A Guide to Content Marketing: Part 2
In part 1 of our Content Marketing series we looked at the planning stage of creating a content marketing strategy (if you haven’t read part 1, we’d recommend going back and reading it now!). If you’ve set your goals, done some research, defined your audience, generated some content ideas, planned out what kind of content you want to create and allocated resources, it’s time to get creating! Here are our tips and tools for content creation.
Content creation and curation
In part 1, we advised taking some time to generate content ideas and think about what kind of content you want to create. This could include behind the scenes videos, live videos and infographics.
It is important to also highlight here that it doesn’t all have to be created by you; you can also share content created by other people that is relevant to your audience. For example, you could curate content from 3rd party sources, such as useful articles. It is also a good idea to share posts and videos taken by your customers, known as User Generated Content (UGC), as this helps to build trust as well as making your audience feel appreciated. Always ask permission before reposting content.
As we mentioned in the previous blog post, it is important to think about your audience and what stage they are at in the buyer’s journey before creating content. For example, are you creating a video to raise awareness or your brand or a social post with a testimonial to try to convert someone into a customer?
You can also look at repurposing content – could you turn a popular blog post into a video? Could you turn a series of blog posts into an ebook?
Content should be relevant to your audience and address their needs and interests. Content that is either inspiring, educational or entertaining is more likely to get engagement. Content that strikes an emotional chord is far more likely to be remembered – and shared (see Storytelling below for more on this).
Content types and tools
Here are some of the different content types and tools and apps to help you.
Images are important for capturing attention. There are a range of tools and apps for creating and editing images. On desktop, we suggest Canva and Befunky. Canva is my preferred web tool (and app) for photo editing. There are different templates available, such as social media posts, infographics and email headers. Using an app such as Canva, or one of those listed below, ensures that you create images that are the right size for each social platform. As well as social media templates in Canva you’ll also find templates for blog banners, email headers and infographics.
- Canva (photo editing, text overlay, templates for social platforms)
- Over (text overlay, templates for social platforms, quotes)
- Adobe Photoshop Mix (photo editing)
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (photo editing)
- Adobe Spark Post (templates for social platforms)
- VSCO (photo editing)
- Snapseed (photo editing)
- Layout (photo collage)
When creating images make sure you are consistent with fonts and colours, and that these are on brand.
Video is the most consumed content online and gets the most engagement on social media. Video is an effective way to tell your story in a short amount of time; it is definitely something businesses should think about investing time and resources in creating.
For desktop editing we recommend Shotcut, a free open-source video editor. There are a wide range of video editing apps available and the ones that we use at Tuminds are: Splice and Quik (both owned by GoPro), iMovie, FilmoraGo and Adobe Spark Post. Magisto is another great, easy-to-use app but we’d recommend the paid plan with business templates as you can’t download video content to your phone from the free plan. Instagram also has standalone apps for creating interesting video clips, such as Hyperlapse and Boomerang.
Think about where you are sharing the video before creating. Longer videos can be uploaded to YouTube, whereas Facebook videos should be around 1-2 minutes. Instagram videos can be up to 60 seconds. Also consider the orientation (Instagram Stories and IGTV are predominately viewed in portrait whereas Facebook and YouTube are landscape).
Keep in mind that the first few seconds of a video are the most important in grabbing attention.
For help with creating videos on your mobile device, take a look at our upcoming Videos for Mobile course.
Having a blog on your website means that your site is regularly being updated with fresh new content (which makes the search engines happy!). Unlike social media platforms your blog is ‘owned’ by you (if the social platforms disappeared tomorrow, you’d still have all the content on your blog). Blogging can also help to attract new website visitors and turn them into leads.
As we discussed in part 1, your blog should answer questions that your audience have, so that you can become a trusted source of information and an authority on that subject. (Do you have a list of frequently asked questions? This can become a good bank of content ideas). It is also a good idea to blog about your industry, to show your knowledge and expertise.
If you’re trying to generate new leads, you could offer website visitors an ebook that they can download once they’ve signed up to your newsletter. Ebooks are long form content, with different chapters/pages. They are usually in pdf format to make it easier to download and share.
We’ve used Canva to create ebooks in the past and Hubspot has customisable ebook templates (plus a wealth of information on writing an ebook).
An infographic is an eye-catching, engaging way to share content such as stats. Infographics should be quite simple and present information in a visually appealing way. As mentioned above, you can use Canva to create infographics, as well as Piktochart and Infogram.
Podcasts have seen a huge increase in popularity and are an effective way to show your authority on a subject. Plan out what content you want to cover in your podcast and whether you are going to speak alone, or whether you will invite guest speakers to discuss topics with you.
Ensuring that you have high-quality audio is a must, so the first step would be to purchase a microphone. This article from Buffer has more information on podcasting for beginners.
Topical vs Evergreen
There are two kinds of content: topical and evergreen. As the names imply, topical content is what is trending at the time, whereas evergreen is longer-lasting, timeless content. It is a good to create both types of content, but evergreen does have a much longer lifespan than topical.
Evergreen content (such as tips and ‘how to’ posts) can be repurposed and shared again and again on social media. It can also help to continually drive traffic to your site. (For example, we have a blog post on separating company pages and personal profiles on LinkedIn that was written five years ago that continues to be a huge driver of traffic).
The goal of your content is to make a connection and the best way to ensure that your content resonates with your audience is to tell a story. As mentioned above, emotive messages are the most powerful.
The story of your business should be at the heart of your content. Why should people trust you? Watch this brilliant video from Simon Sinek’s TED Talk on Start with Why on The Golden Circle, the idea that businesses should start with why they do what they do and not what they do. It is this way that you can connect emotionally with your audience.
Stay tuned for the next post in our content marketing series: publishing and promoting content.
To learn more about content marketing or creating engaging visual content, take a look at our upcoming Digital Business School courses.
At the end of last month it was announced that Instagram has been added to Facebook’s Creator Studio, allowing you to manage posts, insights and messages from all your Facebook pages and Instagram accounts in the one place. This has been quickly followed by the news that you can now publish and schedule content to Instagram and IGTV from Creator Studio. Previously, you could only schedule content to Instagram from third party apps like Hootsuite, so this is an important update for those who manage social media accounts.
Scheduling content through Creator Studio allows you to see exactly what your posts will look like on Instagram. You can add multiple images, which you can’t do on some third-party scheduling tools. It is also the only place where you can schedule IGTV content (you can’t currently schedule Stories from Creator Studio).
To manage Instagram from Creator Studio, you need to have a business Instagram account and a Facebook business page (note that your Instagram account must be connected to your Facebook page). Then simply connect your Instagram account to Creator Studio.
As well as the new ability to publish and schedule content to Instagram and IGTV, you can manage posts, explore insights and check messages in Creator Studio:
- Access your photo and video posts, Stories and IGTV content
- Find out how well your posts are performing
- Learn more about your followers and when they’re most active
- Discover what actions people take from your content
- Find out the reach and impressions of your content
- Manage your messages from one place
Do you, or will you, use Creator Studio to manage Facebook or Instagram? Leave your comments or questions below.
If you’re looking for social media training or one-off social media support why not get in touch?
Following the launch of the “Close Friends” feature for Instagram, the newly launched ‘Join Chat’ sticker for Instagram Stories aims to connect viewers into private discussions.
Even though the primary focus for this new addition is to help increase private engagement with your friends, it may provide another exciting way for businesses and brands to build stronger communities. By sharing exclusive content brand advocates should feel a greater sense of connection.
Facebook Groups historically have been very successful in developing close-knit communities by enabling conversation between a group of like-minded individuals. The implementation of a similar element in to Instagram is very exciting. Given the power of influencer marketing across the platform, a more intimate discussion option could help nurture relationships with passionate users.
Have you created or joined a Chat yet? Let us know your thoughts on this latest Instagram additional in the comments below.
Things change quickly in the digital world – but don’t worry, we are here to keep you up to date with what’s new! Here are some of the changes we’ve noticed or read about recently.
Social Media Updates July 2019
We noticed that Facebook has removed the Info and Ads section on business pages and added a new Page Transparency section. The Page Transparency summary shows the Page History (when it was created, whether it has been changed and if it has been merged with another page) and Ads From This Page, which links to the new Ad Library. The Ad Library shows you the active ads of a business page.
Removal of Page Info sections
Facebook is going to be removing some sections of the Page Info on business pages as of 1st August 2019. These will include: Mission, Company Overview, Biography, Affiliation and Personal Interests. Now is therefore a good time to check what you have in the Page Info section of your business page.
Branded content ads
At the beginning of this month Instagram announced that you can now promote branded content as ads. So if you’re working with an influencer you will now be able to promote their organic branded posts as ads through your account. The ads will have ‘Paid partnership with’ beside the brand name in the feed and in Stories (for transparency). Creating ads from influencers’ branded content allows businesses to “reach targeted audiences beyond the people who follow the brand and creator accounts“.
As of May you can now add a quiz sticker to your Instagram Stories. This is another way to encourage interaction with your Stories. You ask your audience a question and then give at least two possible answers (you select the right answer). Alongside the poll and question stickers, it’s another way to increase engagement.
It isn’t available yet, but it was recently announced that Instagram is working on a new stop motion camera feature for Stories that will be coming soon. Stop motion videos are a fun way to showcase products and this will be another way to create engaging Stories on Instagram. At the moment it is said to be only 10 frames.
If you use LinkedIn you’ll notice that you can now choose different reactions for a post: like, celebrate, love, insightful and curious.
LinkedIn has also announced that they are rolling out new features for page admins, such as new call to action buttons and custom CTA Analytics. As well as the ‘follow’ option there will now be five new call to actions: contact us, register, learn more, sign up and visit website. There is also a new Communities Hashtags feature which allows you to associate your page with relevant hashtags.
Google My Business Updates
There are new features coming soon to Google My Business (which we’ve written about in more detail in a separate post). The new features include welcome offers for new followers, short names and URLs, cover photos and photo displays, and logos. There is also a new Marketing Kit website where you can create social posts and posters from your Google reviews.
Google My Business is a great tool for promoting your business online and improving your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If you didn’t already know, it is important to claim your listing and keep it up to date with photos and posts. Now Google has announced the addition of some new Google My Business (GMB) features “to help businesses make their Profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there“. After the recent Google+ shutdown it seems that this is a step towards giving GMB users more social media style options.
Although it seems to be just in the US at the moment, we’re sure these new tools will be rolled out in the UK soon.
Who doesn’t love a special offer? According to Google, “more than half of online customers are looking for an offer or discount”. Business owners will soon be able to create welcome offers to reward new followers (the option to follow a business on Google Maps is also new).
Short names and URLs
Another new feature is the ability to create a short name and URL for your business listing. This will make it easier to promote your GMB listing (for example, if you’re asking for a review). People will also soon be able to search these short names in Google Maps.
Cover photos and photo displays
Along with being able to follow a business, adding a cover photo is another new feature that definitely gives it a more social platform type feel.
To optimise your listing you should upload photos regularly (the easiest way is to download the GMB app). Google has announced that photos uploaded by a business will “appear instantly and prominently on a new dynamic module on the Profile”. Photo captions will also be coming soon.
If you have filled in all the core information on your listing (opening hours, contact information etc) you can have another branding opportunity, with your logo displayed on the right-hand side of your listing.
Google’s new Marketing Kit website
As well as the new features, there is also a new Marketing Kit website where you can create posters, stickers and social media posts from your Google reviews and highlights to promote your GMB listing.
If you need help claiming or improving your Google listing why not get in touch.
We have noticed a change on Facebook business pages. Up until recently there was an Info and Ads section on pages, which allowed any Facebook user to see all the ads that a page was currently running. This has now gone and there is a new Page Transparency section.
The Info and Ads section was announced in June 2018, as part of Facebook’s plans to make ads and business pages more transparent. Anyone on Facebook could look at the ads a page was running on both Facebook and Instagram by clicking on this section, as well as find out information such as when the page was created and if the name of the page had been changed.
Now instead of the Info and Ads you will find a Page Transparency box on the right hand side of a business page. If you click on ‘see more’ you will see the page history and any active ads, with a link to the Facebook Ad Library.
The new Facebook Ad Library offers “a comprehensive, searchable collection of all ads currently running from across Facebook Products“. You don’t need a Facebook account to access the Ad Library. There is a search bar at the top of the page where you can type in the name of the page you wish to view ads for.
As a marketer, it is quite useful to be able view the ads that a page is running. You could use it as a research tool to find out what similar businesses/competitors are doing.
Did you notice this section had been removed? Did you look at Info and Ads of business pages? Leave your questions or comments below.
A Guide to Content Marketing: Part 1
Do you plan your content? Do you create content with a target audience in mind? Do you have a goal for each piece of content and a clear call to action to help move people along the buyer’s journey? If so, keep up the good work! If not, don’t worry – read on to find out what content marketing is, how it can help to grow your business and six steps for creating a content plan for your business.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is “a strategic marketing approach focussed on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action” (Content Marketing Institute). Essentially it is all about knowing your audience and creating content that they will find helpful, which in turn builds trust and loyalty.
Content is key in telling your brand story and helping people to become aware of your business. Content marketing can help to nudge people from one stage of the buyer’s journey to the next (from learning about your business to considering buying from you to becoming a customer and ultimately becoming a promoter of your business).
If you’re using social media to promote your business, you will already be creating content. But are you thinking about who each piece of content is for and the goal of the content or are you just creating content to share on social media because you haven’t posted in a while? Content marketing is about being more strategic about what you create, why you are creating it, where you are sharing it and how you measure the results.
In this content marketing series of blog posts we’ll look at the different stages of a content marketing strategy: research and plan, create, distribute, and measure. This post is all about the research and planning stage.
Creating a Content Plan
Everything in digital marketing starts with setting goals. What are your goals for creating content in the first place? (Awareness, engagement, conversion etc). Do these align with your business goals?
It is also important to have a goal for each piece of content – what do you want that piece of content to achieve? Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely).
Define your audience and identify their challenges
Before you start creating content you need to think about who you are creating it for. What does your current audience look like? Do some research first – check Google Analytics and the analytics for each social platform to learn more about the demographics of your audience.
Is your current audience reflective of your target audience? Who is your ideal customer? You may have a number of different audiences that you want to reach. We recommend creating buyer personas for your ideal customers. Are they male or female? Where they are based? What is their job title? Where do they spend time online? What are their pain points? What challenges do your target audience face? How can your product or service help them?
Understanding the behaviour and needs of your audience is key in being able to create content that is relevant and valuable to them.
Do a content audit
Look at what content you already have (this is referred to as a content audit). Identifying your resources can help to save time creating content. Can you repurpose any content? For example, do you have a blog post that you could turn into a video? Could you round up some blog posts on a similar topic into a downloadable ebook?
Generate content ideas
The next step is to spend some time doing research and generating content ideas. Start with some research. Look at your Analytics to find out the keywords and phrases that people are typing in Google to reach your site, check what people are typing in your search bar, look at your FAQs, use tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner, check what your competitors are doing, ask your audiences on social media, do hashtag research and brainstorm in your team. All of this can help to form a bank of content ideas.
Try to come up with ideas for all the different stages of the buyer’s journey, i.e. what content will help your business to be found online? What content would help move someone from the consideration stage to making a purchase?
Plan the creation and sharing of content
What kind of content are you planning to create (blog posts, social media posts, e-books, infographics, videos…?). What resources do you have available? For example, who in your team is going to create the content? How much time do they have for content creation? Which apps and tools will you use to create videos or infographics?
Where will you promote your content? On your own website, in a newsletter or on social media? Think about your buyer personas and which platforms they use before deciding which social media channels to use.
Create a content calendar
Consistency is vital in digital marketing and it is important to plan your content so that there are not periods of time where your blog or social channels haven’t been updated because you can’t think of what to write. A calendar can help you to ensure you have a plan for the upcoming months for what content you are going to create and where you are going to share it.
Would you like a FREE 2020 calendar for planning your social media activity? Email us at email@example.com.
To measure the effectiveness of website Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and social media activity it is essential to use web analytics.
Google Analytics gives you information on the visitors to your website, where they are based, how they found your website, what pages they look at etc, which is invaluable information for marketing products and services. By understanding how visitors use your website you can determine where your website perhaps falls down in satisfying those users. This can be as simple as viewing which pages have the highest bounce rate (and therefore, drive users away from your website) through to in-depth content analysis, so that you understand what type of content users are looking for on your website.
If you’re new to Google Analytics, here is an overview of some of the information you can find and where you can find it.
Google Analytics: The Basics
The Home section (where you land by default when you open Analytics) gives a useful overview of how the site is performing. First of all you’ll see an overview of the users, revenue, conversion rate and sessions for the last 7 days (you can change this to show a different time frame). Before we go any further, though, let’s go over the terminology:
- Users = the unique visitors to the website
- Sessions = the different times that someone visited the site
- Bounce rate = the number of people who left the website without performing any other action
You will also find information on: active users right now (the number of people on the website in real time); how you acquire users; how well you retain users; when your users visit; where your users are; what your top devices are; what pages your users visit; how well you are performing against goals; what your top selling products are; and how your Google Ads campaigns are performing.
The Audience reports allow you to determine whether your perception of your target audience is correct. These reports offer a whole host of user-specific information, which is great for understanding your target audience. This information includes elements such as user locations, age, gender and interests.
By understanding as much as possible about your website audience, you can not only ensure any online advertising and campaigns encompass the interests of your audience, but you can also make sure you are targeting the correct geographical locations on the correct devices.
The Audience reports can also offer some hidden gems of information for improving the usability of your website. By understanding aspects, such as which type of device (desktop/laptop, tablet or mobile phone) your users are using most regularly to visit your website, you can ensure your website is compatible to offer the best possible user experience.
- Audience > Demographics will show you age and gender.
- Audience > Behaviour gives you information on new versus returning visitors, how frequently and how recently they have visited, and how engaged they were.
- Audience > Geo > Location shows information on the location of visitors to the website.
The Acquisition reports tell you where your website visitors have come from: organic search, direct traffic, referrals (who is linking to your site), social and other.
- The impact of social media to web traffic can be measured via Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals and Acquisition > Social.
- Acquisition > Search Console > Queries will show you which keywords users are typing into Google to find your site, which gives you a better understanding of what keywords to use.
From the behaviour reports you can determine which pages users engage with the most, so that you know those with sub-optimal engagement require further investment.
- Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages shows which pages are most popular.
- The “Behaviour Flow” section (Behaviour > Behaviour Flow) shows the user journey through the site. It is great for understanding where users drop off when browsing, which pages they visit and how long they spend on each page. This can help determine which areas of your website require additional optimisation.
This section helps to improve the performance of your website. You can set goals, find out information on sales (if your E-commerce is linked to your Analytics) and find out how your channels work together to generate sales and conversions.
If you need help with Google Analytics get in touch.
As of 2nd April 2019 the consumer version of Google+ will be no more – all profiles and pages will be deleted. The failed social media platform is shutting down because of “low usage and the challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations”. The announcement of the closure came shortly after news of a data breach in March 2018 and following a second data leak in November, the decision was made to move the shutdown from August to April 2019.
What is Google+?
Google+ was launched in 2011 but never took off as a social platform in the way that industry experts had expected. Research showed that those who were on Google+ were not very active or engaged. The main reason for businesses to be on Google+ (and the reason we always suggested having a presence on the platform) was to help Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
What will happen on 2nd April?
All Google+ pages, and any photos and videos stored in your album archive, will be deleted on 2nd April. If you have a Google+ account you will receive (or may have already received) an email from Google telling you about the shutdown and linking to information on downloading your content before April.
It is important to note that no other Google products (such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Photos and Google My Business) will be shut down. The Google Account you use to sign into these services will remain. If you are a G Suite user you will still have access to Google+ within your organisation.
What do I need to do?
If you have content in your personal Google+ account or you manage a Google+ page, you need to log in and download the data before April. Note that it could take some time to download your Google+ content so it is recommended that you start before 31st March. (If you’re not sure whether you have an account or not, you can check by logging in here: https://plus.google.com/discover). Find out more about how to download your data and save your videos and photos here: https://support.google.com/plus/answer/1045788.
You also need to make sure that you remove any links to your Google+ business page from your website.
Take a look at these frequently asked questions about the Google+ shutdown for more information.
Contact us if you want to discuss social media support or strategy.
If you’ve read about why and how you can be using Instagram Stories to promote your business but you’re not sure how to actually create Stories then this post is for you!
How to Add a Photo or Video to Instagram Stories
1. Open up the Instagram app and click on your profile photo with +, or the camera icon on the top left hand side of the screen.
2. Put your finger on the screen above the white circle and swipe up to see your photos and videos. If you want to just write some text, you can choose ‘Type’ from the options at the bottom. The other options along the bottom of the screen here include Music, Live, Normal (to take a photo straight from this screen), Boomerang (a short looping video), Superzoom, Rewind and Hands-free. It’s a good idea to break up a series of photos in your Stories with video and short clips using Boomerang, Hyperlapse etc to keep your audience interested.
3. Choose a photo or video (if you choose a photo older than 24 hours the date will also appear – you can delete this if you want by dragging it to the bottom of the screen where a bin icon will appear). You can now select multiple photos to add one after the other if you wish.
4. There are a number of creative options for editing/adding to the photo or video to help increase engagement: swipe to change the filter, add text, a GIF, location, poll, hashtag, music, the question feature, or mention another account (using @)… (You don’t want to include too many of these in the one photo).
5. Select the +Your Story at the bottom of the screen to add the photo or video to your story. To add more, go back to the camera icon on the top left hand side of the screen and repeat the steps above.
Are you using Instagram Stories for your business? Do you have any questions about creating content for Stories? Let us know in the comments below.