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Friday, 23 January 2015

5 ways to create killer content that stands out

How to take your content marketing to the next level in 2015

by Guest Blogger, Clare Doolan

Content marketing is a buzzword that is wayyy overused. I sometimes cringe when I look at my Twitter feed and see dozens of articles hashtagged ContentMarketing. Once, used by only the savviest marketers, it is now an essential part of any marketing strategy. So we need to suck it up and get used to seeing it in our news feeds.

Content Marketing is the New PR

The traditional way of marketing is quickly becoming redundant. With the recent surge in cash strapped startups, came revolutionary new ways to take products to market. The term Growth Hacking was coined to describe those who shot to success on a shoestring marketing budget, using highly targeted methods and tools that cost little to nothing. Social media took center stage in the success of many startups.

As the recent Facebook ban on non-paid business promotion has highlighted, people have grown tired of companies pimping themselves through social media. Clever public relations managers are using content marketing to boost brand awareness and customer satisfaction through native advertising.

When you think of content marketing what springs to mind? Blogs, articles, images and infographics? Whilst these are important and proven tools for creating leads, they shouldnt make up the whole of your content marketing strategy.

With the rise of mobile devices and social media, we are bombarded with information at a mind-boggling rate. The average person sees 247 images per day - much more than our brains can handle. Only a percentage of those images are actually noticed, the rest fall under the radar. Make sure your branded content is remembered.

How do you create awesome content?

According to SmartInsights, to succeed at content marketing, your company needs to be creating content that is one of the best in your sector. You also need to have a strong game plan for creation scheduling and distribution. Content should be focused on increasing brand awareness, familiarity and purchase intent.

Think broadly in terms of media

A picture is worth 1,000 words but an audio podcast is worth a thousand pictures, and a video is worth a thousand audio podcasts!

Great content is everywhere! If you want peoples attention, you need to be on top of your game. When planning your content marketing plan for 2015, think past blogging, images and infographics.

76% of B2B marketers surveyed in 2014 used video in their content marketing with 60% of those said they found it very effective. The percentage of marketers using video to drive traffic to the brands website is set to rise again in 2015 (Content Marketing Institute).

Also, with the growth of wearable technology there will be more emphasis on voice search in Google this year. Its likely that voice branded content will play a part in SEO.


How to integrate audio and video into your content marketing plan

1. Audio Testimonials

I heard it straight from the horses mouth!

Having a professionally recorded audio testimonial can be a very powerful resource for boosting conversion rates. Testimonials increase your brands credibility. Listening to a voice recording is more effective than reading a testimonial as it exploits the auditory human sense for multi-sensory communication.

It takes a person just half a second to judge how trustworthy someone is by the tone of voice used, clarity of speech and pitch to assess trustworthiness (study by Princeton University in the US). Use this to your brands advantage. You dont necessarily have to ask customers to participate in recordings; hiring a professional voiceover artist to read customer testimonials would probably work best.

2. Podcasts

Want to give your customers something of value in 2015? Forget long winded e-books that nobody reads and create a killer podcasts. Figure out what problems your clients are experiencing this year and come up with a short podcast or series of podcasts that provide quick solutions that clients can listen to whilst killing time on the train or eating lunch. It can be a taster of the quality of service you offer whilst at the same time, building thought leadership and recognition.

Offer this valuable content to your customers in exchange for signing up for your newsletter or completing a survey. According to Buffer, the ideal length of a podcast is 22 minutes. Keep it simple and to the point. A podcast is not the time for a rambling lecture; you want people to listen and share the recording with their contacts.

3. Events

Events are major opportunities to create brand awareness. Dont just focus your social media marketing efforts before the event. Create a simple event hashtag and let everyone know about it. Ensure that you promote your event while it is running by having a live stream, or continuously Tweet key points to keep viewers updated.

Encourage attendees to create their own content. Set up a photo shoot area with a professional photographer and a backdrop with your company logo. Urge people to pose for pictures and share them on social media using the event hashtag.

You can go a step further by recording the event and creating a podcast. Offer the recordings for free in exchange for a newsletter sign up or as a special gift to followers of your company page. As Guy Kawasaki says:

With a little bit of social-media effort and magic, you can make your event look like it was the place to be!

4. Videos

Video content marketing is a key tool for brands to engage their audiences by embedding videos into product and landing pages. Use video to tell a story about your brand, promote a product or as a How To guide. Bite sized chunks of content, otherwise known as micro content, is ideal for sharing across social media platforms.

More people than ever are using mobile devices for surfing online and engaging on social media platforms. With this in mind, marketers need to make sure the content created is mobile friendly. Its predicted that between 60-80% of web traffic will come from mobile devices within the next couple of years (SmartInsights). Hint: a wall of text is not easy to read on a smartphone.

LinkedIn is the platform of choice for sharing B2B videos with 94% marketers sharing content, followed by Twitter at 88% and Facebook at 84%. Drive traffic to your website and create sales leads by sharing quality branded video content through social media. Notice I said quality: if you are going to do it, make sure it looks polished and professional.

By 2019, the BCMA (Best of Branded Content Marketing) believes that;

Branded content will be at the heart of every campaign, driven by the inexorable growth of digital technologies and social media. This will result in a continued rapid growth of digital and social video content.

5. Audio and Video Logos

Audio logos or sonic branding, can add another dimension to a brand. Adding the element of sound makes it memorable; there is a very strong connection with sound and memory. In case you dont know what sonic branding is, here are a few examples of the most recognised audio logos:


Skype Connection Sound

Try combining your sonic branding with video to create intro and outro video logos that give your video content marketing a polished, professional finish. These 3-4 second videos will usually have a jingle and a picture of a product or your company logo (Voice Takeaway).


Get your content out there! Share your videos on YouTube and frequently post links from your other social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Theres no point in creating something magnificent and sharing it only once.

Engage with other users on YouTube. More than any other social media platform, is it essential to subscribe to channels and comment on other videos if you want to build your following. Ensure your own content I can be easily found by categorising and tagging.


The Art of Social Media - Power Tips for Power Users - Guy Kawasaki

Clare Doolan is a social media expert. She runs CD Business Solutions. Check out their website: http://cd-bs.co.uk/