweet” that pitches the concept. Then reply five times where each is one of the items from the listicle. Then post a link to the full article.

Here is an example from the “Phil from 4 Day Week” Twitter feed.

The title tweet reads, “I started publishing SEO blog posts at the start of the year. Now ~200 people visit my site organically each day.”

Phil follows this up with eight replies to make the thread. The first five are listicle points:

  1. Identify topics to write about,
  2. Write an outline,
  3. Outsource the writing,
  4. Refactor,
  5. Wait patiently.

Phil also links to an article on his site.

One of the replies in the tweetstorm thread should link to the listicle you want to promote.

For your January 2022 content marketing, find several of your company’s top listicles and promote them with a tweetstorm thread.

The Best Ecommerce Content for Instagram

Instagram is a marketing powerhouse. According to Hootsuite, 81% of Instagram users have used the social network to research and discover new products and services. But ecommerce merchants often miss the opportunity. Too many focus solely on sharing product images, not connecting with prospects.

I’ve collected in this post seven types of content ecommerce merchants can use on Instagram to connect and engage with followers.

Ecommerce Content for Instagram

User-generated. Instagram may be the best social platform for engaging an ecommerce audience. Customers can use a merchant’s branded hashtags to share authentic experiences — videos or photos — with its products. Consumers view user-generated content as trustworthy.

Consider “re-graming” customer posts on your Instagram page or using Instagram’s Stories to feature user content that highlights your brand.

Wayfair’s #WayfairAtHome campaign is an excellent example of employing user-generated content. The campaign highlights how Wayfair customers use its products in their homes. The campaign has roughly 56,000 post shares. It is a powerful way to build social proof around the Wayfair brand.

Screenshot of Wayfair's Instagram page showing customersScreenshot of Wayfair's Instagram page showing customers

Wayfair highlights how customers use its products in their homes.

Interactive content such as contests and polls is relatively new to social media. But it is an effective way to engage an audience and learn customers’ preferences about your products. Photo contests can help ecommerce businesses grow subscribers while producing fun and relatable content.

Sock Club, an ecommerce subscription service, uses Instagram’s Stories to feature contests that pit sock designs against each other to determine customers’ preferences.

Screenshot of Sock Club's Instagram pageScreenshot of Sock Club's Instagram page

Sock Club uses Instagram’s Stories to feature contests that pit sock designs against each other.

Lifestyle. A common mistake of ecommerce merchants on Instagram is not understanding lifestyle marketing. Avoid posting too many photos of what you’re selling. Instagram is not an ecommerce store. It’s a platform to share one’s lifestyle. Your posts should reflect that cultural ethos.

Do not fill up your feed with salesy product images against white backgrounds. Focus instead on telling stories and building connections. Lifestyle stories about your products are one of the easiest ways to do that.

Nike’s Instagram page does an amazing job selling shoes. But the page includes no product prices, just stories of folks wearing its shoes.

Screenshot of Nike's Instagram page featuring a female athlete.Screenshot of Nike's Instagram page featuring a female athlete.

Nike’s Instagram page does an amazing job selling shoes. But the page includes no product prices, just stories of folks wearing its shoes.

Products in context. Placing products in their proper context while telling a story can drive sales. Glossier, the online beauty company, does a fabulous job creating in-context makeup tutorials that explains how to use its products together. Showing customers in real-life scenarios how your products enrich their lives makes for shareable content.

Screenshot of a Glossier make-up tutorial on InstagramScreenshot of a Glossier make-up tutorial on Instagram

Glossier’s makeup tutorials explain in a real-life setting how to use its products together.

Behind-the-scenes. One of the best ways to connect with consumers is by addressing how your product is made or the daily operations of your business. I use this in my own business of original paintings. A more traditional ecommerce example is Warby Parker. Its Instagram page and Stories reveal behind-the-scenes footage of the company’s key milestones and moments.

Screenshot of Warby Parker on Instagram showing its early eyeglass framesScreenshot of Warby Parker on Instagram showing its early eyeglass frames

Warby Parker addresses its key milestones and moments, such as early eyeglass frames.

Funny and inspirational quotes spark engagement. Instagram users love to share and comment on quotes. But they’re most powerful when they align with your brand and help sell your products. User-generated quotes can bolster social proof. Reposting followers’ funny memes can trigger an organic viral campaign. Drunk Elephant, a skincare provider, posts jokes that often have nothing to do with skincare, but they are difficult not to share with friends.

Screenshot of a joke on Drunk Elephant's Instagram page Screenshot of a joke on Drunk Elephant's Instagram page

Drunk Elephant posts jokes that often have nothing to do with skincare, but they are difficult not to share.

Influencer partnerships, done well, can create compelling content. But avoid partnerships that solely promote your product. Instead, create authentic experiences that help grow your following. Daniel Wellington, an online watch company, reportedly used micro-influencers on Instagram to help drive sales to $180 million in five years. Talented influencers can solve two problems: advertise your products and generate quality images for later use.

Screenshot of Daniel Wellington's Instagram pageScreenshot of Daniel Wellington's Instagram page

Daniel Wellington used micro-influencers on Instagram to help grow sales to $180 million in five years.

Holiday Email Marketing Trends, Examples for 2021

It’s the busiest time for email marketing. Retailers are preparing and sending their holiday campaigns. Most use proven, tried-and-true email tactics.

In this post, I’ll review a few email marketing examples in this 2021 season from leading retailers.

Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer is applying several proven email marketing practices. First is a “cart starter” to initiate the purchase process, beginning with the subject line: “Here’s $10 To Start Your Holiday Shopping!” It has a dual purpose of a $10 savings and a reminder to get started.

Consumers have endless choices for buying gifts. Deciding factors are typically price, convenience, availability, selection, and quality. Enticing shoppers to populate a cart facilitates abandoned cart reminders if necessary. And auto-loading a coupon code or gift offer can close sales.

Screenshot of an Eddie Bauer holiday emailScreenshot of an Eddie Bauer holiday email

This subject line from an Eddie Bauer email — “Here’s $10 To Start Your Holiday Shopping!” — has a dual purpose of a $10 savings and a reminder to get started.

Upping the email frequency is another proven practice. Thus far, Eddie Bauer has gone from sending a few weekly emails to daily to, most recently, twice a day.

Screenshot of an email inbox showing many Eddie Bauer emails.Screenshot of an email inbox showing many Eddie Bauer emails.

Eddie Bauer has gone from sending a few weekly emails to daily to, most recently, twice a day.

An Adweek survey found that 99% of consumers check their email at least daily. Many check upwards of 20 times per day. A subscriber could easily miss, say, a morning email. But an afternoon message could catch her attention.

Increasing the frequency requires variations on subject lines, preheaders, and body copy. Do not resend the same or similar email more than once daily. Moreover, unique content improves deliverability. Similar (or exact) subject lines from the same sender can trip spam algorithms to block the deployment. Emails from Eddie Bauer have unique subject lines, body copy, offers.

Loft

Loft, the women’s clothing retailer, emphasizes its rewards program in holiday emails, another proven strategy. Rewards encourage loyalty and repeat purchases. The most effective programs allow flexibility as to when and where consumers access the rewards offers.

Sample email from Loft for rewards points.Sample email from Loft for rewards points.

Loft lets rewards shoppers decide when they shop and on what channel.

Costco

Shoppers in 2021 are mindful of inventory shortages and delivery delays. Costco and many other retailers have responded by launching early holiday promotions. Costco’s example email below features a variety of products as many shoppers are unsure what gift to buy.

Plus, a Deloitte survey found that 51% of consumers will purchase something for themselves while shopping for others. Bundled offers — such as buy one, get one free — encourage this behavior.

Screenshot of a holiday email promotion from Costco Screenshot of a holiday email promotion from Costco

Retailer Costco started holiday email promotions on November 1.

Shutterfly

Direct physical mail can complement email promotions and drive online traffic. I’ve seen direct mail campaigns produce a 20% lift in conversions. Direct mail during the holidays can also reach procrastinating shoppers.

Shutterfly deploys direct mail to great effect, as shown in the image below of a physical postcard.

Image of a postcard reading "Holiday Cards and Gifts"Image of a postcard reading "Holiday Cards and Gifts"

This physical postcard from Shutterfly complements email campaigns and drives traffic to the company’s website.

Facebook Lead Ads Lowered CPA, Boosted Results

When your marketing plan requires newsletter signups, event registrations, and resource downloads, Facebook lead ads may be a powerful tool at an attractive cost per acquisition.

Lead ads feature a mobile-first form already filled out with a Facebook or Instagram user’s name and contact information. The ads transform the registration or subscription path as less form friction results in more conversions.

Lead Ads

Facebook lead ads have two parts: the ad and the form. The signup or registration is captured on the Facebook or Instagram platform. Registrants do not leave Facebook or Instagram to find and fill out a form. The form, again, is loaded with information from the user’s profile, eliminating the need to type in a name, phone number, or email address.

Two smartphone screenshots: a Facebook lead ad and the corresponding lead formTwo smartphone screenshots: a Facebook lead ad and the corresponding lead form

With a Facebook lead ad, the signup or registration is captured on the Facebook or Instagram platform.

The ad is identical to any other Facebook ad. The difference is the form. It even includes a familiar call to action, such as “learn more” or “sign up.”

Keeping the registration on Facebook or Instagram is, for many, a better form experience. Facebook presumably prefers this, too, since the user is not required to leave one of its networks.

I have been a fan of this ad form for some time, but recently I tested it for a software-as-a-service company.

Facebook Ad Test

The test was aimed at two educational offers: a four-week course with live sessions and an unrelated, weekly live workshop.

The offers deployed two types of Facebook ads: one linked to an offsite landing page, and the other used an on-site lead form. Both groups used identical audiences and ad assets. The test ran for six weeks and garnered thousands of registrations.

The results were not even close.

For the course, the lead ads produced 80% more signups at about half of the cost per acquisition. For the weekly workshops, the lead ads generated about 100% more registrations for half of the cost.

What’s more, in both cases the CPA dropped over time, presumably as the algorithm improved targeting.

Fictitious Names

Registrations from lead ads were not perfect. The information loaded into the form comes from a person’s profile on Facebook or Instagram.

I observed a couple of problems with this.

First, some Instagram registrants did not have a real name in their profile, resulting in monikers similar to “Mrs. Magic Woman” in the lead form. This did not necessarily reduce the quality of the lead, but it didn’t help, either.

The second issue was more troublesome. Follow-up emails sent to registrants from lead ads had relatively fewer clicks and engagements.

This likely has to do with the email address associated with some user accounts. My own Facebook and Instagram accounts, for example, are associated with an email address that I have had since the 1990s. I check it once a week or so. Perhaps some of the registrants included similar secondary email addresses.

Moreover, the email address in a Facebook or Instagram profile is likely personal versus business, making it less desirable for a B2B SaaS company.

Nonetheless, the lead ad performed much better than the landing page version.

Lead Collection

Another challenge with using Facebook lead ads has to do with collection and automation. How does an advertiser get the leads created on Facebook? How are those leads added to marketing automation campaigns?

The SaaS company had two existing automated campaigns: one for the courses and one for the workshops.

Our solution was Zapier, which has integrations for Facebook lead ads and several popular form providers. A registration captured on Facebook or Instagram was automatically added via Zapier to the existing automated follow-up.

Other, more burdensome solutions include employing an application programming interface or manually downloading the leads.

Screenshot from Zapier showing the Facebook to Gravity forms zap.Screenshot from Zapier showing the Facebook to Gravity forms zap.

A simple Zapier integration can transfer the leads from Facebook to a marketing automation platform.

5 Content Marketing Ideas for December 2021

Content marketing is a constant flow of planning and producing. And topics, even for search engine optimization, may be hard to find.

The content should be useful, informative, or entertaining, and it should help a business attract, engage, and retain an audience of customers and prospects.

So for December 2021 content marketing, consider industry forecasts, holiday how-to articles, New Year’s resolutions, and a couple of uncommon holidays.

1. Industry Forecasts

December is the beginning of the end, the last month of the year. It’s a natural time to prognosticate about trends and changes for 2022.

For your content marketing, consider creating articles, videos, or podcast episodes that predict changes to the industry your business serves.

For example, a B2B merchant selling restaurant supplies might want to forecast demand for vegetarian or vegan menu items. This forecast could answer several questions that are helpful to restaurant owners and managers.

Should restaurateurs add new vegetarian and vegan items? Is there evidence the trend is waning? Are there more vegetarians and vegan customers? How does the vegetarian and vegan trend compare to interest in the keto diet?

Google Trends, which shows the popularity of search terms, can provide insight. The screen capture below compares search volume for “vegan” and “keto.”

Screenshot of Google Trends showing search popularity of "vegan" and "keto."Screenshot of Google Trends showing search popularity of "vegan" and "keto."

Google Trends shows the popularity of search terms. In this example, the number of searches for “vegan” has been relatively constant, while “keto” searches have declined.

Similarly, an online retailer selling athletic equipment to high school students and their parents might consider a forecast that compares the cost of a college education and the number of available scholarships by sport.

The idea is to create valuable content that will help customers understand how trends in 2022 could impact them.

2. Holiday How-to

How-to articles and videos are content marketing at its best. There is no form of content more valuable to consumers.

For December 2021, create videos or articles to demonstrate how to complete a task — the more specific the task, the better.

Here are several examples on YouTube and popular websites:

Try to identify how-to topics that are closely associated with the products or services your business sells.

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 3. Resolutions

On New Year’s Eve, many folks are going to share a list of resolutions. These are promises to themselves aimed at improving their lives in one way or another.

December is an excellent time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Photo: Tim Mossholder.

Various sites and sources estimate that between 40 and 50% of American adults set resolutions, so the audience is substantial.

For December content marketing, create resolution lists and resources to help readers plan their own goals.

Top resolutions are likely to include:

  • Eat better,
  • Lose weight,
  • Exercise more,
  • Develop personal relationships,
  • Save more money,
  • Earn more money,
  • Spend less money,
  • Advance career,
  • Education,
  • Drink less alcohol,
  • Quit smoking,
  • Reduce stress,
  • Travel.

Choose topics related to what your company sells. For example, an online stationery and office supply shop could focus on financial resolutions, publishing a series of articles describing financial journaling techniques.

Similarly, a luggage retailer or men’s apparel business could release articles or videos about travel planning. They might cover how to travel safely despite Covid or describe potential destinations.

4. Roof Over Your Head Day

December 3, 2021, is Roof Over Your Head Day in the United States. It reminds us that many people struggle with housing and to be thankful for what we have.

Since the onset of the Covid pandemic, house prices have risen worldwide. According to an October 2021 report in ApartmentGuide.com, rental prices in Ohio, for example, have risen as much as 41% year over year. But the tide is turning in some places, and November rental prices are down by a percentage point or so.

While it could make sense for some businesses to create content about the housing market, others might focus on the “being grateful for what one has” part of the Roof Over Your Head Day.

A screenshot of a map from ApartmentGuide.com showing U.S. rental prices by state.A screenshot of a map from ApartmentGuide.com showing U.S. rental prices by state.

We should all be grateful for the roof over our heads. Source: ApartmentGuide.com.

5. Pretend to be a Time Traveler

This idea may be the most creative and the most fun in this post.

December 8, 2021, is “Pretend to be a Time Traveler” Day. It is an opportunity for content marketers to entertain readers and viewers. Here are two possibilities.

First, create an article or video describing how to celebrate Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day. This article might include recommended time travel movies or books. Or it could describe how to make an ancient recipe for folks who wished to pretend to travel back in time.

Second, Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day could spark content discussing time travel. An example is the Unveiled YouTube channel, which has an eight-minute video describing four time-travel stories.

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Influencer Marketing, Part 8: Analyzing Performance

You’ve made it to the end of my series on influencer marketing.

To date, I’ve defined influencer marketing and addressed why merchants should use it. I’ve explained how to set goals, how to pick the right channels, how to target and pitch influencers, and how to make the most of your first campaign.

In this final, “Part 8” installment, I’ll describe a process to analyze performance.

Image of a smartphone with the words "Influencer Marketing" on the screen.Image of a smartphone with the words "Influencer Marketing" on the screen.

Influencer marketing can drive ecommerce sales. The eight posts in this series can help merchants launch, iterate, and improve influencer campaigns.

Post-mortem Analysis

A post-mortem marketing analysis determines what went right and wrong with a campaign or strategy. The outcome forms actionable steps to improve future efforts. The process involves collecting critical data during a campaign and assessing it afterward.

  • Document everything. Rigorous note-taking can help remember critical campaign developments, such as an influencer requiring two revisions, the entire art department out sick, or developers forgetting to set a tracking pixel. Documentation is not about finger-pointing. It’s an objective explanation as to why the campaign exceeded or failed in meeting its goals.
  • Meet with stakeholders afterward. Assemble all participants post-campaign. Developers, designers, marketers, sales — all involved should attend. This is as much a planning meeting for the next campaign as a rehash of the one just concluded. Were the goals met? Did labor costs exceed expectations? Was revenue greater than anticipated? Stick to the data — a cold, sober analysis.
  • Identify learnings. From the data discussion, apply the lessons learned without attaching blame. For instance, the art department may have learned that the influencer preferred a different format and style, resulting in extra labor. The sales team may have learned that coupon codes assigned to Instagram viewers were also fulfilled by Pinterest users, suggesting the latter is a promising future channel.

In my experience, a post-mortem analysis can quickly get off-track as stakeholders try to defend their decisions. Stick to the agenda. Remove personalities and focus only on the data.

Post-mortem Questions

Post-mortems are not easy. Ask the following questions of all participating departments to isolate potential changes.

Collaboration. Did the team:

  • Understand the goal?
  • Build a consensus?
  • Receive needed people resources?
  • Notify managers during the campaign on progress and roadblocks?

Process. Did the team:

  • Accurately prioritize tasks?
  • Sync the task timeline with the goal?
  • Match the campaign date with the goal?
  • Communicate unexpected roadblocks?

Function.

  • Who was the key decision-maker?
  • Did the key decision-maker execute properly?
  • Did all participants understand their roles and tasks?
  • Was additional personnel necessary to complete the campaign, such as vendors and other internal departments?

Next steps.

  • How can senior management help with future campaigns?
  • Which learnings could result in quicker execution at less cost and greater revenue?
  • Are different functions needed?
  • Should goals be re-assessed?

Iterate and Improve

It may look daunting, but a post-mortem analysis is essential for iteration and improvement. The result is high-performing influencer campaigns that surpass your competitors.

How Content Drives Low-cost Ad Conversions

Content marketing is often associated with search engine optimization since the two disciplines can work hand in glove. But there can be a strong affinity between content marketing and advertising, too.

Content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and distributing content to attract, engage, and retain an audience of customers and prospects.

Many businesses employ content marketing to drive organic search traffic and engage visitors. Advertising can accelerate content promotion while driving new and incremental sales.

Content Cycle

A cycle is one way to think about the content marketing process.

There is a planning stage. Topics are selected, and SEO entities and keywords are identified. Outcomes are chosen here, too.

Next, the content is composed or created. This may be as singular as writing a blog post or as multifaceted as publishing an online course.

Then the content is promoted. The results are measured. The campaign’s performance is used to start a new planning process.

Content Promotion

Many content marketers use organic social media, SEO, and email marketing to spark interest in new content. But advertising should be added to this promotional mix, too.

As an example, an ecommerce-related SaaS company recently published a profile of one of its customers. The profile featured a video, a podcast, and an article of nearly 3,000 words.

Promotion in an email newsletter generated a few hundred page visits on publication day. The combined traffic from organic social media and organic search totaled 31 page visits in the first 48 hours.

In those same two days, a Facebook ad campaign promoting the profile drove 1,543 page visits at 15 cents per visit.

Screenshot of a Facebook ad performance page showing the results of the campaignScreenshot of a Facebook ad performance page showing the results of the campaign

A Facebook ad campaign drove 1,543 visits to an article at 15 cents per visit.

Here is another example. A midsize brand wanted an outsized impact on YouTube. The company planned a series of videos featuring b-level celebrities.

The problem was that b-level celebrities did not want to be associated with a video on a new channel that might only get a handful of views.

So the company launched a Google Ads campaign aimed at video views. The targeted video received 273,760 views in 12 days at an average cost of 4 cents per view. (Many video view campaigns are even less expensive.) The celebrity was pleased, and the company confirmed it could attract future guests.

Screenshot from Google Ads showing the performance of a campaignScreenshot from Google Ads showing the performance of a campaign

A Google Ads campaign that targeted YouTube users costs about 4 cents per view.

Here is a third example. A service company published a how-to article featuring its own offerings as part of the solution. The detailed article was several thousand words and included a companion video and three conversion opportunities.

A Google Ads search campaign targeting this how-to article in October 2021 produced 224 conversions from 45,255 impressions.

Screenshot from Google Ads showing campaign performanceScreenshot from Google Ads showing campaign performance

Some forms of content marketing work well for immediate conversions. This single how-to article combined with a paid search campaign generated 224 sale conversions in one month.

In all of these examples, advertising amplified the content to achieve the desired outcome.

Customer Funnels and Conversions

Content benefits from accelerated promotion, and advertising can generate conversions or leads because of the content.

This is important because the content marketing and advertising teams at most companies have different key performance indicators.

KPIs for a content marketer might be site traffic, video views, or newsletter registrations. Ad teams want conversions, clicks, impressions, and low cost per action or acquired customer.

An advertising manager will be reluctant to spend her budget on video views if it doesn’t meet her KPI goals. There are at least two ways in which content marketing can help.

First, content can drive conversions. The how-to article above helped potential customers and drove sales with a 7.32% conversion rate for an average cost of $33.32 per conversion. This was well below the profit generated, meaning the ad team was happy to send traffic to the article.

Second, content can help create “warm” or “hot” audiences for the ad team. The marketing manager can retarget potential customers who read a profile or watched a video. This process effectively moves the customer toward a conversion.

Working Together

In short, advertising can boost content marketing while defining customer funnels by retargeting folks who have engaged with the content.

How Brands Succeed on Reddit

Social platforms are key marketing channels for ecommerce sellers. Among those channels is Reddit, which is chock-full of reviews that attract shoppers.

I addressed last month the benefits of Reddit to online sellers, describing five of my favorite ways to engage with members of the platform.

In this post, I’ll profile a few brands that use Reddit successfully, spreading awareness and driving traffic to their sites.

Terms to Know

  • Mods. Short for moderators, these are volunteers who manage the subreddits.
  • Thread. A specific discussion on Reddit. When you publish a post in a subreddit, you are creating a thread.
  • Upvote. Akin to “liking” a post on Facebook or Instagram, users upvote a comment or post when they like it. This increases the post’s visibility.
  • Downvote. The opposite of an upvote, downvotes reduce a post’s visibility.
  • OP. Stands for “Original Poster.” The term refers to the person who first posted a thread.
  • AMA. An acronym for “Ask Me Anything.” It is a popular subreddit for interactive interviews. The sessions are live and last an hour. Redditors ask the questions, and the host responds in real-time.
  • Flair. Akin to a category, a flair tag can be added to a thread for users to filter based on their preferences.

Brands Finding Success with Subreddits

Microsoft’s primary subreddit provides support to its customers and prospects. Questions address software updates, new product launches, and various features. Plus, the subreddit helps Microsoft users connect.

We know this because we see that the moderators have pinned “Microsoft: Official Support Thread” at the top of the community board. We also see Microsoft mods pinning notices of special events.

The customer service shows Redditors that Microsoft is listening to them and wants to solve their problems. Microsoft also has a popular subreddit community for Xbox 360.

Screenshot of Microsoft's primary subredditScreenshot of Microsoft's primary subreddit

Microsoft’s primary subreddit provides support to its customers and prospects.

Adobe Photoshop’s subreddit is organized into user-friendly categories — “flair” in Reddit-speak — all aimed at helping users of Photoshop learn more and request help.

Adobe also uses the popular subreddit to solicit customer feedback, asking, “What would you improve in Photoshop?”

Spotify’s subreddit creates engagement by encouraging members to share their playlists. In 2014, Spotify asked Redditors 30 questions regarding songs and how we attach feelings to them. It garnered more than 10,000 submissions. Spotify then created a playlist based on the submissions! This campaign led to Spotify winning Reddit’s “Community Brand of the Year 2014” award.

Screenshot of Spotify's subreddit.Screenshot of Spotify's subreddit.

Spotify’s subreddit creates engagement by encouraging members to share their playlists.

Tushy, a direct-to-consumer bidet attachment company, has seen much success for years by hosting its own subreddit, which includes a link to a page on Tushy’s site customized for Redditors.

In November of 2020, Tushy debuted a sponsored post where it agreed to make a limited edition bidet that changed the “Bum Wash” label to “A** Blast” on the condition that the ad was upvoted 10,000 times. The challenge was met, and Tushy has said it will follow through with its promise.

CeraVe, a skincare provider, is an excellent example of becoming popular without even trying! It’s the most mentioned brand on the r/SkincareAddiction subreddit, which has 1.4 million members. Tom Allison, CeraVe co-founder, told Modern Retail that “CeraVe has not put any paid support behind Reddit at this time,” noting that the brand drives awareness via word-of-mouth.

Screenshot of the SkincareAddiction subreddit.Screenshot of the SkincareAddiction subreddit.

CeraVe is the most-mentioned brand on the r/SkincareAddiction subreddit.

Who’s Talking?

CeraVe lets users do the talking on Reddit. Are users discussing your company? Scour the threads and engage with people conversing about your products. If there are enough, it could be a sign to create your own subreddit.

4 Reasons to Use Dynamic Search Ads

Dynamic search ads access your website content and deploy artificial intelligence to generate headlines, bids, and targeted search terms automatically. These easy-to-employ text ads are the Swiss Army knife of digital promotion: They work well in many situations.

Moreover, dynamic search ads (DSAs) are similar in concept to search engine optimization.

Something Like SEO

For SEO, you’ve carefully selected keywords and entities for all of your important pages. You focused on the technical side, ensuring that Google and other search engines can index your pages. You’ve also optimized the pages’ content, making them high converting.

In the end, you trust the search engine to present a specific page to a potential customer when that person submits a related query.

DSAs are similar.

When someone types a term into Google that closely matches the keywords and entities found on one of your pages, Google Ads dynamically creates a relevant ad and presents it.

Advertisers can optimize DSAs for sending traffic to a website or, if you have conversions set up, to generate ecommerce sales.

DSAs are a striking example of marketing AI. There are multiple reasons to use them.

4 Reasons to Use DSAs

No organic rankings. One of the reasons to pay for any search ad is to garner traffic for a term your website does not rank for organically — or at least not rank on the first page.

Unlike SEO, however, DSAs do not need from advertisers a list of keywords. Google Ads or Microsoft Ads do that for you.

Google could use its index of your site or a page feed to target landing pages.

The page feed takes the form of a CSV spreadsheet with a column for the page URL and a column for custom labels. Advertisers can use these labels to build ad groups within a DSA campaign.

Large business. One could argue that a well-organized, keyword-focused search campaign sending visitors to a popular, conversion-optimized landing page will outperform a DSA.

For large businesses, however, creating all of those well-organized, meticulously-built campaigns might be a challenge.

Imagine you have an ecommerce website with 5,000 or more pages. These pages might include millions of keyword phrases and search entities. Trying to build search campaigns for all of them would be daunting, if not impossible.

Savvy companies focus on the top-performing pages, developing campaigns for the products that will produce the most revenue. This leaves lots of pages unrepresented in ads.

Enter the DSA. It can target those unrepresented URLs and associated products.

Here’s an example. I’m aware of a company that targeted 1,362 pages not included in its Google search campaigns. The DSAs aimed at these long-tail pages generated 2,211 conversions in a month.

Screen capture of actual DSA performance stats in GoogleScreen capture of actual DSA performance stats in Google

This screen capture is of a DSA campaign for a large site. There are 1,362 landing pages in the campaign. From Oct. 1 – 25, the campaign generated 2,211 conversions. Click image to enlarge.

Small business. DSA campaigns can help small businesses, too.

While a large business might be unable to build traditional search campaigns for every page, a small business might not do it for any page.

An entrepreneur at the helm of a small ecommerce company has lots of responsibilities. She may need to focus on the supply chain one moment and holiday email marketing the next. In between, she addresses order fulfillment and customer service.

DSAs are a good option when you don’t have the time or expertise to check and optimize ad performance daily. Rather, you can invest a little time upfront and let DSAs drive traffic and sales.

Search term intelligence. DSAs are keyword research extraordinaire.

As a dynamic campaign runs, Google tracks all related search terms — the actual words and phrases folks queried. These words and phrases are a rich source of keyword opportunities.

For every search term, Google provides the number of impressions, clicks, and conversions.

Advertisers can take the top-performing terms and use them in new, keyword-driven campaigns.

Warnings

As helpful as DSAs can be, there are concerns. DSAs can cannibalize traffic from other ad campaigns and from organic results. And DSAs sometimes result in higher acquisition costs and a less-than-perfect customer experience.

Let’s consider these in turn.

Cannibalization. DSAs can target search terms that match keywords in other campaigns or ad groups. This is especially true if a DSA is in the same campaign as a standard ad group. Don’t do that.

DSAs may also cannibalize organic traffic. For example, DSAs commonly target an advertiser’s brand name. Odds are good your company would also rank for your name organically. Thus you might end up paying for clicks you would have received for free. This could happen with product names and long-tail topics, too.

Acquisition cost. Not all landing pages targeted by DSAs are high converting. Inevitably, some of those pages will produce few conversions, but a DSA will still serve impressions and clicks for those poor performers.

Customer experience. Finally, remember that Google (or Microsoft) dynamically generates the headline of a DSA based on the content of the landing page and the search term.

If your site is not search optimized, the DSA could generate irrelevant headlines or search terms. Sending searchers to an unrelated landing page is a poor experience. In that case, it’s not the DSA’s fault. It’s your SEO.

15 Popular Pinterest Accounts (for Marketing Inspiration)

Pinterest continues to develop its ecommerce tools and features. For consumers, the tools are handy when browsing turns to buying. For merchants, the platform can expose a brand and drive revenue.

High-traffic accounts on Pinterest use influencers and brands to engage followers and drive monthly views. Here is a list of 15 of the most popular. There are curated topical style boards, product tags to shop, rich pins with product information, video pins, and more.

Oh Joy

Screen capture of the Oh Joy Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Oh Joy Pinterest page

Oh Joy

Oh Joy is an L.A.-based lifestyle brand and design company by Joy Cho. Oh Joy creates licensed products for home decor, kids, pets, and furniture collections with Target, Urban Outfitters, Keds, Petco, Band-Aid, and more. Popular Pinterest boards include Hair, Recipes, and For the Home. 15.2 million followers, 4 million monthly views.

Poppytalk

Screen capture of the Poppytalk Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Poppytalk Pinterest page

Poppytalk

Poppytalk is a design blog and creative studio founded by Jan Halvarson and Earl Einarson. It covers design elements, do-it-yourself projects, entertaining and recipe creations, art and photography, interior design, architecture, and more. Popytalk has partnered with Target, Martha Stewart Living, Tiffany and Co., and Proctor & Gamble. Popular boards include At the Lake, DIY and Tutorials, and Entertaining + Fun. 10.5 million followers, 9 million monthly views.

Tasty

Screen capture of the Tasty Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Tasty Pinterest page

Tasty

Tasty, from Buzzfeed, is a network for quick food videos and recipes. Tasty was originally a Buzzfeed Facebook page that featured short, comfort-food videos. Its Pinterest boards include food genres and meal hacks, such as Breakfast & Brunch, Desserts, Seafood Dinners, and Tasty Happy Hour. 10.4 million followers, 10 million monthly views.

Maryann Rizzo

Screen capture of the Maryann Rizzo Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Maryann Rizzo Pinterest page

Maryann Rizzo

Maryann Rizzo is an interior designer whose Tumblr blog, called “Curated Style,” contains inspirational images to design, decorate, craft, cook, garden, entertain, dress, and travel in style. Popular Pinterest boards include EVERYTHING and …and then some. 9 million followers, 760,200 monthly views.

Mamas Uncut

Screen capture of the Mamas Uncut Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Mamas Uncut Pinterest page

Mamas Uncut

Mamas Uncut is a site by Bekka Palmer for moms, with boards on parenting news and hacks, lifestyle-related content (e.g., tattoos), beauty and hair, celebrities, humor, and more. Popular boards include Baby, Lifestyle and Inspiration, and Mamauncut Inspiration. 8.5 million followers, 10 million monthly views.

Cathie Hong Interiors

Screen capture of the Cathie Hong Interiors Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Cathie Hong Interiors Pinterest page

Cathie Hong Interiors

Cathie Hong Interiors is an interior design firm in San Francisco. Its inspirational boards pin content on interior and outdoor design, tile and materials, stores and displays, packaging and branding, general inspiration, as well as the studio’s own work. The Dining Inspiration board has over 3 million followers. 7.9 million followers, 20,100 monthly views.

Jane Wang

Screen capture of the Jane Wang Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Jane Wang Pinterest page

Jane Wang

Jane Wang is the mother of Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann. With over 56,000 pins, Jane Wang’s boards demonstrate that popular inspirational content can cover a wide range of topics, from Wood to Madagascar to Will it blend? 7.7 million followers.

HonestlyWTF

Screen capture of the HonestlyWTF Pinterest pageScreen capture of the HonestlyWTF Pinterest page

HonestlyWTF

HonestlyWTF, curated by Erica Chan Coffman, features anything extraordinary. It features boards on interior design, style, art, shoes, jewelry, typography, photography, weddings, ceramics, architecture, and travel. Popular boards include DIY and Home Sweet Home. 7.1 million followers, 10 million monthly views.

Bonnie Tsang

Screen capture of the Bonnie Tsang Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Bonnie Tsang Pinterest page

Bonnie Tsang

Bonnie Tsang is a visual artist. Her boards feature inspirational and stylish images on architecture, fashion, colors, stripes, minimalism, and food. Popular boards include Living Spaces and Workspace. 7 million followers, 61,000 monthly views.

Evelyn

Screen capture of the Evelyn Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Evelyn Pinterest page

Evelyn

Evelyn has a wide range of topics across nearly 200 boards, including Passport to Western Europe, Nature’s WIndows, and America the Beautiful, Traveling the USA. 6.8 million followers.

Pejper

Screen capture of the Pejper Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Pejper Pinterest page

Pejper

Pejper is a Swedish lifestyle blog that focuses on the environment, with Pinterest boards that include Work ROOMS and Green Living – Houseplants. Its Lovely Living board has over 3 million followers. 6.8 million followers, 33,200 monthly views.

Harper’s Bazaar

Screen capture of the Harper’s Bazaar Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Harper’s Bazaar Pinterest page

Harper’s Bazaar

Harper’s Bazaar pins items from its magazine, including tagged content to shop at its online store. Popular boards include Street Style and Beauty & Hair. 6.4 million followers, 10 million monthly views.

Trey Ratcliff

Screen capture of the Trey Ratcliff Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Trey Ratcliff Pinterest page

Trey Ratcliff

Trey Ratcliff is the artist behind the daily travel blog StuckInCustoms.com. His Pinterest boards collect travel images. The My Favorite Travel Photos board has over 6 million followers. 6.4 million followers, 808,500 monthly views.

Style Me Pretty

Screen capture of the Style Me Pretty Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Style Me Pretty Pinterest page

Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty is a wedding site containing inspirational images and products to shop. Popular boards include Bridal Hair & Hairstyles and Wedding Cakes. 6.3 million followers, 10 million monthly views.

Nordstrom

Screen capture of the Nordstrom Pinterest pageScreen capture of the Nordstrom Pinterest page

Nordstrom

Nordstrom pins and curates images on women’s fashion, men’s style, handbags, shoes, home decor, and more. Followers can also shop tagged images. Popular boards include Women’s Clothing, Home, and Beauty. 5.2 million followers, 10 million monthly views.