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In this week’s article of our series on”content marketing”, presented by SkywordPatricia Travaline, Skyword’s Marketing VP, provides 7 key guidelines successful brands such as Iron Mountain, IBM and AutoTrader have leaned on.

digital.letters1Content marketing is one of the most important and effective tools that a brand or agency can use to build its business, reach new consumers and deepen loyalty with existing customers. To be truly effective and engaging, brands will benefit from following a blueprint and adhering to some established best practices as they embark on producing and distributing owned content.

Here are some guidelines that successful brands such as Iron Mountain, IBM and AutoTrader have leaned on.

Steps to start a content marketing strategy

(and to best integrate it into your daily marketing processes)

1. Define Your Objectives The first question you need to ask is what is your goal in content marketing? Is it education about a specific product line? Is it to be viewed as a thought leader?

Other objectives might be building awareness, providing education, or driving traffic and generating leads. There is no right or wrong answer, but know the goals because they form the hub of your strategy.

Iron Mountain

Storage and information services provider Iron Mountain had a very clear goal in mind with its content marketing. After seeing a decline in outbound marketing conversions, the firm decided to swap tactics away from traditional digital tactics such as email and paid ads, and rely instead on content to strengthen its relationship with customers and prospects and to enhance its position as a thought leader. Skyword worked with Iron Mountain to create articles and reports on trending topics of interest to Iron Mountain buyers.

2. Build Content Around Those Objectives – Once you know your goals, you need to study your audience to determine if they want news or evergreen content, or both, or perhaps how-to pieces, instructional material, or deep-dive reports on trends. In order to determine the best content for your customers, learn what they care about, what issues matter to them, and what pain points they face in their businesses.

There is no shortcut to knowing your audience. You need to talk to them and study the market so that you can create compelling content that will engage them and be shared.

AutoTrader.com

AutoTrader.com confronted the issue of pain points when it revamped its content strategy. The site has become a leading source in-car buying with more than 16 million monthly visitors. However, the site was publishing eight articles a day from various contracted writers, and that proved a drain on resources and time. AutoTrader needed to streamline that process with one system for editing, distribution and even payment of writers. Using Skyword’s platform, AutoTrader now manages the writing process in a more organized fashion and also uses the system for fact checking, SEO and spelling. Skyword’s tech tools, among other features, suggest desirable keywords for search optimization.

Using a centralized platform helped reduce time spent managing the writing process, and also drove up revenue because the content was optimized for search and sharing.

As a result, impressions rose 281 percent in 3 years and the Skyword system helped generate 10 million in new revenue.

3. SEO Matters – Part and parcel of any content strategy is to define the best keywords, because SEO plays a huge role in content marketing. You’ll be distributing content across many online channels, so you want it to be easily found. SEO is a powerful tool since many consumers may first learn about your business or area of expertise via a search on a related topic.

Make sure your content returns high. To ensure your business is on track with its SEO, AutoTrader writers receive “an automated SEO scorecard” with their pieces, which gives feedback on how their articles and written materials will fare best with SEO.

4. Establish an editorial calendar and assign writers to topics –This step is sometimes neglected but it’s vital. Are you pushing out content daily? Three times a day? Who hits publish and when? Likewise, make sure you have properly allocated the necessary tasks in content production such as writing, creating, fact checking and distributing.

5. Develop a Library – The content, of course, is the backbone of a content strategy, and there are a number of ways to approach the actual creation of content.

United Way

As an example, United Way wanted to distribute timely and emotionally powerful material to its 1800 local affiliates. But uncovering stories about the brands and the people behind the communities was time-consuming, and that’s why the association wanted a central resource for this information. United Way worked with Skyword to create a pool of blog articles and local resource guides to include in its content engine as part of an overarching strategy to provide a consistent message. Tapping into content that matters to local communities served the brand’s overall objectives – to encourage more online visitors to take action and volunteer.

6. Promote your Content – Post the articles, papers, videos, etc. to your site but also to social channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. Also, be in touch with influencers in your industry who can help spread the content.

IBM

IBM, for instance, recently developed a content library to raise awareness about its solutions for mid-size businesses. IBM relied on a team of bloggers and journalists to create relevant news articles on important trends and breaking news to mid-size business owners and IT professionals. The content was optimized for search and social and nearly 3,000 articles created generated more than 200 million social impressions and 16,000 shares (as of August 2013), which in turn led customers to IBM sites to seek out more information.

7. Measure – You want to know if your content marketing is working so you can tweak and improve it when need be. Establish the important metrics, such as shares, page views, traffic lifts,or even sales boosts. Change your content if it’s not hitting the mark.

The team at Iron Mountain found success with its content marketing approach based on the metrics that mattered – inbound outreach via phone or the website. Since the content marketing program began, inbound calls rose 5% and completions of the contact us form on the website are up 61%. Similarly, AutoTrader tracked its best-performing topics so the content creators could focus on the areas that generated the most engagement.

This series of articles about “Content Marketing” is brought to you by Skyword. Skyword provides a wide range of services so that companies may connect with their audiences and generate a higher degree of engagement via top-quality contents for online search and social networking, currently the two main sources for content consumption.

Other articles of the CONTENT MARKETING SERIES:

CONTENT MARKETING: What do we mean when we talk about “content marketing”?

CONTENT MARKETING: Flying Through the Fog: A Marketer’s Guide to Navigating Search After Google Keywords Were Encrypted

CONTENT MARKETING: What we can learn from Iron Mountain, IBM and Autotrader

CONTENT MARKETING: Should Media Firms become Content Marketing Agencies?

CONTENT MARKETING: Spanish Language: What opportunities does it afford?

CONTENT MARKETING: How P&G, Clorox and Tampico engage Hispanic audiences

CONTENT MARKETING: How Pepsi’s “Cultural Fluency” concept translates into Content Marketing executions

geraceIn today’s article of our series on CONTENT MARKETING presented by SkywordTom Gerace, founder and CEO of Skyword, analyzes how marketers should approach Google’s recent and fundamental change of encrypting referring keyword data when it hands search traffic to marketers. The task ahead is even more complex for organizations with web presences in the U.S. Hispanic market and in countries throughout Latin America.

For years, marketers have analyzed Google keywords to understand what topics their customers search for most and how they search for them. This week, Google made a fundamental change to how it refers website traffic, obscuring the search phrases that drive consumers to brands’ websites.

We expect Google will continue to encrypt traffic until this method of measurement is no longer available.

Navigating-the-fog-of-google-keywords-encryption-300x187Like a thick fog rolling across the San Francisco Bay, this change has left many marketers with the sensation that they are flying blind. As those who have flown through stormy weather know, however, you can fly just fine through fog, as long as you have the right instruments guiding the way.

Smart content marketers pay significant attention to search and social.

Search is the leading way that people actively discover new information.

We search for content more than 21 billion times each month in the United States, and more than 115 billion times around the world. When we click away from the search window, 85 percent of the time we click on the organic content links on the page, not the paid advertising links.

Social is the leading way that people discover information passively.

We share content 36 billion times each month. We pass along content other people have shared another 90 billion times monthly. When consumers click away from social, they click on the content links their friends have shared or passed along. In short, search and social have become the de facto gateways to the consumer.

Thoughtful marketers now know that quality, original content is the key to reaching people.

How It Works

Foto: Esocialmediashop. Bajo licencia Creative Commons.

Marketers have competed for natural search traffic for years. They analyzed Google keywords to understand how their consumers and prospective buyers search for information, and learned how consumers discovered their sites. They optimized site structure and current content to appear higher in search rankings. They then identified topics of interest to their customers that they had not addressed, and created content to meet those information needs (again optimizing that content so Google would list it at the top of search results).

This work is even more complex for organizations with web presences in the U.S. Hispanic market and  in many countries throughout Latin America. Simply translating a web site is not sufficient because translated keyword phrases,top competitors, search volumes, and even popular search engines all vary from one country to the next.

Finally, marketers use a number of methods to measure their success.

To analyze how their content performs in search and how their consumers actually navigate to their sites, marketers used a number of approaches:

  • Tagging: Website and content analytics platforms, including Google Analytics and Omniture (and our own platform at Skyword), use tracking tags to identify the source of traffic to that site. Historically, these platforms have captured the URL of the site that referred the traffic (the “referring URL”) and aggregated that data into different reports. For traffic coming from Google, this URL would be something similar to google.com/search?q=keyword. The q= is the actual keyword that was searched for. One of the most useful reports showed the specific keywords that consumers were searching for when they came to the marketer’s site.
  • Scanning Search Results: Services like BrightEdge or Conductor (or, again, Skyword’s own platform) take a different approach, running thousands of searches everyday across a broad set of keywords. These systems then examine where marketers’ content appears on search engine results pages (SERPs), and reports that search performance to them.
  • Google Webmaster Tools: Google also offers a set of tools to webmasters that provide them with some broad, aggregate data on search performance.

What Has Changed?

To protect consumer privacy, Google will be encrypting the referring keyword data when it hands search traffic to marketers. Analyzing data across Skyword’s clients and the hundreds of thousands of pieces of content we track for them, we saw that Google currently encrypts about 82 percent of traffic (up from just under 30 percent as recently as last week).

We expect Google will continue to encrypt traffic until this method of measurement is no longer available. We were flying on a clear day, with direct visibility into what people were searching for, but Google has just introduced dense fog.

Content marketers that rely on Google Analytics, Omniture, or content marketing platforms that derive all of their search data from those systems are suddenly flying blind. They have limited visibility into which of their content marketing efforts are succeeding or failing. Absent that data, they cannot guide their future work toward greater success.

What Hasn’t Changed?

Well, let’s start with the big picture:

  • Search is and will remain the primary means of active information discovery.  People searched 4 billion times yesterday. They will search about 4 billion times today. They will search about 4 billion times tomorrow and the day after that.
  • When people click away from search results, they will still click on the content links 85 percent of the time. So natural search will drive the same value (the equivalent of billions of dollars in traffic each month) to brands that it did before.
  • Search optimized content will still appear higher in search results, just as it did before. Those markers that create SEO content will continue to win an increasing share of that natural search traffic.

In short, smart marketers will continue to compete for natural search traffic, just as aggressively as they did before Google’s change.

On the search logistics side:

  • Data from systems that scan search results, like Skyword’s content marketing platform, Conductor, or BrightEdge’s search analytics platforms, are unaffected. We will continue to run those searches every day, we’ll continue to gather information about where a brand is ranking and where their competitors are ranking, and we’ll provide insight that will guide content marketing efforts in the future.
  • Google’s Webmaster Tools will also provide aggregate data for websites, showing the top 2,000 terms that are driving traffic to a site. This data provides a broad snapshot of where a site is succeeding, but does not provide the refined data down to the page level that was available on Google Analytics and other sites before. It is also limited to 2,000 terms, preventing marketers from understanding or competing for the long tail.

How Marketers Can Navigate the Changes

Marketers that understand their customers’ information needs, and respond to those needs by creating original, quality, search-optimized content, will still drive significant reach and engagement via natural search.

The impact of Google’s change on your organization depends, in part, on how you have been flying.

Brands that rely on tag-based systems alone (Google Analytics, Omniture, and social platforms that lack robust search functionality) will have some data in aggregate. Beyond this aggregate data, however, they will be flying blind. They will lose the specific keyword-level and page-specific analytics that allow them to develop search-informed content strategies and maximize natural search traffic.

Seeing this change coming, we built a sophisticated search results scanning capability into Skyword’s content marketing platform more than a year ago. Because of that technology, marketers using our platform can still identify keywords to target, optimize their content for search, measure how their content performs against those keywords, and evaluate search performance down to the individual article level. Marketers not using Skyword will need to consider a service like BrightEdge or Conductor to track their content search performance, in addition to whatever platform they may use.

For example, the report below, showing keyword rank success for a content marketing platform (site wide and down to the individual keyword and article level) will perform unchanged.

Likewise, we will still be able to recommend keywords where you ought to compete for traffic, and identify those where you would not see significant benefit, as illustrated below.

Equally important, we will still be able to guide writers and editors to create and optimize their content to maximize search performance. And this optimization will still be just effective as it was before.

Soaring Above the Fog

Google has introduced a new weather pattern and obscured some of the data that content marketers love to see. Natural search traffic remains just as valuable today as it was yesterday. And the fog doesn’t mean your natural search traffic can’t take off. Brands that are equipped with the right technology can compete for that traffic just as successfully as they did before. Perhaps more so, for a while, since brands not similarly equipped will remain grounded or be flying blind.

This series of articles about “Content Marketing” is brought to you by Skyword. Skyword provides a wide range of services so that companies may connect with their audiences and generate a higher degree of engagement via top-quality contents for online search and social networking, currently the two main sources for content consumption.

Other articles of the CONTENT MARKETING SERIES:

CONTENT MARKETING: What do we mean when we talk about “content marketing”?

CONTENT MARKETING: Flying Through the Fog: A Marketer’s Guide to Navigating Search After Google Keywords Were Encrypted

CONTENT MARKETING: What we can learn from Iron Mountain, IBM and Autotrader

CONTENT MARKETING: Should Media Firms become Content Marketing Agencies?

CONTENT MARKETING: Spanish Language: What opportunities does it afford?

CONTENT MARKETING: How P&G, Clorox and Tampico engage Hispanic audiences

CONTENT MARKETING: How Pepsi’s “Cultural Fluency” concept translates into Content Marketing executions

In the first article of our new series on”content marketing”, presented by SkywordPatricia Travaline, Skyword’s Marketing VP, casts a first look on what content marketing really is, how it works and the best ways to address a content marketing strategy.

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Advertising alone isn’t sufficient to reach the modern consumer anymore. In an online world driven by search and social, savvy brands have realized they need a mix of paid, owned and earned media to reach their consumers.

Content marketing falls under the owned media heading and it’s becoming a vital cog in consumer outreach, in part because it delivers on the twin consumer behaviors of search and social. Content marketing often takes different shapes and forms – it can be a branded web series, a webinar, a white paper, a podcast, a blog with how-to information on your products or more.

Content marketing has proven to be an effective tool for brands ranging from Autotrader to IBM to United Way. They use it to connect with consumers, find new customers, and grow their revenue.

How to drive a successful content marketing program?

There are many best practices that drive a successful content marketing program, and one of those is frequency. Because timing is everything. With the proper timing and the ability to strategically push out content based on real-time trending topics, a brand can achieve “content velocity” which refers to the speed at which something catches on.

The biggest benefit of content velocity lies in the ability to grow share of voice over the competition. Social media spikes only last a short while, so driving a long life for content is a wise pursuit.

Consider consumer behavior today to better understand how and why the speed of content matters. Search and social are the gateways to B2B buyers with 115 billion global searches every month on Google, and 36 billion social shares each month in the United States.

Content is particularly key to connecting with B2B buyers because 60% of B2B buying decisions are made before engaging with a sales person. Also, 70% of the content B2B buyers read or study before making a purchase they find on their own

(Source: 70% stat comes from “Strengthen Your B2B Brand With Better Content Distribution,” a Forrester Research, Inc., blog post dated May 8 that buyers search out.)

But how much content do consumers truly want and how often should a brand serve them?

Bear in mind the first rule of content marketing – keep it snackable.

The average consumer has an eight-second attention span to devote to your marketing. So you need content that will engage buyers in social mediums, but it’s also important that you send out that content strategically.

At the right time. How often?

That will vary by the brand, but a good guideline is to create as much relevant content as possible because B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than firms without (Source: Social Media B2B 2012).

Also companies that blog 15 times per month generate five times more traffic than those that don’t (Source: Hubspot). As such, posting in the company´s blog at least four times a week is deal and will help ensure enough content to share on social media a few times a day.

You want your content to catch on for the long-term, rather than fade away.

Remember then that content marketing opportunities increase with spikes in searches, shares and social chatter on a trending topic. When this happens, search and social can drive traffic back to your site, and engagement with your brand.

While it can be tempting to grab these real-time spikes and latch onto them, be wary of pursuing the brass ring of a big spike. You can’t plan for it. However, with regular publishing and frequency you can develop the right momentum and catch hold of vital search and social topics. We advise marketers to monitor real-time trends and endeavor to feed them when feasible with existing content that matches the topic. Overall though, a well-stocked content cupboard will have both news and evergreen content.

Blog posts can help service topical issues, but deeper dive pieces on evergreen trends can boost long-term traffic and links and drive strong search results.

The takeaway?

Have a an arsenal of content ready to go and if a topic spikes to push out an article on it. But also be prepared to publish regularly on the topics that matter to your audience. To do that, know your audience, know the keywords, and understand the searches they do on Web sites and social for topics that matter to them and you. Serve up content that aligns with their interests, and do so with SEO top of mind.

Case: IBM

With the IBM midsize insider news program Skyword helped IBM build a large pool of news writers well-trained in finding their own topics and turning assignments around quickly enough to capture the interest of audiences searching and sharing around these issues.

The goal was to educate midsize business owners and IT decision makers on IBM’s offerings and increase the brand’s digital authority around topics relevant to the mid-market.

Key to achieving this mission was to differentiate IBM’s brand from other solutions providers.

Results

Using Skyword’s platform IBM treated this project like a newsroom, publishing about 10 professional, search-optimized articles each day.  The results demonstrate the power of well-timed content velocity. The IBM site has published more than 3500 articles, has now gained acceptance into Google News as a reputable news source, and has generated more than 280 million social impressions, 64,000 social engagements, and 712,000 page views. The engagement rate is well above average with a nearly 21% social sharing rate and a 1.8% average click-through rate from MidsizeInsider.com to IBM.com solution pages, which is 35 times higher than the average for banners.

Content velocity is great, but ultimately a brand will benefit most from creating high quality content that establishes its leadership in a specific category. In this way a business can simultaneously grow the number of ranking keywords relative to the competitions while providing lasting value to consumers who are searching for products, services, or information.

This series of articles about “Content Marketing” is brought to you by Skyword. Skyword provides a wide range of services so that companies may connect with their audiences and generate a higher degree of engagement via top-quality contents for online search and social networking, currently the two main sources for content consumption.

Other articles of the CONTENT MARKETING SERIES:

CONTENT MARKETING: What do we mean when we talk about “content marketing”?

CONTENT MARKETING: Flying Through the Fog: A Marketer’s Guide to Navigating Search After Google Keywords Were Encrypted

CONTENT MARKETING: What we can learn from Iron Mountain, IBM and Autotrader

CONTENT MARKETING: Should Media Firms become Content Marketing Agencies?

CONTENT MARKETING: Spanish Language: What opportunities does it afford?

CONTENT MARKETING: How P&G, Clorox and Tampico engage Hispanic audiences

CONTENT MARKETING: How Pepsi’s “Cultural Fluency” concept translates into Content Marketing executions

Bola-O-OlonisakinBola Olonisakin is the Creative Head and Online Strategist at GTech Designs. Olonisakin specializes in web design and mobile marketing, mobile apps, custom web design, web development, mobile marketing, and search engine optimization services.

Once upon a time in the land of Search Engine Optimization, a business could assemble a sub-par website full of carelessly written content, throw in a hefty helping of meta keywords and tags, craft a few links and… PRESTO… they would enjoy instant search engine ranking!

Those days are gone.

As Search Engine Optimization evolves, different factors are being considered as to what makes one site worthy of higher ranking than another. Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates are rooting out anything that seems like spamming or keyword loading. The days of the old SEO schemes are over, and the time for new and more solid Internet marketing strategies is at hand. A recent survey of digital marketing professionals conducted by Econsultancy indicates the consensus that content is increasing in importance as a marketing strategy.

Consider this noteworthy information from the Econsultancy Content Marketing Survey Report:

  • 90% of respondents believe that content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months.
  • Nearly three-quarters (73 %) of digital marketers agree that ‘brands are becoming publishers’.
  •  64% of in-house marketers agree that content marketing ‘is becoming its own discipline’.
  •  38% currently have a defined strategy in place.
  • Of in-house respondents, 55% are saying that they (or their clients) are working on a strategy, as do 58% of agency respondents.

Neil Patel, co-founder of two Internet companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics and one of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Top Entrepreneurs in the Nation”, understands the importance of content marketing:

I’ve always built my organic search traffic through content marketing. Why you may ask? It’s cheaper and it provides faster results… We were able to launch KISSmetrics and get over 100,000 monthly organic visitors in less than a year… just through blogging and creating infographics. We didn’t build one link manually… we just spent our time and money on content marketing.

For the small business owner, this type of strategy is a worthwhile investment of time and resources. Some of the more popular and effective methods used by marketers are:

• Blog posts
• Articles and guides
• Press releases
• E-newsletters
• Infographics
• Social media content (tweets, updates, etc.)

The impact of such a strategy can be substantial. Good content has a proven correlation with conversion rates as shown in a survey by Digital Social Media agency, Sekari, in which:

• 52% of consumers surveyed said that blogs have impacted purchasing decisions.
• 57% of marketers surveyed acquired new customers via their blogs.
• 61% of customers surveyed said they would be more likely to purchase goods from a site with custom content.

Also, the creation and promotion of quality content encourages sharing on social sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. These “likes”, “+1s”, and “tweets” are gaining importance as ranking factors across search engines. It’s the new trend in SEO!

But there is one more thing that sets content marketing apart from traditional SEO methods, and it’s a big one: Content marketing does not get affected by algorithm updates! While an SEO agency may be able to promise you an increase in ranking, the results, if any, may be short-term, at best.

They will be subject to the next update of the search engine algorithms when the next Penguin or Panda (or Possum or Parakeet or whatever the next one is called) is released. The advisable tactic is to invest in the production of high quality content for a carefully planned strategy that will prove financially fruitful and will endure the changes of the search engines’ ranking factors.

Lin-WilderLin Wilder is an Internet marketer and writer

I was reminded of the long history of content marketing while listening to a Webinar earlier this week. We tend to think that whatever we have discovered on the net is brand new, or at least only as old as the nineties, when the net revolutionized our world.

Remember John Deere? Right, tractors, those huge farm machines that none of us can name? The John Deere company is still the company associated with farming equipment over 175 years after its founder began the company.

In the late 1830’s, John Deere developed a steel-tipped plow. A blacksmith in Illinois, Deere well knew the value of a steel tip to the local farmers who battled with sticky mid-western soil in creating the furrows needed to plant. His first year, he sold 10 of his new plows and began to triple his sales each year.

How did he market?

Deere set up classes for the local farmers who were hungry for knowledge about better ways to farm, and then he created a magazine still in circulation today: The Furrow. Good, even great content marketing involves the creation of compelling stories which reach a customer’s pain points. John Deere capitalized on the need for knowledge; by becoming an expert in farming, Deere began to make himself- and his products- essential to his customers.

You are thinking that this story does not apply to and to us in this information saturated 21st century? Think again.

Yes, we are saturated with information, constantly… from our phones, media and from our friends and colleagues. But how much of what we hear and read is useful? How much can we apply to ourselves, to our financial and physical well-being?

How quickly could your business grow if you started a daily, weekly or even monthly blog or newsletter about health? Or exercise? Or anything that you are interested in-curious about?

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7420890

bloggersJoseph Finkelberg – Content Marketing  and Online Popularity Consultant

Some may say that content marketing is easy but not everybody knows the effective strategies in using this as a way to increase his online presence. Thorough understanding on how to do content marketing will allow a business or a professional to get the attention of the crowd.

Many tips can be seen online about content marketing but there are more effective strategies that can be employed. For the purpose of this article, top three tips would be provided which can propel anybody’s website or blog with the use of content marketing.

Here are the top three tips in getting massive attention using content marketing:

  • Consistent quality content
  • Hardcore selling is a big NO!
  • Study and consistently monitor the analytics

Consistent Quality Content

To get the attention of the online audience, it’s necessary to continuously create articles, videos and other content with information that they need. Without quality, people won’t trust the author and the efforts to gain online exposure will be wasted. It’s necessary to create articles with no grammatical errors and they should be filled with information practical tips.

Remember that quality is the key. Even if the keywords used can drive massive traffic because of the number of searchers using them, the website won’t receive sustainable and massive traffic without quality content.

Hardcore Selling is a Big NO!

People don’t like to receive hardcore selling because of annoying sales people. Some of them are so pushy in selling their products or services and the prospects get annoyed. The approach should be different. Content marketing should be done with the use of quality content and friendly written conversation.

If ever selling will be included in the article, it should just be some linked ads or indirect selling (soft selling). No need to hardly convince people because they only want to be informed.

Study and Consistently Monitor the Analytics

In content creation and publication, it’s necessary to be familiar with analytics because knowing the behavior and demands of the market will allow the content creator to target specific niches. In addition, he will also be able to find the necessary keywords to be added to his content.

Analytics may also show through graphs how many clicks and unique impressions a certain webpage receives. This can help marketers in gauging the behavior and response of the online users.

Marketing efforts can be very effective if content marketing is added to the campaigns. It can truly empower the efforts to boost popularity and profits just like what the online marketing pros had done.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7456245

Eric-WedemeyerEric Wedemeyer – CEO – Tactus Associates Inc.

Brands are the starting point for all marketing and communications. The strategic lodestone. The most fundamental expression of your company’s mission and purpose.

Content marketing is a tactic – a system of focused, specific, flexible and customer-oriented communications with an eye on the bottom line.

What two marketing disciplines could be more different? Yet anyone who practices both can tell you that the deeper you dive into either, the more they start to look alike.

Branding and content marketing: children of the same mother.

It’s no mystery why. Branding and content emerge from the same place: the brand value proposition. Or to put it another way, they’re both about telling the brand story.

Where did your brand come from and why does it exist?  What makes your brand different and special? What does your brand offer the customer, what needs does it uniquely satisfy, what problems does it solve?

If you can answer these questions – and articulate the answers in the form of a succinct brand proposition – then you not only have the foundations of a robust brand, but also a framework for all the compelling content you could ever wish to create.

Content marketing is what happens when your brand has to go out and earn a living.  If branding and content are both about story-telling, how are they different? Branding is the process of creating the story.

Content tells the story in a way that supports sales, not with a hard-selling push, but by forming relationships with customers and prospects and by building trust.

Content is trackable and measurable. And while it’s not designed to move product on the spot (you probably have another department for that called “Sales”), you should expect it to more than pay its way in the form of qualified leads, a smoother sales process and improved loyalty.

Content marketing without a strong brand is like running without legs.

Content builds relationships between your customers and… your brand. It delivers value to your customers because it tells a compelling story about… your brand.

Content has to be about something. That’s why the first step of any content marketing program is to write down a content marketing mission statement. And guess what? That mission statement will always be a specially-purposed version of the brand proposition.

Branding and content marketing need each other.  Like symbiotic creatures, branding and content programs make more sense as a single system than as separate entities.

Branding must eventually find expression in results-oriented, ground-level programs like content initiatives. Otherwise it can degenerate into navel-gazing and design minutiae. Content stays focused and effective only when it follows guiding light of the brand.

Branding and content marketing: brothers in arms.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7604795

What defines good creative in the Hispanic market is the same as in any other market. And it’s often difficult to define. Everyone agrees that it cannot be reduced to specific design elements, colors or images. “The quickest way to offend any audience is to reduce it to a stereotype. No one will connect with a Hispanic audience by standardizing
on swirly typefaces and bright color palettes that seem to ‘look’ Hispanic,” explains Ronnie Lipton, multi-cultural marketing consultant and author of Designing Across Cultures (How Design Books, 2002). “Such symbols and elements will fail in most cases because they show the advertiser didn’t even try to understand the market’s depth and diversity.”

Many advertisers and publishers talk about cultural insight or understanding as the most important element of good creative. According to Alex Pallette, Vice President and Director of Account Planning at The Vidal Partnership, ads do not need to be visually Hispanic, but the strategy and thinking behind the ads has to come from an understanding of the Hispanic consumer. “The creative we did for Nissan has nothing visually to suggest that it is an advertisement targeting Hispanics. Its ability to reach Hispanics comes from an understanding of the Hispanic consumer that is conveyed in the advertisement,” explains Pallette. The Vidal Partnership looked at what ownership means to a Hispanic consumer, which is very different from what it means in the general market, and used that understanding to create an ad that speaks to Hispanics. “Ownership is a much bigger deal to the Hispanic consumer, it means more. That has to come through in the ad,” explains Pallette.

Felipe Korzenny, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communications at Florida State University, also emphasizes the importance of gaining cultural insight when it comes to good creative. He gives the example of coffee. “Americans use coffee to wake up in the morning, to get themselves going, but for Hispanics it’s more a way to welcome the morning and celebrate the new day. So you are going to create very different ads to speak to these two understandings or uses of coffee,” explains Korzenny.

However, an ad based on a specific insight into Hispanic culture, or some segment of the Hispanic market, often requires educating the client on more subtle cultural differences. In the absence of symbols or elements that are identifiably Hispanic, clients have difficultly recognizing good creative when they see it. Rochelle Newman-Carrasco, CEO and Principal of Enlace Communications, a full-service ad agency specializing in the U.S. Hispanic market, says it’s not uncommon to present an ad to a client and hear “What’s Hispanic about it?”

Some argue that an advertisement that is both specific to Hispanic culture, and at the same time universal enough to be understood by general market consumers (and clients) is ideal. Newman says she can argue it both ways. “If something is that universal it may not really reach the specific target audience,” she explains.

Good creative is creative that sells product

Great cultural insight and design are just parts of the equation. When it comes down to it, good creative is creative that gets people to take action. “If an ad doesn’t get the consumer to buy the product, it’s not a good ad,” says Ruth Gaviria, Publisher and Executive Director of Hispanic Ventures at Meredith. Rochelle Newman-Carrasco says that direct mail is “good creative” in this respect. “Direct mail is known for being tacky and not very artistically designed, but it is really good at what it does,” says Newman. “They’ve figured out how to get the response they want. And it is measurable, so if it’s not working they know it and can make changes.” Newman says that she sees the more results oriented direct mail advertising and the more idea and creative oriented print and broadcast advertising incorporating the strengths of the other into their own medium. So direct mail is becoming more visually appealing and well-designed and print and broadcast becoming more results oriented.

What gets in the way of good creative?

According to Ernie Pino, director of Producciones Pino in Los Angeles, lack of time and budget restrictions often make it more difficult to produce great creative for the Hispanic market. “There have been times when an Anglo campaign is ready to launch, but at the 11th hour, a creative director is given an order to have us design the campaign for Hispanic distribution,” explains Pino. “At that point there’s little time to engage in a good creative process and the job must be done on a rush basis or not at all.” Pino says the same thing happens with budgeting.

Meredith’s Ruth Gaviria agrees that lack of investment is one of the biggest obstacles to good creative in the Hispanic market, especially when it comes to print. “Hispanic agencies’ bread and butter has typically come from TV, so print has been less important.” Gaviria says that agencies have focused mostly on hiring and developing talented TV creatives and have neglected print. However, as interest in the Hispanic market in general, and print in particular, increases Gaviria sees this changing. “Hispanic agencies have had to hire new people who really know print.”

What makes good creative possible?

Great concepts and cutting edge design are not just about talent. Good creative needs the proper environment within which to grow. According to Ruth Gaviria, what really allows good creative to happen is a combination of good insights and openness to risk. “In the end, it is all about the relationship that exists between the agency and the client. If there is trust and open communication the creative process can flourish,” says Gaviria. “The companies that are really open to that dialogue, who want their agencies to push them, to make them a little bit uncomfortable, those are the companies that are really going to come out with great creative that sells.” Multicultural marketing consultant Ronnie Lipton points out that the more companies advertise to Hispanics, the better ads have to be. “Increased clutter means that advertising that’s just there isn’t enough. More than ever advertising has to be good – has to connect – to even be noticed.”