Content Marketing in the Digital Age


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A presentation on content marketing delivered at the National Junior Achievement Empowering Success Conference

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  • Clear Verve specializes in marketing professional service providers, not for profits, and community organizations. I started the company in 2006, and we’ve grown to service clients in healthcare, education, accounting & law, consulting services, and nonprofits of all shapes and sizes.
  • There are lots of names for marketing activities:
    Public relations
    Community relations
    Social media
    Word of mouth marketing
    Guerilla marketing
    Content marketing
    Really – they are all the same thing. Communication. You are telling people what you want them to know and what you want them to do.
  • It’s the 2 bucket theory. All marketing-type activities fall into one of two buckets:
    Low cost – high effort
    high cost– Low effort
    The world of communication is moving more towards the low cost – high effort bucket, but even the high cost bucket is becoming more effort. More hands-on.
    That’s because marketing has changed
  • Today’s marketing can’t talk to people like they’re stupid. Customers are generally more educated or at least more cynical.
    Can you imagine an ad like this working today?
    Marketing today must be:
    People expect personalized communications
    Instant answers
    It may even seem like they are lazy and don’t want to think.
    That’s not true.
  • We are suffering from infobesity
    When I started my business back in 2006 and would speak, I used to say that people received over 8,000 messages/day. But this was before the explosion of social media.
    I recently heard that most people are exposed to 34 GB of content daily.
    To cope, we have now evolved our brains to the point where we have the attention span of a goldfish. (8 seconds) that’s about 7 words on a billboard. 25 spoken words, if you’re lucky only one web page and several social media status updates in the user’s stream.
    That’s why communication has become so visual. People say you can process images 60,000 times faster than text. Especially today’s digital natives. They are used to multi-tasking and scanning for what they need. Communication must adapt.
    Because of this, the way you communicate today is extremely important because your content must fit all the criteria we talked about earlier:
    The question is – how can anyone do that? Even big companies with several dedicated people are having trouble keeping up.
  • Because even when you know what you want to talk about and you know which platform is right for you and you know you can recycle your message, the messages have to be slightly different.
    When you look at all the places you can put your message, it’s easy to see that the old way of approaching social media, which basically involved someone saying something like, we should be on Facebook, isn’t enough anymore. You have to know where you’re going and what you’re going to post.
    That is content marketing.
    Content marketing allows you to achieve all of today’s communication criteria.
    It builds trust by demonstrating expertise and results
    It proves what you say is true
    It creates emotional connections
    And it builds community
  • Because marketing isn’t about talking at people anymore. It’s about talking with them.
    Of course, one on one communication and all the things you used to do are still important. But social media is a good way to reach out to people and have something that feels like a conversation with them.
    However, there are a lot of platforms. And most of you don’t have a lot of people or time. Remember the two buckets? Social media could totally overflow the not a lot of money but takes a lot of time bucket!
    So how do you deal with this?
  • You have to have a plan! Social media is like anything else you do at your organization. Ask yourself why you’re doing it. What do you hope to accomplish? You can’t commit random acts of social media.
    It needs to be tied to your organization’s overall goals. And it needs its own goals. Are the right people on that platform to help you meet that goal.
    We recently took a survey on social media use in SE Wis. and found that the most common goals for social media use are:
    Build awareness, interest, and understanding for the brand
    Promote events
    Lead generation/cultivation
    Advertising organization
    You have to consider the capacity of the platform to deliver the audience you want.
    YouTube – 50/50 female /male split – 800 million users. One of the most popular search engines and the #3 website behind Google and Facebook
    Facebook & Twitter 55/45 female/male split – FB has 1.5 billion users, Twitter has 5 million users. FB has 699 million daily logins. Twitter 400 million tweets per day.
    Instagram – 15 million active users (FB has 800 million active users) – couldn’t find exact stats on instagram users, but MTV is the most followed brand on instagram, so that tells you something.
    Google plus has 360 million active users – primarily male – big in tech industries and engineers
    Pinterest has about 70 million users, about 80% female, sticky site. People spend about an hour on the site each time they visit. Facebook is only about 12 minutes.
    Foursquare is 60% male
    LinkedIn evenly split – 100 million active users – 97% of executives have accounts (but remember not all of them are active users)
    Of course, you also have to think about what gets posted to each platform and decide if you have the capacity to generate that type of content.
    YouTube is video
    Twitter can link to anything but you need to be able to describe it quickly and remember that people may not click through.
    Instagram is photos & video
    Foursquare is only useful if people care that they are in your establishment
    Pinterest is photos
    FB is good for just about anything – video, photo, links to articles
    It needs to consider your other communication channels so you can recycle and reuse your work if possible.
    That’s especially important if you’re trying to maintain communication on more than one channel. As our survey found:
    Nearly 90% are on Facebook
    About 80% post content to their own websites
    68% post information to twitter and/or distribute it through an enewsletter
    59% post to LinkedIn
    Nearly 40% are using YouTube
    So you can’t just post garbage whenever you feel like it – there’s a lot of competition.
    Then you need to communicate to everyone involved with your organization so they know what you’re doing and WHY.
    Everyone needs to know what your organization’s goals (overall goals and social media goals) are and what the message is so they are prepared and they recognize opportunities
    opportunities to communicate what you need (both online and offline)
    opportunities to tell your story
    helps find volunteers, get news stories
    When I say everyone, that inevitably brings up the question of how many people should be involved in the social media efforts of your organization. That depends on how much work there is to do, how many people you have and how much you trust them. Trust is a big factor. You have to be confident that they understand the tools as well as the strategy. Many times, an organization will assign social media work to the youngest person in the room. That can be a great strategy. Technically, digital natives have an easier time figuring out the various platforms and coming up with ideas on how you can use them.
    However, younger people are also less experienced communicators and may make errors in judgment. An older person may have to be trained on the tool, but is more experienced in handling a wide variety of communications situations.
    So either way, you have a learning curve.
  • You also need to think about the negative aspects of social media
    This is why a social media policy is so important. You need to establish in writing how you expect people to behave. I’m assuming JA has a policy. Make sure everyone knows what it says. You also want to make sure that anyone you deal with on a regular basis has a social media policy. And you’d be surprised how many people don’t.
    This spring, Clear Verve conducted a research study to learn about content marketing in our area. We had over 200 participants representing a wide variety of industries, including nonprofit organizations. In fact, the Association of Fundraising Professionals supported and helped us promote the survey. One of the questions we asked in the survey as if your organization had a social media policy. This is a question we’ve been asking for a long time.
    We originally asked this question in our first social media survey taken in 2010. That survey, which included responses from over 600 accountants and attorneys, showed that at the time, only 30% of firms had a social media policy. We found this interesting because although accountants and attorneys aren’t always the most marketing-savvy bunch, they generally are very careful people. Our 2011 survey of nonprofits indicated that 36% of organizations had a social media policy at the time. This survey, which crossed a wide variety of industries, showed that just over 40 percent of companies currently have a social media policy. While these results certainly do not provide an apples-to-apples comparison, they do indicate that, although there is a long way to go, more organizations are becoming aware of the importance of social media policies.
  • You also need to make sure you think about and plan for what you’ll do if something bad happens. We have the reacting to social media flowchart. Review. Note the sources. At the time these sources only assumed that bad information could come from the outside, that’s why we added the internal channel.
  • But of course, you can’t just sit around talking about what if, you need to actually make a plan and execute it. We also have a social media strategy wheel that can help you think about everything you should consider as you write your social media plan. Review.
    The big thing to notice is that its not a big thick binder.
    Internal circle – green – is the stuff you should be doing that your audience doesn’t see. This is the part most people forget.
    We’re going to assume that you’ve been at it for a while, but maybe haven’t stepped back to reflect.
    Research – take a break and look to see what other people are doing. Look both inside and outside your competition. (don’t copy, don’t get to a point where you’re basing decisions on what would so and so do?)
    Strategy – who’s on the team? What are our goals with social media? If people don’t know what they’re trying to achieve they’ll just do busywork. What are our social media policies – includes service policies – who, what, when? (once a day, are they supposed to post every day – blog once a week – what?)
    Listen – what are people asking for? Does this create opportunities? What are they talking about?
    Position – who are you going to be in the debate? Are you starting something new? Participating in someone else’s discussion, or trying to change opinions? That will totally change your approach to the conversation. Do you want to be seen as a fighter, or an authority, an advocate? For whom?
    Recalibrate – periodically ask yourself if you’ve learned something, is this working (or can it?), do we need to try something new. What has happened in the world since we last recalibrated? (new platform, change in the economy, scandal,
    Outer circle – what people see
    Participation – affected by your social media policy
    Creation – what are you going to create? What resources do you have and how much time do you have? Be realistic!!! Our survey found that most people felt that photos, announcements, and videos were the most effective things they posted on social media sites. Photos were far and away #1 and anecdotally we’ve heard from many people that they get the best reactions to posts when they include photos. But that means you need to remember to take those photos! And post them!
    Manage – implementing your reaction plan, people responsible execute, recognize and reward participation
    Integrate – social media doesn’t live in isolation. Have you updated your website? Your website is the center of the social media bull’s eye. How does it affect your PR, events, annual reports, brochures, events, can you drive people to sites with QR codes?
    This may seem like a lot of work, but 80% of the people who participated in our survey are using social media to help market their businesses. So you have a lot of competition.
  • I want you to do more than just think about what you should do, I want you to actually do it.
    Here’s what should you do:
    Resolve to make a plan! If you have a plan, resolve to dig it out, recalibrate it if needed and implement it.
    Pick a couple of channels – choose the ones you can handle working with. Remember the resources JA provides. There are lots of resources. JA is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest so those are natural places to be because you can repost.
    Assign responsibility for social media to someone and make sure they have the time and the ability to do it.
    Execute your plan – consider what’s going on around you but don’t suffer from shiny object syndrome – just because a new channel appears does not mean you have to be there!
    Be realistic – set realistic goals for results and execution! It sounds great to say you will post every day, but maybe that’s just not possible. What is possible? Remember that if you have goals it’s easier to justify not being somewhere. You’ve thought it through and you can say, the audience is wrong, we don’t have the bandwidth, we can’t generate videos, whatever.
  • Now, open up to questions. Questions don’t have to be for us – could ask the group something.
  • Content Marketing in the Digital Age

    1. 1. Content marketing in the digital age
    2. 2. Who is this person? Clear Verve Marketing •Work primarily with professional service providers, nonprofits, and community organizations •Promise Marketingsm •Full range of marketing and PR services •Tri-Adathon participant | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    3. 3. Some of our clients | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    4. 4. A rose by any other name | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    5. 5. The two bucket theory | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    6. 6. | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    7. 7. Infobesity | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    8. 8. | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    9. 9. It’s not about talking AT people anymore | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    10. 10. | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    11. 11. Consider the negatives | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    12. 12. | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    13. 13. | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    14. 14. Next steps | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    15. 15. Tools from Clear Verve • • • • • • • Ongoing social media strategy wheel Social media guidelines or policy template Reacting to social media flowchart 100 Ways to build your business in 2012 Sign up for our newsletter Blog Follow Christina Steder on Pinterest | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    16. 16. Questions, comments, and discussion | Facebook: Promise Marketing
    17. 17. Contact Information Clear Verve Marketing 890 Elm Grove Rd. Suite 209-2 Elm Grove, WI 53122 262-796-9001 | Facebook: Promise Marketing