Breaking through with meaningful content marketing in the age of storytelling

A conversation on the state of story-driven content with analyst and author Brian Solis.

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Today, it seems that everyone is a storyteller — some 550,000 marketers list storytelling in their profile on LinkedIn. But connecting with people through the power of the story requires a lot more than changing your title.

The challenge is shifting from content marketing to true storytelling: understanding an audience, inspiring them, compelling them and igniting their imagination.

“As marketers, we’ve bought into the aspiration and the ideal of storytelling-based marketing without going through the exercise of what it actually takes to become a storyteller,” says Brian Solis, a marketing expert and principal analyst at Altimeter Group. When Solis wrote “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design,” he immersed himself in the art and science of storytelling, working closely with Pixar artist and storyboarding expert Nick Sung.

Brian Solis, analyst and author of “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design”

I spoke with Brian about the gap between content marketing and storytelling, and what marketers need to know today.

Q. How should businesses by thinking about storytelling?

Brian Solis: There are some common pillars of quality storytelling — and it all starts with knowing your audience, what they love/don’t love, what they value, etc.

Aside from the seven common plots of story, there are pillars that resonate with certain audiences, depending on their goals and yours. These include inspiration, usefulness, importance and inclusivity, just to name a few — and these apply to content marketing, too.

Q. How can marketers apply this framework to their campaigns?

The arc of a marketing campaign is usually the opposite of a traditional story arc. The climax, which is typically the product launch day in business, is followed by the supporting action and road to wider adoption — until the budget runs out or the campaign is over.

Stories are continuous. Opportunities for engagement are always on. Customers do not go on/off based on your campaign or content calendar.

For marketers, the hero in the Hero’s Journey is your customer. Think about how they traverse their world every day and what information they need to succeed and be the “hero” in their story, then use that to inspire your stories.

Q. What mistakes do you see marketers making when applying storytelling to their content efforts?

Too many marketers have no clear idea who they’re trying to reach, what’s important to them and why. Sixty percent of marketers still don’t have a documented content strategy, my research has found, even though nearly three in four marketers plan to spend more on content in the coming year.

It’s difficult for any brand to stand out right now, and content is more often designed to be “viral” rather than engaging, useful or empathetic. That’s a big reason why a significant amount of content fails.

Q. Is the shortening attention span of mobile users making it more difficult for content marketing to resonate?

Mobile devices are like digital appendages. Consumers are busy living their “best” lives while being inundated with information on mobile.

People don’t want marketing and brand-approved messages. They want personalization, usefulness and value. They’re willing to pay attention to — and share — content that speaks to them, helps them, or boosts them within their community.

That means thoughtful and relevant stories that they can consume based on their state of mind or intent and their preferences and expectations…at the right time, in the right context in the right format.

Q. How can marketers best measure their success?

The underlying problem is that many marketers have lost sight of who they’re really creating content for. Instead of investing in engaging with their audiences of human beings who have intent, goals, aspirations, passions, needs, they’re prioritizing quantity and developing campaigns for the people who are approving their work.

Too often, I see marketers measure success with vanity metrics such as likes, traffic, views and followers. These numbers actually take them further from the people who matter — those who need their experience and advice.

Instead, I’d suggest that marketers focus on growth. Use AI and machine learning to predict intent. Translate those insights into content that matters to customers. Then, consider designing for the A.R.T. of engagement (actions, reactions and transactions).

Track the impact you’re making on the people and the businesses you’re trying to reach. That means knowing what moves the needle with them by considering the meaning, utility and value that your marketing content provides.


Read more about storytelling
Making emotional connections in a digital era
Data-driven storytelling: the intersection of numbers and narrative
The science of storytelling
Storytelling for action: Why brands need to tell a complete story

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Measure Your Success

Business management consultant Peter Drucker is often attributed with the saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” By this he meant that you don’t know whether you’re succeeding unless your goal is defined and tracked. When it comes to DMO websites there are six goals we see tracked more often than others. They are:… Read More

The post Measure Your Success appeared first on Bound.

Business management consultant Peter Drucker is often attributed with the saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” By this he meant that you don’t know whether you’re succeeding unless your goal is defined and tracked.

When it comes to DMO websites there are six goals we see tracked more often than others. They are:

  • eNewsletter SignUp
  • Visitor Guide Download
  • Aggregate Bounce Rate
  • Aggregate Time On Site
  • Aggregate Goal Conversion Rate
  • Aggregate Pages Per Visit

Because it is the most commonly tracked, we covered eNewsletter Sign-up in more detail in this previous post. In this post, we’ll pull from our report State of Personalization for Destination Marketers, so you can see how you measure up to your peers.

In the below charts, the Non-Targeted numbers represent website visitors who were not served personalized content. If you are not serving personalized content, you should compare your own performance against this group.

If you are serving personalized content, you will be in the higher performing group and should compare your performance to that of the website visitors tracked under Targeted.

How does your website compare to your peers on these key metrics? Does this bring up questions about what you’re measuring and managing? A simple but well organized measurement strategy is critical to managing a successful website. If you have any questions about best practices, please feel free to contact the Bound team here, and we’ll be happy to chat.

If you would like to download the  Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report from which we pulled these metrics, click here. In the report, you will learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  •      Website personalization benchmark statistics
  •      Strategies for implementing personalization
  •      2018 trends in content and personalization
  •      Real case studies from successful destinations

Related Posts

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From funnel to flywheel

If you’re like most marketers, you could name the basic parts of the sales funnel in your sleep: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Decision, and Purchase. Of course, businesses have tweaked the model over the years, adding extra steps and so forth, but the basic premise has remained the same. But there is one problem with the […]

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If you’re like most marketers, you could name the basic parts of the sales funnel in your sleep: Awareness, Interest, Evaluation, Decision, and Purchase.

Of course, businesses have tweaked the model over the years, adding extra steps and so forth, but the basic premise has remained the same. But there is one problem with the model: it’s the opposite of customer-centric. In fact, in the traditional sales funnel, leads are treated a bit like uniform widgets moving along a conveyor belt, with various things happening to them along the way.

The problem is that if you’re not centered on the customer, your marketing efforts might be going to waste. If we had a nickel for every brilliant content strategy that seemed to explode with engagement while yielding little (if any) measurable return on investment, we’d have more than a piggy-bank full of change.

Centering the customer in your sales model changes that, though, because the customer now drives all content and all marketing efforts, instead of the other way around. In this piece, we’ll explain a new sales model. Maybe by the end you’ll be like us: falling ever-so-slightly out of love with the funnel — and in love with the flywheel.

A what wheel?

Like its predecessor the funnel, a flywheel is not just a metaphor, but also a real-life tool that powers multiple, modern-day inventions. Invented by James Watt of lightbulb fame, the flywheel is a disc or wheel around an axis. It has assorted industrial applications and can be found in car engines, ships, and a lot of other places where energy needs to be generated, amplified, stored, and stabilized.

The flywheel effect, described by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, describes a massive, 5,000-pound metal disc mounted horizontally on an axle. He asks the reader to imagine pushing it, so that it turns around that axle. At first, getting it to move at all is extremely difficult. But with each push, it gets fractionally easier and the flywheel begins to pick up speed. Collins writes:

Then, at some point—breakthrough! The momentum of the thing kicks in in your favor, hurling the flywheel forward, turn after turn … whoosh! … its own heavy weight working for you. You’re pushing no harder than during the first rotation, but the flywheel goes faster and faster. Each turn of the flywheel builds upon work done earlier, compounding your investment of effort. A thousand times faster, then ten thousand, then a hundred thousand. The huge heavy disk flies forward, with almost unstoppable momentum. 

It’s a great metaphor for marketing. Because that momentum isn’t the product of any single push. Instead, the energy is cumulative, generated by a lot of little pushes, with the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

Ideally, marketing and sales should work the same way. The energy, leads, and revenue created by marketing efforts is not due to any single channel, piece of content, or campaign; it’s a cumulative effect. And once it really gets going, a good marketing campaign keeps spinning. It generates energy.

Putting the customer at the center

Instead of a funnel into which prospective customers are unceremoniously dumped, the flywheel puts the customer at the center of the wheel: the axle.

Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan, for example, sees the customer as the lynchpin, with the flywheel itself divided into three equal segments, each representing stages along the customer journey: attract, engage, and delight. Each area creates energy and passes it along to the next, with the delight phase feeding back into attract.

Other flywheel devotees divide the disc into Marketing, Sales, and Service — again putting the customer in the center position. Each effort feeds into the next, cycling around and around, but always circling the customer.

This may be the most important aspect of the flywheel model — that it centers the customer. The funnel, on the other hand, doesn’t consider how those customers can feed back into the funnel (or the flywheel) to help create additional growth and engagement.

The funnel can’t conceive of customers buying from you more than once, so the momentum you build acquiring customers via the funnel just falls away. Following every quarter, every customer, every conversion — you’re starting all over again.

Learning to fly

The momentum of a flywheel is determined by three primary pieces:

  1. The weight of the wheel

With a physical flywheel, the greater the mass of the flywheel, the greater its momentum and the harder it is to stop. In the customer-focused model, the “weight” looks like an exceptional customer service experience that builds your reputation and brand in ways that create retention, build ambassadors, and deliver value into your marketing and sales segments. The way that you deliver that customer experience will be unique to your business model.

  1. How fast you spin it

The speed in the flywheel model is really about the number of “pushes” you give the wheel. How much content is your marketing team delivering? Which channels are you using to reach prospects? How many leads are coming from the content?

  1. The friction

Reducing flywheel friction is about ensuring customers remain satisfied and keeping your efforts aligned. If poor sales performance is slowing the momentum from marketing — or if poor service is hurting retention of hard-won sales — your flywheel will slow down, and your business will suffer. On the other hand, when everything is aligned, your efforts will feed into each other and keep your flywheel humming along.

Finding alignment and purpose

It’s one thing to draw up a model and another to align cross-organizational efforts in real life. Part of finding alignment is cultural, getting leadership to buy in and coordinating communication among departments. But a huge part of the lift has to be operational — and will be dependent on having technology that enables marketing, sales, and service to coordinate.

At CallTrackingMetrics (CTM), we’ve been thinking this way for some time now — though we only recently discovered the flywheel model. Our call intelligence and management platform brings together all the three segments of the flywheel: marketing, sales, and service.

It tracks call sources, lets agents tag and score calls, helps businesses respond immediately to inquiries, and provides a data-rich environment that can inform stakeholders across organizations about marketing, sales, and service performance. It also helps create reporting to determine returns on investment for content and campaigns, customer feedback, and more. In short, it makes it easier to understand and engage with customers in a meaningful, helpful way.

That engagement matters. A lot. Because, at the end of the day, marketing and sales are all about creating better experiences along your customers’ journeys. And the funnel model has never recognized the important part customer service teams play in generating customer retention, brand building, and developing stronger relationships and alignment between your business and your customers — as well as within the disparate teams in your organization.

In the end, the flywheel ensures that everyone in your business shares the same purpose: keeping the flywheel spinning, in order to create better relationships with and experiences for your customers. However hard it might seem to get it spinning at first, once the flywheel gains momentum and sales start churning, it’s well worth the effort.

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Images and Stories Inspire Us to Travel

Photo courtesy of Tupelo.net When you see an image of a beautiful location or hear a great story about a destination, your natural response is to want to experience it yourself. The first step in that experience is often looking at the pictures of other travelers and reading their thoughts, opinions and narratives of their… Read More

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Photo courtesy of Tupelo.net

When you see an image of a beautiful location or hear a great story about a destination, your natural response is to want to experience it yourself. The first step in that experience is often looking at the pictures of other travelers and reading their thoughts, opinions and narratives of their experiences. We respond strongly to this user generated content because we can relate to the creators and we can relate their experience to what ours could be like.

In our 2018 State of Personalization Report, we identify user generated content as a major driver in online engagement. That’s the difference we see between user generated content and advertiser or marketer generated content. Travelers trust other travelers over advertisers. According to a study by Elon University, 65% of consumers trust word of mouth on the Internet more than content produced by advertisers.

Incorporating user-generated content into your destination’s digital marketing campaigns is a great opportunity to include an undeniable level of authenticity. In the report, we look at how leveraging local audiences to create content creates three benefits:

  • Modern consumers are visual decision makers.
  • Real people don’t feel like an advertising campaign.
  • User generated content establishes credibility.

As part of a bigger initiative to turn all marketing directives from professional photos to user-generated images taken by real visitors, Bound customer, Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau, started their #MyTupelo campaign. While Elvis’ hometown draws crowds from far and wide, many visitors only come for one specific attraction — so the challenge for the marketing team at Tupelo CVB was to increase overnight/weekend stays. Tupelo realized that it could take its marketing goals and initiatives to another level with a strategy that involved leveraging their locals.

“With UGC it’s not just us telling you to use our hashtag; it’s us saying there’s another traveler who stood in the exact same spot you’re standing in right now, and telling their travel story with a level of authenticity we just can’t provide on our own,” said Will Crockett, Online Content Manager at Tupelo CVB.

San Francisco Travel Association launched their “I am San Francisco and You Are Always Welcome” campaign as part of an initiative to let international travelers know that all people are always welcome. The first phase addressed the visitor directly in a dedicated video and #AlwaysWelcome hashtag. Phase two involves a nine-feature campaign leveraging locals with the goal of showcasing San Francisco as a diverse and welcoming destination. Titled “I Am San Francisco,” it’s an online series sharing the stories of both natives of the city and those who came to visit and found a home.

“We wanted to tell stories that are real and authentically San Francisco,” President and CEO of SF Travel Association, Joe D’Alessandro said. “This is what San Francisco is all about–not just acknowledging diversity but celebrating and defending it around the world.”

User generated content is just one of the topics we cover in our annual report. You can download the Free Guide: State of Personalization 2018 Report to learn how destination marketers like you are leveraging:

  • Website personalization benchmark statistics
  • Strategies for implementing personalization
  • 2018 trends in content and personalization
  • Real case studies from successful destinations

Related Posts

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Target acquired: How to define and use your ideal target market

Don’t assume you know who makes up your target audience because you could be wrong. Here’s a look at how to identify a target market and create niched marketing campaigns that sell.

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Ironically enough, when it comes to promoting themselves, many businesses jump straight into marketing and forget to really think about the most important part of marketing: their target market.

This problem isn’t just limited to new entrepreneurs or start-ups, either. I’ve talked to plenty of well-established companies who can only describe their target market in broad generalities.

This is a real problem because knowing exactly who you’re targeting with your marketing is the key to successfully reaching, connecting with and convincing them to buy what you’re selling. So, while it’s tempting to jump right into building your marketing campaigns and putting together creative, it always pays to stop and think about your target market first.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to identify your target market and use what you know about that market to create target marketing campaigns that sell.

Who am I targeting?

Whether you’re a new business or a decades-old company putting together a new ad campaign, you should always be asking yourself “who am I targeting?” Even if you sell products with broad appeal, this question is still important. Specifics sell and the more specifics you know about the market you are targeting, the more effective your marketing will be.

For example, if you sell lotion, you might think that your target market is too big to define. I mean, almost everyone gets dry hands at some point, right?

While that might be true, there are a lot of different reasons why people buy lotion. Some people live in a dry climate. Some have a skin condition like rosacea. Some people want a lotion that smells good, while others want a scent-less lotion because scented lotions irritate their skin.

Would it make sense to use the same marketing for all of these different groups?

Even if your scent-less lotion happens to be great for people who live in a dry climate or have rosacea, it’s hard to effectively market to all of these markets simultaneously. After all, if someone searches for “rosacea lotion” on Google, they aren’t looking for lotion because they live in a dry climate. They want a lotion that will treat their specific skin condition.

Even within a more targeted market segment like “rosacea sufferers”, there is often room to refine your target market further. For example, you’d want to use very different marketing tactics to market your lotion to moms with young children suffering from rosacea than you would if you were trying to sell to middle-aged men with the condition.

Can you see why understanding your target market is so important? The more clearly and precisely you can answer the question “who am I targeting?”, the more focused and effective your marketing will be. Obviously, you have to balance market size with market specificity, but understanding who you are targeting and what motivates them is the key to create compelling marketing campaigns.

With all that in mind, here are a few easy questions you can ask yourself to help you define your target market(s):

How do my current customers use my product or service?

As I mentioned above, even people who use your product or service for the same thing may use it for different reasons or in different ways. For example, if you offer invoicing software, you may have some customers who use it for every client and transaction, while others only use it for certain clients or situations.

Odds are, invoicing software addicts are probably your most valuable customers and you will want to both target them more aggressively and with different messaging than you would more casual users. Your software will be an integral part of their business, so certain selling points about your software will appeal more to them than they would to your standard users.

Segmenting your current customer base by how they use your product or service can give you a lot of insight into your target market(s). Odds are, if your current customers love your business for a particular reason, potential customers who are motivated by the same things will be likely to respond to marketing that focuses on that same issue.

What am I trying to sell?

This might seem like an obvious part of any marketing campaign, but when it comes to defining your target market, knowing what you are trying to sell is important, especially if you’re changing what you are selling. Many businesses try to use old marketing tactics to sell a new product and then wonder why their results are bad.

Whether you’re trying to market something new or simply get more sales for a particular product or service, it’s important to think about who your new target market is. Different products and services appeal to different audiences, so even small tweaks to what you’re selling can have big effects on how well your marketing works.

For example, if you sell cookies and decide to add organic, egg-free cookies as a new product, you need to market them differently than your standard cookie line.

Let’s be honest, most people who buy organic, egg-free cookies aren’t buying them because they are the best tasting cookies. They care about the ingredients more than the flavor, so your marketing should focus on how healthy and environmentally friendly your cookies are.

At the same time, if most of your customer base loves the flavor of your standard cookies, they aren’t likely to start buying your organic cookies because they are environmentally friendly. They want the delicious cookies they know and love, so you should focus on marketing the flavor of your core cookie offering to your less ingredient-conscious target market.

Ultimately, what you are trying to sell has a huge impact on how you sell it and who you sell it to. As a result, “what am I trying to sell?” should be one of the first things you ask yourself during the marketing process.

What is the competition doing?

While I’m a big advocate for standing out from the competition, you can also learn a lot from the competition—both about what to do and what not to do.

For example, take a look at the ad below:

You can clearly see that this business is targeting high-intensity people who probably lead high-intensity, busy lifestyles. To appeal to this market, their ad copy is high energy and focused on the flexibility of their offering.

If you happen to be a competitor of theirs, there’s a lot you can learn from this. On the one hand, if you want to target the same market, you can look for keywords or phrases they are using to try and catch the attention of their target audience.

Alternatively, if you want to differentiate yourself and try to target an alternative market, you could try focusing on price, a different exercise option or offering lower-key classes that might appeal to less intense potential customers.

Whether it’s a gym down the street or an international conglomeration, your competition can teach you a lot about who your target market is (or should be) and how to approach them in your marketing.

Is my target market niche … or non-existent?

One final thing to keep in mind as you identify your target market is the size of that market. As we discussed earlier, the narrower your target market is, the easier it is to create specific, highly targeted messaging for them. However, if you can only target 10 people with that messaging, it may not be a market worth targeting.

Given the massive reach of online advertising platforms like Facebook and Google, this isn’t a common problem, but it is something to keep in mind as you define your target market(s). If you find yourself struggling to effectively target the market you’ve selected, you may need to take a step back and expand your audience a bit.

As a general rule of thumb, I like to assume that 3 percent of the people you can target with a given marketing channel are ready to buy today and 3 percent can probably be convinced to buy. If that 3 to 6 percent of your identified target market isn’t enough potential business to be worth your time and money, your market is probably too niche to be useful.

Conclusion

While it can be easy to assume you know who your target market is and what they want, taking the time to really think about what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to and how to best sell it can significantly improve your marketing results. It might not be the most glamorous or exciting part of marketing, but it’s a key part of every good marketing campaign.

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How to find good writers and other content marketing struggles

You get what you pay for when it comes to copywriters says contributor Jessica Fowler. Here’s a look at how to hire good copywriters to help drive traffic and sales to your site.

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While the “content is king” mantra sits firm 0n its throne, it leaves one burning question: “How do I find writers fit for such royalty?”

From low-cost content factories to high-ticket copywriters you feel you can’t afford, you may find yourself wondering if there’s a middle road.

How do you know which solution is best for you?  Some say the best solution is to build an in-house team of writers, but this isn’t always the most affordable (or practical) option.

For those that need to outsource content writing, finding the right fit can be a bit of a whirlwind and confusing.

Today’s column will help answer all those questions, and more!  I’m going to share ideas that will help you find, qualify and hire quality search engine optimization (SEO)-savvy content writers you can depend on.

Struggle #1: What qualifies as a “good” SEO content writer?

Qualifying a good writer can feel a lot like qualifying a new love interest. They look good on paper and make a good first impression, but how do you really know they are the one?

The hard truth is that, just like with a love interest, you’ll have to spend time getting to know your writer before you really get an answer in full. But that doesn’t mean you have to go in blind. Here are some non-negotiables that will increase your odds of finding a good fit without wasting time:

  1. It should be clear to you from the start that your writer understands the basics: grammar, spelling, and structure. You can learn this through conversation. Converse with your writer by texting and/or email to get a feel for their grasp of the written word.
  2. A good SEO content writer also understands that a search engine wants you to write for the audience, not the algorithm. Ask for samples to assess this and watch out for keyword heavy posts that have poor flow and readability. Read their work and ask yourself, “If I am my target audience, do I find this information valuable and consumable?” If you don’t, usually the algorithm won’t either.
  3. Run the samples you receive through a readability scoring app like HemingwayApp.com. Sometimes an article will look great on the surface, but you’ll find that it carries a low readability score. This means the way its written lacks clarity and is difficult to consume.
  4. If you want to doubly ensure that you’re going to get a great return on your investment, look for content writers that do SEO copywriting — not just practice SEO. Why? People that only specialize in SEO might be able to bring you traffic, but will they know how to influence that traffic? Not necessarily. Copywriters understand the psychology of why your audience will purchase, join your list, or take any action you want them to take on your website. This is where the real magic happens, so look out for these copywriting unicorns.
  5. Lastly, copywriter or not – your writer should understand your audience’s relationship with your niche. If you want to sell diet pills to middle age women who want to lose weight, your writer shouldn’t just understand the audience or only understand the diet pills. They should understand where the two collide. What are your audience’s pain points, limiting beliefs, and buying triggers around your product or service? Usually, this is the biggest mistake when hiring, but the answer is simple: require relevant samples when vetting your wordsmith and see what they know.

Struggle #2: Where can I find good SEO writers?

Speaking objectively, you can find good writers anywhere. But there’s definitely a difference between shopping around on Fiverr versus other higher quality avenues that offer you better screening opportunities.

One of the best ways to vet an SEO content writer is to find them on social media where they post long-form content. This way you can see for yourself how they write, how they work, and how they interact with their clients and prospects.

Join SEO and copywriting groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and just hang out for a bit. You’ll notice writers posting in quality groups to attract leads. Instead of just seeing samples that can be tweaked, you’ll get to see how they write and interact with leads and clients on a day to day basis.

This level of consistency and insight into a writer’s personality, ethics, and values will help you feel more comfortable and less blind going into a working agreement together.

You can also post in these groups asking for recommendations. You’ll find community members are happy to showcase the writers who’ve brought them the most value.

Struggle #4: Do I need an “SOP” for my writers?

A million times yes!

You are probably going to pick an experienced writer who is also catering to multiple clients at the same time he/she works with you. Each client they work with has different primary preferences and concerns, from the style of writing, how the work should be submitted, and so on.  Standard operating procedures (SOPs) help minimize the guesswork for your writer and potential headaches for you.

The truth is most business owners aren’t struggling to find quality writers, they’re struggling to keep them! Without clear direction, writers have to guess how you want things done and that generally causes confusion and room for error.  With more direction and outlines like an SOP, everyone stays happy.

Writing SOPs may seem like a time-intensive step, but the good news is, once it’s done it saves you hundreds of hours on the backend. And if you want to take it off your plate, consult an operations specialist who can help with this. It’ll increase your return on investment (ROI), help eliminates stress and keeps good writers happy and in your employ.

Struggle #5: How much should I pay for copywriting?

A wise human somewhere once said — you get what you pay for.  If your audience is based in the US, will a non-English speaking content writer fully understand not only the language but the culture of your audience?  Probably not.  Do you have editors available to help or are you setting yourself up to spend just as much time editing a piece as you would have spent writing it yourself? The allure of inexpensive writers is high but unless you have the time and patience to train them it’s probably not a smart investment.

Even a native speaking writer charging minimum wage is probably inexperienced and may not have access to research resources. At the end of the day ,you’re paying for a result. How much is it worth to you to make sure you are getting the best content in a reasonable amount of time?

Ultimately, the best copywriter understands your audience’s language and culture, is skilled in SEO and conversion rate optimization, is resourceful and capable. You have other things to worry about, and having a writer that can produce high-quality content is key not just for successful writing, but successful business operations and scaling.

Struggle #6: Is “SEO content” worth the investment?

Search-engine-optimized content is like anything else — you get out of it what you put into it. If you hire top quality writers, you’re going to get top quality content which in turn will help drive traffic and better rankings for your site.

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Use Your Customer’s Voice to Create Powerful Content that Converts

With the use of social media and web access at all-time highs, it’s more important than ever to create powerful content that converts and makes sure that you engage with your customers. With the 2018 marketing trends in mind, leads and potential …

With the use of social media and web access at all-time highs, it’s more important than ever to create powerful content that converts and makes sure that you engage with your customers. With the 2018 marketing trends in mind, leads and potential customers are looking for a personal touch. They want an account of how...

The post Use Your Customer’s Voice to Create Powerful Content that Converts appeared first on Conversion Sciences.

7 Conversion Copywriting Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner

Note: The following copywriting tricks are reprinted from the ebook 21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions. You just lost some potential revenue. There goes some more. A poor conversion rate will pick your pocket day after day…

Note: The following copywriting tricks are reprinted from the ebook 21 Quick and Easy CRO Copywriting Hacks to Skyrocket Conversions. You just lost some potential revenue. There goes some more. A poor conversion rate will pick your pocket day after day. That’s why you’ll love these 7 conversion copywriting hacks. They’re quick and easy. And...

The post 7 Conversion Copywriting Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew About Sooner appeared first on Conversion Sciences.

Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy

Contributor Mark Williams says marketers must evolve the metrics they monitor to keep up with the changing media-consumption environment.

The post Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy appeared first on Marketing Land.

As marketers and brands have seen, the prevalence of digital video has transformed how consumers access media and content.

Essentially, video is not the future, it’s the “now”.

According to Cisco, global IP video traffic will represent 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Consumers no longer want to read about a brand  — they want to visualize it.

In 2018 and beyond, we’ll see a big shift from before, when advertisers were looking to buy reach and frequency with traditional media, to now, where advertisers will want to capitalize on intensity through the maximum amount of reach and frequency. In a post-pivot-to-video world, it’s time to change your video and media strategy, especially how you measure it.

To tackle all of the changes and innovations in media and digital marketing within the past few years, and especially to gear you up for the further integration of video, here are three tips for navigating the new age of media strategy.

1. Measure your audience with intensity

Rethink your approach to measurement. It’s not just about clicks and views. Viewability and reach are no longer the main indicators of success because they don’t measure how an audience is connecting with the content.

Instead, track deeper actions. Update your key performance indicators (KPIs) with different engagement metrics, such as watch time, engagements, earned metrics and follower acquisition, to track whether or not your intended audience actually viewed your message and reacted to it.

Watch time is one of the most valuable metrics to track in order to gauge whether or not audiences are actually watching your content. It’s also the most important factor for platform algorithms. If you track minutes watched, retention rate and the average percentage of those who watched through, you’ll have a better idea of how you are captivating the audience’s attention, and at what level of intensity.

Tracking engagements (e.g., likes, shares and comments) is also a key indicator of your strategy’s performance. Engagements and engagement rates indicate that fans are making a decision beyond simply watching your content. If they’re sharing, starting up a conversation, or compelled by a call to action from the content, you can measure the intensity with which your audience is consuming the material.

Also, be sure to watch your follower/subscriber acquisition. Growing a fan base is essential to the marketing efforts of advertisers, and it is important to identify what content brings in new followers so that you can focus your content strategy to consider these insights.

2. Rethink content strategy: Transform ads + make content relevant

Given the prevalence of ad blockers, it’s clear that interruptive advertising doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we’re seeing high performance through integrated brand messages. To do this, make your content relevant to your consumer.

Embed your campaign initiatives into publisher sites through partnerships to make for a smoother and natural integration of your advertising.

Consider integrating with influencers. Research conducted by Fullscreen (my employer) and MediaScience found that the percentage of viewers who would recommend a brand after watching a branded video from an influencer was 13 percent higher than the percentage for a TV ad.

Test different content strategies to see what resonates best with your audience, and for a more specific segmented analysis, A/B test different interest sets and demographics to inform your marketing plan.

3. Tailor by platform

To keep your marketing strategy specific and efficient, optimize content and advertising to reflect the platform. Utilize metadata by making campaigns that align with proper titling and tagging across all of your platforms. Keep your branding design consistent to ensure that your content is distinguishable. Ensure that your creative is designed for the specific tech specs of the platform where it will live.

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Facebook creative must be treated differently from Snapchat and so on. Perhaps most importantly, the creative must feel endemic to the platform — which explains why repurposed television commercials have some of the lowest engagement metrics.

Identify and maintain a consistent publishing schedule that is tailored to times when platforms reach the highest number of eyes, not only to maximize viewership and engagement but also to help consumers know when to expect your content.

Further, aim to promote circular traffic: Utilize the platforms through their available interactive elements so that you can cross-promote across all channels.

When tailoring your content for specific platforms, you also want to pay attention to how the platform is accessed.

Take a look at the platform functions, according to recent data from each platform and Statista, YouTube is accessed 50 percent of the time on mobile, whereas Facebook is at 95.1 percent and Instagram is at 100 percent.

This means that when creating content for YouTube, you should pay equal attention to mobile and desktop access, whereas Facebook and Instagram should lean more heavily toward mobile usage.

In closing

You’ll want to keep these three tips at the forefront of your digital marketing and content strategy so that you quickly adapt your brand to the changing video and media environments of today.

Remember, the overarching difference in paid media targeting online versus traditional targeting is the more refined, specific targeting of individuals, which ultimately leads to higher attention and intensity, as well as greater returns.

With all of these advancements, online media has many new metrics which you absolutely must utilize to expand your reach and retention far beyond that of traditional paid media.

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