Reach versus frequency with content

Should you be publishing once and promoting often that same article or going for volume in content production?

In our masterclasses and with our clients we often compare two approaches for content marketing programs: the publication approach (or content factory as we sometimes call it) vs the library (building a strong foundation).

In the first case, we see brands going for volume, creating new content every time they want to be in front of their audience. This will often create a situation where they might fall short of new ideas for content, or worse, cover the same topic over and over, hindering their SEO efforts (as they have so many assets or pages talking about the same topic, without a proper pillar page).

In the second case, which is an approach we recommend, content teams will, on one end, create the proper content and upgrade it through time (building a library of content that their audience really wants and searches for), and on the other end work at promoting this content in as many ways as possible.

But whatever the approach your brand has, publication vs library, there is a question you will have to ask yourself when putting that content in front of your audience: should you aim for reach or frequency?

A Brand Strategy Insider article dissects the two, making the case for frequency campaigns versus reach-only campaigns.

What do you think is preferable for your brand?

What strategy are you currently using?

Reach campaigns can be used for well-known brands that have a simple message to deliver, while frequency campaigns are key when faced with commercial avoidance from your audience.

Repetition is also the glue that helps tie the message to the brand. And in the case of content, the value this content brings back to the brand. Omnichannel content promotion and publishing is also a great driver of efficient frequency.

These are two variables that you need to keep in mind in your always on content program. Variables that needs to have the right balance to make sure you are building your brand, your engagement, your lead generation, your commercial results and the advocacy for your products and services.

Interested in discussing reach and frequency in your content program? Contact an expert at Toast and schedule a consultation with our experts today.

The Future of Content Marketing

Joe Pulizzi has been at the forefront of content marketing in the past 10 years, and has 7 laws for what content marketers need to think about in the next 10 years.

Content marketing has existed for decades, if not more than a century now.

But in the past 10 years, things have changed and evolved at an extremely high pace. Digital and social media are the key drivers behind this, along with the changes they’ve brought to consumer behaviour.

In that time, Joe Pulizzi has positioned himself, as the founder of the Content Marketing Institute, as a great thinker on the subject, with a keen eye on the current state of things, but also on where we are going as an industry.

In his 2019 Content Marketing World keynote, he revealed a list of 7 laws that are at the core of what will make content marketing programs successful in the next 10 years.

Of those, many have slowly been building up in the past 10 years, but are now so true that any content marketer needs to consider them and adjust their thinking on governance, revenue and beliefs.

Here is the gist of the 7 laws he describes:

  1. Always be selling internally.
  2. Plan for multiple lines of revenue.
  3. Buy before you build.
  4. Do one thing great.
  5. Stay away from content campaigns.
  6. Plan for the end of social.
  7. Have conviction in the practice.

I strongly invite you, as a marketer and content enthusiast, to read the full article or watch the 18-minute keynote.

It is a deep dive into the foundations of content marketing, where we come from, but most importantly, where we need to head.

If you would like to discuss the future your content marketing program with us let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Going beyond awareness with your content

Content, relevant throughout the buying process

In your approach to content, do you consider it to be an initiative that is only relevant at the top of the sales funnel?

Content marketing is often referred to as a strategy used to build brand awareness, an approach related to branding and brand perception in the hearts of its consumers.

However, content can be part of the equation throughout the customer journey.

Joe Lazauskas, a Contently contributor, praises this in an article in which he mentions Cardinal Health, Chase and Marriott as brands that succeed in accompanying their customers throughout the purchasing process with targeted and well-adapted content.

In our content strategy workbook, we have a chapter on the customer journey and we ask questions that can make your content relevant on more levels for your audiences.

Would you like to explore the potential of your content throughout your customer journey? Simply contact us and we can discuss this together.

Attention and empathy

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” – Simone Weil

For several months now, I have been wondering what attention is, how to get it, how to keep it when someone grants you theirs, etc.

In the conferences I give, I often talk about the importance of the fact that when someone views or reads your content, they agree to give you some of the attention they have in their day.

It is up to you to take care of it and make sure that he/she does not regret this action so that he/she can give it to you again next time.

It is essentially an exchange. You give them value, and they give you attention. If the value is there, trust is built and you might have their attention again the next time they have the opportunity.

The content you produce must therefore bring value, and this perception of value can be very different from one person to another.

Hence the importance of knowing your audience, your people, and being able to show empathy.

Benoit Giguère, Vice President, Creative and Content at Brandbourg, has an excellent way of explaining this: Imagine how different people perceive a cow, between you, a butcher, a veterinarian, a child, etc.

The same cow is very, very different for each of these people.

In an article published by Brain Pickings, we discover an excellent book that demonstrates it all: “On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes.” The author, Alexandra Horowitz, walked around her city block, in New York City, with 11 experts from very different backgrounds. A geologist, an artist, a sound designer, etc.

The perception and the way in which each person “sees” the same block is fascinating.

The article is an excellent summary of the book (and very thorough… 37 minutes of reading!), but I didn’t read it in full.

Why?

I immediately ordered the book.

Do you know your personas and audiences as well as you would like? We can help you discover the value they are looking for. Reply to this email and share with us your current issues and we could support you in your content program.

The importance of content marketing ROI for Marriott

A few years ago, Marriott published a lot of content, but had no central hub for a global and measured strategy. Not anymore.

I have often mentioned Marriott in my articles over the past couple years. Their content strategy and the resources they have put in place are indeed excellent and give them particularly clear visibility on the impact they have on sales.

The article I will be referring to supports this, again.

Published by Contently, an infographic highlights the structure put in place and the importance given to the link between the engagement with the content and the rooms that will later be booked.

(Ultimately, you will notice that the article acts as a promotion for Contently’s platform, but there is still some interesting content in there)

When the Marriott Group went from 4 print publications to 8 online editorial hubs some years ago, combined with newsletters and social channels, they definitely made a shift that allowed them to measure the real impact that content can have in the tourism sector.

How to use content to stay top of mind

Trust + Staying Top of Mind = Opportunity

When taking some time off there’s always that question of “what will I read?”

Have you chosen the books you’ll be reading during the time off you’ll (hopefully be able to) take soon?

If you’re like me, you’ll usually pick 2 books. A great work of fiction and a business book.

As a business book, I can recommend getting “Top of Mind” by John Hall, a book that focuses on the importance of staying top of mind with your customers, building trust to make sure that opportunities come your way once they are ready to buy.

In a way, this is what I have been doing with our community here at Toast, through the email that I’ve been sending every Monday morning for many years now.

But how does one stay top of mind? John has one key element that builds trust and burns your presence in your audience’s long-term memory: consistency, consistency, consistency.

Consistency helps you move from short-term memory to long-term memory, a key element in enabling the concept of “being top of mind”. Staying top of mind means that when a need pops up in a customer’s mind, it looks for trust. And what you want associated with trust is your brand. This is what creates opportunity.

Below is a short 20-minute keynote video by John Hall on staying top of mind.

Here is also a 2-minute short overview of the book, if the subject interests you.

I hope this gets you interested in building trust with your brand’s audience, your community, your customers. If you’d like to discuss this further, do not hesitate to contact us here at Toast, we’re never too far!

The Ultimate Guide to Content Studios for Brands: From Why to ROI

It’s no secret that interruptive marketing doesn’t work like it used to.

Consumers now control when, where, and how they interact with brands.

Brands need to stop interrupting what consumers are interested in and start becoming what they’re interested in.

If consumers don’t want their entertainment interrupted with traditional advertising then the advertising must become the entertainment.

Consumers want stories. We believe that they don’t care who it comes from as long as it’s entertaining, informative and it creates an emotion. That’s what a great story does, isn’t it? It makes you feel something.

Brands who engage consumers with story-driven creative and content will ultimately win the most valuable prize there is — brand loyalty.

And the industry agrees with us — it seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry has a content studio now. Content studios are the new shiny object brands are chasing, but few know why, how they should be set up, what they should produce, who to hire, and most importantly how to measure ROI.

David Beebe, executive producer at Toast, has spent his career in storytelling for media companies, production companies, publishers, and brands — and he’s founded and led global content studios that successfully developed, produced, and distributed content that won the hearts, minds, and wallets of consumers — and in many cases transformed marketing from a cost centre to a revenue centre — all the while owning the intellectual property.

In our upcoming webinar, David will to take you inside all the different content studio models and everything you need to know about them. He’ll share insights based on his real world experience. You’ll fully understand which one is right for you.

Here are the top 7 types of Content Studios. There are many different opinions on which is the right way to go — especially for brands — and many of the opinions are self-centred because the person has an agenda. We will share all sides — good and bad — of all the different models on the webinar.

1. In-House Brand Content Studios

Red Bull was the first, but many brands have followed suit with an in-house brand content studio, from Pepsi to Sprint to Unilever to Marriott — which David founded. In-house content studios typically are charged with developing, producing, and distributing branded content of all types for the brand or brands itself. Sometimes that means creative development in-house, with production out of house, and ten other scenarios. The point is that the brand has invested in an in-house team to lead story driven creative and content. The financial models vary. We’ll dive into those, too.

2. Production Company Content Studios

There are way too many to list. These are third-party independent production companies that focus on creatively and strategically developing branded content. The typical model is to develop ideas and then pitch brands concepts. The brand pays the production company to produce the content. We will walk through the various scenarios.

3. Advertising Agencies and Strategic Consultancies

Think of everyone from media agencies from MEC to advertising agencies like GREY, to traditional consultant agencies like Accenture and digital marketing agencies. That’s right — everyone is getting in on the game. They all provide a variety of services from creative to strategic to production services.

4. Publishers

Think New York Times and their T Brand Studios to Vice to Conde Nast. Almost every publisher has a content studio. The content tends to be native advertising, using their built-in publications and platforms to drive engagement. Sometimes it’s truly original content.

5. Media Companies from Networks to Broadcasters to Cable Channels

Television networks tend to develop derivative content of their existing shows. David Beebe founded and led the Disney/ABC Television Group Content Studio, where they developed webisodes for shows like Grey’s Anatomy, LOST, Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty and then sold integrations to advertisers. That’s still happening. Cable channels like CNN are developing original content for brands and using their on-air and online channels for distribution.

6. Platforms

Social networking platforms from Facebook to Snapchat to Instagram have built in-house content studio teams to develop original content of all types for brands.

7. Influencer Content and MCN’s

And then there are the MCN’s like Fullscreen’s Brandworks to Studio 71 and, of course, the influencers themselves all having content studios.

And there are a couple more of models that exist.

The good news is that technology has enabled everyone to create content and connect directly to the consumer, their fans, or their friends. The bad news is that everyone is a content creator. There’s a lot of great content out there but there’s also a lot of bad content out there — backed by strategies that have been developed by so called “branded content experts” that have latched on to the new shiny object yet have little to no experience in creating content that engages audiences. 

In a world where everyone is a content creator, content is no longer king — the consumer is.

Your Minimum Viable Audience

You brand should target the smallest audience possible.

In the world of startups, you might have heard the expression “minimum viable product”.

This concept pushes a company to market its product as fast as possible, even if it doesn’t yet have all the desired functionalities, but a product that will allow it to test the market, evaluate the potential of the idea, in a really pragmatic manner.

What would this concept look like if it was applied to content marketing?

Minimum. Viable. Audience.

If we apply the same notions to our discipline, a brand must concentrate on its own audience, but an audience as clear as possible, precise, that will also generate revenue.

The smallest possible audience.

I often talk about the importance of targeting the right audience, to adapt your content to it.

So what is the smallest possible audience that would allow your brand to survive?

Who should it reach at a minimum?

By defining as precisely as possible your audience, you will, of course, have to make concessions on certain segments of the population but don’t worry, they will most surely be very interested in what you will be publishing.

But one thing is sure, you messaging will be clear. It will also be easy to produce as you will not have to consider all sorts of variations in the knowledge of your product, your market, the seniority of your readers, etc.

If this interests you, you should read this article by Seth Godin, the king of short articles.

Take the time to reflect on your own minimum viable audience, and if you’d like to define it in depth, contact one of us at Toast today.

Reduce your CPA with content marketing

Aligning sales and marketing is getting more and more important.

Isn’t this a sentence you’ve read before? Of course.

For many companies, content marketing is part of the strategies employed by the marketing department with the goal of generating leads. But, too often than not, once those leads are transferred to the sales department, the content experience is lost, even though a well-crafted content piece would be very efficient in making the prospect move deeper into the funnel.

This disconnect is getting more and more common. Content marketing creates real engagement at the top of the funnel, but once qualified, a prospect is sent to sales, who enter “sales mode” and suddenly, the brand/prospect relationship changes completely.

Tools and platforms try to create a link between sales and marketing by aligning content tactics available to the different teams.

As an example, Neu.Capital (a fintech company located in Australia) was able to improve this situation by implementing a platform that created a strong bond between sales and marketing (the dream of every corporation, no?).

The article I am recommending today describes how Neu.Capital reduced their CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) by 60% and improved the overall quality of the content it produces. One thing that really made a difference was how they focused on the personas they wanted to reach.

The text puts a strong emphasis on the Hubspot solution that the company put in place, but multiple platforms allow this sales/marketing link. Call me if you’d like to discuss this further and see how a content marketing platform could help you in your content marketing efforts.

Create leads with these five video tactics

In an article published on August 30, Frenchweb.fr covered a presentation made by Vidyard, a platform dedicated to marketing through video. The latter touched upon the five techniques that marketing professionals can use to identify potential customers through video content.

In 2019, it is expected that 80% of the content published on the web will be in video form – according to Edelman, a leading global communications marketing firm. It would therefore be wise for marketing companies to put this knowledge to good use. Especially as the industry experts who adopted this method of digging up prospects (leads) saw their costs reduced by 19 %  per lead …

However, it isn’t enough to only project a video and expect it to work miracles. It is important to charm one’s audience by applying those specific methods. Here they are:

1. The pre-roll

Once the prospect clicks on Play on your video, a window opens on the screen to ask his name, first name and email address. The video stops dead if the person does not insert his contact information in the form. However, this method is to be used only if the user is already convinced of the excellent quality of your video and that he isn’t wasting his time. Otherwise, he could just close your video and go elsewhere.

2. The trailer

This allows you to seduce your prospect with a clip aiming to be a foretaste of the full video. This method is useful when the value of a video is easier to understand when you extract a portion of it first. For example, before posting a lengthy webinar, it is prudent to have an introduction from the speaker in a separate shorter clip where he explains the scope of his web conferencing.

3. The post-roll

This insert is placed as soon as the main content of your video is played. It encourages the viewer to take further action without leaving your clip. For example, you can come up with an option for the user to sign up for a demo or register to an event in the last seconds of the video.

4. The parallel

This option is less mean as it lets the prospect play the video even if he doesn’t immediately complete the form that appears beside the clip. This is particularly useful when the first video is a lure to draw the prospect towards a second clip.

5. The re-direct

This technique involves diverting the viewer to another area of the home page or on a totally different page where a video awaits him, for example a promotional clip. In addition, this method will help him spend more time on your site and thus reduce the dreaded drop-off rate.