Content Marketing- The Medium AND The Message

Why Both Are Important When Creating Content For Your Target Audience

Content Marketing the medium and the message

Marshall McLuhan, a renowned professor and intellectual, particularly in the realm of media theory, is often credited with predicting the internet almost thirty years before its advent. In the early 1960’s, he coined the immediately popular expression, “The medium is the message”. This concept indicates that a medium’s content is less significant than the medium itself. He notes, it is the medium, and not the content, that has a greater impact on shaping an individual’s, or group’s, perception. For instance, McLuhan would contend that the television carries with it much more significance than any of the messages coming out of it.  This idea has remained a controversial topic in advertising and mass media since its inception. McLuhan’s influence waned somewhat in the following decades, but with the incredible growth and influence the internet has had on mass media, there has been resurgence in interest with his work. There certainly is application to this idea, or variations of it, when considering content marketing.

This post will focus on the idea that in order to create quality content, for a specific target audience, you must keep in mind both the medium and the message as foundational aspects of your content. Their symbiotic relationship is key in engaging customers and providing them content that they want and need.

The Backlash

McLuhan may have had a point, especially when regarding mass media and looking at the term “medium” in a broad sense, but when it comes to content marketing, McLuhan might have missed the mark. “The medium is not the message, the message is the message”, was the retort that many had for McLuhan’s controversial conjecture. This kind of critique doesn’t really focus on what McLuhan was getting at anyway. He saw the “content” or “message” as the apparent component, at least to the consumer, where the “medium” is what introduces subtly, over long periods of time, the types of changes that affect our perception.

If you take into account these ideas and place emphasis not on one or the other, but the combination of the two. You’ll have the proper ingredients to creating quality content.

Types of Media (The Medium)

For the content marketer today, there is a plethora of media that can be used. There is the tried and tested advertising media of the 20th century:

Advertising media

And what could be considered new media of the 21st century:

websites, social media, video games, wikis, blogs

Choosing the right form of media is vital in grabbing the target audience you’re looking to engage with.

Crafting the Content (The Message)

Now that you’ve chosen your medium, it takes careful consideration when creating the content that goes into it. Delivering the right message is imperative in engaging and retaining customers. You want to be part, or all of, the information that you would want your customers consuming. With good content, you won’t have to try too hard to get customers involved. By being the most educational resource for your customer you will set up a longstanding relationship. Much like the symbiosis between the medium and the message, the business and the consumer must be in some form of unison.

A Couple Examples of a Good Medium with a Good Message

The Furrow (John Deere)

the-furrow-magazine-cover

Medium: Magazine (Originally in Print, now also Online)

Message: Provides to the reader a mix of current issues in farming with both local and international background, and best practice examples as well as exclusive news and facts on John Deere products and company strategy.

Red Bull TV

red bull tv

Medium: TV and Online

Message: Gives the viewer front-row access to live events, the best in action sports, new music and entertainment, and thrilling videos from world adventurers. Provided a medium where the wasn’t one in the field of action sports.

CONCLUSION

Content Marketing takes into consideration both the Medium and the Message as key components for determining what a specific target audience will want and need.

 

Slideshare: 

 

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_medium_is_the_message

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_McLuhan

https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/business-strategy-concept-infographic-diagram-illustration-272061782

https://www.deere.com/en_INT/industry/agriculture/our_offer/the_furrow/the_furrow_magazine.page

https://www.redbull.tv/

Top 4 Best Content Marketing Tips for Social Media

contentmarketingtipsforsocialmedia

Content Marketing Tips for Social Media

So you created social media pages for your business, but your posts aren’t getting any likes, comments, retweets, etc, and your customers (and potential customers) don’t seem interested in what you have to say. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place, we have the content marketing tips for social media that you need!

Content is incredibly important – what you say and how you say it makes all the difference in getting and keeping people interested in your brand and the message you’re trying to send out there. Simply posting about your product or service is not enough. Read on to learn how you can optimize your content for social media.

 

1) Attract Attention with Visuals

Chances are, consumers follow tons of business pages, you’re just one in a sea full of them. It’s incredibly important to set yourself apart and get seen over the other competitors. Let me ask you this: How likely are you to click on a link or read a post if it’s just a paragraph full of words? Pretty unlikely, right? People are busy, probably just checking their phones on their lunch break, they don’t have time to read a long or detailed post, especially if they have 10 other business on their feeds doing the same thing.

Visuals are a great way to catch their attention and set yourself apart from your competitors. This can be a gif (these are super fun!), a video, an image, or an infographic (providing information in a visual format).

contentmarketingvisuals

2) Make your customers part of the conversation

What better way to get engagement than by showing your product in action. Encourage your followers to utilize a specific hashtag or tag your business with them using your product or service. You can repost/retweet their posts to showcase what you have to offer and that you appreciate them!

The company called Overtone is a great example of how this can work really well. They offer color-pigmented conditioners to keep colorful hair looking freshly dyed, and they often repost customers who have used their product to show real results.

contentmarketingengagement

3) Actively Interact with your followers

It’s not enough to just make a post or Tweet. To keep your customers engaged and interested, you should take the time to ask questions, and answer them. It will take extra time and effort, but it will show your customers that you value their thoughts and opinions and that you have A++ customer support.

contentengagementsocialmedia

4) Demonstrate and Showcase

This can be tutorials or tips related to your product or service. This can be in the form of a blog post or article or you can make a video/infographic. This could be a hairstyle how-to if you offer hair products, make-up tutorials if you offer make-up, different outfit creations based on clothing you sell, etc. Get creative, and make it fun and informative. A great example is OGX Beauty’s hairstyle tutorials.

contentdemonstatingsocialmedia

 

Try these content marketing tips for social media, and you’re well on your way to more engagement on your social platforms. Remember, it’s about connecting with your audience and including them in the conversation. Have fun with it, and get creative!

contentmarketingtipsforsocialmedia

For another helpful visual to understand these content marketing tips for social media, check out this video presentation.

 

Me, Myself & Content Marketing

me_myself_and_contentmarketing

The tips on how to gain awareness and how to grow in social media are endless right? Knowing that, my purpose with this blog post is to offer something different and more personal.

As a marketing intern I would like to share my own experience working with content marketing and give you what actually works on the daily challenges of growing your small business/brand.

The Brand
My experience is in a  San Diego local and  California Lifestyle brand called Cocoyana. They sell online handmade products from Colombia and Morocco.

Here is their website: https://cocoyana.com/

Bellow I will explain how is their online presence and some tips on how to do that,

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Social Media

Online presence is really imporant, knowing that, Cocoyana is in all  Popular Social media such as: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Google Plus, Tumbrl.

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BLOG 

The blog is really important since it is one of the biggest entrance path of customer on our website, do you know why?

Because we have to make sure to give our audience what they want and what they are interested in, but how?

One great tool, that I really like is “Answer the public” which based on the keyword you want to explore, in my case was one of our products, it gives you what questions people are asking regarding to that keyword. Once you have those questions you can use the ideas to create an informative blog post giving your customer what they want to know.

As an example, I’ve chosen one blog post that performed really well about music festivals.

With Answer the public, I looked for wayuu bracelet and it came out with tons of results but one of them was how to use it in music festivals, so that was the chosen one to develop my blog post, click here to visualize the post .

That blog post perfomed really good because aside showing our products it covered more than one relevant subject linked to our product. Besides of just selling, I explained on how to wear it, what wear with it, tips about festivals in general and also an festival agenda about the next upcoming ones. With that approach you can reach people that already know your brand through social media( when you share the link ) as well people that are looking for the information that you are sharing and ended up on your website, increasing the chances of a conversion.

Blog on google

Instagram

  • 2 to 3 times daily
  • 20 # with all variations of your products
  • Tag 10 big influencers
  • See what your competition is doing.
  • Have a clean feed
  • Create a giveaway/raffle

IMG_0062

Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a great tool to manage your posting plan and they offer a free version whit a small limit access.

I use it to post on facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. I recommend to post at least twice a day because of the probability your post will appear on your customer’s feed is low.

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Back links

Make sure you have people talking about your brand, as much backlinks you can have poiting to your website is better, since it will help you rank better on the search engines.

As two examples, I picked our PR log, which I post every week and a post of one fashion blogger wrote exclusively about our brand.

Influencers 

Reach out to them! In my case fashion bloggers on instagram are those ones who makes more sense because is where my target audience are.

An avarage of 20% will answer you back, so if you send Direct messages to 100, only 20 may reply you back, so that’s why as many you reach the better, it isn’t an easy job.

IMG_0063

Tip: Use micro influencers, They are most likely to answer you back instead of big influencers that will probably ask for a budget and the probability they will get back to you is really low.

How to find?

  • Search tags from big brands with same proposition
  • # related to your business ( #ootd, #fashionblogger)
  • Look for people who comment on your big influencers posts
  • Google it

How to approach? DM (Direct message):

  1. Introduce yourself
  2.  Make a compliment
  3.  Offer a product for free
  4. Ask if they are interested

Tip: informal approach

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one powerful strategy to reach your audience in any stage of the shopping funnel, one great and really easy tool to do that is MailChimp, and the best thing is that is free! ( You can pay for more features but the free one is enough)

Be simple and objective, make sure to add buttons on the images redirecting to your webpage, shop buttons, clean design and don’t forget your social media buttons! =)

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Challanges  

All that tips and advices are beautiful but that is not that easy to achieve the expected result right?  So here you have some attention points to what you want to make sure you are spreading out.

  • Make people believe in your brand
  • Blog and social media posting plan (takes time!)
  • Find blog Ideas
  • Find the right # and keywords
  • Find the right influencers

Conclusion

  • Blogging is really really important, it can bring many users to your website.
  • Have your own voice, create a good brand personality and keep that personality when writting.
  • Know who your audience is, make sure what are their interests, what do they like and what they are worried about.
  • And finally …. be patient!! grow organically takes time and a lot of work, but is possible if you be consistent and relevant !

Was this post helpful? Let me know by leaving a review, I would love to hear from you!

Improve Content Marketing with an Atomization Strategy

Improve Content Marketing with an Atomization Strategy

Atomize your Content Marketing Strategy

Have ever asked yourself the questions below? If so, I may have a solution for you!

  • Do you ever feel like you don’t have time for strong content marketing?
  • Do you have too much to do and too little time to accomplish it?
  • Does your marketing team have limited resources?

 

I selected this topic because we are living in the era of start-ups where more and more marketers are finding themselves at small companies with limited resources and are finding themselves in a position where they are overwhelmed and underperforming. So, how can these small teams maximize their impact? Content Atomization!

Don't Reinvent the Wheel

 

What is Content Atomization?

Before I get any further, let me first define it. The Content Marketing Institute defines it as, “Taking a strong content marketing platform or theme and executing it in many, strategically sound ways”.

It is important to note that it is not repurposing or recycling. Instead, atomization is taking a big idea and cutting them into small, manageable pieces that you can spread everywhere.

 

How can I create an Atomization Strategy?   

  1. Audit existing content to find opportunities.

  • Before heading to the conference room to brainstorm your next “Big Idea”, take an audit of your top performing content.
  • There are a number of platforms that can do the hard work for you. My personal favorite is Moz (see table below).
  • Make sure you analyze your top performing elements as well as the target persona for each piece of content.

Content Audit

2. Include atomization in your content plan and editorial calendar.

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it is important in defining your strategy. Convince & Convert has a great worksheet to help you frame your planning and the specific tactics, outlined in the charts below.

3. Don’t forget to consider all possible atomization segments!

Make sure that your content is speaking to your target audience segment. The objective should always be targeted to your specific audience.

 

Case Study: Zillow

One great example of Atomization I stumbled upon was by Zillow. The head of the marketing department identified a trend – the tiny house movement, which encourages people to maximize living space at an affordable price. The core piece of content was an article on the company blog, Zillow Porchlight. She then broke that article into small pieces and created different pieces for different platforms (as shown below).


 

Zillow atomization

 

This post scratches the surface of Content Atomization. For more information, I recommend the following articles:

Tips on how to engage your audience

Get likes and shares with these 11 useful tips commonly used by companies and big profiles.

People usually skim instead of reading, don’t waste your time posting photos with huge text complicated to understand, simple is the best option when it comes to posts in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  To help you engage and maximize your audience, these tips will be definitely useful.

  1. The competition

    A “Share” vs. “Like” post is one of the best ways for people to engage with your brand by offering their opinion . Basically, this post offers two different options. A person can either “Like” the post to vote for option A or “Share” the post for option B. It’s easy engagement and the use of large images help the users to make their decision. It can drive users back to the page/website. You don’t have to be a retailer to use this strategy. You can try the taste of your audience with any kind of battle: Star Wars vs Star Trek? Facebook vs Instagram?

    like share

  2. The Poll

    Polls involes 2-4 options and you ask your audience to comment which one they like most. It’s also a great way to get some market research. The larger the image the better, and users love to give their opinion. The use of appealing language is important other than just “pick the one you like”. Same as Like vs Share, you can come up with any idea for the Poll post.

    poll

  3. Ask for it

    Just simply ask if your audience like it, this can be repost in Instagram and Retweet on Twitter as well. The use of a great image is essential when asking your audience to like it, you can’t come up with an image that doesn’t appeal for your audience. Remember that this post doesn’t have to be linked with your brand, be spontaneous and creative.

    like post

  4. Sneak Peek

    This is a hard one. You have to build interest in your audience to drive them to something they haven’t seen yet. You can tease them with a sneak peek of a project you are developping, or a product not yet launched or any exciting news yet to come. This kind of post can drive the attention of your audience instantly, people like to be part of an exclusive club or that they knew something before everybody else. Using this strategy can drag people to your website and consequently more social media reach plus increase your CTR.

    sneak

  5. Offer Advice

    Who doesn’t like a good advice, right? People love when they see a good one, statistics said that people share even more a post with advice or teaching something new. Wether is a recipe, fun fact, a statistic, or a brilliant insight, offering something new is a great strategy to increase audience engagement. Food are the most common, and usually people do come back to your page/profile to seek more advices. Remember to post the link of the full advice, that will give traffic to your website. When driving social media traffic off your Facebook, Instagram or Twitter page, be sure you’re confident of where they’re going. Landing pages are an immensely important part of turning Fans into paying customers.

    advice

  6. Geo-target

    Limiting your target audience will drive those “select” Fans  who feel attached to your subject.  Do this by providing a specific picture or hashtag, changing the tone and language you use, or talking about niche subject matter.

    geo

  7. The Appeal

    Inspiring or fun quote, an easily-agree opinion or an interesting fact, appealing is a great way to gain some quick and easy likes. Be positive and thought provoking, this is the simplest of all Facebook post strategies: a catchy, inspirational quote which appeals to a select audience. Figure out what your target audience is, and choose your quotes according to that group. Be aware of using this quotes, if you cover your profile with product-meaningless quotes you risk losing brand interest. Try to make quotes relevant to your organization, projects, or goals.

    coca

  8. Showcase

    Showcase your Fans, it’s a great way to build community. People like to be involved with the brand and using this strategy will make them feel unique. Also they will spread the word about the relation with the brand to other individuals. Make sure to know your target audience and to it accordingly.

    showcase

  9. Go Adorable

    This is similar to the “Appeal” strategy, use a cute image that can touch the emotional side of your audience. Just find a picture of something adorable and tie it to your product, service or business strategies. Pets are the most sharing photos in social media channels. This picture incorporates an adorable pet, a universally appealing phrase, and the company’s branded logo into one Facebook post. Incorporation doesn’t always work but if done carefully and well can multiply results. Use common hashtags such as “TGIF”, “I hate Mondays” generate likes instantly together with a cute image. Encourage your audience to take photo with your product and post giving credit to them, if your page/profile have lots of followers that will encourage people to do the same to get visibility by your brand.

    adorable

  10. Use Real People

    People expect to see celebrities and historical figures so a genuine face, with a story behind it, can be a powerful tool to drive participation.

    real

  11. Memes

    Depending on your social media persona and tone, using a meme or humorous Ecard can be a great way to engage with your Fans. A humorous statement, quote, or image can effectively communicate an organization’s social media ‘tone’ – something very much dependent on their target audience. Not every organization can ‘pull off’ a meme Facebook post, or should try.

    meme

    And that was it. Hope you will use or have been caught by any of these strategies. They are simple and easy to pull up. Be aware and careful of who is your target audience so you can improve your posts and don’t get your audience confused.

Author: Ágatha Raíssa Lyra de Oliveira, UCSD Winter 2017.

Source and Resources:

30 Social Media Engagement Tactics That Will Boost Shares And Conversions

 

10 ways to increase your social media engagement like never before

10 Ways to Engage Your Audience on Social Media Today

Maintaining Your Brand’s Voice

Maintaining Your Brand's Voice

Every brand has a voice! This voice communicates information to the consumers, just like the actual words. Some brands strive for an intellectual voice, using extensive prodigious words often in pedantic, but informative sentences. Other brands want a fun and lighthearted voice, choosing to impart witty notes and common words.

What Voice Should My Brand Have?

There are a few things to keep in mind when determining the voice for your brand.

BrandVoice

 

This handy little infographic from BufferSocial points out a few things to consider when determining your brand’s voice, including persona, tone, language, and purpose behind your brand.

Another tool to consider comes from Michael Hyatt, a “Virtual Mentor.” In Hyatt’s blog, he mentions three roles that you can take on with your brand, and with these three roles comes three very different voices:

1. The Sage

A “Recognized Expert” in the field. The Sage communicates with an authoritative voice, since they have already found success in the field.

2. The Sherpa

A “Trusted Guide” that has conquered the field and made mistakes along the way, mistakes that the Guide wants to help you avoid. The Sherpa speaks with “confidence and empathy.”

3. The Struggler

A “Fellow Traveler” who is in the process of figuring out the field and is going to keep you up-to-date as they navigate. The Struggler is honest about their mistakes and is transparent about their journey.

Maybe you still are not sure about all aspects of your voice, but you relate to one of these roles? That can be a great starting point as all three roles comes with different voice expectations.

How Does My Brand Maintain Their Voice?

Here are a few tips from The Content Marketing Institute for maintaining your voice through all of your brand’s content:

Word Choice:

Word Length

Would it be odd for you, as a consumer, to read a blog post and watch them deliberately switch back and forth between elongated, sophisticated words and short, plain words? That can be difficult and confusing to read! Though variety is important in content, to keep it interesting, some consistency is better for maintaining the brand image.

Pronouns

Stick with a consistent pronoun choice for your company. Is it always “WE” or maybe a third person styling? Pick what fits and stick with it!

Jargon

If you’re in law, finance, or engineering, chances are you have some jargon. If the people reading your content are likely to know what your jargon means, then it is useful to include. Knowing your audience is useful for knowing whether or not jargon should be part of your voice.

Buzzwords

Like jargon, you need to know that your audience will understand your industry buzzwords before using them. If your voice is very modern and up-to-date, then buzzwords could elevate your brand by elevating your voice.

Colloquialisms

Though it varies culture to culture, how familiar will your language be with your readers? Are you going to throw in slang and profanity, because you know that’s how your readers speak and you want to be on their level? Or will you maintain a formal tone of voice, creating an image of prestige?

Contractions

A colloquial brand won’t shy away from using contractions to connect with their audience. They’re trying to connect with the people they want reading their content! A formal or high-end brand might prefer to avoid contractions, on the other hand. It is all part of the voice!

Sentence Choice

Sentence Length

Like word length, consistency with a bit of variety is important in sentence length. Are you a “to the point!” brand or more of an “I’ve got a lot of points that need to go in one sentence” kind of brand?

Tempo

Your sentence length is a big part of tempo as well. Are you going for more a stream-of-consciousness type of writing or straight to the point? This can vary slightly based on the post and type of content, but it will be hard to maintain your voice if you switch this up every single time you write a post.

Conciseness

Do you get to the point or are you an eloquent brand, adding in adjectives and descriptions? Again, some variety in sentences and words is important though.

Mistakes and Rule Breaking

This, again, goes with the formality of your brand often. A more colloquial brand might choose to forgo some of the common grammar rules because it feels like a more natural conversation.

Final Thoughts

A final thought from PR and Social Software Company Cision, a company with a hearty blog to further engage their customers, “A brand’s voice articulates its personality, culture, and positioning within its industry. It’s not something to be made up on the spot, but rather developed over time.”

Now, go spend some quality time figuring out the voice of your Brand and how to best represent that in your content marketing!


Author: Alexandria Sadorf for UCSD Content Marketing, Winter 2017

Sources and Resources:

How to Find Your Social Media Marketing Voice: The Best Examples, Questions and Guides

https://michaelhyatt.com/traction.html

Don’t Sound Like Everyone Else: 12 Essential Elements to Create a Consistent Brand Voice

3 Keys to Creating Great Brand Content

Machine Learning & Content Marketing

Machine Learning

 

Machine Learning is one of the biggest things that is happening in the online marketing world right now. On first read, it sounds like something out of the future. The crazy thing is that it’s been in existence since the 1950s, but really blew up in its current use in the 2010s.

Here are some typical forms of Machine Learning that we all know:

 

  • The Google Self-Driving Car

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The Google Self-Driving car is probably the epitome of machine learning as we all know it. With advanced algorithms that adapt and optimize driving style based on its surroundings without any reprogramming necessary, the Google car is simply amazing.

 

  • Siri / “Okay Google”

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Our mobile phone assistants are another amazing example of Machine Learning as we all know it. With adaptive interfaces that change based on our location, time of day, and mobile browsing habits, we have a fine example of Machine Learning in our own pockets.

 

How is Machine Learning used in Marketing?

Google RankBrain is one of the main catalysts when it comes to Machine Learning and Marketing. With its main goal of having a more “conversational” approach to search engine usage, RankBrain really brings its own intuition and AI into the search engine marketing game.

Check out this example of RankBrain’s Machine Learning hard at work!

 

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You guessed it, The Hangover.

 

Why should we use Machine Learning in Marketing?

  • We have a huge amount of available data, given the shift in our browsing habits towards mobile & app use. We ought to use this data, and it’s a win-win situation. Our advertisements become more targeted, and marketers get amazing insights on their data!
  • We can learn about what marketing efforts were worth conducting, and what efforts were not working as well – all in real time.

 

What are some things we can do as content marketers?

  1. Take advantage of your long-form content! By leveraging your long-form content to add more keywords and relevant search terms, you are able to naturally implement recurring target keywords without sounding massively redundant. As a result, you are also allowed to have more chances to use relevant keywords!
  2. One thing we can do to work with Machine Learning is to tailor your content towards a specific target audience. A major update with Google’s RankBrain includes its capability to better understand conversational content, and even make educated inferences based on its AI algorithm.
    • By tailoring your content towards a specific target audience, your results will be more likely to rank higher in the search engine results.
  3. Another thing that we can do as content marketers to work better with Machine Learning is to create content that sounds natural! As web surfers, we are no longer bound by specific search terms and rules.
  4. Much like our school projects, it is alway great to incorporate references from case studies, white papers, and authoritative knowledge sources! With Machine Learning becoming more prevalent with our online search engines, part of the new intuition that the AI algorithms will seek is the validity of information. Having greater quality sources will result in your content being “vouched” better by the search engines.

 

In Conclusion:

  • Don’t act like a bot to beat the bot!
  • Craft your content in a conversational tone – be comfortable.
  • Leverage your long form content to incorporate key phrases and words (in a conversational way).

 

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Sources:

  1. http://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2015/6/16/applying-machine-learning-to-marketing.html#gs.gknfXFM
  2. https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/
  3. http://www.optimove.com/learning-center/machine-learning
  4. https://www.webtrends.com/blog/2016/03/four-benefits-of-machine-learning-for-marketing/
  5. https://www.toptal.com/machine-learning/machine-learning-theory-an-introductory-primer