All posts tagged content curation

hoverboard

I don’t know about you, but it’s taken me a while to find my 2015 stride.  I mean, it’s hard to believe that we’ve finally reached the year that Marty Fly visited in Back to the Future II. So it turns out that we don’t have flying cars, there isn’t a female US president and hoverboards are not the favoured transport of the younger generation.

The film did, however, accurately predict handheld tablets, 3D movies and video conferencing. In comparison to 1989, when it was made, the technologies of today are unrecognisable and far-fetched.   But as with everything, the progress has snuck up on us gradually. We don’t bat an eyelid at Google glasses and Skype is pretty run of the mill these days. It’s easy to dismiss how far we’ve come.  The advances in marketing since 1989 are even more radical. Our industry changes so rapidly and hindsight nearly always provides a glaring missed opportunity or ‘could have done better’ moment.

So, how to grab the marketing bull by the horns in 2015? My top tip would be to stop chasing marketing trends and take some time to design a strategically driven marketing mix for your business. It can include several compatible strategies and merge traditional and digital channels to produce the perfect brand-oriented marketing blend.

It may sound obvious, but successful content marketing is reliant on a content marketing strategy.  This strategy is essential. It guides your otherwise eclectic content marketing efforts and is the cornerstone to digital marketing success. Whereas content was undeniably king in 2014, in 2015 it will take on a more presidential role.  By which I mean it is pivotal to all your communications, not just an insubstantial figurehead. Make sure that you are investing in content creation and curation.  You can no longer afford to ‘wing it’, using an ad-hoc/when you’re not tied up with other things approach.

Let’s not forget that the bastion of content marketing is a customer-centric vision.  In 2015, our ongoing quest is to improve the customer experience.  Customers these days are incredibly aware of their worth, and empowered by the knowledge that a single complaint on social media can have a costly impact on a brand.

So, in a nutshell, the best way to apply this to your content marketing is:

  • Get personal – connect, engage and listen intently.
  • Customise – where possible make sure your content is always relevant to your target audience and tweaked for brand relevance.
  • Entertain – within reason, you can’t go wrong if you’re entertaining your customer.
  • Build brand ambassadors – they will be worth their weight in gold.

The other key aspect of marketing in 2015 is to ensure that you THINK MOBILE FIRST. Smartphones and tablets made up 60% of total digital media time spent in 2014 (up 50% from 2013). 2015 looks set to build on this, as analysts are predicting that by 2017, mobile will represent 91% of all internet use.

The key learning here is to keep mobile users at the forefront of your mind in terms of all website updates and marketing communications. If you ensure that you keep the customer front of mind in all your marketing activity you should avoid falling foul of 2015’s big bombshell…DIGITAL DISAPPOINTMENT. Digital natives are the most spoilt and demanding customers ever.  Find a way to make meeting their digital expectations the core of your business and you might just be onto a winner.

Bells and whistles are all well and good, but sometimes, when it comes to content, simplicity is still best.

It always comes back to your brand.  If you’ve got an edgy, hi-tech product aimed at the youth market, then by all means, knock yourself out with the all singing, all dancing (quite literally) video mash-ups.  In this crowded, competitive market, image is everything and your status on the Coolometer is what differentiates you. If however, yours is a more sedate, middle-of-the-road product; a staple, non-luxury item, then the Ronseal approach is often still the way to go.

I mean you wouldn’t expect Apple to take the same approach to content marketing as Tena Lady would you? The key is never to lose sight of your brand values.  They are what your customers have bought into in the first place and what you want their word of mouth recommendations to focus on. All of your content output needs to work hard at reflecting and reiterating these.

Keep a consistent voice, that reinforces your brand personality and talk to your audience(s) using the tone and channels that they like best. Don’t fall prey to what a colleague of mine used to refer to as the ‘my sixteen year old daughter says…’ phenomenon.  What he meant was the tendency of older, senior executives to pretend they’ve got their finger on the marketing pulse by latching onto observed teenage behaviours, regardless of whether they are brand relevant.

You can Instagram and Google+ away to your heart’s content, but if you’re trying to sell commemorative plates to the over-seventies, you are barking up the wrong tree.

Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t try something new. Some behind-the-scenes SEO copywriting on your website, and a welcoming, insightful blog are just as relevant to the silver surfers as the Playstation generation. You just need to understand your audience and select your content armoury accordingly. Simples!

google_hummingbird

Google has recently made some pretty significant changes to its algorithm – the system that it uses to order its search results.

Known as ‘Hummingbird’, this update is a game-changer for content marketers. Martin Harrison, co-founder of online copywriting service Copify discusses these changes and what you need to do in order to stay ahead of the curve.

 

A change in search behaviour

The way that people are using Google has changed dramatically over the past few years. Historically, most users have entered very generic terms, known as ‘keywords’ to find what they were looking for.

Today, however, users are increasingly entering very detailed and specific queries. For example, a year ago, someone looking for somewhere for an all-you-can eat Chinese restaurant in London might have searched for:

“Chinese restaurants in London”

Or maybe:

“All-you-can eat Chinese London”

Today, they might be much more specific

“Where are the best all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurants with good reviews in London?”

Answer questions

Hummingbird is about understanding user queries and searcher intent. Marketers will be rewarded for understanding the common search queries their customers might have about their products and services, and structuring content around these queries.

A really easy way to do this, for those with Google Analytics set up on their sites, is to search for all queries that have driven traffic with one or more of the following words:

 

  • Why
  • How
  • What

 

More diverse content

 The types of links that were easy to attain in order to propel your site to the top of Google no longer work, which means that marketers must now box clever in terms of the content they produce.

 Updating the company blog once a fortnight with some mundane news about your brand is not going to cut it any more. Those daring enough to be humorous or controversial will be rewarded with the all-important likes and shares that will lead not only to increased brand exposure, but also the type of links that will make a tangible difference to your sites position in the search results.

Invest in visually striking multimedia content that can be enjoyed on a variety of devices, including infographics and video.

good-infographic

 

 

 

Content-Marketing-Image-Credit-ADMA-Blog

Step 1

Write your content (or get someone to write it for you if you’re short on time or writing just isn’t your thing).  Make sure it’s written well, as poor copy can seriously damage your prospective customer’s perception of your brand. Which leads me seamlessly into a little plug.  If writing isn’t your forte, do think about outsourcing it.  Our team of experienced marketers can write killer copy for your brand for a lot less than you imagine.

 

Step 2

Make it great – your content that is.  By this I mean take care to ensure it is well written, engaging, informative and up-to-the-minute. The internet is awash with mediocre content and in order to win the attention and engagement of your target audience you need to do better. When it comes to content marketing, you need to bear in mind that you’re competing not just with brands with a similar offering to  yours but with everyone who is creating content that appeals to your target market.  I realise this can be make it  extremely daunting. Your content needs to be first rate….which leads me back to that plug!

 

Step 3

Vary the format of your content. A picture speaks a thousand words.  As does an infographic or a video. A well-chosen visual can enrich your content offering no-end. The key to success is to offer a well-rounded mix of different content themes and formats. Test these different content types and themes to see which work best for you.

 

Step 4

Create something new.  Or if that feels a bit too impossible in your field, at least make sure that your spin on the topic is fresh and adds value.

 

Step 5

Create a likeable and engaging voice for your brand. To be honest, getting this step right can often help you simultaneously conquer Step 4. It’s often not what you say, but how you say it that attracts followers, fans and other types of loyalty.

 

Step 6

Be consistent in providing frequent updates.  Once you commit to content marketing there’s no looking back.

 

Step 7

Create a content calendar.  No successful content marketing strategy is complete without an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar formalises your plan to regularly output quality content. This consistency is the key to SEO-friendly, effective content marketing. You want Google and your readers to anticipate your content – creating an editorial calendar, and adhering to it, means you never disappoint.

 

Step 8

Create viral-friendly content. Although I’m not convinced there is a bona-fide formula for creating viral content, there are definitely ways to improve your chances.

 

Step 9

Last but not least…Promote your content.  There is absolutely no point whatsoever in following all the previous steps to creating great content, if you don’t tell anyone about it. Social media is a great forum for this.  Social media and high quality content work hand in hand to increase engagement and drive traffic to your website, where you can then start to convert it into customers.

 

Step 10

Marvel at the increased engagement levels and sales that are the natural result of a successful content marketing strategy.  Not technically a step this one, but a ten-step guide feels much more aesthetically pleasing than a nine-step version…don’t you think?!

 

David Meerman Scott has written an interesting piece on why brands should create original content rather than taking a strategy of “content curation”.  Content Curation is where you point to good content and add value by removing the noise ever present on the web.

David’s overall point is valid, but it is important to implement a strategy that is right for your business.

For the food food businesses we work with, I always recommend a strategy including content curation.   Creating really good original content is a great way to deliver value but it is also often very expensive.  It is also not always the right thing to do for your business.

As a restaurant, you’re primary job is to deliver an exceptional experience, with exceptional food every time.  As a food producer, your job is to deliver an exceptional product that excites your customers.  If you run a digital food business, then your primary job is to deliver exceptional original content.

Delivering an exceptional website and letting your service slip – Simply not acceptable.

However, something I always try to stress, is that if you’re delivering an exceptional food experience you will be doing things along the way that can be turned into digital stories that people will love.

We work with a coffeeshop, who are so particular in the quality of their coffee, they make modifications to the grinder!  That is a beautiful example of a story that should be told digitally, and can e very cheaply!

So then next time you’re working on the project, think about whether it would make good content, and take lots of pictures if it will!