From the Edge of the Great Plains

Dear Content Marketers:

Publisher John Heaston and I decided in September’s Content Marketing Newsletter to spotlight two emerging trends – the surge in Artificial Intelligence (AI) as applied to marketing and the related and growing impact of imagery.

We‘ll also touch on Google Analytics, social media marketing, local competitive audits and, as an encore, an explanation by Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, on why content marketing remains a job, not an art form.

If there’s a topic you think would help you and your colleagues, please let us know. We promise to share the most effective content we find.

All the best to you as autumn returns to the eastern edge of the Great Plains.

Thomas Gunning
Content Marketing Editor
1. 10 Google Analytics Event Goals You Need To Set

There is arguably no free resource that’s more valuable to today’s online business than the Google Analytics platform. It’s a tool that would normally cost thousands of dollars per year, but is Google’s gift to you. Having said that, are you making the most out of the platform by tapping into the “goals” feature? Tracking page views is certainly interesting, but isn’t that helpful to understanding your business. If you want to know how your website performs and how customers respond, you need to set goals. In Google Analytics, says Larry Alton at, there are four primary ways to track goals: destination, duration, pages per session and events.
2. AI Applications That Are Changing the Face of Content Marketing

It’s been a subtle shift, but artificial intelligence (AI) has begun to permeate our everyday lives, automating more and more of the world around us, says Anastasia Dyakovskaya, a NewsCred Contributor. AI now powers Google Maps, Siri, smart cars, internet radio, and your favorite online shops. And now that AI is coming to content marketing, the industry is poised for disruption. AI has the power to optimize nearly all our projects and processes, augmenting human skill and creativity to generate ever more relevant, appealing, and effective content for any audience. By 2025, the artificial intelligence market is set to surpass $100 billion.
3. How AI & Image Recognition Transform Social Media Marketing

If a picture is worth a thousand words, social media users are speaking volumes. People now share more than 3.25 billion photos a day on the world’s biggest social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. In 2012, that number was less than 500 million, says Marketing Land contributor Rob Begg. Data also shows that social media users gravitate toward visual content: Facebook users are 2.3 times more likely to engage with posts that have images than with those that don’t, and tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than those that are pure text. It’s safe to say that social media is now primarily a visual medium, and marketers can’t afford to look the other way.
4. Is Your Social Content Picture-Perfect or Merely Taking Stock?

Attention span in social media can be measured in split seconds, not minutes. While your update hopes to entice me to interact with your content, there are hundreds of other posts right below yours crying for my attention, notes Jonathan Crossfield, chief content officer – magazine for the Content Marketing Institute. This fleeting first impression, like the cover art of a magazine, may be the only chance people have to discover your content. And if you waste that opportunity, it won’t matter how wonderful your content is. When our social media feeds are choked with content begging for attention, you better hope your choice of imagery causes people to stop and take notice.
5. 10 Incredibly Useful Video Tools for Content Marketers

If you’ve tried to convince your boss it’s time to produce video content within your marketing plan, consider mentioning that even psychologists say people are 39 percent more likely to share content distributed via video. Plus, videos make it easier for people to form emotional connections with their content versus text, and the brain processes it 60,000 times faster. But you don’t just need impressive stats to win your argument, says Kayla Matthews, a contributing blogger to Convince & Convert. Tools are essential, tool. You can come armed with arguments for why it’s crucial to create video-based content, and also what tools you’d use to do it.

6. How to Build a Smart Yet Simple Social Media Marketing Plan

One of the core tasks involved in documenting your content marketing strategy is to develop your social media marketing plan, also known as your channel plan. This details where you will distribute your content and what you expect achieve by doing so. Many brands assume they must post their content anywhere and everywhere. But plastering your brand’s content across every social network, trendy news site and video platform is not a channel plan — it’s more like a channel pipe bomb, says Jodi Harris, director of editorial content & curation at the Content Marketing Institute.
7. How to Perform a Basic Local Business Competitive Audit

“Why are those folks outranking me in Google’s local pack?” If you or a client asks this question, the answer lies in competitive analysis. You’ve got to stack Business A against Business B to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both. Then you can make an educated guess as to which factors Google is weights most in the results for a specific search term, says Miriam Ellis of Moz. She shares a real-world example of a competitive audit, including a chart that depicts which factors she investigated, as well as explanatory tips and tools for how she arrived at the numbers and facts.
8. Content Marketing Is a Job, Not an Art Form

Storytelling is the concept du jour in content marketing. Make sure you have a hero, and a journey, and a harrowing tale, and a surprise twist. It’s not bad advice. Infusing your content with a story makes it emotionally resonant, creating memorability and impact it might otherwise lack , says Jay Baer president of Convince & Convert. So I’m absolutely on board with storytelling as a content marketing device. But just because you understand story arcs and can riff on Joseph Campbell doesn’t mean you’re now Francis Ford Coppola or William Faulkner. Content marketing is a job, not an art form. You’re not competing for accolades and critics praise. You’re competing for consumer attention, period.