How young brands can create content

Is your company still at its beginning? Nobody really knows who you are? A content marketing campaign is the way forward. The question, however, is where and what kind of content you should create. Your options include thought leadership articles, industry reports, creative infographics, white papers, press releases, consumer guides and a growing stream of publishing platforms. With an increasing amount of content choices, it’s hard to pick the right one.

If no one has ever heard of you, it’s important to make a good first impression. Creating content for your brand is the best way to trigger and control the impact you want to make. Here are a few questions you need to consider when creating content for your still young and unknown brand:

1. What platform to use?

Social media has seemingly made it easy for brands to reach far and wide, but the truth is that it’s increasingly hard to break through the noise, especially if you don’t have a sufficient following yet. As there are a large variety of platforms to explore, you can’t be everywhere simultaneously. Not even the most established companies are present on all social platforms. The trick is to concentrate your efforts. But where?

If you know your business and customers, you probably have a good idea where you might find the right audience. If you are an e-commerce business trying to reach consumers, you want to be on Facebook and Instagram. But if you are a B2B company, you will have better chances of promoting yourself on LinkedIn and Twitter. When you have decided on a platform, you should explore its various features. Don’t get distracted by toying around on other platforms. Although it’s recommended to have profiles on multiple platforms and repost content there, your primary content creation efforts need to be concentrated on one platform only – at least in the beginning. After conquering one platform, you can attempt to dip your feet elsewhere.

2. What kind of content to create?

Choosing the right platform for your business is just the first step.  Next, you need to think about the type of content you want to produce. No matter the industry, it is ideal to use a variety of content types. That said, content works differently across industries. While no one will pay attention to your white paper if you are in the e-commerce space, everybody will take notice if you are a data analytics company.

Here are a few questions to get you started on finding a content match for your company:

  • What are other companies in your industry doing?
  • What can you do better?
  • What is your expertise that differentiates you?
  • What value is your content adding to users and consumers?
  • What highlights your business best?
3. Where to begin?

Content marketing has become hugely popular, but often brands don’t think through their strategies enough. Before blogging and posting like there is no tomorrow, you need to define what you want to achieve. Most companies want to increase awareness, generate leads, drive conversions, collect emails or achieve similar goals. All of which are reasonable goals, but you need to define a goal that is aligned with your business objectives.

Before creating your very first post, you need to ensure that your website is up-to-date, mobile-optimised, offers a simple way to contact you and depicts your company in the best way possible. Why is this important? Imagine your content goes viral and plenty of traffic and leads come to your website, but your contact form doesn’t work or your website appears clunky on mobile – all of your content efforts go straight out of the window. Therefore, before creating any content, make sure you are ready to receive the traffic and leads it will generate.

4. Can you do it yourself?

One blog post per month is not an effective content marketing strategy. If this is all you have time for, you might as well not do it. You must remember that you are not the only one fighting for consumers’ attention. Once you have assessed your content needs, you need to be dedicated to executing it.  

While some brands begin their content journey with freelancers or in-house, others work with content agencies right from the get-go. It’s not a one size fits all approach. Think about what is most effective for your company. If you are a B2B company, you might want to ask an agency to create content, but handle the direct engagement on Twitter yourself. Take on what you are confident with. If your company and an e-commerce and consumer-facing, content is even more crucial for your traffic, brand awareness, and campaigns. Depending on the size of your business, you might want to consider an in-house content team. If that isn’t possible for you yet, you can hire a content strategist, who can orchestrate the creation of content with agencies or freelancers.

Need help with content creation for your brand? Drop us a note at [email protected]

Gen Z: Marketing to digital natives

While everyone is focused on getting the attention of millennials, the next generation (Z) is already having an impact on the media and PR industry. But who is this Generation Z and what sets them apart? Their behaviour online and the way they consume content will be a crucial indicator for what direction the PR and media world is moving towards. Here is how they are already changing the game.

Internet & social media generation

Generation Z could easily be renamed the internet & social media generation, as they not only grow up with the internet as their primary form of communication, but they are also the first generation to use social media and the internet from a very early age onwards. In 2015, 77% of 12–17- year-olds owned a mobile phone, which is reflected in the estimated 150,000 educational apps, 10% of Apple’s App Store, aimed at them. Generation Z isn’t just media-savvy, but ‘being online’ is a given for the generation of ‘digital natives’. This means that PR folks and marketers don’t just need to stay up-to-date with the latest digital and social media trends, they need to be ahead of the curve.

No more Facebook?

Talking to people who were born at the turn of the century, you will be surprised that, although they have a Facebook account, their chosen social media channels are in fact Instagram and Snapchat. While the Facebook feed still works to amplify articles and news from websites and brands, the content form must adapt to new social media platforms. To be sure, brands and media platforms are already experimenting with Snapchat and Instagram. Airbnb, for example, used an inspirational travel video series for their Instagram Stories to create awareness and buzz for the launch of Experiences on Airbnb.

 

However, given that both platforms display content only for a limited amount of time, PR and media must adapt to craft and develop impactful content to capture the attention of these younglings.

Skipping Ads

Inundated with content, this generation has done particularly well to filter out ads and sponsored content. Simply put, they won’t react to an ad, unless it benefits them and adds value to their lives. Marketers and PR folks need to be smarter with Generation Z, but shouldn’t try to outsmart them. Advertising and sponsored posts need to camouflage themselves into something that this generation wants to see.

Struggling traditional media

This lot has little regard for traditional media and are more likely to be consuming content on social media, blogs and YouTube. Showcasing your content natively on social media and working with trusted influencers can help to make inroads with Gen Z.

Long term investment

Despite skipping ads and filtering content that doesn’t interest them, Generation Z tends to be more loyal than the generation that came before them. As Gen Z consumers stay loyal to the brands they shop at and are more likely to stick with them throughout their lives, it’s still worth making the investment as a brand.

Although the content they consume tends to be very short-lived, the investment of brands and PR agencies will be long-term. This is good news for everyone, as customer acquisition is becoming more important and might have longevity – despite constantly changing consumer behaviours.

 

Like what you’ve read? Drop a note at [email protected] to talk about how to make your brand ready for the next generation. 

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Google and Facebook are changing the game for PR

It’s hard to imagine doing PR in a world without Google and Facebook. Headlines have to be snappy and featured photos must be ‘thumb-stop worthy’, while the copy needs strategically chosen keywords to rank higher on search. Most importantly, editors are always looking for a new tech PR story to keep their sites timely with engaging content.

Here’s a quick overview of how PR is changing in 2017 – the year Google and Facebook took 20% of global ad revenues:

Competitiveness among publications

The only constant in the world of news has always been change, as websites and magazines are battling for the reader’s attention. Traditional hard news is in decline, while soft news pulls people in with bite-sized content, punchy headlines and provocative images. The difference in 2017 is the algorithm, which now cares about how much time readers spend on a page. The more and the longer readers stay, the higher the page will get ranked on search. As a result, publishers are now looking for meatier content that is still highly engaging.

The upside is that good content is being rewarded more. The downside is that there will be even more content for the reader and the media space becomes even more competitive. We need to create even more and better content, as otherwise, editors will shoot it down faster than a North Korean missile is trying to fly across the Pacific.

PR measurement

For many years now, PR has been moving from a nebulous, immeasurable territory to something that needs to be justified to the management. Gone are the days of archaic metrics like AVE (advertising value equivalent). As publications and journalists are now sharing their stories across traceable social media channels, campaign measurement is no longer estimated by just pickups. Everything can be measured in comments, shares and likes.

Crisis prevention

A scandal or a spokesperson’s misjudgement can spread like wildfire. Just remember how Kellyanne Conway’s ‘alternative facts’ created an outcry around the world. The real-time nature of social media makes a capable PR team a necessity. The only thing better than a curing the crisis is prevention. A brand’s sentiment is subject to many factors outside their business, but good PR is still key to maintaining timely, appropriate and on-brand responses.

The speed of the news

Facebook’s feed is real-time and Google updates take mere seconds. If something catches fire, the whole forest burns. The difference now is that search and social will quickly blow a trending topic. The recent WannaCrypt incidence, for example, was instantly trending, generating four million search results in a few days. Once a topic is hot, everybody wants a piece of it. Jumping into the media cycle, there’s a higher chance content will be searched for and appear in Google’s Trending Topics sections or will trend on Facebook. As news outlets want to break more hot stories, brands have a chance to create tremendous traction.

Following up to maintain engagement, building towards the next campaign and measuring the results are always key. But given the trend towards shorter, softer and more timely stories, PR needs to change with the way the news move. It’s no longer about getting into a mainstream newspaper and giving yourself a pat on the back.

Need help with your PR campaign? Drop us a message at [email protected]

How to use PR to beat ad-blocking

If you’re a tech company operating in Asia, know this: you’re operating in the same region where 93% of mobile ad-blockers are located. As more browsers introduce built-in ad blocking, more of Asia will be cut off from online ads.

Ad-blocking hides most, if not all ads on a website. Its usage is growing rapidly in APAC because of potential bandwidth savings in countries with developing internet infrastructure. Using an ad blocker is typically a matter of downloading an app or browser extension, or turning on browser settings. With ad-block turned on, the area your ad is supposed to occupy is replaced with blank space.

The advertising industry is adapting by making ads more personalised and targeted, but there is also another channel that has existed long before digital advertising: Public Relations, aka PR.

PR targets readers by bringing the brand experience to the media they read, the people they follow or the places they visit. It is targeted messaging before Adwords Custom Affinities and Facebook Audience Insights; it is content marketing before your mailing lists started bringing in conversions.

Unlike other channels, most of PR is earned, and then supported by paid or owned content. Great PR can be a blessing for a startup looking for that big break, or an established multinational running a user acquisition campaign. Look no further than Pokémon Go for an example of how a product went viral on a wave of PR.

A journalist or influencer who writes about you positively is essentially giving a very valuable third party endorsement. This puts you on the radar of their readers and fans. Since the media decides what to post on their site, relevant content will go a long way. Instead of a direct sell, PR is a chance to tell a more personalised brand story readers can identify with and be inspired by.

Formulating a winning PR strategy

Earning PR coverage comes down to two things: good homework and good relationships. Homework means doing research on what people in your space are talking about. Some easy places to start are:

  • Your target publications
  • Social media insights of your fans and followers
  • Online professional communities such as LinkedIn groups and Quora
  • Google Trends

After finding out what people are talking about, think of how your brand can fit in, and the best way to communicate that. If it’s a press release, draft it. If it’s an infographic, map out the stats and design it. If it’s a cute cat video… good luck, there’s a lot of competition out there. If you need help creating great content, check out some of our useful resources such  as the copywriting guide or the guide to writing tech content.

It’s wise to put yourself in the journalist’s shoes – imagine you are a very busy person receiving over 1,000 emails a day, sitting by a phone that never stops ringing. You also have a reputation to maintain as an unbiased authority in your field. So why should they cover your story?

Well, it’s not through luck. Your story must have a hook, but not a hard sell. It must be factual, yet sound exciting. It presents the complete picture to the journalist, yet stays concise enough to be scanned through. And it must grab attention within the first seven words they see. If you think you have that all down, run it by a trusted friend, or a professional just to make sure.

If you are ready to take your communications to the next level, drop us a note today at [email protected].

 

Have you met yourself on camera?

Despite dozens of media training sessions we’ve conducted here at Mutant, I have yet to meet someone who absolutely loves the way they sound and look on camera. Even the most confident people struggle to prepare for TV interviews and shy away when they see and hear themselves.

“My voice sounds so high,” or “Why do I speak so fast?” are often the responses we get when playing back footage to clients.

Unfortunately, we’re our own harshest critics. Plus, seeing yourself from the outside, and hearing yourself on camera is daunting and something you’re not used to.

Here are some notes that might help you feel more comfortable with preparing for an interview, or even just getting used to seeing yourself on screen:

The camera sucks the life out of you

Have you ever noticed that when a TV host speaks on camera they talk extremely animatedly and enthusiastically? If someone spoke to you like that face-to-face in real life, you’d actually find it quite strange.

The camera sucks the emotion and the ‘life’ out of you. Meaning things that are ‘normal’ – like simply talking to someone – can come across as extremely dull and boring on camera. We’re so used to seeing very dynamic people and actions on screen that our brains have come to expect anything on TV to have 10 times more energy and spark.

To account for this, ensure your speaking volume is 10-15 percent louder than normal on camera, and that you are really bringing your most energetic self to an interview or presentation. It might feel like you’re overdoing it, but it looks great on screen.

Here’s an exercise: Think about where and when you are your most dynamic self and where your personality shines the most. Is it catching up with friends for drinks? Or is it when you speak at meetings at work? Bring that version of yourself to an interview.

Practice

Today, it’s easier than ever to do a few practice rounds for an upcoming interview or presentation by yourself. Set up your video camera or phone and practice speaking about yourself and your company. Yes, this feels really awkward, but it’s just because you’re not used to it.

Start with something as simple as answering, “tell me about your company”.

But instead of answering like a written response (i.e. “Well, we started in 2012 and we provide services in technology…”) try incorporating a story element into your answer:

“The story of how we started is quite interesting actually. We were four friends who worked together at a Fortune 500 company, but decided we needed to start something on our own…”

Write down a list of potential questions you might be asked in a TV interview and work out how you’d like to answer each one. Think of potential negative questions, which may be asked as well.

Playback time

Once you’ve answered a few questions on camera, play the footage back to yourself and analyse what you liked and what you didn’t. Was it the way you sounded? If so, try talking more clearly and lower your pitch a couple of notches. The camera also picks up our voices as slightly higher than they are, so keep that in mind.

What about the way you looked and presented yourself? Were you shuffling too much? Playing with your hair? Moving your hands in front of your face constantly? We all have our habits which can be exaggerated on camera, but at least you’re able to figure out what it is before you go for an interview.

Um, uh, like, you know…

When you’re thinking of what to say next, the best thing to do is to pause… just for a couple of seconds, so you can move on to the next sentence in a calm and easy way. Sadly that’s easier said than done.

What people end up usually doing is using their ‘tell’. This can come in the form of ‘um’, ‘ah’, ‘uh’, ‘like’, ‘you know’ and several other options. Time yourself for a minute and speak about any topic you like.

Now, play that back and see if there is a certain phrase or word you keep using that is totally unnecessary. Once you’ve worked out what it is, practice replacing that with a nice distinguished pause.

Some of the best interviews you’ll see on TV are with composed people who have very much practiced self-editing the ‘like’ or ‘ummm’ out of their sentences.

The more comfortable you become on camera, the more you can work on what really matters – your content and getting your key messages across to those watching you.

Image to download Mutant media training course

If you’d like to speak more about media training, feel free to get in touch with us at [email protected].