Walking the content_marketing_walk_by_reading_room


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A practical guide to Content Marketing written and curated by Simon Nash and Lucy Longhurst.

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Walking the content_marketing_walk_by_reading_room

  1. 1. Walking the contentmarketing walkA practical guide to content marketing, written andcurated by Reading Room.This ebook is optimised for reading on screen. Save a tree and don’t print it out.
  2. 2. We’re not like the others…There are hundreds of blogs and ebooks justifying why you should be doing contentmarketing. This isn’t one of them. Here at Reading Room we’ve been helping our clientsgrapple with the much tougher question of how to deliver a successful content marketingprogramme.So what sort of content works for which audience and how do you go about producingit? What are the proven methods to drive engagement and is there such a thing as ‘viral’content?To get to grips with these questions (and more besides) we put some successful contentmarketing professionals in a room and shared our mutual experiences and insight.This is the result. Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 1
  3. 3. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Creating great contentKnow thy audienceReally basic, but before you can decide what to say you have to really get to know youraudience – not just top-level stuff but right down to what they had for breakfast thismorning (we’re exaggerating, but you get the idea). You’ve also got to know your mediumand adapt your content accordingly. Content doesn’t go viral because it’s awesome, there’s a lot of work to get it in the right places and you need to understand the It’s worth thinking of your content in layers conversation hooks and the community it’s – a photo might hook the general public into going to. the story, but then you can give them more detail – the statistics, the wider background so they’re more informed. Chris Quigley, Rubber Republic Steph Gray, Helpful Technology We decided to start using social media because people were searching for us there and they couldn’t find us. Maria Marquez, London Business SchoolReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 2
  4. 4. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?http://www.eloqua.comhttp://jess3.comThe Content Grid produced byJess 3 and Eloqua illustrates areally simple approach to thinkingabout content in terms of youraudience and how differentcontent types contribute to yourobjectives and KPIs. 3 Walking the content marketing walk
  5. 5. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Find out what worksThe holy grail of content marketingA fairly obvious one in theory but harder to do in practice, there are still things you can doto maximise your chances without resorting to sheer blind trial and error. To get your content to go viral you have to create a piece of content that has conversation hooks that fit in to particular communities. We score our content against different criteria, then we identify the types of You’ve got to suit your content to the medium communities it could be attractive to – so in you’re using, so for example statistics work this case music, dance, creativity, cars, and really well on channels like Twitter. We also just general viral communities. That’s how we found regional variation around the world, decide what will work. so we had to adapt the channels we were using to be able to speak to the people we wanted. Chris Quigley, Rubber Republic Chris Woods, hanoverReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 4
  6. 6. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Viral Ad Network seed content to over 5000 sites so when it comes to viralthey know what they are talking about. Their Viral Rank scorecard is a great http://www.viraladnetwork.netway to evaluate the viral potential of a creative idea. Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 5
  7. 7. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Make it spreadableThe holy grail of content marketingGetting your content to be shared is the holy grail of content marketing, so making yourcontent easily shareable is a prerequisite to success. Spreadable media moves between commercial and non-commercial economies. For the producer, the content may be a commodity or a promotion; for the consumer, it is a resource or a gift…When they pass that content along to their friends, they do so because they value their friends far more than because they want to promote the economic interests of producers… Media producers need to understand the set of values and transactions which shape how their media flows in order to understand when and how it is appropriate to monetize the activities of their consumers. Henry Jenkins “Spreadable Media” The bottom line is, to make content work you have to start thinking like a publisher.Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 6
  8. 8. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Make it spreadableRe-purposing content is a good place to start: just because you’ve got a behemoth of areport doesn’t mean you’re stuck just tweeting a link to download the whole thing. Youcan slice and dice it in all sorts of ways. Blogger outreach Blog post/ series of posts Audioboo file Research report Slideshare presentation of highlights Infographic Video of report’s authors discussing issuesReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 7
  9. 9. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Make it spreadableThe holy grail of content marketing We took the thought leadership pieces, repurposed them, and seeded them all over the place – we made them into presentations on Slideshare, got our CEO to talk about them and then videoed him, and linked the Government consultations produce big pdf videos and presentations to the actual report, files which aren’t shareable, but if you turn it so users could access the information easily. into different versions for different audiences The effect was we went from no one reading you reach many more people: so we turned these reports to tens of thousands of web one into a ten-page plain English version, referrals. a Slideshare presentation and a 3 minute podcast version. Chris Woods, hanover Steph Gray, Helpful Technology You can take anything you have and transform it to make it shareable, but it has to be in the right format. Maria Marquez, London Business SchoolReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 8
  10. 10. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Make like a publisherFrom PR to publishingCreating successful content requires quite a change of mindset within your organisation.Traditionally marketing has been very PR-led, with the usual paraphernalia of pressreleases and journalists. Content marketing dispenses with that, because if your content isgood it’s not really necessary. You’re producing content that’s worth reading, bypassing thejournalists altogether.This sort of change is difficult to effect instantly. So start off small and advocate gently.Set up a working group of like-minded colleagues, and foster your company’s digitalawareness through a few events, or a show-and-tell session at the annual conference. Winpeople to your cause gradually, and eventually it will gain momentum of its own.Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 9
  11. 11. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Make like a publisherFrom PR to publishing A lot of companies feel they’ve got their heads round PR, but digital comes last in their considerations – maybe just thinking ‘we’ll put a press release up on our website’. But this PR-led content strategy has to change to a more content-led approach, which demands a massive re-think and that can be quite painful. Charles Bodsworth, Institute of Leadership and Management Internal buy-in can be a struggle – but manage to push one thing through and you can hold it up as an example of best practice. Then whenever the naysayers try to torpedo your initiative you can wheel it out in defence.Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 10
  12. 12. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Don’t make life harder for yourselfA framework to operate inThe chances are somebody in your organisation is already using social media to publishcontent, or is in a better position to talk to your customers and prospects than you are.So give them a framework to operate in and let go of the idea of doing all the social mediacentrally. But make sure everyone understands which channel is suitable for which kind ofcontent, and give them objectives specific to each channel. That will help keep the wholecontent marketing effort focused.Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 11
  13. 13. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Don’t make life harder for yourselfA framework to operate in A lot of our faculty members and staff were active on social media already, and producing research; but it wasn’t living in the marketing department, it was sitting with the faculty, it was sitting with the students – we have a very active student body who organise events which attract high profile speakers, but as the marketing department we weren’t making the most of that. So we needed to leverage what we already had, partly because it made sense to use it and partly because we don’t have a huge budget. When we were creating the framework we made sure it wasn’t just marketing – we got people from across the School to join us, for example the alumni relations team deal with social media for the alumni because they have the best relationship with them. To stop it getting fragmented we all meet up every 6 weeks or so to discuss what we’re doing. Maria Marquez, London Business School If you’ve got a large, diverse audience, consider segmenting your channels and the content you provide through them. That way you’ll only be giving people content that’s relevant to them.Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 12
  14. 14. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Look, no hands!You don’t have to micromanage your content-makersLots of organisations worry about guidelines for content because they have a (perfectlylegitimate) fear of getting into trouble. But you don’t have to micromanage your content-makers; in fact, the content you’ll produce will be much more genuine (and valuable) if youdon’t, and if you do you’ll put people off using blogs and other content channels to talk toyour audience.But equally that doesn’t mean you can take your hands off the steering wheel withoutrisking a re-enactment of the final moments of The Italian Job. Your content-makers needguidance, but very gentle – we’re not in Stalinist-era broadcasting, after all. Lewis Silkin advertises itself as a ‘rather We launched a social media framework, more human law firm’, so if we’re going to which we kicked off with an internal be on social media we should be expressing campaign. We published guidelines for social our personality because it’s our brand, media and created a space on the staff particularly because our work is all about intranet to help us get buy-in from everyone. relationship-building. Maria Marquez, London Business School Mark Grant, Lewis SilkinReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 13
  15. 15. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?So, how’d it go?Defining engagementDecide beforehand what you’re going to count and what you aren’t. Should you includeFacebook likes, or do they require so little effort on the part of the user that they’re not agood enough barometer of success? Or should you accord a ‘like’ 1 point, but a comment5 points?Best selling author, Brian Solis, says that businesses are working with an incompletedefinition of engagement: Engagement is defined by how a brand and consumer connect and interact within their networks of relevance. Simple. But, it’s also incomplete. It’s not just about the moment or competing for attention, it’s about the aftereffect. Engagement is measured by takeaway value, sentiment or feelings, and resulting actions following the exchange… engagement is not defined through likes, comments, shares, RTs or impressions. This activity is simply a result of engagement. Brian Solis, “Engagement aint nothin but a number”Solis argues that “marketers and developers are focusing on stimulating movement, whichby default becomes a game of competing for attention, moment by moment.” Instead,marketers should be looking at the longer term effects.Reading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 14
  16. 16. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?So, how’d it go?Defining engagement We use earned media and bought media – earned media is basically online PR, it’s Powerful images work incredibly well on approaching bloggers. It has value because social media – this photo was seeded it’s genuine engagement but the risk is it on the usual Department for International might not fly, so to militate against that risk Development channels but also Reuters and we use paid media – a syndicated viral ad the Guardian, so as well as half a million network. That kick-starts it and then you get views on Flickr they think it’s probably been the natural shares. seen by about 200 million people around the world. Statistics alone don’t mobilise people, Chris Quigley, Rubber Republic but images like this make people sit up and take notice. Steph Gray, Helpful TechnologyReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 15
  17. 17. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?It was THIS BIGDefining engagementMeasurement of something as nebulous as the effect of content marketing can be difficult,but it’s not impossible – even if you have to rely on an approximate ROI. And even if youcan’t measure it in sales terms doesn’t mean it’s not extremely valuable. Does Dubstep sell cars? I have no idea. Viral pieces are generally about the brand We measured the effect of our content element, and engagement with it; they help marketing by simply getting salespeople change perceptions of a brand but I don’t to ask their customers how they’d heard think people are going to click through and about us, and it transpired that we’d taken ‘buy now’. But our work is never a single a six-figure revenue – just by re-working the campaign on its own – it’s always part of content we already had. So that showed the something bigger. business that this was a good strategy. The video is an asset Peugeot can use…The value of it is not just on sales. There’s always a lot of long-tail effect, and from a strategic Chris Woods, hanover point of view that has a huge amount of value – but too often brands don’t capitalise on that, they abandon a great creative idea. Chris Quigley, Rubber RepublicReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 16
  18. 18. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?It was THIS BIGDefining engagementBy weighing conversations, interactions, and views, businesses are fed raw numbersthat demonstrate KPIs but they do not offer the insights necessary to glean ROI ordeep understanding of what people do and do not want, need, or value…Redefined engagement opens the door to new strategies and resulting metrics that lend tomeaningful experiences and results. By designing more meaningful initiatives, businessescan now focus on causing effect, changing behavior, or reinforcing value where previousengagement metrics can now document the progress of progress. The ultimate measurehowever is now something more substantial, such as: Shift in sentiment Satisfaction Acquisition Conversion Brand integrity Referrals LeadsReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 17
  19. 19. Creating great content Make like a publisher So, how’d it go?Thanks and good nightEspecial thanks to our contributorsWe hope you’ve found this eBook as interesting and fun to read as it was to write.Thanks to our guests at the event who provided lots of food for thought that we didn’thave space to fit in here:JoJo Brook Smith – Capio Nightingale Chris Woods - hanoverLeah Mynett – Friends of the Elderly Steph Gray - Helpful TechnologyGayle Suri – London Business School Charles Bodsworth - ILMAmber Gilmore – Department of Health Mark Grant - Lewis SilkinCaroline Fox – Department of Health Maria Marquez - London Business SchoolLouise Howells – Teenage Cancer Trust Chris Quigley - Rubber RepublicReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 18
  20. 20. Here’s a little bit about usProviding consultancy, creative and technical productionWe’re Reading Room, an international digital communications consultancy with offices inLondon, Manchester, Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore. We offer awide range of services that we describe as digital engagement strategy and experiencedesign. That means we take a holistic view of digital - increasingly blending websites,social media, mobile and other digital communication methods to enable clients to engagemore effectively with their audiences.Our global client roster boasts dozens of not for profit and public sector organisationsbut we also work with some major international brands like Skoda, Pernod Ricard, PhilipsHealthcare, G4S, Allianz Global Assistance, London Business School and Barclays Bank.We’re also an approved digital supplier to the UK Government Procurement Service andDesign Week rated us the UK’s top digital agency. Forrester rated us highly for transactionled design and we’re a Top 10 Global Agency in the Interactive Media Awards.We’d love to hear from youtel: +44 20 7173 2800e: info@readingroom.comw: www.readingroom.comReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 19
  21. 21. Our international offices:Melbourne Office Canberra Office Brisbane OfficeYork Butter Factory Level 1, 45 Torrens St Unit 6, 31 James Street62-66 King Street Braddon Fortitude ValleyMelbourne VIC 3000 Canberra ACT 2612 Brisbane QLD 4006Australia Australia Australiatel: +61 3 9010 5481 tel: +61 2 6229 9400 tel: +61 7 3253 5700e: info@readingroom.com.au e: info@readingroom.com.au e: info@readingroom.com.auw: www.readingroom.com.au w: www.readingroom.com.au w: www.readingroom.com.auManchester Office Sydney Office Singapore OfficePhoenix House Level 2, 54 Oxford Street 21 Tanjong Pagar Road, #04-0161-65 Spear Street Darlinghurst Singapore 088444Manchester Sydney NSW 2010 Republic of SingaporeM1 1DF Australia tel: +65 6603 6020UK tel: +61 2 8394 6888 e: info@readingroomsingapore.com.sgtel: +44 161 274 0720 e: info@readingroom.com.au w: www.readingroomsingapore.com.sge: info.manchester@readingroom.com w: www.readingroom.com.auw: www.readingroommanchester.comReading Room - ‘Walking the content marketing walk’ 20
  22. 22. www.readingroom.comWordsLucy LonghurstSimon NashDesignLouis Divine© 2012 Reading Room