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An Analytics-Driven Approach to Becoming a Brand Publisher - White paper (CaaS)

  1. 1. An Analy'cs-­‐Driven Approach to Becoming an Effec've Brand Publisher 2014 Michael Brito Head of Social Strategy WCG, a W2O Company
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION There’s been a lot of conversa'on over the last several years that brands need to think and operate like publishers. It couldn’t be even more cri'cal today, and the reasons are in plain sight. Content Surplus: Content and media is omnipresent and demands our aQen'on. There are no shortages of mobile devices either. Everyone with a device is a content creator, which adds to the surplus of content generated each day. As consumers of content and media, we are subjected to 3,000 adver'sing messages per day. This doesn’t include other forms of content such as blog posts, status updates, tweets, videos, emails, text messages, etc. A5en6on Deficit: Most of us can barely consume—much less comprehend— 285 pieces of content in a given day. It’s the same reason why the average Facebook user has less than 200 friends. Our brains are wired so that we can only consume a finite amount of informa'on. The same is true with maintaining online rela'onships. Mul'tasking and having mul'ple devices is a cultural norm, and it’s not uncommon to find a family having dinner together in a restaurant with each person looking down at a device. Tunnel Vision Is a Requirement: There is a significant delta between the amount of content in front of us and our ability to understand and interact with it. This is why we have tunnel vision. It’s a natural defense mechanism so that we don’t get too overwhelmed with everything going on around us. It allows us to consume content that is relevant to us at a very specific moment in 'me, and oen 'mes, our relevancy filter changes each moment. If you have ever been in the market to purchase a new car, you might have experienced this for yourself. For example, the minute you decide to buy a car, you may suddenly begin to no'ce Audi or BMW adver'sements, status updates and conversa'ons in the hallway about others buying or selling new cars. Once you sign on the doQed line and drive off the lot, all those car 2
  3. 3. conversa'ons are gone. But the reality is that they aren’t really gone, you just tune them out because it’s not relevant anymore. It’s tunnel vision. The Customer Journey Is Unpredictable: When it comes to purchasing products, there is no clear method to our madness. We may do research online, ask a trusted friend or conduct a poll on our Facebook page; e.g., thinking about an Android or iPhone. What do you all recommend? And the very next day, we may do the complete opposite. But one thing is for certain: our purchase path is open-­‐ended and dynamic based on the types of products and services that we buy each day. What is predictable though is that our consump'on paQerns when we buy, research or just read content online is in fact unpredictable. Internally, brands have different challenges. A 2013 report from the Content Marke'ng Ins'tute highlighted that 78% of B2B marketers have a hard 'me crea'ng original content, and 44% of them do not have a documented content strategy. Other challenges include the inability to produce enough content (content that engages, various types of content) as well as having a lack of budget, execu've support and training. Producing Enough Content 64% Producing Content That Engages 52% Producing a Variety of Content 45% Lack of Budget 39% Inability to Measure Content 33% Lack of Knowledge, Training 26% Lack of Integration 25% Lack of Buy-in, Vision 22% Finding Trained Content Marketers 14% 3
  4. 4. If you look at the four external factors and couple that with the internal challenges that face many marketers today, it starts to become clear that brands struggle trying to reach their audiences online. Brands Need to Get Content Right. It’s Either Now or Never. Content is how we reach a specific audience online in order to change a behavior. It’s the gateway into the social ecosystem. But the reality is that the external landscape will not change just because your engagement numbers are low. In fact, it’s only going to get worse. So, in order to adapt, you’ll need to evolve the way you think, operate and communicate with your customers and prospects. This means that you’ll have to change your content approach or adopt one. The reason why many of us struggle with content, storytelling and being able to scale our opera'ons is because we don’t take content serious enough. Many 'mes it’s an aerthought. Content isn’t a box you check, a bubble you fill in or a bullet point on a presenta'on. It’s more than search, more than real-­‐'me content and so much more than building a content marke'ng strategy in a silo. And you can only learn so much about content from clever blog 'tles like “10 Proven Tips to Do This” or “5 Smart Tricks to Do That.” Content must be considered a strategic impera've for your brand. You must become a content organiza'on if you want to take your business to the next level and stand out from your compe'tors. Just as there is an art to storytelling, there also needs to be a strategic and opera'onal plan that can help you create and distribute content, integrate it across paid, earned, shared and owned media, and measure it effec'vely. As a marketer or a brand manager, you must move beyond the content marke'ng buzzword and commit to becoming a brand publisher. 4
  5. 5. Introducing Content as a Service (CaaS) The CaaS model is meant to address and solve for both the external challenges of reaching your target audience and also the barriers you face internally. The goal of CaaS is to ensure that content is considered a strategic impera've for business today and making it core to business and marke'ng objec'ves. The model is broken down by four separate work streams—grounded in analy'cs—and supported by an opera'onal framework that’s meant to facilitate integra'on at key touch points. Social Narrative Development ANALYTICS & RESEARCH Social Channel Strategy Content Performance & Analysis Participatory Storytelling Content Operational Framework SOCIAL NARRATIVE DEVELOPMENT Both a quan'ta've and qualita've analysis are needed to cra a story that can break through the cluQer, reach new audiences and to tell a beQer story than your compe'tors. We use four analy'cs approaches to achieve this: Social Graphics: Your audience, categorized. By looking at what your audience members follow, share and discuss, we group them by interest and passion. 5
  6. 6. Influencer Meme & Muse: A meme is a ranked list of the top 50 people who are driving the conversa'on about a given topic, industry or brand. This is the digital 1% of the popula'on that is driving the conversa'on about a given topic or industry. The Muse tells us where they get their inspira'on. Content Gap Analysis: We examine influen'al conversa'on about a topic or brand and compare it to what a brand is sharing online. The gaps that emerge are the brand’s new areas of focus. Search Insights: A broad analysis that examines the search volume and frequency of certain topics, keywords and industries. Qualita've data is studying the various percep'ons and general conversa'ons about your brand from various stakeholders (media, analysts, influencers, the community, etc.) purely from a contextual perspec've. When the community talks about the brand or when the media men'ons you in an ar'cle, what is the actual context? Are they valida'ng your narra've or giving you insights on how you might want to talk about yourself differently? The output of this exercise is to establish an architecture that takes insights from the data, developing a strategic and/or crea've framework and puong it into an editorial framework from which all future content is created. While there are several ways to do this, the best way to think about storytelling is through three different lenses, whereby the brand: • ... is the story (events, campaigns, product/brand-­‐focused) • ... is a character in a story (customer stories, third-­‐party ar'cles) • … comments on a story (lifestyle, real-­‐'me/agile content) From there, you can begin to map out content for your editorial calendar and align content to specific social and digital channels with some strategic thinking. 6
  7. 7. At WCG, we ensure that all content follows some very basic fundamentals and delivers on the following: • U'lity -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> helps me “do” something • Educa'on -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> makes me smarter • Entertainment -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> makes me laugh, inspires me • Access -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> connects me to others • Altruism -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> facilitates my sense of purpose • Emo'on -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> elicits a visceral reac'on • Exclusivity -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> makes me feel special • Informa'on -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> delivers me news • Financial -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐> provides me with a sale, rebate or coupons SOCIAL CHANNEL STRATEGY Brands struggle with social media because they are using it just to amplify and distribute all content in an effort to tell several disjointed stories in every channel. This approach dilutes the message and contributes to the content surplus that many people ignore. A social channel strategy consists of two very important steps. The first requires an in-­‐depth analysis of exis'ng communi'es/social channels, a compe''ve content analysis and examining internal resources that manage the content process. This determines what’s working and what’s not working from a content perspec've, and the analysis will deliver insight as to what needs to change, which channels need consolida'ng (e.g., mul'ple TwiQer accounts, etc.), or it may even uncover the opportunity of crea'ng new channels. The second step involves strategically aligning content to specific social/ digital channels based on the audience segmenta'on, plarorm behavior and documented brand goals. 7
  8. 8. Social Channel Strategy also involves building converged media models that integrate brand storytelling across PESO (paid, earned, shared and owned media). It starts with a sharable idea (campaign, agile content, etc.) and then strategically ac'va'ng each channel around engagement (earned), content (shared) and customer experience (owned). From there, it’s using paid media to amplify the idea using search, a content syndica'on plarorm like OutBrain or OneSpot and na've paid media on Facebook and TwiQer. EARNED MEDIA Media rela'ons Influencer engagement Word-­‐of-­‐mouth SHARED MEDIA Social media channel strategy Community management Social content crea'on Engagement Content Experiences SHARABLE STORIES PAID MEDIA AMPLIFICATION Content syndica'on Na've adver'sing Search Social paid OWNED MEDIA Brand website/newsroom Campaign micr-­‐osite Mobile apps From a real-­‐'me marke'ng perspec've, we approach it a liQle differently than most other agencies. Instead of building real-­‐'me crea've based on what’s trending on the broader Internet, we build custom search engines of very targeted audiences (healthcare professionals, ITDMs, millennials.) We then ac'vate a content engine team to find what’s trending within this group and then deploy the crea've and distribu'on. PARTICIPATORY STORYTELLING Data from the Boston Consul'ng Group tell us that when it comes to trust and credibility, “people they know”, “consumer opinions online” and “colleagues and friends” rank the highest when people are seeking informa'on about a brand and its products. 8
  9. 9. Brand storytelling is more than just distribu'ng branded content, na've adver'sing or crea've campaigns on Facebook. It also involves mobilizing employees to par'cipate and feed the content engine. And it's not just employees twee'ng or sharing company news in social media. It’s about finding good stories about the brand, its products or employees and using long-­‐form content to tell everyone about it. Employees aren’t the only ones that are influen'al either. Brand advocates and influencers can also move messages rather quickly across the social ecosystem, and their content is equally as trustworthy. We look at influencers through the lens of the 1-­‐9-­‐90 model: The “1%” are bloggers, forum posters (think Reddit), video reviewers and journalists who create content. They focus on telling a story and are seen as the experts on a given topic. At WCG, our algorithms show that there are never more than 50 people who drive the majority of share of conversa'on for a brand, topic or industry in a given country or language. The “9%” are highly ac've online. These are your brand advocates, and their behavior probably aligns with what we do online every day. We recommend, share, sign up, download, comment and other ac'ons that let our communi'es and our peers know what we think about certain topics and brands. In many respects, this group serves as the “trust filter” for the broader marketplace. The “90%” is the mass market. They lurk and learn. This rather large group is sa'sfied with using search or consuming the content of their peers. They decide how compelling the 1% and the 9% really are in telling your brand’s story. 9
  10. 10. Regardless of what group you are going to go aer, there are several considera'ons for making par'cipatory storytelling successful: Content Strategy Alignment: Before you decide what you want your advocates to say, you must know exactly what the story is that you want to tell. A comprehensive content strategy should help you establish: • What you want to say (storytelling principles, narra've) • How you want to say it (tone of voice) • Where you want to say it (aligning stories to digital channels) • Who you want to par'cipate (employees, customers, etc.) A solid editorial framework will determine content and plarorm priori'es and the content supply chain (workflows that facilitate content idea'on, crea'on, submission, approval and distribu'on). Smart Technology Deployment: It’s difficult to manage an advocate program using email or a private Facebook or LinkedIn group. There are several technology vendors in the market place that can help streamline the process and make it convenient for your advocates and influencers to share content: • Dynamic Signal (community-­‐based) • Social Chorus (community-­‐based) • Addvocate (plarorm) • Everyone Social (plarorm) Strategic Content Ac6va6ons: As much as your program must include cura'ng and distribu'ng content from your advocates to help tell your brand story, you must also have a content plan for engaging directly with them. 10
  11. 11. Unfortunately, many teams that manage these programs oen overlook a content plan and then struggle to keep the conversa'ons alive and fresh with advocates; more so with customers than employees. Your content should be planned weekly, monthly and even quarterly, and take into considera'on several factors like the following: • Upcoming events or industry trade shows • Upcoming product launches or new releases of an exis'ng product • Fun things like contests, polls and research ques'ons • Asking for user-­‐generated content (uploading and sharing photos on Facebook/TwiQer) You must also document the opera'onal plan by answering the following ques'ons: • Will you focus on employees, customers or both? • What’s the criteria for selec'ng advocates (invita'on, open)? • How long is the program and will you rotate in/out new members? • What do you want to call your program? • What technology plarorm will you use? • How are you going to measure? CONTENT PERFORMANCE AND ANALYSIS In April 2014, Contently, a content marke'ng plarorm, surveyed 302 marketers split evenly across B2B and B2C businesses about their content goals and measurement prac'ces and unearthed some key findings. The State of Content Marke'ng Measurement report found that 90% of marketers expressed uncertainty that their key content metrics are effec've in measuring business results. 11
  12. 12. Rather than measuring content (status update, press release, blog post, tweet) at the “social network” level, there is more value measuring content at the actual content level. At WCG, we use what we call the Branded Scoring Content Approach, where we score each piece of content that gets published online on a 1–100 scale. High performing content ranks higher on the scale, low performing content ranks lower. The algorithm uses two variables to determine the score: 1) where that content was published (how many distribu'on channels) and 2) the engagement level in each plarorm it was published. It’s a fairly simple algorithm that provides maximum insight if done correctly. Here’s the process: Content Gathering: We collect all your content from its mul'ple plarorms, even content shared across mul'ple plarorms. Content Processing: All content is loaded into a custom database and scored. All possible variables (likes, shares, comments, clicks) are taken into considera'on. Primary and secondary channels are weighted appropriately to their importance. 12
  13. 13. Content Scoring: Total post scores are the average of all possible channel variables (e.g., likes, shares, comments, clicks for Facebook). Each post’s score is a func'on of all content for the brand, rather than an isolated quan'fica'on. As such, engagement is a realis'c reflec'on of your brand’s content. We use this scoring system to op'mize future content, to determine where it’s shared and whether or not to push paid dollars behind it in order to improve reach/engagement. CONTENT OPERATIONAL FRAMEWORK This is an opera'onal step that spans across each of the four work streams above. It’s a consulta've approach that helps our clients structure their team, assign roles and responsibili'es with internal stakeholders and other agency partners, invest in the right technology and build a content supply chain (editorial process that facilitates the movement of content from idea'on to distribu'on) that can scale. Essen'ally, it's helping brands build a newsroom organiza'on. It starts with having the right team structure that can help streamline content through what we call the “content supply chain.” We typically recommend building a centralized editorial team that supports and enables mul'ple business units, product organiza'ons or geographies. This used to be called the Social Media Center of Excellence. This also involves assigning roles and responsibili'es, much like a newsroom organiza'on. You have to decide who in your company has the right skillset to write content, approve content and create other assets (videos, Infograms, photos, etc.) 13
  14. 14. Develop Content Strategy Scale Content Globally Source Technology Vendors COE B C This may require you to reach across the hall and collaborate with other teams if you don’t have all the resources yourself. Some brands will a create centralized “editorial” center of excellence to help augment the gaps. These cross-­‐func'onal teams are responsible for deploying and opera'onalizing a brand’s content strategy. You must also go through the daun'ng task of assigning roles and responsibili'es to your external agency partners and manda'ng that they play nice together. Editorial workflows are essen'al to ensure that your content is being distributed at the right 'me and in the right channel. Deploying workflows such as this will not only protect the brand from making mistakes (think US Airways, Kitchen Aid), but also ensure that there is enough content in the pipeline and that the stories are consistent once distributed. A M B C A M B Brand, Business Unit, Region M Media Agency Crea've/Ad Agency C Content/PR Agency A 14 Content Governance
  15. 15. For more informa'on on how CaaS might help you achieve your content marke'ng and brand goals, please contact Michael Brito. MICHAEL BRITO 415-­‐871-­‐5165