6 Data-Backed Steps For Improving Your Approach To Content Collaboration

6 Data-Backed Steps For Improving Your Approach To Content Collaboration

Content creation isn’t about single-handedly writing an article around a topic. It’s about teamwork.

The content creation process is about endless collaboration and communication. Being a content specialist doesn’t mean that you have only one task to do, which is to write a piece of content. Writers have to cooperate with a number of other specialists, such as PR managers, editors, SEOs, designers, and marketing managers. It can be a real hassle to coordinate efforts with all those team players.

At SEMrush we wanted to figure out the biggest challenges of content specialists. To shed some light on the current state of content collaboration and identify the most complicated tasks of content practitioners, we conducted research in partnership with the Content Marketing Institute. It’s interesting that all of these tasks aren’t performed by a single person, but often require the collaborative efforts of different team members.

graph_Study-03 - content collaboration

SEMrush & CMI Joint Research — Most Frequent Collaborations of Content Writers

The research insights helped us to discover that better collaborative workflow may be one of the most important elements of a digital content marketing strategy.

We used the results of this study to identify the main bottlenecks for content marketing specialists across different stages of the content lifecycle. In this article, we describe the planning stage and explain how collaboration with other team members can help content producers do their job effectively.

Content planning tasks and collaboration

Effective content collaboration and communication are vital elements of a successful content creation process, especially when it comes to the planning stage. As part of the research, we interviewed more than 1800 respondents and discovered the most time-consuming and most challenging tasks of content marketing specialists at this stage.

Below you’ll find 6 steps of the planning and ideation process and our recommendations on how content producers should organize their working processes to perform their tasks effectively and solve challenges they’re facing at each stage.

Step 1 – Defining the ROI and goals of a content campaign

Team player to work with: Content Strategist / Project Manager

Quantifying the return on your marketing activities can certainly be tricky, especially when it comes to content. The reason is that it can be difficult to focus content specifically on sales. In fact, the definition of ROI may vary in different companies based on their business goals and content marketing KPIs, such as website traffic, conversion rate, engagement, downloads, etc.

A content strategist or a project manager is the one who knows the goal of a campaign and can help a writer define the key content marketing metrics for it. It’s interesting that when we asked about the most challenging aspect of being a content strategist, “developing an ROI plan of a content campaign” was the second most popular response, accounting for 25%.

graph_Study-01 - content collaboration

SEMrush & CMI Joint Research — Most Challenging Tasks for Content Strategists

At the very beginning of the planning stage, a content strategist and project manager explain to a writer the main goal of a campaign, providing them with direction. By knowing campaign goals a content producer can craft their piece of content accordingly, set the right tone, and create an effective and powerful message.

A strategist helps to define which metrics really matter for that specific campaign. Instead of trying to track all possible metrics, which can be counterproductive, it’s worth focusing on a few relevant metrics. When you know exactly what results you want to achieve, it will be easier to define and measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts.

Pro Tip: To ensure that content performance can meet the expectations of your content strategist or project manager, ask them several vital questions before you start writing:

What are the main goals? Why are you writing this piece of content (new clients, registrations, payments, etc.)? What metrics are you going to monitor? Who is the target audience and what are their interests?

In order to not forget or lose this valuable information, use a calendar, where you can add tasks, organize deadlines, and set goals for each piece of content.    

Step 2 – Understanding who your target audience is

Team player to work with: Content Strategist

This is one of the first and most important steps in your content marketing workflow. By knowing your target audience and their pain points, you can produce more relevant content that your website visitors will want to read.

At this stage, a content writer and a content strategist work closely together. Professional strategists’ responsibilities include analyzing the market, identifying its opportunities, and conducting persona research. By sharing their knowledge, strategists help content writers to better understand their buyer persona, i.e. the target audience.

An experienced strategist knows that a target audience may change over time. That’s why they conduct market research on a regular basis (in most cases each year) to review their audience parameters, which is crucial for growing a brand’s audience.

Pro Tip: Before talking to a content strategist, prepare for the meeting and spend some time conducting your own audience research. See what language they use, what topics they write about, and what problems they face. Use Twitter and Quora, where you can find a wealth of information about your target audience. If you do research, it will be much easier for you and your content strategist to create a unified vision of what your potential readers look like.

Step 3 – Deciding what to write about

Team player to work with: PR Specialist

Although content producers and PR specialists are responsible for different tasks, they have many things in common when it comes to their end goals. Both aim at creating a compelling message that appeals to their target audience and can drive the desired behavior.

Collaboration between content and PR is especially valuable at the brainstorming stage. A professional PR manager provides new story ideas, relevant information, resonating topics or newsworthy events, around which a writer can craft a new piece of content. With each other’s help, content and PR teams can ensure a consistent and effective brand message; not to mention that a media relations professional can help you give your content additional boost.

When working together writers and PR specialists should try to create strategies that support and leverage each other for better results. While the former is responsible for writing a message, the latter tries to figure out how to communicate this message and pick the right angle for content writing.

Pro Tip: Save precious time on brainstorming by doing your own research. Search the web to discover the most trending topics, articles that are being linked to most often, and the most shared blog posts. Find out what people are writing about and what angle they are using.

Step 4 – Creating a content plan

Team player to work with: Editor

Without building a solid editorial content plan you will be shooting at a forest instead of a target. This is where collaboration between a writer and an editor comes into play.

While writers do research and produce content pieces, editors take a broader approach, guiding the work of writers and planning what will be published and when. An editor is responsible for guidelines that specify and distinguish your brand’s content standards. They help to maintain a specific style and voice in content so that every article or blog post remains recognizable and distinct from other content on the web.

A well-defined editorial plan includes several key elements:

A list of topics you’re going to craft your content around based on your content strategy. Tone and format of a content piece aimed at a specific audience (e.g., how-to, guide, case study, infographic, ebook, white paper, interview, etc.). Assigned writers and editors responsible for a particular piece of content. Publishing dates and a timeline with tasks.

Pro Tip: Create a calendar, which both you and an editor can edit. In this calendar, you’ll be able to monitor your posting schedule, deadlines, writers responsible for certain pieces of content, and progress. It will allow you to avoid any “surprises” and ensure that your content marketing campaign runs its course without a hitch.

Step 5 – Optimizing content for search engines

Team player to work with: SEO Specialist

The competition between websites remains fierce. While quality content is vital for your content marketing success, it’s equally important to ensure that it’s properly optimized, so that search engine bots can easily find and crawl your content.

Even though today’s content producers are well aware of keyword research and link building, they often don’t know how to apply it in practice. When we asked content writers about the most challenging part of their effort, “finding a balance between the creative element and search optimization” was the top answer, with 47% of respondents mentioning it.

graph_Study-02 - content collaboration

SEMrush & CMI Joint Research — Most Challenging Tasks for Content Writers

An SEO expert provides writers with valuable suggestions on how to choose the right terms to tailor their content around, optimize headlines, develop a smart metadata strategy, and build quality links.

Pro Tip: Don’t get caught in a trap by focusing too much on the creative element and make sure that your content meets your SEO recommendations. To maintain the right balance between user- and SEO-friendliness, you can use specific tools that help you check the SEO potential of your content and ensure that it complies with recommendations for optimized content.

Step 6 – Brainstorming ideas for visuals

Team player to work with: Designer

Any piece of content needs design. It makes written material more digestible and eye-catching.

It’s good practice when writers and designers brainstorm ideas for visuals together. They are two sides of the same coin. While writers know the topic, purpose, and potential readers of content, designers can turn the idea into beautiful graphics.

However, the collaboration between two creative personalities can sometimes be challenging, as each of them has their own vision. To make the brainstorming process smooth and productive, it’s important to ensure good communication between content and design teams. They need to learn how to understand and listen to each other. It’s worth using terms that all team members understand. Also, each of them should give specific feedback, receive feedback the right way, and avoid vague comments and suggestions.

Pro Tip: When working with designers, an online marketing calendar is an indispensable tool in your arsenal. You can track the implementation of tasks, see who is responsible for each task, and attach files to keep all important materials in one place.

Using tools for boosting results and efficiency

As you can see, content planning is a complex process that requires not only writing and editing abilities but also solid managerial skills. To manage and juggle all the tasks, an increasing number of content practitioners start using various tools for streamlining their working practices.

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SEMrush & CMI Joint Research — Tools for Automating Content Marketing Tasks

We at SEMrush have a huge marketing team with content specialists on board, so we are well aware of what it takes to create a good, optimized piece of content. We designed our tools for content professionals with their needs in mind. SEMrush's toolkit for content marketers provides tools that enable you to find ideas for your articles and blog posts, optimize your content for search engines, distribute it, track your results, and conduct a thorough audit of your content.

The tip of the iceberg – Discover more insights in the full study

The workflow described covers just a small part of the global content marketing process. The content lifecycle includes many other stages, such as creation, distribution, performance tracking, and auditing, with different content personas responsible.

During the SEMrush and CMI Research, we asked about the specific challenges of each persona at each part of a content strategy workflow to understand the cross-functional challenges across the whole content marketing process. You can see all the collected results of this survey in the full research.

Guest author: Tanya Vasileva is a Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush — a leading digital marketing toolkit for SEO, PPC SMM and content marketing professionals worldwide.  She writes about marketing, analyzes SEMrush data and interested in marketing strategy. 

The post 6 Data-Backed Steps For Improving Your Approach To Content Collaboration appeared first on Jeffbullas's Blog.

How To Set Goals For A Killer B2B Social Media Campaign

How To Set Goals For A Killer B2B Social Media Campaign

Marketing doesn’t happen without goal-setting.

B2B marketers in particular, being tasked with the job of bringing prospects into sales funnels for complex products and services, need to know how to set goals for every aspect of their campaigns – and that includes social media initiatives.

Marketers must clarify what they’re aiming to achieve with B2B social media campaigns, especially given the stubborn status of social media as a younger, relatively untested type of marketing.

Setting specific goals will help illustrate the conversions and ROI that can come directly from involvement in social networks, as well as help set solid expectations for future social media ventures.

So you might ask: How can B2B marketers define goals, especially in the ever-changing social media world?

Types of goals to set

When it comes to social, there are two types of goals that marketers should be setting.

Broad goals help you and your team understand the purpose behind your social media campaigns but they are useless without specific, measurable goals to help track your progress.

Choosing broad social marketing goals is perhaps the easy part, but it still requires careful consideration.

The top 5 goals of B2B marketers are, in order:

Brand awareness Lead generation Customer acquisition Thought leadership, and Engagement.

Any and all of these things can be accomplished with a good social media campaign. Depending on the market position of your company, you might select just 2 or 3 of the above goals for now, and focus on others in the future as company needs dictate.

For example, if you choose brand awareness and thought leadership, you’ll focus your social media efforts on achieving those two objectives. First, focus on creating social content that’s helpful, shareable, engaging, and uniquely styled to give definition to your brand. Secondly, for the thought leadership component, make sure your social posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook link to your comprehensive guides, ebooks, and white papers on important industry topics.

To create your specific goals, you should use the very intuitive SMART paradigm. SMART is, of course, the famous acronym for “specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound,” which describes everything a reasonable, clear-cut goal should be.

Formulate some social media marketing goals that can be put in those particular terms.

Smart goals for winning B2B social media marketing campaign

(Source: Oktopost)

A reasonable goal for social lead acquisition might be “over the next 3 months (time-bound), increase leads by 50% via LinkedIn publications.”

If you’ve found that prospects have a peculiar affinity with your brand over Twitter, you might devise the following goal: “over the next quarter, get 300 new people to engage (RT’s and/or comments) on Twitter.”

With such SMART goals, you’ll weed out distractions and your social marketing team will know exactly what to focus on, day to day.

Building a social strategy around goals

Once you have both specific and broad company goals in clear view, it’s time to construct your social campaign around them.

The focus on these goals shouldn’t take away from continuously engaging with prospects on each social platform and responding to all lead engagements in a timely manner.

You should attack the specific goals you’ve set by incorporating them into these day-to-day social management tasks as well as in your overall campaign strategy.

Here’s how you can construct a social campaign that has very specific goals as a target:

Create drip campaigns. Consistency in social publishing is the key to success. Using your social media management platform, construct a calendar for automatic publishing; so that for the specific networks you’ve chosen to target in your SMART goals, your posts go out exactly when prospects are most likely to see them. Be sure to use a combination of the best practices for scheduling social posts and your own metrics for assessing optimal posting times. Monitor competitors, and take advantage of what you find. Your competitors are a gold mine for marketing intelligence – that is, if you choose to see them that way. Take particular note of what they’re not doing. It may be that they’re not speaking to specific market concerns that have arisen within LinkedIn discussions with your prospects. Or, they’re all linking to whitepapers and lengthy eBooks in their social profiles, while your segmentation research reveals that your target audience wants to see more videos. Or, your competitors are doing everything right, which makes your job simple – do everything even better and more creatively. Whatever the case, social media monitoring can help you discover and take advantage of your competitors’ social media activity to achieve your company’s objectives. Optimize social posts. Don’t just write text-based posts on social. A B2B professional’s news feeds can be “dry” enough, and it’s easy to gloss over blocks of text. Instead, make your social posts visually appealing. Infuse them with images, engaging questions, and provocative (though not necessarily controversial) headlines. Raising the bar of social post quality, especially on the social networks you’ve decided to build SMART goals around, will always bring measurable results.

Jeff twitter as example for B2B social media marketing campaign

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Tracking success in achieving goals

It’s a no-brainer – if you’ve used the SMART system, you know exactly whether you’ve fallen under or exceeded those goals after the specified period of time. That makes it a breeze to measure the impact and value of social within your overall marketing approach.

If you’ve fallen short of specific expectations, there are two possibilities: you didn’t go about achieving the goal the right way, or it perhaps wasn’t the right goal in the first place. To cover both bases, think about whether what you’ve done within the defined time period was specific and intentional enough.

To return to an earlier example, if your goal was to acquire 200 leads on LinkedIn, ask yourself: have you truly defined a “lead” from LinkedIn? Have you produced enough enticing, informative content on the network – whether through blog posts, status updates and group participation – for prospects to entertain making a purchase (or at least, visiting your site and downloading more content)?

Conversions graph for winning B2B social media marketing campaign

Or perhaps you’ve determined that you probably didn’t set the proper goal in the first place. It could be that the numbers your marketing team strove for were too ambitious, considering resources and time constraints, or that the focus was placed on the wrong social network from the start.

With 85% of B2B buyers wanting vendors to present more information via social, it’s certainly not time to give up. Set a new SMART goal based on your customer profiles, aggregate interactions with current customers and leads as well as knowledge gained from the missteps, and keep trying to reach those prospects who are waiting to make a social connection with your brand.

If you exceeded your social SMART goals, do more of the same! If your lead acquisition has been bolstered by your specific social efforts, it’s important to keep the tactics you’ve used in your arsenal. Of course, the one thing B2B marketers should keep in mind through goal-oriented campaigns, particularly when they’re successful, is the importance of tracking conversion rates.

If sales increase (that is, if more and more qualified leads from social are entering the sales funnel and converting to buyers), marketing ROI increases, and that’s a great point to make to stakeholders. Throughout your social media marketing ventures, keeping goals in focus is the only way to make sure you’ll reach them.

Take the above suggestions into account when setting objectives for your next B2B social media campaign.

Guest Author: Daniel Kushner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Oktopost, and is passionate about helping B2B marketers bridge the gap between social media efforts and ROI. Daniel has been in the field for more than a decade and has successfully led the online marketing departments of various global organizations.

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5 Undercover Hacks To Jumpstart Your Marketing Productivity

4 Undercover Hacks To Jumpstart Your Marketing Productivity

In the modern world of infinite distractions just one click away, it can be tough to really bunker down and stay productive.

In fact, around 65% of workers today say they regularly surf the web for non-work-related reasons on their employer’s dime. Part of it is undoubtedly a lack of discipline, but boosting your productivity doesn’t actually have to be a grueling process.

There are a number of incredibly powerful techniques you can use each and every day to help upgrade your marketing productivity and get back on task.

So, have a look at these 5 marketing productivity hacks and supercharge your workflow starting right now.

1. Break up your workflow

While there’s definitely something to be said about powering through a cumbersome task, research has shown that taking the time to step away from the work can be instrumental in keeping productivity at an all-time high.

The Pomodoro Technique, for example, follows a 25/5 productivity timeline, where 25 minutes are dedicated solely and completely to a single task with a 5-minute break afterward. You go through four intervals of the 25/5 timeline before taking a longer 15-25 minute break. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a full-on break either. It can come in the form of switching over to answering emails or following up on a project with a coworker.

Anything to give your mind a bit of time off from the task.

2. Email responsibly

Streamlining your email time can lead to a huge boon in freed up time and resources. To put things into perspective, about a quarter of an average worker’s day is spent reading and answering emails according to Inc.

Part of the reason is people tend to answer emails as they come in. Instead of responding reactively, the best way to ensure continuous workflow and keep your concentration on the task at hand is by setting time aside later to clean out your inbox.

Tools like Mailstrom group related messages to make it easier to respond to the most important emails first. In addition, you can set a silent function so you will not be notified of new emails until a designated time you set to respond to them.

You can also regularly update your retention settings and unsubscribe from old and unwanted lists as well to help weed out some of the unnecessary clutter.

3. Focus on one thing at a time

There have never been so many different responsibilities to juggle in the workplace than there is today.

Project updates, correspondence with clients and coworkers, and a constant influx of emails all happen in the blink of an eye. And while you may think you’re being productive by tackling 12 different issues at once, the truth is that single-tasking is by far the smarter option.

That, of course, isn’t to say that you should save fixing a marketing department disaster for another day. There are exceptions.

But making the conscious effort to stay on one task at a time can help boost your productivity tenfold. Department of Informatics Professor Gloria Mark from the University of California, Irvine, told Fast Company that “82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news – it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” If you rapidly switch between tasks, think about how many 23 minute chunks get wasted. This time cost is called “context switching.”

4. Take advantage of automation in the workplace

A recent State of Enterprise Work Report discovered that only 44% of an individual’s day is spent performing the primary duties of their role. What about the other 56%? Tasks like administrative work, useless meetings, and interruptions all stand out as the main time wasters.

For many digital marketers today social media, email and content creation take up the majority of a given day’s tasks. Given the burgeoning technological landscape though, there are a host of automation tools to help bear the brunt of the more labor-intensive tasks today.

Automated social media tools let you create and schedule social media posts weeks and even months into the future. Automating this mundane process allows social media marketers to focus on time-sensitive social media posts and engaging with followers in real time.

Content is at the center point of all marketing efforts. It’s how you communicate with customers and elicit emotion that causes them to buy. The problem for many company’s content marketing efforts is not only knowing what content to create but measuring its success in actual dollars earned.

Content curation tools like Scoop.it not only curate content from around the web based on your target keywords but will automatically analyze content that receives the highest engagement and leads. Marketers can use this information to promote existing content that has been shared recently and get ideas to create new content on these topics.

Segmenting lists, writing copy and designing emails are all labor-intensive tasks that used to be part of sending every email. Advanced email marketing platforms like GetResponse allow you to create personalized email campaigns to segments of your list once and automate future emails based on their behavior.

As subscribers engage with each email they are automatically sent the next email with content that’s relevant to their interests and behaviors. Since these emails and workflows are created in advance, marketers are able to focus on optimizing these campaigns rather than just creating them over and over.

5. Establish processes

Processes are incredibly important for marketing teams to stay efficient. Marketers don’t want to reinvent the wheel for mundane or repetitive tasks.

Processes have been around for a long time. One of the most well known and successful implementations of processes comes from American statistician William Edwards Deming. Deming created “The Toyota Way” processes that focused on continuous improvement which completely revamped the company’s manufacturing capabilities.

Marketers can use this same process of continual improvement to become more efficient and produce better and better results. A simplistic way to do this is to create an ongoing checklist for things like content creation and social media management.

SproutSocial created a social media checklist for managers to ensure daily, weekly,monthlyh and quarterly tasks are met. As you identify which messages perform best, iterate and improve on the content for future posts.

Boost your marketing productivity

In the business world, time is money. And when you or your employees are spending valuable time on inefficient tasks, that can translate into a significant loss over weeks and years, especially when productivity is limited in the marketing department.

These five productivity hacks will help you get your workflow back on track and start bringing in customers in droves.

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The Hidden Growth Assets that All Successful Entrepreneurs Need

Successful Entrepreneurs

“We are transitioning to a business economy where your brand is not just about bricks and buildings but bits and bytes”

Today your brand is defined by its content online. And the data now measures its impact.

The conversations and buzz are often hidden and “ephemeral”. Spreading into the digital corners of human consciousness.

But many businesses are either not aware of them or don't realize their importance in our increasingly digitized world.

The knowledge economy that sits within our digital world is an eco-system that is moving the foundations of power from physical to abstract and invisible.

Is your marketing manager ready?

Digital marketing took an axe to the job description of the marketing manager. Many of the growth tactics that worked in the past have stalled or stopped working.

The rise of new tools and technology made marketing 101 look a little dated and in need of a renovation. Requiring a serious makeover.

In the past they could hide behind the “Ad” and the PR agency. They did the creative, negotiated with the media and you could blame them if things didn't work out.

It was easy not to be accountable.

Mass media metrics are almost impossible to measure back to results. Digital has moved accountability from opaque to transparent.

Is your key growth tactician still using the tools they learnt 20 years ago?

Have they evolved and adapted?

Kept learning?

It's complicated

Today a CMO needs to understand all the new components that make up digital marketing plus traditional marketing.

Here are just a few of the categories that now need the modern CMO's attention: Many of these did not exist 10 years ago.

Social media marketing – We know what this is. Content marketing – Adding value to your projects and customer with valuable content. Email Marketing – It's been around a while but still key. Paid digital marketing- Facebook and Google are your top 2 and each of these are disciplines in their own right. Search engine optimisation – Ranking on the first page of Google is now worth aspiring to. Paid digital advertising – Facebook and Google Marketing funnels – Taking people on a digital journey from digital discovery to sales Influencer marketing – Reaching trusted audiences via influencers. Marketing automation – cling and managing your complex digital tactics

But before you rush in you need to know where you are starting from.

What are your digital assets?

Digital Assets

In the rush for a quick fix and instant gratification the marketing solution is often seen as Facebook advertising replacing other paid brand building activities such as radio and television.

But digital marketing is not just Facebook advertising. It is just one sliver of what you should be doing.

Playing the long game is what effective digital marketing is also about. Growing and building substantial digital assets. These are assets that will keep giving. Digital marketing and advertising should not just be treated as an expense, but as assets.

If you are well into the digital journey then you will have built digital assets. They are investments in building bits and bytes that show up and include traffic, social sharing and earned attention from Google.

One way of looking at these is to put them in two boxes.

Soft digital assets – Ones that are hard to see and measure. Hard digital assets – Those that are more visible and can have metrics put next to them.

They can also be described in their totality as digital intelligence.

Digital Intelligence

McKinsey uses a term “Digital Quotient” or DQ to describe the digital intelligence of an organisation.

Distilling the big messy list into the essential 4 provides some clarity.

This is what you need at a high level. This is soft digital power.

Strategy – A long term and bold strategy is what is important here and the mindset to carry it out Building assets that scale – digital has provided almost limitless opportunity, so scale is achievable in a global economy. Data driven decision making, community engagement and sharing, process at scale enabled by technology Agility – Learn fast, being prepared to fail fast and often, collaborating externally is now possible and easier. Ability – Having the right skill sets within the organisation and also access to external resources that know what they are doing can accelerate the growth of your digital assets and performance.

 

Digital Assets

Image source: McKinsey

Soft digital assets

These elements are hard to measure but it doesn't mean we shouldn't embrace them and gain insights and understanding. They are core and foundational to “getting digital”.

If we look over the components in the McKinsey Digital Quotient there are a few categories that stand out that are hard to measure.

And they are soft digital power.

Culture – Does the organisation have the mindset for embracing the digital economy. Is the CEO on board? Are the executives dinosaurs or digital natives? And with that comes elements such as risk taking and the ability to embrace some failure as a strength. Learning from mistakes and being agile enough to iterate and evolve quickly.

Expertise  – Does your team have the skills you need to move into the future. Or are they lacking the essentials?

Customer experience – What are your prospects and customers experience when dealing with your brand online? Hard or easy. Confusing or intuitive?

Hard digital assets

Knowing where you are starting from provides the baseline to see if you are moving forward when you start making this first steps.

There are many types of hard digital assets.

Digital brand – Online brand and positioning. Share of voice, testimonials on social and other websites. Technology can reveal how you are compared to your competition. This is now measurable. SEO – Search engine authority. This is broken into 2 key pillars. Making sure your site is technically structured to give the right signals to search engines. And quality content that is linked to by other websites and creates online conversations and reach. Email lists – What is the size and quality of your vital email subscriber list? Social media followers – Do you have your own channels and distribution to get your brand voice heard? What networks are you on and are they the right ones. Website traffic – How many page views are you getting every month. How many unique visitors. People that haven't visited your site beforeThese are Social traffic – As we move from an Internet of websites to an Internet of apps and platforms the conversation is happening away from our owned digital assets. Content assets – Sitting under this umbrella are a range of multi-media assets that provide different ways to communicate with peoples various modalities of consuming and learning. Some like to listen (podcasts) and other like to watch (videos). External online relationships – What online influencer and collaborations have you put in place?

Measuring these provides the reference point to put a strategy together. To build digital assets that you may have ignored or need to build.

The baseline

Once you have these measured and identified the strengths and weaknesses then you know where to start.

Do you need more traffic

Do you need to convert more of those into leads?

Sales. Conversations. Brand buzz?

So….

What's your baseline? What do you need to work on?

This will be vital in putting together your digital marketing strategy.

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6 Reasons Why Snapchat Is Content Marketing’s Not-So-Secret Weapon

6 Reasons Why Snapchat Is Content Marketing’s Not-So-Secret Weapon

Snapchat is a unique social platform and one that has exploded in popularity rather suddenly since its release in 2011. Now reaching around 8 billion views daily (and there are only 7.4 billion of us in the world, remember), the medium of ephemeral content has well and truly taken off. So how can content marketers use this to their advantage?

Snapchat is the only platform that reaches younger, teen users in substantial numbers. It’s easy to see why, what with all the fun features it’s packing. Whereas Facebook and Instagram integrate advertising as part of their business model, Snapchat requires a slightly different approach – one that’s more personal, engaging and rough around the edges.

Here’s why Snapchat is becoming content marketing’s not-so-secret weapon.

1. It’s popular with teens

There’s no question that Snapchat is a key social platform for marketers who are specifically looking to target younger people. Snapchat is constantly updating and adding new features to stay fresh and relevant, which is just one of the reasons teens love it so much. By contrast, networks like Facebook and Twitter have, for the most part, remained much the same.

Features like Snapchat Discover and a seemingly unending array of picture and video filters (such as face-swapping) mean the novelty of Snapchat never quite wears off.

Another reason for its popularity among the younger generation is its focus on images and video, rather than text-based posts. As a rule, teens (and to an extent, users in general) are more interested in flipping through visual content than written content.

An eMarketer study says more teens than expected are leaving Facebook for Instagram and Snapchat since they are “more aligned with how they communicate”.

2. It’s all about fun

When it first came out, there were a lot of people who dismissed Snapchat as a gimmick that would never become a serious social network contender. How wrong they were!

One thing that Snapchat does particularly well is promoting a playful user experience. As we now know, just because a product is frivolous and lighthearted, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. In fact, when it comes to content marketing, playful is often the perfect angle.

Our Facebook news feeds are often flooded with hard news – a lot of doom and gloom. Snapchat meets our need for light, entertaining content that doesn’t fill us with anxiety about the state of the world. Ultimately, users will always be drawn to fun – as long as it’s brand-appropriate.

3. It puts mobile first

Image Source: Snapchat

In the same way as Instagram, Snapchat is designed specifically for use on mobile devices – you actually can’t use it on a desktop. This means that users take it with them wherever they go, heightening the relevance of their location at any given time. Snapchat has a ‘find your friends’ feature that enables users to see where their friends are, and what they’re up to.

This puts it right ‘in the moment’. Everything on Snapchat is happening right here, right now. It satisfies our craving for the new and exciting and plugs us into the lives of our friendship circle in real-time. Already, brands are hopping on board, creating branded filters and events that are both urgent and engaging: the double-duo of desirable content.

Because the app is made for smartphones first and foremost, Snapchat marketing is ideal for eCommerce businesses with a lot of mobile users. While Snapchat may not be the first place you think of when it comes to selling your products, it can actually be a surprisingly good platform for spreading brand awareness. Rather than funneling all of your budget into Facebook advertising, consider how you can create specialist content that will captivate the mobile market.

4. It encourages impulse buying

If there’s one thing we can say about the Millennial and Gen-Z generations, it’s that they’re pretty firmly plugged into their phones. And you’d be surprised how often that influences their purchasing decisions. Or maybe not so surprised.

We turn to our phones for everything nowadays, whether it’s deciding where to eat, finding a local event, or searching for a new pair of sunglasses. ‘Local’ is a key word here, because one of Snapchat’s most brilliant advantages is its knowledge of users’ locations, and with it, the ability to target them with locally relevant offers.

Image Source: Snapchat

In other words, we’re about to see an explosive growth in geo-targeting and geo-filters. And as is Snapchat’s way, most of these offers will only last for around 30 minutes, which dramatically increases the likelihood of impulse buying so as ‘not to miss out’.

Content marketers should look to adapt their strategies accordingly. Here are some examples of other brands using ephemeral content to their advantage.

5. It allows you to combine the physical and virtual

Image Source: Wikipedia

Let’s examine one of Snapchat’s best PR stunts – Spectacles. With this maneuver, the company managed to bring their short-term ethos into the real world, with video-recording sunglasses sold through pop-up vending machines that were gone almost as soon as they appeared. The app also gave users the chance to virtually ‘try on’ the glasses before deciding whether to buy.

With this stunt, Snapchat created an experience that their most loyal users could feel part of and get excited about. And that’s really what good content marketing is about. Next, Snapchat plans to roll out its new augmented reality feature, which will enable marketers to pay for words and images to be overlaid onto the world, as viewed through a user’s smartphone camera.

These ads, which will be known as ‘sponsored world lenses’, are different to Snapchat’s existing features in that they will apply to the outward-facing camera – not just for selfies. There is, of course, the option to sponsor the ever-popular face-distorting lenses as well.

New advertising formats like this are increasingly popular and completely different to anything we’re seeing from the other social platforms. Marketers, take note.

6. There’s less competition

It seems like every brand ever has a Facebook account and a Twitter profile these days, and increasingly, more of them are present on Instagram and Pinterest too. Because of this, it can sometimes be hard to make sure your content stands out on these platforms.

But Snapchat is still relatively new on the scene, and a lot of businesses are either unfamiliar with it or don’t really take it seriously. This will all start to change very soon, but for the moment, there remains considerably less competition for businesses on Snapchat, compared to other networks.

Yes – it’s very different. The audience is much younger, and they expect a different sort of branded content. But these differences can also work to your advantage – it’s just knowing the right way to go about it.

Wrap up

It’s certainly clear that Snapchat is not your average advertising platform. It deals exclusively in the wacky, the weird, the playful and the transient. But if you play to its strengths, it’s a powerful tool that is yet to reach its peak, opening doors into the lucrative Millennial and Gen Z market.

What are your experiences with using Snapchat for business?

Guest author: Victoria Greene is a Brand Marketing Consultant and Freelance Writer. I work with eCommerce businesses & marketing teams to create content and targeted SEO strategies. In my line of work, customer research is very important, so I have my fair share of experience with it. Check out my website for more about what I do.

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