Friday Aug 29, 2014

10 Reasons Why Your Social Brand Content Might Be Boooring

Back in the day (whatever day that was), the race was to establish a presence on social and collect lots of fans & followers.  Then everything became about social media engagement. To get it, your posts had to be visible. That’s when the social networks started caring…a lot…about monetizing.


Now, social has backed itself into being…TV advertising, but with added burdens. Social marketers now do what TV advertisers have always done; pay to get their content possibly seen. Whether the TV ad “worked” or got buzz depended on how entertaining, catchy, or compelling it was. So it is today with social brand content.


It’s not enough to be on. It’s not enough to be seen. Your content has to be awesome enough to inspire social’s added burden: the like, comment, and share. Nobody ever asked a viewer to go kiss their TV if they liked the ad they saw. But that’s what social asks.


Additional burden #2 is that social is a 24/7, two-way pipeline brands must fill with…something. The call for quality does not go down, while the call for quantity skyrockets. Caught in those crosshairs, several things may be conspiring to keep your social brand content boring and thus, not worthy of engagement.


1. You Can’t Keep Up With the Volume Needed

Content marketing wouldn’t be happening if content consumption weren’t going up. If you don’t fill that News Feed, others will be more than happy to and keep you shut out.


2. You Refuse to Shift Your Staffing Search

It’s the reason you can’t keep up with the volume needed. You’ve got marketers that can do the occasional deck and white paper. You’re not seeking prolific creators, entertainers and journalists.


3. You Continue to Try to Commoditize Today’s Most In-Demand Skills

If you do find those prolific content-generators, you want to lowball them. If “anyone can do it,” then you should probably start doing it yourself and really save some money.


4. You Aren’t Listening, or Watching, or Caring, or Asking

Any content creator knows the first thing you should do is know who your audience is. Tech listening and engagement tools remove the excuse to stay in the dark. Love what they love, care about what they care about, tune in to them, be one of them.


5. You Are Ignorant to the Content Competition Out There

I’m not talking about the content your competition is posting, I’m talking about the universe of viewing/listening options we all have at any given moment. You are entitled to nothing. You have to earn every scrap of attention your content gets.


6. You’re Still Banking on One-Offs Instead of “Shows”

What content can your social fans/followers rely on you to give them on a regular basis, without fail? Get them into a habit of consumption. They have no obligation to come around only when you’re ready to give them something.


7. You’re Playing to Internal Corporate Forces, Not the Real World

Does your C-suite know content? Do they know how to pull in, hold, delight, and impassion the public? Have they ever done it? If your content is aimed at pleasing them, you can be almost 100% guaranteed your social fans’ eyes are glazing over.


8. Your Company isn’t Shifting Resources to Content

If you’re fighting yesterday’s marketing war, that’s nostalgic. Maybe you could open a museum or something. Or hey, maybe people will stop wanting to watch things on their phones and brand content will just go away.


9. Your Brand Just Isn’t Cool. Like…at All

It’s not that people won’t share. AOL & Nielsen found 27 million pieces of content are shared daily. Ipsos says 70% of Internet users share content regularly. But when people share brand content, they’re publicly identifying with the brand and defining a part of themselves. You can’t afford not to have an overall cool image.


10. You Aren’t Doing Enough Newsworthy Things

Why would anyone share your content “just because”? If you’ve made legitimate news, people feel useful to their followers by sharing that news. If you’re not creating, innovating, launching, doing something…then it’s hard to make a ripple.


Forrester learned that on 6 of the 7 social networks, social brand content gets an engagement rate of under 0.1%. A Business Review Weekly piece talked to users about why they ignore brand content. One replied, “It’s an ad. . .and they never say anything funny or interesting.” You wrote the check, you got it seen, but for whatever reason, you found the quality of the content itself completely expendable. Yawn.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday May 09, 2014

21 Brand Video Ideas at Non-Consultant Prices

social media videoLast post, we talked about the rising necessity of brand video content. Reaction was about what we expected. People realize the public is increasingly consuming video. But many pointed out videos can’t be “skimmed” for quick consumption or quick assessment of value like articles can.


So, know that the opening seconds of your video are critical like the headline and opening sentence of an article. It must prove right out of the gate it’s worthy of the time required to watch it, or viewer retention will be short. Also, giving it a transcript and/or compelling description will help potential viewers decide whether to watch.


Today, as promised, we want to run down what many consultants charge really good money for, ideas for brand videos. Just as many brand bloggers grapple with, “I don’t know what to write about,” many marketing teams don’t know what kind of videos to make. Try these on for size.


  1. Company History: depending on your company’s size/age, this could be a one-shot or a series.
  2. Product History: how did your product or service come to be what it is today?
  3. Featured Department: show me how your various departments run and show me the people who work in it.
  4. Department News: regular update videos from appropriate departments like marketing and R&D that tell us what they’ve been doing.
  5. Personnel Features: people are interested in people. Show me interesting, non work-related things about the people you have working there.
  6. Customer Testimonials/Case Studies: show me problems like the kind I have and how your company solved them.
  7. Explainer Videos: show me what you do overall, or what certain aspects of your products do in really short videos.
  8. Product Tips/How-to’s: your product probably does things I’m not even aware of even though I own it. Show me.
  9. Industry Newscasts: don’t talk about your brand in these, just present the latest news in the space in which you operate.
  10. Company Newscasts: if your company is so active that there are things to report at least weekly, break out the news desk and let’s hear it.
  11. Interviews with the C-suite: and don’t give me any PR fluff. Ask pertinent, relevant, probing, and yes, difficult questions.
  12. Brand Q&A: take questions via social then have the most qualified person in your company answer them on camera.
  13. Chopped Up Presentations: your execs give these all the time in various places, and each one can be broken up into a series of short videos.
  14. Customer Service Files: show me real issues your customers had and how it was resolved for them. If you show me you care about your customers that much, I’m sold.
  15. Product Rollouts: don’t just lay it out there, but some showbiz into it, Steve Jobs-style.
  16. Product Usage Montage: no dialogue, cool music bed, quick edits.
  17. User Generated Content: doesn’t even have to be related to the brand. Showcase your customers just doing the fun/funny things they do.
  18. Fun Videos: and notice I didn’t necessarily say funny. Can be employee karaoke, employee recipes, employee lip-syncs, parodies, pet showcase, hobby showcase…make me want to work there.
  19. Stunts: you don’t have to make a guy jump from the edge of space, but stage something genuinely interesting to watch and people will watch it.
  20. Repackaged Webinars: take the same info but go beyond the deck, illustrate it more visually.
  21. Insider Videos: these can be gated or subscription-based videos giving advanced, first-look notice about a new product or product in development.

Okay, one more.

22. Entertainment/Information Web Series: go mass appeal. Do a sitcom, reality show, news magazine, but keep your brand out of it except for “(Your Brand) Presents…” and the ad breaks in it, if any.


Now get to work Spielberg!


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net


Tuesday Jul 02, 2013

Seriously, It’s Time to Get Your Content Act Together

spectrumBranded content, content marketing, social content, brand journalism, we’re seeing those terms more and more. Why?

The technology tools are coming together. We should know. We can gather big data, crunch it, listen to the public, moderate, respond, get to know the customer intimately, know what they like, know what they want, we can target, distribute, amplify, measure engagement and reaction, modify strategy and even automate a great deal of all that.

An amazing machine, a sleek, smooth-running engine has been built such that all the parts can interact and work together to deliver peak performance and maximum output. But that engine isn’t going anywhere without any gas. Content is the gas.

Yes, we curate other people’s content. We can siphon their gas. There’s tech to help with that too. But as for the creation of original, worthwhile content made for a specific audience, our audience, machines can’t do that…at least not yet. Curated content is great. But somebody has to originate the content for it to be curated and shared. And since the need for good, curated content is obviously large and the desire to share is there, it’s a winning proposition for a brand to be a consistent producer of original content.

And yet, it feels like content is an issue we’re avoiding. There’s a reluctance to build a massive pipeline if you have no idea what you’re going to run through it. The C-suite often doesn’t know what content is, that it’s different from ads, where to get it, who makes it, how long it should be, what the point of it is if there’s no hard sell of the product, what it costs, how to use it, how to measure it, how to make sure it’s good, or how to make sure it will keep flowing. It could be the reason many brands aren’t pulling the trigger on socially enabling the enterprise.

And that’s a shame, because there are a lot of creative, daring, experimental, uniquely talented entertainers and journalists chomping at the bit to execute content for brands. But for many corporate executives, content is “weird,” and the people who make it are even weirder. The content side of the equation is human. It’s art, but art that can be informed by data.

The natural inclination is for brands to turn to their agencies for such creative endeavors. But agencies are falling into one of two categories. They’re failing to transition from ads to content. In “Content Era, What’s the Role of Agencies?” Alexander Jutkowitz says agencies were made for one-hit campaigns, not ongoing content. Or, they’re ready and capable but can’t get clients to do the right things. Agencies have to make money, even if it means continuing to do the wrong things because that’s all the client will agree to.

So what we wind up with in the pipeline is advertising, marketing-heavy content, content that was obviously created or spearheaded by non-creative executives, random & inconsistent content, copy written for SEO bots, and other completely uninteresting nightmares. Frank Rose, author of “The Art of Immersion,” writes, “Content without story and excitement is noise pollution.”

In the old days, you made an ad and inserted it into shows made by people who knew what they were doing. You could bask in that show’s success and leverage their audience. Now, you are tasked with attracting, amassing and holding your own audience. You may just want to make, advertise and sell your widgets. But now there’s a war on for a precious commodity, attention. People are busy. They have filters to keep uninteresting and irrelevant things out. They value their time and expect value back when they give it up. Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, says, "Your customers don't care about you, your products, your services…they care about themselves, their wants and their needs."

Is it worth getting serious about content and doing it right? 61% of consumers feel better about a company that delivers custom content (Custom Content Council). Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people follow brands on social (Content+). 78% of consumers think organizations that provide custom content want to build good relationships with them (TMG Custom Media). On the B2B side, 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company info in a series of articles vs. an ad.

So what’s the hang-up? Cited barriers to content marketing are lack of human resources (42%) and lack of budget (35%). 54% of brands don’t have a single on-site, dedicated content creator. And only 38% of brands have a content marketing strategy.

Tech has built the biggest, most incredible stage for brands that’s ever been built. Putting something on that stage is your responsibility. Do a bad show, or no show at all, and you’ll be the beautiful, talented actress that never got discovered.

@mikestiles
Photo: Gabriella Fabbri, stock.xchng

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