The week in content marketing with strategist Lieu Pham
This week we learn of Alibaba’s acquisition of a Chinese newspaper, as part of its quest to makeover China. Meanwhile, AdAge discusses the trust challenge for big brands with cautionary tales. Elsewhere, the First Lady of Content, Ann Handley, gets introspective as she looks at the birth and maturity of digital content and where it needs to go next to evolve. In the social space, Facebook and YouTube reflect on the year that was with two different outlooks.
Also in this edition: useful insights on how to sell smart, choosing marketing automation software, how to do a content inventory and audit, lessons from journalists, and winning at email.
Media & Marketing
Whoever said there was no such thing as bad press had clearly never seen the after-effects of bad brand behaviour going viral online. Plenty of giant corporations have been ripped to shreds by armies of digital consumers after sensitive brand information went public, causing powerful giants to go from hero to zero in seconds. AdAge looks at how big brands now need to try harder than ever to create consumer trust if they want to stay relevant, illustrated by a couple of great ‘make or break’ examples.
In a bid to “create a global platform for news about China”, and to fight back against what company executives call the “negative” portrayal of the communist country in the West, Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba has bought one of the country’s most controversial newspapers, The South China Morning Post. The New York Times lays out all the need-to-know details of the deal as well as opinions on the acquisition.
Content marketing guru Ann Handley takes us back to the birth of the digital content world and through its progression towards maturity. As the New Year draws upon us, Handley paints a picture of what content marketing should look like if it wants to amplify and maintain marketing power in 2016.
Social & Tech
With more than 510,000 followers, Zach Clayton is an internet sensation, but you’ve probably never heard of him. Clayton has leveraged a brand new app called YouNow, which enables anyone to make a live video or watch real-time channels created by others. Unlike Twitter’s ‘periscope’, viewers don’t see what the broadcaster sees, they see the creator face-to-face. Slate looks at how the new app is creating personalities and building fan bases around them for digital stardom.
Every December, Facebook puts together a collection of the past year’s most talked about events, which for 2015 include Singapore’s 50th birthday and the horrific terror attacks in Paris. FB also fast-forwards to the new year, with sneak peaks at what exciting possibilities could be in store for 2016.
Not to be outdone, YouTube has its own upbeat ‘dance party’ version of 2015 in review. Here are all the viral content creators (some 100 people strong) who made you laugh, cry and share this year. Check it out, and then watch all the ‘back issues’ to 2010.
You’ve got to admit Taylor Swift (or the team behind her at least) has some serious marketing chops. The singer, who is renowned for the masterful way she uses social media to promote her personal brand, is now the subject of a book project that Simon & Schuster plans to create based on user-generated content from Swift’s fans, such as fan art, concert photos, and so on. Swift hasn’t endorsed the project… yet.
What do Red Bull, Taco Bell, T-Mobile and Nordstrom have in common? They’re all killing it when it comes to generating brand awareness with social media. If you want to build a brand in a digital world you’ve got to do more than just create content – you’ve got to connect beyond a transactional level. Social media is a great avenue for facilitating this. Be inspired by these four leaders.
Tools & Tactics
While the digital field is always advancing and the attention span of users is diminishing, a couple of rules for content creation remain true, regardless of the format or location. It’s time to put your writing hat on and put these three classic journalism techniques into practice.
Giving something away for ‘free’ can go a long way, especially for your email database. In Copyblogger’s latest podcast, the team explains exactly how to craft an irresistible incentive to build a band of interested fans.
As marketers, we are tasked with resolving a business problem. Whether it be ‘We’re not selling enough insurance’ or ‘Our online carts are being abandoned’, our first instinct tends to be to come up with a solution rather than to gather the facts. Levi Brooks from 99U has an alternative method for problem-solving success: ask the right questions. Learn how to take a step back from the bigger picture, ask for the right information, and define the problem effectively before looking for a solution to the issue.
I’ve done my fair share of inventories and audits, and they’re a great way to assess your content’s strengths, weaknesses, gaps and inconsistencies, mapped against goals and audiences. But for an omnidirectional (read: scatterbrained) person like myself, it’s a challenge to be methodical when categorising content, both the quantitative and the qualitative kind. Content Marketing Institute offers you a great roadmap to keep you on course. I wish this blog had been around when I did my first one back in 2013.
There’s that saying, “Everybody lives by selling something”. Creative folks sell ideas, brands sell products/services, and we all sell ourselves. Regardless of our position title or department, we could all do with a bit of commercial acumen – here are a few tips to sharpen up those money skills.
The seduction of a streamlined, lead-nurturing, sales-fast-tracking marketing automation software is obvious, but how do you know which one to pick? You could just ask your chief technology officer – or, if you don’t have one of those, you could read this useful article as a buying guide to compare products.
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