Digisemestr #9 (2019-04-20) – Content marketing & Copywriting
Digisemestr: The easter edition is here. Our lecture room felt a bit deserted this time. Nevertheless, some nerds still came to hear about digital marketing. And took some notes. And then blog about it. And now they might make some mistakes. Please, let me know if there are any, thanks!
This lesson is mostly about content marketing.
The subtitle of Diana’s talk is How to outsmart Facebook algorithm? At the beginning of 2018, Facebook has changed its algorithm to prefer posts from friends and family. Organic reach of Facebook pages posts went down. The main purpose of Facebook is to build relationships. So make sure to do just that. No outsmarting. Sorry.
Your social media strategy is like a train schedule for managing your Facebook page. Set up goals, target audience (inc. their expectations), competitive analysis (what and when they share, how people react), SWOT, communication strategy (eg. benefits you’re going to communicate).
Your goals could be brand awareness, to strengthen users’ relationship with the product, to inform about new products as well as talent acquisition. Social goals build upon goals. You might wanna engage people, drive traffic to your website, etc. Sometimes it’s really hard to put yourself in the user’s shoes. What do they want? You lack insight. Monitor your posts and notice people who contribute the most. Get in touch with ‘em and pick their brains! Perform deep interviews and discover insights. Now, use these insights as a foundation to talk about topics your TA (target audience) cares about.
This is a powerful way to think about your followers. How much do they engage? Do they just consume? Or do they contribute? Some of them may even create media content? When combined with factors of motivation we get 4 segments of customers ranging from brand detached (passive viewers), brand profiteers (active only because of a reward), brand companions (commenting and engaging) to brand ambassadors (creating UGC). UGC stands for user-generated content.
Provide suitable content for all segments. Furthermore, think about it as a customer journey. Convert them from one stage to another. Don’t worry about having just a few brand ambassadors. There’ll be always only a few most hard-core fans. Encourage people to take photos and share them with the community. Reward your fans with merch. Ask them intriguing questions. They will comment, react to each other and post their own content. Use this content to drive their engagement. It will strengthen their passion. If they DM you and ask for something reasonable, provide it. Answer their questions in comments. Respect the reciprocity. Don’t forget that it’s about communicating with individuals too. Some of these interactions are invisible on the surface but are crucial to your community.
Community building efforts pay off in the long-term. So keep taking care of your fans.
Promote posts with high organic engagement. Give them a little nudge.
Czech version of the case study Diana talked about is available here.
Petr Michl started off with a quote from Seth Godin: “Content marketing is the only marketing left”. It’s not true. Every type of marketing has a role. Content marketing existed even before the internet. For example, an ad for Listerine looked like an article. And then TV happened and we got TV spots filled with emotions. These are great for creating “top of mind” (brand awareness). When you walk through a supermarket and think about buying a soft drink which particular soft drink does come to your mind? It can increase trustworthiness when George Clooney tells you their coffee tastes good. It associates the brand with a specific lifestyle – happy 30-year-olds with a 10 million dollar houses.
It no longer works. We are overwhelmed with ads. A lot of people are using plugins to block ads (or want to get paid to watch ‘em). Inauthentic and selly ads are red flags for us. People research online and look for explanations before they buy. Content marketing (CM) can answer these questions. CM is useful. CM alone is able to establish “traditions”. Jello became a popular party dessert only after the distribution of free cookbooks. Furthermore, jello shots recipe was published in “How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion” by Jerry Thomas. How does CM work? Magazine, book or booklet is on a table. It’s always there. People casually look at it from time to time. Sometimes they open it up and prepare a dish by following a recipe in it.
Giving a face to your articles (optionally, short author’s bio below an article) is recommended. When they visit your online store offer them a free e-book in exchange for their email address. Usually, this is done with pop-ups. Personally, I hate those. Anyway, you can make it a time-limited offer to provide further incentive. What kind of ebook to offer? Do you sell fridges? Give them “How to choose a fridge” ebook.
Example: Product School offers free books about Product Management.
Do you provide consultation services? Are you a tech company? CM makes you googlable. With it you can build your expertise. It can attract new talented employees when they see your amazing blog with all that knowledge and expertise. “They know a lot, I can learn so much working there.” Moz, SEO software and tools company, is a widely respectable source of SEO knowledge. They blog (author’s face included) and they publish Whiteboard Friday videos. All their activity increased Moz’s value as a brand.
Ready for your CM baby steps? Do you sell software or web app? Create how-to videos for your product. Wanna get inspired? See Canva channel. Popular tools can take advantage of user-generated content (UGC) since random people also publish how-to-use videos. I’m one of them!
Owning platform, forum, or discussion board for an online community is a great way how to gain insight into your target audience. High quality remarketing is possible with these insights. Don’t push your brand there though. Just make it present. Build a healthy community around an interesting topic. Favor niche topics or potentially popular topics nobody talks about. Become a market leader in that specific topic. It worked well for a pool company. Nobody was writing about pool related topics even though buying a pool is a large investment and people want to do research before they decide. Similarly, a store selling tiles for the kitchen decided to publish inspirational articles for how to decorate your home. They even have CTA button right next to the article if you like tiles shown on photos.
CM helps to build loyalty. Red Bull is an energy drink like any other. So why are people willing to spend more? Thanks to brand awareness. Red Bull is sponsoring a lot of events. They provide marketing training for athletes and a dedicated camera crew. Red Bull is no longer an energy drink manufacturer. Red Bull is a content producer. Remember this video?
Car manufacturers use CM in magazines to increase loyalty. Shiny magazines contain articles about beautiful Scandinavia and custom handmade seats. Content which can’t fit into classic advertising. It reminds the customer why they paid so much for their car. See these luxury seats? Several ladies spend hours working on them to make them just perfect. ŠKODA AUTO is using CM to increase positive sentiment. They do a lot of things. One thing, in particular, got my attention – Stay on the Safe Side. It’s a safety campaign for cyclists. It’s promoted especially in countries with high cycling levels (eg. the Netherlands).
What can you do when your products are basically for everyone? Tchibo is writing content for specific personas they were able to come up with. Cleverlance specializes in hiring non-IT people for IT. They publish content such as “How to get into IT”.
Authenticity is a big deal. Maybelline used to advertise with perfect models. It no longer works. It’s too perfect. They were able to bring in authenticity. How? Videos with women of all shapes and colors. Why does it work? Content resonates with its target audience. Similarly, Czech sex shop Ruzovy slon makes authentic product reviews.
Czech beer manufacturer Gambrinus decided to make fools out of people. Their PR stunt reached a couple of million. It might work but it’s risky. In a nutshell, they created a fake small traditional brewery beer and let people taste it. A lot of people were happy with it and said that it’s much better than those large breweries. Suddenly a revelation! It was Gambrinus beer. People were shocked and surprised. They continued with more down to earth campaign by establishing “Tap Guardians”. Going to pubs, checking the beer and talking to bartenders how to improve. Yeah and providing a map of pubs too. The brand sentiment was gradually improving and sales too. Showing effort and care for customers is better than “screaming” ads. Why? People are more cautious with regular ads.
There are so many vendors of exercise/resistance bands. So much competition? How to break through? One vendor started live streaming to show how to exercise with bands. In the end, they make more from subscription service offering live professional training sessions than from bands. Content marketing enabled them to shift their business and grow it.
Is content marketing just videos, articles and podcasts? Nope. Even apps can provide content. Just take a look at Johnson & Johnson app Donate a Photo.
Think about market adoption. Do people understand your products or services? When Zonky, Czech P2P lending platform, was starting out they needed to educate people first. Their magazine ZonkyTimes serves as a channel for promoting stories of entrepreneurs who borrowed from Zonky and started their own business. At the end of their articles you often find CTA and a calculator. They offer e-books too.
Approaching existing content creators and cooperating with them is an option. Their content should be aligned with what you do. For example, Adam Gebrian is an architect. He makes videos about architecture. He might talk about a fancy-looking apartment and at the end show how much does it cost, including mortgage calculator from Hypotecni banka (mortgage bank). Viewers are surprised about the monthly price (“Not as expensive as I thought”) and that they can also have a similar fancy apartment.
Content marketing can serve as a solution to problems. A mortgage is a big commitment. People don’t like mortgages. With inspiration articles about homes and living one bank was able to change the sentiment and even influence customer behavior. People started reporting their financial problems earlier. Bank doesn’t want its customers to go bankrupt and suddenly stop paying. They want to adjust their plan if needed and keep ‘em paying.
Some CEOs think content marketing is a platform for them to talk about anything they want. CM is not for CEO. It should be for the customers and they are rarely interested in the same content as CEO.
A keyword analysis is a foundation for search engine optimization. SEO brings you a better organic rank in search results and insights into TA. This, in turn, brings new content opportunities. For example, people are ashamed of their debts. They don’t even tell their partners. What do they do? They search online for help. Abivia is a Czech company helping people to deal with their debts. They prepared content marketing based on what are people looking for.
You can’t compete with mass media and big internet portals. Instead, focus on particular community (this further helps you with TA insight, to get feedback, beta testers, etc).
Content marketing can help you in B2B by doing B2C CM. How? Vendors didn’t know “Vim co jim”, Czech company focused on nutrition and healthy lifestyle. Vendors had no need to put Vim co jim logo on their products. However, with B2C CM in a form of a blog Vim co jim was able to increase brand recognition from 8% to 45% in 3 years. What’s the blog about? Advice on weight loss and nutrition, recipes and lifestyle for consumers.
What brings success when building a community? Regularity, consistency and expertise. Articles with sources or made directly in cooperation with experts. Experts providing advice to fans.
How to choose the right community? The Pareto principle it! Which 20% of your customers represent most of your sales? Who are your biggest fans (most enthusiast)? Who is interested in the unique content you can offer?
Check out Volvo Trucks videos. They have amazing “wow” videos for a general audience. People who don’t care about trucks are only interested in only these kinds of videos. However, Volvo also publishes Driver Life/World for a more expert audience. They keep in touch with their audience.
Hero, Hub, Help framework can help with that. Hero is for top campaigns like Epic Split by Volvo. Hub is regular content for followers. Help covers “how to” queries and FAQ. ŠKODA AUTO is a good example. They have “hype” videos to catch the attention of anyone, then they have videos for car enthusiasts and also help content.
Split budget in two halves. First half is for content production (copy, photos, etc). The second half is for content promotion.
Influencers provide trust. And they promote your content through different channels (mass media might get involved too).
Have KPIs and solutions in case you don’t reach your goals. Focus on overlap with the real life (if possible) by tracking promo codes, no. of registrations for a test ride, etc. At least, measure basic metrics (pageviews, bounce rate, time on page, etc). Measure and adjust your content.
CM takes time. Be patient!
Petr Pouchly talked about the harsh reality of marketing in business to business. Marketing makes sense only when it’s profitable. People working in the procurement department won’t be fooled. They’ll carefully analyze your offering before they decide to invest. It’s not like in B2C when people lie to themselves again and again until they convince themselves they made the right choice. That unnecessary thing we purchased, honey? We totally need it, sweetheart. Not in B2B. If they screw up, they might lose their bonus or be fired. Their boss might yell at them.
Being authentic and doing the same thing you say is vital. If you get caught lying, that’s it. You’re done. Your company is finished. A bad reputation spreads like wildfire.
When selling a B2B product, you need to know everything about it. You need to have a deep insight into how is your TA using the product. Wanna sell Rolls-Royce? Take it for a ride. However, you can’t be driving since your target audience has its own driver. You need to sit in the back. This is the only way to really learn about your TA.
The strategy is heavily influenced by sales. Market analysis or at least having subject matter expert is needed. You must know how the market looks like, including the competition and what’s your positioning. Chart it out. Even though it’s all hype nowadays, decision makers and procurement people aren’t on Instagram. Yet.
The brand is so important in B2C. However, in B2B they only care how much does it cost and what does it mean for the company to work with you. What kind of impression does working with you give their partners and customers?
Don’t let clients run the show. As a marketing specialist, you are an expert. Don’t waste time on meaningless decisions like in which corner of the banner should they put their logo. They need to trust you and put faith in your expertise.
So what do you need in your communication to flourish? Quality, expertise, responsivity and segmentation.
Have a quality product. Duh.
Thought leadership is a great way to broadcast your expertise. Make-up your own concept and become a market leader. Or seize an existing one. This expertise can be used as a hook to get your foot in the door. Another way to do this is to quote other experts like Gartner and their studies. Publish your own magazine. This is a great way to become “top of the head” in a specific field. Make sure your company has a face. What do I mean? Pick someone to represent it. It works well to have a company “mascot”. They might have their own blog too. Or be active on social media. Think Tesla and Elon Musk. It’s great when there is a fit between the TA and the way company’s face speaks. Elon Musk resonates with nerds. Who buys Tesla? Geeky rich people.
Customers must be able to reach you. Be responsive. They must feel they are cared for. That’s what’s responsivity about. Using automatization is okay but don’t let your customers suffer. They might need a real human to interact with.
Segmentation is about priorities. Where to invest your effort and money? Where is the potential? Ask yourself: Who gives us money? Who should you invite for an event? Events are great for collecting leads, gaining insights and for making those sweet deals (that’s what parties are for). So don’t forget about event management. Furthermore, in B2B you need someone who has established relationships with media/journalists.
Customer behavior differs in B2C from B2B. Consumers act like a herd. In B2B it’s much more about individuals and their way of thinking. Study behavior psychology.
Understand that in the B2B marketing department frequently plays a support role for sales. Marketing provides collateral and organizes events. Before jumping onboard to work at the marketing department ask what’s their strategy. Are they sales support?
Do you wanna expand internationally? In B2B you need somebody to go to meetings and shake hands. Doing business just online won’t work internationally. Furthermore, different cultures are used to a different way of doing business. Learn about other cultures or get someone local to work for you.
Filip works at Kytary.cz, musical instruments store (kytary is a Czech word for guitars). Organic reach on Facebook has dropped. Look at marketing activities from the point of view of potential employees as well as the current one. These activities might increase their loyalty. Media and journalists like events for charity like auctions. Some marketing/business activities won’t make much profit but might work as an attention grabber. Learn from the best. What does it mean? Politicians and tabloids. Don’t be afraid of fu*k ups. Kytary’s cooperation with an artist who made unplayable guitars and they placed it in a store among regular guitars. People were confused. Participating in air guitar championship was worth it. Media wrote about that. Why wouldn’t they? It’s nuts!
How do Kytary.cz approach content marketing strategy? Content marketing strategy requires to figure out the target audience, be aware of seasonality & trends, have a content plan, select communication channels. Measure views, visits and engagement. Measuring attribution is hard for content. It’s much easier with PPCs. CM works more long-term.
Prepare media plan. They have a Google Sheet with a table for each month. Each musical instrument vendor has its row and each channel (eg. newsletter, banner, FB, IG) is one column. This way they keep track which vendors they promote, when and through which channels.
What do you need to communicate as a brand? Two things.
Figure out your positioning. Are you speaking to experts or beginners? Are you formal or informal? Brand guidelines or brand manual might be a way to go. Set your tone of voice.
The second thing is being consistent. Feel free to segment your content for different audiences. For example, prepare both “How to choose your first guitar” article for beginners and “Limited European PRS Maple Ltd Custom 24 SE” for experts.
Kytary.cz offer a large variety of products. People are often overwhelmed. They came up with a shopping guide for each category of products. How to do that? Frequently asked questions support has to deal with are an amazing opportunity for CM. Go straight to the point and provide top advice at the beginning of your shopping guide. At the end of the guide reassure people they’re making the right choice. Offering accessories, video tutorials and other options is a plus.
Give people an opportunity to create content for you (in gamedev we call it UGC = user-generated content). Let them write reviews. Find crazy people and let them create.
It’s advantageous to own media or user forums. This way you can occupy more search engine results. It’s free advertising space. How to attract traffic? Publish articles like Ten reasons for sleeping with a bass guitar player. Sex sells. Or rather drives traffic. It’s about providing emotional content. Posting quotes from famous musicians on their birthday is one way to do it.
Facebook doesn’t work for selling stuff directly. Same with Instagram. Use it to entertain people with silly banner ads. Weird products attract attention. Social networks are a great place for feedback. Be fast and defuse hateful comments. Give a chance to your colleagues to create videos. Post them on Youtube. This can work wonders for your prospective employees too. Make sure to put some effort into offline as well. Organize events just for your brand.
It’s not easy. Humor is different. Public holidays are different. Localization is hard. Sometimes the official language for a particular country is not enough. Sometimes you need dialects too. Shopping behavior is different in each country. What works in one country might not work elsewhere.
Alright folks, see you next time!