Four Ingredients in the Brandsplat Secret Recipe for Content Marketing Greatness

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Four Ingredients in the Brandsplat Secret Recipe for Content Marketing Greatness

 

Easy, Col. Sanders: We’re not giving away the store. But we’ll share a portion of our secret recipe for content marketing greatness with you today. (Psst! Check back every week for more ingredients and eventually you’ll have all the ingredients you need!) Why would we share this information with you, knowing you could apply these tips yourself, you ask? Because what’s great for content anywhere is great for content everywhere. We don’t want a sloppy Internet. Besides, we’re betting if you cook up great content using our tips, you’ll have more success than you have time to deal with and then you’ll look to us to take over!

So, without further ado, here are a few tips for tasty content:

1. Focus on the benefits, not the features:

Go beyond writing about a particular product or service’s features — instead, write about the benefits of the product or service. This allows your target audience to imagine themselves and their lives being made better in the short- or long-term. That’s ultimately what closes the deal for you.

2. Use an active voice:

Too many great ideas have failed to be communicated due to passive voice syndrome. Education is key to ensuring your idea isn’t next.

3. Use bulleted lists:

Bullets help readers more quickly understand how much content they’re agreeing to read — an important part of the give-and-take relationship of content marketing. Every time we write a blog, we know that we’re asking someone to give us the time it will take them to read something in exchange for the information

4. Be brief:

Along the lines of #3, remember that keeping your content short and sweet helps keep readers engaged with your piece — and keeps them coming back for more. One caveat, however: Make sure you don’t sacrifice the proper content tone for the sake of brevity. No one wins when that happens.

Got your hands full in the kitchen? Need help whipping up some delicious content? Let Brandsplat be your sous chef. Give us a call today at 800-299-5498 or email us at hello [at] brandsplat [dot] com and watch us cook!

Yes, Virginia, There Really is Measurable Content Marketing

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Here at Brandsplat, we’re often surprised to learn that new clients once shied away from joining the blogosphere simply out of fear that they couldn’t measure the results of their efforts. Had they never heard of Google Analytics? Some hadn’t, so we set that right. Others had, but felt overwhelmed at the prospect of tracking Return on Investment (ROI) on content marketing. Still others had tried using Google Analytics to help them paint a picture detailing which content provided what audience and so forth. But all of them had thrown their hands up at one point or another.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. But measurable results are vital to ensuring your content is doing what you ask of it. And, frankly, it’s part of our sales pitch: We want to get you measurable results, so we have to know how to measure them. So let’s walk through a few tips for using Google Analytics to judge just how well your content marketing plan is performing.

Arnie Kuenn, author of Accelerate! Moving Your Business Forward Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing, admits that using Google Analytics can be overwhelming at first.

“The amount of data available are innumerable,” Kuenn says. “However, there are specific subsets of data that are valuable in assessing content marketing success once you have determined your goals.”

Kuenn suggests choosing just one of the following three ways to measure content marketing using Google Analytics: traffic/time spent on your page, conversions, downloads and referral traffic. Of course, it helps to know a bit more about how each of these things is expressed in Google Analytics, so let’s take a look.

1. Measure Time on Page Alongside Traffic Figures

We know that traffic alone doesn’t tell the whole story, but when you’re investigating the ROI on your content marketing strategy, it’s a great place to start. It is safe to assume that if a page gets a lot of traffic, there’s something on there that visitors dig. It might be as simple as a headline. Or it may be that your content’s SEO and ads have boosted its click-through rate. But have you checked to see how much time they spend on your pages?

“When the average time-on-page for a certain page is higher than the site average, it implies this page captures and keeps visitors’ attention more than other pages,” Keunn notes.

Rest assured, even Google Analytics newbies can navigate around the site and find this information. With a few simple clicks of your mouse, you’ll be viewing these in no time. Then ask yourself: What is it about the content of your most popular pages in terms of time on page that is holding (not just capturing) visitors’ attention?

2. Measure Conversions

What do your conversion numbers look like? Whether you’re asking them to purchase something or simply to provide their contact information as a prospective business lead, do you know what your rate is? Do you know what pages visitors frequently view before they sign on the dotted line? By setting up a goal in Google Analytics, you can effectively track visitors’ interactions with your site and learn more about what motivates them. There’s a bit of decision making ahead, but don’t let it deter you: The information on the other side of this tool is worth it.

There are four types of goals you can set up via Google Analytics. The first is Destination, which tracks when a visitor lands on a specific page of your site. This is a raw numbers tool, allowing you to monitor page visit growth, for example. Duration, the second tool, allows you to determine a specific length of minutes or seconds and then track visitors who meet that goal. This way, you can monitor visitors who, for example, spend quite a bit of time on your site. Did they commit? Did the ones who committed spend more time on a specific portion of your site? The Pages/Screens Per Visit tool lets you see how many pages or screens each visitor viewed while at your site; from this information, you should be able to glean some insight as to which portions of your website are holding visitors’ interest. Finally, the Event section helps you see who played a video or downloaded a white paper (hopefully you’re set up to trade this “event” for the visitors’ contact information — but that’s a whole other blog).

3. Measure Referral Traffic

How did they land on your site? Knowing the answer to this question gives you immediate ROI on any content marketing and advertising strategies you use. Did they click through via a social media link? Google AdWords ad? Email your company sent directly to that visitor? You’ll see which of the tactics you’ve used to spread the word about your company ultimately worked best. Then you can use this information to tailor your next round of outreach efforts. What could be better than that?

Finally, you can use Google Analytics for free if your site is generating less than 10 million hits per month. That means more money for hiring content writers to help boost your time on page numbers, now that you know the baseline!

But what say you, dear readers? If you’re already using Google Analytics, do you have any other tips? Let us hear from you in the comments section below!

Email Newsletters: Less is More

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Email newsletters, thanks largely in part to smartphones and popular subscription services like Constant Contact, have come back bigger than ever. Every brand wants an email newsletter of its own to play a vital part in its content marketing strategy. Yet our collective enthusiasm for email newsletters can be cause for excess. Packed with too much information and sent several times a week, email newsletter overkill is on the rise. Here are a few ways you can avoid it:

Save Some for the Next Issue: Problem numero uno with overdone email marketing begins with too many articles. Marketers tend to have a “more is more” attitude with nearly everything, but with email marketing, “less is more” is a better rule of thumb. Consider that when opening emails of your own, you want the sender, whether it be Barnes & Noble or your mother, to get to the point. With too many articles and blurbs in your newsletter, you run the risk of boring your reader and causing them to unsubscribe. We all just want easy-to-read newsletters that are informative and short. Pick out your ten best blogs, new product photos and videos and leave it at that.

Images in Focus: Snazzy, sharply-designed newsletters are sure to stand out in the inbox, and great images play a huge role. But don’t load your newsletter with images just because you can. Remember, depending on what email server your followers use, lots of images can make newsletters annoyingly hard to open. Instead, edit your images like you would your text — stick with the logos and great graphics that make sense for that particular issue and leave the rest.

Make it Worth Their While: Lastly, make your newsletter stand out by offering something you don’t offer on social media or on your website. Studies have shown that the most popular email newsletters are the ones that give readers something extra. Coupons, freebies, interviews and exclusive videos are just a few things to include to make your newsletter special and worth opening again and again.

Blog Like the Big Brands: Sharpie

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Blog writing, even when it’s for your business, should be fun. Using a blog as a daily platform to talk directly to consumers, followers and friends about your brand doesn’t have to be a boring or dry affair. In fact, many major companies use blogging as a way to express their brand’s personality, style and sense of humor. This week, Blog Like the Big Brands looks at the blog-styles of Sharpie, a company that really knows how to make blogging and content marketing fun.

A favorite among stodgy secretaries and tagging teenagers alike, Sharpie markers have been a staple of our collective office supply drawers since they were released in 1964. For nearly 50 years, consumers have associated Sharpie marker pens with being permanent, long-lasting and very smelly. Yet thanks to digital marketing, the company is now trying to inspire consumers to use its products more creatively. The Sharpie Markers Official Blog is filled with mind-blowing ideas for budding artists, organizational junkies, graffiti fiends, students and everyone in between. Posts like this one, which shows readers how to make cool psychedelic coasters, are the kind of crafty innovation readers can find on the blog. The site also has feature articles with renowned artists using Sharpie, new product profiles, contests and even more DIY craft ideas for kids of all ages. Also stunning are the photos, videos and bright graphics which make visitors to the blog not only want to stick around but to grab a Sharpie and start doodling. Sharpie has taken a traditional blog and turned it into an art magazine, an inspiration site and, most importantly, a powerfully-branded platform. And the best part about Sharpie’s blog? It’s fun to read!

Infusing our blogs with a little fun and personality is something we can all do. By sharing the things, ideas and inspirations that we ourselves like with our readers, we’re inviting light-hearted and positive engagement from our readers. Without the amount of negative information on the web, blogs’ positive, fun and upbeat message can’t help but stand out. Add to it some terrific images and helpful videos and you’ve got a blog that will brighten someone’s day.

So, readers, now it’s your turn. How do you put your brand’s personality into your company blog? Sound off below!

 

5 Things You Might Have Missed

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When it comes to memorable content marketing, it seems like every brand has amazing online video creation on the top of their wishlists. The popularity of viral marketing and branded videos is precisely why we’ve dedicated this week’s Five Things You Might Have Missed to a quintet of videos that might amuse, inspire and delight you!

1.) Say it with Dance: Tired of texting? Tongue tied when talking? The folks at Puma fragrances might have a solution. The Puma Dance Dictionary is an inventive form of communication which lets users select words and phrases that are translated into dance moves. After creating messages out of moves, users can then post these unique greetings on social media or in email. Still don’t get it into the groove? Don’t worry. The company has come up with a dance-filled video to explain how the whole thing works.

2.) Post it with a Purpose: Samsung not only cooked up an awesome reminder wall to make sure folks in Brazil wouldn’t forget about the new stores opening across the country, but also a cool video showing how this massive wall was made.

3.) The Dog Ate the Directions: For truly great viral videos, some would argue all you need is a cute animal and a funny concept. This ad for Google Chrome with a dog chewing up directions as the theme from Rawhide plays in the background would definitely support this theory. And so would the 5 million-some views.

4.) The Cat is Working Out: Not to be outdone, Temptations Cat Treats has come up with a truly silly and totally viral aerobics video for cats called Work it Kitty. If you think cats in legwarmers doing Jane Fonda moves is comic gold (and who doesn’t?), then this spot is a home run.

5.) Keeping it Real: Wrapping up our list of video genius you might have missed is the latest installment of Dove’s Real Beauty ads. This massive hit with over 54 million views is poignant, intelligent and memorable as it uses a sketch artist to illustrate how women describe themselves. The ad continues to prove how a positive message can be just as powerful as cute animals.

Quick Tips for Fabulous Email Marketing

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Email is still a vital component of every content marketing plan. Some would even argue that as more and more people rely on tablets and smartphones for email, email marketing is beginning to become more relevant. Fine. But where do newbies start with email marketing? And how do mere mortals achieve email amazingness? Fear not, marketing mavens! We’ve come up with a list of easy-to-remember and even easier-to-implement email marketing tips that any size business can rock out.

1. Get Friendly: The No. 1 question small businesses ask when starting an email marketing campaign is, “Who do I email?” Sounds kind of silly, but the concerns of who are we marketing to and where do we get these mysterious emails are legit ones. We always suggest starting with your company’s database of frequent customers and your personal contacts.These folks, presumably, already get emails from you and therefore are a terrific place to start. Friends and loved ones aren’t just less likely to delete your emails, but they’ll also usually give you honest feedback.

2. Post Exit Signs: You want people to be engaged with your email marketing, but the last thing you want is to make them angry. So play by the rules and clearly post a unsubscribe option. As Cara Aley writes, “Nothing says spam like a lack of ability to remove oneself from an email list. Make sure that every email you send has a clear option for removal for your readers; it’s a part of the CAN-SPAM law, and you could be fined $16,000 for not abiding by it.”

3. Deliver the Goods: If your email list isn’t growing, could it perhaps be because your emails stink? We’re sick of digital clutter, and now we are all quick to react to companies who email us with boring spammy content on a daily basis. Instead, challenge you and your marketing team to come up with emails and email newsletter content folks will actually want to read. Consider adding value and really creative content to your subscribers’ in boxes and watch your list grow like a weed.

4. Get Real People: If you have an office or a brick-and-mortar retail shop, don’t forget to gather emails in person! Being able to explain how awesome your emails are to your customers face-to-face is truly priceless and an opportunity that should not be missed.

5. Creativity Wins: ModCloth, Fab.com, Amazon, Starbucks and Epicurious all create the kind of email newsletter we stop and read. Why? Because they all look great and are incredibly creative. Use your favorite email newsletters as inspirations and take them to your marketing team and designers before you start.

Five Things You Might Have Missed!

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Feeling overwhelmed and out of the loop? Take a break and catch up with five fantastic stories from the worlds of online marketing and digital branding! Grab a coffee and enjoy our weekly list of five things you might have missed.

1.) Awareness, Orchestrated: In an effort to raise money, CRIS Against Cancer organized a classical music concert in Madrid. According to I Believe in Advertising, “The idea was that the orchestra played the 9th Symphony of Beethoven according to audience response. But, each bar of the score corresponded to a seat in the National Auditorium, therefore any un-sold tickets would mean an unplayed bar, and silence in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony score.” This incredible video shows what happened.

2.) Bestseller Blogs: If you are an indie author planning on using blog marketing to help sell your latest book, this article from Huffington Post is a must-read. In it, the Writer’s Relief staff outlines three essential blogging tips for any budding writer wanting to grab the attention of readers and publishers alike.

3.) Disappearing Ads: If, even as a marketer, the ads on Facebook Mobile drive you nuts, we have some good news. In a story you might have missed, Facebook mobile now lets users hide annoying and plentiful advertisements that pop up on our smartphones. The innovation comes right on the heels of an article from The Atlantic which griped about the irritating ads.

4.) Skinny Machine: “Never underestimate the power of style” is the moral of this little soda story. Diet Coke’s “Slender Vender” is one of those clever marketing ploys that plays perfectly with the brand’s image while producing a memorable visual. The thin, silver vending machine looks as cool and stylish as Diet Coke’s new bottles and cans. Plus, the song in the video is super catchy, too.

5.) A Mother’s Day Marketing Miracle: Finally, we think there’s no better illustration of how to use social media marketing to put your tiny, homespun business on the map than JumpSacBaby. This incredible article from Mashable is as inspiring as it is inspirational for anyone trying to use social media to grow their business and find ways to give your brand a social media makeover.