Content marketing for popular and emerging platforms recorded webinar 24 April 2013

HELEN HUTCHINGS: Good afternoon, everyone,
and welcome to today's webinar on Content Marketing for Popular and Emerging Platforms. My name is Helen Hutchings from the Phillips
Group and I am your host for today's webinar. In a moment I will hand you over to today's
presenter, Doug Pye. At the end of the webinar, I will hold a questions
and answer session with Doug and we look forward to receiving your questions. This webinar is part of a series being provided
by the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games.

We hope that you find it informative and useful
for your business. Before I hand over to Doug, I would just like
to apologise. We both seem to have come down with the office
lurgy, so if we are sounding a little bit hoarse, I do apologise for that. I hope you enjoy today's webinar, and Doug,
over to you. DOUG PYE: Thanks, Helen, and you probably
will notice that I get a bit croakier toward the end of the presentation today. Thanks for joining us. We are just going do a quick introduction
and orientation about software and also a little bit about myself.

I will then discuss the key workbook points
and provide some examples about how hopefully these will assist you with your business. We will be covering what the concept of "content
marketing" is; how can it be applied to the big four, social media, network, Facebook,
Twitter, LinkedIn and You Tube; and then we will discuss an approach to the development
of a content marketing strategy, applying the content marketing to a number of emerging
platforms; and that will also include Pinterest, Instagram, Posse, Socialcam, TheVine, and
Google Plus. At the end, we will have some time for Q&A
with Helen. On your screen, you should this panel with
a questions box. So use that to enter a question at any time. As I mentioned, we will get to them at the
end of the session; and also note, that I am going to ask some polls throughout this
webinar.

Unfortunately, for those using an iPad, it's
currently not supported by Go To webinar software, so you won't be able to participate in the
polls and we do apologise for that. Also, don't forget the Twitter hashtag, which
is #QldBiz, throughout the presentation; obviously, it's important to engage. So please feel free to, as we move through
the presentation. Quickly, just a little bit about myself.

I am the Marketing Director at Phillips Group. I have been here with this company for approximately
six years. In that time, and throughout my career, I
have worked with a number of small and large corporates to develop content marketing strategies
and communication strategies, to take their businesses forward. And it's becoming very apparent that our strategies
are to become a lot more engaged in the online environment and how the utilisation of two
way communication channels is going to further their marketing potential, as we move on. So what is "content marketing"? It's the concept of how it can help a small
business.

It's the creation and sharing of relevant/valuable
content to acquire and retain customers. It's a technique that uses value adding content,
such as informative comment, image, video or blogs, to promote your business or your
brand, product or service, whichever industry you are in. It allows you to build a reputation through
the communication of valuable and relevant information without the need for a direct
sales pitch. Now, the aim of content marketing is to influence
either your existing or your potential customers, to pay attention to your post. Now, by getting their attention first through
your content, it gives you an opportunity to build/improve recognition, trust, reputation
and ultimately the potential for conversion into actual business, which is why we are
all here today.

If your business has a website or a blog or
social media presence, you may actually already be adopting content marketing strategies without
even realising it. So just to give you an example: there's a
recent high profile example of the Red Bull campaign run by the energy drink company Red
Bull. In 2012 Felix Baumgartner flew in a helium
balloon around 40 kilometres above New Mexico in the United States; and once at that height,
he completed a space dive of about ten minutes back to earth in a pressure suit; and in that
process, he actually broke the sound barrier during the descent. It's a pretty impressive piece of content
marketing and from that perspective, the reason it was so successful was that Red Bull identified
their target markets as "youthful and energetic" and created a campaign that would appeal to
them.

8 million people watched that jump live on
You Tube and the associated news headlines achieved immense international exposure; and
huge brand recognition, without actually pushing their product, the energy drink, itself. Now, it's obviously a high profile, big budget
campaign, but it demonstrates the potential of content marketing to engage with audiences
and to build brand or business reputation. So, the differences between traditional marketing
and content marketing. we have noticed in recent years that consumers
are growing tired of one way push marketing methods. It means that more and more people are skipping
through commercials and ignoring what we refer to as "junkmail".

Content marketing takes the brand and your
company or product or service out of the main focus and it replaces it with content that
the customer will value and want to receive. It becomes more about how the product/service
can have benefit the customer and not the actual product/price point. The example that we have got here on screen
today, Moreton Island Adventures, their business is transporting people to and from Moreton
Island; but on their Facebook page, rather than advertise a fare price, they are using
a video of the beach at sunset to sell the experience of being on Moreton Island.

For businesses, harnessing content marketing
requires a need to shift your thinking from traditional one way product focussed advertising
to using an accessible two way dialogue without the focus on the product, itself. Building trust and loyalty. One of the key benefits of content marketing
is its ability to generate trust and loyalty for your business. Firstly, recognition from your audience as
a topic or industry leader; offering any advice in an engaging way via your website or social
platform; helps to establish your business's reputation as being knowledgeable and accessible. Loyalty, developed from continually meeting
customers' content needs, brand loyalty is built on a foundation with every interaction
that your customer has with your business. The key is to always meet or exceed expectations
with each of your encounters. Obviously, loyal customers will recommend
your brand to friends and family. Consistency in delivering quality and relevant
content is the new way to maximise your ongoing customer loyalty. Now, I have got an example here for you. You have obviously heard of PoolWerx, it's
a fairly well known brand within the industry; they specialise in pool and spa maintenance
services, as well as safety inspections and repairs.

This year in January, we, as many of you know,
experienced some pretty heavy and destructive storms. The team at PoolWerx at Bribie Island and
Burpengary, they used content marketing techniques to offer a free post storm pool recovery advice
for their followers. The business promoted their blog via the Facebook
page and it's an eye catching graphic and an engaging question as a headline, "Storms? Pool affected by recent weather conditions?",
urging the person viewing that content to go further. It provided the followers an in depth blog
post on their website, which gave them free tips on how to deal with pool equipment damage
and flooding and debris and the like; an incredibly engaging tool and one that was very successful. So social media for content marketing. Who are the main players? Obviously, we are seeing Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn and You Tube as the big hitters. Google Plus is certainly starting to emerge;
and then you see a number of the associated social media platforms which actually feed
into those top five/six, in order to start generating enough groundswell to achieve regular
status of social media platforms. We will be addressing obviously a number of
these emerging platforms as we go through the presentation.

A lot of people ask around, you know, "What's
better? Content marketing or search engine optimisation?" "SEO", I will call it. SEO uses algorithms and tools to increase
the chances of a website appearing in your online search. Now, the difference between content marketing
and SEO is that content marketing aims to create content that people want to read and
engage with. SEO's name is to create content that pleases
search engines. Now, what this means for business is that
publishing for quality online content is now the best way to get your business found on
the Internet.

Algorithms within the search engines are actually
becoming very smart and they are recognising the difference between, say, keywords saturation
and meaningful content, which is something that we all need to be very aware of. I am just going to take you through two polls
and I would like everyone to participate. I am just going to bring up the pole now. So how many social media platforms does your
business use? I am going to give you a few seconds to enter
your details and I will show the poll in a couple of seconds. … I am going to close the poll now and be able
to share those results. So as you can see, people today are using
mainly just one platform. As we venture further on down the line, we
are seeing that the majority of businesses use one/two. It's really encouraging to see that there
are 14 per cent of our listeners using five or more.

Also, keep in mind that what I am referring
to is the use of social media platforms within a business context. So now I am going to take you onto our next
question, which is: which platforms do you currently have for your business? I have just launched it now and give you a
few seconds to fill that out. … I am just closing the poll. … I will share this with you: obviously, Facebook
is, without question, the most used social platform by businesses and it's great to see
quite a lot of other platforms such as Twitter and You Tube and LinkedIn. Unfortunately, due to the type of polls we
have here today, we can't go specifically into the other platforms that people are using.

But it is great to see that there is a high
level of engagement in those most used social platforms. So going onto content marketing on popular
platforms such as Facebook: it's the world's leading social network and there's over 1
billion users; an incredible amount. It's a great way to stay connected with customers
on a site that we all, who use Facebook, visit at least once a day to check content. Again, a great way to deliver relevant/engaging
information; it can be liked or shared or commented on; and facilitates the embedding
of third party applications to allow for greater visibility of content for users.

So the importance of "how to use Facebook". I will take you through a few key points here. Posting content regularly. Obviously, having a Facebook presence will
make your page be current and dynamic and also keep your business top of mind with your
followers. It is important to post relevant content,
too. It will get their attention; encourage them
to interact with your page, including commenting or liking/sharing. Use graphics to grab the attention of your
audience from the other items in their news feeds, in order to obviously generate cut
through. And make sure that it is relevant and keep
it fresh, mixing up your choice of images, using a range of graphics such as photographs
or videos, Instagram photographs as well.

Make sure you have fun through your engagement
with your followers; and involve the encouragement of interactions when you can. So answer their questions and have conversations. It will help build your reputation as trustworthy
and accessible and help further build your relationship with them as time goes on. Also, keep it short. Keep the post and description short, so that
your followers can read your post in an instant and decide whether or not they need to go
on further with their level of action. And ensure on action; make sure there is a
call to action. Share/engage with your information and ask
them to interact, to like, to comment and to share their thoughts with you on what you
are posting. Twitter. It uses short bursts of information. It's limited to 140 characters or less. Users can re tweet and share their tweets
and also shorten links to particular sites or comments or blogs or videos, in order to
maximise their descriptor.

It is a very easy to monitor online sentiment
and trends. We will take you now to an example. I have got Black Milk up here, which is a
company based in south east Queensland. They are a fashion label. And they are well and truly utilising social
media platforms in an incredibly effective manner. It's the humanisation of this content, that
they are really striking it rich and getting a fairly substantial level of followers; if
you put that level of followers in the context of other Queensland based businesses. So how do you generate that level of interest/interaction? Follow others in your industry with similar
interests and other relevant people. It will allow you to track Twitter topics
and conversations of interest and provide you with an opportunity to engage in feedback. Humanisation is also very important. Make sure you post comments/thoughts to personalise
yourself and your business. That could include your thoughts on a particular
industry topic, or event or unique events/happenings within your business, which could be around
a new product or even receiving a commendation/award.

Re tweeting is also incredibly important. Basically, it's for existing posts from other
users and a way of sharing with your audience that you are keeping track of the latest events
a trends. It also builds goodwill with the person who
originally tweeted that information, because it helps to promote their Twitter presence/content. Hashtags have grown in popularity in the last
one/two years and they are basically searchable topics. It can be used to generate greater awareness
of Twitter content and provide a simple way to search for topics of interest. And if it's promoted correctly, hashtags can
trend and attract more individual users to discussion. Make sure you keep it short. Obviously, there's 140 character limit. By keeping them even shorter, it allows others
to re tweet and comment on your commentary, while remaining within their character limit.

A short and insight comment has the potential
to be re tweeted many times. So give your followers a little bit of room
to personalise their re tweets. Importantly, monitor trends. If you are online within this platform and
you are looking at the trending topics, it allows you to track the big topics of discussion
around the world; and hence, is the example of Black Milk. It is an incredibly effective way to continue
to engage with your audience. The next social platform I will take you through
is LinkedIn. Obviously, it's a professional networking
site. When it first started, it was very much a
human resource capacity; but as time has gone on, LinkedIn has gone to great lengths to
increase the level of capacity and reasons for why people engage in ongoing dialogue
within the site. It facilitates networking and exchanging of
ideas; and importantly, contacts and links both within your specific geographic area
as well as globally, so that you can keep up with the latest trends that are occurring
throughout different geographies.

And it is a great opportunity for you to establish
yourself as a knowledge leader. Obviously, it can be used to share blogs or
white papers, videos and news articles, opinion pieces and obviously your CV. Now, You Tube is the second most popular search
engine, after Google. It allows people to watch videos rather than
reading text and it has become one of the most effective ways to generate cut through
to your audience. It's very inexpensive. It can be embedded within other types of platforms,
such as your own company website, Facebook pages and links the through to Twitter and
Pinterest.

Importantly, it's a good idea to include a
"call to action" in your video, to direct people to your website for more information;
and to insert keywords in your title, you know, description, tags and video narrative,
to assist with the video searchability within the SEOs. So here's a couple of examples that I am providing
you today. BCF Boating Camping Fishing again, a company
that is based here in Queensland is one of the leaders in the development of relevant
and informative content for marketing purposes. The example I have got here is "tips on Tailor
fishing".

You wouldn't normally expect there to be 15,000
people interested in knowing how to catch Tailor, but BCF has proved that through providing
meaningful content online, they go beyond the actual products that they are using within
these videos and creating that level of engagement that people appreciate. And through that appreciation of the content,
there's a higher likelihood that the people who have viewed that video, and who are familiar
with BCF, will then go to BCF to buy the accessories they need to increase their chances of catching
Tailor. The other example I have given you there is
with Di Bella; again, a Queensland based company. They do a great job of humanising their content. You know, it's using the head of the company,
as well as their staff, to engage in a really meaningful way.

Although, it doesn't quite get the 15,000
hits, it still provides a level of engagement with people in an online environment that
they never previously would have had access to. So I am now going to take you through a step
by step process in how we put together content marketing strategies. The importance of any strategy is to ensure
a level of simplicity. So you don't get bogged down and can continue
to further refine and develop your strategy as time goes on. Firstly, we will take you through step one,
which is assessment. It's an important step, to understand your
intended audience, who they are, where they are and what they are interested in.

I have got an example here for Supercheap
Auto. Now, a lot of people wouldn't think that spark
plugs are that interesting; however, it is a crucial element of the performance of your
vehicle. And by sharing valuable content and information
about something so simple as a spark plug, it can generate a level of loyalty and communication
in an online environment which ultimately will end up selling more spark plugs for Supercheap
Auto. So what have they done? They have determined who their audience is. They took the time, initially, to understand
who their target audience was. So knowing your audience will help guide your
decisions regarding the ultimate goal of your content marketing efforts and the best type
of content to post. To analyse your audience and who they are,
look at their age, their occupation, their financial status, hobbies and interests, identifiable
traits, complaints or concerns and, importantly, how you can actually help them. Where is your audience? It is important to determine where they are
accessing their information online and this involves understanding the websites and platforms
and blogs that resonate and connect with your target audience, to ensure that their posts
will have effective exposure and that it's worth their time investing in you.

Now, the places that customers currently access
might include review sites, like Urbanspoon or TrueLocal, TripAdvisor, as well as other
blogs/websites and podcasts. Again, it's important to have that spread
across your audience and understand where they are at. What is your audience interested in? You first to do a bit of research and understand
what it is in fact that they are interested in. As a business owner or manager, sometimes
being too close to the day to day operation of your business may impede your view on how
your customers perceive you or your industry and your associated products and services. As an initial step, it's to undertake a listening
phase to determine what's actually being said online about your business/industry. That might include reviewing relevant blog
sites, monitoring review sites that have reviews posted about your business and, importantly,
your competitors; checking media sites and mentions, joining groups to see what people
have been saying; and noting the common topics and concerns/complaints that have been posted
in the online environment as well.

Step two is to define. It's becoming part of the conversation. Before entering into the online conversation,
it's essential to know how you will approach your content marketing and how you can add
value for your argument audience. How will you differentiate yourself to make
sure that your content is valuable and that it stands out? So becoming part of the conversation. What makes your product/service the best? And what differentiates you as the provider
of that product/service as opposed to, say, your competitors? And what experience does your product/service
provide? And that is really crucial in making sure
you get that level of engagement.

Your writing style and format is also very
important. It's crucial that how friendly or cooperative
you choose to present your content may affect the way it's received and then how your business
is perceived. You may choose to take an informal approach
to your content and publish popular or amusing images or videos; or you might choose to keep
your content formal and publish only those items that are directly related to your business. Your style will largely be decided by the
type of business you run and the expectations and information needs of your audience.

One way to determine your writing style is
to consider how you would relate your audience in a direct face to face conversation. Do you joke with your customers or do you
prefer to present a more serious image? And your style will represent you and your
business online, so it should reflect your identity as well. I have got an example here of fly fishing
versus jet boating. Now, they are both within the marine industry. However, the way I engage with someone who
is interested in fly fishing is going to be entirely different with how I engage with
a customer who is interested in jet boating. So it's important to distinguish what it is
that you are actually trying to provide them from a content perspective.

The next stage is to develop. So proofread everything. And your audience is going to expect that
your content is engaging and also well written. So proofread all of your content; even your
tweets; to ensure that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Use an engaging headline. This is something that within our industry
we have traditionally done in the past anyway, to attract the focus or attention of a journalist
who might be writing some editorial for us. The headline and the first paragraph or piece
of information/text, was the most important part of that news release going out; and it
would then determine how successful our approach was going to be with media outlets. So make sure it's engaging. Incorporate key search phrases. So incorporate keywords and relevant phrases
to increase likelihood of your content marketing being found via search engines.

Restrict yourself from the hard sell. Again, content marketing isn't about the hard
sell. It is about forming a relationship with your
audience; and then taking them through the process of engagement, so that they can feel
confident and trusting of you, that they will then engage through a financial interaction. Share the content. If you have read an interesting article, it's
important that you tweet or share it with your followers. Encourage them to share the content that you
have created to broaden the reach, by including the "share" buttons on your content, for easy
sharing to Facebook or Twitter and Google.

And use visuals to capture attention. The use of images is really an effective method
of getting immediate attention. Of course, it's important to ensure that it's
relevant to your audience, so that they stop scrolling through a very cluttered social
media environment and take notice of your content. Generating videos for your content marketing
campaign can be a very simple and also very fun to create. I mention Black Milk before. They recently I am sure you have all heard
of their viral video that's been going around, "the Harlem Shake". Black Milk within the space of two/three days
actually put their own version of the Harlem Shake together and generated nearly 70,000
views online.

It's because Black Milk understood their audience/demographic
as young and aware of current viral trends. So a very cost effective means of generating
that level of engagement to 70,000 people in the online environment; a brilliant strategy
by Black Milk once again. Of course, use your logo. Going through all this effort to produce this
meaningful content online, make sure you include your logo with it, so people can distinguish
between the content that you produce and what others produce; and begin to take their loyalty
in toward you, rather than your competitors. Step four is to activate. So once you have developed your content, the
next step is to post it on your chosen platforms and implement your content marketing strategy. Promote your content through your different
marketing channels, which will include your website, but Facebook, Twitter and other different
available channels, including your email database. If you have launched a new social media platform,
make sure you have a link to it from your website.

And to ensure that you are constantly developing
and uploading new content, it's worth creating your own editorial calendar. Now, this is important from a planning perspective. It will ensure that you have mapped out when
you are going to produce and launch different content pieces throughout the year. And that will be associated with some of the
different promotional campaigns or initiatives that you might be becoming engaged with. And it should include content ideas, events,
headlines, as well as obviously responsibility to team, as to who is going to be managing
that level of engagement. Of course, it's important to monitor the effectiveness
of your content and have the ability to change your tactics, if something is not working. So if you are not getting enough hits on your
blog, try promoting it through other social media platforms. If they are not reading a long form blog,
try producing and uploading a video instead. So it's important to keep it fresh and to
post regular, using a range of methods to help you connect and get your audience engaged.

So the use of emerging platforms. The first platform that I have provided here
in today's presentation is around Pinterest. It's a digital scrapbook that allows its users
to share photos and images through a pinboard style web display. They pin pictures that they find interesting
or motivating or encouraging and re pin something one of the great qualities of Pinterest, as
it can lead to your business receiving greater exposure and gaining new clients by providing
links back to your pinboard, which, in turn, leads back to your website. As you can see, the Evans & Evans Pools Pinterest
page has a number of boards based around the experience of their product. So they are not necessarily talking about
the pool. They are talking about a summer barbie, ideas
for a poolside garden and entertaining ideas; a really effective means of creating meaningful
content.

So how does it look? Well, post pictures of how your product can
be used. It's a visual site; so lends itself to showing
customers and potential customers all the things you can do with your product/services. You can also use Pinterest to post videos
of how others have used them. A great way to collect customer testimonials. With your follower's permission, you can post
photos of them and write nice things about your product and services and include an image
of their own handwritten note or an email that they have shared with you.

Also share tips and information. So presenting yourself as an expert in your
field and sharing your knowledge with others is a really proven way to build customers
and Pinterest offers a way to do this visually. Obviously, let customers look behind the scenes. As we saw with the Di Bella example that I
provided earlier, share pictures of your behind the scenes operation, so they feel like they
are inside your company. Instagram is another photo sharing social
network, where users take pictures and apply digital filters and then share. Importantly, for Instagram, it can be used
throughout the suite of other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter. It confines the photos to a square shape and
then used by mobile phone cameras.

The platform encourages the sharing of photographs
using hashtags, very much similar to Twitter. So what are we doing, essentially? Well, it's humanising. Build an emotional connection with your audience. Individuals tend to use Instagram to upload
photos of their friends or their food or a sunset they might be experiencing, as a way
to show their personality. So businesses can use Instagram in a similar
way, to help humanise their business. Upload photos of staff days or events or community
days and, for instance, an award that you or your company might have received; and it
will really show that your company is friendly and accessible. Hashtags are very important to search for
photos. So include hashtag with a relevant keyword
and it will increase the likelihood of a photo being found in a search and then viewed by
interested parties. This hashtag function can be used to build
an engagement campaign. The example I have got here is Tourism Australia. What they have done is encouraged followers
to hashtag their Instagram photos with the "hashtag see Australia", for an opportunity
to be featured on the Tourism Australia profile.

A great way to engage. A very new form of platform is Posse. Now, I do need to let you know that Posse
is currently only available through Apple, but I would hazard a guess to say that will
change and also include android device capability over the coming months, as this particular
application grows. It's basically a social search engine that
let's users search for what they want and get results based on their friends' recommendations.

An example would be a search for the "best
coffee in Brisbane". Posse would provide with recommendations from
your specific Posse, which is your friends and their friends; and then provides a result
based on their feedback. Users create streets containing their favourite
businesses and these streets appear in a visually dynamic way, complete with your company logos. Now, although the opportunity for varied content
marketing is currently limited to other emerging platforms, Posse can benefit the business
with a physical location, to help generate loyalty and recommendations.

They can choose to have either a free listing
or for a monthly fee, businesses opt to improve the look of their Posse virtual business and
have activity reports that detail that month's customer ads and user comments about the business. Businesses can also send virtual "thank yous"
to followers who have added their business place to a Posse street and/or send actual
physical gifts to these users. So expect to see a lot more of that over the
coming months.

Socialcam is another emerging platform to
keep an eye out for. Its features include a video feed, a popular
Page Friends; an ability to integrate again with Facebook and Twitter and You Tube, the
major social platforms; and the ability for people to customise videos using their built
in filters. It provides an easy way to provide expert
content to your audience. So, for instance, a gardening shop could create
a Socialcam video explaining how to pot a particular plant, rather than just simply
writing a blog. An engaging platform for two way conversation. So customers can reply either with a comment
or even a video with their own. Engaging and interesting videos will help
to continually connect with your audience, build loyalty and long lasting relationships. So the more attention your video receives,
the better.

It's more likely that other users who are
not yet affiliated with your brand, may stumble across your video and begin to follow you. Another social media platform is The Vine. It's an application that allows users to create/share
short 6 second videos, using their phone, which can then be shared on a variety of social
networking services like Twitter and Facebook. It allows both normal video and stop motion,
where the video can take a series of short clips and then supplies them together into
a montage. What really makes this innovative, though,
is the recording technique that Vine uses. So rather than just simply hit a "record"
button, as you would normally with Socialcam, the application asks you to touch the screen
to record; and then if you take your finger off the screen, Vine will stop recording.

If you put your finger back on the screen,
it will resume recording. So you can stop/start your recording as many
times as you like, which is an incredibly fun and engaging way to generate interest
amongst your followers. It provides an opportunity for the small business
to create short and catchy videos that really humanise and embody the brand that you are
trying to get out there on the platforms. And because they are short, this application
can really benefit businesses that have an edgy/quirky reputation. Videos made through The Vine can include footage
of events or commentaries, tips or clues about new products/services that you have got on
offer or even prize give aways.

Google Plus, obviously everyone is familiar
with Google Plus now; it's been around for quite some time. It's Google's social network and it targets
both social and business users. The framework incorporates circles that allow
users to choose who they publish information/content to; the benefit of which, it gives you greater
control over who can see posted content. As it's been created by Google, it provides
significant search engine optimisation opportunities for your business. All users log into Google plus when they check
their emails. So once they are logged in the search function
personalises the results based on comments and "plusses" which are very similar to "like"
on Facebook. So a person logged into Google Plus who might
search for "coffee local" may get a different answer to another user searching for the same
keywords as their friends' circle and their recommendations/endorsements are different,
also.

For businesses using content marketing techniques,
this provides an opportunity to increase your search rankings by creating a dynamic and
engaging profile that people will want to follow and "plus". Businesses can post updates which might be
links or embedded videos, photos or even info graphics. Another real benefit is authorship, which
is a system that allows the content authors to have their names and picture appear in
Google search results, as per the example I have just got there at the bottom of the
screen. Now, the addition of the name and image adds
credibility and noticeability to the search result, which can lead to increased search
ranking and web hits. Also, establishes yourself as an expert, a
topic expert, which again increases the level of loyalty that your existing and potential
customers have for you So where to from here? What is it that we need to do to continue
to engage and to monitor? It's important to track and understand how
effective your efforts have been in connecting with your target audience because this will
feed back to the refinement of your strategy.

Is it working? Is a particular platform worth your investment
in time? Only measurement will be able to provide you
with that answer. So look at the number of followers and "likes"
or "favourites", re tweets, mentions and particularly "comments", which is a very engaging means
of communication between yourself and the customer. Website hits are obviously very important
and something that you have, no doubt, been looking at very closely in recent years, as
you have developed your business.

And importantly, the length of time that people
spend on your time. These days, through your measurement platforms,
you can see specifically what people have been looking at on your website and how long
they have been engaging with that piece of content. So you will determine whether or not they
have just browsed and clicked through something or whether or not they have actually engaged
or read or viewed something. So look at those more meaningful levels of
engagement that people have connected with and grow them because it will ultimately then
grow your level of support and loyalty amongst your potential client database. Continuous improvement. It's about making content enhancements to
make sure you keep hitting your targets. Look for ways to make things better or easier
or faster or cheaper. Reflect on what you have done and how you
have done it helps to make your future activities more efficiency and successful. So consider whether or not your message is
still on track. Are you posting enough content? And what is your competition doing? And it will help you to create content that
truly addresses the needs of your customers and sets you apart from your competition.

So in summary, content market something about
providing valued informing to your customers and not about the hard sell. Take time to assess and understand your audience,
so that you are creating relevant and valuable content. Understand your own business and the value
it brings to customers beyond the product and ensure that you are marketing on the current
popular platforms that already have large followings. You can then move on to the trial of emerging
platforms to see if they work for your business.

Baseline your current status before launching
your content marketing campaign to measure success. Know where you are starting from, so that
you can ensure that six to 12 months' down the track you are making a correct judgment
on which particular platforms are best for you and your business. Now, there is further information available
and we have got four links here. I would encourage everyone to get onto to
each of these links, so they can review more content. And I will now just pass you back to Helen
for our Q&A.

HELEN HUTCHINGS: Thanks, Doug, and thanks
so much for your presentation. We are going to jump straight in, as we have
just under ten minutes left in today's session and we have had quite a lot of questions come
through. So thank you, everybody, for your participation. Doug, let's get into it: where do you draw
the line between creating and sharing valuable content versus charging for the content, particularly
if you are a service provider? So, how much do you give away for free, basically? DOUG PYE: Helen, that's a really interesting
question. The important thing to note is that you need
to offer a level of connection, so that people firstly have an awareness of who you are. If you are able to provide your potential
customers with an engaging level of content, whether that be through a white paper or a
blog, explaining the service that you provide, it's not necessarily giving something away
for free.

It's just giving your business the ability
to communicate online and grab the attention of your potential customer. Because engagement is more about ongoing contact;
and once a potential customer becomes used to the content that you are providing and
how your services can improve their lives or what they do, it's that point in time that
you can go to a greater depth of content delivery or service delivery, where you can start injecting
means of payment or financial transaction. But if you are not getting your content out
there in the online space and at least sharing some of your intellectual property or your
expertise, there is a chance/risk that your service will be overlooked for another business
that is providing meaningful content. HELEN HUTCHINGS: So, really, it's about understanding
your audience and, also, a judgment call on each individual business's behalf, on how
much they are prepared to share to get that level of engagement with that audience.

DOUG PYE: Absolutely. It really forms part of that initial process
of the strategy development. Know what your parameters are and then produce
content within those parameters, so you are not just simply giving everything away. All you are providing them with is the carrot
that is required to grab their attention in an incredibly cluttered environment; and from
that point on, is where you start looking at ways to insert the financial models. HELEN HUTCHINGS: Interestingly on that point,
we have had a question about audience identification: what's the best way to identify the audience? Should a company invest in market research
or should they conduct an online survey of their own database; what would you recommend
in that case? DOUG PYE: It's important to know what you
have got to work with, from the start.

So if you have got an email database and you
are not regularly getting into contact with them to ask for their feedback, you need to
start doing it immediately. Your customers are the people who want to
tell you how you can provide a better product/service. So that's the first port of call; get in touch
with those people who you have already established some level of loyalty and engagement with. Email databases are a great way to get started. Again, when we went through that initial process
of the content marketing strategy development, you have got to listen to who your audience
is. That doesn't happen overnight. You need to set up the dashboards that can
identify feedback about your brand or your product or the type of service that you provide. And listen to what they are saying. If they are trying to provide constructive
feedback on how something should be improved, then it's a lot cheaper than conducting a
series of focus groups. So, yeah, listening and measuring are incredibly
cost effective ways to increase your business's performance.

HELEN HUTCHINGS: Today, Doug, we have covered
a number of different platforms that businesses could look at. Can there ever be too many platforms that
a business ascribes to? DOUG PYE: Good question. It really depends on the type of business
that you are a part of. Obviously, it's important to start from a
basic level. When I say "basic level", I mean, Facebook
and Twitter and You Tube, as well as an emerging platform such as Google Plus, to create the
frameworks that can integrate and share content. Once you have established those platforms
and got them operating through your calendar of activities, you can then start looking
at emerging platforms that are going to actively engage with potential customers or followers. So, yeah, look, I can't say that there are
too many platforms that people use, but I think it's important that people get their
head around the top four/five platforms first, before they start engaging in other mediums
with their potential clientele.

HELEN HUTCHINGS: I guess it is a question
of resources as well, isn't it, because if you are not going to really drive the engagement
through the number of platforms you have signed up to, then you are not going to achieve the
results you are looking for? DOUG PYE: No, you are absolutely right. You know, there's nothing worse than having
a static piece of social media platform for potential customers to look at. If you have got a particular blog that two
years ago you posted a particular article on and you haven't engaged in, people are
going to pick up the fact that you haven't used that service for a period of two years
and then just simply move on to another competitor who might be actively engaging within the
platform.

So when you are choosing your platforms, make
sure you have got the resources necessary to continue consistent levels of content engagement. That's incredibly important. Yeah, good question, Helen. HELEN HUTCHINGS: We have had another interesting
one, something around particularly how you could convince managers, and business owners,
in terms of, you know, is content marketing a phase? How do we know this type of marketing is still
going to be still around and successful next year? DOUG PYE: Oh, look, content marketing is what
I believe anyway content marketing is here to stay. Marketing content is definitely the new way
of engagement and the generation of loyalty. Everyone at some stage of their day, every
single day of the week, engages with a social platform or there is a level of engagement,
whether or not it be through writing emails or these days shopping online. So a lot of their decisions are made within
the online environment; whereas traditionally they might have gone to their friends in a
face to face environment and received a recommendation. Now they have got access to not just their
friends' recommendations, but a globe of people recommending particular products/services.

This level of engagement is brought about
by the proper utilisation of content marketing. I believe it's definitely here to stay and
that businesses need to take notice in developing strategies, so they can become a part of this
emerging means of marketing. HELEN HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Doug. Look, one final quick question, because I
know this is a passion of yours as well: In terms of monitoring, particularly online social
media, what sort of tools would you use to monitor how well your content marketing is
going and how it's being received? DOUG PYE: Well, interestingly each of the
social platforms that you use will undoubtedly have a framework where you can measure the
success of your content and how it integrates. It's inexpensive and oftentimes free for you
to be able to properly measure the effectiveness of your content.

You know, Facebook business pages already
provide you with the necessary framework to measure the success levels of your content
integration, and so do the other platforms. There
is software out there that can actually pull measurement platforms into one location, so
that you can on a daily basis review and then measure and refine your strategy and what
you are going to be putting into the online environment. I would encourage everyone participating today
to get online and actually search for those types of platforms where you can manage multiple
social media sites. HELEN HUTCHINGS: Excellent. I am afraid that's all we have time for today.

Thanks so much, Doug, for your presentation. DOUG PYE: Thank you. HELEN HUTCHINGS: Thank you, everyone, for
your participation. We hope that you enjoyed this webinar and
found it useful for your business. We will be sending out an evaluation survey
very soon and we would really appreciate it if you could provide your feedback. Thank you again for attending and hope you
have a lovely afternoon..

As found on YouTube

Share this article

Leave a comment

Related Posts