Digital Marketing: The History of Social and the Future of Content

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As digital marketing evolves there are many aspects that must be taken into account. This eBook will teach you the history of social marketing and the rise and development of the future of content …

As digital marketing evolves there are many aspects that must be taken into account. This eBook will teach you the history of social marketing and the rise and development of the future of content marketing based on my personal and professional experiences.

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  • 1.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         1     Digital Marketing: The History of Social and The Future of Content    
  • 2.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         2                     Digital Marketing: The History of Social and the Future of Content All rights reserved. Copyright © 2013 by Ethan Warlick Cover art by Ethan Warlick First Printing: June, 2013 This license lets others download this work and share it with others as long as others credit the author, but others can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.    
  • 3.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         3     Contents   Intro .....................................................................................................................................4 Chapter 1. Social Marketing Era: Why so Social?..............................................................5 Chapter 2. Everybody’s A Critic: The Social Voice ...........................................................6 Chapter 3. Social Mediation: Managing Multiple Platforms ..............................................8 Chapter 4. What is a Community Manager? .......................................................................9 Chapter 5. Content Marketing – The Voice of Your Business..........................................10 Chapter 6. The Art of Social Storytelling (A Campfire Story) .........................................11 Chapter 7. Outsourcing Content to an Agency: When and Why ......................................13 Chapter 8. Collaboration of SEO and Content will lead to a Quality Internet..................14 Chapter 9. Content Marketing: 5 Tactics You Haven’t Thought of Yet...........................15 Chapter 10. The Future of Content Based on Today’s Trends..........................................18 Outro..................................................................................................................................20 References .........................................................................................................................21      
  • 4.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         4     Intro   My name is Ethan Warlick and I have a large passion for all aspects of digital marketing. As a recent graduate, I have gained my Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a major in Marketing, a minor in Information Technology as well as a certificate in Professional Writing. After creating a depth of digital marketing related articles I have decided to form this collection of my content regarding the history and future of the industry. Throughout my experiences, both in my career and personal life, I’ve witnessed the birth of social media and the exponential rise of digital content. From being a part of some of the first large networks, acting as content marketer for multiple clients, as well as following constantly changing trends, I have increased my knowledge of the established digital map, which has allowed me to cultivate the blueprints for the future. The chapters in this eBook will plot the start and growth of social media marketing and the importance and rise of digital content marketing. Please enjoy the read and feel free to continue the conversation by contacting me through my social channels or at my email below! Twitter: @EthanWarlick LinkedIn: Ethan Warlick Email:                              
  • 5.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         5     Chapter  1.  Social  Marketing  Era:  Why  so  Social?     Why is it that so many people are drawn to social media? Unlike other forms of media though, social media does not perform for the user. Rather, the user creates and maintains the media. So again I inquire, why is it that people are drawn to social media like an addiction? Compared to other forms of media, such as film and music, the user acts more as the director, screenwriter and musician instead of just enjoying the leisure of watching a movie or listening to a favorite artist; social media creates a continuously working user. Compared to other forms of social communication, such as speaking face-to-face or on the phone, social media is very hands on and can be exhausting. Instead of quickly discussing content with someone, users create accounts with their information and maintain and update them as changes occur in their daily lives. With the number of social platforms growing exponentially, users recreate themselves with each that they join. So one last time I ask, why so social? In fact, if social networking were to be compared to anything it should be marketing! As defined by Merriam-Webster, Marketing is: 1) The act or process of selling or purchasing in a market, 2) The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service, and 3) An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer. Comparing social media to marketing is a much simpler process. To mirror networks with the above definition you must envision everyone’s social lives on one field or in one market. A social network is much like a social market because it is a way of presenting oneself to others, or marketing oneself. There is a certain process and an acquired technique to social media marketing and instead of being just for leisure; it is actually becoming a necessity today. So now this begs the question, why has everyone become marketers? Marketing establishes goods and services as unique and desirable so it is no wonder why people have become so obsessed with marketing themselves. In such a fast-paced real world, the cyber world allows users to keep up with their personal lives and update themselves to friends, family and other online acquaintances. Compared to technology use, social media use is much like the digital divide. Since it has become such a necessity, to fall behind divides those that are still maintaining their social lives and those that are not. Instead of being divided by those that have the ability to use it and not, networking is divided between those that are willing to update and those that are not, or more drastically put, those that do not matter in this large culture shift.
  • 6.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         6     For example, think about whenever the phone was first commercialized and every household had one. Being the one household without a house phone is like not having a social network. More specifically, think about how important mobile phones are to society today. Not updating or even being a part of social networks is like not having a personal phone. Though it makes sense, it is still very interesting that marketing has gone from a career to a daily necessity in everyone’s lives. The era of considering any social encounter or action as anything other than a form of personal marketing is over and social media is the pinnacle of this marketing era. Chapter  2.  Everybody’s  A  Critic:  The  Social  Voice     As  new  ideas  and  products  emerge  from  the  minds  of  people,  criticism  is  emerging   from  the  social  networks  of  others.  With  the  introduction  of  Facebook  and  Twitter   status  updates  into  our  daily  lives,  users  have  taken  their  thoughts  on  different   matters  from  their  heads  and  have  begun  to  post  them  all  over  social  platforms.  If it were ever easy to bring an idea to life without being criticized, social media has destroyed that way of life. Do you recall when you were a child and as soon as you saw an advertisement for a toy you had to have it? Nothing could keep it from your hands and you wouldn’t let your parents forget how much you needed it. For example, I remember wanting an expensive water gun after seeing it on a commercial and in stores. The children in the commercial were shooting water at each other from up to ten yards away and I wanted so badly to be one of those kids. Based on the information that the manufacturer had given me, the gun was going to be the best thing that ever had happened in my nine years of living. Now think if social media platforms had been present in my childhood. I could have easily seen that users buying the water gun were very disappointed to find out that the gun did not shoot as it did in the commercial. In all actuality, the toy was not as important as I had once assumed. Finding out that a product is not what you actually wanted is one thing, but finding out that you can use the criticisms of online users to help choose what to buy and not buy is another. Social Media Impact on Consumer Vs. Company As a consumer, this can come in handy, but as a company this alters business plans and can be the defining factor between the success and failure of a product or service. Now that users have become criticizing marketers, businesses must change their strategies. To do so they must adjust and adapt to this new socially charged environment by following the following steps.
  • 7.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         7     Step 1. Analyze Marketing Aspects To begin, you must inspect the way that you are promoting or advertising a good to make sure it is adequate, but more importantly that it is honest. As stated before, there is nothing worse to a consumer than any form of false advertising. Likewise, there is nothing worse to a producer than losing consumer loyalty, which is why goods must be marketed fairly and adequately define the consumer experience without promising a certain expectation that is unattainable. Step 2. Target the Audience As it is extremely important to analyze the marketing aspects, it is as important to target the specific audience that will become the voice of the good. Now that it is so simple for consumers to share thoughts on products and services on a traceable network, it is becoming imperative to businesses to give this voice more to glorify than to criticize. Social media can be detrimental to the life of a good but it can be equally beneficial. Think back to the water gun example, if the product had met expectations or had even exceeded them, the consumers would have drastically multiplied. If the voice is speaking, the users are doing the job of marketing for you. Step 3. Feed the Voice Now that the goods are marketed correctly and the voice is talking, you must give the voice a reason to talk. This is an important step because voices change tones quickly. Meaning, even though it is marketed well and people are talking about it, what are you going to give the voice for talking and how are you going to make sure it is being heard? To feed the voice one must keep the users wanting to speak, or give them a reason or incentive to. This reason can include discounts for promotion or user gratification through a Like or Retweet. Users want their connections on networks to know that there is a reason why they are talking about a good, and to do this you must broadcast that the specific user has made a contribution. Key Takeaways Social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow users to update statuses about what is relevant to them, they also allow businesses to Retweet or even Like these contributions. Now that you have connected with the user, they feel even more connected to your good and brand. This is essential because it can lead to other users also wanting to be broadcasted for their contributions, which lead them to join the voice. Now that you have learned how to start a voice and feed the voice, social networks can become a powerful marketing tool. Networks can be a place for negative criticism but if you can utilize users as marketers, they will fuel the flame instead of extinguish it.
  • 8.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         8     Chapter  3.  Social  Mediation:  Managing  Multiple  Platforms   A  few  years  ago,  there was only one platform required to stay in the social loop, but as of lately users have increased the amount of networks that they are a part of. This brings along new challenges that have never been experienced before, such as where to post what without seeming repetitive. Since issues like this have begun to arise, we are learning to become social mediators. Social Mediation is the user management of multiple platforms and the difficulties associated with them. Having more than one account with a specific social network is a new occurrence, which makes these issues a precedent. Mediating between networks has never happened because social media has only witnessed transition stages until now. For example, before Facebook became the social capital of the Internet, there were many other networks fighting to be on the top. When MySpace users began flocking to Facebook, there was a transition stage instead of mediation. Users did not make posts on both networks; instead most gave up on MySpace and became strict Facebook users. Now that there are diverse social networks that specialize in different parts of social living, users are creating accounts without disbanding from previous social networks. The largest difficulty that social mediators are dealing with is how to update users without seeming repetitive. This is very important because users maintain many of the same connections on separate platforms. To solve issues like these, users must adhere to certain steps in order to perform Social Mediation. Step 1. Analyze the Content First, you must decide whether the content that you are broadcasting is generally found on one platform instead of others. For example, if a user’s content involves a connection that they have on a platform they would post it to that platform. Sometimes it is a simple decision, other times this step requires more attention. If a user wants to create a status update there are multiple platforms that they may do so. This case is becoming extremely difficult because almost every network allows users to make these updates. To decide where content is finally posted, a user must determine which platform is designed for the premise of the content. Recreational content will be posted to a different network than business related content because of the premise of the platform as well as the audience. Step 2. Examine the Audience of your Platforms Next, users need to be attentive to the audience, or other users that are connected in their network. This is important because the proper platform can be decided based on its target audience. Some content is meant for a large audience while other content will fit better with a smaller one. As well as in step one, users analyze their audience on each platform to decide which content belongs to which audience. If a user is connected with
  • 9.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         9     colleagues and work associates they would not want to broadcast the recreational activities of their weekend. Users should refrain from broadcasting intimate content to a large audience; this has become a large issue regarding hiring managers investigating platforms to learn about possible candidates for positions. In some instances this step can be more difficult than the first but frequent users become knowledgeable of audience sizes, which makes this step simpler. Step 3. Determine the Platform Finally, users take their knowledge of content and audience into account to decide where the post is designated; this is the actual mediation between social networks. Some users decide that the content is proper for multiple platforms and must now make a decision of how to change it to fit other networks. If users share common connections on many platforms, the more diverse they can create the content the more that it will not seem repetitive. Now that social networking has entered into this mediation stage, multiple platforms will continue to be added and users will continue to create more accounts. Difficulties in managing platforms will continue to occur which will lead to the need of Social Mediation. Chapter  4.  What  is  a  Community  Manager?     With the rise of social and the need for brands to build a voice and join the conversation, there has become a need for Community Managers. You may be asking yourself, what is a Community Manager? Because the term takes on such a broad role, I am going to break down the best practices of this position! 1. Humanizing the Voice of Clients Though they represent clients in the digital realm, Community Managers must strive to project the most humanized voice possible. Because users want to engage in realistic connections on social platforms, it is important to use a friendly approach that utilizes social opportunities and leverages further connections. 2. Making Personalized Connections It is important for Community Managers to make connections with users as personal as possible in order to create a unique experience and form a bond through engagement. By making these personalized connections, they nurture and support the users engagement and help to retain them further as consumers. 3. Creating Meaningful Relationships Humanized voices and personalized connections combine to help create unique and meaningful relationships with users. Information moves very fast
  • 10.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         10     in social media, so it is critical to not only form relationships, but to also make them significant. 4. Maintaining Authentic Engagements To ensure that relationships continue to be significant, Community Managers must maintain realistic and authentic engagements. For best practices, their core competency should be to create unique and desirable interactions, which can be accomplished by building genuine engagements. 5. Analyzing Social Impact It is very important to analyze the impact of engagements so that they can better tailor the voices of clients and connections to users. Community Managers examine the impact of engagements by using social analytics to better understand audiences and help create more significant impacts. By successfully connecting with users on social platforms, nurtured leads of today can become tomorrow’s customers. Chapter  5.  Content  Marketing  –  The  Voice  of  Your  Business     Social media has given companies a life-like presence online and content marketing serves as the businesses story to consumers, told through their voice. As digital business strategies have vastly changed, companies are becoming more aware of their need of finding this voice to speak to their consumers. Content marketing has come a long way over the past few years but has proven to be a vital online marketing tool. In the article Content Marketing in 2013: What the Experts Think, author Andrew Warren-Payne notes many marketers’ thoughts on content marketing. When asked why it has reached its tipping point this year, Doug Kessler, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Velocity Partners, said, “It’s tipping because it works. Content is the engine of search, social, outbound and web marketing. It’s also the fuel for lead nurturing. It took awhile for people to see how and why content is so powerful but it’s on every marketer’s radar now.” Now that content marketing is established as a necessity, businesses are faced with these 3 key questions that they must ask themselves. Question 1. Where to get Content? As the need for content has grown, so have the opportunities for businesses to find their voice. In the article 10 Ways Brands Will Win With Content Marketing in 2013, author Shafqat Islam agrees that both big and small companies are changing their content strategies. “Having an intern write three measly blog posts a week isn’t going to cut it. Even a network of freelancers isn’t enough,” Islam says. These apparent signs have led businesses to search
  • 11.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         11     for teams to maintain the creation and development of unique and desirable content. Question 2. What Content should be Marketed? Content should be valuable, relevant and attractive to readers. It is important to create content that can help current consumers and nurture leads by generating interest in new possible customers. “If you’re going to be creating and pushing out content,” Islam says, “it needs to reach all target markets, from international to hyperlocal.” Being able to reach multiple markets through content can be difficult, but it can be made easier by knowledgeable and experienced content marketers. Question 3. Where should we Market the Content? There are many social media outlets that can be used to engage consumers with content, but to decide which to use accurately takes the design and implementation of digital marketing strategies. The most important aspects to remember are the purpose and audience when choosing the correct outlet. James Keady, Digital Marketing Manager of McLaren Automotive, says, “Content marketing is reaching a point where having a digital presence is no longer good enough to achieve cut through, you need a value add proposition and this is best done through a strong content strategy that reaches your audience on the right platforms at the right time in an engaging way.” Because content marketing has reached this undeniable peak, many businesses are beginning to notice and it is becoming clear that these voices are being heard. Those that are doing it best constantly ask themselves these questions as their customers’ needs continue to change and social continues to evolves. Chapter  6.  The  Art  of  Social  Storytelling  (A  Campfire  Story)     When  thinking  about  the  art  of  storytelling,  I  envision  a  group  of  individuals   gathered  around  a  campfire,  swapping  entertaining  and  relatable  experiences  with   each  other.  The  same  analogy  is  true  for  social  media  storytelling,  except  in  the   digital  realm  there  are  many  stories  being  told  and  a  lot  of  the  individuals  are   gathered  around  multiple  campfires  at  once.  It  is  vital  for  the  voice  of  your  brand  to   build  a  bright  fire  of  content  that  attracts  individuals  to  engage  in  the  conversation.       To  ensure  that  your  storytelling  is  the  most  effective,  it  is  important  that  you:     1. Locate your campers (Analyze your Audience) Before you begin to research or even develop content, it is necessary that you determine who your readers are by conducting an audience analysis. By creating a strong foundation and forming a deep relationship with the brand, you will be able to analyze and target the appropriate audience of consumers.
  • 12.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         12     2. Find your campsite (Choose your Social Platform or Content Medium) After determining your audience, you need to establish which medium would be optimal for the conversation. In many cases, you will have one site for the full content and will be using social platforms to broadcast and syndicate the story to your target audience. When broadcasting your content on social media, it is very important to maintain the style of your brand as well as create content that fits the style of different platforms. 3. Find and cut your firewood (Research your Content Topic) Now that you know whom you are writing to and where you will be publishing the content, it’s time to research and develop your topic. Even if you are an expert on the topic of interest, it is still critical to conduct research because of possible changes or new trends that you may not be aware of. Compiling the most up-to-date and relevant information will make your content stronger and more meaningful to your audience. 4. Build your campfire (Outline and Develop your Content) After researching and compiling related information, you can begin to create an ideal outline and develop your content. When building your content you should keep your target audience and medium in mind, as they will help to form your tone and style. These will change depending on the who, what and where of your content so it is very important to be extremely knowledgeable about all three. 5. Light your fire (Publish your Content) With the content developed, you have now reached the point of publishing. Before doing this, it is key that you ensure that your content matches your ideal outline and is both understandable and concise. To increase the capabilities of your content you may also want to engage in SEO best practices, such as creating tags, metadata, keyword links and even adding attractive graphics. 6. Add wood…and lighter fluid…to build your fire brighter (Attract and Engage your Audience) Publishing your content is not the final step, as engagement with your audience is your overall purpose. As your audience interacts with the content on different platforms, it is important that you continue the conversations to further engage and create unique connections. To use content as a marketing tool, it is important to build interest in your brand and the story of your business. By following these steps, you can ensure that your campground will be filled with campers.
  • 13.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         13     Chapter  7.  Outsourcing  Content  to  an  Agency:  When  and  Why     As businesses face new marketing challenges, they must search for solutions outside of their own companies. In a recent webinar, Social Marketing & The Resourcing Challenge: Outsourcing vs. In-House, sponsored by ORACLE, a panel of professionals discussed when and why a business should outsource content marketing to an agency. The panel agreed that, though the answer depends on the overall goal of the company, an agency could offer you: TIME Time is something that you can’t afford to take away from your business, especially if it is a small or medium-sized business. When you and your team are already wearing multiple hats, it is more efficient to your business to find a new head than to add to your own. Mikal Belicove, contributing writer for Forbes Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, said that your business should outsource to an agency because they “take the time.” Instead of taking time and focus away from your business and core competencies, an agency can do it for you. EXPERTISE With so many moving parts in your business, it is difficult to focus on specific aspects. An agency acts as an extension of your marketing department that focuses on these specific campaigns and strategies. Chris Vaughn, Director of Marketing at DigitalSherpa, spoke about how two years ago, agency expertise was in question, but now “they’re taking content more seriously.” Because digital marketing constantly changes, it is important to use the best practices of an agency to conquer your challenges. Rob Key, CEO at Converseon, said that a “strong role of agencies is to bring expertise about SEO and content.” THE 5TH P As technology has advanced, the marketing mix has evolved to not only include promotion, price and place, but also – participation. When, before, your company’s engagement with an agency was limited, there was no sense of participation. Now, it has become the most important aspect! “Outsourcing doesn’t work without participation,” Vaughn said. With current technology, agencies, especially those savvy in digital, have the capability of working closer than ever with companies. To work most efficiently, an agency must have a strong relationship with your company. Though agencies can offer these aspects to your business, sometimes deciding whether to stay in-house or to outsource is a more difficult decision. When asked when, Belicove talked about the two best times for a company to resource an agency.   1. When a business is getting started, or is still young, an agency can most efficiently help integrate participation into their marketing mix. This is a great time to form a relationship with an agency because it allows them to learn about
  • 14.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         14     the core competencies and culture of the company. Key said that agencies can “bring training” and are most effective when they are “embedded in your culture.” 2. Also, businesses will always need content, especially now that content marketing has grown into one of the most vital aspects of digital marketing. An agency can help by applying their best content practices to a companies needs. One thing that Belicove sited to be true is that it is and always will be “easier to edit than to create content.” When it comes to whether your business should stay in-house or outsource content, it mostly depends on your specific needs and resources. If you decide to outsource to an agency, be sure that their culture reflects your own to ensure that you create an effective relationship. Chapter  8.  Collaboration  of  SEO  and  Content  will  lead  to  a   Quality  Internet     The behavior of Internet users has changed, which makes the evolution of how content is searched and ultimately presented inevitable. The questions that you have been wondering are how and when this will happen. Though the answer to the first question is more difficult to explain, the answer to the second is simple – now. To understand the need for collaboration between SEO and content marketing, you must recall why these are important tools in the first place. In his eBook, “Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying and the 21 New Rules of Content Marketing for 2013 and Beyond”, Randy Milanovic, Principle at KAYAK Online Marketing, discusses the impacts and failures of SEO. In reference to the conception of search optimization, Milanovic writes: “Although most of us take Google and the other search engines for granted now, take a moment and consider why it is they even exist at all: because the Internet is too big, and growing too quickly, for people to always have a good idea of what it is they are searching for.” The purpose of search optimization is to create a better user experience, which is exactly the reason that a change must occur. SEO has always taken a quantitative approach, rather than a qualitative one, which has led to content and sites with poor quality links and stuffed keywords to be ranked higher than others. For a while this was acceptable and bad SEO practices were tolerated, but as of recently this is completely changing. With the increase in social and mobile use, the behavior of Internet users has changed from wanting as much information as possible to wanting the best information rapidly. Because of this, content marketing began to be recognized as a necessity and rose to the throne. As much as it is used, and mostly used incorrectly, I must admit – content is king.
  • 15.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         15     This is not to say that SEO is no longer important. The fact is that great content is only powerful if it is findable, making search engine optimization, in terms of the digital realm, queen. This behavioral change in users has not only impacted the way that businesses optimize their content for search, but also the way that search is conducted itself. With importance being focused on the quality of content, rather than quantity, Google has altered their search algorithm. Matt Cutts, Head of the Webspam Team at Google, announced the rollout of the new algorithm, Penguin 2.0. This updated algorithm does a better job of removing spam links and is leading to more sophisticated links. There has also been an update to their Panda algorithm, which ranks high quality content and sites more efficiently and creates a better overall user experience. These changes greatly impact the approaches and practices of SEO professionals as well as Webmasters. In an attempt to develop a more quality Internet, these algorithm updates: • Create a more sophisticated link analysis • Identify hacked sites more effectively • Give more information and feedback to Webmasters • Detect authorities easier and rank them higher • Lead to more high quality writing In reference to these changes in search, Milanovic writes: “…they are doing more to look at your site the way an actual person would, and making common-sense judgments that go far beyond a few links and meta-tags. What’s more, they are ignoring or even penalizing companies that are going too far to influence their ranking.” Ultimately, smarter users have led to the need for smarter algorithms and marketing tools. Though it has been speculated, SEO will not die, rather it will be coupled with content marketing to enhance the overall framework. All of these changes are leading to a better user experience and will result in a more quality Internet. Chapter  9.  Content  Marketing:  5  Tactics  You  Haven’t  Thought  of   Yet     Though  content  is  king,  it  wasn’t  until  certain  aspects  of  marketing  grew  further  into   the  digital  realm  that  it  finally  took  the  throne.  As  brands  have  grown  closer  to   consumers  through  social  interactions,  delivering  branded  content  has  become  vital.   Though  most  content  marketers  take  similar  steps,  the  problem  is  that  not  everyone   is  doing  it  right.    
  • 16.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         16     Cultivating  and  creating  content  builds  loyalty  by  developing  awareness,  forming   inspiration  and  producing  engagement  with  consumers.  To  do  this  effectively,  you   must  implement  the  following  five  tactics  into  your  content  marketing  strategy.     1. Analyze;  don’t  Research   Everyone  conducts  research  before  creating  content,  but  it  lacks  many   aspects  that  you  will  need  to  ultimately  be  successful.  Content  development   is  resource  concentrated,  and  by  analyzing  the  results  of  previously  written   content  you  will  learn  much  more  than  you  will  by  simply  researching  topics.   Analyzing  results  will  allow  you  to  realize  what  readers  like,  but  more   importantly,  what  readers  dislike.     Think  about  it,  when  billboards  are  constructed  they  are  not  just  placed   along  the  most  beautiful  roads  and  scenic  routes.  They  are  built  along  the   roads  that  receive  the  most  traffic,  and  the  same  can  be  said  about  digital   content.  It  is  important  to  gain  insight  through  result  analytics;  discovering   what  content  receives  the  most  likes,  shares  and  even  comments  will  assist   you  more  than  just  researching  which  topics  are  most  prevalently  written   about.       2. Unique  isn’t  Enough  Anymore   Though  your  content  should  be  unique,  that  is  not  quite  enough.  Unique   means  rare  and  matchless,  but  it  does  not  mean  desirable.  As  content   continues  to  flood  and  overflow  the  digital  realm,  it  is  important  to  be   different,  but  much  more  important  to  be  something  that  rises  above  and   stands  out  because  it  is  desired  by  your  readers.     Content  providers  spend  too  much  time  trying  to  rewrite  popular  topics  from   their  own  perspective  and  too  little  time  thinking  from  the  perspective  of   their  target  audience.  You  are  using  your  skills  and  experience  to  form  an   idea  but,  in  the  end,  you  want  the  product  to  be  something  that  encourages   your  reader,  not  just  yourself.  It  builds  influence,  but  only  if  it  motivates  the   reader  to  be  inspired.  It  is  not  an  easy  task  to  create  something  that   persuades,  but  forming  such  an  emotion  is  the  only  way  that  content  is   ultimately  an  effective  digital  marketing  tool.     3. Content  is  More  than  just  Words   When  it  comes  to  writing  content,  the  words  are  the  easy  part  but  not  what   will  initially  gain  the  attention  of  your  reader.  We’ve  all  heard  the  cliché  that   a  picture  is  worth  1,000  words,  but  it  has  never  been  more  significantly  true   than  it  is  to  cultivating  and  creating  branded  content  that  is  sought  after.     For  example,  any  book  that  you  have  ever  read  has  been  because  of  three   things:   1) Your  professor  told  you  it  was  going  to  be  on  the  final  exam,   2) It  was  recommended  by  a  friend  that  had  already  read  it,  or  
  • 17.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         17     3) The  front  cover  image  grabbed  you  by  peaking  your  interest.     Words  take  on  similar  meanings  to  everyone,  but  an  image  can  form  different   meanings,  which  are  usually  based  on  an  individual’s  life,  beliefs  and   experiences.  As  consumers  become  smarter,  many  realize  that  the  majority   of  images  are  paid  stock  images  or  overused  creative  commons  pictures  from   large  sites  such  as  Flickr  or  even  Google  Images.  Instead  of  just  using  these   images,  we  have  reached  a  technological  point  where  it  is  easy  for  us  to   create  our  own  images.  We  are  the  ones  doing  the  work,  so  why  is  it  that  we   are  not  the  ones  shown  at  the  desks  signing  documents  or  smiling  in   boardrooms  with  executives?  Pictures  lead  to  higher  CTRs  and  are  very   useful  for  content  syndication,  and  by  using  unique  images  we  can  begin  to   build  better  and  more  influential  followings.  In  fact,  I  created  both  images  on   the  cover  of  this  eBook!       4.  Don’t  Phone  in  the  Call  to  Action   Even  though  the  term  may  point  to  it,  it  is  very  important  that  you  never   phone  in  the  call  to  action.  The  main  reason  that  we  include  CTAs  is  to   continue  the  conversation  by  challenging  readers  to  think  more  deeply  about   topics.  To  truly  create  engagement,  which  is  one  of  the  most  critical   marketing  aspects  of  content,  you  must  ensure  that  your  CTA  is  relatable  to   your  reader  and  that  you  genuinely  care  about  their  contribution  to  the   conversation  and  furthering  leads.     Many  content  developers  just  slap  together  a  question  or  two  and  link  to  a   page  on  their  company  website  or  even  an  email  form.  Backlinking  is   important,  as  it  brings  interested  readers  to  additional  information,  but  you   must  not  be  insincere  in  this  step.  Not  only  is  this  the  perfect  place  to  learn   which  readers  are  most  interested,  but  it  is  also  a  great  way  to  develop   insight  about  your  target  audience.  Ask  a  question  that  you  do  not  know  the   answer  to  or  that  would  actually  be  beneficial  to  know.  Give  them  a  reason  to   want  to  have  a  deeper  connection  and  nurture  this  as  if  they  are  already  a   paying  customer.     5.  Always  Share  and  Engage  Responsibly,  my  friends!   Every  good  content  marketer  knows  that  publishing  is  not  the  end  of  the   process.  In  fact,  in  many  ways  it  is  only  the  beginning.  The  reason  that   content  is  such  a  powerful  marketing  tool  is  because  it  gives  your  target   audience  insight  into  your  brand  and  allows  them  to  develop  a  unique   connection  that  they  may  have  never  been  able  to  do  before.  After  forming   and  perfecting  your  content,  it  is  natural  to  want  to  share  it  across  all  social   platforms,  but  it  is  very  important  that  you  think  first!     To  garner  the  best  reactions,  don’t  flood  every  network,  because  each  social   platform  has  different  qualities,  audiences  and  are  used  for  completely   different  purposes.  Instead  of  flooding,  let  it  rain  where  there  is  actually  
  • 18.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         18     opportunity  for  growth.  Engagement  is  a  part  of  lead  nurturing,  and  you   wouldn’t  want  the  same  message  to  be  sent  to  customers  that  are  speaking   different  languages.  A  new  female  boutique  wishing  to  gain  more  awareness   of  their  new  clothing  line  will  not  receive  the  same  reaction  from  Twitter  or   Google+  as  they  will  from  Pinterest,  or  even  Facebook.  If  you  are  planning  to   syndicate  your  content  across  multiple  platforms,  it  is  crucial  that  you   reformat  your  message  to  speak  to  the  different  audiences.     There  is  no  question  that  content  marketing  in  the  digital  realm  is  becoming  one  of   the  largest  tools  for  success.  According  to  Hubspot,  branded  content  generates  55%   more  website  views  and  according  to  2013  research  report  conducted  by  Content   Marketing  Institute,  91%  of  B2B  marketers  are  using  content  marketing  strategies.   The  overall  success  of  your  content  will  be  determined  by  your  ability  to  utilize   these  tactics.   Chapter  10.  The  Future  of  Content  Based  on  Today’s  Trends     Evolution is inevitable, and this is very true in regards to technology. As we continue to interact with technology in different ways, we must adapt how it ultimately functions for us. As the use of the Internet changes, so must the way that we create and present content. Early adopters of Internet-based information were interested in detailed and lengthy content. This demand helped to outline what has become the average blog post. An average blog has a word count between 400 and 800, usually including multiple tags and links, for SEO purposes, and graphics and images for aesthetics. Because the majority of current Internet use has been adopted by a new audience, many aspects have changed. Rather than demanding all information, the new adopters request only the most valuable information. As a content marketer, I have noticed the rapid increase in Internet use to be attributed to two current trends, social and mobile. With two of the highest visited sites being Facebook and YouTube, and with 75% of the world having access to mobile devices, it is obvious that the functionality of technology is changing. These trends will dictate the way that content will transform in the near future. Though there has already been a notable shift towards microblogging, with the great popularity of platforms such as Tumblr and Twitter, content will continue to move toward a shorter format. This content evolution is due to: 1. The Rise of Scrolling Even though there has been a large rise in Internet views from mobile devices, there has been a significant decrease in time spent on individual sites and content. This is due to users naturally wanting to scroll (literally) rather than read on their personal
  • 19.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         19     devices. Because 80% of mobile time is spent on Apps, many companies are developing their own to try to combat this issue and attract more users. 2. Shorter Content Attention Span With the rise in content and constant updates on social, users encounter vast amounts of accessible information daily. This has led to users exhibiting shorter content attention spans, otherwise known as Social ADD. A symptom of this recent digital illness is lower user comprehension and its main effect is a large decrease in content effectiveness. 3. Emphasis on Unique and Desirable Content The rise in scrolling and increase in Social ADD have led to an emphasis on unique and desirable content. Rather than having to skim through information, users want to immediately understand the main concepts and purpose. When a blog post is around 500 words, you can expect there to only be between 100 or 200 words of actual unique content. By eliminating non-unique content and creating a much more concise format, you can ensure that users will have an increased understandability. For instance, in the near future you could read this post as: The use of Internet has changed, due to a shift in audience and increase in social and mobile. These trends have led to a rise in scrolling and Social ADD, which in turn have led to a need for shorter content. To ensure that your content is most effective, begin to write more concisely by eliminating anything that is not necessary to the main purpose. Writing snippets is nothing new to content creators, as we are use to forming meta- descriptions and even short blurbs when broadcasting content on social to entice readers. Much like this strategy, the full content will be linked and accessible for those wishing to read further. Other than being more effective, this will help to differentiate between brand advocates, those that like the brand, and brand operators, those that actually engage with the brand. It is evident that the change in technology functionality and audience needs will lead to an evolution in content. As current trends continue, solutions for these content problems will need to be formulated.                
  • 20.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         20     Outro       As consumer behaviors and habits change and new trends arise, it will be interesting to watch as digital marketing tools and practices do as well. Though there was speculation that social media was a fad, its impact on the daily lives of people and businesses are proving to be much more than a short-lived movement. Content will continue to evolve with the functionality of social and vice versa, which will lead to the continual adaption of digital strategies. Based on my experiences and knowledge, the distance between brands and consumers will continue to shrink and the necessity of unique and desirable social interactions and branded content will grow. Whether your own company or favorite company has begun to design and implement digital marketing strategies yet, there will be no question that you will need to soon.   Thank  you  for  taking  the  time  to  read  my  eBook!  I  hope  that  you  were  able  to  gain   more  insight  into  the  industry  and  look  forward  to  hearing  from  you  and  furthering   the  conversation!       Twitter: @EthanWarlick LinkedIn: Ethan Warlick Email:                                
  • 21.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         21     References     Belicove, M. (2013, 04 16). Interview by M Fox []., Retrieved from webinar?utm_source=smt_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=webinar0 41613&reference=smt_email&inf_contact_key=3abc72e96ae2c6a3542997bb13f9 39f9c0a29391060263df056f9d3adbb06046   Cutts, M. (2012, 04 24). [Web log message]. Retrieved from high-quality.html   Fitzpatrick, A. (2012, 07 17). [Web log message]. Retrieved from   Islam, S. (2012, 12 22). [Web log message]. Retrieved from   Keady, J. (2013, 01 14). Interview by A Warren-Payne []., Retrieved from experts-think   Kessler, D. (2013, 01 14). Interview by A Warren-Payne []., Retrieved from experts-think   Key, R. (2013, 04 16). Interview by M Fox []., Retrieved from webinar?utm_source=smt_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=webinar0 41613&reference=smt_email&inf_contact_key=3abc72e96ae2c6a3542997bb13f9 39f9c0a29391060263df056f9d3adbb06046   Koetsier, J. (2013, 04 3). [Web log message]. Retrieved from 80-of-mobile-time-spent-in-apps/   Marketing. 2013. In Retrieved July 8, 2013, from Milanovic, R. (2013). Findablity: Why Search Engine Optimization is Dying and the 21 New Rules of Content Marketing for 2013 and Beyond. Retrieved from ebook/dp/B00CMDQ9RG
  • 22.     An  eBook  by  Ethan  Warlick         22     Pullizi, J. (2012, 10 24). [Web log message]. Retrieved from research/ Vaughn, C. (2013, 04 16). Interview by M Fox []., Retrieved from webinar?utm_source=smt_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=webinar0 41613&reference=smt_email&inf_contact_key=3abc72e96ae2c6a3542997bb13f9 39f9c0a29391060263df056f9d3adbb06046 Vaughan, P. (2013). 15 Business Blogging Mistakes and Easy Fixes: How to Fix the Most Common Blogging Bloopers. Retrieved from 13220818-pdf/docs/ebooks/15_biz_blogging_mistakes_ebook.pdf   Warren-Payne, A. (2013, 01 14). [Web log message]. Retrieved from experts-think