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Snackable content like listicles, quizzes and clickbait are popular in many industries. But some businesses demand a more substantial meal. Complex B2C and B2B sales require content that educates and informs buyers on intricate software, technology, engineering or financial products, processes and concepts.

For this very reason, we’ve discussed how curiosity about different subjects is one major competitive advantage marketers must cultivate. But curiosity isn’t enough when the chips are down. What happens when your sales team demands expert content on a tight timeline in an industry or on a topic you don’t know much about?

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On Aug. 8, 2015, I put on a white dress and walked down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams.

It was wedding bliss! But it wasn’t without a lot of planning, organization and preparing. For the 18 months leading up to the big day, we covered everything from flowers to cake flavors to changing my name.

It was all magazine photos and cake tastings until I realized what it really meant to change my name, both legally and digitally.

My husband was in full support of me changing or keeping my name. So I thought long and hard about it, and in the end, I decided to take his last name.

I was excited! I assumed I would get a new driver's license and Social Security card, change my name on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn profiles, and I’d be all set, right?

Wrong. It’s not as easy as you might think. And obviously your name—online and offline—is a big part of your personal brand. 

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Last month, a group of the PR 20/20 crew headed to Austin for SXSW’s 30th annual conference. This trip is great for catching up on the latest trends in tech, health, space and VR; enjoying the local Mexican and BBQ food scene; listening to live music at what seems like every corner; and finding inspiration from the Austin community and SXSW Interactive programming. 

One of this year’s panel sessions, Humans, Not Machines: Content Is About Connecting, is a perfect share for our own PR 20/20 blog audience. Thanks to the panelists Kate Lewis (@kcwl) of Hearst Magazines, Neha Gandhi (@nehaintown) of Refinery 29, and Lockhart Steele (@lock) of Vox Media, for sharing your experiences! 

Enjoy a few of my top takeaways, and feel free to add your own take on the topic below in comments.

The Ask: With more platforms than ever before, how do we consistently create compelling content that actually resonates with our audiences?

For these top digital media editors, the answer couldn’t be more obvious: “The work of an editor today is to listen." 

That ^ nugget of knowledge was easily one of my favorite takeaways on the topic, and from the trip. Especially in the data age. 

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The following is a guest post from JP Misenas. JP is the Content Marketing Director & Audio/Visual Technician/Engineer of Interact, a place for creating entertaining and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about innovative ways to connect with customers and to build professional long-lasting relationships with them. You can connect with JP on Twitter or LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered how certain brands outperform others by thousands or even millions of pageviews? The secret has to be with the kind of content they’re producing, obviously. But what exactly is that content, and what makes it perform so well time and time again? We’ve got your standard blog posts, ebooks, infographics and videos, but even those types of content can only go so far.

Take a moment and try to surmise one of the more popular types of content that you’d normally see on social media. Did the thought of those commonly seen quizzes on social media networks pop into your mind? Now what if you could take those quizzes, and implement them into your content marketing strategy? Now we’re onto something.

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You know the drill. As marketers, we are forever pressed for creative, performance-driven ideas. In the era of fast-paced, connected consumers, we must constantly evolve to prove our marketing success. And, we must do it quickly. 

In a recent blog post, Paul Roetzer articulates the challenge: 

“There have never been more choices for marketers. There has never been more noise. There has never been more demand for performance.” 

To solve for business growth challenges, PR 20/20 organized an interactive Cleveland HubSpot User Group (HUG) event on Wednesday, March 23 featuring the Marketing Growth HackathonTM. In as little as one hour, attendees collaborated to come up with campaign ideas that could be activated in as little as 30 to 90 days. (Sending a special thanks to Advance Ohio for hosting the event!)

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The following is a guest post from George Anderson (@GT_Anders). George is the lead content writer at 216digital, a web design, development, and digital marketing agency in Cleveland. Connect with him on LinkedIn, or find 216digital on Twitter.

When it comes to link-building services for SEO, it’s critical that we educate our prospects and clients. The theory behind white-hat link-building requires an explanation that’s both technically correct and easily understood. If digital marketers can’t articulate their link-building programs in layman’s terms, they’re setting everyone up for disappointment.

Many webmasters started practicing SEO before Google’s recent algorithm updates. The techniques these webmasters learned years ago will no longer help their SEO; in fact, black hat techniques (like spam links in comments and paid directory listings) will only harm SEO today. While there are many components to SEO, including onsite optimization and disavowing any spam links built in the black hat days, the number of quality links built to a domain is still the most important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm.

Luckily, white-hat link-building still offers real SEO value. It’s arguably the only legitimate way to “play offense” in the game of SEO.

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Who doesn’t love a good round up of predicted trends every New Year? Marketers are especially into emerging mediums, as it’s imperative we build our activities and tactics around the latest and greatest innovations.

Now that we’re nearing the end of the first quarter, we’ve noticed a reoccurring prediction for this year: video marketing. Our consumers are demanding video content more than ever, and here are a few numbers to prove it

  • 100 million Internet users watch online video every day.
  • 90% of online shoppers indicate they find video helpful for buying decisions.
  • 65% of executives visit a marketer’s website after viewing a video online.
  • Emails that include videos have a 96% higher click through rate.

Video has been on the scene for quite some time, but now it’s becoming a must-have piece of marketing strategies. It’s normal to feel that you may not have the proper equipment or skill to give into this trend. But, don’t fear because there are plenty of ways to quickly and easily incorporate video into your 2016 marketing plans.

Continue reading for three ways marketers can dive right into the video trend.

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Are you struggling to recruit and train a modern marketing team? Drive digital marketing transformation in your organization? Adapt more quickly to an exploding marketing technology landscape? Create a connected customer experience? Prove marketing ROI to the executive team?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above, you're not alone.

In The Marketing Performance Blueprint, Paul Roetzer outlined many of the challenges facing marketers today, and what it takes to overcome industry-wide gaps in talent, technology and strategy. But understanding is only the first step—after all, "High performers differentiate by doing, not planning."

That's why, for a limited time, we're offering a collection of exclusive resources with bulk purchases of The Marketing Performance Blueprint. Packages are available for 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 300 and 500 copies. 

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The following is a guest post by Sabrina Fenster. Sabrina is the Marketing Manager for The Shelf, an influencer marketing platform that enables brands and agencies to connect with the most relevant influencers. They currently serve businesses in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel, food and family space. She's also the co-creator of street style blog, Streetscoutme. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

Valentine’s Day is almost here. With less than one week away from the annual day of love, last-minute shoppers are wracking their brains for the perfect gifts. 

Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to be kicking promotions up a notch because nearly two-thirds of Americans, who spend an average of $142 on Valentine’s Day, don’t begin planning until a week or less before the actual day. 

Businesses should be aiming their arrows straight for men between the ages of 25-34 because they’re the heaviest hitters—spending twice as much as women on the love-showering holiday. What’s more, pets get some good loving too. Just last year, $703 million was spent on our furry little friends, with an average of $5.28 per gift. 

If you’re not in the business of selling love (like flowers, jewelry or chocolates), don’t forget that people will be celebrating with their friends and families too. This annual day of love is not just reserved for couples anymore. 

There are only a few days left to do a big push for marketing promotions, so it’s time to kick it up a notch. Check out this  infographic by The Shelf for even more V-day insights. 

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You’ve heard the saying, ‘Nothing in life comes free.’

Well, good news: it’s not true!

There are thousands of free software solutions out there claiming to make you more productive, more efficient and more impactful. Some are a waste of time (sad but true); others, however, have become a staple in my daily routine. 

The key is finding the tools that work for you. Need a starting point? Below, I’ve listed my top 10. Yes, I could live without then … but I’d rather not.

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