Creating captivating content in a mobile world

In Asia Pacific alone, it’s estimated there are more than 1 billion mobile users – and this is expected to grow to 1.4 billion users by 2019. Over the last five years we have witnessed a massive shift to digital (after all, an estimated 87% of smartphone users regularly have their device near them), which means we have to adapt our marketing communications to fit mobile.

This doesn’t just mean having an app or mobile-friendly website (yes, those are important from a UX perspective), but also maximising the use of content in the mobile space. I’m talking about creating content fit for a small screen that makes a big impact. 

Here are three ways to help get your brand noticed:

  1. Get visual

If you’re anything like me, you get bored and lose interest when reading large paragraphs of boring text that never seem to end. Am I right? Instead, visually stimulating content – images, graphics, video – gets the message across quickly. Time is money and people like to absorb information in quick spurts, so don’t let your content get lost in the digital jungle.

Try mixing up your Facebook News Feed with some cool images or videos to capture interest. People like variety, so shake your content up!

  1. Use emotive messaging

Most purchases are driven by pure emotions. What make you choose one brand over the other? Why did you buy that particular car, or pair of shoes? There is a massive divide between our needs and wants, and most of us opt for the want. Why? Because we experience certain emotions when we own a particular product or experience something new.

To tap into this emotion, you need to create content that pulls on people’s heartstrings. Create a heart-warming video or series of graphics – anything that can ignite a sense of desire for a particular product or service.

  1. Create an immersive experience

No one likes feeling left out. We want to be in the know, and brands today are winning when they allow their audience to feel like they are a part of something.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook enable brands to easily distribute content in a creative and engaging fashion. Take your fans on a journey – whether you are using Facebook’s 360 video feature to showcase your event, or are sharing behind the-scenes snaps of your latest clothing line on Snapchat. Think creatively and develop immersive experiences for your fans.

There are so many ways brands can present content. With our eyes fixated on the small screen, we all need to think about how we can tailor our marketing to meet the demands of our mobile audience.

Need help developing your content marketing strategy? Get in touch with us today at [email protected]

 

Your brand sucks: Part 2

If you’ve just joined us, this feature is part of a regular series giving you a brutally frank yet realistic look at the startup world. In ‘Your brand sucks: Part 1” I talked about realising that effective brand communication is key to success. This second part will continue with some more honest truths.

  • You are not Steve Jobs

You just aren’t.

Don’t make subtle comments in meetings about what Steve Jobs’ approach to marketing was. Don’t make sly comments about Steve Jobs’ attention detail when you are ripping apart plans or copy. You just aren’t him!

But don’t worry. You are you, and that’s awesome. You can have your own vision for your brand. Use that to justify your decision making processes instead of having input simply for the sake of having input.

You are building your own empire, and that means there are a whole new set of rules that you decide, and which marketing students in 30 years’ time can marvel at. If you don’t know what the vision is, then that’s also ok. Plenty of amazing leaders have built billion dollar companies by knowing their strengths and collecting the right people around them, who can help them to articulate, communicate or even develop a vision and brand.

  • Don’t go cheap

This makes me want to cry. I see it most often from the types who transition from a bigger corporation into startups. They are used to these things simply happening in the background without understanding it. They usually react to the discovery of cheap offshore outsourcing like they’ve discovered a life hack no one else has ever stumbled across before.

They’ll proudly pull out their branding decks at a first meeting and exclaim how they got it done in Thailand for a few hundred dollars (often followed by a series cocky statements reminding us that our prices need to be dirt cheap, or they’ll simply get that done offshore as well.)  

Firstly, I take this as an insult to me, my colleagues and the craft we’ve spent our working careers learning and developing in. It’s not a great start to any partnership to insult the other person. If you talk to me like this at the beginning, I will simply tell you to go elsewhere. Why would I pour my energy into your brand if I think you’re an arse?

Secondly, the “great deal” you were offered probably sucks. Nine times out of 10 you’ve gotten something I would slap a high school student for submitting. This is particularly true if you’ve just asked them to come up with something without a brief or concept.  

If you fail to see the problem and refuse any input, I’d write you off as a lost cause. No one’s got time for that, and I’d prefer not to associate my agency’s brand associated with you. As a startup you are already up against the odds. Throwing in an amateur, cheap-looking brand and poor strategy just makes your own life so much harder.

Like any rules there are exceptions, and people love to cry out in outrage pointing out the inaccuracies of it all because they can point at a handful of companies it doesn’t apply to.

And to be honest I don’t care. Ignore it and make your business journey 10X harder than it needs to be.

It’s not about spending money, it’s about using your brain.

Need help? Drop me an email at [email protected].

Capturing the younglings (with the help of social media)

Most Millennials and Gen Z (iMillennials, as they are infamously called) have grown up in an environment where everyone is connected 24/7. They can barely survive half a day without the Internet or their smartphones (trust me, it’s true) and they leave footprints all over various social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest… With that, advertising is shifting from traditional channels like television and radio to social.

Seeing how readily exposed these this generation is to advertorial posts, brands need to seize this opportunity to capture them as early as possible (or at least before your competitors beat you to it).

But how do you do that? Where exactly are they?

Get onto the platforms 

Your lack of presence on social media platforms is a huge strategic miss if you are looking to reach out to the younger and digital generation. Social media is your opportunity to speak with people, not speak to them. You should be building a social media presence regardless of the size of your business.

Remember not to splash the same content on all your platforms in one go. From a youngling’s perspective: “why would I follow you on all your platforms if you’re going to be posting the same ol’ boring content on every channel?” Instead, mix it up selectively.

Go on-the-go

If you don’t already have a mobile platform, go and create one! Younglings today have their hands on their smartphones at every moment of the day: at home, when they’re having their meals, in school, on public transport and perhaps even in the toilet. 86 percent of those of aged 18 to 29 own a smartphone, and this figure is very likely to increase.

A mobile application is another way for brands to engage with their younger audience. Start early – build your brand name, engage your target audience and capture their loyalty.

Let them share it

A great way to get your content out there is to let your audience do it for you. You want people to look at your content, like it and share it with their friends. With that, your reach will be stretched further than your intended audience.

Sharing is the easiest way to get opinions across, especially amongst the millennials and iMlilennials. What is shareable content? It should be easily understood without too much fluff; it should be able to capture attention (especially suited to the short attention spans of younglings today); it should be fun and feature images, gifs or videos.

Take video seriously

On a similar note, high quality and engaging content has recently come in the form of videos. Snapchat is the second-most used social network, and Facebook recently introduced stunning 360-degree videos that allow brands to capture their audience. Bite-sized videos are comprehendible, engaging and easily shared, so why not?

Remember to caption your videos with appropriate keywords and be creative in linking your video posts to your website’s page. You want to attract your audience to watch your videos, not scroll past them.

Influence with influencers

Influencers rake massive followings on several platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Their followers are most probably your target audience: the younglings. This audience would rather hear from the very people they look up to than from your brand directly (I know, ouch). Word-of-mouth has never been more powerful.

You should be leveraging on the personalities that your young audience follows to amplify your brand’s message. In other words, you should be ready to loosen your grip and let influencers narrate your brand story. Let it go!

Need help with social media? Drop a message to [email protected] 

mutant-social-media-cta

Your brand sucks: Part 1

This feature is part of a regular series”Getting frank with Joe” giving you a brutally frank, yet realistic look at the business world.

Look, I get it. You’ve worked your arse off building your business – you deliver a product or service you are proud of. The market is simply waiting for something like this and a massive increase in sales is just around the corner simply because you have nailed it. Right? Wrong.

When you fail to communicate your brand, you will not achieve the success you aspire to and – most likely – will crash and burn. I’m not about to give you a step-by-step guide on how to do that but I will give you a few pointers to keep in mind.

  • Your business is not unique

I’m a simple guy; I love the idea that a person can deliver an exceptional product and it will become a success. But unfortunately those times are no longer here, if they ever existed.

Sure, there is the odd exception, but when you do come across those rare cases, there is a specific purpose and strategy behind it. Think of those cool bars with a secret entrance and no obvious branding. They didn’t get popular simply because they make a good cocktail, there is a specific strategy behind their success. This can be a mix of PR, word of mouth and social media. I’ve seen amazing businesses go under because they wanted to be underground or aloof, without understanding how to effectively communicate.

It’s not just lifestyle either. Whether you are in construction, B2B technology or whatever, if your target market doesn’t know you exist, can’t relate to you, or they don’t easily understand your key values, then you are not building the long-term relationships that is  needed to scale your business.  

  • Take a look in the mirror

All founders need to take a good, hard look at themselves before getting too involved with branding at a creative level for both planning and execution. Supply the vision and ethos that will guide the strategy, but if you lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to get involved, then please don’t.

I’ve seen all sorts of approaches towards brand strategy and communications, where the CEO doesn’t have any experience or know what they are doing. If they recognise they lack in the area, they are often fine. The others, less so.

mutant-startup-brand

In one meeting, I met the CEO of a tech company that had successfully raised millions in funding. It was an amazing platform and should have done really well in the market since they launched 18 months earlier. Yet here they were looking for desperate last ditch measures to get sales, so they could raise more funding just to survive.

I asked the CEO about his marketing and branding strategy. There was none. He even told me he hates doing “that sort of stuff”, yet he was the one in charge of executing it. Unsurprisingly, the marketing efforts fails, and then the CEO decides it doesn’t work.

With millions of dollars and over a year of operations, this company had built itself a large global team, yet not one person outside of the CEO had a role that involved giving thought on how to actually get the product in front of paying users, or how to build the brand or to scale it (beyond tech requirements).

So there you have it! Stay tuned for the second instalment to my branding series where i’ll guide you on how turn failure into success.

In the meantime, drop me a note at [email protected] if you could use a hand promoting your new idea.

Missed the first Getting frank with Joe instalment? Check it out here.

 

How to write a razor sharp content brief

You have a great idea but can’t put it into words. So, you hire a content marketing professional to package all those thoughts and visions into something easily digestible to potential clients.

The thing about content marketers, is that we are wizards of words and want to read your mind too, but we can’t. At times, hours can be spent going back and forth on a piece of content because a brief wasn’t clear enough. This can cost a client and agency money, and an extra $2 for the panadol required for the headache.

To save time, here are some questions we need the answers to, in order to write the content you want.

Why do you need this? There is nothing worse than someone reading your material and going — What is the point of this? A good digital content marketer front loads your key messages because they know how impatient people are while reading online. Without your goals for the content campaign, we will be writing aimlessly.

A client should make clear what the piece of this content is beyond pure lead generation (education? entertainment?), and the piece should be part of that client’s overall content strategy.

What’s the tone? If you have the time, speak to your writer on the phone so they can have a feel for your attitude towards the topic and ghostwrite the article to sound like you.

If not, share with them an article online where you liked the tone, and show them examples of what they define as “professional, friendly, authoritative” because those descriptions can mean different things to different people.

What’s the length? If you don’t tell us, we’re going to make it a standard 600 word post. This is about the longest a post can go before people stop losing interest – this is the average, not a rule. If for some reason you would like the next great American novel published, let us know a word count.  Tip: An A4 piece of paper is about 400 words.

What’s the context? Let the content writer know the other blogs you’ve done or the ones you want moving forward, that way, the article can fit seamlessly with the others. Without context, especially with a freelancer, it will look obvious your article is outsourced.

Before getting your words of wisdom out on paper, make sure you have all the information required to have an effective piece of company branding.

Give an example. To make your brief sharper than the fangs of a saber-tooth tiger, link to a similar blog, thought leadership article, website content that you thought was really well done so we have more of an idea of what you’re looking for.

Need help with your content? Contact us at [email protected].