How to Millennial-Proof your Content Marketing

Millennials are often described as confident, liberal, lazy and even indecisive. But, now more than ever, this generation of 18-34-year-olds is recognised for their spending power, which is predicted to reach about $1.4 trillion annually in 2020. No surprise then that every brand wants to catch this generation. But getting and holding their attention is no small feat – especially when it comes to online behaviour. Millennials react differently to trigger points because of the overwhelming presence of technology in their lives (think Snapchat and Instagram). It also makes them the most informed generation!

Effective content marketing starts with a great storyline, so in order to connect with this generation, you need to find a story to tell. So how does one intrigue this bunch and hold their attention?

Here are five tactics that can help with your Millennial content marketing:

Don’t curate, create original content

Creating original content gives your brand unique value online. Initiate the conversation! Original content, in the form of an e-book, infographics or blogs, also works exceedingly well as a lead gen tool, especially to drive traffic to your landing page. Better still – Google loves original content especially if it’s useful and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) friendly!

Optimise content for social

Social is the new SEO, driving the most significant traffic back to brands. Invest a chunk of your marketing budget in optimising content for social platforms. Short captioned videos need to grab their attention in the first ten seconds. Make sure you keep it crisp, as Millennials don’t wait around to watch long and boring videos!

Lean on data

Using data to analyse the performance of your content can give you an insight into what kind of content potentially turns readers into customers. Use tools like Google Adwords keyword planner to help find relevant keyword phrases that people search for. It will help you to come up with exciting and relevant blog ideas. Similarly, use Google Analytics to track and measure whether your content resonated with your audience and how it performed.

Stick to authenticity

Millennials can spot an ad from a million miles away. So keep your communications, advertisements, and content as authentic as possible. Share real, actionable tips, be transparent in sharing and keep adjectives to a minimum. Most importantly, know your authentic voice and use it effectively to connect. Don’t just market to them.

Make it Insta-worthy

Each piece of content should be designed with Millennials in mind. Feature items that are instantly shareable – both in real life and online. Do also partner with key social media influencers (who breed authenticity) to help spread your story. Brands should prioritise influencer campaigns when marketing to Millennials. They relate to the authenticity of influencer content and prefer the no frills, real, up close and personal nature of the medium the influencers use. When creating content for Millennials, keep in mind what they value as well as where and how they consume content.

Like what you’ve read? Drop a note at [email protected] for a customised content marketing plan for your brand!

 

How to combat fake news

There’s no news like fake news! While fake news has been around for a long time, the 2016 US presidential election showed the lightning speed at which it goes viral on social media. And brands aren’t spared either – the rise of malicious content and alternative news sites means that brands have to protect themselves, now more than ever. That’s exactly what a Washington DC pizzeria discovered when it fell victim to fake news reports that led a man to open fire in the restaurant following claims of it being a child-abuse ring.

For brands, combatting the menace of fake news means getting back to the basics of PR and developing a crisis communications plan. Here are some tips for brands to counter fake news effectively:

Stop feeding the trolls

If you’ve fallen prey to fake news, assuring people by making official press statements would only grant a short-term relief. Take this opportunity to turn a crisis around. Instead of replying to negative messages with negative response, focus on spreading positive news. Be diligent in your response, leaving no room for interpretation. Explain why the news is incorrect, state your brand’s position in that context, and distribute your content accordingly.

Don’t over react

Recognise the difference between fake news and sarcasm as some media outlets may take a contrarian view. Identifying this can be crucial and should be tacked with good humour as opposed to being defensive!

Make employees your brand advocates

In times of a communication breakdown, it is key to ensure every employee is equipped with the right message. To do this, everyone in the company should know what happened and where the truth lies. An employee may take to social media to express their own opinion about the firm, and if this opinion is ever based on fake news – a small spark is enough to start a fire.

Active monitoring and response

Implement robust monitoring for all social channels, sub-brands and key spokespeople. Get rid of auto-responses, instead respond proactively and in real-time. Moreover, investments in paid search and promotion on social media sites can go a long way to countering fake news. Have adequate skills and budget in place for paid planning and targeting.

Publish more often

Written content has the ability to combat a fake news story, alter a negative situation, and reinvent your brand in a positive light. Do not republish attacks. Instead, share positive content that counters fake news via owned, shared media channels and influencers including traditional media in the form of blogs and thought leadership.

Facing troubles tackling fake news? We can help! Reach us at [email protected]

4 Step guide to defining your brand voice

When it comes to your business, your brand voice is everything (well, almost!). Your voice communicates your brand, core values and the type of relationship you want to have with your consumer. It sets expectations and helps build trust. In fact, your brand voice is so impactful – it can make or break your business. That’s why it’s important to get it right early on.

And yes, we know it’s no easy task creating a voice for your brand. It takes time to get it right so you should never rush it. Take your time and follow these four steps:

Step 1: Who are you?

It’s as simple as that. What is your business all about? At this stage, it is about defining your company values – what you stand for, what makes you unique, and why you exist? And even if you aren’t offering the sexiest product in town, it doesn’t mean you need to come across in a boring manner. Have fun with your brand and really stand out from the crowd! Suggested read: FunTech: Make that content cray

Step 2: Who are you talking to?

First, define your audience. Who is your key customer? Are they likely to respond to a very casual tone with lots of humour? Or perhaps your customers prefer a more corporate approach. Either way, you know your customers, so work out the best way to speak to them.

Get your team together and brainstorm answers to the following:

  • I want my brand to make people feel _______.
  • Three words that describe my brand are _______ , _______ , and _______.
  • I love the brand voice of _______.
  • I dislike the brand voice of _______.

Doing this will really help you define and drive your communications.

Step 3: Strip it back

Ok, so you’ve now identified what your brand represents and who you’re talking to. The next step is to create a list of brand buzzwords and as well, a banned list of words or phrases. Focus on specific things that encompass what your brand represents and decide how you’d like them to be communicated. Here’s your chance to think outside the box and really get creative.

 Step 4: Stimulate visually

Words are one thing, but a picture tells a thousand words. The imagery you use across your marketing should show a brand story and convey a strong message. Try creating a series of graphics that are unique to your brand and match this with quirky copy.

Here’s our favourite example of a brand that’s really created an amazing voice – Vinomofo. Their audience is made up of wine lovers but what makes this brand unique, is how they convey their message to their audience. From the way website looks, to the fun tone used in their copy, all the way through to culture which is clearly represented through the imagery – it all really helps differentiate the Vinomofo brand from any other wine company or distributor around.

Check out the tone of their website bio:

Do yourself a favour and scroll all the way down to the bottom of their home page – make sure you read all the text. It’s so funny and entertaining! It’s rare to find a brand that communicates this way. Reading their content makes you feel like you’re having a direct conversation with Vinomofo –  and they really do have fun communicating their message.

If you need help standing out from the crowd, drop us a note at [email protected] – we can help you take your brand tone from boring to brilliant!

How to come back from a content mistake

One Academy Award, 14 Oscar nominations, and once considered the most powerful man in Hollywood – Warren Beatty is now going to be remembered as the guy who read out the wrong name.

Things went downhill soon after the cast of LaLa Land went on stage to receive the coveted Best Picture award. Even as one of the producers was speaking, viewers at home saw someone run across the stage holding an envelope. It was quickly announced that it’d been a mistake, and that Moonlight was the actual winner of the prestigious award. The live audience collectively held its breath the entire time. But no matter how many times you watch the blunder, it doesn’t get any easier watching poor Beatty trying to explain it away.

But, mistakes happen. And marketers operating in real-time know this better than anyone else. We’re breaking down the mistakes and lessons to be learnt from this train-wreck.

Mistake #1: Driving yourself crazy with self-editing

Of course, checking what you have written is a good habit to get into, but do you really need to spend hours self-editing content that already took you hours to write? When it comes to content marketing, practice makes perfect. Yes, editing is crucial, but it should only take you a few minutes. Constantly reviewing something is a recipe for disaster, at least in the same day. When the writing is still fresh, your mind will automatically make up the gaps in your copy and your editing will be subpar. Instead, put it away and come back to it another day — or at least several hours later.

Mistake #2: It isn’t relevant

You take the time to write a content piece, possibly spend longer than you should editing and build a landing page, then there’s one thing that kills it- it’s irrelevant. And we all know that irrelevant content doesn’t drive engagement. The answer to this is simple – sit down and do your homework. Make your content is easy to read and digest. The goal is to leave your readers hungry for more.

Mistake #3: You’re too jumbled up in SEO

If you are clogging your content with back links and unnecessary keywords, your just making life harder for yourself, and your readers. Remember to write for people first, and search engines second. This way, it makes your content more readable and sharable.

Mistake #4: Your focus is quantity over quality

The biggest secret to content marketing is just that, the content. Producing blogs posts to fill that promised KPI isn’t going to bring much value. One of the biggest mistakes made is wasting precious time and resources creating content that is not attracting your target audience. Delve into the mind of your audience. Who are they? What do they need help with? And craft content to solve their problems. This is a lot more valuable than the rat race of getting a blog out before your neighbour just for the sake of it. Put more focus on creating and promoting quality content that’s fit for purpose.

Mistake #5: You’re selling too hard

Golden rule#1: content marketing is not created for hard selling. You create to educate, inspire, engage and build your brand. Not to receive immediate acquisition. Of course, gaining business is an important goal, but it shouldn’t be obvious to customers. These days everyone does their homework online before purchasing. That’s why it’s important to provide relevant information, answer consumer questions, solve problems and offer alternative perspectives. Because if you don’t, someone else will.

Mistakes happen to the best of us – it what makes us human. Here’s hoping that LaLa Land Producer, Jordan Horowitz, and Moonlight’s Director Barry Jenkins can see it in the same light.

If you need help crafting a killer content marketing strategy, drop us a note at [email protected]

6 tips to help you pick the right content marketing agency

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times: content is king. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would also understand the important role content marketing plays in driving leads and delivering results.

Traditional marketing is falling out of favour with many consumers, and content marketing fills the gaps with regular creations and distribution of quality information relevant to your target audience – drawing them in and ultimately turning prospects into customers.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

But the only problem is that content marketing requires a full strategy, time and dedicated resources. This means that at least one or two team members should be dedicated to executing your content strategy, which can be tough, particularly if you don’t have the knowledge or manpower. If you don’t have the time, your next bet is to hire an agency to assist you. Agencies are generally made up of skilled professionals, meaning you can utilise many different talents and levels of expertise to help you drive your marketing strategy forward.

But with so many agencies out there, how do you pick the right one?

Here are some tips to consider when choosing a content marketing agency:

1. Define your purpose

This may seem like a no-brainer question, but so many brands out there get caught up in creating content just for the sake of it. When planning your strategy, really think about your key goals, and what you want to achieve. Do you want traffic? Increased conversions and leads? Or perhaps building brand reputation and awareness?

Your goals will determine your agency evaluation criteria. For example, if you’d like to to develop a strong content strategy, you might focus more on the team’s knowledge of your industry and knack for strategic and analytical thinking. But if you just want to outsource the content creating process, you would more likely look at hard skills such as subject matter expertise and video or photo editing skills. Most brands might not require the full breadth of an agency’s content marketing skills, so tailor your search accordingly.

2. Measure success

Ultimately, what you want out of your chosen agency is measurable results – to determine your ROI. So find out how they measure success and what content management tools and data sets they use. Getting to know and understand their processes should give you more confidence to select the right agency for you. 

3. Do the groundwork

Being a content marketing agency without a blog and social media accounts is akin to a pilot without a license: unqualified for the job. Don’t take what they say at face value, do the necessary legwork to validate their claims. Check out the quality of articles on their blog, who writes it, and how they’ve been growing over time. Their abilities should shine through at this point, and if you remain unimpressed, move on to the next agency.

4. Get to know the team

Ensure the people working on your account are knowledgeable and skilled. It’s not uncommon for top-level executives to pitch for your account, and then pass it over to other members in the agency – but it’s also your job to get to know who will eventually be on your team. Clarify these details, find out their track record, and if possible, meet and get to know them. They are the ones who will pluck out everything amazing in your company, and turn it into fantastic content that’s worth sharing.

5. Test the relationships

A good relationship is crucial, so make sure to pick a team that you’re completely comfortable and confident in. Besides having faith in the agency’s abilities, you should also feel assured that they will not hesitate to tell you if your ideas might not work, and recommend other strategies that are in line with your goals. Having a good working relationship also helps when you have to coordinate between your in-house team and the agency. The agency should be working as an extension of your company, and should help make this process seamless.

6. Don’t forget culture and values

While it’s important to assess an agency’s skill set and competency, cultural fit is also an important factor to take into account. Besides allowing for a smoother partnership, a good culture also determines the type of team you get. People are an agency’s number one asset, which means success comes from the right people with the right skills, doing the best for their client. It’s essential for the agency to have clear values in place, because those values shape the culture that attracts and retains top talent. Without an amazing culture, an agency will be subject to high turnover, which may affect your account.

And there you have it, 6 things to help you choose a content marketing agency. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should help you get started and point you in the right direction.  

Drop us a note if you’re in the market for a creative content marketing agency. Reach us at [email protected].

 

Fall in love with data to shape your content marketing strategy

The first thing that often comes to mind when someone mentions content, is creativity. That’s almost true – great content is indeed dependent on creativity, but it’s also reliant on data. Data helps guide content towards the next best direction. After all, brands aren’t just shelling out money for nothing – they want to see value and ROI.

Data should never be an afterthought. It should be looked upon as an integral part that can help a business angle its content to accurately reach their audience and drive results. 

So if you’re having trouble filling up your content calendar, look to your data set first. It’ll give you access to the latest trends and insights  – and as well a whole new mindset on how to approach your content marketing strategy.

Here’s where to start:

Step 1: Do your research

Kick off with extensive research on the external data that’s available to you out there. Start with these:

1. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is great if you’re looking to see which specific keywords/topics are trending. You’ll also be able to see the number of social shares and engagements a particular topic has received. You’ll be in luck if the topic you’re writing about is already trending.

2. Google Trends

Always wondered what people are searching for on Google? Here you’ll find market-specific trending searches and search interest in various topics/keywords.

3. Twitter

Twitter makes it really easy for you to look at what is currently trending – just look to the left on your homepage and you’ll see the number of tweets each trending hash-tag has received. You’ll also be able to view market specific stats relevant to your preferred location.


4. Instagram

Instagram doesn’t quite have the same function as Twitter, but if you tap on the ‘Explore’ tab in your account, you can see what’s popular. Keep in mind that this is tailored according to your behaviour on Instagram, so the results won’t be an accurate reflection of what is truly trending.

Another feature of Instagram is hash-tags. Hash-tags with the most number of posts attributed to them signify popularity. Movements or trends that start on Instagram will usually use a unique hash-tag to group all related posts together as well. For example, take a look at Jamie Oliver’s #MeatlessMondays. Since this began, hordes of other food bloggers and enthusiasts have jumped on the bandwagon to produce related content.

If you’re unsure what hash-tags to use? Check out this link. However, it’s always important to keep your hashtags relevant to your content. For example, don’t hash-tag #dog if your photo is about baking.

5. Facebook

If you’re on Facebook’s mobile application, you’ll be able to see what’s currently trending through a quick tap on the search bar. This mostly changes everyday so if you see recurring topics that have remained on this page, you’ll definitely want to try and angle your content around that.

 

Step 2: Look deeper into your existing content


Recommended reading
: When was your last content audit?

Now that you know what topics people are talking about, you should now take a look at the other side of the coin. An internal content audit will give a deeper insight into how well your current content is performing. This is where you’ll find out what your audience likes, and what they aren’t really receptive to.

For starters you can take a look at your website analytics and social traffic.
Website analytics

Google analytics is a nifty tool for any content marketer out there. Simply set up your  account and copy the unique code on your site (if you aren’t sure how to do this ask your web developer). This tool will offer insights on your web traffic and referrals – you’ll also be able to identify your most popular content pieces in terms of views, time spent and bounce rate.

Social traffic (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter)

1. Twitter Analytics – this can be found on the top right portion of your account.

Here you’ll find tons of useful data, including Tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and follower growth. You’ll also be able to export these analytics into a useful Excel sheet so you can match these numbers together with other data that you’re analysing.

2. Instagram

If you’ve linked up your Facebook page with your Instagram account to get a business profile, you’ll get access to useful data including number of impressions, reach and engagement for each Instagram post. Simply go to each photo and tap on ‘View Insights’.

3. Facebook

Facebook has a really intuitive way of presenting data. Simply go to your Facebook business page and click on ‘Insights’. This tab will tell you everything you need to know from the thousands of people you’ve reached to the number of people that have liked/un-liked your page in the past month.

For starters, click on ‘Export Data’ and exporting ‘Post Data’. This will show you key information on individual post, such as reach and engagement. But of course, feel free to play around with your Page insights – there is a lot there to explore.

 

Step 3: Set your KPIs

Now that you’ve extracted your internal and external data, the next step is to set your KPIs. With all of your previous research in mind, you should now have a clearer idea of what a good result looks like, and what doesn’t. This would then set you up to decide on achievable and realistic KPIs. Here’s some ideas for realistic goals you can set:

Web traffic

In Google Analytics, you’ll want to set your goals based on your past sessions, new users and page views. If you’re slightly more advanced, you can break the data down to the different channels where your traffic comes from. For example, finding out where the majority of your web traffic comes from, i.e.Google, Facebook, Twitter, Newsletter etc.

Engagement

One of the biggest issues that content marketers face is driving engagement from their audience. Because you’ve already done your content audit, you’ll now know what numbers signify a good engagement rate.

On social, you could set goals based on reach, impressions, engagement, link clicks, comments and shares. On your website, you may want to work on improving lead generation from newsletter sign-ups or free source downloads through your content.

Getting started on a content marketing strategy can seem daunting because there are so many factors to consider. But take it one step at a time and it’ll no doubt pay off.

And finally, in the wise words of David Welch, Former Adobe VP of Marketing Insights & Operations, ‘Creative thrills, but data pays bills’.

 

If you need help in shaping and executing your content marketing strategy, drop us a note at [email protected].

 

5 tips to get media coverage for your brand

“Hello. I just sent you a press release about my client—a semiconductor company launching a new design for its latest power adaptors. Could you publish it on your website?”…Except I write for a marketing and advertising magazine.

I can’t recall the number of times I’ve had to politely and curtly tell eager PR executives that I wasn’t interested in what they were pitching. But I can tell you how many times I have received a good, well-rounded and articulate pitch– 15 maybe 20 times in nine years. That’s shockingly disproportionate for two professions that have so much in common.

When engaging with the media,please consider these tips from an ex journalist who has recently made the jump to PR.

  1. Know the publication and journalist’s beat

    Please spend time researching the publication and journalist. I’ve been called “Mr. Iyer” more times than I’m willing to admit. It is off-putting and offensive to call someone, not know their correct name, and not have a clue about what they cover. Referencing some of the journalist’s previous work and demonstrating how your client’s content fits in is a huge plus.

  1. Presentation

    In today’s fast-paced, competitive content hungry environment, journalists are far more willing to write something when you give them a good, relevant story. Think of a fresh angle and build it into a wider narrative. Please do not cc the entire world in your emails—certainly not reporters and editors at rival publications.

  1. Expectations matter

    Just because all publications have digital versions doesn’t mean they are going to change words and sentences to suit clients whims and fancies. There are house-styles to adhere to and it’s a reporter’s job to bring in different perspectives. So unless something is factually incorrect, please try to manage expectations as best as you can.

  1. The race for exclusives

    Journalists will lap up anything with the word exclusive. If you can’t offer an exclusive on some big news, arranging an interview with a top executive from the firm in question could be useful. Pitching a sensible follow-up could also earn you brownie points.

  1. The follow up

    This is a big pain point. A journalist will typically show interest in a story idea immediately. If he/she is somewhat interested I would recommend following up once presenting new information or context. Find out what additional information or angle would work better. But please do not spam or call someone everyday. Move on to the next publication.

Whether you work in PR or are simply looking to get your brand noticed by the media, it’s critical to do your research and creatively frame every single pitch.

If you need help developing a compelling story and delivering the right messages to the media, get in touch with us at [email protected].

 

5 steps to help you plan the best content mix

Content Marketing is still marketing. We’ve covered the ‘content’ portion, and now we’re going to apply this to the ‘marketing’ side for the perfect content mix. The basic formula is the same, there’s a funnel, so have something for every stage of the funnel.

Awareness

The most important thing to keep in mind here is who you want to generate awareness from. It is easy to boost a post to an entire market for a week, and bask in the vanity metrics. However, raw impressions or even ‘Likes’ do not mean much. Learn who your audience is, and find out how and where to engage them in a targeted way. It could be an event, in which case roll out live content supported by social. It could be a publication, so try a solid PR pitch or even sponsored content. 

The thing about awareness is, it is the widest part of the funnel, and a good awareness campaign requires a metric tonne of effort. You have to create something entertaining, on-brand and shareable, and distribute it well. That said, wide does not always mean tall. Awareness content should not dominate the content calendar. Put that effort into distribution and quality, not quantity. 10% of the calendar can go here, and space it out across the year.

Interest

This is where we start getting into the bulk of your content. When people ‘Like’, ‘Follow’, ‘Subscribe’, search for you and so on, it means they are interested in your content. To translate that to interest in your product, align both content and product closely. From a potential customer’s point of view, think of the questions they would ask that will lead them further towards you.

Typically, it is a pain point of “How do I do X?”, where X can be any problem, such as:

  • Choosing the right facial cleanser for Asian skin in a Western-dominated cosmetics market that tends to either over-dry or cause breakouts
  • Integrating big data into marketing analytics without the need for IT intervention
  • Getting lunch in Singapore’s CBD for under $10

Furthermore, the context of ‘Problem X’ varies based on prevailing trends. Weather changes cause breakouts, and technology changes cause breakdowns.

News sites and social media are a great way to surface these questions. Apart from that is also Google Analytics and Trends. That means ‘Problem X’ is going to form the backbone of your SEO. If people find you through viral content, they’re looking for a laugh. If people find you to solve their problems, that’s where there’s a clear path to conversion.

40% of your content should make up the interest stage, and if it performs well, feel free to boost on social, or go more in-depth with a white paper.

Desire

Here, people want your product, but they are curious. The solution is to show it to them. Webinars, trailers, teasers, demos, testimonials. Make compelling case studies, create infographics showing the amount of improvement possible… and then put a call to action at the end. Here, conversion should be the main goal; sharing and engagement is just a bonus. After all the effort attracting an audience and building up credibility, this is what needs to happen:

So make this 18% of your content.

Action

As far as content marketing goes, action is pretty straightforward. Want, give, have. However, APAC is a market where a single discount day generates e-commerce sales that dwarf the rest of the world.

So maybe your audience wants your product, but they expect a bit of special treatment. Space out contextualised specials very sporadically to cater for this. Perhaps it is your company’s anniversary, or Christmas. In any case, emphasise the context to make it clear this doesn’t happen every day. After that, dress the copy up to sound fun and drop a subtle call to action at the end. Do this about 2% of the time.

Retention

What do Seth Godin, Bain & Co and Salesforce’s US$2bn annual revenue have in common? True, they’re all rich enough to fill a pool with money, but the point is, they all support the notion that it is easier to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire. In all likelihood, existing customers will be interested in finding out solutions to related problems, and feel reaffirmed by your case studies and infographics. In other words, most of your existing content should already be relevant.

That said, there should still be some space dedicated to the post-funnel- to cover the human side of the relationship. From a content perspective, that means personalising the brand. Make your own in-jokes to get people to laugh with you. Share milestones to let people know you’re here to stay. Tease your latest updates so there’s something to look forward to.

Naturally, this is not the kind of content you would expect people to search for. However it is more ‘Likeable’ than how-tos, so an interesting graphic can get great traction on social. Aim for people to engage with this content organically. If people ‘Like’ your content, then they’re more likely to see your other posts in future, and cost less to boost towards. This stage should form the last 30% of your content.

 

The recommended split should add up to an 80:20 fluff:sell ratio. For brands new to content marketing, it is a balanced, middle-of-the-road guideline to start off by testing everything. However, each brand is unique in their own way, and ongoing data will lead to each option being weighted differently as time passes. Your CRM, Google Analytics and social platform’s insights will be your friends here.

If you need help planning the best content mix for your 2017 communications strategy, drop us a note at [email protected].

 

Planning a tech B2B content calendar in 2017

2017 has arrived, and that means another year of content that needs to be planned. For tech B2B companies, it should go without saying that your company blog is important for generating leads, engaging and retaining your community, or simply letting people know the lights are on. On a broad level, not much changes, but every year brings its own quirks. So how do you plan blog content for 2017? Here’s some key trends to keep in mind:

More people are looking at you on mobile

This varies from company to company, so check your Google Analytics to see how many people are reading your blog from mobile. If it’s more than 30%, start cutting content down to size. No point being verbose if it makes people swipe away.

Mobile-friendly also means thinking about how to handle content other than text. Widescreen formats still work, but important details or text should be viewable even when shrunk down to 4 inches wide.

Your site should also be mobile friendly – it’s easy bonus points for ranking better on Google. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to make sure your content works well on mobile. But please, draft your content on a keyboard. Being typo-free goes a long way towards looking professional.

Hedge your traffic sources

It’s 2017, so write for humans first. Robots should always come second, but don’t forget about them.

Facebook will never stop tweaking their ranking algorithms, so don’t expect what works today on Facebook to work forever. Because of Facebook’s endless changes, 2016 saw the prolific collapse of a number of clickbait-like sites, and plenty of collateral damage at respectable news outlets. Fake news looks likely to follow, but I’d like to hope we’re all honest people here ☺. Of course, Facebook is still a valuable source of traffic, but a sustainable strategy means looking beyond the gold rush.

On the Google front, the search engine continues to update its ranking algorithm, aiming to prioritise original content that makes people stay, read and share. Focus on interesting content, and don’t forget to support it with meta tags, and just a smattering of keywords in the right places.

Ideally, traffic should come from a combination of social, search, back links and dark social. If a single source accounts for more than half your referral traffic, think of how to diversify and buffer against algorithm changes.

Go live

Consider live content to make your posts more visible. Videos streamed ‘in the now’ do not just rank higher on Facebook and Twitter, they also give you a reason to repeatedly post related Tweets and photos to stay visible and hit different hashtags for the duration.

This tactic works best when you actively go out and network. Attend (or organise) events with a huge following, meet reputable people and tag them in a photo. Leverage their following to reach a new audience. Bonus points if you can feature them in your content and they share it. Offline activities boost your online presence – who’d have thought?

Plan it out

When you’re ready to start making your content calendar, click below for a free content template. This is based on the very same template we use to plan client content throughout the year. On the “content calendar” tab, you can plan your posts to make sure a regular stream of content goes out every week. On the “report” tab, a pivot table has already been created, where you can filter by month or content type to make sure you have the right balance.

 

If you need any help with your 2017 content marketing efforts, drop us a note at [email protected].

 

4 things Casey Neistat can teach you about PR

This week CNN announced that it has acquired shortform video app, Beme – the product of a collaboration between ex-Tumblr(er) Matt Hackett and filmmaker Casey Neistat. Never heard of Beme? You’ll be forgiven. Despite a promising kickoff, the video messaging app (akin to Snapchat) never achieved widespread appeal and suffered a ropey adoption curve.

The acquisition (reported to be $25 million USD) represents a logical skip-jump for CNN, who have come along way from their broadcaster roots to become a 24-hour global multi-platform network, and a consistent adopter of new mediums. In an age where anyone with a smartphone can become a news correspondent, it was only a matter of time before a global network like CNN dipped its toes into shortform video.

What seems clear though, is that CNN is really buying Casey Neistat, the filmaker turned vlogger who regularly draws over 20-million views to each of his daily vlogs and, who arguably changed the entire vlog medium by bringing a filmmaker’s lense to a disposable, low-fi format.

Here are four key PR lessons you can learn from Casey Neistat:

1. Be open and real

Neistat leads a successful tech company, yet he talks to his audiences through channels and forms that they understand and can connect with. When Beme started having technical issues, rather than a smoke and mirrors approach to hide his company’s shortfalls, he was open and sincere about the mistakes. As a result, he was able to build greater trust and buy-in from the public and key stakeholders.

2. Trust a influencer’s integrity – it’s what makes them valuable

With nearly 6-million subscribers, Casey inevitably monetises his activities with brand partnerships. However this doesn’t mean Neistat becomes a starry-eyed spineless brand ambassador. Instead he’ll often work closely with brands such as Apple or Canon, only to criticise the products, albeit in a constructive and level-headed way.

Working in PR, we often bang our heads in frustration when a story hasn’t gone quite the way we planned, or didn’t even land at all. But it’s the influencer’s ability to speak honestly about products that separates the role of PR from owned media and is precisely what gives it true value. Brands who understand this will always work with influencers like Neistat, respecting their unswayable integrity, rather than treating them like glorified infomercials.

3. Storytelling is everything

 

casey-neistat-content-strategy

Neistat hammers this home with every video he creates, from ads with Nike, to vacation vlogs in Vietnam, to Beme itself. With a growing emphasis on native and content-based advertising, it seems that many marketers get distracted by the medium over the message. In essence though, nothing has actually changed. Storytelling is and always will be the most crucial element – irrespective of platform, medium or screen.

PR’s value-add is its ability to really understand the audience and convey a story to audiences with unparallelled authenticity and sincerity. Consumers and the media are now more savvy, discerning and BS-resistant than ever before, so make sure your story is compelling, interesting and not just a sales pitch.

4. Know when to zip it

Neistat’s usual topics cover technology, gadgets, filmmaking and storytelling. However, on a few occasions, Neistat has stepped off-piste into commenting on areas outside his usual content, such as the US election. He was met with quite a violent backlash from the YouTube community who didn’t appreciate him stepping off his impartial boosted-board.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-4-29-19-pm

So what’s the lesson? Make sure you understand where your area of knowledge lies and stick to it. The media may often look for outsiders to comment on subjects outside of a spokesperson’s field, either to offer a fresh perspective or draw them out of their comfort zone. Succumb to the temptation to enter another arena – even slightly – and you risk alienating your brand, diluting your core messaging or, at worst, diving headfirst into a PR disaster.

As a hybrid of consumer, creative agency, tech evangelist and influencer, Casey Neistat has made more impact on the content marketing ecosystem than can fit concisely into this blog, and nothing says this more than CNN’s latest purchase. It’s certainly an exciting time to be in content marketing and PR.

If you need help spreading your brand message, get in touch with us at [email protected]

Image source YouTube

What Trump’s victory can teach us about today’s media

His quaff has been compared to everything from salmon nigiri to the silky tassel on the tip of corn on the cob.

His triumph as President Elect has confused everyone from his own supporters to my grandma.

He’s… *sigh*. He needs no introduction.

The US Presidential Election results had us squirming and swivelling in our office chairs all year. Not because of our respective political views, but because we’re in the business of communications. As specialists in the marketing and PR field, we were just cringing about how fast his controversial messages moved with the right format. Sadly, in the days of partisan Facebook groups, memes, and Twitter, false messages can go viral quickly.

What can we learn from this? Is there a silver lining to this mayhem? Whatever your position on Trump’s politics and message, his win says a lot about the type of content that travels. The shorter, the better. The more conviction, the more viral.

We could have written a Mutant blog about what NOT to do according to the 2016 Presidential Election, but we want to keep it light (and we weren’t sure if WordPress could support 5000-page manifestos, TBH.) So, while the first debate taught us how to live tweet, here are some brand messaging lessons we learned from the Trump win:

1. Sound bites make the news

“I’m gonna build a wall.”

“It’s freezing and snowing in New York – we need global warming!”

Sure, it’s a whole lot of crazy, but these words received media coverage – not just because they were outrageous, but because they were short and said with conviction. It’s not uncommon for politicians to drag on about unpopular policies, but people just tune out. In Trump’s case, his short, syndicated quotes travelled fast. In any news event, journalists literally sit through press events waiting to pick up on a soundbite that will draw in viewers or clicks.

Trump was at goldmine for these. The Cheezel-hued President Elect received a ton of free media coverage because his messages were easy to digest by mass media.

Ensure your own (less crazy) company message is short and concise. For example, when telling people what your business believes in, say it with conviction, and make it easy to digest and repeat to others.

2. The general public is THROUGH with jargon

One of the reasons some citizens don’t vote is because politics can be confusing. The dialogue is full of inconsistencies, and it can be hard to follow if you’re not regularly tuning in. Trump wanted to appeal to the general public and the working class, so he avoiding talking too much about policy and spoke to the people about their everyday problems.

You’ll easily be able to see some parallels between politics and business. Both are important for mobilising people; they’re hard to understand unless you’re in the industry, and both topics can be dryer than Donald’s throat during Debate #3. Here is how he explained his stance on illegal immigration:

“I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. Mark my words.”

Ok, ok, it sounds like it came from a children’s story book. Be simple, but still sound smart.

By using soft, simple terminology that anybody can understand, not only will your message be loud and clear, but it will be easier to spread. Start with the need of your audience, before you start to sell your product. If you’re a tech company, for example, talk first about what need you’re appealing to, then talk through the product.

3. Branded content trumps traditional advertisements

Trump became a walking billboard for his campaign. In fact, he has allegedly spent only a fraction of what Hillary had on ads. He is a walking content strategy, so much that the camera follows him, not the other way around.

To maintain this level of consistency, company leaders need to always be preaching their values and conveying them in everything they do. To C-Suite leaders, whether you are writing a blog, speaking at an event, or speaking on television, be consistent and stick to four or five core values. You know you will have succeeded when you people are unable to differentiate you from your brand and values. For some, Trump is a symbol for change; for others he is an unpeeled, boiled sweet potato headed for Office – but his message has been consistent. It’s just his audience that varies.

There you have it. The Donald’s message is what it is, and there’s not a lot we can do but learn from it.

Need help with getting noticed in the media? Write us at [email protected].

 

Image credit: marieclaire.co.uk