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

03/Oct/2019
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Editorial content can play a key role in inspiring luxury shoppers and guiding their purchase decisions, according to a new independent study by Attraqt that suggests that brands in fashion and retail are not doing enough to influence customers at various stages of the purchasing cycle.

The study of 3,000 shoppers in the UK, the UAE and France aimed to highlight behaviour expectations and frustrations and the factors that lead to a purchase being made.

It also looks at the rising number of digital channels and how they can be used to support a consumer’s buying journey.

Physical stores were the traditional starting point for retail shoppers, and while 40% say that they still visit stores to peruse new products, the same number are now using smartphones, retailer websites and brand apps to discover new trends and offers and make purchases.

Attraqt’s director of customer experience Jon Stephens says that the journey for luxury shoppers is currently evolving rapidly and change is being driven by younger consumers.

The report predicts that Millennials and Gen Z will account for half of the luxury goods sector by the middle of the next decade.

In order to keep up with the evolution, the report suggests that brands need to look beyond digital channels merely being a source of inspiration and use them instead to deliver “more immersive, personal and frictionless” experiences.

Luxury shoppers regard finding new products with ease as the single most important factor in their shopping experience, while discovering new trends, personalised recommendations and advice from stylists were also ranked highly.

Every one of these ‘essentials’ can be demonstrated via high-quality content marketing campaigns, either through interactive ‘shoppable’ videos, which allow viewers to click on items of clothing to discover more information, or blogs highlighting new trends.

One in 10 say that bloggers are their single biggest ‘influencer’, while 26% say that a brand’s online content is very influential in the decisions they make about luxury purchases.

More specifically, when shoppers don’t know what to buy, 34% say that product recommendations can push them in the right direction and 26% say that editorial and featured stories can be helpful.

Social media site Instagram is also a notable influence on purchases.

“The importance of orchestrating a luxury shopping journey fit for the digital era – connecting the customer with relevant products and creating a series of ‘wow’ experiences to nurture a customer to a sale – has never been more important,” adds Stephens, who says that a failure to serve needs in micro-moments can lead to lost sales.

“In the luxury market this means removing the data silos in their organisation to ensure they influence every touchpoint – from the curated editorial content to the search and navigation process right through to the packaging of the delivery and re-engagement.”

The need to optimise digital platforms and channels is brought into sharp focus by the fact that 65% of Gen Z and Millennials now start their respective journeys online, and this age group will be responsible for the lion’s share of purchases by 2025.


19/Aug/2019
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Paid search will “probably decline” during the final months of 2019, according to a new study by audience intelligence platform SparkToro that found the number of zero-click searches on Google soared to an all-time high in June.

The latest report found just 4.42% of searches ending with a paid search click. That number was dwarfed by the 45.25% of searches that result in an organic click and the 50.33% of searches leading to no discernible action by the end-user, more commonly known as zero-click searches.

SparkToro founder Rand Fishkin says zero-click searches have been tracking steadily higher for a while now and that the upward trend is unlikely to plateau or reverse soon. He believes that brands must factor this new behaviour into their SEO and content campaigns to achieve sustainable success moving forward.

Fishkin expects paid search click-through rates, which now take up just a small portion of overall activity, to drop off even further before 2020 and zero-click searches to grow even further. Zero-click searches are more prevalent on smartphones and other mobile devices and have increased steadily from 43.9% during the last three years.

“I think paid search CTR will probably decline over the next few months,” Fishkin said. “That’s because historically, each time Google changes how paid ads appear in the search results (like the late May shift to the black ‘Ad’ labels in mobile SERPs), ad CTR rises, then slowly declines as more searchers get familiar with the ad format and develop ad blindness.”

Google’s parent company Alphabet continues to be the dominant force in the search environment, as its properties now account for 94% of all searches made in the US. Fishkin believes this is now essentially a “monopoly”, and while zero-click searches are on the rise, Google has been able to deliver a regular stream of searchers to Alphabet-owned properties.

The predicted slump for paid ads means that organic content and SEO will take on even greater importance according to Fishkin, though he admits Google will be looking to new methods to prompt more searches to interact with ads in the coming months. He also believes that zero-click searches are an opportunity for marketers to advertisers to do something new to drive awareness and exposure.

Fishkin concludes: “Rich information appearing in Google’s results may be, like billboard ads or press mentions, harder to track than website traffic, but it’s still exposing your brand name to an audience, building familiarity, and sharing information. In my opinion, the brands that find ways to benefit from that type of SERP exposure, even without a click, will be the ones who win at this new form of on-SERP SEO.”

The rise of zero-click searches may be worrying for brands initially, as they may find it more challenging to push consumers along a traditional sales cycle of awareness and discovery to intent and purchase. The loss of traffic also means fewer marketing opportunities and a greater challenge to retain and develop audiences. However, the strength of organic clicks suggests the power of search is not waning.


15/Apr/2019
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Pharmaceutical brands need to do more to create and distribute “relevant and meaningful” content, according to a new report released last Thursday by Gartnerthat highlights the importance of improving digital strategies in the sector.

The first Gartner L2 Digital IQ Index: Pharmaceutical Rx U.S. study found that most brands in the pharmaceutical industry have not been able to pivot from a brand-centric approach to one that puts the patient at the heart of the experience and messages. Gartner noted that today’s consumers are both sceptical and savvy and that brands must, in turn, go to extra lengths to ensure that their needs are being met.

Gartner ranked 88 pharmaceutical brands in the US based on their performance in digital endeavours, and it did so by analysing more than a thousand data points across “critical dimensions”, such as social media, content marketing and site functionality. The primary takeaway is that while digital marketing efforts are meeting an adequate standard, much more can still be done.

Three-quarters of the brands were able to achieve a rank of “average” or better according to Gartner, which said the performance was impressive in part due to the “unprecedented” levels of regulation and scrutiny in the sector that can often hamper marketing campaigns.

The importance of serving up better content was highlighted by the fact that two-thirds of consumers say they use credible information that they have read or viewed to improve their own decision-making processes. Gartner said that many brand websites are still “content-poor” and that just half have up-to-date conversation guides or patient stories.

“It’s not enough to have average digital capabilities these days – pharmaceutical brands must ensure that their content is present, relevant and meaningful enough to take action on,” Gartner’s sector lead, Chris Beland, said.

He added: “Pharmaceutical brands in the U.S. face unprecedented levels of scrutiny and regulation, including strict limitations that have a profound impact on how they market to consumers. Despite these difficulties, consumers continue to look to brands’ digital channels for credible information and guidance.”

Paid search is also a key battleground for pharmaceuticals, as 68% say they regularly engage in competitive keyword bidding. Gartner noted that brands that focus their budgets on category search terms usually drive better return on investment but said these efforts must also be supported by more organic strategies.

This theory is strengthened by data in the study showing brands with effective social, mobile and email content efforts can deliver a larger portion of website traffic and general performance. Going mobile is crucial, as 83% of all traffic is now centred on mobile sites. Gartner also urged brands to incorporate prominent calls to action in content to generate better ROI.

Only three of the 88 brands analysed came away with a “genius” rating. These were Repatha, FASENRA and Humira. A further 28 are classified as “gifted”, while 37 are “average”. At the other end of the spectrum, 11 pharmaceutical brands received a “feeble” ranking.


24/Sep/2018
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According to a new study published by B2B research enterprise Clutch, brands that produce business content with added value will benefit from a snowball effect of enhanced awareness, engagement and retention. The study also outlines a range of interesting trends and information for marketers.

The good news is that content marketing appears to be working as intended. Almost nine in ten of those surveyed said they had completed the purchase of a brand’s product or service after consuming content online, while more two-thirds believe the articles, blogs, videos and infographics they consume are either useful and valuable in some way.

Content marketing can trigger positive actions from consumers in a variety of ways. For example, more than half said they would take the time to research what a brand offers if they deem a piece of content to be engaging and offering added value. The report notes that giving “value first” is a preferable strategy, as it will feed into awareness, search intent and sales further down the line.

While 33% said that the content they consume is often “biased and unreliable,” these materials would not put them off from purchasing a product entirely. On the contrary, almost three-quarters of people said they had bought goods or services from a brand despite their concerns about the quality of content marketing.

Content that is transparent and unique will drive engagement and sales in the best way for brands, but the results suggest less reliable promotional resources may also have a place in the marketing mix. However, marketers need to approach with caution, as it is difficult to get right.

“I think audiences can find content marketing biased and unreliable if the content is, in fact, biased and unreliable; audiences aren’t stupid,” said Arron Richmond, a content manager for High Speed Training. “This is a gigantic missed opportunity because the one thing content marketing should aim to achieve, above all else, is increasing a customer’s confidence to buy from you.”

Targeting value is still the best method for serving up content that audiences want to engage with, and Clutch believes there are three primary factors involved. The first is to produce content tailored to the specific preferences and issues of an audience, using keyword research and customer outreach to underscore topics that will resonate.

Brands should also showcase their expertise by doubling down on a “core question.” This practice allows writers to answer with authority while hitting the bullet points that audiences want from content. Finally, brands should optimise for SEO, as 87% said they use Google and other search engines to find business content.

The study also unearthed a few surprising takeaways about content and what each generation prefers. Millennials are often criticised for their short attention spans and love of simple videos, but blogs and articles were the most popular with young adults and Generation X. Baby boomers also enjoy articles but prefer to read reviews and product descriptions. In contrast, just 16% of Millennials said they prefer these descriptions.


19/Dec/2016
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Those wanting to boost their content marketing strategies to the next level should ensure they’re using magnetic advertising techniques to gain more leads. This is one of the most important aspects of marketing for those wanting to see online success. Why? Because it attracts readers and feeds them into a firm’s sales funnel.

The quality of content can make or break a business’ marketing success. If material is poor and doesn’t answer an audience’s question, people will click away quickly. On the other hand, if the content focuses on their exact needs, they’re not only likely to stay around, but they may also share the content with friends and acquaintances too.

Magnetic marketing utilises high-quality content

 When developing magnetic marketing campaigns, it is essential to use only the best quality content. In many cases, people write content simply as a means of boosting their publishing schedule. This means it’s not necessarily high quality and is, therefore, unlikely to attract readers time and time again.

Angie Schottmuller, an expert in growth marketing, suggests that to make an audience take notice, the ‘Triangle of Relevance’ needs to be used. At each point of this triangle is a key element that needs to be included within content. These include business interest, user interest and time significance. User interest, for example, needs to cater to an audience’s likes and interests. Business interest has to include points on brand message for base products and services, whilst time significance takes into account community-relevant topics such as special events, holidays or the latest trends.

Create magnetic content with three steps 

There are three key steps to developing content that might prove magnetic to a target audience and boost a campaign’s success, along with creating many new leads. The first is to research the appropriate topics. To do this, strategists should look up leading influences and experts within their niche and identify the topics of conversation being discussed. In particular, questions that are regularly asked could make ideal content topics, with brands being able to add their own personal experience and spin.

The second point is to establish just how to answer these questions. Of course, one simple way is to look online. However, by using this information, companies do little than regurgitate the same material. Instead, it’s worthwhile to take a personal stance on a topic and try to tell a story of how an employee or entire firm overcome a problem. This makes content more relatable and can build trust with readers.

Finally, the third point relates to how questions are answered. It is easiest to do this simply and systematically to avoid information dumps, disjointed tips and random information. Staying on-point and answering in a step-by-step format works wonders.

Creating magnetic content isn’t hard if the correct research is done and the Triangle of Relevance is utilised. And, by both attracting and then gripping audiences, brands are more likely to gain leads and see their content shared organically for increased reach.


19/Sep/2016
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All content marketers need a carefully developed strategy if they’re to get the positive kind of returns they’re looking for. Consumers are inundated with social media messages nowadays – and with the stream of content they receive often being so similar, it’s hard to tell material apart. To run a successful campaign, strategists need to establish the right ratio of original content versus curated material, in addition to developing a practical publishing schedule.

The ‘Goldilocks Principle’ is well known in marketing and communication fields, with the philosophy stating that content must fall within certain margins if it is to be successful. Particularly for advertising, messages need to be of the right intricacy and quantity to be effective. But there’s a fine balancing act to be had, as material could slip over the boundary and become excessive or redundant. Alternatively, marketers might not supply enough of a message to capitalise on their advertising efforts.

One of the most important forms of material for a brand is original content. These publications can be used to humanise a brand and promote expertise – two strategies which can improve consumer confidence and result in a rise of potential sales leads. By creating original content, companies are making their own branded publication material and, as long as it offers the right message to consumers, people will come back for more. There are two main strategies to utilise; using a real time trend to create discussion, and creating material, that shows what a brand stands for. Capitalising on real-time news and content can help get immediate eyes on content. Providing insights or perspective on a popular topic can result in repeat visitors and high levels of interaction and engagement. Alternatively, focussing on individuality can work to boost trust and loyalty. Spotlighting employees, for example, offers original content and a place where consumers can learn about who a company really is.

In addition to original content, there is also often the need to utilise curated content. In fact, it can be a great way to harness the power of social media, share relevant material and forge new relationships with influencers. It can be hard to keep a stream of original content, so curated publications help fill the gap, ensuring that fans and followers on various platforms notice a consistent presence. However, it is crucial to ensure that any stories shared are relevant to audiences.

The last step in establishing the right mix of original and curated content is to develop a publishing schedule. This can be a complex challenge, with brands needing to find a balance between providing too much or too little. Each social media platform has its own rules for posting frequency. For example, Twitter requires a lot of repetition, whilst Facebook is often better used for longer posts.

On the whole, whilst curated content is good, original content will always be better. However, it’s important to share a mix of these if the right content strategy is to be achieved.


12/Sep/2016
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In an era of high competition amongst brands, and some of the shortest time spans in history with which to grab people’s attention, it is vital for content marketing to make its mark on customers immediately. For the best strategies to work, there must be immediate impact so that target audiences remain engaged for long enough so that a piece of content’s messages can be conveyed. For advertisers trying to tackle bounce rates and boost interactions, there are numerous data-backed tactics to utilise.

One of the most important priorities for any content marketer is to ensure they have an accurate buyer persona. It’s useless targeting content towards uninterested parties, and keeping people engaged relies on customers actually wanting to hear what’s being broadcast. To do this, brands must focus on unique buyer personas that allow them to identify what people are looking for and, therefore, help shape content and increase engagement. On average, marketers have four defined ideal customers, though niche companies may have fewer. It’s vital, however, to stop treating any audience as a single entity if any improved interaction is to be noted.

Another tactic, though one that may have to be run past superiors, is to increase the content marketing budget. It’s a fact that real results often come from a boost in spend. Marketing strategies can be kicked off with little capital, but to keep the ball rolling and improve results requires more money. As such, marketing budgets should not solely be for the purpose of written content curation. Money should also be spent on increasing multimedia content, investing in eBooks and whitepapers, and paying for increased promotion and analytics opportunities.

There is also some importance in not overlooking potential platforms, even if a host of networks are already being used. For example, LinkedIn can be incredibly useful for conducting B2B content marketing. In recent studies, the platform was found to be the only truly effective place for B2B marketing. Creating an account and blog is relatively simple, and this allows for original content to be shared across the network. Even better results can be found by utilising LinkedIn’s niche groups.

Email marketing should also play a role in any content marketing strategy. Whilst disseminating material across social media networks can provide good results, any curated email list provides a direct link to consumers. A report from CMI found that 73 per cent of B2C firms still believe email marketing is extremely effective – even more so than producing video content. There are many automation tools on the market too, allowing strategists to easily add email advertising to their content plans. Even sending out a single monthly email can be a very good way of maintaining brand visibility and keeping customers involved.

The best content marketing efforts are not solely focussed on new prospects, but aim to boost relationships with current customers too. And, by using a variety of data-backed tactics to keep people engaged, brands can boost the effectiveness of advertising plans – not only to better the bottom line, but to nurture consumer relationships for the future as well.


05/Sep/2016
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For content marketers, there has to be an emphasis on syndication. Brands might be curating the best content in the world, but this is useless if no one sees it. Therefore, maximising the reach of promotional material is essential, helping content to make as large an impact as possible upon a target audience. One tool that campaign strategists might want to make use of is Flipboard – a content aggregation tool that displays material in a magazine format.

With so many websites, channels and social media opportunities, many consumers can become a little overwhelmed. It is places like Flipboard that can offer some relief, with topics and content drawn from across the web into a single place. However, not only does the tool provide free usage for consumers, it can also be utilised as a publishing platform for brands to get more eyes on their content, whilst nurturing and serving a community of followers.

There are multiple reasons why Flipboard can be a great content amplifier – one of which being that the entire application has been developed as a content discovery and curation platform. Used by millions of people, there are 34,000 topics for users to discover new content and indulge in their passions. This makes it the perfect place to share content. In addition, unlike places like Facebook, which are based on a social graph and, therefore, grounded in relationships, Flipboard uses a hive mentality to focus on interests. It means that instead of sharing content with a single individual in a target audience whose friends may have no interest, content could be delivered directly to a channel of interested users – all of whom could become potential leads.

Another bonus of Flipboard is that it’s a free marketing tool. There are no fees to publish a magazine, and a well-curated magazine can gain a strong following. Like with all campaign strategies, not all content should be promotional material. However, this can be added now and then if it’s well integrated, it can also be added with stories and news from third parties.

Luckily, Flipboard is very easily set up. In addition, it doesn’t require a lot of investment for on-going maintenance, meaning it can be easily added to a syndication arsenal that already includes places like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. Initially, time will be required setting up a magazine and developing the style and tone of publications. Content can be added in a similar way to how content is ‘pinned’ to a board on Pinterest. On Flipboard strategists can add any story they see on the platform to their own magazine. In addition, brands should be adding their own content too – both soft-sell content and hard-sell material.

For marketing and content strategists, part of the role is getting as many eyes on material as possible. Adding yet another source might seem like a hassle, but due to Flipboard’s interest-based architecture, taking the time to utilise the platform could offer dividends – not only in helping to disseminate content, but finding new fans and followers too.


08/Aug/2016
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For many people, LinkedIn is one of the last social platforms to focus advertising efforts on. However, for B2B marketers, it can be the perfect network, as long as it’s used correctly. Regardless of whether LinkedIn is a major part of content strategy or not, there are essential pointers to consider when developing a campaign, and by following these, marketers place themselves in the best position to experience success.

It should come as no surprise that producing valuable content remains the most important aspect of marketing via LinkedIn. The Global Content Marketing Leader for the network, Jason Miller, says: “The most important thing is to think about LinkedIn beyond recruiting – because it’s so much more than that.” He went on to add,  “For the first time in the history of media, you can engage with the world’s professionals all in one place.”

One of the first steps of any intended content marketing strategy is to sign up to LinkedIn and create a professional, engaging company homepage. It’s essential for this page to properly reflect a company, as it will act as an on-site catalyst for all other marketing plans. The LinkedIn community is huge and rich with expertise; and as such, many professionals want to be part of the website’s conversations. Unlike other platforms, where many people simply spend time, LinkedIn is a place where people invest time to learn, connect and be inspired. Therefor, it’s vital to correctly curate a homepage to maximise appeal and draw readers towards published content.

For all B2B content marketers, it is also essential to increase their content’s exposure. This can be done by publishing material on both LinkedIn and Slideshare. Slideshare acts as a way to draw readers through a self-guided visual journey. It also provides an opportunity to repurpose old content and turn it into something new. This can cut content investment whilst boosting impressions. In addition, according to Mr Miller, LinkedIn’s content gets up to fifteen times more impressions than the website’s job listings, making it an opportunity not to be missed.

Finally, as expected, marketers must be prepared to promote their best content if they want to experience success. The old adage of quantity over quality has been surpassed, and those producing digital content must now pay close attention to ensure new material is fresh and appealing. Producing this content requires significant investment, and this can be wasted if it’s not properly marketed. As such, Mr Miller suggests targeting the correct audience and having the investment budget to properly promote.

For content marketers, LinkedIn offers a great opportunity. Mr Miller concludes: “I don’t think there are any excuses anymore. If you know that you have a different way to fix a problem and you’re not writing about it, and you’re not putting it out there starting with LinkedIn, then you’re just missing opportunities left and right.” Whilst many marketers might be focussed on other platforms, LinkedIn offers real potential – particularly for companies focussing on other business contacts instead of selling directly to the consumer.


01/Aug/2016
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There are many social media platforms around, some of which might not immediately spring to mind as a good advertising opportunity for content marketers. For example, strategists might readily dive into Facebook and Twitter but leave other platforms on the sidelines. However, with many Fortune 500 brands turning to Instagram as a way to spread their message and interact with fans, this image-based application should not be overlooked.

Instagram made its debut in 2010 and has proven extremely popular with users since then. As the platform gained attention, it began to provide tools for content strategists and marketers. Now, more than half of Fortune 500 brands are using the application, showing just how important Instagram can be for any digital campaign.

A report from TrackMaven that analysed more than 41,000 Instagram posts between May 2015 and May 2016 discovered that the vast majority of interactions were click-based. In fact, 98.9 per cent of all engagement noted was made up of “double taps”, the system Instagram uses for people to “like” an image or video. This clearly shows the platform is not geared towards personal conversations or feedback. Instead, it is about brands and content creators engaging with their fans and followers through “like” and “comment” features.

One interesting point for all content strategists to note is the lack of filter use by global firms. One of the core appeals for users is that Instagram offers a various filters and tools to manipulate uploaded images. However, these are largely ignored by big brands.

TrackMaven Content Director Kara Burney explains that this is because most Fortune 500 brands upload pre-made content, although this method of content dispersal could be negatively affecting engagement because 12 of the filters are well-documented to actually boost interaction. Ultimately, brands should use filters if they want to ensure a smooth and immersive experience within the social platform.

Talking about the fact that many brands do not use filters, Burney said: “This finding indicates that there is an appetitive for authenticity on Instagram. Brands need to remember and respect that their content is appearing not amongst a feed of other brand-generated content, but among content from users’ friends and families as well. Remaining true to the aesthetics of each social network, like taking and editing photos natively in each platform, could prevent the jarring ‘this is obviously an ad, let me ignore it’ effect on social media.”

One of the first Fortune 500 firms to use Instagram was Starbucks, and the brand’s strategy is working. Engagement on the platform has reached a record high for the coffeehouse brand, with a ratio of 24.64, which is calculated on the number of interactions each post gets per 1,000 fans.

For strategists that want to extend their digital approach, utilising Instagram is a wise move that can be used in combination with other social platforms to boost audience reach and interaction. Data shows that some of the highest engagement levels are experienced on weekends and late at night as users sit down to surf the application during their leisure time.