Category Archives: Content Marketing
From Denise Taylor, managing director
Last week we were delighted to be part of the launch for the Midlands first creative consortium, of which we are a member. The key message of the launch was one that Bridge has advocated for quite some time now:
When done strategically, marketing can have a positive impact on business development, regardless of industry sector!
The event followed recent reports that 70% of CEOs have lost their trust in marketers carried out by Fournaise Marketing Group. In order for CEOs to really experience benefits Warwickshire Creative Fusion promotes the need to make marketing highly targeted, strategic, consistent, and creative.
We met a diverse range of businesses from throughout the UK at the launch, and they all enjoyed the series of linked seminars bases around nine different disciplines of marketing. They covered all aspects of marketing from conceptualising campaigns to making your product go international. I gave a presentation entitled: “The pen is mightier…” which gave tips on mining businesses for great content.
I was happy to present to a full room of delegates who were interested in learning about mining their businesses for good stories.
Key points from my presentation:
- There has been a seismic shift away from traditional print media to digital media. Sales of UK dailies have plunged by 20% in the past five years, however some trade magazines continue to fare reasonably well in sectors like manufacturing, but they also have a digital presence. This has completely revolutionised the PR industry and has opened up many more channels and opportunities for agencies and companies alike – but – it is a case of finding your way through all the noise and chatter.
- Good PR is about the content that exists in your business, and the content you create to tell your story. A survey of over 1300 marketeers by Outbrain on objectives of content marketing:
- Increase engagement: 52%,
- Increasing traffic to site: 42%
- Raising brand awareness: 35%
- Increased sales: 33%
- Improved SEO: 31%
- When having an online presence it is all about thought leadership and building reputation and credibility. If you can achieve this, then others will start to talk about your brand and products.
- Building campaigns around issues is creative and creates original content that the press will be interested in.A key tip is to create polls and stories and then your can use this information through a variety of channels.
We found that attendees left the event with a number of fresh ideas for their marketing campaigns. Cathryn Goodwin, Creative Engagement Officer at Creative Enterprise, founded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Coventry University said: “I gained some very useful tips about how to tell the story of my organisation, what we do and how we do it, and it was really good to talk to the supportive members of the team about how their skills could help our business and our clients. There was a good mix of people at the launch with a friendly positive vibe. We’re looking forward to dealing with the Fusion members again.”
The overall message from Warwickshire Creative Fusion is that when utilised strategically, the nine key areas of marketing; public relations, video production, design and branding, direct marketing, translation, print, photography, and web development can really deliver an effective return on investment, increase sales, and raise profit margins.
Print publications have been going through a rapid reincarnation as they turn to digital media. Newsweek magazine is the latest to axe its print edition after 80 years and move to a digital-only format from 2013 onwards. The Guardian is another household name that has recently announced its intention to become totally digital. In addition, social media platforms have completely transformed the way we access news and information. It seems that the whole PR landscape is changing to digital communications. With this major shift, it is imperative that businesses also incorporate a digital strategy into their PR and marketing.
HOWEVER, this does not mean that traditional PR has died a gruesome death. At Bridge, the digital side of PR is fundamentally supported by the good old fashioned “traditional” approach to PR. In essence, it is all about channelling your message through the right networks and also making the connections directly with your audience. But good PR is more than just channelling your content. We have always maintained that media relations are central to effective communications, and this is also one of the most traditional approaches to getting your brand known.
As a business, these traditional approaches should not be seen as dead and buried, or ghosts of the past.
What is it good for?
Local Markets – If you want to sell to a local market then traditional PR is great for getting you in your local press and gaining local business credibility.
Sector specific – We have manufacturing and IT companies who rely on the traditional side of our PR services to get them seen in their industry ‘bibles’. By this we mean the trade magazines that go out to their target audiences. For one client in particular we have achieved over £50,000 worth of coverage in just five months in trade magazines, using the format of traditional PR.
At the start of this year 8.12 million adults had never used the internet. So where are they obtaining their news from? It would be very short-sighted for companies to write off traditional media communication as it offers companies the potential to reach across new markets and audiences. Traditional PR should be crafted into your marketing strategy alongside all the online activity.
Traditional PR is not dead – it is simply re-incarnating.
For a strategic blend of traditional and digital PR, give us a call today on 02476 520025
Or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the first thing you think of when searching the internet for a company or service? It is something you might not even notice you are doing, so subliminal it has become. And yet it is something that we all do every time without fail – come up with key words or phrases to input into a search engine so that websites can find useful matches.
It’s not just search engines that require key words though. In fact, a successful and strategic marketing campaign also requires a whole host of key words and phrases. Key words can be used to get across your messages and ideals when used consistently throughout marketing. Think of soft drinks, Christmas and children, think of Coca Cola. Think of cars, windows, scratches, think of Autoglass. Think of your products, services and key audience – do people think of your business?
To be successful, keywords need to be implemented from the start of a marketing strategy and consistently spread throughout all activities. From the beginning of your strategic marketing planning, think of all the buzz words that help to describe your business. If you were searching Google for your company, what words would you enter to find yourself? What values are you trying to promote with your business? Put them into words.
What words should I be using?
Think of words that describe your business. If you are a PR and marketing firm, those need to be your keywords. If you work in engineering, engineering is one of your keywords just as dentistry is one for dentists and computing one for IT companies.
Where are you? Are you in Coventry? Then that needs to be a keyword. Offering removal services from Manchester? Then removal services and Manchester need to be in your keywords.
Who do you work for? What audience demographics are you trying to attract? If it’s specialist medical chairs for over 60s then you need to be using words like ‘elderly’ and ‘pensioner’ in your key words. If it’s younger people, use the words ‘teenagers,’ ‘twenty-somethings’ or ‘children.’
That’s the obvious but what about the not-so-obvious? Have a good think. Is there another word that describes one of the existing keywords you have thought of? A good idea is to go through a Thesaurus and find all words similar to those you are including in your keywords. People search for different things. While one person might be looking for accountants, someone else might be looking for financial advisors. It is highly likely that you fit into both titles so make sure your keywords leave no room for error.
Never miss an opportunity
It’s not just a case of sitting down and penning your keywords – you need to use them as much as possible. Consider them in everything you do that helps to market your business. Keywords can be used anywhere in marketing material to get across your products and services to the right audiences.
Begin with the most obvious place – on your website. Your website may have been live for quite some time and gathering a consistent and impressive hit rate but that doesn’t mean it can’t be made even better. Now you have your key words, go back over your website copy and insert them in wherever and whenever appropriate. Even if one of your keywords is a cliché that you don’t want included on your web copy, make sure you still tag it in your META data so it is still present should somebody run a search for it. Done properly, it really does help with your search engine optimisation or SEO, driving your website up the search rankings.
Keep these keywords at the forefront of your mind for any other marketing material you produce. A press release about a new product or service offers a great opportunity to embed some of your key words while a direct marketing letter gives you the chance to be bolder when including these terms. Blogs are written by you and read by industry experts, followers and those interested in your business. What a fantastic opportunity to stamp some of your key words into your prose! What’s more, when writing a blog, unlike a press release – you have the final say over how it is published. Be striking and get your keywords as prominent as you can. Use one in your headline, add a sub-headline and don’t forget to tag the entire post with your key words. Again, keywords in blogs help with your SEO, and don’t forget to tag any images or videos you use with your key words. Be consistent.
Evaluate and monitor
Your keywords aren’t working? Then you need to sit down and think why this is not going to plan. Perhaps your industry is changing and your keywords are not supporting these changes? Maybe your target audience aren’t searching for your key words because your keywords are old fashioned or outdated. Put yourself in the mindset of a potential customer demographic. If you are selling to businesspeople think what kind of terms businesspeople will be using. It is unlikely to be slang words or terms that have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary within the last five years. They are more likely to be searching for the more traditional words that describe your business.
By regularly evaluating your key words and implementing them within your marketing strategy you can be sure that your key messages are being picked up by the right people operating in the right circles. Just as Google regularly reviews and changes its SEO terms, you need to be updating and changing your keywords for maximum effect.
And don’t forget, you can monitor the effectiveness of key words in your industry sector by using a free tool: Google Alerts. This will bring you regular updates and information from across the Internet using the key words you set up. It’s great for keeping an eye on your customers, competitors, and key industry trends as well as what is being said about your business – all because you’ve invested some time in thinking about key words that are important to your business.
When was the last time you flicked through a newspaper or magazine and stopped to read an article after seeing an interesting image? Not too long ago we bet! Have you considered how dull and uninteresting a publication would be if it was just pages and pages of text with no imagery at all? Very few would read it. Even fewer would remember a piece they read in it.
The truth is good images make good PR. Take the upcoming Olympics as an example. The opening ceremony is set to be a visual extravaganza. All competing nations will put on their own parades, the Olympic Flame will be on view for all to see and there will be a feast of UK culture for spectators to enjoy. How many national newspapers will have picture specials? How many front pages will be adorned with Olympic images?
Your PR story may not be on the grand scale of the Olympics but that doesn’t mean your images shouldn’t be. A strong image can really add life to a story and persuade an Editor to run with it – even if the subject is not all that interesting. If an Editor has two stories of equal strength, then they are more likely to run with the one that has the better image. Not only do images fill space but they also add an extra dimension to news articles, so it is worth getting it right. Here’s what makes a good press image:
- Make it relevant
If your story is shouting about how great your new product is then including a picture of your Manager smiling and playing golf isn’t going to suffice. Make your image relevant to the story. Particularly if your story is about a new product, you need to show people what the product looks like so they can recognise it next time they want to place an order.
- Don’t be boring
Images of people sitting at desks in suits are just not interesting. Are you going to stop flicking through a magazine and read a story because there is an image next to it of someone sitting at a desk? Thought not – so why should anybody else?
- Caption your photos
It all comes down to the ‘w’s. Who, what, when, where, why? If you are taking a picture of a person, then the publication you are approaching needs to know who it is in the image and how they are associated with the story. Images of random, anonymous people are of no use to publications so neither will your story be.
This is particularly key if you are going to take your own images. Make sure everything you include in the image is centred nicely. Make it tight, with the subject of the image almost filling the frame. Photo editors are busy – the last thing they want to be doing is cropping and editing images that have been sent to them externally.
- No logos
Please, no logos. Nobody likes logos. Sending a company logo with a press release is lazy and shows that you have not gone to the effort to put together some interesting visuals. Logos are traditionally associated in the press with advertorials – paid for coverage – they have no place in editorial space where your inclusion in a publication depends on the quality of your story.
- Use the professionals
If you can’t take a decent press picture yourself, then get the professionals to do it for you. We work with a number of professional press photographers up and down the country, and they have the knack of understanding what a particular newspaper or magazine editor is looking for, whether it’s the shot from a quirky angle, an action shot, or something more abstract.
- Tagging images increases your visibility
Images very often make it into online media these days, and this gives you the perfect opportunity to tag images with keywords and phrases that describe your business. These are searchable online and can drive traffic back to your website. So when you take any image that is going to be used digitally, do take time to think about how you can also increase your search engine optimisation.
These are just some brief points about why good images are so important. A good picture really can tell a thousand words. Perhaps that’s why Infographics are now so popular, but that’s a story for another blog.