A huge sigh of relief

free magazines don't work

As we take a huge sigh of relief and press GO on the latest issue of one of the publications I contribute to, I reflect on what great content actually is.

When I started my career 15+ years ago (in what was then customer communications agency Redwood Publishing) branded content only existed for a crazy yet innovative few.

Volvo Magazine, was a Global CRM publication produced to engage and inspire recent Volvo purchasers. I worked in quite a few roles on the team from Editorial Assistant to Promotions to Advertising, I got to know the publishing process whilst also understanding the client’s business strategy, motivations and objectives. The Scandinavian team at Volvo’s Head Office understood, valued and believed in the power their magazine and the content within it delivered in order to maintain retention and loyalty amongst their global customer base.

What resonates so much with me today is remembering sitting in Media Buying Agencies presenting the magazine to the planner/buyer types who looked down their noses and 99 times out of 100 said,

 

“free magazines don’t work, there’s no value in this type of publication”

 

WRONG. SO SO SO Wrong.

 

Volvo Magazine worked, it worked on a global scale. It helped change perceptions and supported the evolution of the brand from a boxy, safe and unsexy automobile to the exceptionally attractive Scandinavian cool premium brand it is today.

 

Good, decent quality content that is well thought out, relevant and presented properly is invaluable. Since working as a consultant with businesses of all sizes it’ makes my stomach turn to hear business owners saying, “it doesn’t matter what it looks like, we just need to get something out there” or “we’ll just whack something together last minute”.

 

This is REALLY saddening. It’s so important if you believe you have a decent offering, service or product, to ensure the quality of communication from your brand is very decent too. Content on the internet, emailed into someone’s mailbox or posted to someone lasts, it doesn’t have a short shelf life, it will always exist, in some cases even when it’s deleted it can still be found. If content is worth doing it’s worth doing properly and making sure it works, reflects the business, aspirations and the brand properly.

 

If I’ve learnt anything from my time in content it’s that it won’t always be 100% perfect but you should ALWAYS aim for it to be, by working with the best and not scrimping on costs!

 

For help with branded content and communications please contact info@magnificentstuff.net

8 questions to help you define your content marketing strategy

8 questions to define content strategy

So you understand the need for content. You know WHY big companies use content to market their business and keep their customers engaged. How do you go about deciding on  a  content marketing strategy to suit your company’s needs?

It is quite possible to become confused by the myriad of information available on this subject. To help here are some simple questions to help you decide.

1) What do I want to be known for? 2) What do my customers want? 3) What kind of content will they consume? 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? 5) Where should I publish my content? 6) How often should I publish? 7) What business results do I want from my content? 8) How do I know whether my content is working? Let us assume, for example, that you run a gardening firm that has progressed well and you’re looking to improve your visibility on-line through content marketing. If we address these 8 questions sample answers might be:-

1) What do I want to be known for? – Quality plants.  Stylish landscaping. Promptness of service. Originality. Customer service. 2) What do my customers want? – All of the above plus assurance of professionalism,. Value for money. Peace of mind. 3) What kind of content will they consume? – Videos. Articles. Photography. 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? – By using personal knowledge. By researching trends and fashions. 5) Where should I publish my content? – A website? Blog? Social media? 6) How often should I publish? – Weekly? Bi-weekly? Daily. At which point do I risk over-saturation? 7) What business results do I want from my content? – More customers and MORE sales 8) How do I know whether my content is working? – By periodically checking traffic stats and sales since commencing content marketing.

It is not a panacea but if you apply these simple 8 questions you should be able to see a clear path towards a successful content marketing strategy.

Customer-Based Brand Equity

Do you know why a certain Brand is strong? Would you know how to make it stronger if you had too? Many factors influence a Brand’s strength of otherwise, if you can understand these it can only help in strengthening a weak Brand, or creating a new, vibrant Brand for the future.

Keller’s Brand Equity Model is also known as the Customer-Based Brand Equity (CBBE) Model. Kevin Lane Keller, a marketing professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, developed the model and published it in his widely used textbook, “Strategic Brand Management.”

To precis enormously there are four major points

1) Who are you?
2) What are you?
3) What about you?
4) What about you and me?

To precis even more, these four points can be summarised thus:-

1) Brand identity
2) Brand meaning
3) Brand responses
4) Brand relationships

Within these four summaries are six building blocks that further help with brand development. These being salience, performance, imagery, judgments, feelings, and resonance.

The link above is vital to anyone keen to understand the importance of Brand awareness in advertising.

Making your website work harder (pt. 1)

This is the first in a series of  posts regarding creating a more worthwhile and profitable website for your company.

 

What is your website for:

There are two main types of business websites. The first is a flat brochure style website, showcasing the best your organisation has to offer, it can include some testimonials and will have clear calls to action. The other is a site that engages visitors and generates leads. It attracts interest and offers solutions and advice to visitors initiating a relationship.

Your website is the hub of business communication and the home of all of your valuable content.  It’s critical that the look, feel and tone of voice are reflective of all that your organisation stands for and the products/services you offer.  The traffic driven to your site will have been directed from all areas so it is important to make sure your website has a strong and clear identity.

Although your website is about you and your business it needs to be written and designed from the customer’s point of view, so instead of writing about ‘what we do’ focus on ‘ here’s how we can help you’.

The content on your website, as well as that posted in social media or shared on others blogs is all integral to your brand. It is there fundamentally to engage and inspire. To endorse your expertise in a sector, to help build trust and to get customers inspired and enthused about you. Smart and cleverly produced content will encourage customers to talk about you and will ensure that you are front of mind when they are ready to make a purchasing decision.

A good website with well constructed editorial will pull in leads and convert them to sales.

The 3 main objectives of a content focused business website?

1. To attract potential customers and retain existing ones

2. To navigate them to the most relevant areas of the site, and

3.  To engage prospects and start to build a relationship with them.

 

In the next post we will look at the key elements that make a smarter business website.