How do you make sure your business’s online marketing makes a difference?
From your social media to your website, to your blog and video channels – there’s a lot of scope for creating online content for your business, and you need to make sure it has impact.
March 2015 saw some of the UK’s leading digital experts come together in one room to share their content creating advice, at the Stories Well Told seminar run by leading creative agency, McCann Birmingham. Read their pearls of wisdom below, and find out how you could be using content to tell your brand’s story.
Jonathan Davies, Head of Sales for UK and Europe, Buzzfeed
Jonathan Davies attended to represent Buzzfeed, the online entertainment community that specialises in social media-driven content, and shared his thoughts on the growing versatility of content and its value.
The 7 types of content
According to Jonathan, all content can and should fit within one or more of the following genres:
His main suggestion for creating content about your brand? “Think of content as a gift.” That means always creating content that’s of distinct value to your customer or follower.
As Jonathan quipped, “You are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a website banner – that’s a fact.” Simply put, most people don’t like adverts or content that acts purely as a business promotion, as there is no reward in it for them.
Fun fact – women are four times more likely to share content than men. So if your business focuses on a primarily female audience, start thinking about making yourself known on social media.
Helen Lawrence, Head of Creative Agency Development, Twitter
In case you’re still not convinced that social media is as prevalent in modern society as some people say, you should check out some of the stats that Helen Lawrence from Twitter revealed – and how particularly effective they are for real-time events.
An intriguing example is awards shows, which users watch while engaging with social media, and many brands can jump on the back of this momentum for their own benefit.
After pop queen Madonna’s infamous fall at the 2015 Brit Awards, a staggering 275,000 extra people were talking on Twitter than just 15 seconds before. As Helen succinctly put it, “Twitter is a real-time reflection of live moments.”
Brands can capitalise on this by making sure that they’re a part of the conversation – whether planning content ahead of time or being spontaneous. Mastercard, official sponsors of the event, benefitted by getting far more mileage out of their serendipitously planned hashtag, #pricelesssurprises.
By the way, Helen also revealed that tweets with photos get a 35% boost in engagement – so get snap happy.
Tiffanie Darke, Creative Content Director, News UK
Tiffanie Darke reminded us all just why crafting stories in your marketing is so much more effective than writing about yourself.
“By telling a story, [you] plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listener’s brain,” Tiffanie explained, alongside a very scientific diagram of a brain scan. The fact is, our brains respond in different ways when we hear stories as opposed to facts – sensory detail means more parts of the brain are engaged, meaning that stories stick better.
From a marketing perspective, Tiffanie advised that “the best brands are built on great stories.”
A good way of weaving stories into your company’s marketing? Tell your business’s history. It gives insight into your brand’s roots without being a walking-talking advert for your latest product or service, and will better engage interested readers/watchers/listeners.
Lucy Lendrem, Group Talent Manager, Gleam Talent
Lucy Lendrem heads up a team working with an entirely new kind of digital marketing – social talent. That’s celebrity spokespeople who are self-made on social media video channels, to you and me.
As this is an emerging field of digital marketing, Lucy explained that it’s not always easy to incorporate their work with brands. This is where data comes into play.
As with all marketing, the only way to know what works is to test it and measure the results. As such, the Gleam team could work out that a single tweet from one of their spokespeople generated 124% more traffic to one company’s website than paying for sponsorship buffers on a primetime television show – something that the company in question would never have anticipated.
When creating content like this, with ‘celebrities’ who have large fan-bases, it’s best not to micromanage. Overly controlled content looks false and won’t engage viewers. Leave some room for freedom of creativity.
Anna Watkins, Managing Director, Guardian Labs
With years of experience creating creative partnerships between brands and the Guardian team, Anna knows the one thing that makes a brand reliable: trust.
“Truth is the biggest driver of brand advocacy,” says Anna, and no more so than in a digital community where every consumer has a voice on social media. “In a networked world, trust is the most important currency.”
The best way to establish trust is to get a real sense of where your company stands from an outside point of view – “one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is understanding the balance of your financial value versus the value you bring to your customers and the wider society,” Anna wisely noted.
James Hayr, Head of Branded Content, Huffington Post
Last but not least, James Hayr spoke to the true desires of consumers: “No one cares about your product, they care about themselves.”
Once again, the role of data and research when it comes to creating effective marketing content could not be emphasised enough. Take a look at James’ findings:
- 90% of consumers find custom content useful
- 75% of consumers’ purchases are influenced by online content
- 78% of consumers think brands that create content want better relationships
- 70% of consumers prefer to learn from content over ads
If you’d like to see more of what was discussed at McCann’s Stories Well Told bonanza, make sure to check out the official Tumblr page:
Or search the #McCannSWT hashtag on Twitter.