Social media can be more than just a venue to publish photos of babies and cats. Brands seeking a stronger online presence can leverage social media to increase affinity and, eventually, loyalty. This effect can be possible because loyalty has as much to do with engagement as it does having high opinions of a brand. When brands give consumers more opportunities to engage with them, they can create lasting bonds that promote consistent purchasing and brand evangelism.
Not every approach works, though. You have to have a carefully-refined digital content strategy and social media marketing strategy working in unison. Here are some ways that brands are capturing an online social media audience and converting their engagement into loyalty: Read more on How Social Media Can Boost Customer Loyalty→
Allow me to vent for a second. It’s been two weeks since the passing of New Year’s Day and in the last 14 days I have read every imaginable article on 2013 trends in internet marketing and social media. Today I clicked open yet another from a very reputable author on the matter and saw “Content Marketing” once again being referred to as a trend. The exact quote was “Content Marketing is being touted as the next big thing.” Color me irritated.
Someone in your office will have to wear this hat as you prepare your Content Marketing strategy for 2013
Brand Journalism is the solution to your content creation woes in 2013. Brand journalism gained momentum last year as the content consumption habits of an online public lost the taste for advertorials attempting to take the place of real stories about a product, service, or industry. Brands scrambled to find ways to publish content about their brand without resorting to traditional paid online ads – something that was, and is, losing its effectiveness in engaging consumers. A few savvy businesses with an arsenal of content creators started resorting to, God forbid, actual journalism. McDonald’s, who’s CMO Larry Light coined the phrase, has seen great success over the last few years by adopting this philosophy.
Brand journalism, while related to a business, is still rooted in story. To be effective it must communicate timely, factual and transparent consumer driven information about your brand through a variety of media channels all the while telling a story in an engaging manner and encouraging feedback from the “reader”. If journalism reports on the world as a whole, brand journalism makes your business the world and with that you can better understand how to proceed with creating content for this new concept.
It may seem to Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) that brand journalism only applies to big corporations that have both the means and expansive day to day operations to embark upon such a content driven campaign but in fact any mom & pop shop with an online presence can benefit from the philosophy. SMBs can even draw upon more personal experiences for brand stories which may otherwise be frowned upon for big business.
Since brand journalism borrows from traditional journalism, I thought I’d break down a few typical newspaper/broadcast segments that will help you identify where the story is for your business on any given day. They won’t all be headlines but each one will appeal to your customers in some manner and will ultimately serve to build a persona for your brand better than any pay-per-click campaign. All you need to get started is a website, blog, social network, and someone to create the content.
5 Examples of Where to Find Stories for Your Website’s Brand Journalism Strategy:
Businesses also need to do their own homework when it comes to content marketing
I had the same conversation with more than a few clients recently. Some of them had inquired about outsourcing content (blogs, press releases, social media postings, etc…) from foreign countries. Some of them already were. While there are many gray areas and debatable topics in the industry of content marketing, the response to this one topic is clear – outsourcing overseas (or the like) content is a bad idea.
I’m not even going to dive into the socio-economic considerations by painting exaggerated pictures of rows of carpal tunnel afflicted elderly in the Philippines plucking away endlessly on MacBook Pros instead of Singer sewing machines. This article touches only upon the immediate – your website, your internet marketing strategy, your business.
Why businesses should put a lid on outsourcing content marketing overseas and find local solutions:
Content is the driving force behind Google’s continuous wave of algorithm changes and ultimately the success (or failure) of your business’ website. This content must be useful (for consumers), original (in your own words), optimized (for Google), and updated often.
Those managing a business’ website operations (onsite and on social networks) by now are aware of this fact. However, mistakes are frequently made by those that are attempting to deliver useful, original, optimized, and updated content that ultimately end up backfiring. Regardless if you, as the manager of a company website, are creating this content or are seeking the services of content provider, you need to be sure that the work adheres to the best practices.
In an effort to ensure that you “check yourself” when creating content or avoid securing the services of Google maligned “content farms” I’m providing you with 7 Ways to Identify Cheap Content:
Be bold when using visuals and headlines for your website’s blog, online ads, and for practically ALL Social Media efforts. Boring clipart pictures and text heavy introductions don’t get noticed. Yes, it may satiate the old school big wigs that fear stepping outside of the box in a brand’s communications. That’s fine for them. The box is a comfy place with lots of room because they’re all alone in there. The customers? They’ll be elsewhere.
If you’re hoping to attract online customers then you need to understand two things; first, these customers are already forward thinkers and second, they have practically no attention span. In other words you need not fear their apprehension about bold messages and you only have a couple seconds to get them to notice you. Perhaps many of you understand this already, but another problem arises when the marketer spends so much time focused on delivering an eye catching message that they forget to relate it to their product. When the user/consumer clicks a link connected to the visual or reads further and discovers that the content or product doesn’t match the initial message – they leave immediately. That’s what we call bounce.
Here are a few tips to follow to help you deliver a bold message while making sure consumers stay put:
This is perfectly acceptable for a funeral home wishing to convey that they now have new plots suddenly available. Tasteful? Maybe not so much.
I know the letter “p” on the keyboard is close to the “i” but the title of this piece is no typing error. By now you should know what Pinterest is and if you have a business you should have a Pinterest account. I cannot be apologetic in this assertion. There’s no time for that. Yesterday it was announced that Pinterest has surpassed Yahoo as the fourth biggest traffic source – behind only Google Search, Direct (typing the site URL into your browser), and Facebook.
Months ago we released an article about which businesses should be on Pinterest but that can now be edited to one word – ALL. Visual Content Marketing is taking over as the publics’ attention spans gravitate less towards text and more towards eye catching imagery. Pinterest, and Instagram, are dominating the Social Sharing campaigns for many businesses. Pinterest is no longer just a place to look at cupcakes, shoes, and beach bungalows in Tahiti. It really never was.
As with Twitter and Facebook, steadfast rules apply as to how you should conduct yourself as a brand on Pinterest if you hope to engage users to the benefit of your business:
Internal linking basically involves linking keywords and keyword phrases within your website to other pages on your site that have applicable content.
We recommend a solid internal linking strategy within your website for SEO and to avoid unnecessarily placing duplicate content on pages. For example, your blog may touch on a topic that is addressed better on another page. Instead of copy/pasting or taking time to rewrite the content on the new article, you should simply link to it. Your blog should contain keywords that link to other pages on your website that contain content specific to those exact keywords. Google likes this practice because it improves the user experience – it provides a legitimate function. However there is a rule to follow regarding duplicate content when it comes to creating those internal links and that rule revolves around one thing – URL canonicalization.
This week Google added yet another update to its Panda algorithm. Before you run for the hills in fear of what this all means, we suggest you take a breather and simply understand that all Google is trying to do is get you, as a website owner, to provide users with the best possible user experience.
There’s no need for us to go into the specifics of the Google algorithm with boring tech speak. Instead, what we can tell you here and now is that it’s all about creating and maintaining fresh, easy to navigate, useful content for the public (your customer) to digest.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your website keeps in line with what Panda, Penguin, and Google’s overhaul intends to do in 2012 and beyond:
Internet marketers tend to discuss content creation as if it were the be all and end all solution to building inbound links, increasing Social Media following, and boosting traffic – and in many ways it is. However, before your content can “perform”, you have to do two very important things first – contribute to and share the content of others.
This article details the 5 W’s of contributing to and sharing the content of others so that others will follow suit and do the same for you: