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Last year I watched a panel debate on the following question: “Is it content, or is it an advertisement?” The panelists went round and round in circles for an hour, and there was no conclusion. My own thinking is along the lines of “it doesn’t really matter, and it’s probably both.”
I happen to think that we have entered a new golden age for advertising. The very best ads are conceived as shareable content experiences, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.
Unfortunately most TV and radio ads are still utterly intolerable, but I feel that the bar has been raised in recent years, driven by YouTube, social media, audience participation, and aspirations to be more creative. The best ads are anchored around compelling content. Execution, as with most things, is paramount. Combine the two and you might have a big hit on your hands.
There is a flipside: a lousy idea executed brilliantly is still a lousy idea. If the content is underwhelming then you will have to pay to gain reach. So much for earned media. If you are paying a small fortune to seed your content then you’re very much in the realms of paid media. I call this ‘the shareability gap’, and I believe that brands should invest in creativity, not media.
If a brand has paid for the content, then it pretty much wants you to buy something, or at the very least like it a little bit more, but that doesn’t mean that the content has to suck.
Here are some non-sucky content marketing campaigns that I’ve seen recently. I’ve taken quite a broad brush approach here with regards to formats: there are ads, pop-up installations, photographic collections, blogs, and helpful guides. I like the ideas and the execution. Have a look and do let me know what you think...
Over the past year or two, sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy have introduced a new type of content marketing to the masses.
Lovingly referred to as clickbait, it has so thoroughly revolutionised the way content is shared that there are rumours Facebook has tried to ban it.
So why do people have such a love/hate relationship with these entertaining articles? And what can marketeers learn from clickbait marketing?
Occasionally you see an incredulous question posted to reddit, along these lines: “What job do you have that allows you to browse reddit?”
I happen to think that all kinds of professionals should keep a close eye on reddit, as it is an ever-changing repository of the best content and discussion on the internet. Yes, there are too many cat gifs, but scratch below the surface and it is a fantastic place to find inspiration, examples, insight and expertise.
I thought I’d provide an overview of some of the categories (aka ‘subreddits’) that are worth subscribing to. Each of these subreddits has plenty to offer, especially for those of you - like me - who work in the digital industry. Creative and marketing folk would do well to tune in.
For the uninitiated, The Observer's Tom Lamont recently published an insightful feature on reddit, which covers a lot of ground. Be sure to install the Reddit Enhancement Suite and download Alien Blue for your smartphone. Both are world class examples of apps that help extend and improve on the overall experience of a website (in terms of usability, and content access / discovery / bookmarking).
Right then, where shall we start?
This is the third in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.
In the first article I discussed the first few steps involving sign-up, the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and your social media presence.
Last week, I looked at writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS) and I also offered some general writing tips for new bloggers.
This time I’ll be delving into the dashboard to help you set up the ‘backend’ of your blog, by taking a look at the diverse world of widgets.
Firstly though a quick note about the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org in relation to ‘plugins’.
This is the second in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.
Last time I discussed the first few steps, involving sign-up, the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org, and your social media presence.
In this article I’ll discuss writing your first post using the WordPress content management system (CMS), but first, here are some general writing tips for bloggers using any platform.
This five part series is designed for all those marketers around the world who are aspiring to lead a marketing function.
The objective of this series is to share insights, experiences and ideas for passionate marketers who want to grasp what it takes to be in charge of marketing, especially in these amazingly progressive times where marketing has attained a more strategic role.
The series could be seen to be oriented towards B2B, but many marketers see the lines with B2C blurring. So grab a coffee, put your feet up and read on.
Here is a checklist you can hold against your agency’s ‘about us’ section. Don't worry, it is equal parts 'do' and 'don't'.
Make sure you weed out examples of the latter and add in some of the former and your copy should improve. This list is solely about the content of your copywriting, the words you choose, not the formatting or style.
If you wonder why I’m qualified to create such a checklist, I can only cite my personal and professional interests in writing. I haven’t worked for many clients or won any awards but I have doggedly scrolled through many agency websites.
I must say that my favourite, in the end, was e3, which forgoes an 'about us' section altogether, opting instead for a little piece of copy on the homepage.
However, there are lots of great 'about us' pages out there, and even some of the 'don'ts' I have gathered work well in context. That means having a great copywriter on your team is essential.
This is the first in a series of posts discussing how to set up and run a WordPress blog from a relatively experienced expert, which will feature many helpful and hopefully relevant tangents.
Firstly I should reveal a little bit of background about myself. I began a WordPress blog a few years ago; it was a little read music site full of rambling incoherent nonsense semi-related to reviewing new albums.
Inexplicably within six months, the blog had grown beyond its humble beginnings as something to annoy my friends on Facebook with, to something that was doing fairly well in search engine results pages (SERPs) and driving higher than anticipated traffic.
I took the decision to transfer the blog from WordPress (which restricts you to the .WordPress.com suffix) to its own domain (with the much more loved by seach engines suffix .com), hosted by a third-party service, while still using a WordPress template and its various plug-ins.
As marketers, we are all becoming more familiar with personalization as we recognize the need to tailor digital experiences to individual users. Only we are doing it all wrong. OK, partly wrong.
In this blog post, I explore the concept of 'true personalization:' tailoring the digital experience to the kind of relationship someone wants with your organization.
Rather than just customizing a digital experience according to what someone has clicked on, true personalization posits that the type of content someone consumes is far more important to building long-lasting and deep relationships.
In February 2011, Google Panda was released and the nature of the content seen by individuals searching on Google began changing.
Google Panda was an algorithm that was meant to serve higher quality content to users in Google search results. With dozens of updates to Google Panda since then, the SEO industry changed and SEO professionals now needed to become content marketers as well.
Even since, we’ve seen Penguin hit links and a potential update strike this past week on lower quality guest posting.
Any good content marketer knows that different types of content work for different types of consumers. On top of the type of consumer, where they are in the sales funnel also plays a part in what sort of content will most likely lead to a conversion.
With these factors in mind, what type of content should be served to your potential customers?
Google helps us all market our services. That statement can start a healthy debate amongst many in the media, but I think I'll stick with it.
Of course, Google has to market itself, too.
Even the biggest and most successful companies must market themselves in some channels. Apple, for example, may shun social media, but it's all over the television and out-of-home and has a distinctive presence on many high streets.
So, I thought I'd round up some examples of Google's marketing that have stuck in my mind and continue to leave me mindful of Google's all-conquering innovation.
Hope you enjoy!
Learning to code is similar to learning to drive. It opens up a world of opportunities.
From a marketer's point of view the ability to interpret, edit and write code is an incredibly useful skill to add to your toolkit.
What can you do with such abilities?