Content mediocrity is no doubt something to be avoided. Brands and businesses everywhere are devoting greater shares of marketing budget towards content marketing, with 100% of those who already participate vowing to spend more next year. The question therefore is how can marketers avoid mediocrity and continue to create original, interesting content- pieces in an ...
Welcome to the first in a series of blogs from theMediaFlow today covering the Content Marketing Show, which had been organised by Rough Agenda and our friend Kelvin Newman. Later this afternoon, our very own Nichola Stott will be presenting on Getting Past the Buying Objection with Problem-Solving Content.
We've got a different writer covering each session and, wifi permitting, will be posting a soon as possible once each is finished. We hope you enjoy the coverage and let us know if you've got any queries or want any clarification on any of the points.
So, without further ado, on to the content from the Content Marketing Show:
Can a Brand Ever Truly be Social
The question is - can a brand ever really be social?
There's been a shift from mass forms of communication to personalised ones. Using the metaphor of a party, there are a variety of people to communicate with. New people to meet, nerds in the corner and old friends that you want to seek out and spend time with.
Brands are looking to get involved in these parties but its tough to get people interested in them, no matter how they try to engage. Brands try to use personality types to help them get involved; with varying degrees of success.
Brand Personality Type 1 - Nice But Dim
Why are brands that have nothing to do with football getting involved with the World Cup. "Click here if you love your mother" types of messages on Mothers Day. It's pointless click-jacking really.
Condescending Corporate Brand Page was given as a great mick-take of this type of behaviour.
Brand Personality Type 2 - Nutters in the Corner
The Psychopaths in the corner. This is where brands try and hash tag jack on things that are completely irrelevant but have volume (i.e. Cairo in the "Spring")
Brand Personality Type 3 - Automation & Industrialisation
The social sphere is human. When the world shifts from mass communication to personal communication, automation only just jars. Automation is important for listening and data but automating conversations is just too easy to screw up.
It completely lacks thoughts and the audience can see right through it.
If you do it - and do it wrong, make sure you apologise if you offend people.
Some companies can and do, do it well. Where it gets intrinsically involved with the business, for example, companies like O2 respond and engage with humour and humility really bravely. It gives really human feeling interactions.
A Personal Story
A tale of Stephen's wife, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She's a private person who doesn't really use social media and any communications with the social world were very carefully managed due the sensitivities of the situation.
Stephen did post a few things though during a rather awful treatment phase. During treatment, you focus on milestones to help you get through the whole process. Having posted during some of these, Stephen was blown away by the support of his network on Facebook. It was an illustration that when you are at your lowest ebb, you really can be supported by the social sphere.
The challenge for Brands is to understand things like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to make themselves more relevant to their audiences
Stephen then left us with some thoughts to challenge brands on how they communicate in this new era.
Social media is intrinsically a human form of communications
Tools have a role in listening, but automation at scale with conversation is dangerous
Be brave, challenge yourself and do the best work you possibly can.
Brands CAN be social, but they need to be human and empathetic.
Johary Rafidison - Grayling
How to use Data for your Content Strategy
Jojo studied digital and started in market research, but wanted to get into social media research and data. He moved to Grayling which is a data oriented PR agency, using data to drive their decisions.
How Data Research can Help with your Content Strategy
The best market research companies in the world are Google and Facebook - but trust what people do, not what they say.
They use data to create stories, such as Google Trends World Cup data. They collated data and produced statistics to explain how different countries interacted with the event.
Facebook Data Science Team became infamous recently with their "mood" survey, where they tried to change the mood of the users by changing the sentiment in their news feed. People saw positive news and posted more frequently as a result.
Ethically, it was "challenging" but the data that it produced was an interesting experiment.
Data is Available and Free
Facebook insights, Google Analytics, trends and keyword planner - these all give you insights into what people want and need. This data can and should be used to tell stories, and better stories because you are giving users what they want.
Present Data in an Interesting Way
Gephi and CartoDB are useful tools that can help visualise data stories in an interesting and affordable way. Jojo used BrightonSEO's Twitter hashtag to look at network analysis with Gephi, visualising the interactions between the nodes of the most popular Twitter users at the event.
CartoDB produced some interesting data looking at how tweets were sent throughout the day, visualising this in a stimulating way.
Data is already available
Use it to write a story
Tools are cheap, so use them!
Content Marketing Yearbook 2014: Highlights and Low-Lifes
Content marketing enables us to feel good. We give advice, we inspire, we make them laugh - it's like giving free hugs.
It IS the silver bullet and enables us to "be that guy" who is top of the class.
83% of all marketers are increasing (quadrupling) their spend on content marketing!
It enables discovery from anyone, anywhere. It levels the playing field for the smaller guys, allowing them to compete with the big boys when its done well.
However, effective content marketing is not so simple. Success can be viewed in lots of ways and there isn't always a clear path - mistakes will be made along the way.
£4 Billion is spent on content marketing in the UK at present, but with 48% not being used effectively.
The waste could get you an awful lot - trips to space, 15 of the world's most expensive properties. So we need to work out why it's ineffective and reduce the waste.
Successful content needs:
Content marketing needs:
3 Low Lifes:
Examples of content that hasn't quite worked.
Mad Men's Happy Father's Day campaign.
This was quite awkward as they were not examples of great fatherhood.
NYPD - Most likely to be alone
Tried to engage with community, but got lots of abuse and photos of their indescretions. You need a positive community for this to work.
A security guard made a holiday request and everyone in the Arcadia group saw the bosses request, causing a social
media stir. This was of course click jacked awfully by entirely irrelevant brands, which exacerbated the situations
Buffer - A Smarter Way to Share
Realised that to get interaction they needed high quality publishers, giving information on how to get the most interactions on the social sphere. They realise that they needed to target the people that had an audience, that were influencers who could later become potential customers of the brand.
Mother's Day Dream Car
Asked kids to draw their dream cars for their mothers, which was illustrated to the audience as a video showing how these were drawn. A really sweet example of encouraging user generated content. I liked the time machine examples the best.
This is a Generic Brand Video
A bold mockery of potential clients, which tapped deeply into the psychology of the general public. This was a really funny video.
Case Study: Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy in a Boring Industry
Simply Business are an insurance company, so Jasper felt well placed to talk about content marketing in a boring
People that want insurance just want to get it sorted, get it out the way and get on with their lives. This is how
Simply Business approach their business.
They are obviously up against some huge players - big brands and bigger aggregators. Content Marketing was determined as the main way they could compete against these guys.
Content helps users find them pre-purchase, before they are looking for their business insurance. Catching them early as part of the purchase decision funnel helps them engage customers both before they need the products and after, helping with retention.
They run a Google Hangout, which whilst not directly showing to a huge audience, helps them to create content that can be used across platforms. They do talk about insurance but they ask their customers what they want from their insurance in the future - crowd sourcing a manifesto for the future.
Simply Business has a 900k per year visitor section of their website about Knowledge and Community, full of tips for and from entrepreneurs on how to run a business (and how not to).
After a period of flat-lining, they decided to start thinking bigger. More interactivity and more detailed guides, such as WordPress for Small Business guides or a step by step guide to social media success. These were really big bits of content that really helped drive a lot of interest in the brand.
This sort of content helped them gain links from sites like TechCrunch, which almost crashed their website with the sheer volume of traffic.
Jasper reiterated some earlier points from Jojo too - if you have data, make sure you use it! They have data and they've turned that into interesting and detailed data visualisations with annual studies of the companies they insure. Use a PR agency to help promote this sort of content as it is the sort of thing that the "old" media want to be covering.
Plan your Activities:
- Weekly content meetings
- Editorial calendar
- Content facilities in house
- Get external help in when you need it!
- 40k followers on Twitter
- 3500 circles on G+
- 900,000 visits for their knowledge and community section in 1 year
- Increased customer satisfaction