Puncturing The Hype and Getting Practical

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1 Puncturing The Hype and Getting Practical

2 The reality of content marketing It s becoming clear that simply trying to sell your product or service isn t working anymore. T Our attention spans are shorter. The internet has changed the way we receive news. Social media has given us a new way to share useful and interesting stuff while connecting with our friends. We now expect to interact with brands and for them to listen to us. TV is catching up to the curve too, with time-shifted on-demand programming, apps and web browsing. All this means straightforward sales messages need to be very special or very lucky to cut through the noise. To get your customers interested, content marketing offers a way to engage your audiences and prove your business s worth as a trusted source of information. As such, it has had a transformative effect on the way brands reach and retain their customers, but with so many voices on the matter, getting to grips with content marketing best practice is not easy. T To help cut through the hype, Waggener Edstrom has spoken to more than 150 marketers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa and asked them for their content marketing experiences and opinions. In this booklet you ll find a summary of the results of this in-depth survey, as well as contributions from some big-name advocates of content marketing, including Microsoft and AVG. FIND OUT MORE Visit to view videos, blogs and case studies. I hope you enjoy our content! Tweet using #contentmarketing. Chris Talago, Executive vice president and general manager EMEA at Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Or if you re interested in attending future events focused on content marketing, please us at:

3 DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B CONTENTCAMPAIGNS RESOURCESDECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS COPYWRITING MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT KPI REPUTATION CONTENT INSIGHT ROI BRANDING ECOMMERCE VISIBILITY WHAT REAL-TIME IT MEANS CREDIBILITY ALIGNMENT E LINKSBUYERSSEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION CONVERSATIONSINNOVATION VALUE S TUMBLR ANALYTICS SERVICES DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTION TO YOU VISITORS NETWORKING ID INSTAGRAMORGANIZATION STRATEGIC PROMOTION RESEARCH CONNECT MANPOWER YOUTUBE LEADERSHIP IDEAS SOURCES THOUGHT LEADERSHIP OBJECTIVES KEYWORD WITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS MOBILE APPS PAID COLLATERAL M DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE METRICS INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT To many, LEADERSHIP content marketing is TRAFFIC just a new name INSIGHT for ECOM PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED old tricks, something VISIBILITY they ve been doing VIDEO for years. AGGREGATIO DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETINGTo TECHNOLOGY others, it s a useful label MESSAGING that describes a new way STRATEGY B CONTENT CAMPAIGNS RESOURCES DECISION-MAKING to reach customers EDITORIAL an ever-changing IMPLEMENTATION approach to RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTION marketing. VIDEO For some EXPERTISE it s nothing more OFFLINE than an QUALITY empty buzzword. CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS Whatever your view, it s COPYWRITING true that implementing content MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT marketing and implementing KPI content REPUTATION marketing that works CONTENT INSIGHT ROI BRANDING ECOMMERCE VISIBILITY are two REAL-TIME entirely different things. CREDIBILITY To help clarify the difference, ALIGNMENT E LINKSBUYERSSEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION Waggener CONVERSATIONS Edstrom carried out an online INNOVATION survey in early VALUE S TUMBLR ANALYTICS SERVICES DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTION We polled 150 EMEA marketing VISITORS and communications NETWORKING ID INSTAGRAMORGANIZATION STRATEGIC PROMOTION professionals, RESEARCH all with decision-making CONNECT responsibilities (79 MANPOWER per YOUTUBE LEADERSHIP IDEAS SOURCES THOUGHT cent communicate LEADERSHIP with business audiences, OBJECTIVES 36 per cent KEYWORD WITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS consumer MOBILE and 31 per cent APPS the public PAID sector). COLLATERAL M DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE The results METRICS in brief INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER Content marketing OUTREACH produces results: EVENTS 61 per cent of VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT respondents LEADERSHIP reported an increase TRAFFIC in sales after INSIGHT MARK implementing a content marketing strategy. PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO TWITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS There s a gap between understanding and MOBILE APPS PAID COLLATERAL M implementation: 70 per cent of marketers believe DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD content marketing will help them drive sales, only GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE METRICS INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR 38 per cent think it delivers measurable ROI. NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT Over half of marketers expect to increase the use of LEADERSHIP TRAFFIC INSIGHT HIGHexternal creative resources to help produce content. PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING There s a requirement for the right mix of skills to TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B produce engaging content, with 46 per cent feeling CONTENTCAMPAIGNS RESOURCESDECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE an increased need for editorial/journalistic skills to tell ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE authentic and relevant stories. } QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS COPYWRITING MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT KPI REPUTATION CONTENT

4 DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B CONTENTCAMPAIGNS RESOURCESDECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER A match SOCIAL made in marketing COMMENTS heaven? AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS in five (18 per cent) are not COPYWRITING currently implementing a content MICROSITE CO LOYALTY We DIGITAL wanted to take INFLUENCIAL stock of the content creation PUBLICATION landscape as it marketing HIGH-IMPACT strategy. So what s stopping KPI REPUTATION them? The usual suspects CONTENT INSIGHT stands ROItoday BRANDING and we uncovered ECOMMERCE some telling results. What s VISIBILITY of budget, REAL-TIME available skills and senior CREDIBILITY management buy-in. ALIGNMENT To add E LINKSBUYERSSEARCH certain is that marketers love ENGINE affair with content OPTIMISATION is far from a to the CONVERSATIONS mix, many are of the opinion that INNOVATION content marketing is VALUE S TUMBLR fleeting ANALYTICS romance: over half SERVICES of respondents have DISTRIBUTION implemented, nothing DISTRIBUTION new; that there is difficulty VISITORS in proving ROI NETWORKING and too ID INSTAGRAMORGANIZATION or are currently implementing, a content STRATEGIC marketing strategy, PROMOTION much hype (something RESEARCH we are trying to CONNECT address with this survey). MANPOWER YOUTUBEand LEADERSHIP almost one-third plan to IDEAS implement in SOURCES the near future. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP OBJECTIVES KEYWORD WITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS What s more, MOBILE the challenges identified APPSby PAID the content COLLATERAL marketing M DIGG ANNUAL But what defines REPORTS content marketing? VIRTUAL While at times CONFERENCES proving sceptics are PERSONALIZING shared by respondents who have USEFUL already GUIDES AUD GOOGLE difficult PLUS to pin INTERVIEWS down, there is consistency ANALYSIS in how it is interpreted. AUDIENCE implemented METRICS content marketing INDUSTRY strategies (budget and TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER It is characterised INFLUENCERS by a drive to engage CONFERENCES with customers and BLOGGER content expertise). OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY prospects beyond CUSTOMER traditional marketing RETENTION collateral, which naturally THOUGHT LEADERSHIP TRAFFIC INSIGHT ECOM PODCAST combined WHITEPAPERS with its potential for WORD measurable ROI OF and MOUTH interactive INCREASED Horses for resources VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO DATA TACTICS capabilities BUDGET makes it a hot topic ENGAGING for marketers. MARKETING Rising TECHNOLOGY to the content challenge seems MESSAGING to call for improved STRATEGY B CONTENT CAMPAIGNS RESOURCES DECISION-MAKING resources to handle the EDITORIAL forecast production IMPLEMENTATION duties. Over half RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY Waggener Edstrom, as an integrated EFFECTIVELY communications ARTICLE C INTERACTION and (52 per cent) VIDEO expect this EXPERTISE additional content creation OFFLINE will require content marketing agency, views content marketing as a QUALITY increased agency and freelance resources, CHANNELS and more than CUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY process of creating and deploying audience-centric STORYTELLING material two-thirds MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION (69 per cent) expect greater use of internal resources. CONVER CONSUMER that is interesting SOCIAL or useful COMMENTS (or both). Crucially, all AUDIENCE of this BUZZWORDS Additionally, editorial, journalism COPYWRITING and media production MICROSITE CO LOYALTY content DIGITAL needs to be INFLUENCIAL governed and guided by the PUBLICATION brand backgrounds HIGH-IMPACT are a focus when KPI hiring new REPUTATION staff. CONTENT INSIGHT story ROI and BRANDING overarching objectives. ECOMMERCE VISIBILITY REAL-TIME CREDIBILITY ALIGNMENT E LINKSBUYERSSEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION Effective CONVERSATIONS content marketing requires dedication INNOVATION and commitment, VALUE S TUMBLR Clearly ANALYTICS the onus is on results, SERVICES and this is where DISTRIBUTION insight and a seasoned DISTRIBUTION combination of resources VISITORS (replete with editorial NETWORKING ID INSTAGRAMORGANIZATION analytics take centre stage. Greater interaction STRATEGIC with customers, PROMOTION arsenal), available RESEARCH budget and management CONNECT buy-in. With these MANPOWER YOUTUBEbrand LEADERSHIP awareness, sales lead generation IDEASand SOURCES increased website THOUGHT in place and LEADERSHIP a sturdy understanding of OBJECTIVES your objectives, brand KEYWORD WITTERtraffic ENEWSLETTER were highlighted as the most CASE important STUDIES KPIs for content WEBINARS narrative, and MOBILE a clear strategy, APPS your business PAID will be well COLLATERAL placed M DIGG ANNUAL marketing. And REPORTS these results are VIRTUAL being realised: 81 CONFERENCES per cent saw to see tangible PERSONALIZING results from content marketing. USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE an PLUS improvement INTERVIEWS in their website traffic, ANALYSIS and 61 per cent saw AUDIENCE an METRICS INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER increase in INFLUENCERS sales leads. CONFERENCES BLOGGER The infographic opposite OUTREACH provides an EVENTS at-a-glance view VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT of the results. LEADERSHIP Have the results had TRAFFIC you nodding in INSIGHT MARK Despite a significant number of respondents praising the agreement or shaking your head in despair? PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO business-enhancing capabilities of content creation, nearly one Let us know at TWITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS MOBILE APPS PAID COLLATERAL M DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE METRICS INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT LEADERSHIP TRAFFIC INSIGHT HIGH- PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B CONTENTCAMPAIGNS RESOURCESDECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS COPYWRITING MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT KPI REPUTATION CONTENT

5 UDGET SOURCES ONSISTENCY -CENTRIC SATIONS MMENTS COMMERCE EARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION EAS S OBILE APPS IENCE METRICS CH REPORTS S MERCE N UDGET SOURCES ONSISTENCY -CENTRIC SATIONS MMENTS COMMERCE EARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION EAS S OBILE APPS IENCE METRICS CH REPORTS S ETING N OBILE APPS IENCE METRICS CH REPORTS S IMPACT N UDGET SOURCES ONSISTENCY -CENTRIC SATIONS MMENTS 61 % CONTENT MARKETING DOES IT PRODUCE RESULTS? 81 % 65 % 50 % 42 % 35 % 30 % 39 % WHERE MARKETERS SEE RESULTS BARRIERS AND CHALLENGES TO AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY VIEWS 83 % 76 % 51 % 79 % 70 % 62 % 54 % 50 % WHAT KIND OF CONTENT WILL BE REQUIRED? 49 % WHERE MARKETERS EXPECT RESULTS

6 A shot in the arm for your marketing campaign Ricardo Adame, corporate vice president of global communications at AVG Technologies, gives us an insight into the content strategy and tactics his team uses to get results T here s currently a lot of hype surrounding the term content marketing, but cut away the frenzy and there is a valuable marketing technique at its core. That s why it has become an increasingly important part of our communications strategy at AVG. Content marketing holds enormous potential, particularly when combined with the ever-increasing reach and variety of digital channels, it offers a fantastic opportunity to engage more directly with the relevant audience. But for content to fulfil its true potential, the traditional tell approach a one-way communication tactic has to give way to an interactive conversation. This is understandably unsettling for some brands, especially those that have always held tight control of their identity, but it is absolutely integral to today s socially enabled internet era. This transparent, two-way conversation is something AVG now does on a daily basis through social channels such as Twitter and via our 2.2 million-strong Facebook community. While listening to thousands of comments and responding to many of them takes commitment and investment, we find this social conversation extremely positive overall, giving us far greater audience insight and valuable instant feedback on our products. Establishing an authentic conversation and building an engaged audience via social media gives you a fantastic channel through which to deliver content and push out your marketing messages. And in today s connected, social landscape, if you continue to produce content that fails to reflect what your audience is thinking about, or show that you ve paid no attention to your customers concerns, it will not be successful. The greatest opportunity that content marketing presents is innovation. As technology evolves, it presents exciting new ways to engage with your customers and prospects. At AVG, we ve been experimenting with video with the help of Waggener Edstrom. Despite initial concerns that producing broadcast-quality video was beyond our reach, the team has shown that s not the case. Advances in technology have made first-rate production equipment more accessible, and we ve been able to tap into a talented team of media professionals that have the skills to deliver the highest quality content. However, access to production talent and technology is not enough on its own successful video must be underlined by good communications: great storytelling. Building an engaged audience via social media gives you a fantastic channel through which to deliver content and marketing messages Another opportunity for change brought about by content marketing is in the activation process. The traditional channels are still available, but when looking to maximise the impact of your content, your approach must integrate online and offline. For example, when we produce a video we ensure our social media team is promoting it across appropriate channels. More importantly, we plan how to make our content work harder, both in analysing the conversations our key audiences are involved in and ensuring that content reflects our SEO keywords to maximise

7 Make em laugh, make em cry, make em watch There is little doubt that over the years the power of the moving image has motivated and engaged millions of people to experience the whole gamut of emotions. Whether it is scenes of Olympic glory, protests in Tiananmen Square, or Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, video is able to harness, engage, and motivate an audience in ways that no other medium can. its effectiveness in ranking terms. Naturally, measurement has always been key to demonstrating the success of communications and marketing programmes, but I would argue that today particularly with content marketing there is an opportunity to be even more accurate. By defining our metrics carefully, and building in additional measures to provide context and diagnosis, a detailed picture is created, highlighting the way each element of the activity is working. This gives us the insight to not only measure the ROI after a campaign has completed, but to also adjust our approach during its lifespan and extend its impact. It s important we recognise content marketing for what it is a fantastic opportunity for communications professionals to implement innovative, integrated campaigns that build authentic conversations with our audiences. What s really exciting is the way a brand can now combine so many techniques to drive impact across multiple platforms on a global scale. But it isn t easy. Iconic news images are based on real events. Constructing a narrative from scratch and filming it in such a way that the audience will be compelled to watch isn t easy. Technical production and storytelling should move seamlessly to deliver video that the audience understands and is prepared to invest valuable time in. Visual trickery will only take you so far. When creating one minute of video, every word and every shot counts. It s always worth employing the best script writers and production team you can afford because if you fail to engage your audience, you might as well go and spend your hard-earned budget on a day at the races. And that will definitely make you cry. Nick Lawrence Waggener Edstrom s vice-president of broadcast and editorial strategies

8 Lead generation? You can put your money on it Barbara Borrel, senior manager of EMEA field marketing at finance software firm Kyriba, reveals why content marketing is a crucial tool for lead generation A t Kyriba, content marketing is now well established and a key component of our marketing strategy. Each time we launch a new integrated marketing programme, we develop campaigns around content this is our foundation. Most of the time, we therefore find ourselves behaving as authors and publishers. But while content has become a really big part of B2B marketing, it remains something the rest of the company finds a little difficult to understand, and so education and training is required to explain its value. In the past, there was no real marketing activity at all at Kyriba, so when I joined the business, some of my colleagues didn t fully understand why the team and I were so focused on writing whitepapers, or putting out articles through different online and offline channels. It was also a challenge finding the necessary time and the right in-house skills to develop our content marketing activities. Now, to ensure we re able to produce enough engaging, relevant content on a regular basis, and that it s seen by the right people, our internal team is supported by an external team. As well as skilled resources, storytelling is crucial for getting content marketing right. This is because each piece of content looks at a different topic it s inconsistent, so we use effective storytelling to ensure we re comprehensive and logical about the way we deliver content and that there is some commonality. Ultimately, we want to produce smart, high-quality content that engages prospects and customers, because often this is the first contact we have with them. To capture these prospects, targeting and segmenting your audience is critical. Sending the same content to everyone doesn t make sense. For instance, CFOs have very specific concerns, so when we target them we have to create dedicated and highly focused content. When we target treasurers this requires another message, and then for CIOs the content is much more technical. We have to be sure that we ve got the right story for the right audience. Sending the same content to everyone doesn t make sense. We have to be sure that we ve got the right story for the right audience Then, of course, you need to align the right content with the right channel. While nowadays social media is crucial, it s important to use a good mix of different platforms: this might involve some information on the website or blogs, and in some cases delivering webcasts and video content. We try to be very logical and ensure we are using the right tactics and platforms for the specific campaign. This is all part of the storytelling process. As an example of tailoring content to specific audiences, this summer we ve worked on tactics for our Payment Factory solution. Working with our product marketing team in France, we have delivered a whitepaper on the topic in French, English, Spanish and Italian. Then in September, we used different

9 why all content must be social Ten years ago, you could write a whitepaper, interview a customer for a case study, or commission a survey to find out what people think of your widget and get away with just publishing something about it on your website, perhaps accompanied by a press release. Things have changed. Today, marketing communication and public relations needs to focus on content you create, curate and distribute that your customers will value, want, discuss and share. platforms depending upon the country. In France we held a webcast through which we distributed the whitepaper, and then pushed it out via social media. For Italy and Spain, our approach was quite different. Because we are not yet very well known in these countries, we have focused on our LinkedIn group members and used LinkedIn advertising to improve brand awareness. Chiefly, there are three reasons we use content marketing: brand awareness, customer retention and lead generation. So for each campaign we deliver, we ve got an internal tracking process. This means we are able to say we ve generated x leads, and at the end can see how content marketing contributed to the sales pipeline and revenue. Research from econsultancy shows that effective content marketing relies on its promotion to the largest possible qualified audience in ways that match their preferences for discovering and consuming content, and sharing their experiences. Therefore, any content strategy must include a methodology for ensuring your content is discoverable in the places your target audiences will readily find it and there is no better method to do this than social media. As such, all content should: Be available on and via multiple social channels that make it pivotal in driving more traffic to your website or other presence on the social web. Help create a better experience that customers value and talk about, and derive more value from existing customers. Generate leads that enable you to identify and engage with future new customers. Be tailored to suit individual social platforms. For example, when we decided to create a new dedicated French website, many thought it unnecessary as we already had a corporate site. But since we launched and we are pushing out content through it almost every week we ve achieved a 30 per cent conversion rate on incoming requests through the website. This, to me, is proof that content marketing drives real business results. Content marketing and social media should be joined at the hip they now represent key components of the modern sales funnel. Making the most of them only requires that you see things from a different angle. Neville Hobson Independent communications consultant

10 maximising impact with an always-on audience Dora Mbuyi, integrated marketing communications lead at Microsoft South Africa, talks real-time momentum and the value of audience insight Content marketing is critical to reaching our customers. It enables us to establish Microsoft as a trusted, relevant source of information. Through the centralisation of our marketing strategies, we can funnel our content efforts in the same direction across the different African subsidiaries we service and at the same time ensure they are locally tailored. This type of audience reach proves essential, especially as there s too much information available to today s customer, spread across so many channels. No longer is marketing about pushing information out to our customers. This is why we ve introduced the always-on momentum: customers have matured to such an extent that they now decide when and where they want to find information, and we need to cater to that. the various platforms people use to access our brand. Social media content and blogs are all sourced from this same web portal for consistency and to ensure they re always accessible to the customer. What s more, because on Twitter, for example, you are character-limited, you need to create content that will intrigue the target audience and eventually land them somewhere they can find all relevant information in our case, our website. We want customers to find relevance in the content we provide, so that the next time they re hunting down information, they ll come to us We use content marketing to build customer loyalty. We want our customers to find relevance in the content we provide them, so that the next time they re hunting down information, they ll come to us. Because the marketing space changes day by day, we find it very important to put the onus on an up-to-date web portal. This acts as the backbone for all our various content channels, where we update information that will then feed through to In the past we ve been very product-driven, but now we aim to better incorporate the customers perspective, so we re more 4Afrika: one of Microsoft s key African web portals customer-centric. We do that through listening to them, and understanding them. Customer research, data and insight are crucial to the effectiveness of content marketing. This listening piece is now really important in the rhythm of our business. The biggest challenge of content marketing is its ever-evolving nature. There is always some

11 Better blogging and the need for authentic authors A corporate blog is often a company s first experience of content marketing, and it s also where many make their first mistake. People expect two things from a blog: for it to be interesting, and for it to be authentic. The first should be obvious; the second less so. level of resistance because everyone wants to stick to things they are used to the traditional modes of marketing. But the maturity of our customers means our Microsoft teams realise we have to move fast and adapt strategies as we go. Authenticity is what compels us to interact with a brand beyond our initial interest in a topic. It s what inspires us to continue reading, to click on a link and revisit the blog for another day. Without a narrator we trust, a blog is nothing more than yet another anodyne corporate monologue. We re achieving a good level of listening, and this constantly gives us greater audience insight. In turn, this allows us to be cleverer about how we plan, create and deliver our content. Together with the implementation of our always-on momentum, this encourages us to develop content that can be made locally relevant. While this process is something the team is slowly getting to grips with, what s certain is that we need to invest time, money and skills to ensure we remain a market leader. Getting the most from content marketing requires three stages. Firstly, you need to acquire customer insight into your target audience to establish what is relevant to them, and this includes continuous listening. Then, establish a content plan that keeps customer insight in mind: creating a short- to long-term plan ensures content will click with customers. The third and final strand is the process of continually learning, strategising and tweaking this plan. Experiment, test, refine and repeat that process all over again. In my opinion, this always-on momentum is the future of content marketing. When you look at the younger generation, they don t want to wait to receive information; they actively seek what they need and what is relevant. So if you re not in that space and easy to find you will definitely lose out. So how do you ensure authenticity? The most effective blogs are delivered in the first person, mixing professional opinions with personal insights. This enables the audience to relate to the author, demonstrating shared challenges and motivations. The more senior the exec the more time-pressured they are, but it is possible to write on behalf of an author in his or her voice and still be authentic. Here s how: Do ask the right questions why is this important to your audience? How will they benefit? What action do you want them to take as a result of reading the post? Don t hide behind faceless corporate speak. Do adhere to the principles of good storytelling. Russell Simmons Waggener Edstrom s head of content

12 Why content marketing is only just reaching top gear Avanade s global sponsor programme manager, Katy Shrimpton, explains the role of content marketing at a major B2B technology company I ve been working at Avanade a global business technology solutions provider employing over 18,000 professionals since early 2011, and even within that relatively short time I ve seen a new emphasis on content-focused marketing. Over the past six months, the phrase content marketing has been used more and more around Avanade s offices, and not just by the marketing team. The catalyst has been greater recognition of how content marketing dovetails into our customers decision-making process, and how it can help us influence their choices. Avanade is a B2B tech company, and large IT transformation projects are our bread and butter: amongst other things, we are Microsoft experts who specialise in building line-of-business applications like ERP, CRM and collaboration tools. As such, our customers are looking to find the right partner for these projects, which often have major business impact and take many months or even years to complete. For Avanade, content marketing is a buzzword, yes, but it is also a viable way of talking to our customers. It s both a natural progression for us, and fits with the way our customers seek out and buy our services. Because our customers aren t so much buying a product but a solution to their challenges, we need to show insight and influence into the growing trends in the IT market. Content is a valuable way of doing this showing thought-leadership and helping our customers through the decision-making process. Most importantly, content marketing helps us show our The value is there and has been proven. There s definitely more to come from content marketing. customers that they are working with the right partner; one that understands their needs and is actively thinking about the problems facing CIOs today. Avanade is still developing and fine-tuning the way it tackles content marketing, but taking a content-led approach has helped us ask more questions of our own assumptions: do we really need to produce whitepapers in the format we do? Is a downloadable PDF the best way? Are there other options that suit our customers our audience better than what we do right now? Smart Banking: The Future Today animated video I really believe content marketing yields results, and we ve started to see that over the past year. There s a long way to go, but the value is there and has been proven. There s definitely more to come from content marketing. The next step in the content marketing evolution is to

13 SEO and content marketing: best of friends understand audiences in more depth primarily how, when and where content is consumed. This really is vital, and it s something in which we re investing time and resources to gain even more insight. One of the products of this is a greater appreciation of targeting the right channels at the right time with the right message. Most B2B firms would immediately ignore Facebook as an option as it is seen as a B2C channel, but are our customers definitely not on Facebook? Again, content marketing provokes interesting questions. Avanade has recently begun a sponsorship and systems integration contract with Lotus F1 Team, with Avanade s logo appearing on the car and Avanade helping the Oxford-based team with its managed services and numbercrunching. The deal is giving us a wealth of new opportunities to create engaging content. Ultimately, everyone responds to topics they are interested in, and working with Lotus F1 Team gives us even more angles to grab our customers attention while still being IT-related. Content marketing spans a huge number of tactics and techniques, but three things you have to get right are: 1. Making sure the message fits with your clients and services. 2. Ensuring your content supports the buying process. 3. Making intelligent strategic decisions don t over-saturate with a deluge of untargeted content. With regular search engine algorithm updates, such as Google s Penguin 2.0, placing content at the heart of your search marketing strategy has never been so important. Your content and SEO strategies should work hand-in-hand: good content on your site will help it rank higher, and optimisation of your content when it appears on third-party sites will help fuel your wider marketing strategy while taking up valuable search engine result page (SERP) real-estate. The continuous algorithm updates are the nemesis of so-called black-hat SEO techniques. A developed, engaging and useful content strategy is a much better way to grow long-term organic traffic. A good way of looking at content is thinking of it as the glue that joins search and social together. Link building isn t dead, but it is no longer SEO s primary weapon. Search engine algorithms aren t just about the number of backlinks (the number websites that link back to your site), but also the overall quality of the websites the links appear on, as well as the buzz around your brand online and through social interaction. When considering how SEO affects your content strategy, you first need to think about keyphrases and audience. Getting your content shared on other sites, with brand mentions and, crucially, backlinks to your site, complement the cycle. Remember this content will rank on its own too, taking up valuable SERP space for your target keyphrases, and not only text results but also video and images too. Tom Telford CEO of Waggener Edstrom s SEO partner, 3 White Hats

14 Turn Your Content Up To 11. You ve read the survey results and learnt how other marketers are embracing content, but you re busy and it s a lot to take in, so here s a quick recap: 1. Ignore the hype: to be successful, content marketing should be an integral and strategic part of the wider marketing mix, with measurable KPIs and buy-in from senior management. 2. Research your audience: you need to know who they are, what matters to them, what they re talking about, and which services and channels they use. Then tailor your content to them. 3. Tell great stories: think like a journalist and sniff out stories your audience will care about, while always bearing in mind the three principles of great storytelling: people, plot and place. 4.. But don t broadcast: content marketing should be interactive and stimulate conversation with your audience, especially through social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 5. Think quality not quantity: content is often a person s first experience of a brand, so it must reflect the brand s values but remember short and snappy is as powerful as big and brash. 6. Be authentic: kill the corporate speak and be ready to engage in open, honest dialogue with customers and prospects. They re people too, so treat them with respect and go easy on the sell. 7. Work the right way: develop your campaigns around content, not the other way around, and remember that content marketing is a medium- to long-term strategy, not a fast, easy fix. 8. Keep it fresh: always ask (and be honest) Is this new? Will my audience be interested in this?, and experiment with a variety of channels it s vital your methods evolve with your audience. 9. Plan ahead: think like an editor and plan your content as far in advance as possible. Then ensure you have the right internal and external resources in place to stick to your editorial calendar. 10. Maximise everything: creating quality content is resource-intensive, so ensure everything you create is amplified across all the most relevant channels, all of the time. 11. Don t forget the SEO: search algorithm updates put the emphasis on quality content, but to grow long-term organic traffic it s vital you still keep up with the latest developments in SEO.

15 DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B CONTENTCAMPAIGNS RESOURCESDECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS COPYWRITING MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT KPI REPUTATION CONTENT INSIGHT ROI BRANDING ECOMMERCE VISIBILITY REAL-TIME CREDIBILITY ALIGNMENT E LINKSBUYERSSEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION CONVERSATIONSINNOVATION VALUE S TUMBLR ANALYTICS SERVICES DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTION VISITORS NETWORKING ID INSTAGRAMORGANIZATION STRATEGIC PROMOTION RESEARCH CONNECT MANPOWER YOUTUBE LEADERSHIP IDEAS SOURCES THOUGHT LEADERSHIP OBJECTIVES KEYWORD WITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS MOBILE APPS PAID COLLATERAL M DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE METRICS INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT LEADERSHIP TRAFFIC INSIGHT ECOM PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B CONTENT CAMPAIGNS RESOURCES DECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS What to COPYWRITING do next MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT KPI REPUTATION CONTENT INSIGHT ROI BRANDING ECOMMERCE VISIBILITY REAL-TIME CREDIBILITY ALIGNMENT E LINKSBUYERSSEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION CONVERSATIONSINNOVATION VALUE S TUMBLR ANALYTICS SERVICES DISTRIBUTION DISTRIBUTION Content marketing can make VISITORS a positive difference NETWORKING to your ID INSTAGRAMORGANIZATION STRATEGIC PROMOTION sales leads, search RESEARCH engine ranking and CONNECT brand awareness. MANPOWER YOUTUBE LEADERSHIP IDEAS SOURCES THOUGHT If you d LEADERSHIP like to maximise the impact OBJECTIVES of your content and KEYWORD WITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS ensure it MOBILE delivers tangible APPS business results, PAID please... COLLATERAL M DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE Call us: METRICS +44 (0) INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER Drop us a line: OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT Or Tweet LEADERSHIP INSIGHT MARK PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO To see further examples of content in action, please visit: TWITTER ENEWSLETTER CASE STUDIES WEBINARS MOBILE APPS PAID COLLATERAL M DIGG ANNUAL REPORTS VIRTUAL CONFERENCES PERSONALIZING USEFUL GUIDES AUD GOOGLE PLUS INTERVIEWS ANALYSIS AUDIENCE METRICS INDUSTRY TRENDS RESEAR NEWSLETTER INFLUENCERS CONFERENCES BLOGGER OUTREACH EVENTS VIRAL EVENT PHOTOGRAPHY CUSTOMER RETENTION THOUGHT LEADERSHIP TRAFFIC INSIGHT HIGH- PODCAST WHITEPAPERS WORD OF MOUTH INCREASED VISIBILITY VIDEO AGGREGATIO DATA TACTICS BUDGET ENGAGING MARKETING TECHNOLOGY MESSAGING STRATEGY B CONTENTCAMPAIGNS RESOURCESDECISION-MAKING EDITORIAL IMPLEMENTATION RE ONLINE CONSISTENCY EFFECTIVELY ARTICLE C INTERACTIONVIDEOEXPERTISE OFFLINE QUALITY CHANNELSCUSTOMER OPPORTUNITY STORYTELLING MULTI-PLATFORMPRODUCTION CONVER CONSUMER SOCIAL COMMENTS AUDIENCE BUZZWORDS COPYWRITING MICROSITE CO LOYALTY DIGITAL INFLUENCIAL PUBLICATION HIGH-IMPACT KPI REPUTATION CONTENT

16 TIME TO CHANGE GEARS Brand storytelling requires a lightning fast partner A presence in more than 80 international markets including: Austin Beijing Bengaluru Boston Delhi Geneva Hong Kong Johannesburg London Melbourne Mumbai Munich New York Paris Portland San Francisco Seattle Seoul Shanghai Singapore Sydney Washington, D.C waggeneredstrom.com

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