Welcome to the Content Marketing Revolution

Today’s post is courtesy of Edelman Digital and though the main focus of the piece is content marketing on social media (meaning it should fall under Social Media Wednesdays), it is important to view this new way of content marketing as a PR Tip necessary in order to adapt to the dynamic changes taking place in the world of public relations.

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Posted by 

Edelman Digital, Melbourne

Follow on Twitter @trevoryoung

While corporate gets hung up on the tactical aspects of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the real action is bubbling beneath the surface. For many it’s not as sexy as the social technology platforms we hear about and see in the media every day but it’s equally powerful. Indeed, it’s the ‘secret sauce’ – the fuel that keeps the social web cranking along at breakneck speed.

I’m talking about content and how it can be used to keep your brand connected to the people who matter most to your business, cause or issue – how it can help organisations to:

  • Attract Attention
  • Gain respect
  • Build trust

… with longer-term goal of generating leads and ultimately growing sales revenue. (And let’s face it, which brands don’t want to tick those boxes?).

Emerging from Social Shadows

While we’re (finally) starting to take the notion of social media more seriously here in Australia, in the US the concept of ‘content marketing’ has emerged from the social shadows and is set to explode.

The creation, sharing (and in some instances, curation) of content is becoming a cornerstone marketing activity for many major brands and fast-growth companies.

Strategic Intent

Content can include everything from videos, podcasts, e-books, white papers and case studies through to blog posts, infographics, webinars, microblogging (Twitter), online news releases, mobile phone apps and interactive newsrooms. Used effectively and with strategic intent, content marketing is a powerful means of reaching and engaging with current and potential customers, media and other influencers.

The irony, however, is that despite its huge growth, content marketing is not exactly new. Videos, hard-copy newsletters and custom-published magazines – all corporate communication tools that have been around for years – can be considered content.

Why the sudden interest in content as a cornerstone marketing strategy?

Blame (or more importantly, thank!) the emergence of the social web.

Distribution Channels

Today, any person, company or organisation can establish its own online TV show (vodcast), radio station (podcast) or web-based magazine (blog), while social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook serve as effective and powerful two-way content distribution channels.

Think about it for a moment. Let the concept percolate a bit – swill it around in your mind.

At the risk of repeating myself, we can now communicate directly with the people who matter most to the success of our business – and we can do it with a degree of scale and intensity of connection we’ve not been able to do before. I might also add: cost-effectively and in real-time.

This presents massive opportunities for companies and organisations to bypass the traditional ‘gatekeepers’ – journalists and editors – and engage directly with their constituents.

Empathy and Respect

But this opportunity comes with a caveat – several, actually.

Content marketing is not a sales pitch. Have empathy for your audience. Treat them with respect.

Create compelling content that’s interesting, relevant and worthwhile to your audience: it’s about them, not you.

Solve problems experienced by your audience (add value); tap into the experts in your company (hidden assets); provide credible information (without selling); and shine the spotlight on your customers (take a back seat).

Content marketing can be a powerful strategy. Get involved, but use it cleverly and respectfully … and reap the benefits!

Image credit: Rafael Peñaloza

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Social Media Wednesday: Lupita

Lupita-WikipediaShe has, at this point in her career, received over 30 awards from almost every prestigious award giving entity in Hollywood. Her name is currently being mentioned more times than seasoned Hollywood actresses, many of whom are singing her praises. Not unless you have been living in the earth’s core for the past three months, Lupita Nyong’o is showing the world that Kenya has more to offer than long distant runners, the Maasai, wildlife and being the homeland of the first black president of the U. S of A.

With an average of 18, 000 Google searches per month (Google Adwords), information of this multi-award winning actress is very much sought after. Note that this number is not inclusive of searches made on online entertainment sites and other mediums that share information about this rising celebrity. This is attributed to her performance in 12 Years a Slave by Director Steve McQueen.

instagramSocial media is an important tool in that it allows users access to information in real time.  If any given person wants to know what Lupita is wearing to award ceremonies, who she has being hanging out with or what nail polish colour she fancies, a quick look at her Instagram account will answer your questions. A great deal of the information shared on social media about the star, text or visual, is not available on other sites.

It is worthy to note that Lupita does not always run her Twitter or Facebook accounts since most tweets and posts are in third person. Her certified Twitter account has only been active since early January 2014 but currently has more than 33, 300 followers. Lupita has been on Instagram since December 2013 and currently has over 125, 000 followers while  her Facebook fan page that has been running since December 2012 recently reached over 112,000 likes.

In Lupita’s case, Facebook is the preferred social media tool not only because of how long it has been running but also because Facebook allows integration with other social media sites especially Twitter and Instagram. Facebook pages also allow for more information to be share than is possible on Twitter and users can interact freely with the information shared.

However, given the numbers, Instagram is the most used social media site that fans use to gain information about the star. It could be that a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, wouldn’t you agree?

Uhuru-lupitaIn the new media age, many feel that if an event was not documented on social media then it never really happened. This could have prompted Lupita to join both Instagram and Twitter in order to remain relevant in today’s fast paced society. Fans can now reach her on the three popular sites whenever they want a piece of her.

 

New Year’s Strategy

glasshousej

wallives.com

Mwaka mpya mambo mapya (new year, new things)- is that not how the saying goes?

The Kenyan business landscape is becoming increasingly competitive especially so with many start-ups, and success stories, emerging in the past year. For both the veteran and the start-up, evolving and adapting to the times is essential or face the possibility of being phased out in 2014.

Visibility is important and any PR practitioner can tell you that. How many people clicked on the link? How much traffic did the website/blog get? How many people saw the post? When trying to promote a brand, many people think in terms of social media vs. traditional media. One should consider all available channels and platforms including online communities, specific media, forums and offline events. The channel or platform used will be dependent on your target audience.

Also before embarking on a launch or campaign, list all the possible ways you can reach any given member of the demographic and use a combination of listed methods to inform and eventually motivate said member to take action. You can also consider more subtle techniques of propagating a message other than traditional media purchases and ads. Social media now offers paid content promotion. These techniques should be coupled with traditional PR tactics.

Distribution of any given message through digital channels using photos, infographs and videos should not only be creative but also digital-friendly. Being a source of insightful, informative and high-quality content attracts potential users and makes you a source of authority in your niche.

If you are a start-up and have funding from one or more investors/donors, be sure to let them share their view on the product/ service you want to introduce to the market. This will earn you a community of supporters who will be particularly important during a launch. Be sure to remain accountable not only to the investors/donors but to your company as well.