Two Major Elements of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Traditional marketing and advertising is telling the world you’re a rock star. Content Marketing is showing the world that you are one.

Robert Rose

Consider the following statistics from a research on Australian businesses conducted by the Content Marketing Institute:

  • 89% of the businesses engage in content marketing activities, with the aim to drive “profitable customer action”.
  • Of these businesses, only 37% of them have a documented strategy, as opposed to a verbal one
  • Content marketers felt the effectiveness of their strategy was less this year than last year (29% as opposed to 33%). But 44% of those who documented their strategy had a better result from content marketing activities.

Content marketing is engaging people while providing relevant and valuable information to either alter or enhance their consumption pattern. The above statistics reflect three things: the need for a strategy, the need to document the strategy, and finally, the need to analyse the effectiveness against preset objectives.

Why can content marketing do wonders for your business?

The answer is quite simple. Since content marketing is all about building relationship with your fans and followers by providing them with value, it is one of the most effective and affordable ways to get eyeballs on your website. From customer evangelism and upselling to engagement and lead nurturing, businesses are using content marketing to connect with their customers. And here are TWO critical strategies to get your content marketing right:

Chalk out a Plan

Effective content marketing needs consistency and commitment. It is not a one time activity. You need to keep the content flowing, not just on your blogs or websites, but also using different social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Social media content, articles on websites and eNewsletters rank top amongst the content marketing tactics used in Australia, with in-person events and blogs rounding up the top 5 effective tactics.

­Things to keep in mind:

  • Publish content as often as you can. 72% of the most effective content marketers publish daily, or multiple times a week
  • Create a specific budget for your content marketing activities. On an average, 27% of the total marketing budget is allocated for content activities (this does not include staffing).
  • Allocate enough resources to produce sufficient content regularly and consistently (the number one challenge faced by businesses).
Track your performance

When it comes to effectiveness, Australian businesses still find in-person events and newsletters to be the most effective, with research reports and articles on websites as the least. Things to keep in mind:

  • Set clear goals and define metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your marketing campaign. Goals may be individual, team or company wide depending upon the composition of targeted audience.
  • The effectiveness of the campaign needs to be measured in order to change or improve the approach of marketing. Keeping track of key factors such as Consumption, Engagement and Conversion is essential to determine your course of action.

Creating a content marketing plan, and measuring its effectiveness, is a cyclical process. With increased understanding of your target audience’s motivation and requirements, your plan will constantly undergo changes. And become more effective as a result.

Never Underestimate The Potential Of Outbound Marketing

Even though outbound marketing is seen as inferior to inbound marketing, you should never cross it out as one of your marketing strategies. With small tweaks on outbound marketing, you can expand the reach of your business, and even complement your inbound marketing efforts.

Is it really over for outbound marketing?

An inbound approach to marketing is being trumpeted by marketers and businesses nowadays as a more effective strategy for getting your potential customers on-board. With technology and increasing interconnectivity, companies are now creating content that educates and engages their audience; rather than bombard them with constant ads. Through inbound marketing, they are giving their audience the “driver’s seat” in terms of deciding whether or not to interact with their businesses. When they give their “yes,” these companies gain a customer, who may purchase their products or services for a long period of time.

While inbound marketing draws the praises of various enterprises, outbound marketing is seen as no longer relevant. Outbound marketing involves releasing ads through television, radio, billboards or print to show products and services to the target market. It may also entail sending people direct mail or cold-calling to get them interested at your business. Of course, these can be bothersome for anybody. As a result, people now skip TV commercials, block telemarketers, or chuck direct mail straight down the garbage can. For companies that have used this method, this means advertising money going down the drain.

Does this mean we should abandon outbound marketing altogether?

Why outbound marketing is here to stay

Though outbound marketing is seen as intrusive to potential customers, businesses and marketers should not cross it out of their list. Outbound marketing still has a major role to play to make your business visible to your target market. It can help you reach out to more customers, and even complement your inbound marketing strategy.

The justification for inbound marketing is that most customers nowadays are savvier and search for products and services on their own before they make a decision. To attract their interest, businesses create informative and engaging content to help them find what they need. Though there is nothing wrong with this, using this approach can miss out potential customers who might have a use for your product or service, but do not know about it. These might be people who are preoccupied with their professional or domestic responsibilities, or not as comfortable with technology to search the web for information. With outbound marketing, you can reach out to them, and gain a larger chunk of the market for your business.

Therefore, it would be wiser to combine outbound strategies, together with an inbound approach if you would like to have a larger share of the market. In fact, you can use outbound messaging to turn the attention of your potential audience to your content. For instance, you can drive traffic to your content at your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter page through paid campaigns. Another way to combine inbound and outbound is to have your sales team follow up with site visitors who have read your blog or downloaded your e-book through outbound communication; such as email marketing.

Aside from combining them, you can also make outbound more like inbound to achieve efficiency in your outbound marketing approach. If your organisation is a B2B company, you may collaborate with several media/data sources where your prospects converge to promote your business. To achieve efficiency, you can manage or centralise these several data sources.

One such way to centralise your data sources is through NewzSocial, which provides you with one system to distribute content from your various data sources. It allows you to broadcast content from different sources, as wells as showcase your original content through its “Pipe It” feature. This tool organises the articles that you can use in different categories, which can help your company establish thought leadership in your industry and even address pressing needs of your clients.

NewzSocial distributes the content you have chosen in various social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. For busy organisations, this can help save time in marketing campaigns. Furthermore, this software tracks the performance of content you post on every social media platform; which can enhance and refine your strategy. You will be able to learn about the preferences of your audience online, and polish your marketing campaigns to suit their needs.

Given these perspectives, it can be said that the outbound approach to marketing should not be dismissed in favour of inbound marketing. Outbound marketing still allows you to reach customers who may not know your business. Through technology, you can even take a smarter approach to outbound marketing and achieve efficiency in your strategy. By combining inbound and outbound, you tap on the “best of both worlds” in the realm of marketing – and of course, gain more customers for your business.

Why Facebook said YES to Animated GIFs

For almost a decade, Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook chose to keep animated GIF images out of their social platform as they felt it would make the pages chaotic and affect user experience. But, now, Facebook has finally decided to give animated GIFs the green flag, albeit on an experimental basis.
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The Story Till Now

Facebook has had built-in support for animated GIFs for a long time – it just didn’t activate it until now.

As of May this year, Facebook allowed non-business users to post GIFs on their news feed. Since August, select businesses could play animated GIFs in ads and boosted posts. However, users cannot upload them directly from one’s computer. Instead, if the animated GIF is already up on the internet, they can paste the link to the GIFs in their status update box. Those who have auto-play enabled can immediately see the GIF in action whereas those with auto-play disabled can tap or click on the GIF to play it.

Wendy’s and Brazilian drink Guaraná Kuat from Coco Cola are the first businesses to show animated GIFs on their Facebook pages.

Facebook intends to monitor the response to these ads and based on it, they plan to make it widely available.

Why Did Facebook Change Their Mind?

There are couple of reasons that could have led to Facebook reversing its decision to keep GIFs away from its site.

  1. With the rising popularity of animated GIFs among its younger audience and considering the fact that almost every social media network, including Twitter, Google+ and BuzzFeed have adopted it, it does not make good business sense to stay away from it any longer.
  2. Facebook’s success with video ads has also been a deciding factor in allowing animated GIFs. The decision taken in 2013 to allow video ads in news feeds did not have any negative repercussions. Users seemed to love it and hence, Facebook hopes animated GIFs would also be received well by people.

With the improvement in web browsers, GIFs can be played better today compared to a few years ago. They load faster giving an optimal user experience. Brandon Rhoten, Vice President in charge of advertising, media and digital at Wendy’s, says the fast food giant has found Facebook videos to be useful in increasing sales and he is trying to repeat the same success with animated GIFs.

Another reason is Facebook is trying to up its revenue from ads. Many advertisers feel an ad featuring an animated GIF is more likely to catch customer attention than one featuring a static image. Also, it can be a lot cheaper than producing a video. Hence, the decision to allow animated GIFs is bound to find favour among advertisers, bringing in more revenue for Facebook.

Is allowing animated GIFs a big risk?

Facebook’s primary fear that constantly moving images will make the pages look cluttered and have a negative user experience is valid. Too many animated GIFs can be distracting and where people may respond positively to a video, they might not feel the same way towards a bunch of images in constant, repetitive motion. It is this that has prompted the decision to launch it on an experimental basis, monitor public response and then take the decision to implement it on a large scale.

Are you planning to try animated GIFs for your brand? We can help.

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