Trash is the new Titanic.
Ascend2, which offers research-based marketing services, and Vidyard, a video marketing platform, recently released a survey of content marketers to find out how the best of the best run their content marketing campaigns.
Over half of the respondents worked at companies with over 500 employees. 40 percent had 50 to 500 employees, and eight percent had fewer than 50. More than half dealt primarily with business-to-business (B2B) channels, about a quarter worked mostly with business-to-consumer (B2C) channels, and 20 percent worked with both equally.
35 percent of respondents ranked their content marketing and distribution strategy as very successful compared to their competitors. 46 percent described their strategies as somewhat successful, and 19 percent ranked them as unsuccessful.
“I was a little surprised to read the results of the survey,” says Jacqueline Gay, Digital Marketing & Communications Manager for international company Quincy Compressor. “Historically, industrial companies seem to struggle to create content, yet we’ve been able to generate a bunch of creative content ideas for our marketing campaigns taking a more aggressive approach to connect with our audiences.”
“We know as well as any company that content marketing isn’t the easiest thing to jump right into,” says Gay, “but if we can do it, surely other industries can find success with it, too.”
Ascend2 and Vidyard’s survey just might shed some additional insights into exactly what challenges other industries and companies are perceiving. We’ve highlighted some of the most notable below.
Half of the best-in-class respondents said that increasing sales revenue was the most important objective of their strategy. This was followed by improving search rankings with 42 percent and increasing brand awareness with 41 percent.
When it comes to for-profit businesses, the other responses in the survey are likely, for the most part, sub-goals on the way toward the ultimate goal of increasing sales revenue.
Types of Content
When asked to rank the most effective types of content marketing, 63 percent said video and motion graphics. Other studies have found that to be true. Visual content tends to perform exceptionally well on social media.
The rest of the top spots went to, in this order, research reports, webinars/webcasts, social media content, infographics, website articles, blogs, and case studies/white papers. The last option received only nine percent, while the others got higher scores.
You can’t tell how successful a campaign was unless you have something you can use to measure it. 64 percent of respondents said that brand awareness was the most useful metric. Lead generation and nurturing and customer engagement were other popular selections. Brand awareness is also difficult to measure, but various analytic tools can help with that.
The report also compared the most useful metrics to the most important objectives, as identified by the survey’s respondents. Objectives are much more useful when they can be effectively measured. The survey found that the most important objectives and the most useful ones didn’t always align.
64% of marketers say that brand awareness is the most useful marketing metric.
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The study indicated that outsourcing your content marketing distribution leads to more success. This may be because outside marketing companies have more specialized skills and more access to marketing-related resources.
94 percent of best-in-class respondents outsourced at least part of their content marketing. 53 percent outsourced all of it, 41 percent used a combination of outsourcing and in-house resources, and only six percent used only in-house resources.
More than three-quarters of the top content marketers said paid distribution channels are becoming significantly more effective. 19 percent reported that their effectiveness was increasing marginally, while just four percent said it was decreasing either marginally or significantly.
Of those paid channels, search engine rankings took the top spot with 69 percent, followed by online banner ads and promoted posts or tweets. The survey also asked about print and offline promotions, which seven percent of best-in-class marketers said was the most effective channel.
The type of sales cycle your business typically encounters is important for choosing the right content marketing strategy. Most of the marketers surveyed (71 percent) said they deal mostly with complex cycles, which are longer and have many influencers. Twenty percent work mostly with direct sales, while nine percent encounter both types equally.
This survey tells us that most content marketers value increased sales the most but find brand awareness to be the most useful metric. They often use video and motion graphics to reach their goals and believe paid channels are becoming more effective. Most companies didn’t do their content marketing themselves, though—outsourcing was overwhelmingly popular.
Perhaps businesses will find the results of this survey useful, and maybe the next time a survey like this is conducted, more of them will be able to describe their strategies as “very successful.”
Get a weekly dose of the trends and insights you need to keep you ON top, from Jay Baer at Convince & Convert. Sign up for the Convince & Convert ON email newsletter.
We’re kicking off #PRStudChat in 2017, and you won’t want to miss a Twitter chat focused on the nuances of media relations and lessons learned from the field. On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, at 8:30 p.m. ET, the monthly #PRStudChat Twitter Chat Community will gather to discuss how students and PR professionals can build better relationships with the media, from new ways to pitch to dealing with quick media cycles, journalist pressures and building trust by managing expectations and being reliable sources.
Joining us on the 25th, as special guests and co-hosts leading the discussion, will be Jason Mollica, President of JRM Comm and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and Ben Butler, APR, founder of Top Hat IMC.
Here are a few of the #PRStudChat topics/questions we’ll discuss the night of January 25th:
- How much do you need to know about the journalist and his/her community?
- Can pitching be taught or is it an “on the job” skills you need to develop?
- What constitutes a slam dunk pitch?
- What are some of the new ways to capture (and keep) a journalist’s attention?
- What is the best way to follow up on a pitch with the media?
- What role does PR play when it comes to fake news?
- What constitutes a real relationship today?
- What can we do in 2017 to promote more transparency and trust?
- What’s your #1 secret to building a better relationship in 2017?
And many more!
We hope you’ll join us on January 25th for a dynamic discussion on the nuances of media relations in 2017. As always, we welcome your questions before or during the chat session. You can tweet @PRStudChat, @ValerieSimon, @JasMollica, @BenButlerAPR or @dbreakenridge with your questions. Be sure to also visit our LinkedIn Group to share your ideas.
About Jason Mollica: Jason Mollica is the president of JRM Comm, an award-winning public relations and social marketing consultancy, located in a suburb of Washington, D.C. His clients range from technology to government agencies. Jason is also an adjunct professor at American University and the University of Maryland. He formerly worked in television and radio in Philadelphia and New York City.
About Ben Butler, APR: Ben Butler, APR, is the founder and client services director for Top Hat IMC an award-winning marketing communications firm in Pittsburgh. In his past life, he served as a public relations guy for a motorsports complex, director of inbound partnerships for an inbound marketing agency and head of communications for a software startup. He’s been named a Top Under 40 Communicator and is Accredited in Public Relations (APR)—a distinction held by less than 20-percent of all practitioners.
About #PRStudChat: It began with a simple question asked by Angela Hernandez, then President of PRSSA at Central Michigan University (CMU). “Is PR Right for me?” A follow-up blog post by PR 2.0 expert Deirdre Breakenridge inspired a series of direct messages on Twitter between Breakenridge and fellow PR industry pro, Valerie Simon. This was an important question and one that should be explored beyond one student or one blog post. Why not build a community to help students across the country, and even the globe, learn from the experience and perspective of industry professionals … A community where everyone can learn and grow together.
Here's the obvious way: Watch people waiting to go through the line. Find the spot where the line slows down, where there's a gap between one person and the next. That's the spot that needs attention. Add a few spoons, pre-portion the item, remove a step.
Here's another way: Schedule how people enter the line. By managing the flow, you'll relax the participants and eliminate rush times.
Here's a better way: Pull the table away from the wall so people can walk on either side, thus giving your throughput a chance to practically double.
If you work on an assembly line, it's likely that someone has already thought about this.
But many of us are soloists, or do dozens of tasks a day. It's not as easy to notice where the bottlenecks are, so we have to look for them.
Have you considered the high cost of task switching? It probably takes you a little while to stop doing one thing and start doing another with efficiency. What happens when you switch less often?
Also: Consider the sprint test. If there's a task that comes up often, challenge yourself and your team to, just this once, organize and prepare to set a world record at actually completing this task. Get all the materials and processes set in advance. Now, with focus, seek out your most efficient flow.
Obviously, you can't do this every single time, but what did you learn? Steal the best parts and add them to your daily practice.
Is there someone who is more productive at a given task than you are? Watch and model. Even the way you hold the scoop, reach across the table or move the mouse is sufficient to change everything.
One last thought: Inspections are essential to maintain quality, but re-inspection is duplicative and slows things down. Where is the best place to be sure you've done the work properly? Do it there and then, and not again, and not five times. Organizing to build quality into the process, with steps that check themselves, is far more productive than constant task switching and over-inspection.
When we're wrong, we can admit it. And in our prediction last year, when we predicted beards would die in 2016, we were very, very far off the mark. We apologize.
Beards are not, in fact, dead or dying. Far from it. The clearest sign of that is the way the red carpet looked at the year's first major awards show, the Golden Globes.
It was, as Jon Hamm put succinctly, a "beard parade." Of the eight men who won a spherical statue for their acting, seven of them were sporting beards. The only clean-shaven man among the winners was Hugh Laurie, a British national who splits his time between London and Los Angeles.
The theory we used to posit that the beard was on the downtrend last year was that society had reached "peak beard" — the point at which beards are so dominant, the only way to stick out as an attractive mate would be to be completely clean-shaven.
In our defense, the evidence was on our side. Last year's Golden Globes were not nearly as hairy, so it looked like peak beard had already come and gone. Not so, it appears.
According to an interview The Times UK did with historian Alun Withey, an academic who will run a three-year research project on the beard and its cultural history in the UK, people have been predicting the end of the beard since 2013. Each time, it seems, they've been wrong, and the beard has remained as strong as ever in the eyes of the public.
It's easy to see why. The beard is a shortcut to masculinity, and it will make any man seem older and most seem more attractive (until we reach peak beard).
To save face, we won't be making any more predictions. The beard, it seems, is here to stay for at least the time being. We will say, if you're going to grow a beard, at least do it properly.
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Among all the people Casey Affleck mentioned during his acceptance speech for best actor at the Golden Globes Sunday night, including Jeff Bezos and Denzel Washington, one name was conspicuously absent.
Affleck failed to thank his older brother Ben, who had a good time being mad about it (even if he seemed to be pretending) on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" Monday.
"That's not the kind of thing I would do," Ben Affleck said.
In fact, Kimmel pulled up the tape of when the older Affleck did thank Casey during his Oscar win for "Good Will Hunting."
Ben got a chance to rib Casey, including revealing that Casey once thought "Back to the Future" was based on a true story.
Watch the video below:
NOW WATCH: Here are the 11 best memes of 2016
PASADENA, California – While Showtime has kept many details of its upcoming "Twin Peaks" revival series close to the vest, it did discuss some new details at the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday.
More than 25 years ago in 1990, "Twin Peaks," a mysterious story set in a quaint Northwestern town rocked by a shocking murder, premiered. Created by David Lynch and Mark Frost, the series only ran for two seasons but went on to become a cult hit.
As if fans weren't already excited about what to expect from the show, Showtime Networks President and CEO David Nevins described the upcoming David Lynch series in glowing terms.
“I think the 'Twin Peaks' you’re going to see is the pure heroin of David Lynch and I’m very excited to be putting that out,” Nevins said after announcing that Showtime had finally set a May 21 premiere date for the series.
In a surprise twist on Monday, Lynch, who wasn't previously announced as part of the show's panel, made an appearance at the press tour and got a chance to respond to Nevins' earlier statement on the series.
"I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days," Lynch joked.
If you're dying to know more about Showtime's "Twin Peaks" revival, here's what the producers and cast discussed on Monday:
David Lynch is directing all 18 episodes.
It has been more than two decades since David Lynch has directed episodic television. When asked what fans should expect from his directing style for the "Twin Peaks" revival, he was fairly vague.
"First, it was just the same as all the others," Lynch said. "I see it as a film, and film in parts is what people would experience. And it was a joyful, fantastic trip with this great crew and great cast. This word 'expect' is a magical word, and people expect things, and their expectations are met, hopefully, when they see the thing."
Despite long days during the shooting of the series, star Kyle MacLachlan expressed his awe of Lynch's work ethic.
"It didn't matter how long [the shoot day was], he was there. He was always up, cheerful, and smiling and so were we," MacLachlan said.
The production returned to shoot in Washington, the fictional setting and actual shooting location of the original "Twin Peaks."
"[It was] both the same and different," Lynch said of returning to Washington. "If you go back 25 years in any town and revisit it again, it's that way. It's many things remain the same. But also, you feel a change."
There are dozens of new characters appearing in the revival.
In April, Showtime released a list of more than 200 cast members for its "Twin Peaks" revival. Among them are dozens of new characters that will be introduced. They'll be played by both stars – such as Michael Cera, Jim Belushi, Laura Dern, Trent Reznor, Amanda Seyfried, Balthazar Getty, Eddie Vedder, among many others – and newcomers.
"You try to get the right person for the part. That's the rule," Lynch said of the casting. "And so you meet people, you see pictures of people, you see videos of people, and you get a sense by looking at them and hearing them that they are right or wrong for this particular part, and that's always the way it is."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Today, your news release is only one part of any successful PR effort. To see your campaign and activities really take flight you need to invest in creating engaging, shareable content.
Start by Providing Value
The best way to stand out from the hundreds of other news releases journalists scan through each day is to provide something of value. This can take the form of starting with a proprietary survey on a timely topic, having a thoughtful perspective on an issue in the news, or providing free educational (not promotional) content of interest to the journalist’s audience.
Many brands equate proprietary surveys with $100,000 spends and a multi-month process with a market research company. And, while that certainly is an option for brands with large budgets that are looking to create a statistically valid piece of research, any brand with a decent-sized email list and a free survey account can obtain valuable—and eminently shareable—insights that merit publication.
Similarly, newsjacking can be an excellent way to gain attention for your PR efforts, when done well. And by done well, I’m talking about a security firm sharing tips on securing your household IoT devices so they don’t contribute to the next distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, not “Three personal branding lessons you can learn from today’s dead celebrity.”
Supplement Your Campaign With Visual Assets
No matter how compelling your written content is, however, if no one stops to read it, you’re out of luck. That’s why creating color visuals—photographs, infographics, SlideShares, videos—is so important.
Research from Xerox on the effectiveness of using color in business documents found color increases readers’ attention spans and recall by 82 percent, and increases readership by 80 percent.
A few ways to easily and inexpensively add visuals to your PR campaigns include:
- Filming 15-30 sec smartphone video snippets with executives or customers quoted in your text materials.
- Designing social-friendly quote cards with visuals by using Canva or similar tools.
- Creating visual representations of your data by using Venngage or Piktochart.
And the best part is all of these pieces can have your brand watermark, and include calls-to-action that lead them back to your organization’s website, at which point their return-on-investment becomes trackable. And that return is all thanks to you, and your PR efforts.
Have a Comprehensive Distribution Plan
If your distribution plan is posting the news release and assets on your corporate channel and distributing it through a release service and calling it a day, you’re missing out on significant opportunities.
When planning your program, and deciding who to work with to create your content, you’ll want to keep distribution in mind.
- Is there an industry thought leader who would be willing to weigh in?
- Are some of your customers more active on social media than others?
When you create content that includes contributions from people who have a built-in audience, they’re very likely to share it with their networks, as long as it’s not a promotional puff piece.
You spend countless hours on crafting the right PR program to meet organizational objectives. But augmenting your traditional tactics with creating compelling content can take your programs so much further, and help you show that PR is a vital part of your business, and not just a nice-to-have luxury.
Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.
2017 is well underway, but social media advertising agency Adaptly wants to keep the industry’s 2016 accomplishments fresh in people’s minds.
Adaptly shared the infographic below, featuring highlights of the year (2016) in social media.
Readers: What was the most important moment for social media in 2016?
Image on homepage courtesy of Shutterstock.
Snapchat parent Snap Inc. denied media reports that it is establishing its international headquarters in London.
Madhumita Murgia and Hannah Kuchler of Financial Times reported that all of the company’s sales outside of the U.S. will be booked out of London, starting with those made by its teams in France, Australia, Canada and Saudi Arabia, and Snap Inc. confirmed that information in a blog post, writing:
Today, the media reported that we selected London as our international HQ. That is not true. We have one HQ, in Venice (Calif.), and many offices throughout the world.
We did, however, make a change to the way we operate our business in London. Going forward, we will bill our advertising revenue from the U.K. (and a few other countries) through a U.K. entity. This allows us to pay taxes in the U.K., which we believe is part of being a good local partner as we grow our business.
We want to pay taxes in the countries where we sell advertising, and this is an important step in building the infrastructure to achieve that goal.
Snap Inc. currently has some 75 employees in London, according to Murgia and Kuchler, and it plans to seek a new space near its office in Soho and add staff, including engineers. Snap Group Limited U.K. general manager Claire Valoti told FT:
We believe in the U.K. creative industries. The U.K. is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.
And a Snap Inc. spokeswoman told Jamie Bullen of the London Evening Standard:
I am happy to confirm that the U.K. is the Snap Inc. family’s hub outside of the U.S. The U.K.’s strong creative industries make this a great place to build a global business.
Readers: What are your thoughts on Snap Inc.’s moves in London?
Here's a PSA we shouldn't have needed: Hidden Figures and Fences are two separate movies. After the nonexistent "Hidden Fences" came up twice during Sunday's Golden Globes, Twitter used it as the jumping off point for a series of glorious portmanteaus.
Hollywood, you have one job. Well, you have several — but at a bare minimum, in the Maslovian hierarchy of Things You Should Get Right, please, for the love of Meryl, learn some names.
The egregious mixup recalled last year's mistaken identification of Gina Rodriguez as America Ferrera, or the party where Mindy Kaling was mistaken for Malala Yousafzai. The Globes even misspelled John Legend's last name, which is also an actual word. Read more...More about Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Golden Globes 2017, Jenna Bush Hager, and Michael Keaton
Meryl Streep winning an award is finally controversial.
She used her time on the stage to celebrate diversity and champion the free press from being destroyed or silenced. You know, the sort of stuff Donald Trump struggles with. She also brought up the infamous incident in which the president elect mocked a reporter with a physical disability.Twitter, Golden Globes 2017, Meryl Streep, Donald Trump, and Watercooler
Business-to-business advertisers have long prioritized search-engine marketing as their primary digital path to new customers. With at least one study now showing social media to be a top marketing channel for B2B companies, it’s time for advertisers to re-examine their lead-generation mix.
Most will look at LinkedIn first because it operates the world’s largest professional network, with more than 467 million members in over 200 countries and territories. But guess what? For most B2B advertisers, we’re finding that Facebook generates exponentially more leads at a more efficient rate.
This means a lot of marketers–particularly smaller businesses–need to start prioritizing Facebook. Here are four reasons why:
- Scale: Facebook is substantially larger than LinkedIn–1.79 billion monthly active users versus 106 million. Facebook has the greatest share of business decision makers—60 percent versus 22 percent for LinkedIn at last count–and it’s the social platform that they spend the most time on. Both platforms allow targeting based on user’s job title, industry, education, age and location; so why not capitalize on the platform with larger scale and reach domestically and globally?
- No barrier to entry: Facebook gives advertisers large and small access to its entire suite of products and capabilities. With LinkedIn, higher-end products such as dynamic ads and account-based marketing carry a $25,000 minimum over each three-month period. That buys the help of a dedicated representative, but it’s too expensive for the majority of smaller businesses–especially advertisers new to the platform that haven’t had the chance to warm up to a long-term commitment.
- Leverage first-party data: Facebook’s custom audiences allow advertisers to upload customer-relationship-management data in order to match customer information to Facebook users. LinkedIn doesn’t offer this yet. Secondly, advertisers have the ability to retarget site visitors on Facebook given proper pixel placement, but not on LinkedIn. On Facebook, advertisers can create custom audiences based on engagement (e.g., people who viewed a video or interacted with a brand’s page or posts) and target lookalike users for all of the mentioned above. These vast first-party options put Facebook above the rest of the social platforms.
- Pace of innovation: More than 95 percent of Facebook’s revenue comes directly from advertising, whereas LinkedIn’s marketing solutions account for less than 20 percent of revenue. To sustain this growth, Facebook rolls out new targeting methods and ad formats faster than any other platform. Facebook emphasizes a seamless advertiser experience, most evident in lead ads, which has LinkedIn playing catch up. While LinkedIn auto-fills a user’s information when he or she clicks on an advertiser’s link (if that user is logged in), Facebook captures users’ information natively on the platform itself. This has dramatically increased conversion rates across the board, especially as dollars shift toward mobile.
All of this makes Facebook a must-test platform for B2B advertisers. New and small advertisers, particularly, will find that they can progress at their own pace, taking advantage of the broadest range of targeting tools and ad products from the start. In the process, they can appeal to prospective customers in unprecedented ways.
The key is differentiating marketing from sales. If you have a product that’s expensive, highly targeted and hard to understand–say, replacement restaurant equipment–then LinkedIn should remain your first choice to market and sell. If you have a more everyday business product or service, it’s time to go fishing on Facebook first.
Sanjay Teckchandani is director of paid social and Michael LaMonte is a paid social account manager at Elite SEM, a performance digital agency.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
The Facebook-owned messaging application announced that 63 billion messages were sent during the 24-hour period beginning at 2 p.m. PT Dec. 31.
Nearly 8 billion images and 2.4 billion videos were included in those New Year’s Eve messages, WhatsApp added.
WhatsApp users: Did you contribute to WhatsApp’s record total?
In 2016, the Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that the trust in media was actually on the upswing. There was a turnaround in 20 out of 28 countries included in the global study. The United States saw the biggest gains of 16 points followed by Canada and the UK, both up 14 points. However, it’s hard to say what the report will show for U.S. media when it’s published in 2017. The general feelings or “word on the street” about the media, after the 2016 election, was that of distrust. Many consumers felt the reporting was biased, there was false news running rampant, and a lack of regard for facts vs. opinions.
As a PR professional, this was a tough election and hard news cycle to swallow. The news was sensationalized and facts were often misrepresented. When mistakes occurred and heartfelt apologies should have been shared, they were completely non-existent. At the same time, unverified and inaccurate sources were proliferated. A host of other practices we would not have tolerated in the years past were upfront and very personal during the campaign season. Where does this leave us in 2017? Like most PR professionals, you’re still looking to tell a good newsworthy story and build strong relationships with the media. Except … the media as we thought we knew it, once again, has changed. Here are a few of the lessons we’ve learned about media last year.
Lesson #1. Twitter may be the new 140-character news announcement. I never thought I would say this as a PR professional of 28 years. As a matter of fact, I wrote in my books PR 2.0 and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations that a news story needs facts and supporting information for journalists to cover and to build a good, solid story. Well, 2017 certainly changed the news announcement game with a now President Elect who loved to tweet about everything from his campaign activities and rallies prior to the November election to what looks like policy and the state of his transition as he readies himself to be sworn in as the 45th President. One tweet from Trump has the news media questioning and trying to fill in the blanks as they build and report their stories, sometimes with very little supporting information or the ability to get more details for their coverage.
Lesson #2. The news cycle is faster than we’ve ever experienced. The Presidential election really showed us that headlines flew by and there was little time to accurately investigate, fact check, and report on a story before the next headline rolled out (each one slightly crazier than the next). Can you imagine that there was a time that we used to rely on the 24-hour news cycle and you actually had time to get information to reporters before the 6:00 p.m. evening news. Now, the news is a constant real-time cycle and journalists and PR people have very little time to put one story to bed let alone deal with an onslaught of new headlines. It really never mattered if the coverage was positive or negative because the cycles moved so quickly that nothing was everlasting. Stories were reported in a fleeting moment. “Here today, gone tomorrow” would have been an appropriate tagline for the 2016 Presidential election.
Lesson #3: Fake news has been around for years and now it’s more real than ever. The biggest issue with fake news through social media is that your news and information is circulated in one big echo chamber. When you see the inaccurate sources and fake news sites (click bait for teenagers in Macedonia who make $5,000.00 per month) it’s difficult to tell what is real and what is not. On Facebook and Twitter, consumers would see their closest peers validating these stories and were more apt to share them. After all, you trust your peers far more than you trust the media, government, and big business. Unfortunately, the more you share the inaccurate, the more the inaccurate stories will appear in your news feed. At what point does the consumer know she/he is not getting the real information or different perspectives and points of view.
Lesson #4: The media gets angry and fights back. Many journalists began to dig in deeper with more investigative journalism especially around the election campaign activities. However, on the flip side, there are the journalists, completely annoyed with the bots and trolls, who are abandoning social media communities (#shutdowntwitterin2017). Muck Rack reported in its January 3rd newsletter that a few journalists from the New York Times, Bust and the Guardian are leaving Twitter due to the “trolls, bots and the dictators.” But, will this solve the problem? Consumers are still in these social media communities accessing their “news” and information. It’s up to journalists, PR professionals, and consumers to put pressure on Twitter or any other media platform to make sure that these issues are addressed and the truth is more accurately represented. I know … a lot easier said than done.
Lesson #5: The size of someone’s network is not as large as you may think. When Donald Trump and his advisors justify his use of Twitter, they say it’s because of the size of the audience. However, this does not take into account the many bots that make up more than a third of his network as reported by CNN Tech in October of 2016. This isn’t just a President-elect problem, the Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, also had a bot problem (about 37% of her followers were not real). Now, even if you take away a third, you’re still dealing with millions of people. But, the lesson here is that most of the sharing and retweeting are not from real people passionate about issues presented during the election. As stated in the Atlantic in November of 2016, “never have we seen such an all-out bot war.: PR people and journalists have to keep this in mind when dealing with new media channels. Sharing stories are only as good as the people you reach, influence and take action. Similarly, you saw the days of inflated circulation numbers, well you also have your inflated numbers through social media too.
What lessons have you learned from the media in 2016? Whether you’re a journalist, communications professional or both. We’ve made some good progress in year’s past. Now is the time to push harder for what’s real, accurate, objective and newsworthy. Otherwise, the challenges we face today will be more difficult to address moving forward, and we’ll see eroding media trust and continue to question who is really reporting the news.
That brands need to be part of the conversation in social media is axiomatic and obvious. But can brands be part of a conversation in which they are not participating directly? Yes, through influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing enables brands to cede at least partial control of their message while customers, advocates, online journalists, and others steer the story of the brand and its products and services.
Most of our consulting clients at Convince & Convert are large, global brands. As consumer, most of us would be thrilled to get a Twitter reply from them. Even though many of these companies have broad reach on their own, they also leverage social media influencers to increase niche reach and/or to enhance authenticity.
But this only works when marketers align first with suitable influencers, and then determine how best to work together. Here’s how.
How to Build Trust in a Regulated Industry
Brands in regulated industries care about trust and authenticity as much as companies outside those categories—maybe more so. But because of limits on what can be said and by whom, many regulated brands take a conservative approach to social media and content marketing. The upshot is that the brands that do push harder stand out even more by comparison.
One of our clients is a major insurance company that you see on TV every day. They are comfortable creating strong content for their audience of policy-holders and prospective policy-holders, but they wanted to increase reach, boost authenticity, and supply even more interesting tips and advice online via their blog and YouTube channel.
The goal wasn’t (and isn’t) to create content about their products—because content that is only about your products is just a brochure. Instead, the key is to create content that fulfills the brand’s role as a trusted advisor and resource.
The strategy makes sense, right? Find influencers, and partner with them to create Youtility content that helps people make better decisions about their home, auto, boat, motorcycle, etc. But at the operational level, this kind of program creates a number of questions, starting with, “What influencers do we want to work with, and why?”
For this project, we used software from our friends at GroupHigh to help us identify, analyze, sort, and approach potential influencers—primarily bloggers. GroupHigh allows you to run a ton of different queries when searching for suitable influencers. In this case, we focused on these criteria:
- Freshness: How recently had the blogger posted content? How frequently did they post?
- Traffic: What is the blog’s traffic? How much audience has the influencer aggregated?
- Social footprint: What are the opportunities to work with the influencer in social? Are they active on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest?
- Fit: Does their content make sense for our client’s audience and their overall brand vision? (We got at this by doing keyword queries in GroupHigh, which shows if the blog has covered the topic, if the keyword was in the headline of the blog post or just the body, and how recently the keyword appeared on the blog.)
Once we identified potential influencers and vetted them with our client, we worked with the influencers directly to brainstorm and create content that all parties felt showcased the unique points of view and expertise of the influencers. In 2016, we discovered and worked with nearly 100 influencers as part of this program.
Measuring Along an Active Campaign
One of the other big questions around influencer marketing right now is how to measure impact and effectiveness (our Influence Pros podcast has many episodes devoted to this issue). At Convince & Convert, we’re often asked for guidance about how to track an ongoing influencer marketing program. But in many cases, we’re asked to figure this out once the program has already commenced, making pre/post comparisons difficult and unreliable.
So it was fantastic when we were asked by one of our long-time agency partners (we support many independent agencies with their social/digital/content/influencer strategies) to help measure a yearlong travel influencer program for one of the largest states in the nation, before the program started.
We built custom worksheets to help the agency and their client monitor and evaluate success. We included five sections:
- Influencer Log: Record every influencer who is part of the campaign, the dates they are expected to contribute, and every social channel or website/blog link associated with them for tracking purposes.
- Content Log: The nagging feeling that some tweet or blog post will go uncounted is avoided with a tracking system in place, be it manually recorded in an workbook or auto-saved in the firehose of data GroupHigh collects. We’re fans of the GroupHigh Bookmark and URL Grabber plugins that allow click-to-add to any engagement report.
- Keywords: Most experiential campaigns or events have unique dedicated hashtags, but also be aware of other, spin-off hashtags that originate from the experience, as well as keywords for places or products used in the campaign.
- Reach and Engagement: We used GroupHigh to measure the reach and impact of each blog post and several other tools to do the same for social media content.
- Equivalent Media Values: Marketers are challenged to show ROI on all campaigns. Many agencies are asked to value blog posts and Instagram photos in the context of traditional media placements. Personally, I’m not a fan of equivalency reporting because it measures two things that are quite dissimilar, but I understand why brands and agencies gravitate toward it, so we created an equivalency valuation formula for this project.
Codifying and simplifying the influencer tracking process allowed the agency to see the connections between initial goals and resulting outcomes all the way through the campaign. They were able to make real-time decisions to make the experiences even more effective for the influencers and the tourism client.
Using tools to help find and measure influencers is an absolute requirement. (highlight to tweet) Some brands and agencies still do a lot of this work manually, starting with Google searches and ending in Excel spreadsheet hell, but I’ve got no interest in using time that inefficiently.
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Sometimes the best DIY hacks are the ones that involve the least amount of thought — and money. This DIY iPhone to SLR lens adapter covers both of those, because it costs absolutely nothing and takes only 30 seconds to make. Created by DIY Photography reader Jake Burgess, this little contraption might not be the [...]
The post This DIY iPhone to SLR lens adapter costs $0 and takes 30 seconds to make appeared first on DIY Photography.
With technology advancing, consumer behavior changing and shorter attention spans, it has become increasingly difficult to build relationships. Organizations need communication professionals who have a raised creative quotient. You have to be more creative and innovative in your approach to connect and engage with audiences today.
On November 17th, the #PRStudChat community gathered to discuss the importance of Creative PR and taking the art of storytelling to a new level. Heather Whaling, president of Geben Communication and Jason Sprenger, president of Game Changer Communications led the discussion on the different ways students and professionals view and use creative in their PR campaigns.
One question focused on whether creativity is inherent, or if it can be taught. Here are several of the interesting insights our community members shared:
According to community responses, levels of creativity will vary among professionals and your environment plays an important role. At the same time, we agreed that exercising Creative PR is both valuable and a necessity today. A career in PR requires strong skills in many areas. However, social media communication adds a whole new dimension to your creative knowledge and skill set. Taking the time to increase your Creative PR quotient is one way to stand out regardless of the position or your years of experience.
What are your tips for increasing creativity and learning new ways to be creative in PR?
The post Can You Teach Creativity? The #PRStudChat Community Shares Insights appeared first on Deirdre Breakenridge.… Read more
While we often hear about the dangers of texting and driving, Ford has taken to its Instagram account with an ongoing series of simple yet powerful images to remind fans that activities like “liking and driving” also fall under the lens of distracted driving.
As seen above, the images portray relatable scenarios where a distracted driver might miss someone or another vehicle on or near the road. The simple, oversized white heart strategically stands out in the Instagram stream, prompting the viewer to pause and look more closely at the image.
In an interview with Adweek, executive creative director Vico Benevides from Blue Hive Brazil (the agency behind the images for Ford) said, “We want to jump in the social conversation about the risks of using cellphones while driving. The icon of a heart hiding the people in the streets seems to be the perfect image to deliver the message. Simple and powerful.”
Research from Oregon State University published in Journal of Transportation Safety and Security indicates that drivers are more distracted than ever before. In the study, drivers who took their eyes off the road for two seconds or longer increased the risk of an accident up to 24 times. Use of cell phones while driving rank among the top reasons for distracted driving, showcasing the importance of using channels like Instagram where younger audiences spend their time to raise awareness.
Building off of the images, Ford could expand the campaign to drive more engagement and awareness around this very important message. For example, Ford could develop a corresponding hashtag and invite fans to participate by sharing a photo of themselves with a piece of paper pledging not to use their cell phones while driving. The company already has a robust social media portion of its website to share this content, plus information about its history of supporting safe driving programs.
Ford has launched many programs over the years to raise awareness and prevent distracted driving and driving under the influence. One such example is Ford Europe’s recent creation of a “drug driving simulator suit,” which simulates the experience of driving while on drugs. Members of the news media in the UK were recently filmed sharing their experiences driving in this suit as a way to showcase the dangers of driving while on drugs.
During the holiday season and throughout the year, these campaigns offer an important reminder to be safe and practice safe habits while behind the wheel.
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