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Friday, April 18, 2014

Blogging takes a lot - creating awesome content , designing , moderating comments , commenting on other blogs, guest posting , … And social media is just a part of it. There are over 200 social sites (at least according to Wikipedia ), but does this...

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Blog writing has become increasingly popular these days. However, many people don't know the basic rules on how to write blog posts and leave readers in a good mood after they read it. You should make a good impression on your readers, because they will...

Monday, March 24, 2014

A man by the name of Dr. August Oetker developed his Backin baking powder in the late 1800s. In order to set his product apart from others, he would print recipes on the back. Eventually, Oetker sold cookbooks that included various recipes, all of which involved the use of his baking powder in some way.

What Oetker was doing was an early form of content marketing. This is when someone creates a form of media or published content in order to attract the attention of customers. What differentiates content marketing from other forms of marketing is that you aren’t directly approaching consumers from the point of view of “I intend to sell you something”. 

With content marketing, you are connecting to your customers in other ways. Your boss may be skeptical about an approach that moves away from more obvious marketing campaigns (and costs money that could be spent in other ways), but there are good reasons to consider content marketing a sound investment.

Making Your Brand Useful and Relevant in Different Contexts

Oetker understood that his baking powder was essential to the cooking process. Rather than simply convince his customers of how useful his product was, he demonstrated it with recipes. If you can, consider all the ways your product may be connected to the lives of your customers.

Say for instance you are a provider of construction software that is used for making estimations, project managing, accounting and other related needs. Content marketing could include options such as infographics about the construction industry or sensible project management tips. The content you produce is relevant to the needs of your customers and so you are helping them. You are also linking your company with information that they need.

When you engage in content marketing, you don’t simply stop at discussing your product. You play to all the strengths of your product and how it fits into the lives and businesses of customers.

Content Marketing Can Move You Outside the Box

While content marketing can involve images and ebooks that relate to your customer’s needs, you can also release media that isn’t directly tied to your company’s area of business. For instance, you could create a Smartphone app that allows customers to keep track of their day or even a game. The purpose of the app isn’t directly related to your company...but your company’s logo is prominently displayed.

Some companies attempting to engage younger consumers will opt for games or they may even release music.

In actuality there is no rule for how you engage in content marketing, except that you are engaging customers. You aren’t actively trying to sell at them with the content provided, but you are putting your name in the back of their mind.

Why Content Marketing Can Be the Way to Go

Today many customers have a negative reaction to being bombarded with advertising, especially on the web. Directly engaging customers in an “I’m trying to sell you something” way, particularly through forced ads, has resulted in a negative backlash. Many people even make use of ad-blocking software.

Imagine paying so much money for ads that consumers you want to reach won’t even see? With content marketing, you are able to engage consumers in a way where you’re being useful, helpful and providing them with useful information, services or even a fun game. And as the content is generally free, they’ll already associate you with a bargain.

Content marketing lets you reach out to customers and build a rapport through indirect references to your brand. When positive feelings are established in a way, it can really help customers decide that they want to see what your brand is about and bring their business to you. As this is the ultimate goal, and it has proven successful for a number of businesses, it’s definitely an approach more businesses would be wise to consider.

Special thanks to Ali Lawrence for today's post. Ali Lawrence is a content specialist for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Hot in Social Media, Yahoo! Small Business, and Business2Community.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The majority of the work I do is helping companies manage and market their online reputation.  But today, I'd like to take a slightly different look at the audience we serve.  Having seen just about everything in this industry (online reputation), I know the most emotionally charged issues are those having to do with us personally or our children.

When it comes to protecting the reputations of those you love, it's hard not to worry about their safety and well being.  I'm sure many of you have had the same conversations that we've had with our children, "Don't post anything online that you wouldn't show us" or "The internet is permanent, think twice before you post pictures" or "Don't have online relationships - you never know who's at the other end", so on and so forth.  And this is all good advice.  However, there's much more you can do to ensure the safety and security of your children online that giving them some general advice.

Here are just a few thing I touch on in my latest ebook which you can download for free, 15 Ways to Protect Your Online Reputation.  The advice that follows is specifically for children who need even more protection:

1.  Register a website name (URL) on their behalf.  Imagine your child being in his teens and making a bad decision.  Maybe he went to a party and had something to drink or his pants fell down and someone took a picture (yes, these things do happy). The next day, some of his friends think it would be funny to share the photo.  But instead of spreading the word via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they decide to buy the url with contains his name. Okay, now you're in trouble.  They own the domain and are free to post anything they want... pictures, comments , etc.  Before long, all the kids at school know about it and are visiting the website in large numbers.  You think the world is over.  Well, it gets worse.  The more a website is visited, the more popular it becomes, and the more weight Google gives it in search results.  Now you're really screwed.  I won't get into freedom of speech and the legality of getting the site removed, but it will take time and the damage has already be done.  Do yourself a favor, buy a domain name that includes your son's or daughter's full name or nickname if the one you want is not available.

2.  Help your child build an optimized set of social media accounts.  When kids log on to social media, they are more concerned with the tweeting or posting than setting up a well rounded profile.  And that profile stays with them for a very long time.  For example, even though MySpace hasn't been used in forever, many individual's profiles are posted and have remained unchanged despite the fact they are working and others are searching for them online.  If you take the right approach when your kids begin using social media, they'll be following best practices for years to come.  Work with your teen or child to set up popular social media accounts like Google+, Facebook, and Twitter that position them in a positive light.

3.  Deliberately post pictures of your student when appropriate.  Do you have a Facebook account?  Then you probably know quite a bit about tagging people in pictures.  Tagging can be applied in various ways so it's important to make sure that you are publishing images that meet your criteria for "appropriate".  Google image search will pick up images that are properly tagged and you can protect unwanted photos from showing by building a positive repository of images that are okay to be seen.

4. Monitor search results.  Every so often, go to the web and Google your child's name.  This may seem a bit creepy, but monitoring is one of the best ways to nip issues in the bud.  When searching for your child's name, don't bother with quotation marks or any other delimiters.  Instead, take note of what appears.  Are you finding negative information or inappropriate content... or no content at all?  Monitor results, it's your responsibility.

Protecting your child's online reputation is essential. Don't wait for someone else mention tell you when a child's image has been compromised because of what someone said or did online.  It's much more important to be proactive and protect your child.  Reacting once the damage is done can be expensive and time consuming.  Start today.

Monday, March 10, 2014

As the conventional consumer has become the digital consumer constantly connected via their smartphones and tablets, marketing departments and firms have had to adjust how they reach out to their customers. Over the years this has resulted in a hybrid form of marketing with marketers still using traditional methods, such as TV advertisements, newspapers and trade magazines along with digital media from email mailing lists to social media and digital advertising.

In a survey completed in 2012, traditional media still made up the majority of marketing budgets, but 50 percent of marketers planned on increasing their paid digital marketing efforts and two-thirds planned to increase their budget for earned digital media. On the other hand, only 22 percent of marketers planned to increase their budget for traditional marketing with 38 percent actually planning to decrease their investment in traditional media. While there will always be a place for some amount of traditional marketing, especially since it’s been found beneficial to use a combination of the two in certain cases (such as following up a digital campaign with TV ads), digital is quickly becoming a major if not the main medium for marketers. What has caused this major shift to digital? There are several factors.

1. The Empowered Consumer
The consumer has been the major driving force behind the shift to digital. The Internet and social media have given the consumer a powerful voice to express how they feel about individual companies, and given the consumer access to thousands of businesses to pick and choose from. This has forced companies to adopt social media and digital tools in order to cater to this new type of customer that has a bigger voice and more choices than ever before.

2. Better Messaging
The Internet also provides unique opportunities for marketers to better segment and target the consumer. Platforms such as Google and Facebook create huge amounts of data about what each individual likes, clicks on and is talking about. This data is incredibly valuable for marketers trying to better understand their consumer, so they can use better messaging and stand out in what has become a highly competitive market.

3. Rise of Mobile
The increase of mobile devices has also provided greater incentive to switch to digital, because it allows marketers to incorporate location data to seamlessly reach the consumer at any time and when the messages will be most relevant to where the consumer happens to be. A revealing statistic shows that 64% of people with a smart phone use their mobile device for online purchases.

4. Better Measurement
Measuring the success of a TV advertisement or billboard campaign is difficult and inaccurate, and it can be difficult to pinpoint why, exactly, that the campaign was successful and where it could be improved. The digital space makes it easier to test messaging, measure results and adapt campaigns quickly in order to get the best results possible, because there is more data available for marketers to access and analyze.

5. Build a Relationship
Finally, digital gives businesses the opportunity to become more human in the eyes of the consumer and develop relationships with the consumer based off of friendly conversations, better customer service and providing added value through blogs and other social media posts.

Copyright 2014. The Marketing Blog.