Put Content Marketing at the Heart of Your Brand Strategy

With the enormous amount of time spent online on searching for information and connecting to social networks, content marketing is something marketers around the world have become increasingly interested in. In fact, 90% of marketers think content marketing will become more important over the next year, according to a report from Econsultancy & Outbrain, yet only 38 % have a content marketing strategy in place.

 

 

 


Content is the voice of your brand                     

As the algorithms of Google’s PageRank and Facebook’s Edgerank are trying to provide users with the highest quality results, brands are paying increasingly more attention to how content can help achieve marketing goals. This has put an emphasis on the importance of quality content within digital marketing. Chief Operating Officer at Outbrain, David Sasson, explains:

“As we head into 2013, the ability for brands to connect directly with consumers has never been easier. By using digital content to better connect with your audience, you’re creating affinity and brand awareness in a meaningful and valuable way.”

Content is what expresses the voice of your brand and it’s therefore important to invest in making great content in order to make your brand succeed in today’s competitive digital landscape.

 

Creation and curation form the core of content development

360i just released a very useful report drawing out the key elements of content marketing. One of the most important things to draw from the report, in my opinion, is that a good content marketing strategy takes into account both low and high-investment content. This means that your content can extend from clever status updates, simple photos and GIFs to web series and other forms of premium branded content. What’s important is not just the dimensions of your content; it’s rather more about creating meaningful content that adds value to your target group. Here are the key takeaways from the report:

  • Digital branded content is a new animal. Branded content is no longer just about Print, TV, Radio and Out of Home. Today’s digital branded content drives conversations, promotes sharing and connects with consumers in a new way.
  • Content development combines creation and curation. As a result of the ever-changing digital landscape, consumers are taking a more active role in creating, curating and sharing content. Paying attention to what your fans share and curate will help your brand produce content itself – just think of Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign. Try to leverage consumers to create or co-create content on your behalf by creating sharable content that gives people the opportunity to co-create and distribute your content as  part of their online identity. It’s especially valuable for your brand to reach ‘influencers’, the celebrities of the social network. Your brand can also curate content to ‘borrow’ cultural content to show your expertise through others. Understanding your audience is critical to successful content curation, and you must therefore make sure you have set up listening tools.
  • The buck doesn’t stop with creation. Determine where to place the content and how to ensure that the right people see it. Look into paid, owned and earned media to distribute your content and achieve share of voice. Optimise your content and implement changes based on insights on how the content is performing or replicate content that performs well. This is a difficult challenge that requires collaboration between strategists, content creators and community managers. It requires monitoring of conversations about your brand and measuring relevant metrics.

 

Putting a lot of effort into creating quality content is imperative for brands to connect in a meaningful way with their audiences. Have you determined a content marketing strategy?

 

 

 

Clickbait: Information overload! How can brands cut-through all the noise?

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 10.11.34You won’t believe the hidden message in this blog post! Or rather – there isn’t one, I just wanted you to click through and read this. But bear with me – I’m about to suggest something incredibly controversial – a never-heard-before admission by a social agency!*

As much as clickbait is the emotional catnip of our online experience and can drive consistent traffic for publishers like The Daily Mail and Huff Post who churn out multiple stories each day, it’s still hugely annoying to discover you’ve been duped by an over-excited headline promising to give you all the feels. For brands, adopting the same practice can negatively affect perception and ultimately – sales. So how can brands cut through all the sensational copy and deliver successful results without falling prey to creating clickbait themselves? How do they beat them rather than join them?

 

Platform crackdown

In the early days of social, Facebook optimised content based on engagement, meaning that if users clicked on a piece of content, it received a higher ranking in newsfeeds. In 2014 Facebook took steps to try and crack down on those gaming this ranking using clickbait, and in February this year it introduced an update based not just on what users engaged with in their feed, but what they wanted to see. Facebook’s advice is that Pages should avoid encouraging people to take action (such as encouraging lots of clicks), because this will likely only cause temporary spikes in metrics that might then be rebalanced by feed’s ranking over time – meaning the latest ranking favours content that users naturally engage with rather than content that users click on through coercion.

 

Last month Instagram followed suit and announced it would alter user’s feeds to optimise the content users “care about the most”, and Twitter has also adopted a similar change (although users can opt-out and revert back to the chronological feed). The changes will hopefully make it harder for clickbaiters to game feeds with meaningless content, but the real aim for the platforms hosting is to surface more engaging content more frequently so users return often and stay longer.

 

The same goes for brands on social. If the content they produce is consistently engaging, then users will interact more frequently, leading others to discover it through preferred ranking. Ultimately, these new newsfeed algorithms exist to generate more meaningful engagement, driving not just clicks, but conversations via comments, and shares.

 

Learn and adapt

Meaningful engagement begins with relevant content that creates value for the user and the brand. While an insight-driven content strategy is key to delivering this, brands should also adapt stories and messages based on the emotional needs and behavior of their audience. This is more than just a case of ‘test and learn’ or refining what has already been done. Brands must also evolve their approach in line with new behaviors, platforms, competitors and rankings or risk being left behind by those who do.

 

A good example of a brand that does this well is Buzzfeed, who’s CEO recently shared their new strategic thinking, revealing how their objective has changed from getting users to click through to their main site to view stories, to allowing content to be consumed directly on other platforms. The new direction was prompted by analysing which content generated clicks and discovering that users prefer to consume some types of content within the platform they are already on. The company also found a discernable difference between user interactions with the same content on different platforms, demonstrating how content demand and consumption vary across sites. What spreads like wildfire on Facebook might fail miserably elsewhere.

 

Relevance is key

For brands looking to use social content to drive click-through to their site, it’s important to balance the goal of the company (clicks to eyeballs, or conversions to sales, for example) with the desire and behavior of users on different sites, and monitor response over time. Relevance is key to interaction, and brands that think like publishers will know that relevance is an ever-changing chameleon. While users are bombarded with meaningless clickbait, there is ample opportunity for brands to channel the social zeitgeist by delivering valuable content that meets audience needs in the format, time and platform that suits them. If they get this right, they won’t need clickbait.

 

At Mindjumpers we help companies and brands to think as publishers and provide end-to-end social media management across multiple markets, encompassing full social strategy, planned and reactive content creation, analysis and reporting.

 

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch.

 

*Don’t be naughty and scroll to the last paragraph – I’ve hidden the controversial part somewhere to optimize your dwell time in finding it!