Five Tips for Starting a Company Podcast

Your company probably has a website, blog and social media presence, but do you have a podcast? If not, it may benefit you to consider creating one. A podcast is a digital audio file that’s available via internet for downloading or streaming. Research shows that 40 percent of Americans age 12 or older have listened to a podcast at some point.

Anyone with an iPhone has immediate access to a wealth of podcasts, making them a powerful marketing tool. Podcasts can help you reach a new audience for your business, or they can help familiarize your current customers with your products or services. Plus, they’re easy to create. Use these five tips to start.

Determine your purpose or message. What’s the theme or goal of your podcast? What you teach or discuss depends on your industry, but your message should align with your company’s overall marketing strategy. Continue reading this article

How to Use Business-Related Research as Compelling Content

For business-to-business (B2B) marketers, one of the most engaging types of content is industry research. The findings can be used across all communication platforms and channels a company might use. Working with an independent research company like BNP Media’s Clear Seas Research, can give your customers insight into an emerging issue while serving as a hook for blog posts, news stories, infographics, eBooks and more! Here are five ways to use the results of your research.

News coverage: Press releases and content marketing activities like infographics, guest blog posts on popular industry websites and interviews with industry influencers can spread the impact of a survey across several forms of media.

Blog and social media posts: Generating news on your own blog posts and social media will get picked up by others if the findings of your survey are of interest to leaders in your industry. Each release of information about the research findings should be treated as a media campaign. Continue reading this article

How to Use B-to-B Content Marketing During each Stage of the Customer Journey

Sure, great website content can have a positive impact on a company’s search engine optimization and lead generation efforts. But sometimes marketers and C-suite executives limit content to those two goals, bypassing other creative ways content can strengthen a company’s marketing strategy. In fact, content marketing can play a role along all the steps of a customer’s journey.

But what kind of content is best at each stage? Think about when you’re considering buying a product—what details would help you make a better decision? Once you’re an owner, what knowledge would make that purchase even more fulfilling? And what would help you morph into a loyal and vocal fan of a product?

Consider these ideas for helpful content at the six stages of the customer journey, which we explore in more depth in our most recent Ebook, B2B Custom Media & Content Marketing. Continue reading this article

Custom Media: The New Marketing Strategy That’s Been Around for Centuries

For the last decade, the terms “content marketing” and “custom media” have become so prevalent among marketers, that a “content department” is now a staple on more and more corporate organizational charts. But as we describe in the new Ebook, The BNP Media Guide to B2B Custom Media & Content Marketing, “while the terms ‘custom media’ and ‘content marketing’ are new additions to the marketing lexicon, the history of companies creating media to communicate directly with their customers, supporters or members dates back centuries.”

For instance, in 1732, Benjamin Franklin issued Poor Richard’s Almanack as custom media, a free publication he used to promote his printing business.

Business-to-business marketers were also early users of direct-to-customer marketing.

In 1895, John Deere launched The Furrow, a magazine it distributed to farmers through its dealer network. It is still published today. Continue reading this article

B2B Marketers’ 8 Favorite Content Marketing Tools

In our most recent eBook, B2B Custom Media & Content Marketing, we explore how content marketing—a form of marketing that dates back centuries—is being transformed into a vital part of the marketing strategy in the digital age. Among the topics we highlight are the most popular content tactics and strategies used by marketers now. A great source of insight into the topic of content marketing tools is the Content Marketing Institute’s study, 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America. In it, marketers share their eight most-used content marketing tactics. These are the top eight, along with the percentage of total content marketers who use each one.

Social Media Content | 83% Social media content—posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other platforms—is an critical facet of a content marketing strategy. Social media is a great way to engage with your customers, but it also presents opportunities to share content and build brand awareness.

Blogs | 83% Blogs are an important part of a content marketing strategy. Blogs can help drive traffic toward your company’s website, and the content featured can position you as an industry leader.

eNewsletters | 77% Email newsletters can help turn casual readers into engaged brand fans, according to the Content Marketing Institute. When implemented correctly, email newsletters can also motivate your customers to spread the word about your products or services. Continue reading this article

Five Tips for Helping Your Marketing Efforts Finish Strong in 2017 & Five More Hints to Prepare for 2018

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to start reviewing your 2017 marketing strategy and making adjustments as you plan for 2018. Here are five tips to finish strong this year and make 2018 your best year yet.

Make 2017 Count

Solidify your message. Make sure that every employee—from the receptionist to the CEO—understands your organization’s philosophy, message and brand. Craft your company’s message so that employees can tell prospective clients what sets you apart in under two minutes.

Review your goals. What did you hope to achieve this year? Review the goals you set in January 2017 and track your progress, accounting for anything that needs to be revised or changed now or in 2018.

Examine your analytics. How many people have opened your company-wide emails this year? How many views does your blog get each time you share a new post? Did one Facebook post have more interactions than another? Tracking these analytics can help you determine the type of content in which your customers are most interested. Continue reading this article

Five Rules to Improve Your Powerpoint Presentations

The web is littered with articles giving helpful advice for improving PowerPoint presentations. However, these presentations rarely improve. Why? The advice out there is helpful, but bland. improving your presentations involves turning those standard guidelines on their head.

  1. Find your “solution story” and share that with your audience.

There are the three parts of a solution story:

Act I: The Problem

Act II: The Solution

Act III: Happily Ever After

Every good presentation has at least one cycle of a story in which a pressing problem was solved and everyone ended up joyful. If you are presenting several products or ideas, repeat the process for each one.

  1. Don’t confuse presentation slides with the story.

Slides are like costumes and props on a theatrical stage. They aren’t the characters or the story. They aren’t even the plot. They are tools that help the actor, or presenter, convey a story to the audience. Continue reading this article

BNP Media Named a Winner of The Top Workplaces in Michigan Award

BNP Media has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Detroit Free Press. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics), a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.  The most desirable places to work in Michigan were named and celebrated on November 2 at a ceremony held at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

In its first year of being nominated for the award, BNP Media placed 32nd in the midsize company category, out of 55 winners in the category for companies with 150 to 499 employees.   The Free Press Top Workplaces competition is open to public and private companies, as well as nonprofit organizations, with more than 50 employees. This year, 150 companies were recognized in the large, midsize and small workplace categories. Continue reading this article

How to Use Business-Related Research as Compelling Content

For business-to-business (B2B) marketers, one of the most engaging types of content is industry research. The findings can be used across all communication platforms and channels a company might use. Working with an independent research company like BNP Media’s Clear Seas Research, the research can give your customers insight into an emerging issue while serving as a hook for blog posts, news stories, infographics, eBooks and more. Here are five ways to use the results of your research.

News coverage: Press releases and content marketing activities like infographics, guest blog posts on popular industry websites and interviews with industry influencers can spread the impact of a survey across several forms of media.

Blog and social media posts: Generating news on your own blog posts and social media will get picked up by others if the findings of your survey are of interest to leaders in your industry. Each release of information about the research findings should be treated as a media campaign. Continue reading this article

Why Case Studies Are Critical in Business-to-Business Marketing

When it comes to ranking the most credible forms of advertising, word of mouth always comes out on top. That’s because we trust people we know more than experts we don’t know.

Why don’t customers believe the experts?

Americans have always been a little skeptical of experts and the theories (or facts) they espouse. In fact, there’s a theory called the “backfire effect” that suggests some people become even more convinced they are right when experts give them evidence disproving their beliefs.

For that reason, it’s often better to let your product’s story be told by a third party with whom a potential customer can identify. That third party may not be a university professor, but if he or she has worked in the trenches—perhaps just like your customer—then that person is granted automatic credibility.

Context and Credibility

Presenting your story in the form of a case study provides potential customers the ability to not only understand the product, but also redefine their expectations. Rather than believe a manufacturer’s claims, which could be seen as hype, prospective customers often find it easier to believe the claims of an independent third party. Continue reading this article

Why B-to-B Marketers Should be Concerned About Ad Blockers

Unlike business-to-business (B2B) online media, the business model of online consumer media is nearly 100 percent focused on generating traffic, clicks and views. (B2B online media uses a business model that is focused on who uses a site, not just how many clicks they generate.) Because consumer websites need to boost a lot of traffic, consumers who use the web are bombarded with click-bait pop-ups, automatic animation, audio and video, and slideshows featuring what child actors look like now that they are adults. Such blinking and screaming ads are annoying on a desktop or laptop computer, but they are even more obnoxious on the small screen of a smartphone—the largest and fastest growing segment of online usage.

The online audience is responding with outrage

Blinking pop-ups and instant video techniques have led a growing number of web users to download “ad-blocking” extensions to their computers’ web browsers.

In a 2016 report, Juniper Research predicted ad blocking could cost publishers $27 billion globally in lost ad revenue by 2020. Continue reading this article

How to Come Up With Content Ideas for Your Company Blog

When was the last time you posted an article on your company blog? If it was more than a few weeks ago, you are communicating to your customers and prospects that you put little emphasis on keeping them informed and up-to-date.

A blog can be a marketing tool that separates you from your competition. It can also be a go-to source for information about your industry. It can teach customers how to better use your products.

It shouldn’t be seen as a burden or the last thing on your to-do list. If that’s why it’s been a few months since you’ve posted something, here are some suggestions to help break through your blogging writer’s block. Continue reading this article

Six Ways to Improve the Quality of the Photos on Your Company Blog

Graphics—whether professional photography, infographics or stock photography—have the power to grab an audience’s attention. Approximately 65 percent of people say they are visual learners, so chances are, the first thing people will notice when they visit your company’s blog are its images. That’s why it’s critical to take quality photographs or use high-quality stock photography.

Follow these tips to enhance the quality of photos on your company’s blog.


Head shots

When you post employee head shots on your company’s blog or website, make sure you’re putting the representatives of your business in the best light. Be sure to:

·  Shoot in natural light, not fluorescent or other artificial light.

·  Avoid harsh shadows and objects behind the subject’s head.

·  Pick a uncluttered background. You don’t have to use a flat white background, but make sure whatever background you use isn’t busy or cluttered—or detracts from the real focus of the photo.

·  Take the shot face on, not sideways! Profile shots have their place, but for this type of photo, you want to see the subject’s face. Continue reading this article

BNP Media Sponsors Wish Party in Partnership with Make-A-Wish® America

Terrien, a 13-year-old Southfield, Mich. boy, is living with a life-threatening renal disease.  Thanks to Make-a-Wish® America and the help of the people at BNP Media, Terrien will experience his wish of visiting Spain.

The Buen Viaje (“Have a good trip!”) for Terrien to celebrate his upcoming trip will be held Monday, July 31 at Troy’s Somerset Inn. Joining Terrien will be members of his family and staff from BNP Media and Make-A-Wish® Michigan, who are helping to coordinate the wish party.

Terrien is scheduled to visit Spain the second week in August.  Activities planned for Terrien include the Barcelona Football, Camp Nou Experience, visiting one of the most emblematic stadiums in the world, and an expansive Barcelona Highlights Tour.

The wish party for Terrien marks the first time in the three years as a supporter of Make-A-Wish that BNP Media has participated in the Adopt-A-Wish program. The involvement in Adopt-A-Wish builds upon the $10,000 donation that BNP Media has gifted to the wish granting organization for the past three years. BNP Media has also made a three-year commitment as a Gold Level Sponsor for the Make-A-Wish Michigan Wish Ball, donating $15,000 each year. Continue reading this article

The Power of a B2B Handwritten Note

When was the last time you sent a handwritten note to an employee or customer, thanking them for their work or business?

In today’s world of instant communication, it’s easier than ever to send a brief text message or email. It’s quick, painless and requires little effort. But the next time you think about sending an email or text message to a customer or employee, consider sending a handwritten card or note instead. Why? A handwritten note is more personal than a quick email sent from your smartphone. People like to feel valued, and taking the time to write a note, address an envelope and stick it in the mailbox communicates that you care for and appreciate that individual.

When writing handwritten notes, consider the following tips: Continue reading this article

Think Ahead: Ideas For Your 2018 Marketing Calendar and Budget

If you haven’t started planning for 2018, here are a few suggestions to consider when you begin. (And if you haven’t started, start soon, because your competitors are.)

 1. Check in with industry experts

Listening to those you trust can help you become aware of a trend you may have missed or had not considered correctly. Industry analysts are great sources of what’s happening; so are other marketers who are not working for a direct competitor. And when it comes to providing neutral, non-proprietary information, your BNP representative is available with information about new marketing opportunities.

 2. Preview the 2018 live event calendar

BNP research indicate marketers and customers have tried-and-true events they attend annually, but they are always open to something new if the criteria fits. Continue reading this article

Four Google-Approved SEO Tips for Mid-Year 2017

Full-time search marketing experts spend a lot of their time debating the tweaks and trends of Google’s worldwide network of engineers and scientists. While such understanding of Google is important, for most of us mere mortal marketers, it’s probably more important to steer clear of the theoretical until after we embrace those practices we know that Google already endorses.

There are many resources Google provides to help marketers use search marketing. But right now, if you don’t have months and months to dedicate yourself to mastering all that Google does, sign up for these three resources:

    1. Think With Google: This is a non-technical resource that focuses on case studies, tools and trends that showcase Google’s advertising solutions. While not directly related to SEO, it’s a great insight into what Google is “thinking” about.

    2. Google Webmasters: This can be very technical at times, but provides a treasure trove of tools and advice about being found by those who search for information using Google (translation: everyone).

    3. Google Analytics and Data Studio: Okay, this may get a little geeky to set up, but the first step in understanding how Google interacts with your website is installing the free Google Analytics mega-tool. Recently, Google added another free resource called Data Studio that provides several visualization tools that help explain to us mere mortals what’s taking place at Google Analytics. (You’ll probably need help setting up both of these, but after you know the basics, you’ll find you have lots of data at your fingertips.) Continue reading this article

The Importance of Having a Multichannel Marketing Strategy

During the period dramatized on “Mad Men,” the marketers and media companies along Madison Avenue could do a year’s worth of ad buys in an afternoon—between martinis. Three TV networks and a few major magazines would reach every customer in America. For example, the highest-rated TV series of the 1950s was “I Love Lucy.” At its peak, the show was watched by more than 67 percent of everyone with a TV turned on. Fast-forward to the 2010s, and the most-watched TV series today is “Sunday Night Football.” Yet only 13 percent of every TV is turned on to watch it.

Today, advertising decisions are often made by software using real-time data to determine where and when to place ads. Advertising can not only be tailored to a person’s location, but it can also take into account a customer’s interests based on previous patterns of usage.

In other words, as people have more and more media options and advertisers have more and more ways to distribute advertising, using all of these different types of media to reach a specific group of customers becomes more and more challenging—not easier as the future is sometimes promised to be. Continue reading this article

BNP Media’s Specialty Coffee Days Bring Us Together

 “It was a great addition to the day. It made me get out of my office and interact with some other BNP employees. The coffee was great too!” 

Solidarity within an organization comes in many forms.  What better way to take a break in a busy day than to grab a cup of gourmet coffee, tea or hot chocolate, catch up with old friends and make new ones in an informal, fun setting.

Specialty Coffee Days are a regular feature at BNP Media headquarters in Troy, Michigan.  It gives us an excuse to pamper ourselves a bit through a catered event that also says “Thank You” for all the contributions made by our great people to our organization.  And Starbucks has nothing on the flavors and styles available on Specialty Coffee Days.  Cheesecake. Mocha or Caramel Latte.  Cinnamon Tea Latte.  Expresso shots.  Just take your pick. Continue reading this article

The Role Blogging Plays in Improving Your SEO and Serving Your Customers

There are many reasons your company website should have a blog. A blog can help you build relationships with your current and potential customers, position you as a subject matter expert, and provide an easy outlet for sharing company news, events and information. But a blog can also boost search engine optimization (SEO) and drive traffic toward your site. It’s a win-win.

Here are five ways to use your blog to improve your SEO rankings and drive more traffic toward your company’s website.

    1. Create original—and quality—content. Unique content can boost your website in search rankings. But the information found on your website probably doesn’t change that often. That’s why it’s important to write blog posts on a regular basis. That way, you’re always adding new and fresh content to attract readers.

    2. Stop overusing keywords. The more keywords, the better, right? Not exactly. While keywords are important, search engines are now paying attention to the whole query instead of individual words. In 2013, Google introduced Hummingbird, an algorithm that judges the context and intent of the person doing the search, attempting to zero in on what they are trying to figure out. So, instead of focusing on 10–15 individual keywords in your blog post, try using long-tail keywords and phrases that people would typically use when searching for something relevant to your site. Continue reading this article

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