Posts Tagged ‘content marketing’


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.

Connect Content Marketing to the Bottom Line

Friday, December 20th, 2013
flickr user photosteve101

flickr user photosteve101

by Sharon Miller*

Content marketing is a hot topic in the PR community, but plenty of organizations are still trying to figure it out. Last week, I attended the PRNews Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C. and attended the session “Show & Tell: Examples of Content Marketing That Connects to the Bottom Line.”

The sessions presenters were Doug Simon, president and CEO of D S Simon Productions; Julie Craven, VP of corporate communications at Hormel Foods; and Blair Austin, marketing director at ILMO Products.

Simon began with his five-step process for content marketing and what he calls “PRketing,” which goes far beyond brand journalism. The steps are:

1. Identify the behavior you’re trying to change

2. Identify the people who you’re trying to reach and where they consume content

3. Create content that will effectively change their behavior

4. Place the content where they’ll find, view, and share it

5. Measure, assess, and revise

Simon used the American College of Physicians as an example. The college created an iTunes channel for its members, allowing them to download important news on studies in a digestible, user-friendly format. So they not only identified a new channel in which their members consumed content, but changed the way they delivered information they deemed important for members.

Next, Craven explained that we’re competing against everyone now on social media, and that means our messages must be on target or we won’t get any time with our target consumers. Craven advocates developing a hub-and-spoke model to drive awareness and conversion via branded content. This model requires setting a goal and defining what you’re trying to accomplish, and using content, set in the middle and connecting to every goal, to push toward that goal.

Craven stressed that hub content must be concise, graphically driven, and shareable. And of course, that content must be channel specific to provide utility and drive conversion.

Finally, Austin spoke about how to get attention with little money. She used a case study with ILMO, a medical, industrial, and laboratory gas provider. Their challenge was not only budgetary, but also that their industry doesn’t support marketing. The company’s goal was to generate national media attention with its 100th anniversary, and share that media attention on its existing channels to encourage its core audience and position ILMO as an industry leader in marketing and communications.

So, when the company turned 100 years old, it created an event: The organization gave each of its 100 employees $100 on the 100th day of the year.  They fostered engagement by driving it to social media channels and spread brand awareness all on its small budget.

What content marketing strategies do you use to drive engagement? What new models have you developed to reach your target segment?

*Bio: Sharon Miller has been with BurrellesLuce for 25 years, and is currently the VP of Enterprise Solutions. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and social work from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She did her graduate work at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, and currently resides in Ohio. Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Sharon Miller

Break Through the Content Surplus by Turning Your Brand Into a Media Company

Monday, December 16th, 2013
Michael Brito and Tressa Robbins at Social:IRL event in St. Louis.

Michael Brito and Tressa Robbins at Social:IRL event in St. Louis.

In his new book, Your Brand, The Next Media Company, social business strategist and author Michael Brito discusses the social business transformation that’s taking place (and much more).

I’ve followed Michael (aka @Britopian) and virtually interacted with him for a couple years and but had not met him in real life—that is, until Social:IRL brought him to St. Louis to present “How A Social Business Strategy Can Enable Better Content, Smarter Marketing And Deeper Customer Relationships.”

The book just arrived and I haven’t yet had a chance to read it, but below are just a few snippets from his presentation.

Brito began with the five truths that are shaping today’s digital ecosystem:

  • There is a content and media surplus.
  • There is an attention deficit.
  • The customer journey is dynamic.
  • Consumers have tunnel vision.
  • Everyone is influential (regardless of your Klout, PeerIndex, Kred scores).

To top it off, with all this chaos, business objectives remain constant. This means YOU have to change, and Brito suggests you and your organization start to think and act like a media company.  Change makes sense, but why a media company? What is a media company anyway?

According to Brito, your brand must adopt these five characteristics if you want to break through the clutter.

  • Storytelling: Media companies tell stories. Traditional news organizations also tell stories but theirs are typically recent and breaking news. Your brand as a media company will have to decide what story you want to tell and how you want to tell it.
  • Content: Media companies are content machines with an “always on” mentality.
  • Relevance: Media companies provide content that is relevant to those who are seeking information at a very specific moment in time.
  • Ubiquity: Media companies are omnipresent. They dominate search engine results and their content is shared daily across various social channels.
  • Agility: Media companies are nimble and able to move quickly. They have writers on-hand ready to produce content on any topic at any time, as well as creative teams capable of producing visual content on-demand. They are not captives to brand team or legal counsel approvals.

Brito goes beyond the “why” and details the “how to:”

  • Build a team.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities.
  • Define your brand narrative.
  • Create channel strategy.
  • Establish the content supply chain.
  • Build real-time capabilities.
  • Integrate converged media models.
  • Invest in the right technology.

He discussed his definition of a social business strategy, the pillars of the social business transformation, using social business framework to enable positive outcomes, and more.  I have several pages of notes from his presentation and will provide some additional takeaways in my next post but a couple of blog posts cannot summarize 247 pages of integrated marketing brilliance as well as multiple case studies from brand leaders worldwide!

Do you agree that brands must become, or are already transforming into, media companies? Is your brand (or client) moving in this direction?

How to Engage Journalists and Influencers on Social Media

Friday, December 13th, 2013

flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

flickr user Rosaura Ochoa

by Alfred Cox*

Yesterday I attended the PRNews Media Relations Next Practices Conference in Washington, D.C., at which BurrellesLuce was also a sponsor. Some of the most persistent questions in media relations center on reaching out to journalists in the most efficient and effective manner.  I attended the session “Find and Engage With the Right Journalists and Influencers on Social Media,” which addressed these issues and more.

The sessions guest speakers were Kathy Grannis, senior director of media relations at National Retail Federation; David Ringer, director of media relations at National Audubon Society; and David Wescott, director of digital strategy at APCO Worldwide.

Grannis started out with her suggestions, and emphasized the importance of building relationships with journalists and influencers; she recommended keeping in touch through Twitter, to reach out and congratulate a journalist when they move organizations and positions. Such communication not only sustains a relationship but helps you stay on top-of-mind. Of course, communicating is key, but Grannis stressed that learning how to communicate correctly requires full-time dedication.

When it comes to relevant conversations on social platforms, Grannis recommends contributing transparently, positioning your brand as an expert on the subject matter. But Twitter is also about more than your message; Grannis point out you should be using Twitter to keep up with your competitors and what they’re tweeting, as well as what they’re publishing on other social media sites.

Finally, she advocated blogging. Content marketing has become integral to marketing, PR, and media relations strategies, but Grannis also pointed out that blogs are a tremendous source for getting your statement out there, and even stated getting your message out in your blog is just as important as getting your statement in The New York Times.

Ringer offered his insights next, and pointed out that too much email is boring. He said that Twitter is the best tool to interact with journalists, and that it’s important to find and engage with the right journalists and influencers on social media platforms. He strongly suggested following new journalists right away, and thinking of Twitter not as your personal account, but as your new Rolodex. The list-making function is a great organizational tool to make that happen.

Ringer suggested that once you’ve selected those key journalists and influencers, you should care about what they care about, even their more personal tweets, and interacting with those more personal tweets, and retweeting their tweets, helps build a relationship. But he also pointed out that everyone likes a name check on Twitter, so be sure to credit people for their work by @ing them.  And don’t limit yourself to interacting with well-known, established media figures; befriend those bright new media stars, too.

Wescott followed with his observations, saying that Twitter is the best tool for PR people, and that they must have a presence. Something else that enhances your presence is having Twitter public conversations as well as private conversations, which also helps build relationships that will get new business.

Wescott advised that Twitter and blogging are excellent tools for presenting yourself as a thought leader and a bridge builder between PR pros. He also advocated for citing sources with @s, as well as using hashtags for context and engagement. Wescott recommended finding journalists not just on Twitter, but also on sites like LinkedIn and Muck Rack.

What other social media strategies do you have for engaging journalists and influencers?

***

Bio: Alfred Cox is a rare commodity of a performer who combines a relentless drive to succeed with the ability to provide “first-person” touch to his clients, creating loyalty and repeat business. He has a hard-nosed work ethic in a results- driven environment and he is often called the “Network King.” Alfred has been in the PR industry for the past 18+ years and joined the BurrellesLuce team in 2011. Connect with him on Twitter: @shantikcox Facebook: BurrellesLuce LinkedIn: Alfred Cox

Integrating Google Plus Into Your Social Media and SEO Strategy

Friday, December 6th, 2013
Flickr user Frau Holle

Flickr user Frau Holle

With the introduction of Hummingbird, Google’s latest semantic search algorithm, and the changing landscape of SEO and content marketing, Google Plus has become crucial to SEO success. Here are the hows and whys of integrating Google Plus into your content marketing and SEO strategies.

How Google Plus and SEO correlate

That Google Plus is a Google product is not the only reason it helps pages rank highly in Google’s search results; it’s also because Google Plus is “the unification of all of Google’s services, with a common social layer,” explained Vic Gundotra, senior vice president of engineering at Google.

Optimize your Google Plus profile

The first step –after setting up a Google Plus account, of course – is to optimize your profile. Your meta description is what shows up in search results, and it’s only the first 160 characters of your organization’s name, tagline, location, and then the description. That’s not much space for a lot of information, and all that information should contain keywords targeted to what you do.

Put your most important keywords as close to the beginning as possible to ensure they show up in search results.

Fill up the links section

Completing the links section of your profile is absolutely necessary, and there are three sections for links. The first is “Other Profiles,” which should feature no-follow links to your other social media accounts. The “Contributor to” section is necessary for completing Google Authorship, so provide no-follow links to the blog you contribute to (this would be your company blog and any other industry blogs your company contributes to). Finally, provide do-follow links in the “Links” section, which should link to your organization’s blog, homepage, and any other company resources.

Set up Google Authorship

If you’re a regular contributor to online content anywhere, using Google Authorship can help boost your search rankings. Google Authorship verifies the identity of the author, and identity verification may be important in future Google algorithms. Establishing Authorship doesn’t just benefit individual authors or influencers; by encouraging regular, or even occasional, contributors to your company blog to set up Google Authorship linking to the company content, you raise your organization’s profile and the profile of those who work at your organization. Check out a complete guide to Google Authorship to get set up.

Post on Google Plus

Once you’ve set up your profile, make sure to create and share posts on Google Plus. Unlike tweets and Facebook posts, Google Plus posts are crawled and indexed. Plus, posting increases your chances of having that post shared. You don’t need to pursue +1’s per se, as +1’s don’t increase your search ranking, but by getting +1’s, it means your post is probably getting shared and linked to, establishing your credibility and increasing links back to you.

What’s your Google Plus strategy? Have you found that using Google Plus has enhanced your SEO and/or search engine rankings?