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Keep up to date with the latest content marketing tips and news.

25/Jun/2018
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Brands in the travel and hospitality industry are turning to content marketing to deliver more personalised messages to audiences, according to new research by digital enterprises MailCharts, Liveclicker, SmarterHQ and Cheetah Digital.

The study, titled “Marketers Are on a Mission: The State of B2C Marketing,” takes an in-depth look at the various marketing activities that brands in the travel industry are leveraging to connect and engage with customers. There is currently a laser focus on content, as it allows brands to deliver higher-quality ads and messages compared to “mass marketing” methods, such as email.

Almost three-quarters of millennials are frustrated at the number of “irrelevant” emails they receive each day, so it is perhaps no surprise that brands are looking to use more engaging and innovative forms of communication to appeal to both young and older audiences. In fact, two-thirds of B2C marketers in travel are now aiming to provide personalised messages rather than a one-size-fits-all message.

“While ‘personalization’ has been a buzzword with marketers for years, it’s clear that brands have yet to master tailored messaging; as consumers are growing increasingly frustrated by generic communications that don’t align to their specific tastes, interests, or behaviors,” SmarterHQ CEO Michael Osborne said.

Data has been a headline topic in recent months with the arrival of GDPR, and travel brands are eager to make use of the growing mass of information they collect to serve up better content to people across the web. More than half of the respondents said personalisation was a priority; however critically, the report noted that brands still must get better at using data to support their marketing objectives.

“When it comes to personalization, data is paramount,” Cheetah Digital’s executive vice president for global marketing, Judd Marcello said. “Customer data is typically underused or used inefficiently. It tells brands, especially retailers, so much about where they can improve or what their customers want, and they can use that data to make a big impact on their business.”

There are now a variety of digital touchpoints available for brands to engage with audiences. In fact, almost one-fifth of marketers are planning to spend more to improve their multi-channel content output, with social media and mobile apps among the most popular platforms. Marketers are also investing more in running ads across a variety of channels rather than opting for a single channel approach.

While customers often see email marketing as a nuisance, 54% of the brands surveyed said it still delivers the best return on investment overall. The technology has been in place for some time now, making it a cost-effective and consistent means for getting in touch with customers. Behavioural emails will take centre stage in the future, with 30% of the brands planning to spend more in this area, which again shows the need to make better use of big data and analytics. Around 30% of the brands are also turning to cutting-edge technology, such as artificial intelligence, to improve their marketing methods.


29/Jan/2018
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Snapchat announced the arrival of a new Stories Everywhere feature earlier this week, but the drive to get users to share more content on the platform is unlikely to win over marketers and advertisers, who continue to focus their attention on Facebook and Instagram for targeting buying audiences.

Stories Everywhere is basically Snapchat’s way of connecting with the services users rely on every day. Any user-generated content will soon be able to be posted in emails and text messages, as well as Facebook and Twitter, without having to navigate away from the mobile app. The feature will arrive alongside a complete redesign in the coming weeks and is aimed at keeping more users locked into Snapchat.

However, its usability for brands is limited, and a spokesperson for the image messaging site even admitted the latest changes are consumer-focused and will not appeal to advertisers, as there won’t be any impact on ad units. Snapchat said in a statement that Stories Everywhere would make it easier for users to share their favourite moments with “friends and family outside of Snapchat”.

With that statement being aimed squarely at the general public, it is no surprise that some brands and agencies have confirmed that they will not be investing any more money into content and other experiences on Snapchat in the near future. Deutsch’s Senior Vice President Rachel Mercer said the move felt like a “Hail Mary” effort, as the platform has a diminishing relevance in the social media landscape.

Snapchat revealed that it has 178 million users during its third-quarter earnings report, but that was just a 4.5 million uptick from the previous quarter. Mercer believes advertisers already on the platform may see a small boost in engagement but that it would only be a “short-term gain”.

She added: “The reality is that the sophisticated advertising platform, from a targeting and marketing perspective, leans heavily towards Facebook, Instagram and depending on the context or needs, Pinterest and Google. Generally, Snapchat is most effective for awareness plays, and with diminished user reporting, I don’t know if it’s still applicable.”

Wavemaker Managing Partner Noah Mallin echoed these sentiments and added that social users will be less inclined to migrate to Snapchat now that there is the ability to share stories on other platforms. However, he claimed that may change “down the road” if Snapchat can bring new users to the platform.

T3 Director of Connections Angela Yang also believes that Snapchat’s walled garden was one of the reasons why it has been successful and is seen as a potentially viable alternative to the bigger social hitters. She said one area where it could differentiate itself is via visual content and strengthening its commitment to be a “camera company”.

She added: “For example, I created this amazing video for Snapchat. How much more mileage can I get out of it? It gives brands the opportunity to take pieces of content and get more eyes on it in other platforms. Snapchat’s got to think of new, innovative ways to capture the world around us for this to work.”


01/Apr/2017
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Content marketing has become a crucial tool for businesses wanting to increase their exposure and brand awareness. However, it is far from a quick fix and takes many resources to craft and run a successful campaign. All too often, many of the common mistakes occur, even when seasoned professionals are running advertising. Therefore, it is important to regularly review strategies.

Lack of content promotion 

In this era, it is crucial to promote content. Once upon a time, material could be posted onto a blog and then left to gain attention. No more. Now, even the best content has to be shared if it’s to gain the right attention – even if it’s an exceptional piece of carefully crafted content.

Without promoting posts across a varied range of platforms, there is less chance the right people will see it. Though focussing on SEO can help gain more views, organic reach shouldn’t be relied on. Instead, every single piece of work should be shared on multiple platforms to get as many views as possible. This helps build followers, brand awareness and consumer trust.

Publishing content on the wrong channel

There are many platforms available to content marketing strategists these days, but it’s important to publish the right content in the right place. For example, a blog post might work well as a link on Twitter, but it might not gain attention on Pinterest. Meanwhile, LinkedIn certainly isn’t the right place to share personal or funny GIFs, though these can work well as occasional content posted to FB pages.

Focussing on quantity instead of quality 

It’s unsurprising that marketers want to create a lot of content and publish it regularly to remain visible to their target audience. However, focusing solely on producing a lot of content instead of checking for quality is a huge mistake. Content must be genuinely useful to consumers, of high quality and with added value; there’s no point in producing average content.

Failing to harness the power of Google Analytics

Good Analytics is an extremely powerful tool, yet many content marketers fail to use it properly. It can give insights into which content is performing the best, thereby helping creators make material that is most likely to find appeal with audiences. It can also tell marketers which website pages get the most hits, and how long people spend on a website. This information is invaluable, and should be used as a matter of course.

Not listening to target consumers

To get more views on content, businesses need to know what their customers want. And to understand this, it’s vital to actually listen. There are many tools to help monitor specific keywords across social media platforms, allowing marketers to follow conversations about brands, products or people. It is also important to respond to all social media comments and act swiftly to correct problems; showing people the face behind the brand.

By avoiding the above mistakes, content marketers can help hone their strategies, develop better content, and give campaigns the best chance of success.

 


16/Mar/2017
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If the saying ‘a picture can tell a thousand words’ is true, then the use of video, which is essentially a string of many pictures, should not be overlooked when it comes to content marketing. Each month, around six billion hours of video is watched on YouTube, showing just how popular this medium is. Therefore, it is vital that content marketing strategies realise video’s potential and include it in their campaigns.

Educate instead of entertain

A key aspect of video content is to remember that educating works better than entertaining. There are, of course, those viral videos of bizarre and humorous moments that gain millions of views in a short amount of time. However, this often occurs more by luck than judgement. It is, therefore, essential for marketing firms to focus on educating their customers as a priority, even if this education is wrapped up within a funny video.

Educating consumers is nothing new. For example, McDonald’s used a two-minute video in 2014 as a way to respond to negative rumours about their chicken nuggets. Not only did this help to battle bad press, but improved the brand identity of the fast food chain too.

Social media is important

It may sound obvious, but social media remains extremely important, and a modern firm must have an account on at least one popular platform. However, whilst many companies utilise places like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to share their content, a lot still regard video sharing sites as separate entities. This is not altogether true though, and firms would be wise to realise that uploading videos to platforms like YouTube and Snapchat gives consumers the chance to easily share and engage with content.

In addition, diversifying into more platforms gives companies the chance to reach a larger audience. This grows their social media footprint and can result in a bigger demand for services and products.

Vertical videos are on the rise 

Vertical videos have always been avoided if possible. Consumers are accustomed to television’s horizontal frame, and there’s an ongoing debate about the perceived low quality of vertical videos. With the two black sidebars taking up the screen, vertical videos have, traditionally, been mocked.

However, though this video format is not the best for computers, they can find favour on mobile devices. And with the rise of mobile, it’s not hard to see how video formats might also change. The evolution of video means that content creators may well see the ways in which they create video change too. Vertical videos have a narrower format, and the areas at the top and bottom of the frame become more important as they are key focus points. It also promotes a more personal and in-your-face style.

Utilise video for ongoing success

Video is unlikely to go away and is, in fact, continuing to rise in popularity. Therefore, savvy and forward thinking firms would do well to embrace this form of media and build it into their content marketing strategies with increasing levels..


03/Mar/2017
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Over the past few years, the use of content marketing has grown phenomenally. It continues to evolve at a rapid pace and it is, therefore, essential to stay abreast of the latest changes. However, it is also important to review past months and years to understand how the market has changed.

There are plenty of lessons to be learned from 2016 – the first of which is that content marketing strategists are getting better. In fact, 63 per cent of business to customer (B2C) marketers said they’d been more successful than in 2015. Meanwhile, 62 per cent of business to business (B2B) marketers agreed with these sentiments. With growing success, comes the ability to command larger budgets, and the opportunity to balance tried-and-tested methods with new tactics.

Marketing must be mobile

One clear content marketing message from 2016 is that marketers must cater to a mobile market. Both Google and consumer habits are driving the rising dominance of mobile, and neither can be ignored. Google has prioritised mobile, first with a mobile-friendly update in April. This was followed by a mobile-first index update last October. Whilst many websites are now mobile-friendly, a survey in 2016 suggested that 23 per cent of small businesses have not updated their online homes, meaning that many opportunities could be missed.

Email remains a productive distribution network

Though social networks have risen at an astronomical rate, email remains the best channel for content marketers to distribute their content through. A lot of companies still measure success by how many social media likes and shares they’re getting. However, to get eyeballs on content, email is king.

Trust is crucial

2016 also gave credence to the fact that successful content relies on audience trust. Content marketing works best when it instils trust in readers, engaging with audiences who find the content enjoyable, useful and entertaining. Over time, regular fans come to trust what their favourite brands are saying.

This means that content strategists have to be a trustworthy publisher from the very beginning, catching spelling mistakes, checking facts and never misleading audiences.

Content marketing can utilise user-generated material

Finally, it’s been shown that audiences trust recommendations from their friends and peers. This means that user-generated content has a place in a firm’s content marketing strategy. This can take many forms – from customer advocacy and online reviews – to social shares and unboxing videos. Though this content type can be almost impossible to control, it can reap benefits in terms of engagement and, ultimately, conversions. If organisations want to capitalise on this, audiences should be encouraged to write reviews, take part in contests and share content. This can be done with a call to action with an associated incentive.

Content marketing continues to evolve, and technologies will come and go. However, core interactions and connections with consumers remain the same. Figuring out the best way to maintain these relationships is crucial, and by nurturing audiences using the lessons learned from last year, 2017 can be even more successful.

 


27/Jun/2016
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For content creators and strategists wanting to utilise Twitter to boost engagement, a new analytics solution has been launched. Named ‘Engage’, marketers can utilise the official Twitter tool not only to grow and retain target audiences, but also increase the level of engagement too. Twitter has claimed that the group of Twitter users termed ‘popular creators’ will hugely benefit from the app. It will enable a way to increase business whilst maintaining the social interaction that remains the core purpose of the platform.

News of Twitter’s new tool was made public on the firm’s official blog. The company said that Engage could be used to track post-by-post engagement. This is done by reviewing the content published by a user, including GIFs, tweets, videos and any other activity conducted on the platform. By putting the resulting data to good use, content creators should be able to hone in on the types of content creating the most buzz. They will also be able to talk with more relevance about various posts, whilst continuing the conversation through engagement to boost overall interactions. This could help raise content towards the gold zone of going global and becoming viral.

As part of Engage, users can access a Tweet analytics feature. This makes it easier than ever before to track the engagement on a particular post. As an example, Engage can pull the most important @mentions to the top of the pile for marketers to interact with loyal fans and those with influence. Easily understood statistics, such as Retweets and video views across various periods will also be provided.

Twitter has also made it possible for users to access audience demographics with Engage. It means it’s easier to stay in the conversation and boost long-term engagement levels. The ability to watch a unique real-time feed means that content creators can get a much clearer idea of what their customers and fans are tweeting about, including the how conversations might fluctuate and change over periods of time. Combined with the tools to track and review content, it enables marketers to understand their network better, both in the make up of their audience and how topics, branding and other factors change on a daily basis.

The latest launch of Engage sees Twitter take another step towards providing users with native apps capable of providing in-depth insights and meaningful analytics. It was in 2014 that the firm rolled out its impressions dashboard and, until now, many campaign managers and marketers have had to rely on third-party tools to access valuable insights. Now, the dedicated analytics solution will be the ideal option for celebrity users, popular content creators and high-profile brands.

Engage is already available to creators in the U.S., and can be downloaded from the iOS store. Currently, Twitter has not revealed any plans for extending the solution to other operating systems or regions. However, the company did confirm that although this is only the beginning of the rollout, it hoped to integrate the analytics tool with partner services like Nice and Vine.


28/Apr/2016
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Video is becoming one of the most engaging social tools, with users engaging in the medium far more than written content or static images. As a result, many marketers are on the lookout for new software that has the capability to disseminate video content across multiple channels in a simple and easy way. Now Hootsuite has helped answer that need, integrating video into its one-stop hub to make video management that much easier. It will also give marketers the chance to reach a larger audience with their content.

The rise of social media has been well documented, and as of late, video content has found particular appeal with both marketers and consumers.

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Facebook led the way, introducing a wide variety of new tools and options so that companies can more easily find and target their content in the right direction. Now Hootsuite has revealed they will help social media managers distribute video quickly, offering a video management tool that has access to YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook from a single interface, eradicating the need to repetitively post content on each channel individually.

There will be a variety of innovative features for marketers and social media strategists to utilise. For example, in the same way that other content can be scheduled, users will be able to set up a publication itinerary for videos so they’re automatically released over multiple social channels. Users will also be able to post replies to comments from friends, fans and followers from the Hootsuite application itself. Meanwhile, the company is making adjustments to their analytics tools. This will enable marketers to better analyse and keep an eye on their competitors, as well as industry trends. There will also be the option for brands to utilise the mobile device management of their campaigns so they’re never far away from the action and can remain vigilant at all times.

Ryan Holmes, the chief executive officer of Hootsuite, explained that the new features have been added as a key way for brands to continue evolving their digital strategies. With the upwards trend in video content, the new integration will mean companies can easily distribute video content to as many people as possible. This should enable brands to expand their audience and broaden their overall appeal.

Video content has become so important that Hootsuite will be holding a webinar on the subject on May 3rd. With the focus placed upon having a ‘video-centric mind-set’ for modern social strategies, Hootsuite will cover topics from creating and finding engaging video content, to how companies can correctly market such tools to advertise themselves better.