On Wednesday we were fortunate enough to attend the Content Marketing Show in Brighton. It has to be said that sitting by the sea and eating our body weight in fish and chips was definitely a great part of the day, but the real treat was hearing from some of the industry’s best and brightest. So here are our key take away’s from the show, from how to make a visual impact, to how not to annoy bloggers, this is what we learned.
Know Your Audience
Anyone that attended the event would agree that the main topic discussed throughout, was how to target the right audience, and how to keep them once you’ve found them.
Dr Max Wilson from the University of Nottingham gave a great talk on how to keep your audience engaged and happy with your brand. ‘Why people favourite things – Tweet usefulness, style and favouriting behaviour’. He discussed how brands adapt their communication to mimic the receiver, and gave great examples of how some brands do it well – Mirror Football uses football banter and emoticons to engage with their audiences, – but how some brands may have missed the mark a little; as you can see below, Argos took this theory a little literally and almost came across rude.
So, clearly there is a delicate balance of how to talk to your audience, but aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves? I mean, don’t we need to find our audience first? Target audience research was heavily discussed throughout the day and the main focus was the technique of putting your target audience into personas. Using tools like Brandwatch – which collates data from millions of online sources to help you understand the trends of your audience – will help you find exactly who you want to target, but what’s interesting is what you can do after you found them. Creating personas for your target audience is a great way to split them up into more specific categories, and will help you understand them better. Both Jon Norris and Mindy Gofton gave great advice on how to do this, discussing the idea of putting your audience into archetypes to give you a better understanding of them. This is a better technique than just of grouping them all together and missing potential focus areas.
Keep the Bloggers Happy
It’s no secret that in the past year guest blogging has become a bit more of a rocky subject, with a lot of people avoiding it all together. But this doesn’t mean that we should start ignoring bloggers themselves. Not only do we want to encourage them to continue to talk about our brand, but we can still work with them in other ways, whether it’s blogger parties or product review, bloggers should still be a key part of your campaign. Hannah Warder gave a great talk called ‘How to Guarantee a 0% Response Rate from Blogger Outreach’ where she showed personal examples of people who wanted to advertise on her blog, and exactly why she didn’t let them. It would seem that with bloggers, the personal approach is always best. Hannah showed examples of generic emails that showed little to no interest in her blog and sometimes didn’t even address her by name. It’s these little things that can make a big difference in how you’re perceived by bloggers, and lets face it, you want to keep them on side, because as Hannah said, bloggers talk, they can recommend other bloggers to you, or alternatively tell other bloggers about their bad experiences with you.
Another interesting point Hannah made was the importance of serenity. We all know that blogger outreach can be difficult, contacting enough bloggers to get a good success rate is one thing, but combining this with actually getting know each individual blog and blogger can feel almost impossible, especially when you are restricted on time. But as Hannah said, getting to know bloggers personally is crucial. Bloggers put their heart and soul into their blogs, and they will know straight away if you just pretend to care about them, and they will be insulted if that’s the case. Outreach rule number one – don’t offend the bloggers.
Visual Storytelling and the power of the visual impact of elements is indeed extremely effective in Content Marketing. One of the sheer beauties of Content Marketing is that there are untold methods of displaying your content, all of which are equally as received by consumers and client businesses alike.
In and amongst the many talks of the Content Marketing Show in Brighton, one of the best adoptions of effective content marketing is the visual impact of Content. This is something that many companies include in their practices as standard, as everyone quite rightly understands that it’s becoming increasingly harder to grab (and keep) the attention of potential customers. Suffice to say, visual content is a quick-emerging, fast-growing method (if not ‘tool’) to aid companies in broadcasting their messages to target markets in a novel and outstanding way that clearly separates them from the competition.
It’s all well and good to employ this method as part of your content strategy, and in fact – it’s highly recommended, but it must be created flawlessly, internally tested rigorously and deployed correctly. The speaker of this topic, Nadia Barmada from Getty Images, gave her presentation about the power of visual storytelling. I’ve put together some tips relayed by Nadia, as well as tips that I have found work from experience.
You absolutely must ensure that you keep any visual elements consistent with your brand message, and keep in mind that some of the best visual content we see today, have constant design motives, and we as an audience can always see which brand the content belongs to – almost immediately.
Sensory Image Branding.
By contextual definition, content imagery that appeals to the senses, all in an attempt to relate to customers on an emotional level. In the given example of Schwartz’s ‘The Sound of Taste’ marketing campaign for Flavour Shots, it’s really obvious that the different spices cause an explosion of flavour in the mouth.
Having said that, it really makes sense that the more powerful the image, the faster ideas are expressed.
From this, Nadia went onto show us various examples of different styled images from Point-of-View images of Hong Kong, relating the ideas of ‘Imperfect Imagery’ and just how it’s become more commonplace. Appealing to both emotional and rational sides of the psyche, your visual content is best seen as inspiration, and less as a campaign. It was also mentioned that adding visual content to areas such as email marketing is never a bad thing, and will consistently see you with a significant click-through rate (but should always remain relevant).
Amongst other speakers, one that focused on Social Media, more specifically Twitter, and its usefulness / behavioural patterns. I’ve touched on this before in one of my previous blog posts, ‘Should I Include Twitter as part of my Social Media Strategy’, and to my delight, it was shared around more than just a handful of different industry profiles around Twitter – just showing how big it must be in talks.
The most common Social Channels used by Content Marketers, as you can see above, rely mostly on the more popular: LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+.
We, as well as pretty much every Digital Marketing Agency to exist, sign onto Twitter every day to share comments, news of what’s been happening in the industry and of course, promoting original content. One of the newest crazes to happen to companies is the introduction of Twitter Chat, so much so that companies over the Internet have started developing Twitter Chat strategies. Having been in-play for years, Twitter Chat has been employed in some of the simplest methods whereby social and content marketers engage in conversation with people that interact with promoted content. As was touched on earlier, big profiles like Telefónica O2 and Tesco, the UK Supermarket Giant have started to engage with their followers in such a way that created something of a storm on Social Media, which was nothing short of ingenious.
LinkedIn Strategies differ from other social networks, and are by-and-large focused on industry trends with members of select groups, such as the Content Marketing Academy, Social Media Marketing etc. It goes without saying that these groups appreciate, and obviously interact well with content related, and far more specific to content marketing as a whole. This group, compared to Facebook and Google+, is to keep tapped in to the network built for professionals, and where Google+ and Facebook surely play their part as part of a Social Media Strategy, LinkedIn remains a more trusted source of information, including a place to share posts that are more likely to receive quality feedback and information.
Making it easier?
As highlighted by Laura Crimmons from Branded3, tools do exist to make life easier when monitoring the web for fresh and exciting content. One of which is Google Alerts:
From your Google+ account, you can follow companies, sports personalities and other pages to stay on the ball for fresh content. Google’s very own notification service detects changes in content, and will email you for such things as online newspaper articles, blog posts and anything else that matches a user’s search terms.
So what makes all of this information relevant, and applicable? It’s true to say that we learned some good lessons from the Content Marketing Show 2014, and some new things are planned for integration. After all, a lot of the content was already known and in-place for a lot of Digital Marketing Agencies in attendance, but Digital Marketing never sleeps, and is ever-evolving. It really was a great experience, and to have listened to speakers share their knowledge with the rest of the content marketing world, and I’m looking forward to implementing what we learned! And at the end of the day, I was the only one out of our group of attendees to be given a Moz lanyard in the lobby. I tweeted my delight, and Moz actually replied!
@ActiveIMUK 😀 Enjoy!
— Moz (@Moz) November 5, 2014