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The week in review - January 13, 2014.

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Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Blog Well, Or  Don’t Bother?
68% of consumers read brand content—blogs, social media chatter, infographics. What content works?

Why Your Old Mobile Strategy Won't Cut It This Year
For marketers in 2014, a completely integrated mobile strategy can no longer be wishful thinking.

Facebook's News Feed Changes Will Require New Marketing Strategies
The news that Facebook is changing its news feed algorithm to deliver more "news" has marketers worried about maintaining reach and frequency on the platform.

Marketers Must Make the Ethics of Content Creation a Top Priority
The big issue is finding ways to mark the difference between traditional editorial and advertiser-presented content.

Mobile-App Use Increased 115% in 2013
Mobile-app use increased 115% in 2013, according to Flurry Analytics.

Blog well, or don't bother?

brogan

“Is it better to blog badly than to not blog at all?”

This question was posed to us at a recent meeting with a prospective client. Blogs being an integral part of successful inbound marketing strategy, our gut reaction was “no.” Blogs and assorted content marketing tactics should be carefully constructed to attract the right traffic to your site, nurture visitors and convert them into customers.

Still we wanted to see what others had to say on the topic. Perhaps even poorly written content can serve a purpose of increasing indexed pages and elevating search rank?

What we found is that our new friends are not alone. While content marketing is gaining increasing share of budget, marketers are flummoxed about how to effectively implement blogs and related tactics to boost site performance.

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 90 percent of B2C marketers are using content marketing – a primary tactic of which includes blogging. Still, only 34 percent consider themselves effective at it. In other words, less than half believe their efforts are making any headway toward increasing web traffic, generating qualified leads and growing overall brand awareness.

Failure isn’t grounds for dismissal, apparently, as 69 percent of the least effective marketers plan to increase spending on content marketing this year—most popularly, social media, website articles, eNewsletters, blogs, videos and in-person events.

But content marketing doesn’t work like traditional media. Increased advertising spending on TV and radio may add necessary weight to boost brand exposure and drive consideration. Simply adding more content to your website for the sake of content marketing will not.

Search engines have a special place for poor quality content, buried deep into results pages. Worse yet, they ignore your content altogether, and it’s not indexed. It’s the ultimate snub, having your content deemed irrelevant to the entire Internet community. Ouch.

So what’s the difference between rich and wretched content marketing? Strategy and a dedicated champion. Those marketers who reported success have a documented strategy (60 percent) and content chief (85 percent). They’re building content with a purpose, as well as a passion. Their content attracts their ideal customer and helps nurture a relationship with the brand.

Patagonia’s content marketing strategy complements the high-end retailer’s mission to build great products without causing unnecessary harm to the environment. The company blog, The Cleanest Line, encourages dialogue about brand products, related outdoor activities, and environmental issues. The content is inspiring and transparent, fostering greater brand affinity.

Patagonia content marketing

The Cleveland Clinic website is the Disney World of patient-centered content. Content is structured around the medical center's core competencies, with eNewsletters, articles, graphics, interactive tools, news releases, physician insights and more. Visitors are attracted to the site organically by the expert insights that run deep throughout the HealthHub. Social media sharing icons make it easy to engage with content. There’s a lot going on here, but the site architecture makes it easy to navigate.

Quirky community grocery store Trader Joe’s website serves prospects and customers a steady diet of seasonal recipes, while the Fearless Flyer features new and popular products. Consumers get useful snippets that are simple to share, print or save for future use. Social sharing buttons ease how content spreads. Other onsite features include the top-rated customer products and local events. Onsite rating and sharing helps establish a community feel, consistent with the Trader Joe’s brand. Moreover, their content continues to pull consumers back to their site, sparking consideration and driving sales.

Content marketing is worth the investment. Studies show that 68 percent of consumers read brand content. Blogging is a proving a particularly powerful content marketing tactic. B2Cs that blog report 88 percent more leads per month than companies that don’t blog (CMS Wire).

Consumers clearly want a more intimate relationship with their favorite merchants and service providers. But they don’t want to mislead to a site or follow a rogue link to nowhere. Like any investment, content marketing needs to be approached with rigor and implemented with discipline to yield meaningful results.

Until you’ve sorted out your content marketing strategy, it’s best to stop publishing blogs and content altogether.

 

The week in review - January 6, 2014.

brogan

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Inbound Marketing Strategy will continue to dominate marketing plans in 2014
Here are 5 ways to join the crusade in 2014.

What Changes Will Millennials Force Brands to Make in 2014?
The coming year holds dramatic changes for some of the world's most recognized brands, as more millennials, the influential consumers who already value transparency and social consciousness, become parents and expect more from brands as a result.

Finally, an Alternative to the Much-Hated QR Code
Marketers have been trying to make print and outdoor ads interactive for years, but despite their efforts, consumers are largely rejecting QR Codes.

5 Key SEO Questions for B2B Companies
Much has been said about the volume and quality of backlinks to your B2B or corporate website, determining your SEO success.

5 Technologies Seniors Use More Than Millennials
Generally speaking, younger Americans adopt new technologies quicker than their older counterparts.

Marketing to women insights just got more personal.

brogan

As marketing to women experts, we don’t rest on our chromosomes. Which is why we started a new research effort targeting women called “Brogan Talks to Women.” Every month we are sending out a survey to understand factors that influence women’s wants, needs and behaviors. Currently, we have a newsletter called “What women want in social media” and this survey will help us answer that question and many others. The questions in our survey will be modeled on our 360 Connectivity Process to help us understand women in a holistic way through society, technology, economics, environment and politics. It will be a snapshot that will help us uncover trends that will give us important marketing insight that we can apply to our current clients and potential clients.

Our database of women in the survey are of all different demographic, psychographic and life stages, but we are continuing to promote and grow our database. If you are interested in becoming part of our survey group, you can register here. We will even give you a fun treat for signing up. Women will also be entered in a monthly drawing for their continued participation.

We are very excited to launch “Brogan Talks to Women.” Getting real-time marketing to women insights tailor made to our creative process will be a huge advantage for our clients and our agency.

Inbound Marketing Strategy will continue to dominate marketing plans in 2014.

brogan

Say something, I’m giving up on you.

If a search engine could sing, it might start with this little pop ballad. Their bots, spiders and crawlers stalk billions of documents for meaningful, important content to return better results for users. It’s the stuff organically high-ranking websites are made of—relevant answers to the questions Internet users are asking. (What does the fox say?)

Still, most websites have continued to prize quantity over quality, style over substance, creativity over usability. Until 2013.

Last year, the conversation around websites began to shift from appearance to performance. From independence to integration. From push strategy to pull. Call it inbound marketing. Call it content strategy. The goal is universal: attracting the right consumers to the right pages to drive consideration.

Brogan is fully on board. In fact, we’re fast progressing from certified inbound marketing specialists to card-carrying evangelists. Here are five ways to join the crusade in 2014:

  1. Make personas your muse

    Think of your ideal consumer. What does she do for a living? What does her job look like? How does she measure success? What’s standing in her way? How does she consider new products and services at work? At home? What’s her favorite social media channel and how much time does she spend on it? Where does she go for advice, counsel, ideas?

    Don’t just pull a demographic profile, go deeper. Personas are the difference between audience and muse. It’s the difference between crafting content for women age 18-54, who have an average HHI of $75k, reside in urban areas, are married with 2.5 kids, and Mary, the 40-year-old divorced, mother of two primary schoolers, and Vice President of Human Resources at a mid-sized OEM with employee turnover problems and a Facebook addiction. We know enough about Mary to order her favorite pizza and read her kids a bedtime story. The web has become increasingly personal and customized. Speak in general terms, and you may get traffic. Speak in key persona language, and you’ll get qualified leads.
     

  2. Keywords

    These are the coveted short- and long-tailed word strings that consumers type into search engines to find answers. We tend to start off with big ideas, and become increasingly focused when ready to make a decision or purchase. Both are equally important and impossible to conceive if you’re uncertain of your brand’s unique value proposition.

    At Brogan, we’re particularly strong in creating advertising that emotionally connects—especially with the female decision maker—and have had much success and experience with healthcare, specialty retail and social marketing brands. So we produce copy that is rich with the keywords that our personas employ when shopping for information online, i.e. “marketing to women” or “healthcare trends in social media.” Leave a good trail of keywords, and prospects will find you.
     

  3. Editorial calendar

    Editorial calendars are an excellent way to plan and organize content for the year. The most basic template starts with objectives, organized by month, followed by an editorial theme. So, if you’re a dog food brand, your January objective might be “$1 million net sales, specialty items.” With February and Valentine’s Day around the corner, an editorial theme might be “I Heart Fido.” The next step is building story ideas around your objective and theme. Canine cardio health.Pampering your pooch.The fashionable pup.Dog Valentine’s Day greetings. And so on.

    Once you’ve honed in on the story ideas, cast the content accordingly across your marketing and sales channels—website (sliders/promo space, blogs, landing pages, etc.), social media, PR, advertising and in-store promotions, among others. Integration is critical. Not only does it help ensure consumers have a consistent brand experience from digital to doorstep, it can help boost engagement, SEO and ROI.

    Consider the coveted Millennial segment. While the obvious marketing bias may be toward digital communications, a recent study by the NPD Group finds that Millennials are spending most of their retail dollars at brick-and-mortar stores, compared to only 19 percent online. To be effective, retailers must appeal to them via multiple channels—in and out of the store.
     

  4. Blog, blog often

    Consumers rank blogs as the third-most influential digital resource when making overall purchases, behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%), according to Technorati. The same survey found blogs to be the fifth-most trustworthy source overall for information on the Internet. Finally, blogs give sites 434% more indexed pages. (Source: Content Plus) The more indexed pages your site has, the greater your web prowess.

    This content and link-building strategy is so well regarded, that it’s noted in Google’s SEO Starter Guide. In addition to building page strength, blogs provide a regular stream of fresh content, another factor search engines consider for evaluating rank and popularity of website pages.

    Like with all web content, blogs should be strategically planned and executed. User personas, keywords and the brand value proposition should always dictate content creation. The most clever blog, absent of any clear relevance to the brand’s success, is simply a waste of resources. What’s more, reckless bloggingmay hurt the brand when visitors arrive to your site with expectations that are frustrated by a lack of focus and discipline.
     

  5. Review, Refine, Repeat

    Measurable objectives are a critical part of any marketing endeavor, and inbound marketing is no different. Whether your goals surround building organic website traffic, capturing more leads online, growing social engagement or brand awareness, some combination thereof, or something altogether different, it is imperative  to set realistic, but ambitious metrics—and rigorously track and analyze results.

    The data is readily available, which makes digital marketing beautifully dynamic. If your blogs aren’t attracting visitors or links, adjust your editorial calendar accordingly. Maybe your personas need tweaking. Perhaps your blogging cadence needs to be revisited. Refine your plan and try again. And again.

Inbound marketing strategy requires planning, integration and discipline. It can be difficult to measure ROI, because visitors often take time to convert to consumers. But the overall value is unquestionable.

If you’re willing to invest in a website, shouldn’t it be working hard to sell your brand? Otherwise, it might as well say nothing.

What inbound marketing strategies are you planning to implement in 2014?

Olga's timely social media promotion.

brogan

If you live anywhere in the Midwest, chances are you are working from home today, enjoying your coffee in your pajamas, due to the loads of snow that dropped down on us last night.  And while you have a few extra minutes, since you don't have to go out to lunch, I wanted to share a really timely and successful social promotion Olga's Kitchen pushed out during "snowmegeddon."

I noticed this promotion from Olga's Kitchen last night, while I was bunkering down next to the fire (and my husband shoveled the drive-way in his t-shirt):

Olga's Kitchen social media promotion

Being a giant Olga's fan, I instantly liked the post, hoping that at least 99 other people would do the same. (I was a little worried though, looking back on the engagement on their page, most posts were liked about 10 times.) When I woke up this morning, as usual, I checked my FB page and noticed that over 2,000 people had liked it.

So, why was this post so successful compared to their others? They've posted about discounts before. Well, for all of us that have Olga's (Michigan, Ohio and Illinois), it was relevant , it was timely and just plain delicious.

Our area got about 9", and Olga’s posted the below update this morning:

Olga's Kitchen social media promotion

Looking back at the responses on the page, a bunch of people said they wouldn't be able to use the deal though, since they wouldn't be able to get to the location. So, Olga's took advantage of one of the greatest benefits of social media, instant feedback allows you to actually listen to your fans and change things instantly. They updated the deal to keep the excitement and extended it through Tuesday. Good work, Olga's, I will see you tomorrow.

The week in review - December 30, 2013.

brogan

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

3 Social Media Trends You Should Know About
To find out what the experts are saying will be big in social media this year, read on.

Study: Women Love Social Media More Than Men (Unless It's LinkedIn)
Women use every major social media channel more than men—except for LinkedIn—according to a Pew Research study released today.

5 Awesome Branded Twitter Plays of 2013
It was a big year for social media. Twitter made its successful debut on the stock market while Facebook recovered from its troubled IPO a year earlier.

How to Use Twitter Ads for More Exposure, Leads and Sales
Are you interested in learning more about advertising on Twitter?

Learning From The Top Posts, Tweets, And Search Terms Of 2013
Every year the top social platforms and search engines publish a list of items that made the needle jump on their respective websites.

The week in review - December 16, 2013.

brogan

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.


Mobile Myth-Busters: 5 Common Myths About Marketing on Mobile Devices

Mobile budgets surged 142% between 2011 and 2013, according to a recent Interactive Advertising Bureau survey of 300 brand marketers   

Facebook Launches Video Ads With Movie Promo For 'Divergent'
Facebook launched its long-waited video ads today with a trailer for the upcoming Lions Gate film, "Divergent." 

Facebook Gives Retailers New Tool to Gauge Sales
Facebook is now helping retailers close the loop from placing ads to making sales.

5 Biggest Social Media Lessons of 2013
It was a big year for social media. Twitter made its successful debut on the stock market while Facebook recovered from its troubled IPO a year earlier.

As Social Sponsorship Grows, Influencers Are Looking to Cash In
Sixty-one percent of marketers surveyed by Izea, a social sponsorship marketplace, said they’ve paid someone to mention their product on social media, up 5 percent over 2012.  

4 Ways to Improve Your CRM
Whether you're just launching or in your third year of business, you won't succeed without loyal customers and brand ambassadors. 

 

The impact of social visualization on social media strategy.

brogan

Last year, Pinterest was hot. This year, Vine. What will 2014 bring? Social media is constantly evolving. The platforms change. Audiences migrate. And the measure of relevant, meaningful content changes. One of the biggest changes has been the trend of social visualization. Social visualization is how the social information we share is becoming more visual. After all, a picture speaks 1000 words, which is considerably more than a measly 140 characters. It’s given rise to the popularity of Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. And it is even changing the way we can understand big data. There are many apps that are taking all the information we can gather through our digital footprint and presenting it in a visual way that makes it easier to understand the bigger picture.

What does all this mean? It means that the bar is set even higher for creative social media content. Now more than ever it must be given the respect and strategic attention as other important brand elements: it must be well-conceived, well-written and well-designed and “on brand.” Big ideas are just as important in social media as your TV, digital and mobile. So if you pay an agency to do your big idea advertising but handle your social media internally, you may want to re-think your strategy.

To learn more about the nine social media trends you need to know now, download our free whitepaper, “The Evolution of Social Media.” Where do you think social media is going?

WestJet puts the joy back into air travel with nontraditional marketing stunt.

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There’s not much joy in airline travel today.

Even before boarding the plane, passengers must carefully organize and weigh their luggage, go through various states of undress to clear security and jockey for an early boarding position to secure space in an overhead bin. It’s become little more than a means to an end.

Except for those airlines that still know how to show a passenger a good time.  Anyone who’s flown Southwest Airlines comes away with a good story about zany flight attendants and generous snack policies.  (It says a lot about the state of domestic air travel when we feel giddy about an extra couple bags of peanuts.)

Still, we fly on, expectations checked with our baggage. 

So imagine our surprise when Canada’s WestJet Airline cranked up the volume on its 2012 holiday flash mob for a Christmas surprise we’ll not soon forget.

WestJet Airlines earlier this month conjured up a life-sized Santa Claus in a box, who cleverly cajoled the wish lists out of more than 250 passengers while they waited to board two recent flights. While the passengers were in flight, merry teams of WestJet employees hit the mall buying up personalized presents that greeted passengers at baggage claim. The gifts contained everything from socks and underwear to Android tablets and a big-screen TV. They call it a WestJet Christmas Miracle.

The recipients were obviously all aglow, but the clever nontraditional marketing stunt also put a fresh polish on WestJet’s brand. While only 250 or so people were gifted, more than 27 million have virtually experienced the surprise and joy of the event through YouTube, blog posts, news reports and more.

It’s difficult to determine whether WestJet will realize increased demand as a result of this one event. In fact, experts say that consumers are largely driven by price when it comes choosing airlines. But it’s certainly won the brand a great deal of free exposure. When price is the same, who wouldn’t choose the airline that brought a little joy back to air travel? Particularly around a certain holiday…

 

The week in review - December 9, 2013.

brogan

Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.

Spotify's New Mobile Service to Launch With Audio Ads Only
Spotify is extending its free, ad-supported service to mobile devices as it looks to add new users and challenge for radio advertising dollars.

What Does This Week's FTC Hearing Mean For The Future Of Native Advertising?
Does this hearing signal that native advertising is now coming of age as a mature marketing practice?

3 Ways Responsive Design Can Benefit Your Blog
Are more of your blog visitors coming from a mobile device instead of a desktop computer

Facebook Takes on Snapchat With Instagram Messaging Service
Today its prize 2012 acquisition, Instagram, announced that its launching its own take on a messaging service.

Google Sets New Viewability Standard For Web Ads
Google is looking to set the tone when it comes to making sure real people can actually see ads served on the Web.

The week in review - December 2, 2013.

brogan
 
Social media is constantly evolving, with vigilant bloggers following every new app, rule and Facebook flicker. We sift through hundreds of blogs weekly to keep on top of developments and seek out new client opportunities. It’s our job. And we like to share. So, don’t fret about what you might be missing. We’ve got your Cliffs Notes.  - See more at: http://www.brogan.com/blog#sthash.sUq3z099.dpuf

The Social Advertising Cheat Sheet Every Marketer Needs
So you’re a marketer with good content—text, graphic, images, video—and you’ve decided to use paid social promotion on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn as part of your campaign’s distribution strategy.

Facebook Adds More 'News' to News Feed to Become More Twitter-Like
Facebook acknowledged in a blog post that it has tweaked its news-feed algorithms to expose more links to articles from media organizations, which will be particularly evident on mobile devices

4 Pinterest Tools to Grow and Measure Your Pinterest Presence
Do you need help measuring your Pinterest activity?

3 Strategies That Helped LinkedIn Dominate Professional Networking
Conceived during the summer of 2002 and launched in May 2003, LinkedIn now boasts 238 million users and has made great strides to become the world's largest professional network in its decade of existence.

YouTube and Snapchat Are Key to Millennial-Focused Retailer's Holiday Plan
Karmaloop is a streetwear fashion e-retailer that not all marketers know about but should probably start studying if they want to learn how to connect with millennial consumers.

Facebook Admits Organic Reach Is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads
Facebook is being more blunt about the fact that marketers are going to have to pay for reach.