On Friday, we travelled over from Oxford to London for the Content Marketing Show at Logan Hall. As always, Kelvin and the team did a great job putting on the event, which was host to an array of top content marketers and strategists. Below is a summary of the talks along with our own favourite takeaways from each of them, so even those naughty people that left before the end can catch up on what they missed!
Hannah Smith (@hannah_bo_banna) – Throwing S*** Against the Wall & Analysing What Sticks
- Content with a purpose – All content you create needs to have a purpose: to entertain, educate, persuade or convert.
- Blow people’s minds – The content that you do create needs to aim to blow people’s minds (for a brief internet-attention-span moment) enough for them to love it and want to share it.
- Earn attention – You need to earn attention with every piece of content that you publish. People need to love your content, if they don’t they won’t share it. Even with permission, the user may not even see your content when you expect them to, for example, due to Gmail’s new ‘tabbed inbox’ your user may not even be shown the content you’ve sent.). Your content needs to be shared by others, not just you.
- Make goals – Each piece of content you produce needs a goal – what you create depends on what you specifically want to achieve.
- Don’t make it all about your brand – Your brand is not what you sell, it is how you sell it, meaning your content does not have to be about what you sell. Instead, focus on what your user loves/needs/wants.
- Know your audience – You need to build a clear picture of your audience, ask questions and make your target users more real. Doing this can reveal the points of interest your content could approach in the entertain and educate categories, introducing people to your brand and earning that vital attention.
- Failure is natural – Failure is a necessary part of the process. You need to throw content out there and see what sticks, learn what makes it (and similar content) stick, and what your brand’s audience will latch on to.
Lauren Pope (@la_pope) – Why Content Marketing Needs Content Strategy
- Know the difference – Content Marketing is creating valuable content with the aim of attracting and engaging a defined audience. Content Strategy is planning for the creation and governance of your useful and usable content.
- Use them both – Content strategy gives you a formula for creating your excellent content time and time again; if you want to do content marketing, a content strategy gives you a framework for the process of its creation and promotion that will make it work
- Patience – Implementing Content Strategy is hard; take it one step at a time until you get it right.
Jon Norris (@Jn_Norris) – A 1950s Approach To Content Strategy
- Silos – Many software solutions work well in isolation but have limited interconnectivity.
- Do what’s best – If your software solutions aren’t working for you, scrap them. In some cases a whiteboard may work best! It will also save you money!
Simon Banouby (@Banouby) – Twitter Tips from OptaJoe
- Consistency – Consistency is key, especially if you have more than one account. Being consistent in your content, approach and tone helps to develop trust between you and your followers.
- Be human – Be approachable, get involved in discussions, mention people in your tweets. This can be a good way to amplify your tweets and your twitter account, especially if you’re being amplified by people who are active and well-known on social media channels.
- Don’t channel hop – Find what works best for your brand, and test and analyse what doesn’t. While a channel may be very popular, if it isn’t going to work for your brand there is no point using it.
- Play the long game – Social media takes time; be patient.
Tom Elgar – Success, Failure and Making Content Work in the Long Term
- Blog – 80% of businesses do not have an active blog (out of 525). 35% of the remaining 20% hadn’t been updated for a long time. 18% did not know what Content Marketing was.
- Use the community – If content is what you focus on, work closely with your client and try to create exceptional and specific content for the industry. If done correctly, your community will do your work for you.
Simon Kaplan – The GOV.UK Approach to Content
- Needs – Consider that a user’s needs may differ to your company’s needs and produce your content appropriately.
- Be Relevant – Only produce relevant content “Government should only do what Government can do”.
- No room for waffle – Using plain English isn’t ‘dumbing down’, it’s opening up Government info to everyone. Using jargon can lose users’ trust.
- Stick to guidelines – Creating a style guide and sticking to it can help to keep your content consistent; it can also be a good way of showing users how you’ve changed to benefit them.
Fergus Parker (@fergus_parker) – Trend Watch: 2014 and Beyond
- Resonate – Connection will be king, as long as you can resonate. The fresher your ideas are, the better and more memorable they will be.
- Context – Considering both audience context (where your user has come from and the environment they’re in when viewing your content) and content context (timing and placement) will be vital.
- Visual – 65% of the population are visual learners, so expect visual content to become more prominent.
- Get mobile – 91% of mobile activity is social, utilise it!
Kieran Flanagan (@searchbrat) – Inbound Marketing; The Art of Not Sucking
- Bad Reputation – Marketers have a bed reputation, why? Some of us create bad user experiences that frustrate people. We fail to personalise emails, send them generic copy, interrupt people in their normal activity and stop them from getting on with what they are doing.
- Avoid it –
- Understand – Understand your audience by creating personas each with their own reasons for coming to your site. You won’t reach the right audience if you don’t know what they want.
- Be remarkable – Being remarkable is a mind-set; you need to create content that solves a pain point, adds value or simply entertains.
- Promote – If you spend 10 hours creating a piece of content, spend 10 hours promoting it. Get the content to the right people and leverage a large audience: Optimise it for easy sharing, emailing etc. to increase your potential, audience and your reach – get your audience to do some work for you. Take the time to understand your audience and promote the value you create.
Sam Orams (@SamOrams) – An Idiot’s Guide to Getting Content on the Telly
- Prestige – There is still exclusivity about TV, which is why it’s hard to get on it 0This is also why it is so valuable.
- Content goes round – A lot of content will start online, go into print, then appear on TV. TV is now adapting to audiences and how they’re viewing and consuming their content.
- Use the news –Companies like Reuters have started spending time outreaching for new stories, if news = content then content =news.
- Use a VNR – A Video News Release can be an excellent way to get to a broadcaster, but make sure it is done properly! Include video footage, images, sound bites, and interviews. Do not edit your footage though, the editor will pick and choose what they want. If your video is pre-edited they may reject it.
Kester Ford – Amplify or Die
- Merging silos – There are three types of media: paid, earned and owned. However, these three silos are starting to merge. The results mean that you are competing against everyone.
- Amplify – Social media is the best way to start amplifying; build relationships with tweeters, journalists, bloggers etc. as they can help to promote your content.
- Pay for it – Paid content is always a good way to get your content out. Native advertising is effective because it serves relevant content to a site and it fits in with the site.
- Title – Keep your titles between 60-110 characters. Any longer and it risks being cut off, any shorter and it may be too vague.
Matt Roberts (@Linkdex_Matt) – Zero Moment Of Truth
- Target – What procedures and framework do you have to create content that targets the ‘zero moment of truth’? Start with a Google search to see what the lay of the land is.
- Be aware – You need to know about ZMOT and how content is fundamental to the idea of it. Content is key, but you also need a lot of people to manage it (a team) – PR, Social, Content Writers etc. As a result, it requires ownership.
You can learn more about ZMOT here: http://www.google.com/think/collections/zero-moment-truth.html
Gemma MacNaught (@GemmaMacNaught) – Simplifying Personas –
- Know them – Personas are imaginary people we use to form our content, they are often very complex, with very granular detail. People are often negative about personas as they can make your work more complicated.
- Simplify – You need to know your target market. Use Google Analytics to look for important clues such as age, location and what devices they are viewing on. You need to understand their goals as well as your own so you can find the right balance between the two.
- There are two types – Those dominated by different sides of the brain are different personas and this simplification can really help
- Right hand side – Want direct content, imagery, emotion, rewards etc.
- Left hand side – Want full content, usable advice, security and reassurance.
- Pretend – Consider your product as a product on a shelf, why would a user choose your content over someone else’s?
Sarah Howard (@SarahGHoward) – Don’t Forget About Long Form Content
- Time – Mobile technology means that we have actually have more time to consume content.
- Strategy – Writing long form content reflects expertise and creates a bond with your users. Users will share it because it makes them look smarter. Long-form is your friend; it can help your short-form and works as part of a wider content strategy.
- Have a reason – Write with a reason and ensure you do your research and that you have enough to say.
- It’s not all about text – Consider the design, you t need to focus on more than just the text. Create a good user experience.
- Use data – When making your decisions, use data you have collected such as trends and bounce rates.
- Get it right – Tap into expertise and make sure what you have written is factually correct, as users that you are writing for will see through it and pick up on your errors.
Jo Petty (@joapet) – The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring a Freelancer
- Shop around – Finding a freelancer is like shopping, look around to find the best for you. Networking is a great way to find freelancers.
- Help them help you – Give the freelancer all the information you have so that they can do a good job, if you withhold information or don’t give them enough they will not be able to do the work to a required standard. Ensure you both have a clear plan in place so that you both know what you want to get from the piece.
- Give back – Give them feedback and make sure you pay them (obviously!).
James Carson (@mrjamescarson) – Content Strategy Process – from End to End in 15 minutes
- Target – Ensure your content is targeted and that you know your audience, or else your effort will be wasted.
- Use Layers – Content works better with layers – analytics, site structure, content and distribution. These layers help as a content strategy:
- Use analytics to find out where your users go online and what they like. Find all the keyword data you can.
- Ensure you have a logical site structure that your content will be going into and make sure your existing content is well-formatted.
- Write ‘by the book’ headlines that are formatted well. Ensure you have a good workflow organisation, it will help track what you are publishing and when.
- Build networks! Stop just blogging and start using alternate methods of distribution. Video is an extremely distributable asset and spawns multiple assets (although it can be expensive). However, it can also be reused, a lot!
For James’s talk, we would highly recommend looking at his slideshare because, as the title suggests, it was a quick and concise session! You might also want to keep an eye on the Content Marketing Website as they will be posting videos from the event soon!
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