Archive for ‘content marketing’:


3 Measurement Gaps in Content Marketing – and How to Fill Them

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Three Gaps in Content Marketing Measurement and how to fill them Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Public Relations PR Media Monitoring Media Measurement News Clipping Press Clipping

flickr user Pawel Loj under CC BY license

When 90 percent of surveyed marketers say they’re uncertain that their key metrics are effective in measuring business results, you know you’ve got a measurement gap.

That startling statistic came earlier this week when Contently released its State of Content Marketing survey, which sampled 302 marketers split evenly across B2B and B2C businesses. Though social media metrics and measurement are hot topics in marketing and public relations communities, it seems the boots on the measurement ground aren’t sure what to do.

While that headlining stat does suggest a large swath of uncertain marketers (albeit in a pretty small sample), there were other statistics toward the bottom of the report that were far more telling:

Marketers are choosing the wrong metrics for their goals

The report showed that only 11 percent of marketers stated ad monetization as a goal for their content. Yet 69 percent of them measure the success of their content by pageviews, a metric which – the study points out – is primarily used for buying or selling ads.

That means that many of the more than 72 percent of marketers who identified brand awareness as the goal of their content are measuring that goal with the wrong metric. There is a world outside of the pageview. But multiple metrics does not cohesive measurement make – it doesn’t matter how many metrics you’ve got if you don’t have the right metrics.

Shares are overvalued

Luckily, many (65 percent of respondents) of the marketers who measure pageviews also measure for shares and likes. Unfortunately, a quick look at the next page in the report shows that shares and likes may not mean that much after all, since research from Chartbeat shows that there is zero correlation between reading an article and sharing it.

Lack of awareness

Nearly 50 percent of marketers said they wished they could measure how much real attention people are paying to their content, even though simple analytics like bounce rate or time spent on a page (which only 45 percent of respondents measure) are great basic indicators. Not to mention that how much attention people pay to content is exactly the type of thing Chartbeat measures.

How to fix it

Measurement is not easy, and the reason many of these simplistic, sometimes irrelevant metrics persist in measurement programs is because they are free and easy to obtain. Unfortunately, they’re just not effective measures of everything.

We need to start thinking of measurement as a spectrum of interactions instead of a slice of numbers. That’s why the debut of AMEC’s new Social Media Measurement Framework User Guide is so important; it looks at the stages of the marketing funnel over different channels and encourages users to think critically about their objectives, channels, and resources as it relates to their content and marketing process.

The difficulty of tracking measurement and conversations is why marketers and PR pros also need social listening programs to ensure they don’t just count the shares, but listen to what’s being said about their content so they can start tracking tone and sentiment in responses as well as in their media mentions.

Here are some BurrellesLuce resources to get you started on developing your measurement processes:

PR and the P&L

Finding Meaning in Measurement

Navigating the Terrain of Paid, Earned, and Owned Media

The Infographic Guide to Measuring Your Public Relations Efforts

Measuring the Success of Your PR Campaign

Up Your Measurement Game with AMEC’s New Social Media Measurement Guide

How to Build a Brand Using Compelling Content

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

How to Build a Brand Using Compelling Content BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Tressa RobbinsAs public relations and communications professionals, we all create content. Writing is a core competency to this profession, and is frequently discussed with and emphasized to those preparing for a career in PR.  While it’s still true that writing skills are critical, and are no less important than they were, storytelling is now more than just words.

At a recent IABC St. Louis and PRSA St. Louis joint event, Dave Collett, EVP and GM of Weber Shandwick St. Louis, and Chris Vary, VP digital at Weber Shandwick Southwest, offered examples and tips on how to create compelling content that stands out.

The world’s digital content is increasingly findable and sharable. There is a volume explosion occurring in social and digital content!  Using content from an EMC Study called “Extracting Value from Chaos,”  Collett and Vary showed a chart demonstrating the growth—about nine times what it was five years ago. In 2011, that was 1.8 zettabytes (new word for me—one zettabyte is approximately one billion terabytes, which in bytes is a one followed by 21 zeros).  The study also estimates that by 2015, there will be 7.9 zettabytes of data in existence.  These numbers are more than staggering, they’re overwhelming! With the amounts of content filling up cyberspace, your content must be as compelling as ever.

What makes content contagious?  According to Vary and Collett, you should ask yourself why would people care, and why would people share? The answers should be that the content is:

  • Educational, but in a different way
  • Entertaining
  • Emotionally Engaging

They offered up several examples of wildly popular campaigns. Red Bull’s Stratos –  Felix Baumgartner’s supersonic freefall from 128,000 feet – which broke all kinds of records (and not just the physical ones). This demonstrates Red Bull’s success with promoting a lifestyle, not just a product.

You don’t have to have those kinds of numbers for your campaign to be a success. Vary and Collett presented another example–Stratasys, a company that makes 3D printers. They “printed” a robotic exoskeleton for a little girl who couldn’t raise her arms. She dubbed them her “magic arms.” There was lots of media coverage and I dare you to watch the YouTube video and not get a little misty-eyed. (Note if you’re in a hurry, after the first two minutes, jump to 2:55 for the rest.) This is an emotionally engaging example of focusing on the human side and the product’s effect of on people.

Content doesn’t always have to be serious. Content doesn’t have to be expensive, either.  It can even be irreverent—depending, of course, on your industry and organization’s business mission. Just take a look at DollarShaveClub.com’s brotastic and amusing  “Our Blades are F***ing Great” campaign.

Vary and Collett stressed that while these are all YouTube examples, and video is a great platform, compelling content doesn’t have to be video.  Mappings have been trending in the past year or so. Haven’t we all done the New York Times Online questionnaire that asks you questions about your vernacular and then predicts where you live or are from? Facebook offered up its own version of mapping with the NFL team allegiance charts. You can create features like this yourself by using the Facebook graph search, using U.S. census data, or another data source—the key is to package it in a compelling manner.

The bottom line is, it’s not just about awareness anymore. PR now creates awareness and engagement—actions, enrollments, sales, whatever—to support the overall business objectives of the organization.  What are some of the most compelling pieces of content you’ve seen recently, and what aspects have you applied to your own content? How do you continue to create compelling content, and where do you find your inspiration?

Best Practices for Ethical Native Advertising

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Best Practices Ethical Native Advertising Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasNative advertising has been enjoying considerable resurgence the past year, due in no small part to its potential to be mutually beneficial to advertisers and publications. Traditional sources like The New York Times are embracing native advertising as part of their strategy, with “high hopes” for its payoff. They follow online sites like Buzzfeed, Mashable, and The Huffington Post, all of which have already been using their editorial and production departments to generate sponsored content.

Native advertising is becoming more main stream, but that’s not the end of the conversation. Native advertising occupies such a gray area that the Federal Trade Commission titled a conference about native advertising after Robin Thicke’s popular but unfortunately misogynistic song “Blurred Lines.” Advertorial-wise, these out-of-focus lines arise when paid content resembles editorial content.

Why does this matter to PR pros? One of the appeals of native advertising is the chance to catch the attention of and appeal to a certain audience segment and receive instant feedback to reader reactions. In its worst cases, native advertising is a bait-and-switch routine; in its best, it’s an informative, useful item that also happens to be paid for.  Enter the FTC, which hopes that not only will there be a clear demarcation between editorial content and native advertising, but that the advertisers and marketers will self-regulate.

There’s nothing unethical about native advertising, as long as it’s clear to the reader that it’s sponsored. Of course, defining “clear” is a murky process, but we’re not here to define any guidelines; we’re here to look at ethics and best practices that PR pros can employ for native advertising. And many marketing or advertising pros aren’t so keen on labeling their advertisement, fearing that it undermines the purpose of the advertorial in the first place. But this fear may be misplaced, as some preliminary research shows that a third of consumers don’t care if content is an advertisement or editorial, and that many would be more likely to select an item if they knew it was an ad.

Being an ethical PR practitioner means that you don’t want to compromise a journalist’s ethics, either. And since one of the tenets of ethical journalism, according to the Society of Professional Journalists (SJP), is to “Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two,” the best way to start is with transparency instead of worrying about labeling the ad. This includes not only a label stating that it’s sponsored, but also physical demarcation such as borders and a different font. The FTC stressed, however, working towards such transparency should be a joint responsibility of publication and marketer.

During the FTC workshop, advertising widgets such as Outbrain or Tabula were a popular topic, however FTC staff pointed them out as specific examples of native advertising which were difficult to distinguish form editorial content.

The lack of hard and fast rules means that communication between PR/marketing/advertising and the publication is absolutely necessary. One way to do this is to work with outlets like Buzzfeed, which creates branded content in tandem with sponsors. It’s up to the outlet to ensure that in creating both editorial and advertorial content that journalism ethics are upheld.

An excellent resource to help ensure native advertising meets existing regulations is the FTC’s .com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising, and make sure to check it for periodic updates.

How do you work with ethical issues in native advertising? Will the FTC’s findings impact content marketing pieces picked up by another outlet, and what implications would there be?

Five Tips for a Strong Start in 2014

Friday, December 27th, 2013

Five Tips for a Strong Start to 2014 - Goals and resolutions - Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasNow that 2013 has almost ended, it’s time to kick your professional resolutions into high gear. We don’t know what will come in 2014 but today we share a few goals that will keep you ahead of the pack. (For some personal goals that pack a big professional impact, check out this month’s newsletter.)

Find and tell your corporate story: One of the hottest PR topics this year has been content marketing, and that’s not expected to change in 2014. Effective content marketing requires a savvy strategy, and part of executing that strategy is telling your corporate story. Not only should all content reflect your organization’s brand values and voice, but it should also have universal appeal that also supports business growth.

How do you find your corporation’s story? It’s not really about the organization itself, it’s about using a certain platform to relate to your audience. Use resources to dig a bit deeper into the company’s history, its mission statement, and its values. Use those values and stories as pivot points to engage with your community and spread ideals and positive, consistent messaging.

Say “No” to GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out. Your end product is inherently tied to what you put into the project, especially your time, your energy, your content. GIGO isn’t a solution; it’s usually a last resort or a byproduct of time or money spread too thin. GIGO comes with a lot of pitfalls, like incomplete data, misleading results, poor performance, unmet goals, and having to go back and fix or re-do work you’ve already done. Assessing where your GIGO is and deciding how to fix it can be a huge upfront investment of time and resources, but it ultimately pays off in greater, long-lasting rewards. We’ll be talking a lot more about getting rid of GIGO in 2014, but for now check out this newsletter and our Seussian poem on GIGO.

Keep your goals SMART: Setting SMART goals keeps you focused and give you direction, as well as ensuring that the goal you’re setting is both measurable and achievable. SMART goals must be: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. So no matter what you’re plotting – content market strategy, sales goals, or social media tactics – remember that SMART goals are achievable goals.

Keep your social media consistent: We know that in a digital, instantaneous world, updating consistently and often is paramount to staying relevant. But it’s also important to keep your organization’s digital voice consistent to maximize your brand’s impact and recognition. If more than one person runs or has access to your organization’s social media accounts, bring them together for an early 2014 meeting to refine the corporate voice and get everyone on the same page.

Similarly, ensure that someone’s consistently monitoring those social media accounts to check for comments or mentions and respond to any questions, shout-outs, or complaints. Users expect a response from a brand within an hour, especially if it’s regarding a complaint, so stay connected, and don’t forget to engage, even with a simple “Thanks for the RT.”

Think about SEO in a whole new way: SEO isn’t about keywords anymore, it’s all about semantics. Google’s Hummingbird update is changing the way the search engine displays search results. Now, it’s about content quality, not just keyword quantity and link building. Build your new SEO strategy along with your content marketing strategy, as the two will now go hand in hand. And don’t neglect Google Plus – while this seems like it should be part of a social media strategy rather than an SEO strategy, Google Plus will become integral in search engine rankings. Check out our post on integrating Google Plus into your SEO strategy for more tips.

For more SEO tips, read our newsletter about SEO strategy and our recently-updated SEO tip sheet with an SEO checklist.