Know Your Options as a PR Consultant

For those choosing to go into PR—and many are, with PR projected to be one of the top 10 occupations by 2022, the career options are plentiful. PR pros can work for corporations, agencies, nonprofits, start-ups, or small businesses. They can specialize in a variety of areas that fall under PR, from producing content to crisis communications to media relations and more.

So, why might a PR practitioner pursue consulting as a career path?

For those who’ve worked in-house, becoming a PR consultant can be an attractive option. Agencies tend to burn out their brightest stars with long hours and low pay. Meanwhile, those who work in corporate PR can get bogged down in bureaucracy, making it tough to feel as if they’re making a difference. This can lead to boredom or the suspicion that they’re a cog in the wheel.

Given that, more PR pros may turn to consulting as a career option. Many small and medium-sized businesses look to consultants to help out with their PR initiatives. For consultants, this relationship can be rewarding since their work directly impacts the company’s bottom line.

Further, PR consultants enjoy the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere. lowering overhead costs. If you have a phone and a laptop, you’re in business. Soloists can work with other vendors as needed, so they don’t need to hire and pay staff.

Of course, beyond the basics, consultants may want to consider additions like subscriptions to media databases, and social media monitoring software, so they can track campaign results for clients.

What are some areas of PR specialization?

  • Writing: Small and medium businesses need content—but who has time to devote to creating it? PR consultants can neatly fill this gap by writing content ranging from newsletters, blog posts, press releases, contributed articles, white papers, and case studies.
  • Social media: Social media is another area in which PR pros can shine. Their ability to research topics to find content that companies can post—in addition to brand content—can help maintain a steady stream of traffic.
  • Event planning: Some PR consultants excel at planning and executing trade shows, community events, and conferences for small and medium businesses that lack dedicated event staff.
  • Crisis communications: It’s no secret that today’s brands can easily find themselves in hot water. Anything from an accidental social media misstep or national tragedy can affect businesses—many who aren’t equipped to handle these situations. PR consultants who specialize in crisis communications can help steer businesses down the right path.
  • Media relations: Still a crucial part of a strong PR effort, the practice of media relations requires a particular skill set. The consultants that specialize in this area can help companies secure earned media opportunities.
  • Thought leadership: PR consultants are primed to implement initiatives for executives that include them writing and speaking at conferences, as it requires focused effort, sometimes within a defined timetable. Fruits of such a program can feed other marketing initiatives (like social media and the company’s blog).
  • Influencer marketing: A growing area of PR, influencer marketing involves how to best plug influencers into your PR and comms efforts. A consultant can help hone in on key influencers and start to build relationships on behalf of the company.

With the right framework and tools in place, hanging out a shingle as a successful PR consultant can become a reality for today’s PR pros looking for more independence and variety in their work. As the PR profession continues to change and grow, expect more comms pros to consider this increasingly popular option.

 


10 Types of Visual Content That Go Viral

It’s easier than ever to create and share content.

In fact, we all create and share content regularly for both personal or business reasons. This simply means that there is a vast amount of professional and amateur content out there for everyone’s consumption. It’s crowded.

The result is that it can be quite difficult to catch the attention of an audience when you need to. If you want to catch your audience’s attention with content, one of the best ways to do so is by making it visual.

Visual content has proven to be among the most efficient and effective ways to communicate a message. It is in fact, your best chance to go viral if you want to gain the attention of an audience at scale.

So if visual content is the best way for you to stand out, how do you best leverage its power? What types of visual content work?

Before I answer that question, let’s take a step back…

What do you stand to gain from creating great visual content?

The article ‘5 Ways Content Marketing Can Benefit You’ outlines what you stand to gain from using better content marketing.

The highlights are as follows:

  1. Generate more leads
  2. Shorten your sales cycles
  3. Become recognized as a leader in your industry
  4. Better search engines rankings
  5. Give you an advantage over your competitors

When using content marketing, visual content is mainly used to create visual cues that complement the information or message you are trying to present. The idea is to make the information;

  • Easier to understand and digest
  • Easier to share, and
  • Easier to reference

With this in mind, there are several different types of visual media content that you can use in different circumstances to effectively convey your message.

It is important to also mention that depending on your objective and the scenario in which you are delivering the content, different types of visual content will be more suitable for your specific case in point.

Below are the main types of visual content, which if used appropriately can easily help you go viral.

The different types of visual content that can go viral

1. Infographics

The epitome of visual content is the infographic, and it should therefore be a great place to begin our list.

The infographic crystalizes a lot of information into one easily viewable visual that is less intimidating and easier to understand for any viewer or reader.

In fact, in the social media realm, infographics are liked and shared 3 times more than other any other type of content. Additionally, 60% of content marketers are predicted to use infographics in 2016 as compared to last year.

Probably one of the main reasons for this is that using infographics in content marketing is known to increase profits by as much as 12%.

These are all valid reasons for why infographics are essential, but here are an additional 10 Reasons for Why Infographics are important.

Infographics are best used when you have a lot of statistical data that you want your audience to visualize, or if you want to breakdown a lot of ‘hard-to-understand’ content into a more understandable and easily viewable format.

2. Eye-catching Images and photos

Photos and images are important for several reasons. For brands, they allow audiences to put a face on a brand and therefore make your brand more relatable. Additionally, using photos to show ‘behind the scenes’ of a brand can help audiences better understand and become more curious about a brand.

Photos can also be very helpful in showing off your products and services. In this case, the use of photos is especially useful if you want to show your products in action. This is probably one of the biggest contributing factors as to why 90% of the general public say that images influence their buy-in and purchasing decisions.

When using photos and imagery, be sure to reflect your brands unique selling point. Additionally, be sure to capture the brand’s values through color imagery, composition and so on. If you use relevant images, it has been found that you will be able to drive 94% more views than if you don’t have any images in your content. Plus, 65% of the information in images is more likely to be retained after 3 days.

3. Videos

Mixing up your visual content is quite important. In as much as images and photos are quite often the main drivers for visual content, video should also be used whenever possible to give a voice and sound to your content.

This YouTube video has some useful information on “How Video Content Marketing Can Grow Your Business”:

Here are some important statistics to keep in mind when considering the use of video:

  • 64% of shoppers are more motivated to purchase a product after watching a video about it
  • If you use the word ‘Video’ in an email, the likelihood that the email will be opened will increase by 19%. Additionally, the click through rate of the email increases by 65% and the rate of unsubscribing to your email list will reduce by 26%
  • In a survey of ‘Video Marketing Statistics & Trends’ it was predicted that 74% of all internet traffic will be video by 2017

There are several reasons why video should take a leading role in your content marketing plan.

Some of the reasons include:

  • Improved SEO
  • Customer retention
  • Higher engagement
  • Stronger emotional connections

Learning about Video SEO is also essential in tackling Video Content more effectively.

4. Call-to-actions (CTAs)

A call-to-action is a way to influence your audience to do something or take some action after attracting them to your content. You can ask your audience to ’click here’, ‘buy now’, ‘follow us’, ‘share’, ‘add to cart’, ‘subscribe here for a free gift’ etc.

You can use imagery, color and hierarchy to grab your audience’s attention and cause them to take action. CTAs are best used to call attention to exclusive content, events, offers and sales. There is a lot of untapped potential in the use of CTAs since it is known that 70% of businesses fail to use them.

On the other hand, those that use CTAs can benefit quite significantly from their use.

5. Inspiring quote cards

A visual representation of a quote can be quite an inspiring way to create emotion and therefore motivate an audience to take action, or feel a certain way about a brand or product.

By using a brands palette, typography and other visual cues to tailor the quote to your message, you can create quite an impact with a quote.

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Above is a great quote that is an advert by Target on Pinterest.

Another important aspect about quotes is that they are quite easily shareable through several different platforms, and especially through social media.

An advantage of using inspiring quote cards is that they are quite easy to create and yet can quite easily go viral if done in the right way.

6. Data visualizations and graphical data

Data visualizations include charts, maps, diagrams, graphs and so on. If you take the time and effort to make sure that your graphs are not only easy to understand, but that they also pass relevant and tangible information, then they can quite easily go viral.

Data visualizations are best used to represent facts, figures and extrapolations, when audiences may need to see trends or patterns about certain data. When using data visualizations, it is best to use data that reflects your brands imagery.

An important statistic to have in mind about data visualizations is that 40% of people understand and therefore respond better to visual data as opposed to plain text.

data-visualizations-and-graphical-data-for-visual-content-that-goes-viral

The image above is a data visualization of Macrometeorites by Roxana Torre which shows the number of recorded meteorites over time.

7. Screenshots

Screenshots highlight something that you want to draw attention to that might otherwise not be noticed. They could also clarify something to your audience so that it is easier for your audience to follow along. If you want to increase understanding, annotating screenshots can add yet another layer of clarity.

The use of screenshots can be used for everything from instructional content to showing live captures of information that you want to share. Such as reviews and testimonials of products or services by customers.

If you for example use screenshots to show off your positive reviews and results from other customers, you will quite easily attract more attention and build confidence in your brand, product or service.

In research done by Dimensional Research investigating the impact of customer service on customer lifetime value, 90% of respondents were influenced by positive reviews when making a buying decision.

8. Tutorials and question-answer visuals

Tutorials can include anything from ‘life hacks’, to recipes, to visual step-by-step instructions. They can also be in the form of videos, images, text or a combination of these.

In a book written by Levie, W. J. & Lentz, R. titled ‘Effects of text illustrations: A review of research, Educational Communication and Technology’, they state that, people following directions with text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions without illustrations.

Question and answer type visuals on a similar note are known to help bridge the gap between businesses needs and consumer wants. Asking your audience questions that stand out from text in a very visual way, is not only attention grabbing, but also sparks a conversation and encourages engagement.

9. Quizzes and visual puzzles

Like questions, another great way to encourage your audience’s engagement is through quizzes and visual puzzles. Through quizzes and visual puzzles, you can easily construct a smart and prudent tone for your brand.

Quizzes and puzzles also help to spark creativity for more consumption or better consumption of your products. They can be used to bring more clarity to abstract knowledge about a product by making the information more practical and useable. This will in turn encourage adoption and use of a product that is otherwise difficult to relate to.

10. Memes and comics

A great way to end this list of visual media content that can easily go viral is by talking about memes and comics. Everyone loves a laugh, and in the internet world, there are few things that have more cause for laughs than the memes we love.

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As far back as in 1999, due to the use of memes like the dancing baby, site visits jumped from as little as 4 visits a day to 15,000 per day. This is a very respectable figure even by today’s standards.

The importance and power of visual content

As mentioned earlier, using the appropriate type of visual content is the key to sending it viral. That being said, some of the strong points for why visual content is both important and powerful in almost every use-case are as follows:

  • Visual content is essential for customer retention
  • Visual content is vital for creating an immediate impact especially when you have limited time
  • Visual content can foster better understanding and reduce confusion for readers who took the time to read your post
  • Visual content is simply more stimulating than any other form of communication. The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text
  • Visual content grabs attention and creates better engagement since it is able to tell a complete story at once. It also easily evokes more emotion.
  • Visual content can help to establish a strong selection criteria and a structure for decision making that favors your brand or product over a competitor

What success have you had with creating visual content?

This article originally appeared in Jeffbullas’s Blog.

 

This article was written by Mohammad Farooq from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

The Value Of Lists In Your Brand’s PR Strategy

There are several major lists published each year to highlight the best and most highly regarded companies across the United States, and in specific regions; you know the ones- Forbes, Inc., Business Insider, and Fortune.

But how can a PR team use their company’s place on these lists as a selling point for the business? How can they tap into the prestige of these lists, in particular, to use as part of a PR strategy or marketing tool?

And PR pros are fully aware of the benefits therein. Pam Abrahamsson, CEO, PRA Public Relations says earning a spot on a top list like Forbes is the brand equivalent of a grand slam.“You’ll walk away with four big wins: The credibility of being on a respected list, immediate exposure to new customers, validation among your current customers, and rock-star bragging rights; making a top list proves you are top of your game in your industry.”

The World’s Biggest Media Companies Of 2015

Utilizing Press Releases To Elevate Your Brand

Many PR teams choose to use press releases to get the word out about their company’s inclusion in a major list, but only the most notable, like the ones mentioned above.

Take this example, from a company called doTERRA, celebrating their inclusion in Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. This PR move assigns prestige to Forbes’ lists, and also internally to the company, touting their attractiveness as an employer and success as a business.

A similar example can found by looking at more regional Forbes’ superlatives. One Texas law business was given the title of “Texas Leader in Law”, and promptly made the public aware of this honor. It may seem like bragging, but brands can elevate their image simply by being placed on one of these prestigious business lists.

Which Lists Matter?

Of course, there are many lists that give recognition to exemplary businesses, often published in local magazines and newspapers. Do these lists carry the same value as the more nationally known ones, like Forbes, Inc. and the like?

Not exactly. Unlike these major lists, local and small distribution lists are not vetted unquestionably by readers. Similar to the way that the US News and World Report list almost instantly lends validity to a college or university’s high standing, Forbes, Fortune, and Business Insider lists give unquestioned validity to a business’s claims as a successful and inviting place to work.

Take, for example the Fortune Top 100, ranking the best places to work in any given year. The usual suspects are there, like Google and Apple, but the lesser known companies are automatically elevated by their place on the list.

Smaller Lists… Not So Much

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an honor for a smaller business to be placed on a “best of” list in their region, and they likely capitalize on that honor by using it in press releases and other PR materials, but the cache that has been developed among the top lists adds an element of ‘street cred’ to a business that is unparalleled among other lists.

Another good example is the Inc. 5000 list, which profiles the fastest growing startups each year. For a startup company to land on this rather large list means that they’ve made it big in their infancy, this can be used in the company’s PR to seem attractive to clients and potential applicants alike.

Capitalizing On A Perceived Status

Whether your company is truly more successful than others in your industry, or just wishes to be seen that way, PR teams are well served by seeking out the endorsement that these lists offer.

How is this achievable? PR teams can study the metrics the Forbes and their competitors use to quantify business climate in a given sector, and improve those qualities in their own business. When the honor is given to their company, PR professionals must capitalize on it immediately by publicizing it in the appropriate arenas.

 

This article was written by Steve Olenski from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

5 Mistakes to Avoid in B2B Social Media Marketing

In many aspects, social media has changed the way we live. We go to a new restaurant based on positive online reviews, interact with friends without the constraints of time or location, and can access a worldwide audience like never before. Here are a few statistics to consider:

  • The internet has 3.17 billion users, and there are 2.3 billion active social media users.
  • 91% of retail brands use two or more social media channels.
  • Internet users have an average of 5.54 social media accounts.
  • Social media users have risen by 176 million in the last year.
  • 1 million new active mobile social users are added every day – that’s 12 each second.
  • Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp handle 60 billion messages a day.

With so many messages, images, and advertisements on social media, how can your business-to-business (B2B) social media marketing stand out amidst the noise?

Here are five mistakes to avoid to ensure your message is heard.

1. Posting Too Much

Do you have that friend on Facebook that posts a few times a day and it starts to get annoying? That one friend who uploads pictures of her morning latte, her dog Chloe, and the lunch out with friends? If comments were anonymous, you would probably be tempted to write something sarcastic. Social media marketing certainly is a balance between promoting brand awareness and not overwhelming your potential customers.

Here are some general guidelines for how often you should post from online marketer Keran Smith:

  • Twitter – three times a day
  • Facebook – no more than two posts per day
  • LinkedIn – one post per weekday, or 20 total posts for the month
  • Google+ – three posts per day
  • Pinterest – at least five posts per day
  • Instagram – one post per day

Posting anymore than the above numbers listed will cause your audience to tune out, Smith argues.

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2. Posting Irrelevant, Inconsistent Content

Your audience is busy and easily distracted. Therefore, your content should be relevant, consistent with your brand, interesting, and eye-catching. Never post without an image and always test your links before you post. In fact, a recent survey on social media marketing best practices found that videos and images perform best for companies. The content you choose to share and promote should reflect these trends–match what your audience wants to see.

3. Not Optimizing Your Profile

If the main purpose of your social media posts is to increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, it’s important to consider what customers will see when they click on your link.

“Social media marketing provides a tremendous opportunity to drive traffic to your B2B website. You can optimize your profiles with a detailed description of your company and a link that directs back to your site,” advises Emily Ahlbum of online marketing company Emagine.com. “It’s also important to know that social media content is now indexed by search engines. So be sure to consider each tweet or status update as a piece of content that can be optimized for search engines.”

4. Not Knowing Where Your Clients Are

Depending on your industry or the services you offer, your audiences’ demographics may vary vastly. Tech start-ups tend to comprise of a younger audience, while established local business owners may skew a little older. For example, the 25-34 age group is the largest age group on social media but not by much.

“Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest fall into this category. Millennials age 18-24 consist of the most users on SnapChat, Vine, and Tumblr. LinkedIn is the odd-one-out, with 35-44-year-olds leading the way,” explains Tyler Becker on Social Media Week.

Knowing who your audience is and where they are can save you time and money.

5. You Get What You Pay For

In this day and age of social media marketing, many times you never get to see your client face-to-face. Your calling card is your social media shares, and your storefront is your website landing page. With this in mind, consider working with a social media marketer to get the cleanest campaign with the best results. Sloppy posts, not scheduling posts, or an inconsistent message invalidates the integrity of your company and decreases viewer click through rates.

Final Takeaway

Social media marketing can be one of your best assets or your greatest struggle. Avoiding the five mistakes outlined above and reaching out for additional help can help you attain your goal of reaching more clients and generating more leads.

 

This article was written by Eleonora Israele from Business2Community, originally appeared in The Salesforce Blog, and legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

4 Ways to Elevate Your Marketing with Great Content

As marketers, we’re always looking for new ways to engage our audience. New channels, strategies, and campaigns. At the core of these initiatives is our content, which fuels each and every one.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Vidyard’s Video Marketing Summit to learn about the latest and greatest in creative content, video analytics, and digital marketing technologies. If you’ve been keeping track of key trends, you know that video is now an essential part of any content marketing strategy. Video content allows you to communicate with audiences on a different level, speaking to their senses.

At Viewtopia, I sat in on some great sessions that demonstrated how you can elevate your marketing with engaging content. Here are my takeaways from four sessions that really stood out:

1. Shift from Content Economy to Attention Economy

Art and science have come together to empower marketers, and we can leverage both to build relationships with our buyers and understand our impact. Tyler Lessard, CMO at Vidyard, opened up Viewtopia with his session on “Connecting with Buyers in the Age of Experience.” We live in an “information age,” where information is now a commodity and buyers are overwhelmed—this reality transcends across demographics and generations.

Buyers are more informed, and it’s all about earning their attention—giving them the best customer experience. So how do we rise above the noise? As Tyler put it, digital marketing and marketing automation are major breakthroughs that are influencing the way we engage our audience. Paired with video, we can create compelling content experiences on a variety of channels and glean unique insights from each.

The brands that are leading the pack have nailed down these three key areas: content, channels, and insights. Effective marketing utilizes a cross-channel approach, placing personalized content and seamless messaging at the forefront. In addition, it’s now imperative that metrics go beyond just clicks and views, showing how your efforts are translating into revenue.

2. Take a New Approach to Content

It’s time to adopt a post-digital mind shift and approach content in a new way. Laura Ramos, VP & Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, shared some valuable insights in her session, “The Power of Video in Making Your B2B Story Come Alive.” Content is all about the buyers and their unique journey, and we can deliver on this expectation through effective storytelling.

Laura revealed five ways to use storytelling to engage our buyers:

  1. Repurpose “great” content as stories or narratives.
  2. Experiment with long-form, multi-chapter assets.
  3. Put customers center-stage.
  4. Shoot more video.
  5. Create a value exchange with buyers.

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She also shared four key principles of B2B storytelling, which can be applied to B2C as well:

  1. Empathy creates trust and deepens relationships. Show your audience that you understand what they care about. Don’t just speak to their business problems, but speak to what they deal with on a daily basis. Your marketing should be relatable.
  2. Decision-making is emotional. It’s not always rational, so use stories to stir emotions. Experiment with humor and tragedy, as well as stories that tug on the heartstrings. People are sick of hearing pure success stories. Focus on failure and redemption.
  3. People trust friends, families, and peers. They trust other people more than they trust you as a brand, so build brand advocates and encourage them to share their stories.
  4. Engaging the senses leaves a lasting impression. Engage all of the senses, experimenting with different types of content like visual and audio.

The biggest takeaway that transcends across marketing? Deliver something of value without expecting immediate commercial returns. It’s all about building relationships and trust with your audience.

3. Fuel Account-Based Marketing with Personalized Content

Account-based marketing (ABM) is all about aligning marketing and sales efforts to target and engage high-value accounts with personalized messaging, campaigns, and outreach. And the benefits are tremendous—92% of B2B marketers worldwide consider ABM extremely important or very important to their overall marketing efforts, according to SiriusDecisions. In her presentation, “Multi-Channel Personalization: The Key to Account-Based Marketing Success,” Charm Bianchini, Sr. Director of Marketing at Marketo, revealed how you can take your target account strategy to new heights.

After you identify your high-value accounts and profile them to focus on the right part of the organization, it’s important to have personalized, relevant content to fuel your ABM campaigns. By developing buyer personas and mapping their journeys, you can create content that speaks to specific roles. And the options are endless—videos, reports, webinars, SlideShares, ebooks, blogs, podcasts, infographics, and more. Not to mention, these don’t have to be created from scratch. You can repurpose existing assets and tweak them to resonate with your target audience. This can be done by simply switching out terminology, examples, and language to speak to a specific company or industry.

Once you’ve got your accounts and content nailed down, use as many channels as possible to coordinate your story and target and engage your audience. This includes core channels such as your website, social media platforms, email, and mobile, but don’t forget about video. A video platform integrated with a marketing automation platform can help you gain insight into audience engagement with webinars, demos, and videos to help you score your target accounts appropriately.

4. Unleash Your Inner Storyteller

Some of the best examples of engaging content come from social influencers. Zach King, filmmaker and YouTube and Instagram personality, took the stage in his presentation, “The Storyteller in All of Us.” Zach King started pursuing his passion for videography at the early age of seven, when he experimented with a camera at a family wedding. From that moment on, he saw how video helped frame his perspective and vision to others. Since then, he’s blossomed into a social celebrity, with over 16M followers on Instagram alone.

He shared valuable lessons that he learned along the way. The first? Educate and listen to your audience. Zach got his start on YouTube with his Final Cut video editing software tutorials. He amassed a good following of about 40-50k followers, but his career really took off after he started listening to his audience. People commented that they wanted to see the effects in action, so he created the short film Jedi Kittens (and later, Jedi Kittens Strike Back). It was a spur of the moment idea that went viral and was covered by major news channels.

Here are some of his tips for creating an effective video:

  • Make it clean so everyone can watch it.
  • Your video should be contagious. It should be something that you would repost or share as a viewer.
  • Establish a voice and be relatable.
  • Have a beginning, middle, and end—no matter how short your video is.
  • Understand what to give, gather, and grow.
    • Give: What value are you contributing? A story, feeling, informative technology? There should be no strings attached.
    • Gather: Find the right platforms. Determine where the right audience will consume your content and use analytics to help you understand how they’re engaging with it. When Vine first emerged, Zach moved onto the platform from YouTube, captivated by the fact that he could create shorter videos that still got a lot of great engagement. The short six second snippets helped him hone in on how to tell a story in a short period of time. Then, once Instagram came out with a video feature, he started experimenting and posting the same videos on both platforms and got much better engagement on Instagram, so he began focusing his efforts there.
    • Grow: Nurture your audience. Go deeper versus going viral. Vital content adds value or entertainment, but viral content only gives you 15 minutes of fame.

Another way to elevate your marketing with great content is to look at the analytics and data that surrounds your brand and your industry. Statistics can go beyond simple demographics, into sentiment and social conversations and of course, into benchmarking competitors.

There’s no telling what’s in store for us next, but one thing’s for sure: it’s time to rise above the noise by creating compelling content.

Make Powerful Impressions with Statistics

 

This article written by Elaine Ip from Business2Community, originally appeared in the Marketo Marketing Blog, and is legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

3 Reasons to Get on the Mobile Marketing Bandwagon

It’s the rise of mobile marketing. As digital marketers, we hear about it almost daily. And for good reason:

  • Over 50% of searches are mobile (eMarketer)
  • 87% of users access Facebook on a mobile device (Facebook)
  • 60% of display media is on a mobile device (eMarketer)
  • 66% of emails are read on a mobile device(eMarketer)

Mobile continues to pose one of the biggest growth opportunities for brands, but it isn’t as easy to get on the bandwagon. It takes substantial resources to optimize landing pages, build new creative, develop messaging, and monetize bids and budgets to achieve mobile success.

Brands need to take advantage of mobile, but they also need the resources to do it. To give you some leverage in getting those necessary resources, here are my top 3 reasons why mobile marketing is still one of the biggest opportunities for brands.

Mobile Conversions and Desktop Conversions Are Not the Same

The first thing to note when you’re running mobile marketing campaigns is that mobile conversions are not the same as desktop conversions. Conversions on desktop devices are, more often than not, an online conversion such as a cart checkout or a form fill. However, opportunities to drive mobile conversions will grow as mobile consumers’ minds are in two phases: the “discovery” phase and the “need to know now” phase.

Google coined 2016 the year of the super shopper as consumers are discovering and engaging with new products and brands when online via their mobile phone. This ability of consumers to do much of their own research actually can give brands an edge. Brands can better understand their consumers and how they engage cross-channel as well as cross-device.

New mobile conversions you will want to track include: app downloads and usage metrics, email sign ups, and the most valuable: phone calls. These conversions are more prevalent on mobile devices because it is a one-click action consumers can take to get in touch with your brand. The days of filling out forms on mobile devices are growing scarce. Now when a consumer finds your brand on their smartphone, give them the opportunity to convert immediately via a phone call.

BIA/Kelsey estimates that the growth of mobile advertising will increase call conversions from 108 billion in 2016 to 162 billion in 2019. If you aren’t attributing call conversions back to your mobile campaigns, then you won’t be measuring the true success of your mobile campaigns.

You Will Gain a New Market Penetration

Not only will mobile marketing campaigns allow you to measure new conversions, but your mobile marketing campaigns will also give you the opportunity to penetrate into new markets. I mentioned that this is the year of the “super shopper” because consumers aren’t limiting their research on mobile devices. They’re expanding their loyalty based on that research, and Google estimates that 76% of mobile shoppers will change their mind about which retailer or brand to buy from after conducting a mobile search.

Knock. Knock. It’s opportunity at your door! By running mobile marketing campaigns, your brand will do more than measure your current customer behavior. It will provide the opportunity to capture additional market share. But you have to make sure you’re running mobile-optimized marketing campaigns and tracking mobile conversions.

Opportunity to Expand Your Ad Types

Launching and optimizing mobile marketing campaigns is not just an extension of your current desktop campaigns. Rather, mobile marketing campaigns open up doors to new ad types that desktop campaigns do not possess. For example, Facebook offers local awareness campaigns that give customers the option to get directions or call with just one click. This ad type is only available on mobile devices.

More examples of mobile-only ad types include: mobile-only Instagram ads, mobile-only display ad sizes (such as 320×50), Yahoo Gemini is mobile-only, and, of course, click-to-call and click-to-text are mobile-only ad extensions.

Not only can you run standard search, social, and display ads on mobile devices, but you can also expand your reach with additional ad types. This allows for increased reach and market penetration that desktop-only campaigns can’t provide.

This article originally appeared in DialogTech.

 

This article was written by Kelley Schultz from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Content On Steroids – Maximize the Value of Your B2B Content (Without Actually Writing More Content)

With around 27 million pieces of content being published online each day, there is no doubt that pushing your content to your target audience has become an uphill task. One has to devise creative ways of making their content stand out so it can give them positive ROI. If you want your old content to continue giving you returns on investment, here are some of the ideas you can use to exploit its potential.

1. Rework and Repost

Other than spending time and money on creating a new post, why not give any of your popular posts a facelift and publish it again? Chances are, there are still some people who haven’t viewed it yet. Besides, revising it will make the post feel fresh even for your old website visitors. Use this opportunity to update any non-evergreen content as the information contained does expire in due time. Here are some of the ideas you can use on your old content:

  • If it provided any statistics or information that applied at the time of publication, update the old values with new, relevant information.
  • Find a new, relevant insight and rework your old post to include it
  • Make a slight change to the title to give it a new focus
  • Tweak the voice of your content to fit a different demographic or persona
  • Make it more friendly for search engines

These tricks will give your visitors, both old and new, a reason to engage with the content. For each new title, the same content is likely to attract a different stream of viewers. Do not forget to post the new changes in social media so that your followers can get an update on the latest version as well.

2. Repurpose Your Old Content

The aim of promoting your content continuously is to reach different readers. However, people have different preferences when it comes to interacting with content. Thankfully, the same message captured in a blog post or ebook can be repurposed into an infographic, video, podcast, slide, or newsletter, among other outputs. Using this strategy not only widens your demographic but also increases your options when choosing the distribution platform.

3. Invest in Solid Distribution Channels

Just like mentioned above, if you are going to have your content in different formats, then you will need more than one distribution channel. These should be chosen to match the kind of content you intend to create. If you decide to create videos, you’ll need a compatible channel like Youtube to publish it. This strategy is necessary for every type of content you produce, whether that is podcasts, slides, photos, and so forth.

In some cases, it would be helpful to subscribe to paid services such as those dealing with bulk emails, Google ads, and Facebook ads, among others. Having a paid service saves you time and will increase your audience size.

It may not be practical to invest in all these channels at once. So, how do you choose the one that works best for your business?

If you want to concentrate on just a few channels that work for you best, then you’ll need to monitor the performance of each platform.

4. Keep Promoting Your Content

Perhaps you have heard about the 80 versus 20 rule of content marketing. Going by this rule, one should spend 20 percent of their time developing content and the remaining 80 percent on marketing it. But, how many follow this rule? Even if you don’t fully adhere to the percentages, posting your content on your chosen platform only once and taking a rest won’t bear any reasonable results.

Through continuous marketing, you can:

  • Direct new visitors to your new and old content
  • Push your content to reach even the passive readers (e.g. by sending several newsletters and emails)

Conclusion

Creating compelling content is expensive. You invest your time and money to achieve it. Unfortunately, you need to do much more to get reasonable returns on that investment. Other than spending more in creating extra content, why not optimize value out of what you already have? Use the above ideas to recycle and continue enjoying returns from your old content. And don’t forget to measure and report on content, so you ensure your efforts are positively impacting the bottom line.

Sometimes the best source for fresh B2B content is asking your colleagues, a.k.a. those who know the most about your product and services, to write. To learn how to start a program that has non-marketing colleagues writing content, download our free ebook.

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Martina Stricak from Business2Community wrote this article, it originally appeared in the Pipeline Marketing Blog and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Every year, I make predictions about what the coming year’s potential developments in the world of social media marketing. And every year, I have to think back and chuckle at all the people who claimed social marketing was just a fad—as little as a few years ago.

It’s clear now that social media marketing is here to stay, and its massive staying power is attributable to one key characteristic—the fact that social media keeps evolving. It responds to new tech like mobile devices, constantly exceeds users’ expectations, and competes within itself to bring us more and better features.

So what does 2017 have in store for us social media marketers?

1. Snap’s Evolution Will Result in Interesting New Opportunities.

First up, I’d like to mention the enormous evolution Snapchat—now called Snap—has undergone, and where it may be headed in the future. Already, Snap has transformed user expectations and major trends in the social marketing world. It’s helped bring back a more moment-focused view of communication, leading to more in-the-moment and live content, it’s facilitated more mobile-centric app developments, and it’s introduced vertical videos into the mainstream. But now, it’s looking to develop products outside its main means of exchanging messages, introducing real-world glasses to help users capture first-person visual information. Expect big things from this recently-renamed company in 2017, and huge marketing opportunities to go along with them.

2. Twitter Fatigue Will Worsen.

Twitter isn’t doing so hot. People have been predicting the death of Twitter for the past few years, but I’m not here to say whether or not Twitter’s going to survive another year (it probably will). Instead, I’d like to point out one potential factor for the app’s decline, what I call “Twitter fatigue.” Twitter built itself on fast, bite-sized updates, but this leads to a barrage of both incoming and outgoing tweets. This was novel and exciting at first, but now users are starting to crave something different—bigger, more detailed, more interesting pieces of content that roll out slower, like once per day. You can see this trend taking hold already in platforms like Instagram.

3. Users Will Crave More Vicarious Experiences.

People are also starting to demand social media as a conduit for more vicarious experiences. It’s no longer enough to post your sentiments about an event; you have to show your users what it’s like to be there. You can do this with things like live video, 360 images and video, and even just more real-time posting. The idea is to make your users feel like they’re a genuine part of the experience, as it’s unfolding.

4. New Areas of Communication Will Emerge.

Historically, social media existed as a way for individual people to communicate online. When brands caught on, it also became a way for brands to speak to and advertise to consumers. But now, social media is evolving in new communicative areas. Some platforms are offering means of customer service, increasing the significance and interactivity of exchanges between brands and consumers. Others, like Facebook, are delving into more professional communication. Expect to see more diversity here as more brands catch onto the potential.

5. An Ad Renaissance Will Occur.

Organic visibility has been declining for a while now, as platforms try catering to individual users over companies and organizations. But the secondary benefit for social platforms is that it forces more companies to dabble in paid advertising. Increased competition and pressure to become (or remain) profitable have also forced social platforms to come up with more ingenious and creative advertising options for businesses. The combination of these factors may lead to a new resurgence in social media advertising in 2017.

6. Inspiration and Imagination Will Become Fashionable.

Practical posts get a lot of consumer attention. Emotionally charged posts have a greater likelihood of circulating virally. But inspirational and imaginative posts are starting to make their appearances as even stronger candidates for social media success. These are often artistic in nature, giving users something “pretty” as opposed to something pragmatic or reactive. It also forces a separation from any kind of company positioning or low-key advertising, giving users something truly valuable. In 2017, it will be valuable to forgo some pretense here, and just post beautiful images or sentiments.

7. Brands Will Choose Social Platforms According to Survival of the Fittest.

Every year, new social media platforms emerge to try and disrupt the status quo or find their place among the heavy-hitters of the social media world. But obviously, entrepreneurs and marketers can’t jump on every single platform that comes along. Instead, in 2017, we’ll see more of a trend toward refinement; rather than spending equal effort on five different platforms, more businesses will find one platform that works especially well for them, and narrow their focus on it. As a result, we may see greater stratification between the major platforms of our era.

These are some of the most important trends I forecast for social media in 2017. It’s going to remain a strong branch for any content or SEO strategy, and is a must-have for any business attempting to market themselves on a frugal budget.

You don’t have to incorporate all these trends into your strategy for the coming year, but there’s a good chance you’ll stand to benefit from at least dabbling and experimenting with them.

Then again, predictions in this field are tenuous at best—so we’ll just have to wait and see if these social media marketing trends are on the horizon.

 

 

This article was written by Jayson DeMers from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Co-opetition: Learning to Swim with the Sharks

It’s tempting to avoid any mention of competitors. For a long time, in fact, that was standard business practice, especially for PR pros. Organizations would keep a wary eye on every move their competitors made, but avoid talking to or about them in any way unless it was to tear them down or prove them wrong. This status quo creates an adversarial business situation that could often create more barriers to success than bridges all could cross. Here’s the thing: cooperative competition makes everyone better, especially in the digital age.

PR pros can add value to this process from the start. A significant part of any PR pro’s arsenal is competitive intelligence and knowledge of a client’s market. PR pros have the tools at their disposal to find the best companies to foster this cooperative competition with. They can hone in on businesses that complement their clients’ core value proposition.

What does this mean? It means finding businesses that expand what their client offers, or enhances it in some other way, making the offering for the clients’ customers that much richer.

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One example discussed in the book Co-opetition by Adam Brandenburger and Barry J. Nalebuff is that of hardware and software. Updated for today, this might translate well to a company that manufactures products for the Internet of Things and another company that offers products to train those smart things so that they are using machine learning to offer better command response and intuitive interfaces – better AI. Apple is doubling down on this with Siri. By working with and/or acquiring several companies working in the machine and deep learning fields, Apple has been able to make Siri better and more responsive across all their devices.

Amazon is another company that practices co-opetition. In order to make their own artificial intelligence based device smart enough to be useful, they started small and worked their way up. The first iterations of their Echo device (Alexa) offered simple one-step commands and actions, like adding an item to a grocery list, or controlling a wi-fi enabled light bulb.

As time went on, Amazon partnered with several companies who were already offering things like music streaming and allowed customers to begin linking accounts. As customers were able to control more and more of the software and services they already loved like Spotify with their new device, their comfort level with using the Echo grew; Amazon was able to add and sell more services of its own—like it’s subscription music service to enhance Prime Music’s free offerings with an expanded catalog. Now, you can link several Amazon devices and build your own Amazon ecosystem of FireTV, Prime music and video via Echo, Phone, Tap, and Dot, Prime Now food delivery, online ordering via Alexa or Dash, and more—all because the company didn’t try to shut the competition out, but rather embraced them.

This may seem counterintuitive in the world of PR, but if you’ve ever played a game—especially an online game—you will likely understand that the concept of this is loosely based on game theory. What does this mean? It means that things are not set in stone—cooperative actions are rewarded, innovation moves the game forward. Smart companies take this further, even applying next-level game theory to their software or user experience (there really is a reason you can’t stop checking Facebook!).

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How can a savvy PR pro apply some of the theories of co-opetition to their work? A great deal of the secret lies in being able to read the unwritten cues of businesses to see which one is going in a similar direction as your client, and make sure that they are on your client’s radar for partnership. But how can you find this information? Through data analytics. In fact, all great collaboration and cooperation starts with good data. Media intelligence can get you the intel you need to make quick, adaptive decisions about cooperative partners. Once you have the intel you need, you can help your client evaluate the right fit for this challenge.

What happens next? That’s where great PR comes in. As once competitive companies move forward, working together for a larger goal, great PR helps tell the story of the partnership to your audience, getting them excited for what’s to come. Your social listening tools can help gauge your audience’s response and report back, helping you not only get people excited for your new venture, but also helping that new venture stay the course.

If you’re interested in dabbling in co-opetition, you can do it easily via social media. Some tips:

    1. Put social searches into your media intelligence platform to learn about competition and find great fits for your needs. Take a few weeks to see how they interact with their employees and clients—culture fit is important when you are talking about cooperating for a common goal.
    2. Use your blog to try soft cooperative projects, like simple guest blogging trade-offs, to see how your customers received the idea of you working with that company.
    3. Conduct social surveys of your users as you move closer to collaboration to see how they think your products align.
    4. Begin A/B testing messaging about the cooperative project on your digital platforms. This will help you see what resonates before you invest heavily.
    5. Give yourself a timeline that is long enough to see results, but short enough for an experiment: consider 3—6 months.

The Secret Weapon Of Content Marketing Is Public Relations

If a brilliant infographic is created and never shared, does it really exist?

The world is likely filled with thousands of pieces of wonderful content that will never reach their marketing potential because minimal attention was paid to making them discoverable.

It’s not enough to write an eloquent white paper or create an engaging video. If no one sees your content, no one shares it, and no one will be inspired to get a demo of the product it supports.

So how can you make sure your content gets noticed? The secret to discoverability is public relations.

Public relations is the practice of communicating messages and creating connections. It’s about sharing stories. And what better story to share than that of your content?

A piece of great content is an asset that has value; the sharing of it should be given appropriate attention and care.

Strong content deserves a strong PR plan.

Never thought about it that way? Not convinced your content is worthy of a PR campaign? Ask yourself the following question: Is your content marketing as worthy as your last strategic partnership or personnel announcement?

Don’t make the mistake of under-estimating your content. Content connects and content converts.

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Content marketing has real value and is worthy of a well-crafted PR campaign to share those assets. Make your content discoverable by using a multi-channel, synchronized approach of paid, earned and owned media.

Send a press release: We use this tactic a lot in the marketing department at PR Newswire and it works. Although there are different approaches you can take when writing a content press release, the most common approach (and the one that works for our content) is writing a brief description of the ebook, white paper, infographic or blog post we’re sharing, and then directing readers to that asset with a trackable link that will help gauge results.

Distribute your content release through a newswire service and the release and link to your content will live on hundreds of websites, driving discoverability. Include a photo or graphic and you’ll see even better outcomes.

Bonus: media pickup of your press release can send positive signals about your content to search engines.

Blog about it: Write a blog post that doesn’t repeat or summarize your content, but touches on the same topic. For instance, if you’re promoting an ebook, you could write a blog post that focuses on one specific aspect of the larger topic your ebook is about. Then include clear calls to action that take people to your content.

Of course, if the content you’re promoting is a blog post, this suggestion may not seem like a good fit. But hear me out. In those cases, don’t write a blog post about your fantastic blog post, but do create opportunities to reference and link back to it from other blog posts.

Tailor your social media: Promote your content on all your social channels, but customize the messaging to fit the platform. Your Facebook messaging can be a little more relaxed than your LinkedIn message and your Twitter post has to be succinct and include an appropriate hashtag.

Do include an image with all. We see especially good results when a unique graphic is created with a quote from the content.

Don’t stop at just posting to your brand’s social accounts; tap your internal and external advocates to help promote your best content. And remember that social sharing should be used to not only direct readers to your piece of content, but also to cross-promote the aforementioned press releases and blog posts.

Every piece of content you produce is an ambassador for your brand. To learn more about PR’s impact on your discoverability and how to write a news release that drives engagement, read my recently published paper PR & SEO: Still Driving Discovery.

And remember, once you accept that your content is worthy and treat it as such, then others will also.

 

This article was written by Victoria Harres from Business2Community and