6 Tips for Content Marketing in 2015

content-marketing-2015

 

Content marketing has become an essential marketing technique in 2014. This year there will be more spotlight on this as brands realize that their audience wants relevant and engaging content. To make it easier for brands and agencies I have selected my top tips for content marketing in 2015.

It is already dead

What this actually means is that we are starting to see a shift away from brands and agencies referring to content marketing as an activity. While creating valuable, timely content that focuses on customer needs is still vital to businesses who want to cut through the noise, we expect to see a shift in the next 12 months to a more integrated approach to customer engagement rather than just creating content and pushing it out.

There are already a few new buzzwords circulating, but the brands who own their story and understand their customers will be the ones who stand out from the crowd according to Search Engine Land

Tools will be huge!

In 2014 content marketing boomed, and partly due to brands having more insight into measurability of their activities through new tools. As well as massive improvements in analytics packages, being able to integrate additional content measurement and tracking tools means that brands can begin to really understand the value of the content they produce in hard numbers. The market is being bombarded with hundreds of tools that all aim to track and quantify the monetary value of customer engagement and next year we will start to see this become more scientific and accurate.

The ability to attribute cross channel

While attribution modeling is not a new concept, the ability to implement it effectively has been restricted to only a small minority of brands. With brands becoming more aware of the need to work across multiple channels, we will see attribution modeling become more mainstream and accessible for even small companies. Knowing how each channel contributes to a customer’s experience will be invaluable to brands who will need to get this right in order to compete in their marketplace.

The return of the infographic

Infographics have had a bit of  bad press in 2014 having been massively overused since they first hit our screens. However we’re seeing a bit of a comeback towards the end of this year and it’s a trend we expect to see continue into this year. Rather than ditching them completely, their value in communicating complex data and processes is giving them a more focused and useful purpose. And with easier access to design tools and templates, they can be created at a fraction of the cost as well as being easy to convert into interactive tools with little effort.

We may actually start using G+

As hard as it is to believe, the big questions on all our lips “what should we use G+ for?” may actually be answered in 2015. Google has been busy positioning the tools throughout 2014 and additional features have made it more useful not just for connecting with customers and contacts but also for collaboration, with some companies using it as their primary communication method. With the removal of Google authorship, linking G+ profiles to specific content pieces will now be considered the most viable option for many brands.

Mobile will overtake desktop

Mobile has been a huge area of growth in 2014 and we expect it to overtake desktop this year. With the increase in fast, reliable connectivity, the increased accessibility of smartphones and tablet devices, and the improved mobile experience that brands are investing in, mobile could become our primary method of searching and buying online. This could also lead to developments in mobile interactivity offline and technologies such as motion capture and VR becoming more commonplace in marketing strategies.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Creating Content that’s Worthy for News

Content_Newsworthy

 

Stop thinking copywriters – think influencers

Too many companies are still using copywriters for creating content when really users want to see knowledgeable influencers imparting information to them.

There are different kinds of influencers that fit different kinds of content campaigns, these can be categorized into 4 types:

 

Brand marketers – These are marketers who are there to illustrate data and updates from the brand. They represent the brand itself and creating content is very important.

Brand journalists – These are the frontline journalists who keep their ears to the ground to provide commentary on industry news and trends. Their job is to find the stories and relate them back to the brand’s audience.

Customers – if you’re not seeing your customers as influencers then you are definitely missing a trick! These are people who experience the products and are ingrained in your industry so listen to them and enable them as story tellers.

Influencers – your influencers are your experts. They may live external to your business but their job is to be utilized as brand advocates, writing content and inspiring your audience to your brand.

 

Understand what assets are available

As many will probably know, creating something from nothing is extremely difficult, which makes it highly important to fully understand what is available to you before you begin the creative process. Your assets can range from a number of things but data & knowledge will probably be the most valuable, these are great to leverage as you can use them to add credibility and perspective to the content you produce.

Data can be found in a number of places external to your business and it doesn’t necessarily have to be new.  Look at old studies and compare them with other datasets, pivot them to gain new insights or flip them on their head to say something different – the great thing about data is that it is so reusable! I was introduced to the ultimate tool for content insight & research: it’s called BuzzSumo and as of writing this I am on day 2 of my free trial (totally worth trying & buying).

Having said that, there is also a lot of value in other forms of assets as well. Being a particularly creative brand (or have particularly creative people) will enable you to create campaigns that are much more likely to go viral by focusing on the attention quality. Imagery & the facilities to get imagery can make your content much more emotional or credible whilst leveraging website coding abilities can make tools that have an impact on your audience. Be broad in your search for assets as they can turn up in the most unlikely of places.

 

Stay on top of the industry

This one is very process driven as new developments and stories will happen when you least expect it, and a good, process driven, marketing team will already have the strategy and frameworks in place to be able to jump on this with a minimal lead time.

Use Twitter & RSS feeds as much as you can, create targeted Twitter lists, use social media monitoring tools to listen and be ready to react when things happen.

You can also utilise media enquiry services such as HARO, Response Source or PR Newswire to keep connected with journalists but also take this further and meet people within the industry who are creating the stories – this means going to events outside of SEO and getting to know people who can turn to you as industry experts to add value to stories that they might break.

 

But be careful with newsjacking

Newsjacking can be a great way to get in on a conversation and tap in to a new audience, but if it’s done badly then you will either get lost in a lot of noise or worse, it will make you look foolish!

What you need to remember when conducting a newsjacking campaign is that you should leave the reporting to the newspapers. Instead make sure that you’re always adding to the conversation in a way that relates the story back to your audience. If you cannot sufficiently do this then question whether you should be covering the story at all as it may be best to stay quiet.

 

Create a dialogue with your customers

Your customers are a great source of newsworthy content as they are full of stories that revolve around your products. Customer stories, done well, can create awesome, credible content that other users can relate to because they too may be in similar situations, looking for a solution.

Create channels to converse with your customers so that you can find the ones with newsworthy stories. Use surveys, forums, CRM channels, UGC, Gamification, Social Media to talk to and respond to your users out there, and don’t just provide the platform, give uses a reason to engage!

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

7 SMS Mobile Marketing Tips

mobile marketing tips

Here are our hand picked top 7 SMS Mobile Marketing Tips

1. Create a competitive promotion

Make sure you provide your audience with something that they want. Make them feel special by offering a discount or voucher. Try tailoring your campaign to the seasons. An immediate benefit will mean that more people take you up on your offer. So, to sum up, give people what they want with your promotional SMS.

2. Start with your offer Get to the point and keep it simple.

Avoid squeezing too much information into your 160 character message. Simply tell your audience about your promotion. If they need more information lead them to a landing page on your website. Don’t be tempted to give too much information.

3. Use a call to action

Tell your reader what to do! Direct them to your website with a link. Remember if your customers have a smartphone, then they have more computing power in their pockets than all of NASA had during the moon landing! Mobiles are very clever- use this to your advantage.

4. Set a deadline

Put a deadline to your offer. This will encourage people to take action and get them engaged with your promotion. This will also help you to see results as quickly as possible and inspire your subscribers to do something!

5. Mention your brand name

Grab people’s attention by telling them who you are and what you do. Identifying yourself will also prevent people thinking that you are sending them spam.

6. Comply with all legal requirements

Remember to include an opt-out option for subscribers. This is vitally important. You are legally obliged to tell your readers how they can opt out of future campaigns. Consider fully explaining this for the first campaign and later provide a short version.

7. Measure results and react

So you’ve sent your campaign…now what? Monitor your success with third-party tracking software. See how many people have engaged with your message and tailor what they receive in future.

Simply follow these simple tips to make your SMS campaign successful as part of a balanced communications strategy.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Everything is built, but the Telephones will not Ring?

Phone Won'g Ring

You created the offer. You built the site. You bought the ads. There’s just one problem: The phone’s not ringing.

All those efforts are wasted. All that creativity, time and expense. In return, you’ve got nothing to show for it. The marketing campaign is a failure. So frustrating.

However, let me suggest an alternative reality with the same circumstances:

You create the offer, build the site, buy the ads and the phone doesn’t ring. But…you check your Google Analytics. You learn a few things. Pageviews are up 40 percent. The ads are driving the traffic to site. Also, a lot of people are getting to the offer page.

Question: Is the marketing campaign a failure? Let me ruin this with the correct answer: no.

I know what it’s like to be in a company that can’t afford to make many errors with a marketing budget, and I understand the need to make sales happen. Marketing efforts should lead to sales. But not making an instant one is not a marketing failure.

If you owned a car dealership, ran ads and tons of people showed up on your lot, I doubt you would view that as a marketing failure. Or if you invited people to an event to demo a new product and hundreds of people tried it out, you would not walk away bemoaning the inefficiencies of marketing.

Pageviews are sales leads. There is a human on the other side of that click, and your ability to engage that person in a meaningful way is the full measure the success of your marketing efforts. They may not pick up the phone and call, but they did not wonder onto your site without some degree of interest (even if that initial interest is boredom).

Here are four ways to make the most of page-views (or any sales leads for that matter):

  1. Have meaningful content. Novel, I know. Have something worth reading or learning that has value in and of itself. If you need ideas on what that content should be listen to the customers as they call in. What are their questions? What is it you wish they understood? Write about it. Make videos about it. Create and share.
  2. Stop asking for marriage. Maybe there is a woman out there to whom a proposal was made on the first date and she accepted. Maybe. More likely there are drinks, dinners and picnics before marriage, though. So stop proposing to your prospect when they just landed on a page. It’s annoying and desperate and all-around no good. Love at first sight? Sure. But love at first site visit? Not so much. Love them first and they will love you back.
  3. Create something of value for your visitors. An email newsletter is a nice start. But I’m certain there is a white paper or manifesto or something of value that you can offer in return for their information.
  4. Get to know more about the people interested in you. Why do they like what you say? What do they like? What do they want to see more on the site or from you? Offer a nonthreatening way to learn more about your following. Ask them questions in blogs, email, social media, etc. Most are not used to someone listening to them, so it starts with genuinely giving a damn and then asking.
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

8 Web Advertising Tips for Your Small Business

Web Advertising is one area where small businesses can compete against much larger companies within the same field. While the size of a marketing budget does influence the amount of money that can be directed towards marketing costs, on the Internet, every company performs on the same playing field. With these marketing tips below, you can help your small business grow, thrive and be successful.

1. Going wide with your brand

Establishing a well-known brand image is crucial to the growth of your company. Part of building a brand is associating the name and image of your company with quality in the minds of your prospects and current customers. When people see a brand image they know, they are reminded of the reasons they trust the company, and they may feel compelled to choose your products or services over those of your competitors. To begin building your brand, place your logo on company social networking pages and use the image in all of your marketing materials online.

2. Maximize your marketing budget

To compete against larger companies who may have a marketing budget that is exponentially larger than your own, choose your marketing avenues wisely. For example, paid search campaigns are one area that can be easily won by throwing large amounts of cash at keywords. Instead, your money may be better spent on other strategies that stretch the value of your marketing dollars, such as content marketing or natural search engine optimization improvements. You can also use social networking sites directly to speak to customers instead of paying to advertise on them.

3. Search engine updates must be kept up with

When a search engine updates the way it returns search results for keywords, businesses everywhere can experience large losses or very impressive gains in rankings. For buying-orientated keywords in popular niches, this can change the amount of traffic directed to a website from search results. To avoid being on the losing end when Google releases an update, keep the content on your site fresh and interesting. Update your pages, posts and blog(s) frequently, and optimize each page according to best practice standards. High quality content never goes out of style, and the search engines will in some cases reward your hard work and unique content.

4. Interact with your clients

Social networking sites offer your business the opportunity to interact/engage with your customers in ways that were not possible a decade ago. Customers with problems can contact you directly on Twitter, giving you the chance to positively resolve their issue in a very public way. You can use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to interact with your customers to find out what they want from your company and get feedback on the services you offer. When your company releases new products or has news to share, you can post the updates on social networking sites. I do this quite often with Prime Media Corp and Go Apps Now and it spreads viral by infection.

5. Connect marketing strategies

To succeed with online marketing, you need to use more than one strategy or game plan. A well put together landing page or website is great to inform customers about the services you offer, but without marketing they will never find your material or content. You need to combine social, search and content strategies to reach your prospective clients in every way possible. Additionally, within every area of marketing there are several approaches to take action on.

6. Old content must be updated

Visitors to your site will show-up expecting to learn something from you in addition to finding out more about reaching out to your company or the services you have to offer. You can give them a reason to work with you by updating your existing content within your site. You can create a set of videos to feature on your site, and you can integrate content that is likely to be shared on social networking sites. Adding useful content helps build your brand image as well. When you provide potential customers with tips or tricks that are highly relevant to what they knew he or she needed when they searched for your site, you begin building a strong trusting relationship with individuals that may ultimately convince them to give you a call to find out more about what you or your business are offering.

7. Testing new features with your website or blog

The updated changes you make to your website by incorporating fresh marketing strategies should be tested for assurance that they are user friendly. Customers become all to familiar to the way a site operates, and changes can often cause a temporary dip in sales as people learn to interact with your site in a new way. To reduce the impact of changes, test each feature as you roll it out. User interface changes can lead customers towards particular areas of your website or blog you want them to see, and you can try out the strategic placing on your call to action within your content pages to find any changes that will need to be updated.

8. Keep trying different angles

As the online marketing world continues to grow, new, improved and innovative ways to market are being developed to help you expand your business. Even if the already tested methods are working well for your business at the moment, you can stay one step ahead with a willingness to try out new ideas and take different angles and or approaches to the same problems. If you are unsure of your next move with your online marketing strategy, consult an online marketing consultant or company and get references. The industry is old enough at this point that a significant amount of companies are highly specialized in a specific area, so you can benefit by finding out the different angles taken. In summary these 8 helpful techniques for online marketing are great, but action will need to be taken.

Need additional help with marketing on the web? Connect with me on LinkedIn (John Colon Jr).

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr