They say that hindsight is always 20/20. That when we look back at where we came from we can see things we wish we would have known or done better. This couldn't be more accurate when I look back over the years at my content marketing efforts.But you're in luck! I've outlined seven of the most important ideas I wish I would have known when I was first starting out in content marketing years ago. I hope they help you get ahead of the game....
Via Jeff Domansky
Native advertising is a concept that has been floating around in marketing circles for a few years but has recently been generating a massive amount of buzz in (RT @pbeucler: Native Advertising: An Easy Guide http://t.co/eWgK1V370L)...
The toothpaste market has been losing its pizzazz in the market of basic fluoride and white toothpaste options, dropping by almost half in the market. Consumer trends are heading towards more value added, fancy and colored flavored toothpastes.
Toothpaste is a great example of a market in which, for the most part, the core benefit is universal. Beyond that discriminating between competing brands is largely led by marketing efforts...product innovation, branding, communications etc
On June 18, Houston-based Sharon Roberts, who had been diagnosed with endometrial cancer a year before, put this message out into the Twitterverse:@teachdance11: the BRCA gene test is 2 parts. Aetna paid $300 part. Not the $7000 part. Gotta be rich to be in the knowThe 55-year-old teacher was surprised when @aetnahelp, the customer service Twitter feed for the insurance company Aetna, quickly responded. Through Twitter and phone calls, the insurance company clarified that she didn't need to take the more expensive test and then identified that she had been charged double by her hospital for other treatments."If I hadn't put out that snarky tweet about the BRCA test back in July, I would have probably just set up a payment plan to the hospital and paid out that bill," she said.The @aetnahelp Twitter feed is an example of how insurance companies are increasing their social media presence in an effort to amp up their customer service and capitalize on a platform that can serve to mediate, inform and advertise. The accounts also help companies manage their brands and do quick damage control on complaints aired in this public sphere.The accounts, which include @askanthem, @cignaquestions and several accounts for various Blue Cross Blue Shield companies around the country, are often separate from company accounts that focus on marketing and sharing relevant health care news"Social media gives us a tremendous opportunity to learn what the community needs," said Carissa O’Brien, social media director at Aetna.She works with six people to address the approximately 250 people who seek help through social media with claims or other services each month. O'Brien said the team tries to respond within an hour to users, who tend to be between 35 and 54 years old.But the messages to company Twitter feeds can be as complex and diverse as the customers. The Tweets include anything from financial woes and specific questions about health plan coverage, to complaints:@LadyBrik: Got my insurance/crazy charge worked out, but sadly it was with no help from @askanthem. Bummed I never got my promised call.@ganne_hanrahan How can @AetnaHelp be the most widely accepted health insurance and still not be in network me (sic) any of my doctors?!In both cases, the companies responded to these queries with resources or further contact information to resolve the issues.Though companies are accustomed to fielding feedback and questions from their customers, the public nature of a platform like Twitter or Facebook can also be a call for accountability, said Ini Augustine, a social media strategist and head of SocialWise Media Group."Social media acts as a public documentation of how you resolve the situation," she said. "It's more than a marketing tool."Augustine predicted that the implementation of the health law in the coming months would probably spur the companies to use their platforms further, from organizing Twitter chats to engage customers, to answering questions about Obamacare for a new demographic.While insurance companies are hoping to connect with their customers through social networks, they have not yet made enough headway to replace the telephone systems that can be a common source of frustration for patients looking to understand their health plans. Resolving an issue via Twitter is often just a gateway to a phone call or private message, since many personal questions can't be answered through a public forum.Nevertheless, O'Brien said the company learns more about their customers through this medium, allowing them to respond more efficiently, whether it is through the phone or interview.She said there is an added benefit of using the platform to educate and inform their community about health and wellness, especially during a time of many changes in the health care system. Even so, O'Brien said it's just the beginning."If we're looking to focus a 100-plus-year-old company on social media, that's massive cultural change," she said.
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Philip Holden's insight:
A really good place for insight into social media and more
Every few months media types seem to loop back to a familiar question: How to measure media beyond the page view.This week the Financial Timesannounced it would begin exclusively selling display ads off of a new metric: time spent. Medium recently reported it has started paying certain writers based on total time readers spend on articles. Upworthymade waves back in February ditching page views altogether to focus on what they call “attention minutes.” And back in May the traffic analytics company Chartbeat launched its “Attention Web” campaign, in an attempt to move beyond the click.“The thing about time spent is that it plays into three of the biggest trends right now — mobile, viewable impressions, and video,” Eric Franchi, co-founder of the digital ad firm Undertone told BuzzFeed. Franchi, like many others in the ad tech world, have been working to champion viewability, an ad metric that makes sure readersactually see and engage with the ads on the page....
Via Jeff Domansky
Philip Holden's insight:
This is important. It brings the convergence of media buying a little bit closer. Attention minutes may just tell us something more about how much our media consumption is really worth.
Content Marketing is not just for marketing firms or tech companies. More “traditional” companies can take advantage of great content that engages, entertains or informs potential customers and drives some percentage into the company’s sales funnel.To coincide with my hosting of Content Chat, I’m providing a few examples of content marketing in traditional industries. Please add other examples in the comments! Examples of content marketing in traditional industries...
Via Jeff Domansky
Philip Holden's insight:
If you're wondering what your website should say, take inspiration
“ Back in 2011, then Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats (now freelancing) tweeted 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar. Coats learned the 'guidelines' from senior colleagues on how to ...”
Via Ana Cristina Pratas
We’re pretty keen on optimal timing for social media here at Buffer, and I figured it was high time I collected all the information we have about online communication into one place. I’ve collected research and stats on Twitter, Facebook, email and blogging to help you find the best time to communicate with others in each format.
The tricky thing I’ve come across is that since the Web is still so new, a lot of the research available to us is conflicting. We really need more time and more studies to get definitive answers about what works best, and the fact that our audience members are constantly changing their own activity patterns makes it even harder to work out for sure. Looking at the latest social media stats seems to only confirm that.So my suggestion would be to use this guide as just that–a guide to help you work out what to test for in your own audience, so that you can see what actually works best in your specific case.Let’s get into the stats then.FACEBOOK: FIND THE BEST TIME TO POST YOUR UPDATES.When I posted about Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, one of the factors I talked about was time decay. This is simply the age of your post: How long has it been since you posted it? With the recent introduction of Story Bumping, time decay matters a lot less than how relevant your story is to the user in terms of getting into their News Feed (i.e., does it get in from a user or a page they interact with often, or have interacted with recently). Still, it’s good to keep time decay in mind, since it does make some difference: You won’t see posts from three months ago in your News Feed today.In terms of specific days and times to post on Facebook, here are some of the stats I found:Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays.I love the way this was explained in Buddy Media’s study: As they put it, “the less people want to be at work, the more they are on Facebook!”Specific industries varied slightly according to which days of the week garnered the most engagement, but most of them update around the end of the week, from Wednesday to Friday.Another study found that engagement was 32% higher on weekends, so the end of the week is definitely a good rough guide to start experimenting with.The best time of day to post on Facebook is debatable, with times ranging from 1 p.m. to get the most shares to 3 p.m to get more clicks to the broader suggestion of anytime between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. It seems that this generally points to early afternoon being a solid time to post, with anytime after dinner and before work being a long shot.For more Facebook stats and Facebook statistics, we’ve written a complete guide for you to check out.TWITTER: WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO TWEET FOR ENGAGEMENT VERSUS CLICKS?Twitter is such a popular network for mobile users that it can be a bit tricky to lock down exactly when the best time to post is. Here are some suggestions from the research I’ve found:Twitter engagement for brands is 17% higher on weekends.If you’re tweeting from your company account, you might want to keep this in mind, especially if engagement is what you’re looking for. Buffer can help you spread out your tweets to post at the optimal times, so you don’t even have to work weekends to take advantage of this! Click-through rates are generally highest on weekends, as well as midweek, on Wednesdays.On the other hand, an Argyle Social study showed that weekdays provide 14% more engagement than weekends, so this is definitely one you’ll want to test on your audience.When we look at the time of day, retweets have been shown to be highest around 5 p.m.For click-throughs, the best times seem to be around noon and 6 p.m.This could be due to lunch breaks and people looking for something to keep them occupied on the commute home after work.There are lots of Twitter users who primarily use a mobile device—rarely loading up Twitter on their desktops. Twitter did an interesting study of these users and found that they are 181% more likely to be on Twitter during their commute.They’re also 119% more likely to use Twitter during school or work hours.For more details on the latest Twitter stats and Twitter statistics, check out this guide.EMAIL: FIND THE BEST TIME TO SEND FOR THE RIGHT CONTENT.There’s been lots of research done on the best time to send emails, particularly in the case of email marketing. Some research done by Dan Zarrella from Hubspot broke down each time of day and worked out which type of emails work best for each period. Here’s what he found:10 p.m.-6 a.m.: This is the dead zone, when hardly any emails get opened.6 a.m.–10 a.m.: Consumer-based marketing emails are best sent early in the morning.10 a.m.-noon: Most people are working, and probably won’t open your email.Noon–2 p.m.: News and magazine updates are popular during lunch breaks.2–3 p.m.: After lunch, lots of people buckle down and ignore their inbox.3–5 p.m.: Property and financial-related offers are best sent in the early afternoon.5–7 p.m.: Holiday promotions and B2B promotions get opened mostly in the early evening.7–10 p.m.: Consumer promotions are popular again after dinner.What I thought was really interesting about this breakdown is why each type of email is more popular at certain times. From 3–5 p.m., for instance, the reason people open financial and property-related emails is that they’re more likely to be thinking about their life situation and how to improve it. Understanding how these time blocks work can be a good start to sending your emails at just the right time.And since 23.63% of emails are opened within an hour of being received, this is something we definitely want to get right.For more general emails, open rates, click-through rates, and abuse reports were all found to be highest during early mornings and on weekends.This probably means that most of us have more time to dedicate to our inbox during these periods, rather than during the day when we’re trying to get work done.In a different study by MailChimp open rates were shown to be noticeably lower on weekends.They also found that open rates increased after 12 p.m. and were highest between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.A GetResponse study backed this up by showing that open rates drop off slightly andclick-through rates drop significantly on weekends.GetResponse found that Thursday is the best day for both open rates and click-throughs.Mark Suster offers some great advice when it comes to sending emails:“Often I’ll write emails on the weekend and then send them first thing Monday morning. I want to be on top of the stack, not at the bottom of the pile. Most people process email first thing in the morning (although productivity experts say not to!).BTW, when I write blog posts on Sundays, I always tweet again Monday morning for exactly this reason.” BLOG POSTS: WHAT TIME SHOULD YOU HIT PUBLISH ON YOUR POSTS?So let’s take a look at when to publish blog posts.Dan Zarrella has some more great stats on this topic, but he makes a good point about the pros and cons of the timing you choose. One thing Dan suggests is that if we post during a higher-traffic period, we’re more likely to have higher bounce rates and get lost among the noise of other content being published.On the other hand, posting at times when fewer people are online will garner less traffic and engagement, but this will also give our posts more prominence and less competition against other content.Here are some useful stats from Dan’s research into blog timing: - 70% of users say they read blogs in the morning. - More men read blogs at night than women. - Mondays are the highest traffic days for an average blog. - 11 a.m. is usually the highest traffic hour for an average blog. - Comments are usually highest on Saturdays and around 9 a.m. on most days. - Blogs that post more than once a day have a higher chance of inbound links and more unique views. Knowing your audience is obviously important for working out the best time to publish on your blog. If your audience is women, for instance, mornings are probably a better bet than nights.While Mondays are the best days to publish for traffic, Social Fresh suggests posting on a Thursday for more social shares across the web. Here are more ideas to find the best time to publish blog posts.This study also found that most content sharing happens in the morning, which backs up Dan’s stats that mornings are the most popular time to read blogs.With Buffer’s new custom scheduling feature, you can now publish your post whenever it suits you, and you can schedule it to be promoted on social networks at a more optimal time. Plus, you can now send and schedule posts to Google+ from Buffer!TIMING DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL.Timing is difficult to get exactly right, and a big part of this is because we all have different schedules and routines for checking email or using social media. An experiment by online retailer eBags showed this point perfectly. Looking at the latestsocial media statistics, the range of different schedules seems to only increase.The company thought that when users were signing up to an email list, that was probably a good time of day for them to be online, so sending emails to them at that same time of day would work best. By analyzing the behavior of each user, eBags sent out emails to users at the same time of day they had signed up for the email list.This actually worked incredibly well: Click-through rates rose by 20% and conversion rates rose by 65%.Unfortunately, this is such a complicated and time-consuming process that it wasn’t sustainable. Hopefully these kind of features can be built into social media and email management tools in the future so we can all take advantage of these insights.
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