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Content marketing is not a new concept. Since it focuses on storytelling, it’s practically the oldest type of marketing there is! It can be traced back to the late 1800’s with John Deere publishing a magazine called The Furrow that was targeted towards farmers (although I’m sure there are even examples that go back farther). Even with its longevity, content marketing can still be a confusing concept that many businesses fear. As your friendly neighborhood marketing superheroes, we’re here to lay down the basics.

 

What is it?
Content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute, “is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Our TL;DR version (and for those who don’t know what TL;DR means, you need this): creating content that adds value for an audience to increase profits for your business

But I prefer another definition of theirs…

“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”

While it may be a little pessimistic, it’s true! People are narcissistic. If your brand is not giving them information or content relevant to their needs, they will not spend time looking at you.

Another good way of thinking about it is instead of telling everyone you’re the best brand, you’re showing them. You’re building trust with consumers by showing you are knowledgeable in a specific area, and that they can turn to you with questions or needs about that topic.

 

What does content marketing look like?
The great thing about content marketing is that it is incredibly diverse and can take shape in almost any media. Traditional, digital, mobile, you name it. These are some of the most common examples:

  • Blogs (Recipes, Information, How-To guides)
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Magazines
  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • E-books
  • Quizzes
  • Games

Seriously, the list is endless. While the most popular option is definitely blogs, plenty of brands are branching out and trying new things. Podcasts are gaining incredible audiences like no other, with 21% of Americans saying they’ve listened to a podcast in the last month.

General Mills started a podcast called “A Taste of General Mills.” Wet n Wild makes beauty tutorials. Betty Crocker offers recipes online. Google made an e-book. There is an opportunity for any business to invest in content marketing!

Think creatively and brainstorm about what value or information your business offers and push content out about that. It doesn’t hurt to glance at what competitors in your industry are doing either. Take note and then do it better or maybe do something completely different.

 

What are some benefits of content marketing?
Consumers will look to you as a trusted authority…and start to care!

With the help of content marketing, you could now be the genius, the guru, or the go-to for a certain topic. If you’re a construction company that offers valuable content to consumers interested in construction, they will look at you with more authority. Trust will also be built because you’re offering good advice or tools that have helped make their lives easier. Of course they’re more apt to buy your products or services if you’ve benefitted them in some way.

 

Brand awareness, brand awareness, brand awareness

Would Betty Crocker products have become as popular if they weren’t accompanied by numerous cookbooks and cooking shows? Probably not. These were the effective marketing efforts that positioned the brand as being the go-to for homemakers. If you want to get your name out there, be it locally, industrially, or globally, you need content marketing.

 

Big bang for your buck

Some content marketing efforts take more time and money (videos, for example), but you can still create many types of content on the cheap. Blogging, for instance, doesn’t eat up too many valuable working hours and can reach an incredibly wide audience. Podcasts can be as simple at 10 minutes and minimal editing or as complex as a few hours with professional production. Infographics are super easy to create, and there are tons of online tools to aid the process. Content marketing will not break your budget, but it will open the doors to a wide audience.

 

If you need help with your content marketing efforts, let the marketing geniuses at Transformation help you out! Give us a call and we can strategize on what will be best for your business.

Vector of man with four arms on the phone, computer, notepad, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, traditional media is not dying; it’s just changing. The way we consume media is changing, and the amount of time we spend consuming it is changing. According to new reports by Spectrum Reach and Nielsen, 84% of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching TV. It’s not that people aren’t watching TV, it’s that they’re accompanying their TV experience with other forms of digital and mobile media.

Another study by eMarketer suggests that by the end of 2016, people will be spending more than 12 hours per day looking at a screen, often more than one at once. What does this mean? People are consuming several different forms of media for longer periods of time. They’re multitasking, and consequently, dividing their attention spans. For marketers, this is a challenge, but also a huge opportunity. More than half of each day to reach customers? We’ll take it.

Of course, multitasking consumers calls for a change in the way we reach them. It’s difficult enough to advertise on single channels, but now we have to figure out how to accommodate consumer media habits and combine them into one big comprehensive campaign. It’s not a task for the weak, but these are a few basic principles to keep in mind:

 

Each media channel is unique.

Even though media has become more interconnected than ever, it’s important not to forget the key differences between them. Traditional media uses a one-way communication technique, where digital media is a two-way conversation between the brand and the consumer. TV commercials should encourage some sort of action to go online, and the online ads should incorporate some kind of interactivity. The content should differ (for example, a TV commercial should not be posted online without being shortened, as the mobile users have the ability to click away), but still be recognizable as the same brand.

 

Use data.

Remember when we said media consumption is changing? Yeah, that means the statistics surrounding them are changing too. You should be constantly reviewing the hard numbers pertaining to media consumption, especially specific to your brand. Use analytics tools (Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are a good place to start) to regularly note changes in the way your customers are behaving. When are they searching for keywords related to your brand? Are they using a mobile device to access your website? Most importantly, USE this data to make changes to your media strategy.

 

Keep it consistent.

Arguably, the most important part of a multi-channel strategy is keeping the messaging unified across all touch points. The tone, buzzwords, color schemes, graphic components, etc. should be the same in every form of advertising used. Regardless of where the consumer is, whether it’s in the store, online, or on their couch watching TV, the experience you provide them should always match. Consistency will differentiate your brand from competition and strengthen the messages you choose to convey. Note that if you’re finding it hard to stay consistent over a million different media channels, less may be more. Being on Snapchat, Instagram, and the other trendy platforms isn’t effective if you’re not producing the right content.

 

America is consuming more media than ever, so much that it becomes exhausting at times for even the consumer (ever delete the Facebook app from your phone for a week to “cleanse”?) New media habits mean that marketers can’t use old methods and expect the same results. Media is changing, so marketing must change too.

Don’t have time to keep up on the latest media trends and adjust your business’s marketing efforts accordingly? At Transformation, media is our job. Let us take control of your marketing and see the results your business needs! For more information, contact us here.

 

meme

 

I want to start this blog by pointing out that the word “meme” is pronounced “meam”, not “meemee.” Seriously, there’s nothing that makes my internet-obsessed Millennial eyes roll more.

Okay, so now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s begin. You’ve probably heard the term “meme” tossed around by those who engage online (which is almost everyone), but maybe you’re still unclear as to what a meme actually is. According to trusty Dictionary.com, a meme is defined as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.” Maybe it’s easier if I just show you:

 

success kiddab

 

 

 

 

So yeah, a meme is a triumphant toddler, that ridiculous dance move that resembles a powerful sneeze, and all the other pieces of media you see repeatedly pop up on your Facebook newsfeed. Seems silly, right? Maybe. But didn’t smartphones and Snapchat seem silly in their early stages, too? Memes have become a part of internet culture, so naturally, it makes sense for marketers to incorporate them into marketing strategy. But why are memes so popular, and how can they be used effectively in advertising?

Memes are:

  • Easy to consume. Memes are a picture with a line or two of text, a 6-second video clip, or another form of quick, instantly-gratifying media. Millennials are known to have short attention spans, and memes provide value in a very short amount of time.
  • Inclusive. Memes create a sense of community by making people feel like they’re “in” on something that others may not be. People connect with one another when they understand and enjoy the same references as others.
  • Funny. Memes are rooted in humor- simple as that. Who doesn’t like to laugh?
  • Shareable. Memes are intended to be shared, and are done so easily. A simple copy/paste, retweet, etc. allows internet users to immediately share a meme and start a conversation with others.

Memes have the potential to add value to your business because they add value to consumers. But be careful, using memes in marketing doesn’t make sense for everyone. Before you head to memegenerator.net or play around in Photoshop, ask these questions about your target audience:

  • Are they present online? If your audience isn’t active on the Internet, then memes are definitely not for you.
  • What kind of content do they engage with? Memes generally resonate with younger audiences who don’t want to spend a ton of time or effort engaging with your brand.
  • What do they think is funny? Memes require viewers to enjoy a certain kind of humor in order to appreciate them. Some memes are light-hearted, others are dark and borderline offensive, and some are popular because they just don’t make any sense. (2016, what a time to be alive, right?) Get to know the interests and personalities of your target, and use memes accordingly.

If you’re still not on board with the meme craze, realize that memes are popping up in marketing strategy outside of the Internet. Memes are being utilized on billboards, print materials, and even in radio. I’m the first to admit that Internet culture is a strange part of modern life, but if the people want memes, that’s what they’ll get! For both traditional and digital meme-filled marketing services, contact the experts at Transformation!

Social Media

Social media has opened so many doors for new opportunities, which it is why at Transformation, we focus a good portion of our efforts on developing our clients’ social media accounts. Social media plays a key role in a company’s marketing strategy and can even enhance the communication with their customers. The following explains why we think your company needs to focus on social media as a marketing strategy.

Communication on social media is immediate, which allows for better relationships with customers and more customer satisfaction. When people are angry and upset, have a problem, or when they need answers to their questions, they want to be helped immediately. They don’t want to wait on the phone lines to speak with a customer service representative, or wait 24 hours for their email to be read, sorted, and responded to. One of the most convenient elements of social media is its immediacy. The moment a post is made on your Facebook wall or a post mentioning your brand, you are notified right away and can take action. If you are able to respond within minutes of the post, your customers will be that much more satisfied. This is especially effective for customers dealing with a problem that has time constraints, such as a flight delay. This can, however, cause problems if a company is not prepared to answer the question it’s been presented.

Advertisements on social media allow targeting and retargeting, which is one of the reasons social media is so convenient. It is highly customizable and can be altered to target a range of demographics. For example, some ads allow you to target users by things like location, education level, work field and even search history. Any given social media website is able to see your information and can show ads specific to you as a person in hopes of reaching you.

Social media gives consumers the opportunity to share feedback regarding their experiences. Often you see a Facebook friend posting about a restaurant they recently ate at and their experience. This creates great buzz for businesses because word travels so fast through social media. This can also be a negative for a company if the opposite occurs and someone posts negative comments regarding their experience. This still allows for quick feedback, and the company can make changes as they see fit based on the input they receive from social media.

It is important to be in communication with consumers and customers and working to give them the best experience possible. Through social media, companies are able to receive feedback, communicate immediately, target their specific audience, troubleshoot problems, and so much more; just a few of the many reasons we find social media so important here.