Content Marketing That Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy

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Remember when a content marketing plan might have consisted of a single blog post a week? With consumers constantly bombarded with news and content via an ever-expanding array of media and social …

Remember when a content marketing plan might have consisted of a single blog post a week? With consumers constantly bombarded with news and content via an ever-expanding array of media and social platforms, brands have been pressed into a “content arms race” that has them posting to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. every single day. They’re even using automated content creation and curation platforms to feed the beast and stay at the top of search rankings. But how much of this activity actually serves a brand’s business goals? Or truly engages consumers?

During this session, Cramer-Krasselt search, social and content strategists Nick Papagiannis, Steve Radick and Scott Smith offer an integrated perspective and concrete tips to escape this numbers game and instead create high-quality content that reinforces your brand, delivers value to your customers and meets the needs of the mighty search engine.

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  • Remember when a content marketing plan might have consisted of a single blog post a week? With consumers constantly bombarded with news and content via an ever-expanding array of media and social platforms, brands have been pressed into a “content arms race” that has them posting to blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. every single day. They’re even using automated content creation and curation platforms to feed the beast and stay at the top of search rankings. But how much of this activity actually serves a brand’s business goals? Or truly engages consumers? During this session, Cramer-Krasselt search, social and content strategists Nick Papagiannis, Steve Radick and Scott Smith will offer an integrated perspective and concrete tips to escape this numbers game and instead create high-quality content that reinforces your brand, delivers value to your customers and meets the needs of the mighty search engine.
  • Is this the future?
  • "Social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers.”“Fewer than 1% of transactions for both new and repeat shoppers can be traced back to trackable social links.”Trying to use social media in the same way as other marketing tools has eroded consumer trust and made it even more difficult for brands to gain credibilityToo much one-way push messaging and not enough engagement But the brands who do it well stand out even more
  • Everyone wants to get to the Lady Gaga level of community, but its not something you can just throw money at or purchase the newest platform for, you need to actually care. Portland Timbers – began play in 2011, yet have sold out their season tickets their first year, their second year, and also have a 5,000+ waiting listCommunity of people who crave informationShare behind-the-scenes infoFan photo shootsMultiple players and staff Twitter and facebook pages and they all interact directly with fansYouTube videos with players and fansLets players manage the team’s FB pagePlayers talk with one another (and have fun)
  • Ultimately, great content satisfies three criteria. It…Usefulness means it solves a problem for them (how to tie a bow tie, what recipes can be made gluten-free or where to find a new financial advisor) or it provides them with entertainment in the format and timeframe they want (a video of news bloopers I can watch in ten minutes before a meeting or ten pictures from The Cosby Show that illustrate why the Affordable Care Act is a good thing).Consumer action could be something as simple as returning to visit a website, spending more time there or leaving a comment on Facebook. It could also mean filling out a form, buying a pair of pants or watching a video. Whatever those things are they should all ladder up into a client’s business needs. They should stem from an overall strategy or story about the business and be organized around a creative idea, executed in a specific, sustainable way.
  • But here’s the thing about these three bullets. Two of them are all about people. This is important. Machines don't buy stuff, subscribe to newsletters or view ads. And you or your brand are not for everyone. So you need to understand who those people are who already like you and who else is out there who doesn’t already know about you. There are a lot of things you can do to get impressions and clicks and likes if you’re just interested in raw numbers and think one impression is equal to the next.
  • While the latter isn’t a person, you likely have bosses or clients who ARE people (or at least act like it most of the time) and you need to make them happy too and that means satisfying their needs to look good by making sure content delivers on metrics that are important to them, the internal stakeholders they deal with are on-board and the content you’ve created fits into a larger brand narrative. But more on this later.
  • A reader’s trust in your content comes from knowing your business and your customer well enough to know where A) what you can do for them and B) what they need intersect. And then providing content that matches it.The next thing should be as good as the last. Not about jumping on what is trending in search or social with a quickie slideshow.Content needs to be able to exist on its own. In the same way a close friend is more likely to get you to do something that a stranger will, content that builds trust will spur action on its own rather than content that was created solely to trap a user into an action. (Asking for a sign-in via a click from social, a headline that doesn’t deliver on the promise of an article) Sephora did this through consumer-specific search and mobile experiences, Third-party endorsements and content that communicated brand identity. It gave them a 400% increase in iPad traffic to Sephora.com in Q1 of 2012, 20% of their site traffic coming from mobile and a 300% increase in mobile shopping year-over-year in 2012
  • Brand: Credit card Audience: Small business ownersProblem: How Started in 2007 as a place to host event video50 pieces of content publisher per week, 200+ expert contributors; videos/articles/infographicsCurated UGC
  • Essentially became the LinkedIn for small business owners. By making Amex Open the destination for small business owners, they made people think of their product – a credit card – as having the same utility. They also used the endorsement value of third-party contributors and borrowed some of their authority. Specificity of content comes into play due to need and time. I’m trying to answer this question or find this experience in a specified amount of time.Good content that’s shareable makes the person sharing it look like a Yoda. The person whose website we love to read, or Twitter account we look back at for the best links. I have 10 minutes to kill before a meeting. It’s not enough to start anything so please educate me on the themes of last night’s Game of Thrones or let me see pictures of my friend’s trip to China.200k uniques a month85% of traffic in 2011 from non-paid sourcesMost-visited small business site on the Web
  • In creating this content, there are many questions we need to ask ourselves. These are just a few.What do readers want from us: look at your inbound search traffic, look at how users use the siteAll this helps you understand what your unique value is to your readers and where what you’re about and what they need intersect.
  • And then you start to create your brand story.
  • Your history. Over the last ten years, I’ve talked with hundreds of clients who have some amazing stories about how their organization/brand/company began and how it got to where it is today. You know that boring “About Us” page you have your website? Breathe some life into thatcontent and make it a story. Believe it or not, your fans are interested in hearing about the history of your brand – why do you think brands like Coca-Cola, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz have created entire museums dedicated to their history? For those brands that can’t create their own museums, Facebook’s timeline feature allows you to share that history virtually. Look at whatManchester United or Ben and Jerry’s are doing with their timelines for an example. Go and talk with people who know your brand’s history. Listen to the stories. Collect old photos and videos. Share those stories with your fans. Ideas that didn’t make the cut. Your cutting room floor is a gold mine for social media content. Share those ideas that were discarded and explain why they weren’t implemented. Too expensive to make? Too niche? Too controversial? You might be surprised to find that your fans and followers love them even though your creative department didn’t. Ideas and products that might have been killed before are now becoming alternate ending, hugely successful products, andbreakout hits because brands now understand that going directly to their fans are often better indicators of success than surveys, ratings, and focus groups.The “why” behind business decisions. Did you just have to lay off some employees? Get out in front of the story and explain why. Talk about the numbers behind the move. Share the long-term view. Be empathetic. But most of all, be honest. Customers understand you run a business and that there are often tough decisions to be made, but they won’t understand why you would be all cloak-and-dagger about it. Talk openly and honestly when the going gets tough and though it might not be intuitive to you, they’ll love you more for it.Challenges. Your social media fans are more than clicks, likes, and followers – they’re potentially important team members that you’re ignoring. Got a product or business challenge you’re struggling with? Open up your data and bring your customers into the process. You might be surprised to discover the value they will bring. Interestingly enough, brands can look to the government for guidance on this as Challenge.gov is a great example of how to create content and get your customers involved.Your culture. Your customers want to get to know your brand, your real brand, not the one ginned up by marketing, but who you really are and what you’re all about. They want to understand your culture, your work environment, the way you do things. Why do you think shows like Undercover Boss, The Pitch, and Restaurant Impossible are so popular? Why do you thinkZappos gives tours of their headquarters? Why do you think virtual tours of company offices are so popular? They pull back the curtain on the brands they buy from.New product uses. When you think of the Porsche 911, you probably think of the iconic sports car that rich guys only drive on Sundays. However, did you know that it’s actually a car that thousands of people drive every single day? A car that takes kids to school? A car that has four-wheel drive that you can put your skis on top and take to the slopes? A car that can fit all your groceries and golf clubs? So Porsche went out and asked their customers how they use their Porsche every single day. (disclaimer: my agency created this campaign).Requests for feedback. How are we doing? What could we be doing better? What do you love about us? What words come to mind when you think about our brand? What do your friends and family think about our brand? Just like that annoying guy who won’t shut up at the party, most brands never stop sharing content long enough to simply ask their customers for their thoughts. Sometimes all it takes is a “what questions about our products/services do you have?” to get the ball rolling.Your causes. What does your brand care about? Customers want to know that your brand is about more than just profits. Go beyond just writing a check and a photo opp. Panera uses their website and social media to tell the story of their passion – feeding the hungry of America. (disclaimer: my agency created this campaign). Does your brand contribute money to a local or national charity? Do they volunteer? If so, make sure you get someone there to capture these stories to share them.

Transcript

  • 1. A conversation aboutA conversation about: #Smwckcontent Content Marketing That Wins: Making Brands, Readers AND Google Happy September 23, 2013
  • 2. • Steve Radick (@sradick) • Vice President, Public Relations 2 • Scott Smith (@ourmaninchicago) • Vice President, Content Marketing • Nick Papagiannis (@nikopapagiannis) • Vice President, Search Director @cramerkrasselt #Smwckcontent
  • 3. Content Marketing has so much potential 3
  • 4. How did it come to this? 4 Examples from the Condescending Corporate Brand Page
  • 5. We’re in a content marketing arms race 5
  • 6. 6 “The more content I can put out, the more luck I have,” he says. He’s redeployed an employee at VaynerMedia, his social media consultancy, to “shadow my life” by following him to record his remarks and turn them into social media content.” - Gary Vaynerchuk in Forbes, June 2013 #Smwckcontent
  • 7. Rather than creating useful content for people, we’re creating mountains of garbage for machines 7 Courtesy of Flickr user basmati – authentic help
  • 8. 8 Email connected people directly to other people #Smwckcontent
  • 9. 9 And then marketers saw an opportunity to make it more efficient #Smwckcontent
  • 10. Websites connected people to vast amounts of helpful information 10 #Smwckcontent
  • 11. And then marketers saw an opportunity to make it more efficient 11 #Smwckcontent
  • 12. 12 Social media was going to change all that though #Smwckcontent
  • 13. 13 And then marketers saw an opportunity to make it more efficient #Smwckcontent
  • 14. Branded content was going to become the next evolution of advertising 14 #Smwckcontent
  • 15. And then marketers saw an opportunity to make it more efficient 15 #Smwckcontent
  • 16. Stop trying to figure out the tricks to gaming the system 16#Smwckcontent
  • 17. Because the system will change tomorrow 17 Courtesy of Flickr user woychukb Courtesy of Flickr user chris fitz#Smwckcontent
  • 18. The current way isn’t working anyway 18*Source: Forrester, March 2013 #Smwckcontent
  • 19. We’ve now got the data and the tools to scale actual conversations and relationships 19 #Smwckcontent
  • 20. Quality > Quantity 20 #Smwckcontent
  • 21. Easier said than done 21 “We need more leads coming in!” “Are we on Flayvr yet? We totally need to be on Flayvr!!” “Why is our blog traffic down? Make sure you post more so we get that back up!” “I just saw that Brand X had 1,000 Likes on a Keep Calm and Carry On poster – I want us to do that too!” “If you’re going to create new content, that all needs to go through Legal before it gets published and that takes 2-3 weeks” “We need to have more likes than our competition” #Smwckcontent
  • 22. When it comes to content, the reader has to come first. 22 #Smwckcontent
  • 23. Great content will: • Build trust with users through usefulness • Drive measurable consumer action • Satisfy a brand’s business needs 23 #Smwckcontent
  • 24. Great content will: • Build trust with users through usefulness • Drive measurable consumer action • Satisfy a brand’s business needs 24 #Smwckcontent
  • 25. Great content will: • Build trust with users through usefulness • Drive measurable consumer action • Satisfy a brand’s business needs 25 #Smwckcontent
  • 26. Trust: Sephora 26 #Smwckcontent
  • 27. Trust: Sephora An expert-driven, beauty-focused community that connects with individual consumers everywhere #Smwckcontent
  • 28. 28 Usefulness: Amex Open #Smwckcontent
  • 29. 29 Usefulness: Amex Open A place for small businesses to network #Smwckcontent
  • 30. Creating content for readers  Who is our audience? (Who isn’t?)  What do we want readers to do?  What do readers want from us? (Do we have it?)  What assets do we have – people, places, things?  How do they talk about us when they think we’re not listening? (Are we?) 30 What do we have to offer that no one else does? #Smwckcontent
  • 31. Do more than tell a story, tell your story 31 #Smwckcontent
  • 32. Your brand produces content every day • Your history • Ideas that didn’t make the cut • The “why” behind business decisions • Challenges • Your culture • New product uses • Requests for feedback • Your causes 32 #Smwckcontent
  • 33. Panera’s Hard Road Campaign 33 #Smwckcontent
  • 34. “Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.” - Matt Cutts, Head of Google's Webspam team 34 #Smwckcontent
  • 35. Ultimately, good SEO is about providing a good user experience and compelling content. 35 #Smwckcontent
  • 36. 1. Optimize Content Tech Environment 36 #Smwckcontent
  • 37. 2. Place the right keywords in right places 37 #Smwckcontent
  • 38. 3. Promote your content 38 #Smwckcontent
  • 39. Content should be beneficial to your customer, reflective of your brand, and optimized for Google 39 #Smwckcontent
  • 40. Questions? 40 Presentation will be available online at www.steveradick.com