Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 4-13-14

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to a new #SundayMusings w/ Shore Branding!  Our bi-weekly write-up has a new focus topic this week and that is content marketing.  Content marketing has become all the rage, but truth be told, I see it as a fancy phrase that is an extension of your branding efforts.  I’m sure many will disagree with this sentiment, but that’s my view on the latest catchphrase in marketing.

#1 – 9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared – via JeffBullas.com 

Premise: Jeff Bullas provides his top nine tips for creating content that gets shared.  From identifying your audience/target through “making information accessible”, Jeff provides a good amount of context for each of his nine tips.

Thoughts: All nine of the tips found this article are useful and ought to be kept in mind as you (re-)focus on your content.  The one tip that seems highly relevant given our changes to these #SundayMusings write-ups is “#6 – Pay attention to trends”.  That was the main reason for moving to a topic-focused style of writing for #SundayMusings and our numbers and shares across social media have improved. 

#2 – “Content Marketing Without Being Pushy” – via HeidiCohen.com   

Premise: Heidi Cohen points to a recent study that suggests “less than 50% of customers trust any form of advertising”.  With that number in mind you find the real purpose of content marketing – selling without being viewed as pushing your brand/business on consumers.  Heidi then offers up five types of content marketing and, separately, five tips to support sales conversions.

Thoughts: The one type of content marketing that I want to call out is “#3 – Offer show and tell”.  Heidi mentions Instagram, Pinterest, and including videos in your content marketing efforts.  While I am a big believer of not being everywhere for the sake of having your site on each and every social media platform, you probably want to focus on at least one of these three in order to improve the visual appeal for your brand/business.

Within the five tips to sales conversions, I like the wording Heidi has gone within #3.  Rather than “call-to-action”, she suggests a “coax-to-action”.  Well played.

#3 – “Content Marketing Metrics Your CEO Cares About” via PoweredBySearch.com  

Premise: A common question for marketers is how to measure and track the success of your content marketing efforts.  What metrics do you use and how do you analyze them?  The author recommends measuring both your “content performance” and the “impact on sales”.  From there, what you want to keep an eye on in terms of reporting are “leads to conversions”, “money saved”, and “customer retention / churn”.

Thoughts: Aside from the Kurt Russell reference, this write-up caught my attention as it provides you with options on what to measure.  There are several angles that you can take and measure within the Performance and Sales buckets – you need to decide what they are and what makes the most sense for your business.

#4 – “SlideShare for Business: Tips and Tricks for Success from #SMMW14” via topseowebsitesdesign.com 

Premise: Simply put, you are missing out if you aren’t leveraging SlideShare as part of your digital marketing efforts.  The author provides three key reasons for using SlideShare – 1. Huge visibility, 2. Relevant audience, and 3. Search visibility.  The author then provides several recommendations on how to optimize your efforts on the site itself and several “tricks from the pros”.

Thoughts: The “tricks” section is very useful and a nice checklist to keep in mind if you want to incorporate SlideShare into your digital marketing plans.  Using hashtags was not a surprising recommendation, but SlideShare isn’t top of mind when it comes to using the tool/technique.  It certainly helps being found when searching for specific topics.

#5 – “Content Engagement on LinkedIn Now Measured by Simple, Powerful Metric” via SkyWord.com  

Premise: LinkedIn has launched their own Content Marketing Score to help businesses manage and develop their content strategy.  The score is a simple percentage calculation dividing the engaged members by the active audience available.  The platform will provide recommendations on how to improve your efforts, will provide competitive benchmarks, and allow you to do some basic filtering down of the data.

Thoughts: The Content Marketing Score was just one of several new features that LinkedIn is providing businesses with.  The metric will be an easy to understand snapshot of how your efforts are performing over time and you’ll be able to track the good and bad from your various posts, topics, etc.  LinkedIn isn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last, social network to offer up their own analytics platform.  If you have been reading #SundayMusings for a while now, you know that I am a fan of these efforts from each site.  The more you learn, the more you can adapt your strategy.

Are you running a LinkedIn page?  Have you begun using the new features?  If so, let me know how they are via email or in the contact form below.  Thanks!

#6 – “7 Big Brands are Succeeding in Content Marketing … You Can Too” via SproutContent.com  

Premise: The author dives into seven big brands that are successfully implementing a strong content marketing strategy – through very different avenues.  P&G and Colgate have developed highly engaging reference communities that tie together their brands with experts in those particular fields, video, etc.  Kraft and General Mills have developed branded web sites to provide recipes, tips, etc. for their respective communities.

Thoughts: Building communities is a great way to allow your consumers to help build your own brand’s equity.  These engaged users can become somewhat of a brand ambassador for you – not only online, but also promoting the site (or your business) via word-of-mouth.

What online communities do you engage with?  I have joined a number of G+ Communities and also have active discussions about sports on several sites.

Tweet of the Week:

I found the above tweet from Uberflip and wanted to pass it along as one to keep an eye one each and every week if you are consistently looking to read more on content marketing.  Every week they provide a number of links in their “Content Roundup”.

Those are the content marketing stories that have caught my attention over the past few weeks.  Hope you enjoyed the latest #SundayMusings!  Have a great week!

New Poll – Where will you be advertising in 2014?

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014? (Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

What advertising platform will you be leveraging in 2014?
(Photo credit: BusinessNewsDaily.com)

Over the course of 2013, we covered off on several different trends in the advertising space, including the shift to advertising on various social networks (throughout many of our weekly Sunday Musings) and mobile advertising (most specifically with startup Nearwoo).

With that in mind, our opening poll question for 2014 is relatively simple: which advertising platforms will your brand/business be leveraging in 2014 to increase awareness and/or build stronger loyalty?  The options include:

  1. Mobile
  2. Paid Search
  3. Facebook
  4. Instagram
  5. Twitter
  6. LinkedIn
  7. Foursquare
  8. Other Social Media Networks

After voting, if you would like to endorse a particular avenue, please feel free to do so in the Comments section below.  If you have already leveraged any of these streams, let us know what level of success you may have encountered.

Thanks for taking the time to vote and Happy New Year!

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 12-15-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing from the past week!  This week has a strong focus on advertising across various social media platforms, a new example of “brandscaping”, and a SlideShare on the top company pages on LinkedIn. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-15-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding!  The following are this past week’s top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our attention.

#1 – Twitter Files for IPO – via AllThingsD.com 

Premise: Twitter announced that the company will finally go public with an IPO later this year.  They have filed a “confidential” S-1 report thanks to new rules from the JOBS act, so potential investors won’t see all of the revenue numbers and expenses for some time.  Twitter has made several hires recently that highly suggested this announcement was coming.

Thoughts: Well, it is about time!  While this likely means more advertising can be expected on the site itself, I’m interested to see how the stock market reacts when Twitter begins trading.  If you have followed this site for the past six months or so, you know that we are heavy supporters of Twitter and how it has, literally, changed news reporting around the world.

Will you be investing in Twitter? [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 9-1-13

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Happy Labor Day weekend to those in the US!  Here are this past week’s top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye.

#1 – What Google’s Chromecast means for marketers – via iMediaConnection.com 

Premise: The author takes an interesting perspective on the recently launched Google Chromecast – while you might first think that this is targeted for consumers, it is a product that will be of great aid to advertisers.  As mobile shopping and the ‘second screen’ behaviors continue to grow, Chromecast presents an ability to unite the TV and mobile device.  Advertisers and marketers will be able to collect a wealth of information on end-user behavior, key for more focused and relevant advertising.

While past efforts from Google (Nexus Q and Google TV) have failed to take off, the Chromecast might be the device that takes Google’s advertising model to the next level.

Thoughts: I purchased a Chromecast the day it was announced and have enjoyed the quality and performance of the $35 product.  At the time, I said I thought it could be a game-changer, but really only thought about it from the consumer angle.  This write-up really takes a brilliant look into the device from a unique angle – one that advertisers can really take to heart and start planning against.  The consumption data that will be generated will help marketing teams strengthen and tailor their message to the right audience. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-25-13

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

Welcome back to Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding, the top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye from the past week.

#1 – Agony and Ecstasy: Steve Ballmer’s Years At Microsoft – via ReadWrite.com 

Premise: Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer announced that he will be retiring within the next 12 months on Friday, sending the stock price up a few dollars.  This write-up takes a look back at his tenure at the tech giant, listing out the successes (company restructuring and killing off failed projects) and failures (Xbox One’s original rollout and the Surface tablet).

Thoughts: Upon Ballmer’s announcement, the stock surged 10% or so and finished the day up over 7%.  I’m not sure how I would feel about that if I were Ballmer.  Of course, with that increase he increased his personal wealth millions of dollars over (he reportedly owns over 300 million shares in the company), so I doubt he takes it to heart.  There was no announcement as to who would be replacing Ballmer when he retires, so expect the search to create a lot of news in the coming weeks and months.

Microsoft is well behind Apple and Google in mobile right now and it will be important for the next leader to put heavy focus and investment in this arena.  The Surface tablet has been a colossal failure thus far.  While Xbox had been a gold star for Microsoft and Ballmer, their original plans for Xbox One were panned.

Who do you think will take over at Microsoft?  Will Bill Gates return?  Will they steal someone from Google (or Apple)? [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 8-4-13

 

Branding and Digital Marketing

Branding and Digital Marketing

This week’s Sunday Musings, the top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye, are up and running!  Hope you enjoy!

#1 – LinkedIn Gets Better for Businesses with New Company Page Analytics – via WebProNews.com 

Premise: LinkedIn has updated/improved their analytics offering for those that run a company page on the site.  You can now track impressions, interactions, etc. and measure engagement your page has with its audience.

Thoughts: The new analytics page is significantly stronger vs. what the site used to offer page managers.  I would also rate LinkedIn’s analytics much higher vs. those seen on Pinterest’s site.  There is a YouTube video at the bottom of the link/story that walks you through the new features and is worth watching for a general overview. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 7-7-13

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding - the top stories in branding and digital marketing!

Photo Credit: CBS Philadelphia

Hope everyone in the US has enjoyed the 4th of July holiday weekend!  Here are this week’s Sunday Musings, the top stories in branding and digital marketing that caught our eye.

#1 – Which Brands Are Most Patriotic – via Forbes.com 

Premise: With the 4th of July holiday upon us, you know you are going to see a lot of patriotism in the branding and marketing efforts of companies this week.  The study conducted as the premise for the article measures the emotional engagement that each brand has with “patriotism”.

Thoughts: Why wouldn’t we start the holiday Sunday Musings off with a little patriotism?  The top brand ranked in this study was Jeep, a little surprising to see the car at the top of the list.  The next few are not surprising at all – Hershey, Coca-Cola, etc.  Further down the list and into the top 50 were a few sports teams, the Yankees, Patriots, 49ers, and Cowboys.  The author says it well towards the end of the article, “… brands that make that kind of connection always have a strategic advantage over competitors when it comes to the marketplace battle for the hearts, minds and loyalty of consumers”. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding 5-12-13

Branding and Digital Marketing

Another Sunday in May and another holiday to go celebrate.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms that are readying this!  Here are this week’s ‘Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding’ – the top five stories in branding and digital marketing.  For those interested, you can find the archives of this weekly write-up under the Blog-Sunday Musings tab at the top of the page.

#1 – Maker’s Mark’s Plain Dumb Move Proved To Be Pure Marketing Genius – Forbes.com

Premise: Back in February, Maker’s Mark announced that due to rising production costs they would be watering down their product.  This caused a social media circus, with droves of consumers taking to various platforms to complain about the decision.  However, this also drove consumers to the store apparently, as sales skyrocketed for the brand.  Ultimately, Maker’s Mark has reversed its decision to water down its product due to the backlash.

Thoughts: Here is another example of the power of social media.  Fans of Maker’s Mark came out and rebelled against a decision the company made and it helped change its position in only a short matter of time.  There is a bit of a conspiracy theory presented in the article that Maker’s Mark decided to create this news in an effort to boost sales, but I have a hard time believing that; in fact, the author doesn’t seem to either, but brought it up anyway. [Read more...]

Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding – 3-31-13

Sunday Musings 3

Here are this week’s ‘Sunday Musings w/ Shore Branding’ – the top five stories in branding and digital marketing from the past seven days.  As always, you can find the archives of this weekly write-up under the Blog-Sunday Musings tab at the top of the page.

#1 – Twitter Forecast Up After Strong Mobile Showing – eMarketer.com 

Premise: eMarketer adjusts their estimates on the amount of ad revenue Twitter will generate in 2013 and 2014.  They now believe Twitter will raise almost $600 million in 2013 and just short of $1 billion in 2014.  They suggest that more than half of their ad revenue will come from mobile advertising, which is incredible given that amount was $0 in 2011.  The vast majority of Twitter’s ad revenue comes from the US.  However, this percentage is decreasing over time; 90% in 2012, ~83% in 2013 and projects lower in the future.

Thoughts: If you haven’t noticed by now, I believe Twitter is the most powerful mechanism on the web.  Micro-blogging is incredibly powerful.  While Facebook seems to be struggling to get their mobile strategy deployed, you consistently see stories like this from eMarketer on Twitter and its projected growth areas in the future.

#2 – “Brand Positioning: The Art & Science” – Brad VanAuken via BrandingStrategyInsider.com 

Premise: What is the importance of brand positioning and how do you do it?  This write-up is a great starting point for you if you are looking to (re-)position your brand or company.  The author takes you through a number of steps/recommendations on how to appropriately position your brand, starting with conducting research, delivering and defining several key components, and finally, explaining what a good brand position would be / stand for.

Thoughts: After reading this article, I started to click around on the site and found a lot of great, branding-related material.  In fact, I’ve already gone ahead and added the site to the Recommended Reading column on the home page.  This is a great summary on/for brand positioning.  If you can’t answer these questions or aren’t sure how you would respond to defining the key components they have laid out here, take a timeout and make sure you do that first before taking any more steps forward with your brand or company.  

#3 – “Klout Users Can Now Add Bing To Their Account And Include Instagram In Their Score” – TechCrunch.com

Premise: Earlier this week, Klout announced that it will further integrate users’ Instagram and Bing accounts in their influence scoring.  This is the first time that Klout is being integrated with a search engine.  While Instagram users were able to add their account to their Klout score already, their activities and usage will now be part of the equation.

Thoughts: If you aren’t aware of what Klout is or does, it is simply a web site that measures one’s overall influence via the reaction, feedback, and/or interaction one has across a number of social media platforms.  Users can sync their accounts through Klout and they will calculate their influence score on a scale of 0-100, with the higher the score being stronger/better.

It is a little surprising to see Instagram just now taking this step with Klout, as I would have assumed that process would have been transitioned quickly after Facebook purchased the photo sharing site.

#4 – “Twitter’s Vine Bears Fruitful Branding Opportunities” – BrandingMagazine.com 

Premise: As Vine continues its growth, it is providing marketers with new options in how to better brand themselves or their companies, build stronger engagement with consumers, and drive loyalty.  There is also a link here for the site “Brands on Vine” which is capturing some of the best work being done by companies right now through Vine.

Thoughts: I continue to be fascinated by the way companies and everyday people are leveraging Vine, while continuing to implore Twitter to release a version in Google Play!  The article takes a branding angle on how companies are beginning to leverage the site.  Definitely take a look at BrandsOnVine.com when you get a chance – a lot of good video on there from a wide array of companies.

#5 – “LinkedIn Is Getting Smarter With Enhanced Search Features & Improved Query Results” – SearchEngineLand.com

Premise: LinkedIn started off the week with an announcement that it was making a number of enhancements to its site, including their search features.  The “unified search” will list out people, companies, etc. all in one page after a user’s search.  The algorithm has been upgraded, but so has the look and feel of the page.

Thoughts: It is pretty safe to say that LinkedIn is the gold star in tech IPO’s since going public in May of 2011.  They continue to rollout improvements for users, but they are also improving their own positioning for building future revenue through the data and information they are collecting.

What caught your eye in branding and digital marketing news this week?

For those celebrating today, Happy Easter!