Tag Archives: #cmworld

Distilling the Magic of Content Marketing #cmworld

Marcus Sheridan, aka @TheSalesLion, sells in-ground fiberglass pools.  He also happens to be an instinctive content marketer who dispenses with theory and goes straight to tactics that work.   His presentation kicked off the second day of Content Marketing World 2012 with raw truth and unbridled energy.

Marcus started out emphasizing the absolute requirement that we think about how our customers behave.  Where do they turn when they’re looking for information?  Google.  And what  questions do they Google?  A prospect’s questions usually follow a pattern:

  • Price – They want to know how much it costs
  • Problems – Consumers want to know if it solves a problem.
  • Comparisons – They want to compare you to your competitors
  • The Best – They want to know what product/solution in the space is considered “the best”
  • Reviews – They want credible reviews.

In sales, Marcus noted, we don’t hear questions, we hear our answers.  As marketers, this translates into publishing what we want our market to hear.

The questions customers ask should be at the center of your approach to content creation. As  your teams to tell you what the questions they hear every day from customers?  Turn those questions into titles of blog posts and get going, says Marcus.  Within 30 minutes of mining your organization for questions, you’ll come up with dozens and dozens of ideas for blog posts and other content.

The golden rule of content marketing, according to Marcus, is “They ask, you answer.”  People who are good listeners never run out of content. There’s a dearth of content that actually answers consumers’ questions.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik)  is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

3 Tactics For Integrating Online & Offline Content to Own the ZMOT #cmworld

The Zero Moment of Truth is that moment in time between a customer’s first exposure to your brand (e.g. an ad, a piece of content) and the moment in which they make the decision to buy.   Being present in that moment enables brands to capture this potent opportunity to influence the looming outcome.  Being absent from this moment all but ensures a brand is overlooked.

The pervasiveness of mobile devices has changed how people consume content and make purchasing decisions, giving rise to the “cross-platform consumer”  — and the ZMOT. This fragmentation of our audiences’ attention between devices — and the simple fact that people can pull the information they want whenever they need it via the phone in their pocket – requires communicators to think differently about the content they produce, with respect to the role of content in the marketing approach.

Bridging digital & analog – anticipating online behavior 

Despite the fact that we often create distinct campaigns and content for print and digital, it’s important to remember that our audiences don’t fall into one category or the other. In most cases, they readily consume analog and digital media, and bounce freely Back and forth between different types and formats of media.

So rather than using an “either or” mindset when planning content, a more anticipatory approach is useful.  Anticipating what behavior content will inspire and planning accordingly is an effective means of bridging online and off-line media.

A simple way to begin this approach is to think about three things:

  1. What actions will the content drive?
  2. What opportunities will these actions create for the organization?
  3. What tactics need to be in place to convert actions to opportunities?

Here are some examples of different actions content can produce, and the requisite opportunities and tactics for each.

Potential action #1 — social discussion:

Action: Content creates social discussion. People on social networks are talking about the content you published.

Opportunity: Social discussion affords the brand a number of opportunities, including:

  • Building awareness & word of mouth volume
  • Generating leads
  • Solidifying a relationship with some readers

Tactics: To capture these opportunities, the content creator needs to employ a variety of tactics, including:

  • Defining and publicizing a hashtag for the subject (or using one that’s already established) will help people find the content on Twitter.
  • Creating smart, relevant presences in other social networks where you know key audiences are present (e.g. Facebook, SlideShare, Pinterest) will cultivate an audience likely to amplify your messages.  Be sure the teams administering those presences are informed of key messaging well in advance of deployment, and that related content and images have been shared with them.  The best way to annoy your social teams – and to reduce the impact of key messages – is to loop them in after the message is deployed and put them in the position of playing catch-up.
  • Researching related search terms, buying them as part of an SEM strategy and incorporating them into messaging will have an important dual effect – audiences will be able to more readily find your content, and the search engine rankings for related web sites may improve.

Potential action #2 — cultivating (& converting) consideration

Action: Consideration. The content you publish triggers purchases, or (at least) strong consideration of a purchase of the product, event or service you’re promoting.

Opportunity:  Active consideration triggers a variety of new behaviors, many of which start with a search of some type, including:

  • Sequential search – An interested audience member conducts a search after coming into contact with the content.   They may use their PC for the search, or they may use a mobile device.
  • Spur of the moment search – An interested member of your audience whips out their mobile device to kill time, and starts looking for information related to what you’re promoting.
  • Calls to action: Your reader is eager to learn more, and is seeking a path to follow to access additional information.

Tactics: Capturing people in the consideration phase requires the company to deliver information crucial to supporting the decision process – where and when the prospect is seeking it.

  • Decision affirmation:  Related content, such as testimonials and case studies, provide decision support and inspire confidence.
  • Decision affirmation from the crowd: It’s not at all uncommon to see people querying others on Facebook, Twitter and other networks about a potential purchase.  Providing content that is readily shared will help spread your message among other potential prospects, even as the original prospect continues gathering feedback.
  • Especially if the product or service is purchased through a retail location, providing hours of operation, location details and a phone number are key.  Search your business from a mobile phone. If a map to your location with other key details doesn’t show up at the top of the screen, it’s time to improve the mobile version of your web site.
  • And even if your product or service isn’t sold in retail establishments, your customers are using mobile devices.  Ensure you have excellent mobile content that works across all platforms.

Generating social discussion and triggering consideration are just two of the actions the content you publish can inspire. Audience behavior and preferences, desired outcomes and other actions sparked by your content marketing programs will vary by organization and industry.  However, the cross-platform information consumer is a reality for all communicators, and integrating our online and off-line communications to capture opportunity and maximize results is an important aspect of any communications strategy.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

Amplifying ROI … Return on Influence! #cmworld

Mark’s new book, “Return on Influence.”

What do you, me, Derek Jeter and Eva Longoria have in common? (Hint: The answer isn’t “nothing”.) We’re all – or have the potential to be – influencers.

“This is the era of citizen influencers,” declared Mark Schaefer during today’s Content Marketing World session. As a marketer, this wasn’t news to me, but it struck me. ANYONE has the opportunity to influence. What a powerful statement! And what and immense opportunity for the content marketer inside each of us.

Among many of the non-traditional influencer examples provided were:

> A Mommy Blogger commissioned to Bolivia to help raise awareness for an orphanage — resulting in 150 children being sponsored as a result

> A shy government employee in California who tweets 2oo times each day and has been sought after by notable brands such as Audi

As content marketers, how can we learn from these real-world examples to increase our level of influence, and thereby increase ROI (return on influence)? An educator at heart, Mark provides a valuable framework for amplifying influence:

1. Meaningful Content: “Content that moves is power on the Internet,” he notes.

2. Relevant Audience: You have to ignite your content to build power and influence. Relevancy is what will spark that flame.

3. Consistent Engagement: (Does the term agile engagement come to mind?) Keep the conversation flowing through content that follows Mark’s RITE principle: Relevant, Interesting, Timely, Entertaining.

Building your influence likely will not happen overnight, but by following the above guiding framework, all of us can ignite a flame to shine ever brighter.

Author Christina Griffo is a marketing manager for PR Newswire.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

How a Clown Fish Can Unlock Your Company’s Content Marketing Budget

When Drew Davis of Tippingpoint Labs first brought up how Finding Nemo could act as the rationale for securing added budget for content marketing I thought something was fishy. Why would a Pixar fish flick – albeit the most successful DVD ever – provide suitable ammo to change the budgetary habits of a CMO?

Here’s why.

Most companies invest a huge percentage of their budget in buying time and space – advertising, PR, and so forth – but much less on creating the actual message. Consider the Geico example that was shared in the session.

  • Geico has a $745mm marketing/advertising budget.
  • Geico has 19 types of insurance. That’s $39mm (and change) for each insurance type if they were to divide the budget equally.
  • $35mm goes to buying time and space – blank pages, air, and so forth. Only $4mm for the messaging.

Now invert that budget allotment.

Finding Nemo had an $87 million budget. 80% of the budget, according to Drew, was spent on making the film. The remaining 20% was spent on marketing the film.  Again… 80% for creating the actual content. 20% on marketing it.

The results? Great content triggered significant action and created a demand. Finding Nemo is the #1 selling DVD of all time and a term, “The Nemo Effect” – a rush to purchase clown fish that depleted clown fish counts worldwide (this really happened!) – was coined.

Geico has been wildly successful – you can’t swing a gecko without hitting some form of Geico outreach. Is this attributed to deft messaging or massive amounts of placement? But how much better could it be? What if Geico invested $35mm in ongoing content creation/messaging and $4mm in marketing/advertising? What if your company inverted this kind of messaging vs. marketing/advertising spend and invested in content creation for your audience(s) that creates demand?

Drew’s message to a CMO is this: If you want to increase awareness, buy ads. If you want to increase demand, create content.

I’d put my money on demand.

What do you think?

Author Malcolm Atherton is one of PR Newswire’s account partners with long expertise in social media, PR and multimedia content distribution.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

Using Consumer Insights: 5 Key Tips from Kraft

The anatomy of a viral hit. A recipe started out on Facebook, and ended up being one of Kraft’s top recipes for the year.

400 million emails, 90 million site visits, 6 million video views, 1.1 billion advertising impressions, 1 billion recipes viewed … and a food magazine with more than a million paid subscribers that’s on par with the Food Network’s magazine, and is bigger than Food & Wine.

Kraft is a scale publishing platform, according to Julie Fleischer, director of CRM Content Strategy for Kraft Foods.   So what can the rest of us learn from Kraft’s enormous content marketing and social CRM programs, even if our own brands don’t have the scope, reach and depth of content that Kraft has developed?  As it turns out, a lot.

” We have an audience that is coming for our food solutions, staying longer than they do on other sites, and are likely to click through to more information,” noted Julie.

Kraft has developed an engaged audience that they don’t need to go find – the audience willingly comes back.   Kraft’s magazine, Food & Family, has a million subscribers – more than Food & Wine.  As Julie noted, “People pay Kraft to receive our ads.”

Kraft’s content marketing brief:  Create delicious meal solutions that inspire amazing food stories which spread to drive sales and create value for Kraft Foods.

This brief offers a few lessons.  It’s clearly focused on driving an outcome (getting people to make the recipes), with an eye toward encouraging user generated content, with the ultimate goal of moving the needle on sales

Content marketers, Julie noted, need to know how the consumers’ minds work, as well as their habits and their rituals.  Then you need to intercept them at those moments of need.  An example, in January, themes include:

  • Healthy eating
  • Slow cooker recipes
  • Bowl game recipes
  • Black eyed pea recipes (during first week.  It’s a ritual)

But there’s more to developing an editorial approach than customer rituals.  Kraft takes a comprehensive approach.  Here’s a look at a sample of their editorial calendar:

As you can see, the calendar blends events, trends, rituals and a lot of customer and search data.  Julie noted that Kraft is constantly updating, testing and tweaking the calendar.  In particular, she noted the need to be spontaneous. Retain flexibility that lets you take advantage when you see something is working, and see how far you can make it run.   An example she gave is illustrated at the top of this post.  Kraft published a recipe for a cookie bar on Facebook, and when it took off, they recognized that, highlighting it on Pinterest and in the magazine, which triggered a fresh round of viral sharing and visibility for the recipe.

The top tips from Kraft for developing a content strategy that works:

  1. Add value to your consumer’s life.
  2. Be captivating. You have to be as interesting and compelling as all other media out there if you want anyone to pay attention to you.
  3. Location.  Be where you consumer is, where she goes.  Be easy to find.  Don’t require people to come to you, go to them.
  4. Timeliness matters.  Develop processes that get you to real time. Use nimble distribution methods.  Adjust on the fly.  Be of the moment.
  5. Measure.  Engagement, return rates, satisfaction, virality.

Julie wrapped up by reminding us that consumer relationship marketing is about a value exchange. You give each other value.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik525252)  is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

The Future of Content Marketing is in Utility

According to Mitch Joel, the future of content marketing isn’t just in more content.  It’s in utility. Specifically, it’s about giving people something they can use, and challenging ourselves to think about whether we’re adding value every time we press publish, or are we adding just more static and noise to the ecosystem.

In his wide-ranging presentation to the Content Marketing World audience, Mitch stressed the profound opportunities brands have today to build direct relationships with their audiences.  Simply put, your brand doesn’t need a newspaper to communicate with external audiences any longer.  However, the success of the content in sparking the direct relationship depends upon its utility.

Charmin’s Sit Or Squat app provides real utility, and drives interest in what is, let’s face it, a low-interest product.

A fantastic example of useful content Mitch offered is Charmin’s Sit or Squat app, which you can use to find nearby bathrooms that are clean and have amenities you may need (e.g. a changing station, or accessibility).  The utility of this app generates awareness and loyalty for a very low interest product.

However, Mitch stressed  that in the drive to garner attention, brands to balance privacy and personalization, noting that privacy is not on the table. Marketers must strenuously avoid crossing the privacy line.  Ultimately, fantastic personalization delivers utility people value.   One example he gave is Amazon, which has mastered personalization to the point where privacy no longer matters.

The utility theme continued in a discussion of active and passive media.  Media is passive or active to the consumer.

  • Passive media: You just sit back, relax and enjoy it.  Newspapers, magazines and TV are examples.
  • Active media: You have to interact with it to derive value.

Many times, Mitch noted, people want their TV to be passive.  They just want to watch.  They don’t want to like, follow, friend or pin – they want to sit on the couch and watch.  Many brands wreck the utility of their passive media by festooning it with options that get in the way of the audiences’ expected experience.  They end up with a Frankenstein-eque mishmash – and a terrible user experience.   It’s okay for media to be active or passive, and it’s up to marketers to balance the mix of the two.  But it’s imperative that we keep utility for our audience in mind.

Author Sarah Skerik (@sarahskerik)  is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.

At PR Newswire, content marketing is powered by an agile communications approach – built on effectively listening to online conversations, targeting of active influencers, creating content based on the insights gleaned and syndicating content that is relevant, compelling and trustworthy on an ongoing basis to drive visibility and deliver results.

Content Marketing Trends & the PR Connection

The most popular social channels for content marketing. Source: Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute.

Content Marketing World is underway, and PR Newswire has a large contingent on the ground.  Why?  Content marketing is a logical fit for our core customers.  Take a look at the most effective content marketing tactics, unveiled today by Joe Pulizzi (@juntajoe) of the Content Marketing Institute:

1)      In-person events

2)      Case studies

3)      Videos

4)      Webinars/webcasts

5)      Email newsletters

6)      Blogs

7)      Articles on own web sites

8)      Research reports

9)      eBooks

10)   White papers

11)   Social media (not including blogs)

This list should look pretty familiar to most PR people.  We’ve all promoted our organization’s content at one time or another.   But have we thought about this content holistically, not as a piecemeal campaign, but as part of the universe of content deployed by your brand to attract and engage new audiences?

No?

You’re not alone.  Fact is, there is still a lot of powerful opportunity for marketers to learn from PR pros about audience targeting and engagement, and there’s plenty for PR pros to borrow from the marketing teams in terms of spicing up content.

Without a doubt , content marketing is gaining power and attention.  According to Joe, 54% of marketers are increasing their content marketing spend – to 31% of marketing budget this year, up from 26% in 2011.

So why is PR Newswire interested in content marketing?  Because distribution is a key component of content marketing.  Building distribution – reach to media, syndication to web sites and seeding of social media – into a content marketing plan will fuel your program, attract new, qualified audiences and improve your overall results.

Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.