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Video Storytelling for Content Marketers 26th September 2017
This one-day video storytelling workshop is designed to equip content marketers with the knowledge and tools they need to take advantage of the growth of video.
The workshop mixes together social science, behavioral, economical and creative storytelling. Helping delegates understand how stories work, why we like them and how they can be built into professional communication.
By infusing your communication with storytelling ideas and techniques you can help your content to:
Attract organic audiences;
Drive audiences to take specific action
Create viral, organic sharing.
Key learning outcomes
By the end of this workshop, participants will:
Understand the science behind why stories are so powerful in causing audience action.
Have immediately applicable techniques to find / craft stories which drive action and behavior change.
Know how to build a story, working back from the required call to action or KPI.
Who should attend?
The course is relevant to all content marketers, with a specific advantage to:
Copywriters and content creators, who will learn how to seek out certain types of stories and tweak their existing stories to reach milestones or KPIs.
Creatives looking to understand how to use storytelling to position (or re-position) their client, campaign or product in the minds of audiences.
B2B content creators looking to understand how storytelling can increase interest and engagement with typically dry content.
Venue, date & timings
WeWork, 3 Waterhouse Square,138 Holborn, London, EC1N 2SW
Wednesday 26th September 2017
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
CMA Members – £299
Non-Members – £399
How to book
Please click here and fill out the booking form.
Booking deadline 20th September 2017
Any questions please contact: Charlie.Eke@the-cma.com
About the trainer
Stephen Follows, Creative Director, Catsnake
Stephen is leading exponent and trainer in the art of using storytelling to achieve measurable outcomes. He has taught professional storytelling to a variety of clients including national institutions (inc The National Trust and BBC), companies (inc Virgin Trains and Wordtracker) and charities (inc Unicef, Age UK).
Stephen has created and led a number of storytelling consultancy projects for The National Trust, which include training hundreds of staff members, creating innovative visitor experiences and managing the stories of an entire castle.
“The Power of Storytelling” written by Stephen Follows for the National Trust and voiced by Sir Ian McKellen. This video introduces the basic ideas behind why stories are such a powerful method of communication.
From previous storytelling training
“We ran a series of workshops for headquarters teams last week, and Stephen was the star turn. He evangelised for great story-telling in a witty and engaging way. He gave us the science, the mind and the heart of storytelling and backed it up with examples of great short filmmaking.” DANIEL DODD – HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS, THE NATIONAL TRUST
‘Stephen captives the audience and takes them on a journey of discovery. I have seen the talk 3 times now and like a good movie, I uncover something new each time. I would recommend the talk to anyone looking to learn about storytelling and why we share stories – whether you are a novice or a seasoned pro, you will come away knowledgeable and excited.’ SIMON SANETT – HEAD OF DIGITAL STRATEGY, PORTER NOVELLI
‘It’s rare that you experience a presentation that completely changes the way you think about a subject. But that’s exactly what I got from Stephen’s fantastic talk on the principles and value of good storytelling. Stephen is such an entertaining and informative speaker. His unique perspective on telling stories is fascinating and insightful and is packed with practical advice. I recommend this talk to anyone interested in making their stories work, whatever the context.’ TIM TUCKER, CONTENT MARKETING CONSULTANT
From previous CMA teaching
“Stephen is a hugely charismatic and entertaining speaker and I could listen to him all day. Literally. He comes at content from an original and very compelling angle and you can see the results in the great work he has been behind.” KATH HIPWELL, HEAD OF CONTENT STRATEGY, RED BEE
“The trainer really knew his stuff and managed to cover so much in a single day. The topics he covered were really interesting and insightful. Looking forward to applying some of his tips and theories to practice.” FRANCESCO AGRESTI, VIDEO PRODUCER, KAPLAN INTERNATIONAL
“Thoroughly enjoyable session, Lots of great information and insight to take back to the team.” SARAH DEANE, MARKETING ASSISTANT, ZURICH MUNICIPAL
“Well organised and highly informative training on digital marketing” SARAH WILLIAMS, CONTENT MARKETING MANAGER, BLOOMSBURY
“Stephen was fantastic. He was engaging, had great examples and covered a huge spread of topics that were both interesting and applicable.” HELEN CASSIDY, ACCOUNT DIRECTOR, THINK
Film School testimonials
“Stephen’s work is bursting with the same unstoppable creative energy as the person himself. He is driven, focused, and completely committed to utter perfection, always making sure that each detail is as polished as it can possibly be. As a writer, Stephen’s ideas never fail to amuse, surprise, entertain and amaze: at every turn, just when you thought you knew where the story was going, an unexpected twist will take you to a completely new and exciting place. It’s a delight to work with him – a Renaissance man for the 21st century.” DR ROBERTO TROTTA – DIRECTOR AT CENTRE FOR LANGUAGES, CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON
“Stephen has been a visiting teacher at the NFTS for the past three years, delivering bespoke lectures (for the whole school on a cross-specialisation basis) and individual seminars on the courses I run. Not only are they always intellectually challenging (I have attended them), but they are notable for the level of engagement with the students — Mr Follows scores very highly in that regard with the students.” CHRIS AUTY – DEPARTMENT HEAD, NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL
“Stephen Follows is an experienced writer, producer and teacher with a strong list of credits. He has an impressive knowledge of the structures and trends of the Film and Television industry globally and is a sought after authority on the subject.” PAUL THOMPSON – ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, NYU TISH
“Stephen is one of the best informed and prepared tutors at the Met. Student feedback from his sessions is excellent, and the fact that they can follow him on his invaluable industry blog is a bonus that few tutors can offer.” STEVE PINHAY – HEAD OF PRODUCING, MET FILM SCHOOL
Previous film training
“Classes were a joy to attend every evening as Stephen is inspiring in his wealth of knowledge and teaches his students like colleagues and friends. I would highly recommend this course and Stephen as an educator. I would attend any course he offered as I feel I learnt more in this course than my 3-year BA.” GINA POWELL – UNSTOPPABLE ENTERTAINMENT
“Stephen is an inspiring, and creative teacher and I learned more about the real world of film production than I could ever have gleaned from a dozen books on the subject. I’d recommend anyone who’s serious about a career as a producer to spend time in Stephen’s company and listen.” MARK LO – ASYLUM GIANT
“Throughout the long information packed days Stephen was never less than an engaging, super enthusiastic fountain of knowledge, and, for what I learnt from it, the price was a steal! For anyone searching for a super short course that teaches them the no holds barred reality of what it takes to become a UK Independent Film Producer and get a feature film made, look no further.” SUSIE WATSON – FREELANCE DIRECTOR
“I was stunned in his extensive knowledge about the industry. Stephen was always attentive on what I wanted to learn and introduced me to several industry professionals – I recommend Stephen’s classes, he is truly an expert in producing and an excellent teacher.” KARINE PAWEL – M&C SAATCHI
Time to rethink your LinkedIn page?
No matter whether you are B2C brand with a target audience of millions, or a B2B company whose content only really needs to be seen by 10 or so very specific individuals, your LinkedIn page really matters. It is a shop window – a reflection of your company and its values and aspirations.
There was a time when the main criticism of LinkedIn pages was that they tended to be too static. Apart from the company details content was invariably added as an afterthought, dumped on the page because someone from the social media team thought it would give the company a little more reach.
Now that issue largely appears to have been addressed with many companies, especially in the B2B sector, not only building their content calendars around LinkedIn, but creating dedicated content for platform.
Yet there is still plenty room for improvement which is why LinkedIn has been recently pushing its ‘Best Company Pages awards.’ The awards are originally nominated by users, though LinkedIn chooses the winners. And one of the main reasons it does this is to highlight best practice which it hopes will inspire companies.
Perhaps because of its corporate heritage or importance as a receptacle for thought leadership company LinkedIn pages have in the past looked a little wordy and sometimes drab. It seems too that companies invariably ended up using similar stock images. I have lost count of the times I have seen the same images to illustrate engagement or targeting or even the sales funnel.
Creating bespoke images isn’t that hard it just takes planning and some resources, and when it is done well, such as on the Schneider Electric page, it really can change the nature of a page and in some ways the perception of a company.
Extended deadline for entries in the International Content Marketing Awards
Another key issue for many companies on their Linkedin pages is that they tend to attract very little engagement from users, readers and customers. This is perhaps because the content is a little too pushy. For example thought leadership stories might be a little too dogmatic rather than being discursive.
Getting across the company view especially one that reflects its core messaging and values, is of course massively important, but at the same time asking questions and trying to engage an audience can reap valuable rewards.
A good example of a page which does this is another LinkedIn award winner DXC Technologies which constantly uses polls and questionnaires to find out what its readers and customers want. It is something that more companies, usually in the B2B space, would do well to copy.
Another rather obvious ploy, yet one that isn’t always followed through by companies, is to make the Linkedin pages more people-centric. I have heard recently from other companies that they only choose to share images of their staff (on company trips etc) on Facebook and Instagram. The concern is that that if they share on LinkedIn recruitment companies or their rivals may target their staff.
Yet displaying staff stories on LinkedIn pages can also be a very valuable tool for companies as they recruit staff. Inspiring stories of how individuals have moved upwards in their career and learnt new skills can be an important way of communicating key recruitment messages to potential employees, as well as saluting the performance of existing ones. Nike is a company that excels at telling its staff stories – a trait acknowledged in the awards.
Some other excellent LinkedIn Pages that are worth looking at for their excellence, originality and levels of engagement include HubSpot, Delta Airlines, and JustEat.
Company LinkedIn pages are such a powerful and important tool. It seems odd that they don’t always get the level of attention they deserve.
Commissioned by The CMA
Digital Breakfast On Tour to Manchester
The CMA is taking the Digital Breakfasts on the road! First stop on our UK tour will be Manchester. The breakfast will be held at the Havas Manchester offices.
The breakfast will be an insightful look at the way content marketing can be used to create awareness, build audiences, and ultimately deliver a strong return on investment for a wide range of businesses.
Experts and practitioners will focus on how to develop a strong content marketing initiative for your business, by highlighting best practice content, industry case studies and analytics.
Anyone interested in starting or improving their content marketing activity won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear from people who are doing it right.
Mike Jeff, Commercial Director at Branded3
Branded3 is one of the most respected search agencies in the UK. Mike has experience both client and agency side, with a focus on consumer behaviour and audience engagement.
Dr Steve McKevitt, Author, Entrepreneur, Academic
Steve McKevitt is an expert in brand communication. He is the founder of three successful businesses and, over a 25-year career, has worked in the UK, Europe and the US with companies such as Nike, Google, Sony PlayStation. Atari, BT, Coca Cola, Deutsche Bank, NBC Universal, EMI Music, Future Publishing, Motorola, MTV, NTL and Harvey Nichols. Steve is a critically acclaimed author. His books – about management, brand communication, growth and sustainability – have been published internationally and his articles have appeared in newspapers around the world: from The Guardian and The Observer to The Huffington Post and Kenya Daily Nation. He completed his PhD at the University of Sheffield and his next book, The Persuasion Industries in Britain is published by Oxford University Press in Spring 2018.
Andrew Ko, CEO and Co-Founder at Personalyze
Andrew is a thought leader on the social and big data revolution in music, having sat on a music industry panel during Social Media Week in London and speaking on numerous occasions at digital media conferences and the Manchester Business School. Andrew completed his PhD studies at the University of Manchester in 2014. His doctoral research involves exploring how emotions and context shapes people’s identities and experience with music and what insights can be drawn from this data, which became the foundation for Personalyze’s proprietary technology.
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.
Tuesday 10th October 2017
9am – 11am (Breakfast which is included is served from 8:30am)
54 Princess Street,
CMA Members: £50 + VAT
General Admission: £100 + VAT
To book tickets please book via the current Digital Breakfast booking page by clicking the button below. Choose the October Manchester Digital Breakfast.
A Day in the Life of… Jane Hunt, Co-Founder & Marketing Director at JBH – The Content Agency
Jane co-founded JBH in 2013. As Marketing Director, she has a keen eye for identifying and responding to the unique challenges faced by brands with her constructive, honest approach.
Having spent her professional life working as a marketing consultant both client and agency side, her key area of expertise lies in brand strategy and campaign planning. She also leads and guides the content team in delivering high-quality content and digital PR campaigns.
My day starts with multiple alarms going off at 6.30am (I’m not a morning person at all – hence a few alarms to get me up). After a cup of tea, a chunk of chocolate and a banana I head out for a short run – nothing crazy, just enough to get my mind and body ready for the day. I find a morning run helps me visualise the day ahead and focus on the positives.
At 8.45 I stop off at Sainsbury’s to pick up some bits and pieces for the event we have planned in the office for Afternoon Tea Week. We’re currently working on a digital PR campaign for a client – one of the top sellers of Afternoon Tea experiences in the country. Afternoon Tea Week seemed like the perfect opportunity to launch a national petition via Change.org calling for Unicode to add a teacup to the emoji keyboard! When you read the comments from people who have signed the petition you realise that people are really passionate about a tea emoji – I’m really enjoying reading them!
Just after 9am I trawl through emails (with more tea – there’s a theme!) and jot down meetings, calls and a rough plan on my day planner.
At 9.30am we have a team huddle to discuss the day ahead – where we are with our current projects and new opportunities that have come up.
At 10am I sit down with the digital PR specialist to discuss the Afternoon Tea campaign. As part of the campaign we’re working with a set of lifestyle influencers who represent the client’s target demographic – we’ve asked them to write an afternoon tea-themed blog post and share the petition with their audiences via social. We review which influencers have already taken part and get excited by the lengths many of them have gone to before doing the routine stuff, checking they’ve included the relevant information and links to the client’s website.
Instagram post from Seen In The City part of the afternoon tea campaign
Later on in the morning I get on Skype with a prospective client in Malta to find out more about their digital PR requirements. We run through our packages to see which would be the best fit. This proves challenging as the signal is bad, so we abandon Skype and jump on the phone! What I notice and really appreciate when talking to clients or prospects overseas is that conversations are often more direct. I soon understand what it is they need – as an agency they manage hundreds of websites and need to help them all grow organically in search and we begin to flesh out a content and digital PR package to meet their needs.
At 11.45 I sit down with digital director Andy to review the pages for the new agency website (something which always takes a back seat) and I start to get excited about finally having a new website – one that truly shows our capabilities, given some of the awesome brands we get to work with. The objective of the new website is to have much more impact – we invest time and resources into creating content to generate organic leads and now we need to ensure that every visitor is immersed in the quality of content we create the moment they land on the homepage.
Reviewing the new homepage design with Andy, the digital director
Lunchtime rolls around far too quickly and it’s time to immerse ourselves in afternoon tea week quite literally – its only right that we get involved in our clients’ campaigns! The content team head to the boardroom to set up our version of afternoon tea – complete with flowery tablecloth, coordinating cake stand, napkins, triangular sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, jam, French Fancies and strawberries! Once we’re satisfied with our pretty tablescape, we snap a few pics for Instagram and invite the rest of the agency in to partake – we even find an afternoon tea playlist!
Celebrating Afternoon Tea Week in the office
At 2.45pm (suitably stuffed from a delightful lunch), I check my emails to see if anything needs my immediate attention. Happy that everything is fine, I sit down with two members of the team that had account management training last week to discuss what they learned, what they can implement immediately and what I can do to better equip them to make sure our clients are satisfied – not only with the content and campaigns we create, but with the way we manage our client relationships.
My afternoon ends with a strategy session with the content specialist about the campaign we’re entering for multiple awards. We talk at length about the strengths of the short-form video content we created with a set of influencers for a nonprofit client campaign and break down why we think the collaboration was so successful. It’s a nice way to end a busy day, thinking about what could be!
Jane Hunt, Co-Founder & Marketing Director at JBH – The Content Agency
Customer magazines: hardy, perennial performers
Hidden amongst a general decline in magazine sales, customer magazines continue to shine brightly. CMA consultant editor Dominic Mills looks at why the category performs for readers and brands.
The decline of print magazines is an ongoing story. With a few newsstand exceptions – notably current affairs – last month’s ABC figures showed most titles and sectors are down. There’s digital growth, sure, but it fails to match the slump in print.
Yet look carefully at the top 100 titles, and there’s one type of title that continues to outperform the market – those old faithfuls, the customer magazine. And many of them are produced by CMA members like Hearst, SevenC3, John Brown and Cedar.
Collectively, they defy the conventional wisdom that digitisation is eating into print.
There’s Asda’s Good Living, produced by Hearst, with a circulation of 1.79m; Vitality magazine, published by SevenC3, has a circulation of 570,000, and Sainsbury’s Magazine and Weight Watchers (both paid-for, too) recorded circulations of 166,158 and 100,297 respectively; Cedar’s Tesco Magazine has a circulation of 1.96m; and John Brown’s John Lewis Edition (JLE) and Waitrose Food, with circulations respectively of 487,075 and 690,058.
Of course, as Andrew Hirsch, chief executive of John Brown, is quick to note, customer titles are (mostly) free and pushed out through stores, and thus spared the pain of newsstand distribution and sales. Equally, however, he points out, they survive because they deliver for both readers and clients.
“They’re still there because readers pick them up and because they work. They don’t get a free ride. They deliver incremental sales and they keep customers coming back to buy,” he says. “If you take Waitrose Food, our job is to get customers to buy two or three items they wouldn’t otherwise have bought.”
As an example, he cites Tilda Brown Basmati and Quinoa (so Waitrose), which experienced an uplift of 189pc after featuring in the title.
Vitality, produced for the insurance company Vitality Health, represents a significant investment, says SevenC3 chief executive Sean King. “Their ROI from content marketing is in branding, customer engagement and retention. Vitality’s specific proposition is all around healthy living. We produce content across all channels for them, but the magazine brings it together in a way digital alone cannot.”
Reward, loyalty and inspiration
Driving extra sales is clearly the end game for customer magazines, particularly retailers, but to achieve that, they also need to do other things along the way.
Reward, loyalty and inspiration are key aims for any brand, and most have metrics to keep a handle on these softer measures. All three are built in to the DNA of customer magazines.
Reward and loyalty are essentially two sides of the same coin. “Making a magazine available to your customers – regardless of whether it is free like JLE or linked to the store card like Waitrose Food – clearly defines the magazine as a reward,” says Hirsch.
That in turn engenders loyalty, driving repeat visits or more purchases. According to a survey of readers, 36pc say the magazine alone makes them more likely to shop in the store. This works through to the shopping basket, says Hirsch. “Waitrose Food readers spend five times more money a year in the store than non-readers”.
One simple way to achieve this is by inspiring them, whether this is via fashion as with JLE, or food as with Waitrose Food.
The aim with Waitrose Food, says long-standing editor and TV personality William Sitwell, “is to position the store as the quality retailer. Every recipe – and we test them all in our own on-site kitchen – must inspire readers. They need to be useful enough for good cooks, but not impossible for novices either.”
Figures bear this out. Waitrose says 70pc of readers have cooked at least two recipes, and 44pc cook featured recipes once a month or more.
Sainsbury’s Magazine and Weight Watchers also aim to inspire but, as paid-for titles, start from a different place. “They are branded magazines, but operate on the newsstand model, relying on copy sales and advertising revenue to earn their keep,” says the titles’ publishing director Kirsten Price. The magazine acts like a home base for other branded activities, including awards and seasonal paid-for supplements such as the upcoming Bake, timed for the TV baking season.
Some may be surprised that, in an age of digitisation, readers are more than happy to consume print magazines. Print’s appeal may vary by sector and demographic, but there’s no doubt that when it comes to food and fashion – and which may explain why online fashion retailers like ASOS and Pret a Porter are also print publishers – it can punch above its weight.
Hirsch’s theory is that print can also drive an emotional reaction in a way that online publishing cannot. When it comes to engaging the senses – touch, sight, smell – print connects.
And as Amazon threatens to steamroller over one retail sector after another, this will count. “I think a part of Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods – and don’t forget it’s a physical entity too – is about getting some emotional engagement,” he says.
It may be therefore that, to bulwark their defences against Amazon and other online plays, retailers will find that print that engages the readers’ emotions has a role to play. “If JLE can get readers to engage more with the store – whether buying fashion or home products – and make it as convenient to buy from John Lewis as an online retailer – then it is doing its job,” says Hirsch.
Price says that for brands that are looking to inspire and engage, then print is the medium. “If you think of food and recipes, a magazine can deliver something unexpected and make it look beautiful and inspiring.”
One lesson that shines through from customer magazines is that, if they are to compete with newsstand titles, they have to be just as good at grabbing and retaining the reader’s attention. Indeed, Sitwell starts from the point that Waitrose Food doesn’t just compete with other food magazines.
William Sitwell picking up Gold in Editor of the Year at the 2016 International Content Marketing Awards
“I’m naturally competitive,” he says, “I want to get exclusivity with big-name chefs. I want scoops that generate PR. But I’m always aware that we compete for our readers’ time with everything else – it could be the Sunday Times magazine, it could be others, it could be TV. The magazine has got to be worth picking up, and it’s got to reward readers for the time they give it. I want the title to be better than the competition, and the fact that it is a customer title is irrelevant as far as that is concerned.”
So, while customer magazine editors will look to use the same skills as their newsstand peers, they also use similar targeting or profiling techniques. “JLE represents the whole store,” says Hirsch, “but we have one type of target reader in mind – the fashion-interested 35-50-year-old woman – and that’s why 70pc of the title focuses on that area.”
In this, he says, JLE follows the targeting principles adopted by newsstand magazines. “If we didn’t, JLE would be a broad church, and the risk is it could become bland.”
And here’s an interesting twist in the tail, a theory advanced by King. “If there’s a decline in traditional newsstand titles covering areas like cars, food and fashion, then there are opportunities out there for brands to fill the gap with their own publishing efforts.”
But they certainly won’t succeed if they’re bland.
Dominic Mills, Consultant Editor, The CMA
Google Owl Update: What you Need to Know
Google’s latest quality improvements for Search have been live for a little while now. Here’s what we’ve seen, and everything you need to know on what – and why, they have made these recent changes.
GOOGLE OWL: THE WHAT AND WHY?
Fake news! A very modern problem for search engines and social media platforms alike. Controlling the spread and circulation of false media is a relentless task. However, Google also has to contend with disturbing answers and offensive search suggestions too (think of those auto-filled results when you start typing a word in the search query box). So, what has Google done to help combat this current issue?
Introducing: “Project Owl”. Named after the wise bird because… well, for no particular reason, according to the search giants. Project Owl is Google’s internal name for its latest Search quality update. A blog post by Ben Gomes, VP of Engineering on the Google blog opens with:
“Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information.”
Clearly envisaging fake news and the spread of misinformation as a long-term problem, Google have developed a three prong attack on Fake news and low quality search results, delivered through Project Owl.
Google said: “Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.”
HOW GOOGLE ARE FIXING FAKE NEWS
New Search Quality Rater Guidelines
Direct Feedback Tools
Google have tweaked the algorithms which focus on content quality to promote more authoritative content and demote low quality, specifically around misleading or offensive searches.
New Search Quality Rater Guidelines
Manual review is key to combating fake news. Yes, you read that correctly. Google have updated their quality rater guidelines to check against the algorithms work.
Direct Feedback Forms
Correct, multiple forms – Google have added two feedback mechanics to the SERPS so that we, the users, can help them clean up by reporting any offensive or inaccurate results. The forms have been added to autocomplete suggestions and featured snippets.
Since the update a few questions have been posed to Google team members via Twitter which have provided additional insight into the project; so far Google have confirmed the following:
New sites won’t have a tougher job ranking their content post the update
Big brands won’t be advantage over smaller when it comes to authoritative pages
They have no current plans to integrate feedback into the Google Chrome toolbar
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR US
It’s too soon to call. We’ll be keeping an eye out for the winners and losers. What we do know is that Google algorithm updates can bring a large amount of fluctuation to the SERPS. Previously the Panda update, indeed another animal theme, saw lots of unexpected movement. However, I believe that this
update will target publishers more than brands. Keep focusing on customer first, featuring relevant content and you’ll be just fine.
Will the above fix the fake news problem? I doubt it can eliminate it, but it will allow users the opportunity to tell Google when something is out of place, which is more than a step in the right direction.
Andy Edmonds, Head of Engagement, iProspect
How to create a content strategy without search volumes
When content is all about appealing to search engines rather than an audience, it can become boring and unengaging. This is not successful marketing.
Search marketers feel like they’re going out on a limb if they aren’t gripping onto keyword volumes to justify their recommendation. But times have changed, and so have algorithms.
The idea of keyword research is great as it can help us find out what people are looking for and want to know more about. But volume shouldn’t be the only thing to bear in mind when creating our strategies. You’ll get a more complete picture of your audience’s needs if you look elsewhere.
Learn how to support your content strategy without solely relying on search volume data so you can be more audience focused and create more diverse strategies.
What does the public want to know?
The whole idea of content marketing is to create useful and engaging content that users will find interesting, and that adds value to the brand hosting it. Content that users engage with is more likely to be shared, which will attract more traffic to your website. So, before you start creating content, you need to know what information your audience is interested in finding and then provide it for them.
Answer the Public essentially acts as the ultimate autosuggest and can help content strategists to seek out potential topics for content. You put in a keyword and it provides pretty much every potential search that uses that word. A lot won’t be relevant but it also offers in-depth insight.
Strategists can look at the whos, whats, wheres, hows, and whys as well as the core search terms. This can then be assessed against search volumes and current ranking positions to contribute to the strategy for creating the new pages. Some queries will have no search volume, but those searches can show you an underserviced gap you might not have noticed otherwise.
Answer the Public can help you quickly find what people want to know
Bloomberry can gather information on questions being asked across the web, even pulling data from forums, Quora and Reddit (to name just a few). You can gain a quick (but, in-depth) overview of which keywords and topics are receiving the most interest.
What content already exists?
To identify what content is performing well in a certain niche or with a specific audience, and who the key influencers are, try Buzzsumo. It shows everything in terms of shares and social engagement, so it’s not ideal for drawing conclusions if your audience isn’t interested in Twitter, Pinterest and the like.
But it’s great for looking at things like whether your direct competitors are producing content around the same topic and if people ‘like’ it as much (or more) than yours. If there’s somewhere they’re falling short, take advantage.
Google’s other tools
You can learn quite a lot by monitoring your content through Google Analytics. Keeping a close eye on what content works well and what doesn’t: does it get traffic, do those people stick around? This will provide you with guidance on what you should focus on and/or improve going forward.
GA also allows users to monitor content performance at a more granular level by setting up ‘Content Groupings’. Content Groupings will help you monitor a certain group of pages. It’s a bit too involved to go through now, but Branded3’s Emma Barnes did a post that’ll tell you everything you need to know: ‘Why you need to be using Content Groupings starting now’.
The limited room for copy means videos work well on mobile. So why not make more of it? YouTube is as great source of inspiration, and the view counts are a good indication of interest. If you’re aiming to educate the user, create how-to content in an I-want-to-do moment.
You can easily get insight around what type of content users like to see by searching for your core terms.
Google Trends will also show you the ups and downs of YouTube searches, as well as being a valuable tool for standard web searches.
You can access data as far back as 2004. If there has been a growth in interest around the keywords/search terms you’re targeting, chances are people want to know more about it. There will be opportunities your strategy can explore.
What’s happening in offline media?
Online and offline media go hand in hand. By looking at successful offline campaigns that also had a positive impact on online you can learn how to draw inspiration from things happening in the ‘real world’.
As Branded3 discussed in ‘The importance of offline events, for online gain’, Carlsberg’s ‘Probably the best poster in the world’ billboard secured the brand coverage from some of the biggest UK and international publications (such as The Sun, Mirror, Metro, The Guardian, and LAD Bible). The US publication, Time magazine even picked this up.
An online drive to help promote a significant renovation of Money.co.uk’s HQ (a castle formally known as ‘The Barracks’) achieved 149 backlinks to the money.co.uk site from publications such as Elle Decoration, The Metro, Business Insider, The Entrepreneur and The Sun.
Google Analytics data reports that the campaign page received over 13,000 visits, with an average time on page of 03:19. After six weeks, the campaign page had received 10.3million visits and over 17,000 social shares.
And while it may be a bit early to start getting excited about Christmas, the Coca-Cola truck is a great example of the impact offline trends can have online. As you can see in the Google Trends graph below, there is a huge spike in searches for the term ‘Coca-Cola truck’ in December every year.
As a marketer, keeping a close eye on relevant search trends, rather than just volumes, can help you find opportunities to join in popular conversations.
If you’re still needing some inspiration, spend some time looking at the type of content your competitors are posting through their social channels. What are they hashtagging? What’s getting the ‘likes’? Look at what tone of voice their audience resonates with and what kind of content grabs their attention.
Keyword research is still important, but as content marketers, we need to think outside the box. The key to creating a great content strategy is to really understand what your audience is looking for, and you don’t always need search volumes to do that.
Steph Naylor, Content Strategist, Branded3
Augmented Reality – a technology whose time has come?
Part of the genius of Apple is the way it takes nascent technologies, which have in some instances been written off, and with a little design and innovation magic propels them into the mainstream.
There were MP3 players before the iPod, but it took Jonathan Ive’s iconic design to create a world beating product. Similarly there were touch screen phones before the iPhone, but again Apple created something new and innovative by making that interfac more effective and elegant than anything that had been available previously.
This autumn we could be seeing Apple pull off its party trick yet again in reviving a technology that has never quite made its mark – Augmented Reality.
Augmented Reality, or AR as it is commonly known, has been around for a long time, I remember discussing it first more than a decade ago, and as far back as 2010 AR was being positioned as a magic bullet for print based customer publishers.
Back then companies like Layar and Blippar had developed platforms that enabled users to point their phone at the written page and access bonus digital content. It was a smart idea, but has never arguably fulfilled its potential.
There are however a trio of reasons why Augmented Reality could well be the most talked about technology of the latter months of 2017.
Firstly there’s a gold rush going on. Developers still remember the enthusiasm which greeted the arrival of the AR-powered Pokemon Go game a year or so ago. Sure it was a craze, and the numbers playing it have dropped, but it underlined some of the potential of Augmented Reality and crucially emphasised that there was a mainstream audience ready to get excited about it. In turn Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram have all been experimenting with AR via various lenses they offer users.
Secondly there is perhaps a feeling that Virtual Reality needs something of a kick to establish itself in the mainstream and AR is a way of helping the technology do this. The two are, let’s face it, in the minds of many consumers, and industry people too, fairly interchangeable. The difference is that AR augments the real world, whereas VR takes the user into a wholly virtual world. Another difference is that unlike most VR, AR doesn’t always require additional hardware to make it work effectively. It can be experienced via existing phones and apps.
The third reason is that earlier in the year Apple announced its ARkit which will take the experiments of Snapchat and Facebook to a much higher level.The theory runs like this. The company has reached the point where it is having trouble differentiating its hardware from rivals like Samsung and LG as most smartphones are very similar. AR could then be the killer app which gets people excited about owning an Apple phone again – which is very useful given that the iPhone 8 is likely to launch in September/October.
The AR features will be baked into the next iteration of the Apple iOS – 11 and it will be accessible not just on the new phone but some older models too.
If you haven’t yet experienced some of the potential of the upcoming AR features then check out this YouTube video. The AR experiences range from useful – the ruler is a very sensible and useful idea through to the downright bonkers – look at some of these demos.
Ultimately what this means for brands is a chance to take another look at AR and work out whether there are experiences that take engagement to a new level. AdWeek recently rounded some ideas for brands which range from virtual test drives through to ‘beautifying’ uninteresting spaces.
Those experiences doesn’t have to be limited to the phone either but also there is an opportunity to take real world products and enable them, via the technology to interact with phones in an unusual and intelligent way. A good example is the Virtuali-Tee from enterprising Brighton company Curiscope which enables users to take a view of another person’s internal organs in an educational way after they have activated the app and pointed it at a dedicated t shirt. There are likely to be lots of other examples of smart uses like this as the months go by.
So Augmented Reality really ought to be on high on your list of things to mull over in the coming weeks. There is a going to a be a huge new market hungry for new apps while at the same time the cost of developing the apps has dropped significantly.
AR really is a technology whose time has arrived.
Commissioned by The CMA
The case for long form content marketing
Long form content is back in the news again this week thanks mainly to an excellent article by Peter Houston on Pub Exec. Peter takes a detailed look at the way that long form content has become popular among mainstream publishers. He cites not just the way that words and images are being used but also how long form video content, such as practiced by Vice, is inspiring the media.
Long form has many uses for publishers, but one key thing that it communicates to its readers is that the content creator understands that its audience is intelligent and engaged enough to work though longer pieces.
Peter does however reference what some argue is long form content’s achilles’s heel, and that is that not that many readers seemingly make it through to the end of an article.
“Mother Jones senior editor Dave Gilson recently shared an image of a newspaper clipping on Twitter. It is a letter from a newspaper editor of almost 20 years’ experience. The newspaperman wrote ‘People make a great mistake by writing long articles’ before outlining his formula for calculating the likely success of an article according to its length:
A fourth of a column will be read by most readers
Half a column will be read by half of readers
A full column will be read by just a third of readers
By the time you get to three or four columns, our correspondent believes only the ‘wearied editor’ is going to read it — an interesting take on the perils of overly long articles, especially since it was published in the Sonoma Democrat, 3rd May 1860.”
So the pros and cons of long form are clearly something that the publishing industry has been debating for centuries and probably still will be in a century’s time.
Long form content marketing is still a comparatively rare beast. Sure companies like Hubspot and Quicksprout have experimented with it, but generally it seems that marketers seem still to be very focused on content that comes in more bite sized chunks.
I guess the reason for this is largely about cost. Long form content is perceived to be expensive. The theory is that for the investment on a piece of long form the same marketer could have commissioned five shorter articles which may ultimately have delivered more of an ROI in terms of leads generated, new business wins etc.
I do however sense that a new approach to long form is coming and it is one that reflects some key marketing trends. The CMA blog looked at the issue of mega posts back in February highlighting how they can have enormous bearing in terms of SEO and brand authority.
Also more recently at the CMA Digital Breakfast in July Nicola Fleming, VP Head of Digital Content Strategy from Barclays spoke about the atomisation of content. The key being that brands need to work out strategies which then yields content that can be cut up and used in many different places and for many different uses – both internal and external. One way of achieving this is by creating long form content that is designed in a chapter style way so it can be cut and pasted on to other blog posts, social media and more.
If as marketers you are still concerned about dipping your toe into longer content then this article from TNM outlines its benefits from creating conversations through to increased likelihood of social shares.
Ultimately, then longform can have a powerful impact on brand image. As I mentioned earlier publishers use long form to appear intelligent, insightful and smart to their audience. That could be a powerful perception change for some brands too.
Commissioned by The CMA
Is creating video for social platforms becoming too complex?
Over the last few weeks, one of the most important upgrades in social media that’s likely to happen this year has been rolled out. After making an announcement in February, Facebook finally seems to be adding sounds to videos embedded in news feeds which are seen from its mobile phone apps – though not via the web. Put simply if you hover over the video it starts playing, as it did previously, but this time not silently but with sound.
It is a controversial move and one that has already sparked a fairly significant social media backlash. Critics of the move have taken to Twitter (of all places) to announce that they are now deleting the Facebook app and only accessing the platform via the web. They cite instances from a decade or so ago when MySpace, and many other sites, delivered autoplay ads with the sound up. That didn’t end too well for the company did it!
The move has accompanied the creation of a new service called Facebook Watch in which the platform attempts to assert itself as a key place for short form professional video. Rolled out in the US last week Watch features content from as many as 30 partners and is being positioned as a rival to content from Twitter and Snapchat.
It seems as if the platform is finally making good on a promise from a few years back that video would be the heart of the platform.
In theory this should be good news for brands as it opens up yet another way of creating engaging videos. In reality it is likely to be an issue that they don’t consider or even just ignore. That’s because online video on platforms is now starting to get extremely complex.
Of course, if you hate the idea then there are ways round hearing the audio. You can obviously turn the sound on your phone. Alternatively you can access Facebook Settings and turn it off. That isn’t the point though. The interesting part for Facebook and brands is to see how many people will actually make the efforts to tame the sound. There is evidence that a lot of tweaks to social media are initially hated by users, who as times goes by grow accustomed to them.
Ironically the move has largely been driven by brands. Facebook knows if it wants to broaden its video advertising (and video is so such an important part of its strategy) that it needs to be able to offer autoplay sound from the off. So it needs to get its users accustomed to auto play sound.
Yet most of that ad content was originally created for other platforms – like TV – and is being repurposed for Facebook, and isn’t necessarily native to the platform.
The move does however have implications for video content creators, especially those who focus on Facebook video. Sound has arguably been a lower priority for some content creators as they seek engagement on the platform. For many having a viewer watch a few seconds with no sound on auto may has been enough to promote a message. It has meant though that the start of videos have been optimised to grab the viewer’s attention and then they have been hooked in with the moving images and the subtitles.
The next Digital Breakfast will cover how to use short video formats to attract, engage and drive loyalty
Now the question is how should content creators approach Facebook video? Does it make sense to make the most of the addition of sound and use that as an initial hook. Or keep to the established way of doing things without sound initially and with subtitles?
The grammar of Facebook video production could be set to change, but only if Facebook users respond in a certain way. It may simply be that the majority of videos are still watched on Facebook on autoplay with the sound down.
The future of video content on social platforms seems to be in a constant state of flux. Snapchat recently allowed its users to record six videos at a time while dropping its ten second limit on recording.
Meanwhile, Instagram is experimenting with a feature that enables two people to stream content at the same time via split screen.
For brands social networks remain at the heart of their video distribution strategies. The only problem is the proliferation of platforms, different methods of presentations and customisation options are now starting to cause real headaches. Video is the future for social networks, but brands scan very easily get stuck in the past.
Commissioned by The CMA
B2B Marketing Challenges
August’s Digital Breakfast took a well-established format into largely uncharted territory. For the first time, it focused exclusively on B2B content – a move that clearly struck a chord with a large and engaged audience.
Four speakers were lined up to explore the role of content in B2B business, each bringing a distinctive and insightful view.
A B2B content primer
First up was Kobi Omenaka, a Google Certified Digital Marketing Consultant, Teacher and Speaker.
Kobi kicked the breakfast off with a primer looking at exactly what B2B content marketing is, and the types of problems it is solving. He stressed from the off that, contrary to myth, that B2B content is not boring, it is just as interesting as B2C content.
Kobi said there was a requirement for B2B content because “interruptive marketing is less effective, people are now wise to the carpet bomb approach of so many channels. They are barraged by a lot more content from lots of different sources.”
He then gave the attendees a little history pointing to the creation of The Furrow, a magazine that was published by agricultural machinery manufacturer John Deere as long ago as the 1890s. He stressed how it was unique at the time as it was an “independent, unbiased source of information, not necessarily talking about the product.”
Kobi then suggested that B2B content marketing wasn’t as difficult as some in the industry portray it to be.
“With B2B you at least have a fixed audience – unlike B2C which can be for everyone,” he explained. “With B2B you are selling to a person within the company. Your B2B people still have pain points, passions etc. They want to get promoted, want longer relationships with you and so on.”
He also pointed out that typically B2B content targets fewer people. For example, some content might only need to be read by a handful of people for it to have achieved its goals.
Kobi then took the attendees on a tour of the different types of content in the B2 sphere.
1. Infographics – These are engaging and shareable. Yet on the negative side, difficult to make, difficult to measure ROI and easy to copy
2. Email and blogs – These can be highly effective and have clear SEO benefits. They are also supported by accurate and advanced analytics. However there is a low barrier to entry, and there’s evidence in terms of emails that some people have Inbox fatigue.
3. Video – There is a strong channel in YouTube, great analytics and SEO benefits. However there is a high barrier to entry and videos require full attention from viewers. Crucially, to be engaging, the presenter needs to be ‘a bit of a character.’
4. Podcasts – Big opportunity for the B2B space that is generally unexplored in the UK. Large growth of podcast audience, also listeners don’t have to give their full attention, like video. Great analytics and podcasts don’t require ‘a character’ to be engaging.
B2B content strategy
Second to present was Mike Baxter, Product and Content Lead, Goal Atlas, who focused on the strategic ways to approach B2B content marketing
Mike explained that he has worked since 2001 on content for B2B companies. His background is in psychology and his specialism is looking at customer experience, which, he argues, is as important in B2B content as it is in B2C.
He started by asking the question – “why are we doing B2B content marketing?” To which he replied it was largely about changing the perceptions of the audience we are trying to reach.
Mike said that in order to do this we need to understand psychology and referenced ‘Social Identity theory’ as being central in the way that we classify people.
He said that the core purpose of B2B content is to get the prospect to think we are ‘one of them’ and that there is a synergy between the companies/individuals. The way to do this is by offering information that’s useful, valuable and trustworthy. They then go on the journey from being ‘one of them’ to ‘one of us.’ And the development of this type of relationship means that they will value us and will potentially have an ongoing relationship with us.
Mike then went on to talk about content’s role in the sales funnel, saying that sometimes not everyone in the company agrees what the sales funnel is and how it should be handled. For example, sales and marketing may have different views on this.
He added too that we need to recognise that the sales funnel is moving from a population of many, to a population of few as people progress down it – and that different content plays different roles in this journey.
His key takeaways are that we need to be systematic about how content is both measured and optimised.
Mike then went on to discuss the importance of the nature of the content that is created. He cited content that he had created for Econsultancy about digital transformation. He mentioned how it had become number one on Google initially, but now notes that it is down to number five and thinks that this might be because the content was too ‘sales focused.’
He said that the lesson here is that companies need to be clear about whether they are selling or informing.
To illustrate this point he cited the Rubik’s Cube as being complicated, adding that it was manageable as it was possible to achieve results if one found the right route. Whereas, as Mike continued, the Taliban in Afghanistan are complex as there are so many factors which influence the way that they behave and their approach. He underlined that the key thing for content marketers in the B2B sector was to move their perception of their approach from an art to a science.
His four points to help people achieve this are:
1. Find the existing patterns in your content-related data – Undertake inventory audit and competitor analysts.
2. Clarify and connect business and communications strategy – In some instances these are not properly aligned.
3. Pinpoint key tactical objectives – Enhance digital asset management for cross channel deployment. This will enable marketers to publish new hubpages.
4. Connect it all together – Companies need to use goal mapping to ensure that everyone is clear about roles, strategy and objectives.
Mike finished with four key conclusions for B2B companies who want to maximise their content-driven approach.
1. Manage the sales funnel in a standardised way.
2. Manage customer journeys – Ensuring content covers generic issues (product-category and solution-type) as well as your own specific product and brand proposition.
3. Manage the B2B content marketing process making it complicated not complex.
4. Transform the way that prospects perceive you – From one-of-them
The complexities of B2B content
The third presenter was Sam Gallagher – client services director Progressive Content, who began by acknowledging some of the complexities in creating content for B2B enterprises.
He suggested that some in the industry have a inferiority complex compared with creators of B2C content, However he argued that while there is complexity in B2B content that it is as multifaceted as B2C.
He then ran though his ten lessons for understanding some of the complex challenges in B2B content.
1. There’s no such thing as boring in B2B – Sam said that there is only “good content and bad content and that is measured in its usefulness to its intended audience.”
2. Customers don’t think in campaigns – He argued that an abstract rarely resonates at campaign level. B2B content needs to meet needs on a day to day basis.
3. Vanity metrics don’t translate in B2B – Sam said that was especially true of video where, for example, a successful campaign might only be 100 views etc.
4. The best marketing is a mix of relevancy and relationships – With content working to unlock inherent trust and relationships within a business. Content supports relationships.
5. To be relevant you have to be agile – B2B content needs to respond to ideas and changes in the media landscape, eg an accountant in the business might need to have a view on the budget etc. B2B content marketers need to be agile and think about publishing frequently.
6. Understanding the rules but knowing when to break them – For example some topics require longer content than the 600 word industry standard.
7. Mix specialisms with creative craft – Sam talked of the importance of unlocking intellectual capital in large companies and communicating it.
8. Central marketing does not have a monopoly on good ideas – Sam suggested that, for example, customer enquiries often inspire new content ideas
9. Listen and learn – For example Sam said that B2B is getting to grips with social and how to use it as a distribution channel. It needs to be part of a content planning strategy.
10. Close the loop – B2B content creators need to learn to harness data and learn from analytics.
Is B2B still boring to boring?
The last person to present was Giuseppe Caltabiano, Head of Content Marketing Advisory Services, NewsCred
He began his presentation by asking ‘Is B2B still boring to Boring?’ He said that when it comes to data Vs emotions the perception is that B2B is more boring. This however doesn’t have to be the case with Giuseppe citing LinkedIn’s Dinner for Five series.
Giuseppe added that historically B2B requires a more rational approach, but that new technologies, new communications channels (social media) are changing the way B2B companies approach clients. And in some ways the new methods of communication, which includes content marketing, have been adopted by B2B companies at faster speed than B2C.
In terms of messaging Giuseppe pointed out that was a real difference between the content marketing approaches. He said that B2B content should inform and educate, while B2C content should inspire.
Another important point that Guiseppe made was that multiple influencers are involved in a B2B decision – something that is not always the case in B2C. There maybe as many four different departments involved in a decision making process and one of the complexities of B2B marketing is that content needs to address all these individuals and sectors effectively.
Yet one advantage B2B has over B2C is that there is a more limited number of platforms to use. As Giuseppe explained, the distribution channels are not endless. In reality there is really only three or four that are efficient.
Giuseppe then unpacked the B2B content distribution plan citing the importance of, and difference between, owned, paid and earned media.
He also advised caution in companies selecting the right KPIs as these are different along the different points of the sales process.
He also discussed how companies shouldn’t write off different platforms – perceiving them as being just B2B or B2C. For example, there is now a number of B2B companies that use tactics like Facebook Live to illustrate the human side of their business.
Finally Giuseppe went onto nail what he sees as the two most prevalent myths about B2B content.
Firstly that the ‘humans have lesser attention span than that a goldish,’ he argued that this isn’t the case and anyhow should not be used as an argument to dumb down content.
Secondly “buyers are 67% (or 57%, or 90%) of the way through the purchase journey before they want to talk to a supplier (or to sales)”
If you work in B2B marketing, you’ll have been told that buyers are either 57%, 67% or (more recently) 90% of the way through the purchase
journey before they want to talk to a supplier. Giuseppe argued that the basis for at least two of these stats is actually very thin and has been so widely misrepresented.
Commissioned by The CMA
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