Posts Tagged ‘Brian Oliver’

Businesses with a content marketing strategy see a measurable impact, new study finds

December 8, 2013

by Brian Oliver

More than 90% of organisations that implement a content marketing strategy see a significant business impact through increased web traffic and sales leads. That’s according to a new report by integrated communications agency Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.

The study, Content Marketing: Puncturing the Hype and Getting Practical, examined the perceptions of content marketing and the potential impact it can have on a company’s growth.

The report’s key findings include:

  • The majority (85%) of communication professionals currently using a content marketing strategy do so to promote awareness of their brand, closely followed by increasing engagement with customers (79%) and generating sales leads (77%).
  • 70% of marketers understand that content marketing helps drive sales leads more effectively, but 18% still have no plans to implement a strategy and over one third (38%) still question whether it can deliver measurable return on investment.
  • A lack of staff resources was identified as the number one challenge in implementing an effective content marketing strategy (63%), closely followed by lack of budget (48%) and lack of content creation expertise (41%).
  • 79% believe a strong content marketing strategy will help them use social media more effectively, followed by video and animation (70%) and news articles (62%).

The report also reveals that businesses are setting metrics to track success and prove the value of good content. Over three quarters (83%) measure the effectiveness of content through web traffic, while 67% measure through media coverage and just over half (56%) through click analysis.

Chris Talago, executive vice president and general manager EMEA at Waggener Edstrom, believes content marketing enables organisations to engage with audiences and prove their worth as a trusted source of information.

“It has had a transformative effect on the way brands reach and retain their customers,” says Talago. “But with so many voices, getting to grips with content marketing best practice is not easy.”

He adds: “Our research suggests that businesses are starting to understand the potential ROI content marketing can generate, but before this impact is fully realised, factors including budget and staffing need to be addressed.”

Ricardo Adame, corporate vice president of global communications at AVG Technologies, says measurement has always been key to demonstrating the success of his company’s marketing programmes. However, he believes content marketing provides an opportunity to be even more accurate.

“By defining our metrics carefully and building in additional measures to provide context,” says Adame, “a detailed picture is created that enables us to measure the ROI after a campaign has completed and adjust our approach during its lifespan to achieve maximum impact.”

The Content Marketing: Puncturing the Hype and Getting Practical report is based on a survey of more than 160 marketing and communication professionals with decision-making responsibilities across the UK, France, Germany and South Africa. The full results can be found at: www.waggeneredstrom.com.

# # # #

About the author: 

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

____________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Advertisements

Seven myths of email marketing exposed as false

December 7, 2013

by Brian Oliver

How many times have you been told that the words used in your email’s subject line can doom it to the spam folder? Or that the best time to send emails is at a particular hour on a particular day? Or that you should only target the most engaged subscribers?

After conducting a careful analysis of a huge amount of email performance data, Alchemy Worx – a specialist email marketing agency based in London and Atlanta, GA – claims that seven of the most common myths about email marketing are in fact false.

Alchemy Worx’s research has highlighted an urgent need for marketers to re-think much of the commonly cited wisdom about email marketing. The exposed myths include:

  • Consumers are drowning in emails from trusted brands.

Fact:  Sixty percent of consumers receive fewer than six brand emails per day.

  • Consumers like to click the spam button.

Fact:  Less than one subscriber per 2,000 will mark an email as spam.

  • If brands send more emails, consumers simply ignore more.

Fact:  If you send four emails in a month instead of one, the number of consumers who will open at least one email doubles.

  • The subject line can send the email to the spam folder.

Fact:  Keywords have little to no effect on whether an email ends up in the spam folder.

Alchemy Worx‘s infographic below unveils the truth behind email marketing today.

 

# # # #

About the author: 

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

____________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Gaining thought leadership can lead to more invitations to tender, new survey finds

November 22, 2013

by Brian Oliver

Nearly three-quarters of UK businesses are more likely to invite tenders from companies that are recognised as experts and ‘thought leaders’ in their market – provided the content they publish is authoritative and genuinely informative and credible.

This is the key finding of a new survey of over 2,000 UK companies by consumer and business analyst MindMetre Research. The sample – broadly representative of UK business by sector – was conducted in order to identify the level of influence that the convergence of content marketing and thought leadership can play in buying and tendering decisions.

The presence of authoritative content on a company website was found to play a crucial role in helping firms to get a ‘foot in the door’ by providing validation of company expertise.

The MindMetre survey found:

  • When compiling a tender list for technology and equipment, 61% of companies research possible candidate suppliers on the web and will visit the company website to validate its expertise;
  • For companies looking for a business services supplier, the proportion rises to 70%;
  • 72% of UK businesses report that they are much more likely to invite a supplier to tender if their website not only describes the sales proposition, but also gives access to informative and relevant thought leadership material;
  • 80% of businesses warn that thought leadership must be based on credible, independent research and not simply a collection of personal opinions.

Paul Lindsell, managing director of MindMetre Research, says: “Companies other than management consultancies are increasingly recognising that they can gain tangible competitive advantage by demonstrating commercially valuable ‘thought leadership’ in their customer markets. By addressing issues in the customer’s market, the company shows that it is knowledgeable about these issues and can help find a solution.”

He adds: “Buyer organisations evidently consider the demonstration of thought-leadership by potential suppliers to be important and influential when deciding which supplier to use. So, while thought leadership confirms its key role in building a reputation for a new entrant into a market, established market players can also build their reputation further with customers, influencers, and stakeholders through the generation of interesting material.“

However, Lindsell warns that publishing “pseudo-statistics” that are wrong, or exaggerated to support a company’s commercial interests, can have an adverse effect on a company’s reputation.

He says: “2013 may be the year when content marketing converges with ‘thought leadership’ to provide a compelling combination of quality content and powerful distribution channel. But amateurism and commercial myopia are very real dangers when it comes to research.”

One company that puts a heavy emphasis on authoritative and credible content is Regus, the global workplace provider. It runs a twice-yearly research programme which provides thought leadership content for its communications in more than 90 countries.

“As the leading player in our industry, we believe that our communications should reflect our expertise through thought leadership,” says Andrew Brown, group communications director at Regus. “This type of content is produced to provide our prospect and client market places with timely, useful insights on issues that really concern them, and that they can use to build more successful businesses.”

You can obtain a copy of the new Mindmetre report by emailing Josephine Ornago at Josephine@mindmetre.com.

# # # #

Brian OliverAbout the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

____________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Content marketing is companies’ top priority for 2013, says new report

February 9, 2013

by Brian Oliver

A growing emphasis on channelling resources into content marketing is the single most significant digital trend in 2013, according to a new report produced by Econsultancy and Adobe.

Based on a survey of some 700 business respondents from Europe and North America, the Quarterly Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013 report found that content marketing is regarded as this year’s top priority by 39% of respondents (compared with 29% in 2012).

At the same time, marketers’ excitement about social media appears to be waning a little. The report found that social media engagement is lower down the list of priorities than a year ago, as observed by both client-side and agency respondents.

Only 35% of respondents thought social media presented one of the most exciting digital-related opportunities in 2013, compared with 54% who saw it as the biggest opportunity last year.

Mobile optimisation is seen as the ‘big thing’ for 2013 by 43% of respondents, while 35% cited “targeting and personalisation”.

Social media analytics was named as important by only 9% of marketers (compared with 19% in 2012).

Neil Morgan, senior director, EMEA Marketing at Adobe Marketing Cloud, says: “The report is aimed at shining a torch on some of the trends which will have the biggest impact on the way we work as marketers over the next 12 months and beyond.

“It is our first opportunity to compare with the same report a year earlier, and it’s great to see that many of the trends which surfaced have increased in their significance to marketers, notably content, conversion, mobile and social.”

 

The Quarterly Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013 report can be purchased HERE for £250 (excluding VAT).

# # # #

Brian OliverAbout the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Facebook study shows brand marketers the best way to engage with fans

May 21, 2012

by Brian Oliver

Internal research by Facebook has found that brand marketers stand a much better chance of engaging with the social network’s 900 million active users if they focus on posting content about generic topics related to their brand, rather than promoting a specific product or service.

The study also found that conversational ‘fun’ posts that have nothing to do with the brand are least likely to attract a response from fans.

In fact, a separate survey by global Software as a Service company ExactTarget recently revealed that chit-chat posts are one reason why people ‘unLike’ brands on Facebook.

In a bid to help content marketers gain a better insight into which posts generate the most ‘shares’, ‘Likes’ and comments, Facebook spent four weeks analysing activity on 23 brand Pages spanning six different industry sectors.

For the study, Facebook’s research team divided social content into three categories:

1. Purely promotional messages (such as the launch of a new product, a new store opening, or a special deal);

2. Messages that tie in with the brand but cover general topics about the sector in which the brand operates (such as recipe ideas from a food brand or holiday tips from a travel company);

3. Posts completely unrelated to the brand (such as chatty posts about current events that have no connection with the brand).

FACEBOOK POSTS MUST RELATE TO THE BRAND

“The topicality of page posts impacts all types of engagement,” explains Elisabeth Diana, corporate communications manager at Facebook. “But the bottom-line result is that posts related to the brand and posts related to a product or service are the ones that are significant predictors of actions.

“The third, unrelated content, is not a significantly predictive page post.”

In other words, posting content on your Facebook page that is not about your brand is the only type of post that does not correlate with engagement.

“Speaking in the voice of the brand, talking directly about your product or service, or a topic related to the brand, is the best way to engage with fans of your page,” she says.

The Facebook study also found that photos and videos are best for generating ‘Shares’, while ‘Likes’ are driven by posts that prompt users to ‘Like’ something, and posts that pose questions are most likely to foster comments.

“You can maximize your success on Facebook by optimising your Page posting strategy for the type of engagement you are trying to drive,” adds Diana.

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

Two-thirds of UK mobile content marketing recipients act immediately, study shows

May 17, 2012

by Brian Oliver

The growing importance of tailoring content to the fast-expanding mobile market has been underlined by new data from digital agency Steel London.

A study conducted by Steel shows that 36% of UK consumers now read content marketing emails – such as eNewsletters – on their mobile phones (55% in the case of 18-34 year-olds) … and 69% of them act immediately.

Of these, 42% click through to the website and 30% subsequently make a purchase. The figures are even higher for 18-34 year olds: 52% of them click through and 35% end up buying something.
 
At the same time, the study shows that about one-third of recipients choose to screen mobile content marketing messages and read them later on a PC or a laptop.

INTEGRATE MOBILE INTO CONTENT STRATEGIES

The findings show it is now essential for consumer brands and B2B organisations to develop a better understanding of the mobile market and integrate mobile into their content-led marketing strategies.

Andy Hinder, Steel’s CEO, said: “Consumers are increasingly using their mobile as their preferred media and communication device. Because of this, the mobile has become the gatekeeper for further action and engagement with emails.

“With better targeted marketing emails, and the growth in mobile commerce, it is essential for brands to look at how they further adapt their email marketing strategies for mobile.”

He added: “Marketers must also bear in mind when and where the consumer is receiving their communication. This has massive implications for how they create the right messages for a highly personal device, and how they want consumers to react to, and interact with those messages.”

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

 

Email still most common method of sharing content, study finds

April 28, 2012

But email marketers should segment content to increase relevance and add value to recipients…

by Brian Oliver

Despite the enormous popularity of social media tools such as Facebook and Pinterest, a recent study conducted by StumbleUpon and BuzzFeed found that email is still the most-used method of sharing content.

Trying to make articles or videos ‘go viral’ by hoping to get thousands of followers to click on a single link is unrealistic, the study found.

Instead, people are more likely to spread content that resonates with them by distributing one-on-one email ‘shares’ among smaller and more intimate groups of colleagues, friends and family.

The StumbleUpon/BuzzFeed study looked at how content is shared online by analysing the 50 stories that have received the most Facebook traffic since mid-2007. Findings showed that for every Facebook share only nine people actually visited the story.

This suggests that even the biggest stories on Facebook are propagated by intimate conversations within a single network – for example, by large numbers of individuals sharing personally with a small number of friends, rather than by content being ‘broadcast’ through a few ‘influencers’ sharing a single post or tweet and hundreds of thousands of people clicking on it.

MORE CONTENT SHARED BY EMAIL ‘CONVERSATIONS’

While influential people may be able to reach a wide audience, their impact is short-lived, the StumbleUpon/BuzzFeed study found. Content goes viral when it spreads beyond a particular sphere of influence and spreads across the social web via ordinary people sharing with their friends.

“If you think about the course of a day, you spend the most amount of time communicating through email,” says Jack Krawczyk, StumbleUpon’s senior marketing manager. He points out that such ‘intimate sharing’ outnumbers so-called ‘broadcasting’ by 2-to-1 on StumbleUpon.

“People still want to have that intimate conversation,” says Krawczyk, adding that this also applies to young adults who are usually seen as relying on social media tools to communicate. “Those 34 and younger are the ones sharing emails,” he says. “They want that direct line of communications.”
 
EMAIL CONTENT MARKETING MUST BE SEGMENTED

Separate research from cloud-based firm Act-On Software warns that many companies are failing to take full advantage of the continuing importance of email content marketing as a customer acquisition tool.

Although opt-in email marketing is increasingly being integrated with social media platforms, the Act-On study found that many marketers are still making the common mistake of sending a single message to everyone on their mailing list.

Marketers should be segmenting and tailoring their email content to make sure the information that each customer receives is relevant to their needs and adds value.

Email marketers should also make sure their content does not contain any errors, the Act-On study warns. Poor quality writing within email content – with bad grammar, spelling mistakes and factual errors – can have a negative impact on a recipient’s view of the company.  

(Image via Clkr)  

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

 

Outsourcing of content marketing set to increase this year, says report

April 20, 2012

by Brian Oliver

Seventy percent of companies plan to outsource at least part of their content marketing in the next 12 months, according to a new Digital Content Marketing Survey commissioned by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and branding agency Brandpoint.

This follows CMI research earlier this year which revealed that 62% of companies are already using third-party expertise to strengthen their content marketing activities (compared with 55% in 2011).

The 2012 Digital Content Marketing report – based on a Readex Research survey of nearly 400 ‘marketing decision-makers’ – found that 99% of respondents had recently used some form of content marketing.

And what these companies are looking for in a third-party content provider, says the report, is the ability to deliver “engaging and creative storytelling”, “custom content”, and “professional-level writing”.

WELL-WRITTEN CONTENT IS KEY

Industry observers believe the shift toward using external content providers is being fuelled by the growing importance of publishing well-written content on a regular and sustained basis.  Many companies, it seems, are finding they don’t have enough time, expertise and resources to achieve this in-house.

They also recognise that poor quality writing – with bad grammar, spelling mistakes and factual errors – can have a negative impact on their brand’s reputation. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, recently warned that sites with frequent content errors tend to have lower rankings in search results.

As Contented Marketer recently reported (“Frequent publishing helps to improve ROI”), the ability to publish quality content on a regular basis is a key factor in maximising investment in content marketing campaigns. At the same time, Google is now upgrading the page-rankings of websites that deliver high-quality content that people want to read and share (see “Google updates making quality content dominant factor in SEO”).

CONTENT BEING OUTSOURCED

The new Digital Content Marketing Survey found that video is the type of content that marketers are most likely to outsource, followed by infographics, online articles, digital white papers, e-books and blogging.

Only 18% of the marketers surveyed cited cost as the deciding factor when choosing whether or not to outsource content marketing. Eighty percent stated they were happy to pay a little extra for the added value of well-crafted, customised and professionally-written material.

BEST RESULTS

Social content, blogging, press releases and online articles are the forms of content used most often, says the report, with marketers finding that social content, e-newsletters and blogging provide the best results.

WRITE FOR PEOPLE NOT SEARCH ENGINES

Eighty two percent of respondents said it is more important for their website and blog copy to be written for people rather than search engines – with SEO expertise ranked fifth among the list of 11 qualities marketers want in a content provider.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, said: “This survey affirms that marketing pros are embracing the value of online marketing, but they also acknowledge the need to stay true to certain fundamentals. Quality continues to be a key requirement for success across all forms of content marketing.”

He added: “While the Internet continues to revolutionise the way we all do business, the need to tell a clear compelling story through our marketing efforts remains constant.”

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

More than 90% of B2B buyers influenced by content marketing

April 7, 2012

by Brian Oliver

A new study by DemandGen, an emedia publication that focuses on B2B sales strategies and solutions, has found that more than 90% of B2B purchase decisions start with exposure to some form of content marketing material.

The report also found that over 40% of B2B buyers often learn about a supplier’s products or services for the first time by downloading content from their website.

This highlights the growing importance of a content strategy that includes the provision of helpful downloadable material – such as white papers, case studies and eGuides – to demonstrate the value of a company’s products or services.

CRITICAL TOOL

The study’s findings show that optimised content-led marketing is becoming an increasingly critical tool for many B2B companies. It suggests that companies that guide prospects through the ‘conversion funnel’ with engaging and relevant content are more likely to be successful in generating qualified sales leads.

This is in line with a recent study by integrated marketing solutions company HubSpot which found that some 25% of businesses that use content marketing now find it essential.

“Research has shown that engaging content is critical to supporting an inbound marketing strategy and helping companies get found,” says Jeanne Hopkins, director of marketing at HubSpot.

She adds: “Progressive marketers are realising that content also plays a key role in advancing prospects from the middle of the funnel to closed deals by nurturing and educating buyers with information that speaks directly to their needs at different stages.”

GROWTH OF CONTENT MARKETING AGENCIES

The DemandGen Report also recognised that B2B companies often find it difficult to create and sustain effective content without outside help, such as independent content writing services.

“As these trends emerge, B2B marketers continue to struggle to keep pace with content development, content marketing strategies and how to utilise content to drive demand,” says DemandGen Report editor Andrew Gaffney.

Industry expert Jon Wuebben, CEO of ContentLaunch, believes this is one reason why we’re seeing the growth of agencies that specialise in the strategic planning, creation, distribution and curation of customer-focused content. In his latest book, Content Is Currency: Developing Powerful Content for Web & Mobile, Wuebben insists that the content marketing agency is now replacing the traditional ad agency for many companies.

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing

 

Content marketing set to benefit as Google bids to ‘humanise’ searches

March 30, 2012

New semantic search technology will penalise over-optimised sites…

by Brian Oliver

As part of its efforts to ‘humanise’ its approach to search, Google is understood to be planning the most significant changes yet to its search algorithm.

It is not replacing its current keyword-search system, but intends to blend it with new semantic search technology that will increase its ability to read and understand a page (and its content) almost like a human. This, says Google, will help to improve search accuracy and provide more direct answers to users’ queries.

The new algorithm – called Google Penguin –  goes even further than last year’s Panda update which downgraded the page-rankings of content farms and low-quality, advertising-heavy websites full of aggregated duplicate content.

Google’s new semantic technology will reportedly group data into three categories: people, places and things. It will then analyse every word and interpret how various keywords relate to each other – instead of simply counting how many times a specific keyword appears.

Role of content marketing enhanced

Observers believe these changes will further enhance the role of content-led marketing and will boost the page-rankings of websites that focus on delivering high-quality content to visitors.

At the same time, keyword density, backlinks, and on-page optimisation will become less important as a result of the Penguin update.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam Team, recently warned that sites will now be penalised if they are aggressively over-optimised.

“We’re trying to level the playing field a bit,” said Cutts. “All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over-optimisation or overly doing their SEO – versus those making great content and great sites.

“We’re trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it – like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links, or go well beyond what you normally expect.”

Cutts said Google wanted to reward people who “make a compelling site, make a site that’s useful, make a site that’s interesting, make a site that’s relevant to people’s interests.” 

# # # #

About the author:

Brian Oliver is a business journalist and the MD and founder of UK strategic communications consultancy Focus Marketing Communications.

________________________________________________________

CONTENTED MARKETER Magazine is brought to you by content marketing specialist Focus Content Marketing

Visit our website at: Focus Content Marketing