The survey also points out that broad articles or thought leadership content just doesn’t cut it.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? If content doesn’t help them accomplish their goal, why would it accomplish ours? It won’t convert.
I’ve been deeply interested in conversion for quite some time, and watching how different types of content helps or hurts conversion for each client is a fascinating thing.
Because I focus on the integration of content with SEO and social media, I am lucky enough to see the entire spectrum from creation to ROI – something many marketers don’t get to see. They create and post, then move on to the next piece of content.
From a corporate perspective, social media is the gift of a brand platform; a place to step up to the podium and let your voice ring out.
There’s no better place to share content and be heard.
When we share a post on social media–particularly Facebook and LinkedIn–a title and summary of content from that hyperlink are pulled in right along with the link. These are called snippets.
Snippets are also showed in search engine results when a piece of content is listed (although Google occasionally rebels by replacing them with its own inexplicably bizarre findings).
I was sitting on the sidewalk, lacing up my white roller-skates. A neighbor came out and said, “Good morning, Carrie!” What could I do but strike up a conversation? So we talked about skating and, being the gregarious child that I was, I found myself asking if he would like to learn to skate.
He did, so I found myself teaching a swami living in the monastery next door how to skate.
(Nerd post alert. Endorsed and paid for by Carrie’s Inner Geek.)
Well, this is rather interesting!! I thought I’d take a quick look at Google Trends to come up with new keywords (blog inspiration!).
First, I searched trends on content marketing.
Looks promising, right? The growth is a bit obvious, since everyone is buzzing about content marketing like it’s Columbus arriving at the New World. Add in the projected explosion in content creation over the next five-plus years, it’s no surprise to see an upward trend.
But then I added in public relations, social media and search engine optimization (SEO) – the other three key components of digital PR – just for comparison purposes.
Which areas are generating the most online search activity? The results surprised me.
Let’s try an experiment… Click the > button on the playlist below, then pop back up and read this blog post while it plays.
Sure, reading keeps your eyes and brain busy…. but what about your ears?
Sensory branding is an emerging marketing tactic that helps create emotion using more than just one sense – it creates an emotional reaction that is linked to that brand. It doesn’t have to mean adding scent to a direct mail piece that people inhale when opening the envelope or handling out tchotchkes they can hold in their hands – it can also include audio.
And who doesn’t love music? Everyone does.
Like a jingle in a commercial that sticks in your mind, audio can be powerful.
Adding a playlist to a piece of content probably isn’t exactly what some have in mind when they think of sensory branding… but why not? It’s fun! And I think it’s a teeny tiny bit outside of the box, maybe?
Are our expectations shifting to be unrealistic?
Do we expect too much for nothing?
It’s eight o’clock in the morning, I’m still making coffee and haven’t had a chance to swill down a single drop yet, and my phone rings. I answer it.
“Hi! My name is ___ from ____! (Said in way too chipper of a voice for the sadly non-morning person that I am.) Thanks for attending our webinar last week! What interested you about it??
Grrr. “I’m afraid I wasn’t able to attend but look forward to listening to the recording,” I say.
“Do you know what marketing automation is and have you used it for your clients,” he says?
“I’m really not interested in any kind of software but just wanted to learn something new. Great topic.”
…. He goes on to babble something in Swahili (no coffee, remember?), I quickly say I’m not interested and hang up. Pissed off.
Wait – why did I get pissed off? He was perfectly polite and the company clearly expected the webinar to generate leads. Is that so wrong? Did that poor sales guy deserve my irritation?
I was mildly offended that he asked if I know what marketing automation was, sure, but where did the anger come from?
Expectations. As we become more sophisticated in how we create and consume content, we are teaching ourselves to expect everything for nothing.
Marketers are also more likely to get angry or annoyed than your average consumer, because WE KNOW there is not (and should never be) a direct line from content to sale. It just doesn’t work that way.
Even when a company tries to force it.
How to Find Your Most Popular Content…. So You Can Create More!
Once you know which ones are resonating, you can CREATE MORE content centered around high-interest topics.
How can you do this? GOOGLE ANALYTICS. It’s free, and it’s the single most effective way to measure effectiveness of any content you create, assuming the goal is either to (1) drive traffic to your website, or (2) drive traffic to your website.
Yup, that’s included twice on purpose. No matter what your secondary goal might be – email subscribers, sales, customer service forums, eBook downloads, conversion of any kind – it’s a pretty safe assumption that you need them on your website before it can happen.
Like fluffy yellow chicks marching in line after their mama, many companies are stuck in push marketing tactics of the past, favoring carefully crafted, conservative external messaging and expecting their executives to rigidly follow corporate directives when it comes to having (or not having) a digital voice.
“It’s too risky!” “We don’t know how to manage or monitor it!” “DESIGNATED SPOKESPERSONS ONLY” might as well be a sign slapped on every monitor.
Perhaps they don’t have an internal brand ambassador program of any kind (a what?), and they are terrified at the very THOUGHT of giving employees online freedom and autonomy. Their content marketing and brand journalism has not yet evolved to a place where they are comfortable letting employees take the spotlight, allowing independent voices to ring out with options, truth and expertise.
For some companies, it’s by choice; some lack internal vision and progressive marketing expertise; and for others, it’s the result of compliance issues and legal directives.
So what’s a PR pro to do?
Consider ways to expand editorial placements with personal branding campaigns for c-suite leadership and your subject matter experts! It’s easier than you think, it bulks up your editorial placements, leaving clients thrilled with you, AND you earn bragging rights for launching their very first brand ambassador program.