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.

What is the best time to send a newsletter?

Open rates do decline steadily after 2 PM. But it depends.

At Toast, when managing the newsletter strategy of a client, one question that they will often ask in the initial meeting is: “When should we send our emails? Which day and time?”

It depends.

That is often the answer, and it is the true answer.

It depends on the persona of your email list, the call-to-action and reason for your email.

If you are in the B2B space and are emailing people at work, emailing at the very beginning of the day will usually get you better open rates.

If you are in B2C and emailing consumers on their personal email addresses, end of day or evening could work.

But testing is the best way to know.

For us, at Toast, our newsletter is sent on Monday mornings at 6 AM. This has consistently worked for us in the past years.

But one thing that research done by GetResponse (which you can learn about in a Hubspot article) is that for emails sent after 2 PM, open rates start dropping.

That doesn’t mean you must absolutely avoid sending your mail after lunch, but you should test and see if your list’s behaviour matches what the research has shown.

The Hubspot article “The Best Time to Send an Email (Research-Backed)” also shows results from a Campaign Monitor study that analyzed which days might give you the best results.

Interesting numbers, don’t you think?

Would you like to dive deeper into your email marketing strategy with us? Contact an expert at Toast and schedule a consultation with our experts today.

Key performance indicators: it’s not all about the traffic

We have this tendency to focus on performance indicators based on volume and not really on quality.

In the last report you read on the performance of your content initiatives, did you have performance indicators based on the quality of the results of your initiatives or only indicators on the volume of this or that metric?

Let me explain.

In many cases, we see a desire among our clients to have performance indicators based on the volume of results. Number of subscribers, unique visitors, number of leads, etc.

But these indicators only present part of the picture.

What was the quality of these subscribers? Of these unique visitors? Of these leads?

Your list of performance indicators should be based on your organization’s business objectives (you can learn more in our Workbook on content strategy), and they should take into account both the volume AND the quality of results.

What proportion of your new subscribers matches your personas? What percentage of your unique visitors come from the market you are currently developing? What ratio of leads passed on to sales really deserved a call from a sales person?

This type of indicator is key because it ensures that we are not only working on metrics that “look good” (I love the expression “vanity metrics”), but also metrics of quality.

Patti Podnar, a content strategist, has written a very good article on the importance of going beyond measuring your web traffic, making sure to also focus on the quality of that traffic.

I invite you to look at your performance indicators and ask yourself the question: to what extent are we measuring the quality of our content initiatives, beyond the volume of results?

 

Would you like to discuss the performance indicators of your content strategy? Let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Customer Loyalty and Content

The loyalty that a consumer can have towards a brand has decreased significantly in recent decades.

Several sociological factors have caused our attachment to a brand, or at least the reflex we may have had in the past as consumers to always trust the same products, to crumble.

It is difficult to explain the reason for these changes in consumer habits, but Kathleen Kusek, a Forbes contributor and retail specialist, identified several factors that may have caused today’s consumers to have a lower sense of attachment to certain brands, certain types of products, compared to 30, 40 or 50 years ago:

“The erosion of consumer loyalty among the most esteemed brands represents a changed philosophy of buying. The standard for brand switching is no longer the failure of a brand to perform but rather its inability to seem like an entirely new and interesting option at every single purchase cycle.” – Kathleen Kusek.

She goes on to present a list of factors that have had an impact on consumption patterns:

  1. Labour mobility;
  2. The decrease in religious adoption and the now possible change of one’s religion during his or her lifetime;
  3. Today’s standards in terms of couples, divorce and separations;
  4. The lack of trust of younger generations in governments, the press, corporations and financial institutions;
  5. Our way of thinking today.

In her article, she explains very well how change gains over stability.

And what is the link with content you might ask?

At Toast we constantly reiterate the importance for a brand to bring value to its consumers in the context of a good content strategy. This is essential. If a brand lives in the minds of its consumers only for the product it markets, “Change will win”.

This is the new standard. Your brand, your television channel, your corporate DNA must bring value to all stakeholders. And content is the perfect vehicle. A gold watch after 25 years of employment or a gift-at-purchase will not do the trick.

How does your brand stand out from the competition in terms of bringing value?

If you would like to see your brand bring more to its consumers, contact us and let us know about your current projects and we could support you in your efforts to implement a new dimension to your content strategy.

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.

Deep Engagement

Learning more about how the brain works when it tries to focus can help content marketers.

I read a very interesting article from Nir Eyal about how our mind focuses and how we can improve our attention span in the distracted world we live in.

It explained how the brain works when it tries to keep its concentration, and how researchers are currently working in finding ways we could even improve it.

The article is fascinating.

But it also got me thinking.

We must also apply those same insights and knowledge in how we produce and distribute content.

As content marketers, we battle for our audience’s attention. We want to catch their attention, but also keep it so that they spend time with us, with our articles, with our videos.

We need them to deeply engage with us.

It’s not just a like, a page view, or them starting a video we want, we don’t just want their engagement.

We want deep engagement.

We too often read that social media strategies and content marketing strategies are built to drive engagement. But in the end, what we need and what will drive the needle towards the business goals we are after is much more than simple engagement. We aim for deep engagement.

We want audiences to spend time reading the entire article, watching that video until the end. And them wanting even more after the fact. That’s what I call deep engagement.

Reading Eyal’s article, one thing stuck with me: how there are two brain functions that work in tandem to allow us to focus and concentrate. The first one is “enhancement” (our ability to focus on things that matter) and the other is “suppression” (our ability to ignore the things that don’t).

This means that to drive deep engagement, we must offer content that matters, while at the same time finding ways to publish it where there is as little distraction as possible.

I’m still building my thoughts around this idea of deep engagement, so I will let you read the article, and do not hesitate you would like to share or chat on the subject, simply email me at gravel@gotoast.ca.

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.

Measuring content performance: can you have confidence in the numbers?

With recent revelations, we need to ask more questions about performance.

Do you trust your analytics and KPIs?

We all agree we should be able to trust the numbers given to us by either the agency we work with, and the platform on which our content and creatives run.

Lately, there have been revelations that cast a shadow on the numbers and results some agencies and platforms give out to their clients.

Just last week, Facebook revealed that one of its key metrics in video performance might have exaggerated results by 60 to 80%. Yes, you read that right, SIXTY to EIGHTY percent!

The metric impacted is the average time people spend watching video ads on on Facebook. This is often key in calculating ROI and performance for a video campaign. Facebook has since patched the calculation of the metric, but it raises the question as to how much we can trust analytics numbers.

This year was also the year where some media agencies came under the spotlight for overbilling clients for ads, or getting rebates they did not tell their clients about.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should start having doubts whenever we see campaign or content performance results, but we should ask more questions.

We, Toast, as an agency, should ask more questions to the platforms that report to us, and you, as brands and marketers, should not hesitate to ask us more questions. 

We’ve always said that traditional media wasn’t as good as digital because it wasn’t measurable, well we should step up and make sure that digital is measured as precisely as we’ve been advocating for years.

I invite you to read a Wall Street Journal article on the situation with Facebook, Dentsu and others, as to how this is impacting the advertising industry, and reflect on how we can act so that it does not affect the digital content industry.

Content marketing: objectives, tactics & reality

Have you ever wanted to know your audience even better?

Today, I’m doing something I haven’t done in the past years: ask you to tell me about yourself.

Every week, I send you (and over 2,000 other smart people like you) an article to read. I’ve been doing this for many years now.

This week I wanted to learn more about you, to learn how you apply content marketing techniques, which techniques you feel are the most efficient, etc.

The goal is to get to know you better, so that I can better tailor the email I send you every Monday morning. Although I receive tons of positive feedback, I know there is also always room for improvement.

So that’s one thing, but I also want to give back and share the insights we will gather through the answers we will receive, to paint a picture of the state of content marketing today.

I have created a simple survey, a set of questions it will not take you more than 5 minutes to answer. I would be extremely grateful if you could take the time to go through it.

I would love to tell you there’s a chance for you to win a great prize on the other end, that there’s 10,000$ in play, but there is not. I’m simply asking you, if you have the time, to answer a few questions to better serve you in the future. 🙂

Are you producing content so that it’s shared, or watched?

Content that people engage with is different from content that is read or watched.

Recently, analytics company Chartbeat asked an interesting question: Do we read what we share?

Apparently, not necessarily. It seems, according to two studies they analyzed, that content that people engage with the most is different from the type of content that people actually take the time to read.

Content that draws audience attention and retention is not necessarily what goes viral. This is important as these results are directly linked to the success, or not, of your content production. It all boils down to your initial strategic objective.

If your goal is to grow and acquire a new audience, go for types of content that people engage with. If your goal is to work on retention with an existing audience, go with content that people spend time with.

Of course this sounds very simple, and there aren’t any magic recipes. This is something you have to take into account not only when planning, but also when measuring.

The Chartbeat article focuses on reading-time and article-length, but this thinking can also be applied to video content.

I’ll let you read the article, but also feel free to click-through on the links within, they lead to the two referenced research articles.