Posts Tagged ‘content marketing’

INTEGRATE 2015: Speaker Profile – Steve Radick

March 23, 2015

“Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.”
– Steve Radick VP, Director of Public Relations at Brunner in Pittsburgh 

SteveRadick

The tweet-worthy quote Steve shared with me in the interview below highlights the quality of thought leadership content that will be shared with attendees at the INTEGRATE conference.

Registration is still open. However, early bird rates end on March 31st.

@Julie_Long_: On your blog you stated, “Integrated marketing involves a lot more than simply bringing the SEO guy to the meeting.” How do you define IMC and who should be attending meetings?

@sradick: There’s this misperception in the industry that integrated marketing means having a bunch of boxes on an org chart. Just because you have a Director of Search, and a VP of Media, a Director of PR, a Senior Social Media Strategist, and a User Experience Czar doesn’t mean that you’ve got an integrated marketing agency. You’re actually more likely to have an old-fashioned game of Hungry Hungry Hippos on your hands – everyone’s scratching and clawing to get more money and power for their respective discipline. Integrated marketing is about more than giving each department a seat at the table – it’s about making sure the people in those seats are more concerned with the business than themselves.

If you focus only on involving people because of where they are on the org chart, you’ll get people who build from the bottom up. That is, the social media guy thinks social media will solve everything. The paid media guy wants a paid media solution. And so on and so on. You end up with a bunch of strategies and tactics that someone then has to cobble together into a single, coherent strategy. Shouldn’t we instead strive to build strategies from the top down? Get the people in the room who are focused on meeting the business objectives first, not his or her line of business. Integrated marketing can’t be a mandate. It has to be a mindset.

@Julie_Long_: At INTEGRATE 2015, your presentation will be focusing on the arms race currently taking place in content marketing. Can you tease us with any of the topic areas that will be discussed?

@sradick: Just like the hammer in search of a nail, marketers are spending more and more of their time and energy reducing every conversation, article, and photo to a piece of data, all in an effort to maximize their ROI and deliver the most eyeballs at the lowest price. There was a time wayyyy back when, in 2010, when content marketing best practices were to write a blog post and post to Facebook 3-4 times a week. As more content was created, it became harder and harder to stand out though. Marketers took this as a challenge and figured that the best way to solve this problem was to pump out even more content. The more you post, the more chances there are of people seeing it right? Instead of a world where brands created content that solved problems, added value, or created deeper relationships with customers, we created a world where more simply equals better. That’s why there’s so much spam and so many banner ads. It’s easier to spam a million people in the hopes that 1% of them will click rather than creating something valuable for 50,000 people where 20% will click. Where does it stop?

Content marketing gives us the opportunity to rethink how brands market themselves for the better – if we can stop ourselves from trying to game the system and instead think about how to best optimize our relationships with our customers.

@Julie_Long_: Students/Alums: Submit one career advancement question for Steve and the winning question will be personally answered by him at INTEGRATE.

Post your question in the comments section below.

 

A special thank you goes out to Steve for taking the time to provide his thoughtful contributions to this article.

Content Marketing is the New Black

March 4, 2015

There is a fundamental shift in the way that we create, consume and share content. To quote Marc Mathieu from Unilever, “Marketing used to be about making a myth and telling it. Now it’s about telling the truth and sharing it.” With an ever-more crowded marketing environment, it behooves brands to move away from thinking like marketers or advertisers who are selling a product and more like publishers.

To do this, companies must create and curate relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage their target audience. While this is done with the objective of driving sales, it’s not truly advertising or public relations – rather it’s a bit of both. Content must be consumer and not brand-focused. It also must answer customer questions across the buyers journey. Successful branded content is often more effective than advertising because it tells a story that engages the user. These stories help to build stronger relationships. They make people care about a product, brand or cause in a way that sales can’t.

Even the news media is challenged by the increase in content marketing. Upstarts like BuzzfeedUpworthy, and Digiday, to name a few, are creating new news paradigms. In the past four years, nearly every media company has rolled out sponsored content as a new revenue stream, to varying levels of success.

As an example, let’s look at Buzzfeed. One could argue that the front page of BuzzFeed looks like a 21st-century tabloid. BuzzFeed provides shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video across the social web to a global audience of more than 200 million. It isn’t the New York Times, but it may be a new iteration of the New York Times and the future of how consumers get news. Buzzfeed provides newsworthy content to consumers in digestible bites. These bites come in an assortment of styles ranging from listicles to infographics, timelines and more.

In owned social channels, brands must adopt a similar strategy if they hope to keep up. But, the content game is one that all companies must tackle with their eyes wide open. Content creation takes resources, insight, endurance and persistence. It is not about posting once a month and expecting to see sales gains. It takes a lot more time and effort.

Ultimately, there are 3 types of content that brands should try to incorporate into their marketing strategies, these are sometimes called the 3 “C’s” of content production. They are:

  1. Created. This could be dubbed the hardest part of content marketing. Creation happens when a brand or company makes entirely new content to put forth via their owned channels. Hubspot recently posted a blog outlining 44 types of content that can help to get your content creation juices flowing.types-of-content_(1)
  2. Curated. Curation is done when a brand finds pre-created content that engages the target audience, they then collect it and add in their own creativity to it. This could come in the form of offering an original spin on the initial content. The new breed of online publishers (Buzzfeed, Upworthy etc.) is, at the core, clever content curators.
  3. Crowdsourced. Consumers love to share content, whether it is photos, images, videos or content that resonates with them. Ask and you shall receive.

Ready to get started? Many brands have upped their content marketing game in the last year. This article from Outbrain, shares 6 epic examples from 2014.

What types of content marketing have caught your eye thus far in 2015?

Building Social Proof

January 27, 2015

Even after tragic loss, charity: water shows that it is possible to find hope. Raising more than $1.2 million dollars, charity: water continues to inspire individuals to act even years after Rachel started her initial campaign.

A true leader in using visual storytelling to engage consumers, charity: water’s remarkable success in social advocacy and online fundraising is largely built through real stories posted via sharable multimedia. With more than 1.3 million Twitter followers, and more than 210,000 Facebook likes, charity: water has truly mastered the art of getting people to form personal connections with their brand. And, by harnessing storytelling through social media – they have turned followers into activists.

How have they done it exactly? The brand has built a high level of “social proof.”

I can’t count the number of times, I’ve scrolled through my Facebook feed and bought something, or acted on something because of a friends post. Well… that’s it! Social proof is the positive influence that is created when people find out others are doing something – and now, suddenly, everyone else wants to do that same something.

This third-party validation can be a very powerful motivator. As consumers, the psychology of persuasion influences every day choices, from where to eat, to what clothes to wear, purchases to make, and causes to be part of. While the concept of social proof isn’t new, this style of impact has huge potential to grow virally given the way that consumers interact today on social media. According to recent research 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends.

Tech Crunch offers that there are five different types of social proof. These range from Expert and Celebrity, which leverage the approval of these individuals to build digital influence to Wisdom of the Crowds, which highlights the popularity or large numbers of users who like a product, service or brand. While both of the above work in some instances, by and large, the most coveted type of social proof is the Wisdom of Friends, because every marketer knows that referrals from friends are the way that consumers now make choices. Friends referred by friends ultimately make better customers, activists and givers – hands down.

Social proof IS the new marketing.

So… how do we build it for our own brands, companies and causes?

One of the best ways to build social proof is by leveraging the power of personal stories. Real stories (yes, those from real consumers) resonate with people and can catch their interest or engage their emotions. Stories are persuasive and more trusted by consumers than statistics, because they are able to transport consumers into the situation – engaging them and making them want to share… and then share again and again. This makes sense on many levels given that storytelling is one of the oldest and most effective forms of communicating.

charity: water uses content to align people with thousands of other people. Their stories and photos are hyper-localized, deeply connecting consumers to the impact they are helping to make. So deeply, that they then encourage others to participate in making impact too – Momentum builds and one by one consumers join the cause because of other friends who are engaged, thus building a dedicated network of brand advocates… or for charity: water, activists and donors.

Any brand can engage social proof by being candid, authentic and letting testimonials speak for themselves. Through the sharing of compelling stories, brands can become equal partners, rather than corporate entities. It’s no longer enough to rely on pushed messages or advertising. Instead, marketers must incorporate the input that they get from their audiences to help build more robust and engaging campaigns. Through a continued commitment to storytelling and leveraging consumer content any brand can build loyalty and excitement about their brand.

INTEGRATE2014 Recap: Lee Odden

May 31, 2014

Digital Convergence: The Integrated Marketing & PR Imperative was a knock out session. Lee Odden’s dynamic presentation style captivated the audience and gave us great tips and reminders to incorporate into our IMC worlds.

After engaging in the session, I think my blog title is a bit misleading.  There is no way a blog post would even make a dent in recapping Lee’s session or capturing the amazing information and presentation style shared with us this morning.

So, if you weren’t at the session (or even if you were) I challenge you to think of the word “optimizing” very differently.  It seems as though every time I mention the word “optimize” people automatically think of it in terms of digital media or graphic design.  The biggest take away from the session today was optimizing content for your audience.  Lee encouraged us to start the marketing process with empathy.  As marketers we need to think of what are customers need and how we can help them get it.  How can we optimize our content to help our clients get where they need to go?   How can we make their jobs and their lives easier so that they will want to communicate with us?  He mentioned journalists as a prime example.  Years ago journalists were not thought of as a target market, but Lee saw them as a target market and changed the way he provided information to them.  Instead of simple press releases the information was rich and included materials journalists need, but don’t have the time to track down.  Starting with empathy lead to significant changes in the way the information was presented. You need to make sure that when a customer is looking for answers, your information is there to help them.

Lee also empowered the audience to think a bit differently (Not surprising).  He reiterated that we can change the game in regards to content marketing.  As he says, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.”

I”ll leave you with Lee’s 3 Key Takeaways and highly encourage you to speak with him at the conference, or see him present in the near future.  If talking to people isn’t your thing, you can read his blog or check out his book, Optimize.

  • If you want to be in the media – become the media
  • Build amplification into the content design process – be the best answer wherever customers are looking
  • Keep content accountable across channels – attract, engage, convert

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If you attended Lee’s session or have read his book, Optimize, what were your favorite parts? What got you the most excited?

Content Marketing In 2013 and Beyond

September 30, 2013

cm_infographicRecently I was reading up on the topic of content marketing and how it is affecting the marketing efforts of organizations around the world.  I have been a fan of content marketing for quite some time believing that it is better to provide value with a message rather than just a fancy looking ad slick.  Personally I have always responded better to companies who try to educate me on how a product or solution will fill my need and then show me how their product or solution is the best at solving that need.  Content marketing, or getting a message out by providing a piece of content valued by a marketplace consumer to attract that consumer to your offering, works great as a low risk option for consumers and marketers.

Content marketing by definition, is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action (contentmarketinginstitute.com, n.d.).  Why is content marketing so important?  Think about how many times you fast forward through commercials on your television DVR.  Consider how many piece of junk mail you get each day, not to mention the junk email that is delivered to your inbox.  Content marketing is all about providing valuable content that people look forward to receiving.  Its goal is to attract new and retain existing customers.   Messages can be anything from tips and product information to steps on changing consumer behavior.  A content marketing strategy helps an organization build thought leadership through a consistent effort in developing its own library of wholly owned media elements.

In the article “What is Content Marketing” found here on contentmarketinginstitute.com the authors reference some great statistics from Roper Public Affairs on the importance of content marketing:

  • 80 percent of business decision makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.
  • 70 percent say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company
  • 60 percent say that company content helps them make better product decisions

Those are some very powerful numbers when thinking about how consumers feel about good, reliable, content.  Marketers who are using content marketing successfully are trying to get individuals to move their organizations communications out of the junk category and into the trusted source category.  Content marketing helps take consumers from a visitor standpoint to becoming a brand evangelist.  The infographic (seen above or here) developed by the Content Marketing Institute does a very nice job illustrating this progression.  For some examples on content marketing and how it can be used, you can download a free ebook here.

Of course, a big concern with many marketers is how this wonderful content will be created.  They are going to be wondering how they will get one more to do on an already over taxed team.  Fast Company released an article recently listing five ways to have a great content marketing program without creating a single word.  Not surprisingly it centered around finding third party sources of content whether that be partnerships or content curation.  While this is sometimes costly, it is a good option for organizations that do not have the resources to develop content internally.  So where do you fall?  Does your organization use content marketing already?  What kind of success are you having?  Reply to this blog and share some results (if your organization says it’s OK of course).

Some quick links for your reference:

Content Marketing Examples
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/education/ultimate-ebook-100-content-marketing-examples/

Content Marketing vs. Social Media
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/02/content-marketing-vs-social-media-marketing/

Content Marketing Research
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/research/

Content Marketing Institute Framework
http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/03/content-marketing-institute-framework/

Fast Company, 5 Ways to Craft a Killer Content Marketing Strategy Without Creating and Content
http://www.fastcompany.com/3015520/5-ways-to-craft-a-killer-content-marketing-strategy-without-creating-any-content

Q/A with Philadelphia-based Content Marketer, Rob Yoegel

February 26, 2013

Rob

Rob Yoegel, Content Marketing Director at Monetate, spoke about “Using Social to Help Build a Kick-Ass Content Marketing Program” at a January Philly Content Strategy Meetup.

Monetate Logo
Monetate is a provider of marketing optimization and website optimization solutions. The company is based out of Conshohocken, PA and has clients across the following industries: travel, hospitality, technology, retail, consumer products, and financial services.

In a special Q/A post for the WVU IMC blog, Rob expounds upon key points that resonated with me during his presentation. The Meetup presentation is available to download below from Slideshare.

Q: How does Monetate leverage social media in their content marketing programs?

A: Social serves a number of purposes, but one of the primary uses would be as a distribution channel for our content. Like traditional newspapers or magazines relied on the postal service, we use social as a way to help make sure followers and fans receive our latest content. If you extend the analogy further, think of the pass-a-long value of a newspaper or magazine. We receive the same benefit when content is shared, retweeted, etc. You could even take it further when you consider we’ll use paid placements on social networks to assure our content is delivered when necessary. I guess that would be like paying for faster delivery with the postal service, Fed Ex, etc.!

Q: In the Meetup presentation, you advised marketers to move from behind their monitors. How could this benefit the content a marketer is producing?

A: So one could argue that social has made more of an impact on businesses than the Internet first did in the early 90s, but the problem continues to be people sit and sometimes hide behind their computers and forget about the real meaning of a “network.” As a content creator, when I tell others to move from behind their monitors I’m really referring to their social strategy. It’s not enough to collect followers, reply and retweet. You need to be a real person. It’s amazing the amount of friendships and business I’ve been able to foster by actually showing the people who follow me that I care about them and actually know who they are.

Q: As a publisher of content, what suggestions do you have for IMC practitioners beginning their publishing journey?

A: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and to take chances. At the same time, know your subject matter, and know it well. For the longest time, I’ve tried to know a little about an awful lot rather than know one thing really well. Make sure to recognize right away you don’t (and never will) have all the answers. Instead, know where to find them. As Gandhi once said, ““Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Q: Who are your top five content marketing publishers?

A: I’m biased to what our team does, so I would put Monetate at the top of the list. My list would be longer than just five and I wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of some of my friends. Keep in mind that even a great content marketing program will have its share of clunkers. We’re all human.

Q: SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) is a marketing concept gaining traction within the industry. What are your thoughts on how brands could successfully integrate these three distinct and separate channels into one content marketing program?

A: Brands have to pay attention to mobile. Almost one out of three ecommerce website visits already come from a non-traditional device like a smartphone or tablet. The user experience is different as well, in other words, “tablet is not mobile.” Businesses of all shapes and sizes must recognize that and stay ahead of their competition. From a social standpoint, again any businesses not devoting resources of some type to social will be left in the dust.

Monetate Deck Cover

Download the Meetup presentation, “Using Social to Help Build a Kick-Ass Content Marketing Program” from SlideShare.

Special thank you to Rob Yoegel for providing his insight and time for this special blog post on the WVU IMC Student blog! If you have any questions, please post in the comments section.