Content is a two syllable word that has become an online marketing strategy. Its impact has far reaching effects that belies its verbal simplicity. It influences search engine results, drives online engagement and can create brand awareness at velocity when it goes viral.
With Google’s recent updates, the role of content has increased in priority. The search giant is now rewarding sites with higher rankings that offer unique content that delivers a quality user experience.
This means that progressive brands need to become publishers and not just advertisers. Advanced content marketing is a human and creative art form with soul enabled by technology and process driven. It is multi-media content at scale that leverages a brand’s reach that is efficient and amplified.
Is corporate media getting better than mainstream media?
In a recent article on the Hubspot blog, Dan Lyon poses an intriguing question.
“Is corporate media getting better than mainstream media?”
He then cites examples of Microsoft, General Electric and Google who are using both technology and their great content archives to “out publish” existing traditional media companies.
I think that in some cases he may be right.
Today’s companies do have the technology and platforms to go it alone. They often have the marketing CRM’s, databases, access to vast libraries of content and the technology to make a traditional newspaper brand look bland.
Marketing and publishing has been democratized
Technology changes have put the power in the users hands. Companies don’t need to understand how to use a printing press.
- Want to publish. Launch a blog
- Need to design and create an online magazine. Hire a designer, assign an editor and writer and create your brand magazine using Photoshop.
- Have the impulse to shoot a video. Buy a $1,000 video camera, create a video and upload it to YouTube
- Feel the motivation to market. Amplify your content to your Facebook and Twitter fans and followers
Should some advertising dollars be moved to publishing?
Companies such as Red Bull are moving their spending from advertising to publishing. They are also about creating “conversations around the brand” not “about” the brand. This means creating content that has heart and soul of the brand embedded but not mentioned.
No-one wants to talk about the drink but the lifestyle that revolves around the brand image.
Advanced content marketing case study: Lorna Jane
Lorna Jane is an “activewear” label for women that has been around for over 20 years. The brand is about fitness and fashion for women. They have embraced the the strategy of advanced content marketing.
Their aim “to inspire women to live their best life through active living”. Their mantra and mission is based upon a three pillared philosophy of:
“Lorna Jane is not simply a clothing label, it is a way of life”. They are about fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
Lorna Jane’s marketing is not about talking about its product but being a publisher. The heart and soul is about creating conversations around the brand.
Jessie Dean, the Digital Marketing Manager at Lorna Jane has a team that includes:
- Social media specialist
- Social media coordinator
- Editor of “Move Nourish Believe”
They have also created a separate and secondary brand that is about the lifestyle and mission that is core to the Lorna Jane message.
Move, Nourish, Believe
This separate secondary brand of Lorna Jane, has its own website with the title “Move Nourish Believe“. This is intrinsically woven into the lifestyle message that revolves around the Lorna Jane Brand. It is the home of the brand’s key philosophy.
It is about content that inspires, encourages and educates. It includes offline events and content that is about the Lorna Jane mission
Publishing is core to the marketing of Lorna Jane and this is their publishing portal.
Website and online store
Lorna Jane has its own online store that sells the products. The aim of the brand is to be selling $50 million annually online within 5 years. The indirect purpose of content marketing is to create awareness about the brand and drive traffic to the store. It is to inspire people and create passion about the lifestyle philosophy.
This the place for the hard sell.
Lorna Jane’s uses its Facebook page for engagement. It is about creating conversations and engaging with customers and not a hard sell. Despite this, it drives 10% of all traffic to the website and its revenue accounts for the average sales of two of its bricks and mortar stores.
Facebook fan count stands at over 840,000
This is the personal account of the founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson and shows the commitment to personalizing the brand. It is also displays the importance of having one of the thought leaders for the brand actively participating and engaging.
A nimble and adaptable brand cannot be open to change without having leaders who are aware and willing to embrace the new digital paradigms.
The other bonus of this engagement is the feedback that is received that keeps the brand real and in touch with trends and the market.
A content and publishing strategy needs to include content that is both visual and mobile centric. Instagram provides a platform for showcasing its brand with striking images that increase brand awareness and engagement.
Lorna Jane currently has over 212,000 followers on Instagram.
Amplifying your brand content is not a single channel approach and many brands stop and start with Facebook. Pinterest provides a free and organic way to share the images from their online store that drive traffic and sales.
Lorna Jane has over 22,000 followers on PInterest.
Google+ may not seem like a place that a fashion brand such as Lorna Jane should be participating on. The rise of importance of Google plus which has become the second largest social network means that brands shouldn’t be ignoring it. It is important for several reasons.
- Capturing social signals such as “+1’s” , comments and shares
- Improvements to SEO
- Increasing brand awareness through visual content.
Lorna Jane currently has over 33,000 followers on Google+.
Content and publishing is now multi-media and YouTube is an important part of the whole brand content amplification for Lorna Jane.
On YouTube you can share to 10 different social networks as well as email and embed.
Lorna Jane has over 2,000 subscribers and is approaching 500,000 views on YouTube. These numbers are the tip of the iceberg for brands when it comes to creating conversations.
Some recent research show that crowd sourced content creation and sharing is up to 99% of all YouTube content creation about and around the brand.
The scale of crowd sourced content creation, sharing and viewing is more than significant, it can be almost the entire conversation. In fact in some cases brand created content on social media is only 1% of the dialogue online!
Octoly.com tracked and measured “user generated content” (often termed “UGC”) on YouTube around and about brands. Here are the facts and figures about Lego and Apple and the extent of the little known and sometimes seemingly silent majority of brand ambassadors and content creators.
- 99% of the views on YouTube about Lego are “user” created. Of the 8 billion in total views 7.92 billion views are from passionate advocates who created and shared content about the Lego brand.
- 99% of the views on YouTube about Apple were not bought or “owned” by the brand. 99% of the 4.2 billion in total views were fan created. That’s 4.16 billion views just from fan created and shared content.
The brands started the conversations by publishing. The online fans amplified it. You cannot buy that level of attention.
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