Category Archives: Digital trends

Top 10 reasons that content is critical

It’s officially Spring, the daffodils are waving at me through the window, so I think I’ll start this blog with a joke…stolen from Seth Godin in his book “Permission Marketing”.

‘What do you get if you cross and insomniac with a dyslexic and an agnostic? Someone who stays up all night worrying about whether there really is a dog’.

It’s a good joke the first time around. If you hear it for a second time? You probably won’t even smile. This is a bit like regurgitating the same content on your website or leaving your content to stagnate. Not many people will come back and check you out again if they keep getting the same old stuff. You have to continually offer fresh and interesting content to keep your followers happy and encourage them to share your message.

As a digital marketing consultant, I try my best to keep up with all the changes – no, make that evolutions – that happen daily in the digital media space. I read constantly, follow other blogs, go to conferences and try out new social media tools to refine my digital strategy and knowledge. But for all the tools and techniques available, they are just that – tools for distributing great content.

Is-Content-Marketing-the-hot-new-trend-infographic

Content marketing has become one of the key online marketing tools to help businesses promote themselves in a crowded digital market place.

So, can I quote from Bill Gates and say “content is king”? You can dispute this, but here are 10 reasons why I really think this is still true.

Why content matters:

1. Content gets you discovered

The place to be discovered is on Google. Google loves content. Search engine optimisation is critical to create sustainable and long-lasting good search rankings and content has become a primary way to obtain safe and powerful links.

2. Content makes social media work for you

You may have Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts. But what are you going to say on them? If you only offer a stream of sales tweets and messages, you will lose followers and engagement. You need to offer people something of value to read and interact with. Socially shareable content from your blog will increase click through rates and may boost sales as a result. People have to get to know and like you before they buy.

3.  Content engages and retains your followers

Creating regular content is a great way to engage with your customers and create buy-in. Keep content fresh and they will come back to visit you for more. A well run blog can be a sales tool, as can offering white papers, company presentations, webinars, videos. Consumers learn to trust and value your brand.

4. Content can offer insights and information via email marketing campaigns

Newsletters and promoting blog posts are a great way to engage by offering insights, relevant news and industry updates. Make them interesting and informative and people will happily sign up. I do! These are subtle sales techniques but also add value.

5.  Content positions you as an expert

It can help you to demonstrate your expertise in your industry or sector. If you are providing useful, actionable information and content, people will share it, recommend you and endorse you. All of which builds your brand.

6. Generating content keeps you creative

Taking time to create and share great content is not a quick process. It takes time to build a following of your target audience. It’s akin to building a network in the physical world. You have to commit time and effort into attending networking events and making a contribution to get the benefit. Just handing out your business cards and adopting a selling approach is like sending out constant sales Tweets – very few people will listen or respond.

7. Providing content encourages feedback

If your content requires a call to action or invites a response or reaction, then you will receive comments and feedback. This is a great way to test of you are reaching the right audience but it also help you to improve your content and widen its appeal.

8. Great content builds your personal brand

You are what you write. You write in your own style, in your own words, supported by your own research. This becomes your personal online brand and your authentic voice. Your audience will appreciate this and buy into your approach.

9. Great content creates a community

You will find and attract like-minded content creators who will share your output but also engage in discussion with you. Getting known within a community will widen your reach.

10. Producing great content underpins all of your marketing efforts

Understanding how to use social media, creating online campaigns and measuring your impact are all essential tools in your marketing kit bag but they are only there to widen the impact and reach of your valuable content.

To sum this up, I love this quote from Doug Kessler, a content marketing guru.

“Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.”

Lesley

 

 

A picture (or visual) paints a thousand words

Growth of visual

The familiar proverb  “a picture paints a thousand words” refers to the idea that complex stories can be told with just a single image or visual or that an image may be more influential than hundreds of words. It looks like this has never been more true than in 2014. So, your New Year’s resolution should be to take photos,  make videos and learn to draw infographics to engage your customers. Why?

I have spent some time over the Christmas period reviewing the digital marketing trends of 2013 and reading the predictions of influential marketeers to see what they think  2014 has in store.  Anything new? More of the same? This is digital marketing we are talking about so expect nothing less than exponential change.

Let’s just take a step back into 2013 for a second. The past six months of 2013 brought with it two big pieces of news in the social media world; one tangible, and one symbolic. The first was in April when it was announced that Pinterest was officially eating into Facebook’s share of social e-commerce traffic. The second was in November, when Snapchat famously rejected Facebook’s $3 billion acquisition offer.

Both pieces of news were bad news for Facebook. And that’s because Pinterest’s rise and Snapchat’s rebuff signifies the segmentation of the social media universe. The indications are  that a move to more visual resources, with Pinterest’s multiple visual pinboards and Snapchat’s instant photo sharing are taking centre stage and  the days of gathering “likes” and followers to boost your reputation are waning. It’s also time to start paying to get noticed.

Expect to pay

Facebook will still be very much with us in 2014 but it’s changing.  The Global Social Media Impact Study, which was funded by the European Union, observed 16- to 18-year-olds in eight countries for 15 months and found that Facebook use was in freefall. Instead, young people are turning to simpler services like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp which Professor Miller conceded were “no match” for Facebook in terms of functionality.

Facebook is now being used by the parents of these young adults and older people generally. Maybe this explains why Facebook is really pushing cost-per-click advertising and boosting of posts. The organic reach of posts has plummeted to less than 2% (it used to be about 16%) so using Facebook as a marketing tool will now start to cost real money.  But everyone else is doing this too with Twitter ‘paid for’ advertising, cost per view on Youtube and cost per click on LinkedIn. Budgeting appropriately for your social media activities will be critical in the future.

Learn to love Google+

The growth in 2014 will come from other services, especially Google+.  It is becoming more and more important as Google is trying to connect all aspects of your online presence and become a hub for your online activity.  It has 300 million users and is essential for search. You have to be here in 2014. Oh, and Google also owns Youtube which is growing rapidly as visual become more important.

To sum all this up, of course, I have an infographic for you by courtesy of Boot Camp Digital.

Social media trends in 2014

It’s the visual trend that stands out for me. Visual social content is now a serious contender in social media marketing due to the convergence of a few factors:

  • rapid penetration of smart phones and tablets
  • decreased cost of data that makes high definition uploads cost-effective
  • the emergence of the tools mentioned about, i.e. Pinterest, Vine and Instragram and YouTube

But it is also about human nature:

  • websites with strong imagery are easier to digest that text heavy pages
  • most people retain 95% of the message in a video (think of how many times you have watched a YouTube video to learn how to do something simple)
  • 96% of consumers click links after watching a video and 94% are likely to buy product after watching online video
  •  Infographics – i.e. any graphical representation of data and information – is much easier to digest and understand than a wordy explanation. It captures people’s attention much faster

So, a major trend to observe in digital marketing for 2014 is the power of the visualisation of information. Luckily, I got a camera with a video function for Christmas so expect more visual content from this website in the coming months.

I will be discussing more key trends for digital marketing over the coming weeks. Keep checking back.

Lesley

 

Digital marketing – scary stuff isn’t it?

Digital marketing

Since moving to the West of Ireland from London last year, I have been transforming my consultancy services to adapt them to the needs of local businesses. The opportunities here  in Westport are fewer than in Canary Wharf – only one hour away but a lifetime apart. Is that right? Well, actually, it is not so. Businesses may be smaller here but they have the same strategic and marketing needs of larger organisations in the UK.

I have worked for some of the largest global organisations who are risk averse and prefer to be followers not leaders in the digital world. They are not taking advantage of the business tools out there to maximise their company’s profile and engage meaningfully with their clients. Their smaller, nimbler and more tech-savvy competitors are taking advantage of this and causing disruption in the legal and accountancy markets. Old business models are being torn up and new ones written and still people choose to ignore what’s going on.

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” —John D. Rockefeller

Digital marketing, using social media, optimising your website to increase visibility and email marketing, is different from traditional marketing, but the two work great together. You still have to be good at applying tried and tested marketing principles and if you are not sure what they are, I can highly recommend this book by Mike Meldrum called “The Complete Marketeer: 60 essential concepts for marketing excellence”.

http://amzn.to/1dSt2I6

Along with these great principles, digital marketing can quickly get you engaged more with your customers so that you can listen and understand what they need and value about your services.

Meanwhile, back in Ireland small businesses are very open to using digital media to connect them to the wider world and exploit business opportunities across the world. It may be a small island, but the thinking is big. But I do keep hearing from small businesses that digital marketing “is scary stuff” and the varying reputations of Facebook and Twitter make people even more scared. But these tools and others are powerful weapons in your marketing armory and cannot be ignored. They need to be embraced.

I will be posting top tips about using social media tools and giving you links to great blogs and books to read about digital marketing.

Here’s a great blog to keep you going.

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

In the New Year I will also be offering a series of free seminars about social media and digital marketing. The venue will be in Westport, but I hope to video them so I can make them available on my website.

So, no need to be scared anymore.