The week in content marketing with strategist Lieu Pham.
This week, Snapchat launches native ads, Instagram ramps up with video and Google quietly releases its ‘Who’s Down?’ app targeting college students. We also learn about Amazon’s plans to enter the fashion game – could this be a style faux pas or stroke of e-tailer genius?
Over at Marketing Land, Rebecca Lieb wants us to spread the word: content is not a channel (we couldn’t agree more), and appeals to brands to align content across paid, owned and earned channels. Elsewhere, the Content Marketing Institute gives us the content strategy 101 and Moz shows us how we can create content that engages and connects – with results to prove it.
Media & Marketing
Successful organisations understand that content is baked into every touchpoint of a brand’s customer experience. As a valuable business asset, content has increasingly become the core of all digital channels and the arsenal of departments as diverse as HR and sales. And while editors, marketing specialists and strategists may create the governance for content creation, it should not be solely left to them to do it all. Rebecca Lieb explains why content should not be viewed as a siloed activity or a channel – it should be aligned to a “panoply of paid, owned and earned media channels”.
Amazon could be coming to a fashion label near you. As BuzzFeed reporter Sapna Maheshwari reveals, Amazon is considering starting its own private-label brand. Could this be a risky move considering Amazon is better known for bargain hunting than high-end fashion? The tech giant has identified food and clothes as two potential growth areas moving into the future. Watch this space.
Could the man bun be the worst fashion trend of all time? If you ask me, yes. And hopefully it will die a quick, silent death. But according to Google’s annual beauty report, it’s not going anywhere soon. ‘Man bun’ was one of the most searched terms this year, and it was also the first time a men’s hairstyle was searched more than a women’s hairstyle. You can check out more haircare insights from Google.
Social & Tech
The new invite-only app from Google is a simple platform that allows people to gather together around common interests such as dinner down at the pub or a game of tennis. There’s group chatting features to enable quick organising (begone, long email chains). But will students take to it to plan their next hangout? Apparently, the user experience is reminiscent of Danny Trinh’s private-messaging app, Path.
If you’re a storyteller, you’ll enjoy this piece on Margaret Atwood, prolific author of fictional works such as Cat’s Eye, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Heart Goes Last. Atwood is renowned for not only creating future worlds, but also bringing them closer to us. The progressive author says tech has an active role in her life, and she explains why daydreaming is important for creativity (“I don’t think the imagination is subject to efficiency,” she says). Atwood looks at how mediums such as social networks can affect the creative process of storytelling.
The image-sharing platform, boasting a staggering 400 million monthly active users, is launching its own video channel to rival the likes of YouTube and Snapchat. The move seems to confirm the network’s ambition to establish itself as news service. Earlier this year, Instagram overhauled its Explore page to make it easier for users to discover trending information, and its new video player is the next step up. Use of the video service is not open to advertisers… yet.
The popular messaging app has released its version of native advertisements. Called ‘Sponsored Lens’, the ad format allows marketers to apply their own branded content into users’ snaps. This means people can use a branded filter on the selfies they send. 20th Century Fox, the first to try the new feature, is promoting The Peanuts Movie by allowing Snapchatters to add a dancing Snoopy to their own content. Check out Ad Age’s video in the link to see it in action.
Tips & Tricks
Can all content marketing programs benefit content strategy? Which departments need to be involved in a content strategy process? How do you get buy-in? How do you measure content effectiveness? These questions and more are answered by content strategist Meghan Casey. It’s essential reading for anyone interested in breaking down content strategy.
Have we lost that loving feeling when it comes to content creation? Entrepreneur’s Aaron Agius explains why it’s important to return to the fundamentals of storytelling and offers seven ways to elevate our content marketing programs to another level with interactive content.
Moz enlisted web author Dan Petrovic to share his advice on how we can lift our web-writing game. In the popular ‘Whiteboard Friday’ series, Petrovic shows us how we can increase audience engagement despite the odds (proliferation of content, waning attention spans) being stacked against us. He decided to create and A/B test the “hypotext”, a format to minimise interruption, provide answers straight up (remember the inverted pyramid?), enable easy scanning and offer in-depth content for those wishing to know more.