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Five reasons PR has an edge in content creation
Five PR agencies, which took part in a recent Content Marketing Association (CMA) round-table, explain why having PR at the core of their business has helped them become successful in content.
The PR industry is showing an increased interest in content. Just last year, three PR agencies won awards at CMA’s International Content Marketing Awards, showing an increasing step towards more integrated services.
Clare Hill, CMA’s MD, says PRs are more frequently looking to expand this part of their business offering: “We are constantly having conversations with PR agencies who want to know more about content marketing and how we approach it.”
Five experts – from Clarity, Bell Pottinger, Hill+Knowlton, Kaizo and MWW – explain how PR gives an edge in content:
Sara Collinge, MD at Clarity, says PR pros understand the level of subtlety that’s required to create engaging and audience-relevant content that also meets a client’s broader marketing objectives.
“Too often you see content that is advertorial in nature. Our skills in understanding the client’s messaging in addition to their key business gives us a unique perspective,” she continues.
PR agencies have always been good at storytelling in a way that resonates with specific audiences, according to Victoria Naylor Leyland, head of creative and content at Bell Pottinger.
“Now we are in the position to use this ability in a wider variety of mediums and support the core message with a distribution strategy ensuring we’re getting in front of the right people on the right platform,” she adds.
Read the full article via Gorkana here.
Branded3’s Laura Crimmons named in The Drum’s ’50 under 30’
Branded3 were pleased to discover last week that their Communications Director Laura Crimmons had been named in The Drum’s ’50 under 30’, which lists high achieving women making their mark in digital before the age of 30.
This fantastic accolade comes in addition to Laura’s nomination for ‘Young Professional of the Year’ in the PR Moment Awards, announced earlier this month, the winners for which will be revealed in the awards ceremony on the 16th March.
Using Targeted Rich Content to Boost Key Account Engagement
How SevenC3’s I-CIO publication plays a key role in strengthening Fujitsu’s relationship with big-name customers
I-CIO.com, the global tech content platform produced by SevenC3 for Fujitsu, has been working with the Japanese tech company over the past year to support its efforts to engage with many of world’s largest companies and government agencies. As part of Fujitsu’s account-based marketing (ABM) programme, I-CIO has been tasked with creating packages of rich content that showcase key customers – while still maintaining the website’s light-touch connection with the brand designed to draw a global audience of IT decision-makers.
A great case in point is Deutsche Post DHL — one of Fujitsu’s most important accounts — whose CIO for Supply Chain, Markus Voss, is leading a radical digital transformation strategy.
Taking advantage of Voss’s appearance as a keynote speaker at Fujitsu’s annual conference in Munich in November, the I-CIO team set up a high-production video interview and photo shoot, creating a pop-up studio in a hotel meeting room near the conference centre. The three camera video shoot used a green-screen backdrop to allow the projection of compelling B-roll footage that brought to life Voss’s description of how the company is using AI, drones, IoT and robotics to revolutionise its logistics operations.
The series of four videos and articles will lead the I-CIO.com website for a full month over February and March, with heavy promotion through the use of clips and photo-tweets on Twitter and LinkedIn. The highly positive feedback from DHL underscores just how much this opportunity is valued to project the company as an innovator in logistics while strengthening Fujitsu’s strategic partnership with this key client.
Content Marketing & Advertising – What’s The Difference?
‘So is content marketing a form of advertising? Is native advertising related to content marketing?’
Chances are someone has asked you these questions recently. For some of us these are queries we have to respond to all the time.
Yet those who ask are not only offering a genuine question, in a roundabout way they’re seeking clarification as to what it is that we actually do?
Take the Wikipedia definition content marketing. It says ‘content marketing is a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.’
Now that’s all very well, but it ignores the heritage, especially on this side of the Atlantic, of decades of printed content marketing. BA’s High Life for example is over 40 years old, so we are not referring to something new or exclusively digital. Unless of course printed magazines are branded content, or examples of custom publishing rather than content marketing. Let’s not got there on that one!
Here then are a few thoughts on the subject of the differences between content marketing and advertising in the hope they will not only be useful but help spark the odd debate or two.
1 Content marketing is highly strategic – The reason why brands and start-ups are increasingly embracing content marketing is largely a strategic one. They are dealing with issues of sales generation and brand awareness and need tools in their arsenal to help then resolve this. Content marketing, a bit like PR, is highly strategic in that it is a way that brands take their core messages and present them to their customers usually with long-term goals in mind. Content marketing plays a role in helping to construct a brand message and then to continually embellish and iterate it. Advertising, especially native advertising, is invariably used in a tactical way to achieve a specific goal. There are ad campaigns that run for years and may help a business to reposition themselves, but these are exception rather than the rule.
2. Content marketing isn’t disruptive – For me this is a key difference. Native advertising is at its core disruptive. A person is reading or watching content and then they are presented with more content and enticed to consume it. This is wholly different from content marketing. Most readers find content marketing content either by search – and the content they discover answers the question they are asking – or more organically through social channels or by going straight to a website or video. They are on a journey to learn more about a topic or brand they invariably don’t just stumble upon it.
There’s an irony here though that printed content magazines can be disruptive. Think of in-flight magazines for example. However, in the online world content marketing isn’t usually disruptive.
3. Content marketing has scale – For me this is another crucial one. Native advertising in particular is often one ad or a series of ads placed on one platform. The content is invariably punchy, to the point and driven by a call to action. Content marketing is a more ambitious, richer type of content. Brands will often create longform content – such as white papers, mega posts etc. The content will also be housed on a number of platforms, not just a company homepage but across social channels. Content marketing also harnesses a lot of different types of content, including podcasts infographics and long form video which aren’t traditionally part of an ad person’s toolkit.
4. Content marketing is subtle – Most advertising, including native advertising, has to communicate a very direct message in a quick, easy and, as we have seen, disruptive way. There are of course exceptions to this. Some of the work being done by The Guardian and The New York Times especially in video and Virtual Reality blurs the lines between advertising and content marketing. However, with content marketing there is much more of an opportunity for brands to take a more nuanced approach, to show their human site to their audience. So, for example, brands use content for thought leadership, which may only barely touch on the activity or the nature of the brand. They may even create content that references other non-competing companies. Or they might just create content that whispers about their goods or services, rather than shouts about them.
Commissioned by The CMA
Cedar receives five nominations for the British Media Awards 2017
Cedar are proud to announce that they have received five nominations for the British Media Awards this year; including Sales Team of the Year for BA Media, Best Print Product of the Year for the British Airways’ High Life magazine and Video Project of the Year for British Airways’ The world’s greatest startup hub – London vs. San Jose.
The awards see Cedar side by side with some of the best content portfolios in the industry, including The Economist, Time Inc UK and The Guardian. The awards honour media organisations across 19 categories, which recognise excellence across all aspects of media business – from commercial to editorial, print and digital properties.
Commenting on the nominations, Cedar’s CEO Clare Broadbent said, ‘We are incredibly proud to be nominated for so many awards alongside the very best in the industry. It is a true testament to the teams’ hard work and dedication to outstanding content and media.’
The full list of the awards Cedar has been shortlisted for can be found below:
Print Product of the Year – High Life magazine, British Airways
Sales Team of the Year – British Airways Media
Commercial Content Team of the Year – British Airways
Video Project of the Year – The world’s greatest startup hub: San Jose vs. London, British Airways
Best Commercial Use of Data – Beyond demographic targeting: understanding how British Airways customers journey through the airport lounges, British Airways
Genero and Diageo work together for the first time to deliver the iconic story of the Guinness harp
Diageo has used the innovative Genero marketplace for the first time to deliver the story of the iconic Guinness harp logo and showcase its latest incarnation.
The video was made by Josh Hine, a London-based director on the Genero video production marketplace, and is currently live in feed on Instagram. The ad, which is 45 seconds long, focuses on the literal and metaphoric elements of the harp itself and their association with the quality, craftsmanship and boldness of the Guinness brand.
Genero is currently the biggest innovator and disruptor of the video market – but for the good. Working with some of the most illustrious brands and biggest creative agencies, Genero is able to connect them to its community of over 300,000 filmmakers in 180 countries to create some of the most engaging, relevant and bespoke content across a multitude of platforms and channels.
Darren Khan, UK & European Managing Director at Genero, said: “We’re delighted to work with such a prestigious brand to tell a wonderful story. It’s a great example of how we can help brands by working with extremely talented creatives who are passionate about the brand and brief they’re pitching on and the ability to get larger volumes of video content quickly and affordably, from all corners of the globe. This ad really is the icing on the cake – or the head on the beer, perhaps – and we’re proud to be associated with it.”
The decision to launch the video ad on Instagram reflects a growing trend in the increase of digital video spending; figures last year from the IAB showed video ad spend in 2015 grew 50.7% to £711million, with ad spend on social media sites growing 45% to £1.25bn. Instagram’s decision to extend video playback from 15 seconds to 60 seconds last year has allowed for more diverse story-telling and greater content production on the social media platform.
Facebook Adds Sound to Auto-Play Video
One of the defining features of Facebook video has been the way that, unless you press play, it auto-plays silently. Hover over a post and the footage starts, but unless you choose to engage with it you don’t hear the audio.
This has played an important role in shaping the nature of the content that has been embedded on the platform. Most videos specifically created for Facebook currently contain subtitles so that they can be watched in a meaningful way without sound. The quirk has created an opportunity for a new breed of video companies like Tasty and Twisted which specialise in producing food creation videos where the audio track barely matters.
Now however everything is about to change. In a blog post on Tuesday the company outlined how in the future videos will auto-play with sound. The route the platform has chosen means that the sound from the video fades in slowly – so you won’t necessarily get blasted with sound each time a video starts.
Here’s what they had to say.
“As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.”
There are caveats though. If a phone is set to silent then obviously the sound won’t be audible. Crucially too Facebook has enabled users to switch auto-play sound off by adjusting their settings – a process which is explained here.
However, most users are likely to be hearing sound from now on. That isn’t to say that they are going to be happy about it though. The obvious downside for Facebook users is that they are now much more likely to get caught out looking at their news feed in situations when they really shouldn’t be, such as during work, class, dinner or even a conversation.
There is inevitably going to be a backlash, so Facebook has quite wisely chosen to roll out the audio auto-play slowly. It won’t be universal until the end of the year.
So why have they made the move?
Well firstly Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly stated that he believes video is the future of the platform. He has backed this up by innovating in this area many times such as Facebook Live video. The auto-play news was part of slew of video announcements which included adding vertical video and enabling a person to watch a video while continuing to browse their news feed. There’s also a video app for TV coming.
Secondly, Facebook is under a degree of pressure from brands who are very keen on sound on auto-play. Video ads are a huge opportunity for Facebook and there are clearly some big corporations which won’t advertise on the platform unless it can guarantee that users hear the audio.
The move also brings Facebook in line with its rivals. Both YouTube and Snapchat leave sound on by default. It doesn’t seem to have dented either of their popularity.
Questions for brands
From a brand perspective the key benefit is that the days of automatic subtitles on Facebook videos are gone. It enables companies to make more of their music soundtrack and be more creative in their approach – especially by hooking viewers in through audio at the start of the video.
It also means that video views will be more accurately measurable. It is possible that many videos run on Facebook without a person even being aware that they are live. That won’t be the case anymore. Facebook will in theory be able to prove levels of engagement to its advertisers.
So the next few weeks will be interesting for Facebook. Some commenters have already decided the move is the last straw and they are going to leave the platform. Others have compared Facebook to MySpace which also had an auto play strategy, which they argue undermined its appeal.
Ultimately though Facebook tested the features and decided that the users were fine with it.
So if you have been creating subtitle heavy silent videos – I am afraid it is back to the drawing board!
Commissioned by The CMA
Content Marketing Throughout the Purchase Funnel
There was a fantastic turnout for the February breakfast, thanks to everyone that came! We had attendees from companies such as Adhoc PR, British Heart Foundation, Hearst, Kameleon, Ecover, Navigate Video, OTM Create, Progressive Content, REED, Remarkable, Shortlist, Stackla, TotallyMoney and Wardour to name but a few.
We are delighted to announce that the next Digital Breakfast of 2017 will be held on Wednesday 1st of March. The topic will be:
Content Marketing Throughout the Purchase Funnel
This breakfast will cover content objectives such as raising awareness and driving loyalty, while looking at how to plan content strategies that deliver value throughout the purchase funnel.
Book your tickets now!
Abi Morrish, Digital Engagement Business Director, MEC Wavemaker
Abi has over 9 years’ experience working in social and digital content across multiple markets leading brands and currently heads up the Digital Engagement team at MEC Wavemaker.
In 2016 she was awarded Media Week’s Rising Star award and was placed in Media Week’s top 30 under 30. She is dedicated to closing the loop between social content and business objectives, and helping brands make audience first content.
Adam Lewis, B2B Strategist: Content Marketing, Inbound & Social
Topic: The truth about B2B content marketing.
Many B2B businesses claim they are doing content marketing. Most of them are lying. They are still pushing out ads and product-focused content like they always did but now its in the form of social posts, video and infographics!
In his talk Adam shares how to create a full-funnel content strategy that blends content, social advertising and marketing automation to deliver results.
Adam is a freelance B2B content strategist. He works with B2B businesses and agencies to create compelling content that drives marketing qualified leads. He uses a data-driven planning process to meticulously map out content that attracts and converts prospects. He has done award winning work for global brands such as IBM, Thomson Reuters, Box, Symantec, Visa, Bacardi and Sony to name a few. Prior to being independent, Adam was Managing Director of social media consultancy, Immediate Future, Global Digital Director for Burson Marsteller, part of WPP and a Public Affairs and crisis communications consultant for a city PR firm. Adam’s current clients are KCOM, VISA, Box, Symantec & Haven.
Stephen Bateman, Digital Changemaker and Content Marketing Strategy Expert
Topic: Why and how to turn your content planning strategy on its head for optimum ROI
Most businesses claim to be doing some form of content marketing, albeit poorly and without demonstrable ROI. This is because the majority of marketers are not following best practice content marketing planning, preferring to fill their funnels, rather than shore up their bucket.
Most marketers today plan their content top down, rather than bottom up, using expensive resources to fill their top of funnel content activity without securing the middle funnels and bottom bucket. This results are extreme waste and poor, if any ROI.
In his talk Stephen shares a model for bottom and mid funnel content strategy that reduces waste through the funnel, to deliver markedly higher ROI and improved content marketing results.
Stephen is the UK’s leading content marketing strategy expert focused on supporting the customer journey with great content and improving content’s ROI. He works closely with Dave Chaffey at Smart Insights, Oxford Innovation, Bryony Thomas (Watertight Marketing,) Peninsula Enterprise, Heart of the South West, Innovate 2 Succeed and Instituto Superior para el Desarrollo de Internet (ISDI) to deliver best-in-class strategic content marketing training and support to marketing professionals everywhere.
More speakers to be announced!
How to book your place:
Please fill in the online booking form here.
Tim Tucker, Training Consultant – CMA.
Tim is a trainer, content strategist, online copywriter, user experience designer, and consultant who helps people to communicate better through digital media. He has over 13 years’ experience working in digital media.
9am – 11am (Breakfast is served from 8:30am)
51-53 Hatton Garden
CMA Members: £75 + VAT
Non Members: £150 + VAT
Why Should I Come?
“The CMA digital breakfast gatherings offer insight into the ever changing world of content marketing and are worth attending. A big tick in both the useful and relevant box. We generally send along a mix of staff from PCP as the topics and themes are quite varied and the events are very good value. Go along and get involved, I promise that you will learn something.” Stuart Charlton – Commercial Director – Progressive Content
“CMA are always keen to look at ways to pull in the best speakers and be involved in the leading industry events – a great benefit for members. The Digital Breakfasts, which as a team we attend regularly, are always carefully put together to be relevant and informative. Time is precious so you need to know it’s going to be time well spent and we certainly feel this is the case with the CMA.” Catherine Reid, Marketing Manager – Remarkable
The rise of the mega post
Content marketing trends come and go. The ones that stick around are those that yield tactics that marketers can use on behalf of their brands to deliver a very real return on investment.
One tactic that is growing in popularity, and has proved very effective for companies that have experimented with it, is the ‘mega post’ or extended online guide.
Put simply the mega post is an extended blog post which is placed on a client’s website mainly for SEO, new business and customer engagement purposes. Mega posts are a type of longform content, and both share many of the same attributes namely length, number of words and extensive use of illustrations.
Mega posts as a rule however are educational and informative, in other words ‘guides,’ whereas longform content, certainly in the way that the major media companies reference it, is more discursive and interactive – like the classic New York Times’ article Snowfall.
If you are still not sure what I am talking about then check out this post from Calendly. They are a software company that claim make online calendar management simple. The post, “The Ultimate Google Calendar Guide: 90+ tips to supercharge productivity” is a classic example of a mega post in that it positions the company as an authority on the topic while at the same time offers real value to the readers as it is so comprehensive. Every single one of the 90 tips is accompanied by a graphics too whether it be a screen grab or an illustration.
Why write mega posts?
So why then should a website feature a mega post or two? Well, firstly they are really useful from an SEO perspective. Google’s algorithm increasingly rewards what it perceives to be quality content, and if the the mega post adheres to other Google guidelines in that it is unique, and well written then they are sure to improve a company’s standing with Google and attract readers organically.
Secondly, and arguably more importantly, mega posts underline to the reader that the company is a real authority on a subject. Take this post on building a blog audience from Quicksprout. Sure it might be lengthy but it pretty much nails the subject.
There is of course an argument which suggests that there are times when rather than producing one long post it makes sense to produce a series of short ones. This may help click through rates, but as esteemed online content specialist Problogger points outs “for me, I think the main advantage of long form content is that it is just more useful and convenient for readers to get it all in one go. A series of blog posts is great for page views and helping you to fill a week’s editorial calendar, however if you put yourself in a reader’s shoes, it can also be a little (or a lot) painful.”
Also from a marketing perspective one post is easier to promote. Bearing in mind that if you produce an extended piece of content you are most likely going to support it via paid for, and maybe even earned media, it makes sense to have all your words, images and maybe even video in the same place.
Another reason to consider them is their usefulness from a sales and new business perspective. Especially in the B2B arena it is essential to have content that sits at the top of the funnel and pulls people into a website to examine a company’s offering. Mega posts fit this bill perfectly.
One final reason for taking mega posts very seriously is that they do as a rule deliver high levels of engagement. If someone is searching for an answer to a problem and your company delivers the last word on that issue, then chances are they going spend a long time on that post gathering the information that they need. They may also bookmark it for future use.
In a world where measuring the effectiveness of content is still a very hot issue being able to show any type of engagement is crucial. This is an area where mega posts really deliver.
The only real difficulty of mega posts might be from a sales perspective. They are inevitably time consuming to produce and cost significantly more than standard editorial content. It is up to agencies and brand marketing managers to work out how to enthuse stakeholders about their potential.
They might not be ideal or essential for all companies, but I am convinced that mega posts are a very effective content marketing tactic.
Commissioned by The CMA
A Day in the Life of… Nick Wright, UK Group Creative Director, Havas Media Group
– Wake up to the sound of birds singing. I’d like to think this is because summer is here already (or you might think I’ve lost the plot) but in fact it’s just the alarm sound on my wife’s bedside clock – it also fakes the rising sun?!
In fact I haven’t just woken up as my little boy joined us in bed an hour ago and has been playing football with my cheek for the past hour.
– A quick breakfast of tea, toast and emails followed by the nursery run. We’re currently neck deep in a really exciting pitch and I’m desperately trying to get a thought I’ve had bouncing around in my head down on paper. This is proving tricky against the backdrop of wheels on the bus coming from the back of the car. It could be an interesting collaboration though…
– Journey to the office. A blend of randomly writing musings on my phone with random articles in The Metro. Sometimes they can be real inspiration for ideas, not today unless we want to create a content series about a ‘Probation officer caught moonlighting as a £100-a-night prostitute despite £50,000 salary’. Is there anyone this could work for..?
– Breakfast catch up with Daren Benton, who I run Havas X with – our group content and partnerships team. We move into our brand new Havas Village in Kings Cross this month so there’s lots of exciting new opportunities coming in for us to implement our ‘Media X Content’ proposition across the group. There’s also the, potentially more important, issue of scoping out and prioritising the pubs in the area. I love the new lease of life that’s been given to Kings Cross – from the original gateway into the capitol to a red light district and nightclubs to now the most connected area of London. Physically and culturally.
– Into back-to-back client team sessions – it’s planning season so everyone is at full speed and this year the need for the non-traditional media approach has doubled, if not trebled, so we’re manic (in a great kind of way).
Havas is really driving this agenda forward and investing in capabilities and resources to push us more and more into a ‘build media’ space.
Lunch on the go as we dive across town to pick up an exciting new brief. One of those briefs that don’t come around that often (I know that’s said A LOT but this is definitely the case for this one) so, unlike my usual self, I am not only on time but 15 mins ahead of time.
The briefing goes amazingly well and lives up to all expectations. Now to deliver against it!
We get straight into it. The beauty of being a nimble group is the ability to get the right people in a room quickly. I always see these ‘kick offs’ as a bit like Pimp My Ride. We have all the specialists around the table, we kick about a few ideas on how we should approach it and then everyone suggest ways they can build it together.
This is by far is the most exciting part of my job.
Early post-work drinks with Mark from Vice. Havas have a great relationship with them and Mark has always been a big advocate of what we do – he’s also a little bit nuts, which makes for great entertainment and good chat.
Once we’ve put the world to rights and come up with at least 3 or 4 ‘game changing ideas’ (or so we think), it’s home time. Hopefully back in time to say goodnight to my little boy.
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