Content is king, and your brand’s story is queen

Content-is-king

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You’ve heard the term “content marketing” and you know it’s important to create valuable, quality content for your website, advertising, blog, social media channels, etc., but will your strategy stand the test of time? When you watch the following Go Pro commercial, is their brand story effectively communicated? How about in the Nationwide commercial?

Neil Patel and Ritika Puri explain that, “Contrary to popular belief, brand storytelling is not about your company. It’s about your customers and the value that they get when engaging with your product or service. The most powerful brand stories are the ones that prioritize customers as the stars. Think of your company as a supporting character.”

To help you develop your brand story, Ann Handley for Entrepreneur defined the essential characteristics of compelling stories, they’re true, human, original, and they serve the customer. Below is her list of questions she recommends to help develop captivating content to tell your brand story.

  • “What is unique about your business?
  • What is interesting about how it was founded? About the founder?
  • What problem is your company trying to solve?
  • What inspired the business?
  • What “aha” moments have you had?
  • How has your business evolved?
  • What’s a nonobvious way to tell your story? Can you look to analogy instead of example?
  • What about your business that you consider normal and mundane would other folks think is cool?”

Finally, remember the importance of words when creating content for your brand. Watch the video below for a memorable reminder.

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Who is your marketing missing?

Did you know that if you are solely relying on demographics in your marketing strategy, you could be missing more than 70 percent of mobile shoppers? For example, could you ever imagine that 40 percent of all baby product purchasers live in households without children? Adding consumer intent to your marketing research will give you the insights needed to understand when, where, and how consumers are searching at the exact time of purchase, Google describes these times as “micro-moments.”

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Understanding consumer intent is of the utmost importance when defining your brand’s micro-moments. Lisa Gevelber for Think with Google explains how Home Depot capitalized on this important insight, “Home Depot is a real-life example of a brand that understands the power of intent. Years ago it figured out ‘do-it-yourselfers’ were turning to their phones—especially YouTube—to learn everything from ‘how to tile a bathroom floor’ to ‘how to build an outdoor fire pit.’ So to be more useful in these I-want-to-do moments, Home Depot built a content marketing strategy centered around ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube. Today the collection has hundreds of videos, with the top 10 videos each reaching a million views or more. The full Home Depot ‘how-to’ collection has received more than 48 million views.

‘Mobile has significantly changed how we connect with customers at The Home Depot,’ said Trish Mueller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at The Home Depot. ‘We’re now laser-focused on how we can use digital to deliver against our customers’ needs every moment of the day and every step of their home improvement experience.”

Once you’ve identified consumer intent and defined the micro-moments associated with your brand, make sure you anticipate those moments so you can be there when they happen, provide relevant and useful information, and be fast with mobile optimized solutions.

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Want to reach Gen Z? Snapchat it!

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You’ve most likely heard of Snapchat, the “mobile photo messaging application that lets you take photos or videos, known as ‘snaps.’ These snaps can be sent to users you are connected with for a maximum of 10 seconds — meaning a user can only view your snap for 10 seconds or less, after which that snap is deleted forever.” The million-dollar question is whether or not you’ve integrated it into your marketing strategy yet?  If not, do not procrastinate. This emerging social platform is the primary communication tool for younger demographics. Did you know:

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In addition to the statistics above, it is important to note that 76 percent of Snapchat users purchased a product online in the last month. The user demographics may be young, but they are a purchasing powerhouse.

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Now you’re convinced that your brand must include Snapchat in its marketing strategy. Where should you start? The following tips from the Social Media Examiner will help you launch Snapchat for your business.

First, setup your Snapchat account by downloading the app from the iTunes or Google Play store and registering.

Second, grow your audience by following other Snapchat users. You can type in specific usernames in the Snapchat search, search Google to find brands and celebrities, and you can use social media networks to find Snapchat users. Use your existing social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, to send shout outs to your current followers to follow you on Snapchat. You can also look up snapcodes by category on Snapcodes.com. Don’t forget to create your own snapcode and market it!

Third, feed your followers. “There are two ways to keep your audience engaged with your business on Snapchat: creating stories and sending snaps. Think of stories like public tweets that people who have added your Snapchat account as a friend can see in their stories under Recent Updates. Any photos or videos that you add to your story will be compiled into one update for your friends to view an unlimited number of times until the photos and videos expire in 24 hours. Snaps are more like private messages. They are meant to be watched only once, although you can replay snaps once within 24 hours.”

It is important to note that Snapchat’s minimum budget for advertising on the platform is $700,000. Unless you a big brand with a huge marketing budget, you should focus on growing your Snapchat following organically by creating engaging content and leveraging the vast reach of influencers.

Social media influencers are gold for small business. Shaun Ayala recommends, “Use Influencers to recommend your account. Have them take over your account, but let the influencer create content based on your goal and give them full control on how to execute. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Snapchat Influencer you think would fit with your brand or goal, or connect with an agency (that) specializes in Snapchat (to tap) into the network they’ve built with the Snapchat community of influencers.”

In closing, do not ignore the power of Snapchat. If you want to reach younger demographics, it is the golden key. Below is a great “how to” video by Alex Beadon about Snapchat for Business. Check it out!

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Video killed the 140-character text star

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Is Viacom’s recent advertising deal with valued messaging service, Snapchat, a sign that video is poised to become the social media norm? According to a recent Wired article, “Snapchat is nearing an inflection point—the moment it tips from niche youth product into the mainstream, much as Facebook did in 2007.”

The Social Times suggests that brands that stick to text-based social media such as Twitter and Facebook will soon start struggling. High-performing brands are quickly embracing the power of social video platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram.

What is driving the obsession with video as a preferred form of communication? Millennials certainly set the stage for our video-obsessed culture, but Gen Z has solidified video’s place in social communications. In a recent New York Times article, Hannah Payne, an 18-year-old U.C.L.A. student and lifestyle blogger said, “We are the first true digital natives. I can almost simultaneously create a document, edit it, post a photo on Instagram and talk on the phone, all from the user-friendly interface of my iPhone. Generation Z takes in information instantaneously and loses interest just as fast.”

Gen Z’s digital natives spend the most amount of time on video social networks like Snapchat while spending the least amount of time on desktop computers. The digital revolution continues to evolve, and the communication preferences of this young generation cannot be ignored. Will video kill the 140-character text star?

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How live-streaming video is changing life as we know it

You have probably heard of the live-streaming video apps Periscope and Meerkat. These type of live-streaming services are on track to change life as we know it. Periscope, owned by Twitter, is a platform that allows users to broadcast video from anywhere to anywhere in the world. It was introduced to the world in March of 2015. On the same day it launched, an explosion caught New York City by surprise. Within seconds, Periscope feeds were aflutter with live streams of the incident.

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On January 12, 2016, Twitter announced that Periscope broadcasts will now stream live on Twitter feeds.

This groundbreaking news is setting the stage for a complete overhaul of news reporting and broadcast communications. Om Malik for Fast Company notes, “The 65-year-old broadcast television experience is being reinvented for our mobile world. Smartphones bring interactivity, immediacy, and engagement to our traditional ways of consuming video.”

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Are you ready to start streaming? Below are some Periscope pro tips from CNN. Enjoy and stream on!

Periscope: Top Tips

  1. No need to turn your phone — the app is optimized for vertical video.
  2. Stream something you have a unique view of. Top of a mountain? Exclusive event? Remote city? Yes, please.
  3. …But don’t broadcast anything you don’t have permission to show! (This means you, Game of Thrones fans.)
  4. Let viewers direct the broadcast. Answer questions; show them something again if they’ve missed it.
  5. Archive your broadcasts so people can view them up to 24 hours after they were live.
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Responsive design, mobile first, progressive enhancement, graceful degradation, screen agnostic – what does it all mean?

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You have probably heard of the “mobile first” design revolution. It is the philosophy that the website design process should start with the mobile screen in mind and then progressively add enhancements for larger screen viewing. According to Code My Views, “One of the major catalysts for the rise of mobile first web design was the announcement from Eric Schmidt in 2010 that Google was going to be taking this approach from now on, going so far as to say ‘I think it’s now the joint project of all of us to make mobile the answer to pretty much everything.”

The rapid rate of consumer adoption and adaptation of mobile devices is pushing businesses and designers to rethink their website design strategy. The flashy websites of the past are giving way to content-centric and device-agnostic web design. Web engineers Sven Casteleyn, Gustavo Rossi, and Marco Winckler stated, “Given the increasing diversity of web-enabled devices, we believe that more content-centric and device-agnostic design are an integral part of the future of web engineering.”

In the video below, Olivier Rabenschlag, Group Creative Director at TBWA, discusses how he approaches creative projects with mobile top of mind and explains why he thinks it is an important strategy.

Did you know that 90 percent of media consumption occurs in front of a screen? Marketers need to understand that consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile phones as their first online search tool.

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 7.56.57 PMSo the $1 million question is – are you designing mobile first?

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The growth of artificial intelligence and what it means for marketers

Did you know that Google is now using artificial intelligence or AI to better understand search queries? A recent AdWeek article noted that “a ‘very large fraction’ of (Google’s) queries (are) now being interpreted by an AI system called RankBrain. The revelation about the system, which helps Google navigate around 15 percent of daily queries that are unrecognizable, could provide insight into how brands can best leverage the search-engine giant… by better understanding what users are searching for.”

“Marketers should remember this is ultimately about improving Google’s user experience, helping to connect people to information based on the intent of their search,” said Clarke Smith, Brandmuscle’s chief strategy officer. “This should be positive news for marketers who have subscribed to the philosophies of good online marketing—continue to publish high-quality content that solves problems.”

In addition to improving understanding of user search behavior on Google, did you know that you can use AI automate your monthly Google Analytics and AdWords marketing report? No need to spend countless hours sifting through data to make sense of your client’s website traffic anymore. Simply subscribe to Wordsmith for Marketing and the bulk of your monthly Analytics and AdWords reports will be created for you. All you need to do is review, add your words of wisdom, and hit send.

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What does the growth of AI mean for marketers of the future?

It means improved customer insights to better tailor marketing messages and outreach for the most effective reception possible. AI will help Google, and ultimately marketers, determine the “micromoment,” or specific point in time when a customer is most interested in a product or service so that a message or ad can be sent that will fulfill their need.

It will also save marketers time by eliminating data mining activities, which will free up time for innovative thinking and action. Paul Roetzer, the author of The Marketing Blueprint, said it best, “Marketing automation has the ability to expand the value and impact of your content, capture lead intelligence, improve lead-to-sale conversion rates, drive repeat purchasing, and, most important, enhance the overall customer experience throughout the journey… Whether you are using today’s marketing automation tools or tomorrow’s marketing intelligence engine, context is the key to connecting with and influencing consumers at every phase of their journeys. For example, consider how much more personalized marketing can be with answers to questions like these:

  • What is a website visitor’s relationship to your company?
  • Where is he located?
  • How did he find your company?
  • What are his needs and goals?
  • What is he looking for at this moment?
  • What is his state of mind?
  • Which screen is he using to interact?
  • Is he connected to your brand’s social networks?
  • Is he an influencer in your industry?
  • How many times has he visited your site?
  • Has he engaged with a support representative by phone, email, or online chat?

Marketing technology is in a race to keep up with consumers and provide the context needed to create the personalized experiences they have come to expect.”

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