Is Content Marketing Still A Thing?

Content marketing is still steadily holding on to its role as a strategic marketing approach. But there is still a big challenge convincing business owners that it requires focus on doing two things consistently

  • Content creation
  • Content distribution

For small business owners, the thought of spending $$$ fears the living daylight out of them. The usual feedback we get from business owners we talk to are:

We wanted to focus our effort on lead generation
We prefer to beef up our sales team
We don’t have enough budget to do content marketing.

Let me, dig down a bit deeper and show you the bigger picture and help you identify the role of content marketing in each of these areas:

Focus on lead generation
In lead generation, you always need to start with the right question “How do you get the attention of your target customers?” The answer is not “create a landing page,” “set up an ad campaign” because before you can do these things – you need content! Need I say more?

Beef up the sales team
What is the best thing you can do to help your sales team? Give them qualified leads. Point them in the right direction. And without content, your sales team ends up selling to almost everyone on the planet; content helps you and your sales team come up with a process to qualify the people that you sell to. Content helps you identify if your target customer is ready to buy from you or they are still roaming about looking for the best deal.

Lack of budget
Content marketing is not about hitting the target budget first before doing it. The proper perspective is, you need to understand better where to invest your companies resources, and what investment brings you long-term results. Content helps you to engage, nurture and benefit your target audience from leads to customers. It gives you a reason to keep talking to them, to engage them in long-term conversation.

It’s not rocket science that the internet is still in a stage where content generation is still anybody’s ball game.

According to the 2017 benchmarks and trends report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, more than 60% of B2B marketers reported that their content marketing strategies are more effective than the previous year.

Which strategies are you ready to implement in your business?

Dear Entrepreneur, Are You Social Media Literate?

“80% of the CEOs of the world’s biggest company is social media literate. A huge leap from 2010’s 36%.”
Harvard Business Review, 2015

With the current state of today’s social media, decision makers need to go beyond “following” the current, they need to be able to have the right paradigm to differentiate, thrive & survive on Social Media.


Watch these social media hacks for entrepreneurs!

What exactly is social media literacy?

It’s not your usual literacy equals to awareness kind of literacy. You should look at the bigger picture, not because you “understand” how social media works, that would automatically make you a social media literate person (or organization).

On a non-professional capacity, social media literacy translates to you being the creator, curator, and distributor.

The bulk of work is wrapped in content creation because it requires having the skillset to “know what you need to say when and where.” The content you create can either encourage dialogue, establish your thought leadership or engage your target audience creatively. The channels for distribution is an industry and market-based decision that you need to make. Where is your market and which industry do you belong to? The academe engages in scholastic conversation, so if you are from this space, you are looking at lengthy, fact based content. If you are product consumable by millennials, you better be on Twitter & Instagram. And the C-levels with all their glorious business lingo thrives on LinkedIn most of the time.

What makes curation important? Minus creation you will literally blow your content creator’s mind to kingdom come – if not yours. The beauty of creation is that you get to bring together relevant content created by your followers, and those you follow. Making sure that you are focused on your domain expertise, there are a lot of existing content that you can curate. For every curated content, make sure you add your own voice in the form of insights and short commentaries.

The last component that would complete creation and curation is distribution. Your social media literacy depends on having all these in the right place. The message you craft either from your own creation or curated creation needs to be discovered by your target audience. That is where finding the right distribution channel is essential.

If you are on the C-level, you would need to make sure that your people are social media literate by keeping these components in place. In a communication standpoint, information is accessible via multitouch, multipoint channels. Because of this, decision makers need to measure and tweak as needed.

Your social media voice.

The greatest measure of your social media literacy is your consistency in your brand message. What are you saying and why are you saying such things? It’s not easy to master this, but you need to start a lifestyle of authenticity, make yourself or your brand vulnerable, make sure you are in touch with reality if there are challenges talk about it if there is chaos transform it into longer conversations.

Are you ready?

A quick visit to the content you have right now, the messaging that you are using and current mindset of your team will save you a lot of time in the future.

Social media literacy is not just an added bonus in today’s business environment – it is a must.

 

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to be a Storyteller

Entrepreneurship is all about hard work, it is an exciting mix of sleepless nights, tiring execution and not to forget, vintage sales and marketing. And in the process, there is a great tendency for an entrepreneur to focus on his “product,” to keep bragging about what he does best. As we always tell our students – there is nothing wrong with that. But just because things are not wrong, you will rest in the comfort of knowing that there are no better ways to do it.


A talking head video is your best practical option to start telling your brand stories.

So how can you be a storytelling entrepreneur?

We have listed a handful of guide questions below that should be enough to bring you closer to the golden age of your storytelling journey.

What inspires you to do what you do?

Do you have this agenda in mind? This is something that should come as second nature to you. When people ask you this question, there should not be any “spectacular” dead air in between the question and your answer. You should be ecstatic, when inspiration is the topic, it must reveal itself in how eager you are in telling the story.

If something is preventing you from accomplishing your goal, what are you willing to do?

This is the part where you reveal what drives you. Not all goals are meant to be accomplished but do you know what makes you tick? What amplifies your hunger to complete and compete? Be authentic and do not sugar coat passion with cliche’ dialogues.

What is an ideal customer for you?

This is the part where you take away the spotlight from you, talk about your ideal customer. What are they like? What would they usually do after reaping the benefits of your brand? Be specific, use real-life customer stories.

If you have all the resources in your hand, what can you accomplish for your brand?

Most brands would always start with; “If I only have this…”. The danger with staying in this mindset is that you will never get to know unless you start with what you have. In the first place, all the resources you have right now is enough for your brand to make a difference, to stand out. Never focus on what is lacking. If you need to set your mind to something that only the future holds for you, push your imagination to the limits, there is nothing wrong about dreaming big – but it is never better than doing something out of what you have. In a big and adventurous way.

How much do you love having people benefit from your brand?

Do you feel proud? Share the joy, but again don’t brag. Human beings love hearing stories about a fellow human being and all the Hollywood movies that have a non-human protagonist; moviegoers are rooting for the humanity of that protagonist. There is something amazing about the human story. Start tapping into this huge potential; the human story is the wellspring of all stories.

Is the world a better place to live in now that people have access to your brand?

From the inside looking out, what do you think is your brand’s contribution to making the world a better place? If your customers are willing to spend money for your product, what are they getting out of it? How does this make their lives better?

If you need to set your mind to something that only the future holds for you, push your imagination to the limits, there is nothing wrong about dreaming big Click To Tweet

Some of these questions can be considered too difficult to process for an up and coming entrepreneur, even for the seasoned ones. But once you get the hang of it, once you are soaked in these “inspiring” bits of information, you will realize that you have become a force to reckon with. And the fact that you need not lie and just tell the truth, transforming yourself into a storytelling entrepreneur is a no-brainer.

As an entrepreneur, you need not master all these questions in one go. Start with whatever you are comfortable in and then let the storytelling version of yourself evolve in the process.

Start with the heart of it all – the heart of your business.

Content Can Make or Break your Social Media Space

What does it take to fuel engagement on your brand’s social media space? Simply put, your audience should know what you are doing. They should be able to experience the value that you promise. And they should trust that you can deliver according to promise.

In the core of this, you need to understand that it all starts with the content that you provide.

The success of your social messages is not dependent on the frequency of your content. Your content should be relatable, reliable and relevant.

Start with this question, “If I am the audience, why should I care about this brand?”

Here are some practical tips to make sure your content will make and not break your social media space.

Respect the truth

Fake content has done more harm than good for the brands that encourage the use of this. And the social audience who are lead to believe that fake content is true. Credibility in the social space is a rare commodity. It’s a race to be the first, not the race to the truth*. Rise above all this. Commit yourself that you will put credibility and reliability over all things. When it comes to sharing content on your space, respect the truth.

Reflect on your limitations

You are not perfect. As a brand, you have limitations. Use this to engage your audience. Welcome criticism and handle social media crisis like a pro. Take that extra step beyond just posting social content. Do you think your product is inferior to your competitors? Then accept it. Start building content out of your motivation to provide an equally good product. You need not stay quiet about it. When you are small, let the whole world know that you are growing.

Reinforce the benefit

In content marketing, there is a tendency that as you keep talking less about your brand, you miss the chance in talking about the value that it gives to your users. Your user’s brain are busy. More often than not there has to be some clarity on your value proposition in your social content. In the social media space, there is no such thing as false humility. Strike a balance in your content. Make sure that your users won’t be distracted from how awesome your content is. But they forgot how valuable you are.

Re-calibrate your strategy

The only thing certain about the social media space is that it would keep evolving. It will keep changing. To catch up with the phase of how content is being generated, and how the users are accessing these content. With the changing times, you need to alter your strategy. A good way to do this is to have someone from your team to “listen” to the social media trends through research. Re-calibrating your strategy will help you get out of the “rut” of content marketing. Stay open to relevant ideas.

So in the coming year, try to be more intentional in your social media space. It is not just “one of your marketing spaces” but “a significant marketing space that can fuel sales.”

The content space will be even more competitive. Content Marketing Institute released a report. Revealing that B2B marketers top priority is creating content (72%)

If you find yourself limited in the content generation side of things. It’s not too late to consider the options available for you. You can either outsource, collaborate or dedicate a time to educate yourself. Any one of these options can surely help you to start with the right foot on content marketing in 2017.

*Denzel Washington interview

How To Identify Your Brand Story in 3 Easy Steps


Related content: How to tell your Brand Story in 60 Seconds.

It is a given that not everyone is gifted with the skill of storytelling. More so in the B2B landscape, we have more sellers than storytellers. And that makes more sense because in this day and age businesses have to sell. By any form, we all need to sell.

But can selling be an out-of-the-box experience both for the seller and the buyer? How do you make this build longer relationships, instead of once in a lifetime deals?

We all have our experiences walking into a convenient store, buying a minimum of two things. Some convenient store counters are friendly; some are just too busy to even smile back at you. But even in this very mundane scenario – our experience as a buyer will greatly influence our willingness to step into that store again. The usual reaction is we jump ship.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you sell for once in a lifetime deals.

But if we are engaged, if we are asked what we need, storytelling is one small step for the seller but one giant leap for the buyer to stick to the seller.

I can’t over emphasized how significant storytelling is in the buying experience. We have had tons of people ask us “Why do you keep talking about storytelling for marketing,” I just give them a smile and politely reply; “As long as there is a need for a better buying experience, storytelling for brands will make a big difference.”

But how do you identify your brand story?

Look into the heart of what you do, treat your clients as friends and don't be afraid to get real. 3 things to help you identify your brand story. Click To Tweet

Here are 3 things to get you started in identifying your brand story.

  • Look into the heart of what you do
    This is your purpose; this is your WHY. If you don’t have this on the top of your priority, it will be difficult for you to tell a compelling story. Don’t stick to WHAT and HOW without emphasizing your WHY. The WHY makes the customer loyal to you. WHAT and HOW to make them a good customer but not necessarily loyal.
  • Treat your clients as friends, and leads as clients.
    The biggest mistakes that entrepreneurs do is we wait for our leads to become our client before we start serving them as a client. At the first encounter with your brand, make them feel you are passionate about giving them value. Write about things that would help them and not just about things that would only inform them. Make their lives better.
  • Don’t be afraid to get real
    Another mistake that we do as entrepreneurs is that we tend to hide and pretend that our brand is perfect. In storytelling, vulnerability is a key component to getting people’s attention. If your competitor is always talking about how “perfect” their product is. While your brand has one small flaw. Don’t see it as a weakness, share the challenge and invite feedback. Engage your audience even in your weak spot; you will be surprised at the results.

 

There are a lot of things you can and need to do, but getting used to these will bring your brand to places it has never been to before.

So do you still find it difficult to identify your brand story?

Let us know in the comments section below.

The merging of video and marketing according to Google

So news broke out recently that Google acquired FameBit. Apparently a reflection of their belief in combining the open market of video content creators to marketers. It is something that is quite obvious in the recent years; video has the power to engage an audience and build loyalty.

But Google’s recent acquisition of FameBit adds more exclamation point to an already familiar statement. Yes, the landscape of digital marketing has already changed significantly. More and more brands are leveraging on video to communicate to their audience.

It has been around for some time, why do video marketing now?

It will not be difficult to trace the evolution of video as a marketing tool. It’s not only the form and execution that has changed but the way people consume video has also changed.

What does this mean for a typical marketer?

If you are a marketer and you are completely convinced staying in your comfort zone. Then you would be in for a huge surprise. The exponential growth of video consumption is enough in itself to bring everyone in the video marketing game.

Budget has always been an issue.

Yes, but it’s a matter of perspective. All business models need to invest in something and in return expect revenue. If you look at video marketing as an expense and not as an investment, then you are looking at it the wrong way.

Simply put, all business models need to face their client at some point in time. What if you can come up with a compelling video and post on your website, embed it on your blog or share it on social media. Can you imagine how far your message can reach?

At this point, you only have two types of games that you can choose to play. The waiting game or the video marketing game.

If you are someone who wants to jump into video production but scared as hell on what to do first, drop us a message. And we would be glad to help you start your amazing journey in video marketing.

Video Marketing and 3 Reasons Why You Should Not Do It!

Video marketing is evolving into dimensions bigger than we ever imagined. It speaks volume for the message you want to convey. What will take you a week of social media captions will only take you 30 seconds of video snippets. It’s engaging, it’s provocative, it’s new media.

So why should you not do video marketing?

  1. You live in the ancient world, and you believe that video is a work of sorceryYou shun the idea of a moving object in front of you. And you believe that anything in motion is a work of sorcery so you stay away from videos as much as you can.
  2. You are not convinced of the power of mobile computingYou just carry your mobile phone in your pocket, and you hardly do anything with it. Other than to check what time is it. You don’t believe that mobile computing is powerful enough to send your message across.
  3. You hate watching videos.You are easily annoyed with videos. You would rather stare at a blank wall for hours than watch a video. Your eureka moment is equal to a lizard appearing out of nowhere while you stare at an empty wall. And for you, watching videos is punishment enough and a result of this world’s cruelty to humankind.

Did you fall into any of these three categories? You don’t need video marketing for your business. Otherwise, you should start thinking of using video to communicate your brand. It should be one of your main marketing strategies.

So what are your options if you plan to roll this out soon?

  1. Think of your niche area and write topics around it.You need to dominate one specific knowledge space. Own it and become the authority in that space. This should be something that is so comfortable for you that you can talk about this in your sleep.
  2. Decide on the execution; if you have a budget outsource it.Once you know the topics that you will talk about on your video. It does not necessarily mean that you are also a good storyteller, there a lot of options for you out there. Not all entrepreneurs are good storytellers, but most storytellers are entrepreneurial. Find one that suits your need and start investing in them.
  3. Plan ahead, document your strategy and start engaging with your audience.Like any other marketing strategy, you need to document this. So that you can always measure your success and fine tune the challenging aspects.

This article will help you start on the right track.

And if you think you don’t have enough budget? There is a way to work around it.

You can even create video content in half a day. Find out more here.

Reach out to us if you want to find out more about using stories in your video.

Pokemon Go and where every business should go!

Are we witnessing the craziest phenomenon of modern times in the recent rise of the Pokemon Go? Are businesses ready to cash in on the “Pokemon effect?”

The iPhone and Android game may have appeared to be an overnight success. But we are in for a big surprise if we’re given a chance to peek into the “big picture” story of how this phenomenal game started.

This is not the first time that you can play with augmented reality on Nintendo characters. The Nintendo 3DS have little-used features that let you aim your camera at special cards and 3D characters appear. But it was the Pokemon Company and not Nintendo who spearheaded Pokemon Go

So what makes scavenging little creatures in the virtual world very appealing to businesses?

The “madness” behind this app is that tons of people will scramble at one place or landmark (Pokestop). Just to chase the virtual cartoon characters. Since the ultimate goal is to “catch them all.”

And this is where the cash starts to flow for businesses through Pokemon Go!

Food stops, cafes, and restaurants can spend a small amount of money to lure players to collect Pikachu, Squirtle, Jigglypuff or Bulbasaur.

Soon, any businesses wanting foot traffic can buy an in-game landmark for as long as this craze will last.

And since this game is only available in Australia, New Zealand, the US and Germany at this moment. They may be ahead of the pack. But neighboring countries like Singapore and Philippines can start planning and learning. They just need to spend time doing research.

The reality that it is surpassing well-established companies. Like Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat in the amount of time users spend on the app each day.

So if you are a business owner with a physical business spot that needs foot traffic. What is preventing you from transforming your once average building to a Pokestop.

But, like any other phenomenal craze that has hit planet earth. Let us enjoy it while it last!

 

Brexit and the Future of the Digital Economy

We advise you tocheck this out for online writing jobs in Pakistan

Roughly a week ago, we were all going through our normal lives when Brexit suddenly happened. And in a near zombie apocalypse scenario, the internet suddenly went upside down. Though unclear at this stage, it is quite obvious. The Government does not have a solid post-exit plan.

Having said this, should the digital society press the panic mode because of Brexit?

Not necessarily, at the moment that is.

Digital businesses like any other businesses should adhere to follow regulations that cover their scope of operation. And such regulation is the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Which aims “to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business. The reform will allow European citizens and businesses to benefit fully from the digital economy.”

“We continue to think that the United Kingdom’s economic prospects are good whether inside or outside the European Union. Britain has pulled ahead of the European Union in recent years, and we expect that gap to widen over the next few years regardless of whether Brexit occurs.”Capital Economics for Woodford Investment Management

And now that UK voted to leave EU, we can just cross our fingers as we wait for its full impact. Will UK apply the GDPR or will they have their law?

It now depends on the conversations that entrepreneurs will have amongst themselves besides. In this space, opportunities are more obvious than barriers.

Yes, it is probably too soon to speculate, but there is no harm to prepare. It’s high time for creative people in the digital economy to find solutions to the underlying problem. That which resulted in the Brexit scenario.

The future of digital business will remain bright, no matter how the tides might change. It’s just a matter of having the right perspective to go through this interesting stage in the global economy.

The same is true for us here in the Asian region; we might be hours away from where the action has taken place. But its just a matter of time when we would feel the impact of Brexit in our businesses.

Content marketing that rises above the noise

No matter how good you are (you think) in your content marketing, your competitors are also having the time of their lives creating content. Sadly, Google can only hold a handful of the search results on the first page. And every content creator on the planet hopes to be on the spot – as badly as you need to.

So how do you create content that rises above the noise?

If you are convinced that almost all industries are leveraging on content to market their products and services, then the next thing that you need to be convinced with is that at these competitive times – you need to do something that would require extreme measures.

Yes, extreme measures. But how do ayou do this?

Know who you are

This is the genesis of content that rises above the noise. As a content writer, you should not expect that you can go far without knowing your own. It is easy to make a distinction when you go to a party when you hang out with your friends. They would easily know who is the loudest and who wears the apple green colored tie, but online it’s much difficult. You have to take into consideration that you are being represented by the content you create, by the words you say and write. That is a whole new ballgame so spend time finding out who you really are, what is your strength, what makes you different – that is your niche.

Write in your words

Never try to force yourself to do something in a way that is not unique to you. You could only persuade people in a way that you can best communicate your thought. And this is something that only you can own. Your sense of humor, your intellect, the amount of research you put will all reflect in the content that you create. Your content should not be a mouthpiece for other people. Speak through your words.

Create with a purpose

Content marketing is not depended on writing alone; this would involve case studies, infographics, podcasts, and webinars. But everything you will be creating must be for a specific purpose. Is this to sell a product? Is this for other people to talk about your brand? Is this to grow your audience? Is this to help your audience accomplish something? Never leave this out of your thought process. The purpose must be key in your content creation.

It all boils down to this: do you create content just because you need to, or you want to write content that rises above the noise?

Going to extreme measures is not difficult, nor it is scary, compared to creating content that no one consumes, that should scare you even more.

Do you want to find out more on how you can use your own voice to connect to your target audience? Get your free consultation now!