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 final instalment of our blogs from the content marketing show, we have all had a brilliant time here, so if you’ve missed out you can find my top takeaways from the four talks in the final session below. Enjoy reading!
Marcin Chirowski - How to Organise a Successful International Bloggers Event
One problem that bloggers encounter is that they get bombarded with requests, offers, leaflets and promotions. Marcin mentioned one blogger he knows getting around 9,000 emails, which is obviously no small obstacle to pass as a content marketer when you want to make sure that your email doesn’t get scrapped. But this is a barrier all digital content strategists have to face.
In order to overcome such issues you need to start building a relationship with bloggers. Make sure you are genuine and start your interaction through social media. Make sure you go with the flow and above all else, before you ask them to do anything, listen to what they have to say.
Marcin then showed an image of a relationship building pyramid:
- Bottom - social as it’s the easiest
- The second tier is events like conferences or meetings
- Top is one on one interaction
In terms of value and effort the diagram goes low from the bottom through to highest at the top where one and one is placed
He then states that you need to make sure you use social events after formal ones such as the after parties at conferences. He then went on to describe some of the social events he arranged for EnglishTown (which teaches and improve's users English)
The first was an Italian blogger event set in Rome, it was a collaboration between the local and central team who organised the event from start to finish, it took place in a converted loft with the theme as British vs American English.
Results: They managed to establish a good connections with the 50 bloggers who attended, organised a competition afterwards, the bloggers then offered the competition to their audience which developed a snowball effect, this was all organic and increased visibility via these connections.
Marcin then described a similar event where they organised French bloggers to meet in London, the theme for this meetup was tools v toys, and was also a collaboration with local and central. They picked up the bloggers from Paris, went to London and gave them a unique experience of fashion areas there that weren't on offer to normal tourists. They added a more tailored event by organising uber taxi's to take them to different events.
The idea of this meetup was to connect with bloggers and then follow up with a competition in order to connect and increase visibility in much the same way as the previous event.
Results: connected with 17 influential bloggers, 600 competition participants after the event, and 1578 shares of the competition blog.
Marcin then began to describe how they did it:
Before Event – Establish a connection and stay connected, set objectives for what you want to achieve, select target audience, send custom RSVP's, research with a local contact, connect with everyone via social and keep it exclusive.
During Event- Give the best experience possible, connect with each person in attendance and capture media of the whole event.
After event – Online follow up such as a competition, involve the blogger's audience, and make sure you stay connected.
We are in a connection economy, “In the connection economy, there is a dividing line between two kinds of projects, those who exist to create connections and those that don’t” Seth Godin
With this in mind there is a lot of waste in terms of lack of connections, therefore we should create content in order to establish the connection, or to improve on an existing one.
Marcin finishes off the talk by asking us to take action and think: What event would we organise, who would we like to connect with.
Chelsea Blacker - Motivational Content Stories For the Down Trodden (Blue Glass)
The next talk was from Chelsea Blacker from Blue Glass - a strategy-driven digital marketing agency. For her talk she put together 3 stories of challenges that Blue Glass have faced when focusing on delivering the best results.
Challenge 1 - Dealing with a Tricky Industry
Their first challenge was to promote a gambling company. Chelsea described how this was a tricky client. How do you promote someone in an industry that has so much bad press? From people suing casino's for losing money to health warnings.
The first step was to refocus gambling (especially in this case, poker) as a sport that requires, learning, practise and a certain skill set. They got into contact with academics and learnt that skills required for poker are very beneficial: "maths, logic, concentration, patience, discipline, risk-reward and diversity" said by Alan N. Schoonmaker, Ph.D. Industrial Psychology and author of "The Psychology of Poker"
They then assessed these skills in order to figure out which poker skills are transferable to the general public, the answer being BLUFFING.
When they researched it they discovered that not only does it apply to others but also to yourself, and is apparent in various different scenarios.
Aspects of Bluffing:
Looked at eye movements - Looking up and left is a sign of creating (purple buffalo), and down and left is a sign of remembering smell and taste.
Touching - If you are touching yourself (whey) it’s a sign that you are calming and reassuring yourself due to being stressed and anxious, this also includes licking your lips.
Feet - When stressed or anxious your feet will sweat, causing you rub them together and this can indicate that you aren't confident.
BlueGlass took this info and created a research piece with academics to understand the benefits of bluffing and what it was all about, they then presented this research on the clients site and got on the phones to various different publishers. Chelsea emphasises that you should always call publishers, it’s harder for them to say no to a voice than an email …and mashable said yes in order to develop this research.
As a result “The Psychology of Lying” was created and got 12,500+ social shares, 519 external links from 65 domains.
- Find universally appropriate angle for your opponent
- Get professional researchers involved, invest in academics
- Publishers are partners, so involve them as you’re developing the content to increase more buy in
Challenge 2: Make B2B interesting
Blue Glass's client in question was selling conference rooms, so the issue was: How do you make conference rooms interesting?
Answer: educate the target market, make sure they understand the skills needed to better run events.
They took an interesting step by incorporating staff, and their skills. They already have the knowledge and know how about conferences in general, set up and speaking.
The next step was to develop the site blog as a resource, including such posts as “Top 5 Tips on Surviving as an Events Manager”
They then promoted their staff's expertise on other sites, such as training zone – citation flow:39, trustflow:54 mozDA: 64
They can talk about it from a personal level to their clients, and this ensures the staff buy in, and they are more involved within the company whilst in the process playing to their ego and allowing them to build their own career.
- Make staff into experts
- Develop the blog as a linkable resource
- Promote staff as the content creators to other sites
Challenge 3 – Don’t get Sued
With the third challenge Blue Glass had a client who had a nutrition product to promote, but they had an issue of getting around Department of Health and other food regulatory boards, and having to be careful how you promote, but what exactly can you and can't you say? For instance, if the product has a high vitamin D content you can't then say "Vitamin D unclogs arteries".
So how do you promote a product if you can't promote its benefits, the answer: experts.
So Blue Glass go into contact with some nutritionists, especially ones who didn't have a big digital footprint and wanted more recognition online. The next step was looking at what content to produce on site, here Chelsea described the interesting method of "Do Know Go" – 3 types of content on a site, DO- transactional KNOW- Informational GO- Navigational aka Google.
They created a hub for nutrition related content separate from the e-commerce sites and then promoted celebrated nutritionists in order to connect the social signals.
They promote their experts to several publications such as Marie Claire “6 weight loss myths busted” but you need to make sure all your experts are certified as this gives them added credibility.
Also consider published press, Blue Glass had the same nutritionist answer questions in mags, Cosmo Body etc.
- locate offline experts who want to expand their opportunities
- Develop your offline experts into online
- Separate transactional content from informational content DO KNOW GO
Charlie Williams - Gateway-drug Content Strategy Elements You Should Use
Here are the top 3 takeaways from Charlie Williams from White.Net- “Gateway-drug Content Strategy Elements You Should Use":
He started with some interesting statistics about companies:
88% are using content marketing this year
42% have a documented content strategy
He states that at white.net they get two common requests:
First “we need content that gets all the shares"
Second “our content isn't working”
The second could be down to using the wrong tone, or a mismatch of styles. But the clear answer is that you need both.
Light bulb Moment: this could be a result of having no content strategy.
One key tip was to always ask “WHY?” about what you are doing in your strategy in order to help define a better set of objectives and to make sure they hit their mark. Also, always check what you have. Use tools and sites to gather the content and then use other sites and tools to evaluate it.
If you would like to know more about Charlie’s talk please check our summary blog!
Lisa Myers - Running and Motivating a Creative Content Team
The final talk was from Lisa Myers who is the CEO of Verve search. She began by explaining that unlike all other talks, hers will be specifically on running a content team, rather than creating the content itself, such as more about how to get the most out of your team and generate creativity. And then also gave a handy tip for if you wear glasses and are nervous about talking, just don't wear them!
Lisa then gave some background information on herself, originally hailing from Northern Norway she explains that she wasn't very good at school, she didn't gain any degree, is dyslexic, and apparently has attention span of a goldfish.
But she says "That it’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are." and has often taken inspiration from this quote“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” W.Dyer.
And then compares companies and people to icebergs, quite often both are the same at the top but different under the surface, asking for advice from different people and companies will give a variety of opinions, but you have to do what right for you.
Relating this to how she runs her own company she says that when recruiting talent, hiring based on experience and a person’s CV is a bad idea, people will lie, and you often get a lot of the same type of people, plus hiring on experience doesn't mean they’re good. And illustrated this point by asking how many of us in the audience knew of a bad manager, about 40% of the us raised our hands. And she stated saying that just because someone has experience of being a manager, doesn't mean they will be good at it. It is about chemistry, people in an agency work like atoms, individually but working together as a unit.
So with this in mind, you should recruit on intelligence, problem solving, passion and attitude. Ignore all of the rules and make your own. For instance, asking interview questions that aren't the norm like 'If you saw an elephant in the underground what would you do?' was one of Lisa's personal favourites and quite often she found that technical people will analyse the situation, content people will instead share it. Questions like these will tell you a lot more about a person than "where do you see yourself in 5 years".
Lisa then emphasised that you need to seize the talent when you see it not when you need it. Then work out how to motivate people, financial incentives aren't the only thing that motivate people, in face some evidence shows that they actually lead to worse performances when it comes to cognitive tasks as shown in the book “Drive” by Daniel Pink.
The general assumption is to pay people fairly, however, it's more like this:
Autonomy - trust to do something their own way, give them long enough leash to experiment to their limits
Mastery - The desire to get better and better at something
Purpose - being part of the team, and feeling responsibility for one’s peers
People are wired to be active and engaged, they just require the framework.
Lisa also recommended another book on the subject "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable" by Patrick M. Lencioni
You also need to develop individuals. At Verve they have mediation training, CBT workshops (cognitive behaviour therapy), evening courses, and working on individual projects.
Staff are also encouraged disagree and discuss, Verve bought everyone out in the park and got them to spend an hour arguing with each other, it teaches the brain its OK to disagree, and to discuss why.
There are also other team related activities such as:
- Having a Lego table, whilst brainstorming
- Link bell in the content team for each time its placed or mentioned, its an easy way of people saying what they did well without bragging
- High Fives!
- "I love this article" but in Samuel l Jackson style
- Encouragement from all colleagues not just managers
- Weekly questionnaires
- Cheers for peers every week
- Yoda award given weekly
- Love week, giving stuff to each other anonymously is kept secret till a week lately
- Laughing Buddha awards to recognise people who have done well during the year
You also need to get your team to do stuff in things they believe in otherwise they lose strength physically.
Well that's it from theMediaFlow at the content marketing show! We hope you have enjoyed our blogs. Be sure to check out the twitter hashtag #contentmarketingshow