4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story in the space of 1 minute. Something compelling and charming that connects the viewer with the advert from the first few seconds. And guess what? John Lewis’s sales soar after those ad’s air. There’s not any question about it anymore – if you want to make your brand stand out, you need to be telling stories. But in case that wasn’t enough of a reason (and hey, it might not be), I’ve pulled together a few more you for,

 

Why We Crave Stories

 

Here’s a nice, juicy reason to indulge in your fantastical side now and then. Our brains are hard-wired to respond to and crave stories. Seriously. Various neurological studies have proven that our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than cold, hard facts. That’s because when we read straight data, only the language parts of our brains are activated, working to decode the meaning behind it. But what scientists have come to realize in the last few years is that narratives activate many other parts of our brains as well, suggesting why the experience of reading can feel so alive. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains but also those devoted to dealing with smells. So when we read a story, it’s not just the language centre of our brain that lights up – all of the other areas of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing the events light up too. When we read stories, they imprint themselves on us, meaning they are easier to remember in the future.

 

As well as being hard-wired to respond to them, our brains are creating their own stories all the time, to fill in the gaps. We spend around a third of our lives daydreaming – our minds constantly looking for distractions. The only time we stop flitting from daydream to daydream is when we have a good story in front of us. So if you want to capture the full attention of your customers, the best way to do it is to give them that story

Show Off Your Personality

In an age where ‘people buy people’, giving your brand a personality is everything. While you may be able to do that in your everyday marketing to some extent, there is nothing like telling a story to shine a light on your brand voice. Your stories could be created by your brand, following your brand voice, or they could be created by your customers – who will share similar values and reinforce your brand personality at every stage. Some businesses we’ve met are worried about letting their personalities come through – but think about that for a second. If your brand ha no personality, then what sets it apart from the rest of the marketplace? What is there to attract customers to you, and not someone else? Never be afraid of putting your personality into your marketing. Tell customers a story, and make sure they hear it in your voice.

 

 Push Your Brand Front And Centre 

 

Some time ago the CEO of Jeep UK (Damien Dally) commented on story telling. “Storytelling in the automotive industry has been key in marketing campaigns for some time, especially since the advent of interactive/social media. This can be something metaphoric, yet simple, like a journey, to something more in-depth, with use of roles and a plot for the more adventurous. Portraying your brand as the protagonist, in either case, is essential.” In other words, storytelling is what links the brand with the story’s values. So whatever story you’re telling, your brand will be intrinsically linked to that message. You could use this to subtly position yourself above the competition, or as the maverick champion of the customer’s values. It’s about standing out, without being complicated about it.

 

 Hit The Emotions

 

Successful stories are successful for just one reason. They make us feel something. Even after we’ve finished reading or hearing them, they have a way of bringing back those feelings when we think about them. Storytelling is the best way to hit an emotional chord with your customers, so get tucked in for Storytime! But one caveat – make sure the stories you’re telling are real, at least for the most part. The last thing you want is to be caught in a fairy-tale lie because you wanted to pull on the old heartstrings. Your customers will see right through it and think less of you for it.

 

 Get Them Hooked

 

If there is one thing the human brain can’t resist, it’s a cliff-hanger. We desperately crave closure, and we always want to know how something ends before we can move on. So it’s really simple – tell them a story that never ends. Use every part of your marketing to keep the story going, and you will keep people’s attention along the way. Always leave them wanting more. And FYI, ‘more’ can manifest itself in any way you can imagine, so switch it up. Don’t let your method become stale and detract from your story. Use a variety of methods to tell your story, and push it out onto as many platforms as possible.

 

At Eleven Eight, we specialise in putting the personality back into your business copy. Through blogs, white papers and even your web copy, we can highlight your brand voice and attract more readers to your website. All you’ve got to do is seal the deal! If you want to know more, come find me in my office, or drop me a line for a chat.

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Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione, and even now as an adult, 20 years on, the world of wizardry holds a special place in my heart. And it was while I was re-reading one of these books that it struck me – J.K.Rowling created a schooling system with 4 houses, sorting children based on their most prominent qualities. Those house values are all grounded in reality, and create the framework for a selection of compelling and contrasting characters, each with their own appeal. And for many content marketers, their approach to content will fall into similar categories. So the question is, which House does your content belong to, and which House would you choose to be in?

 

Gryffindor – The Brave

“You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart. Their daring, nerve and chivalry set Gryffindors apart”

Let’s start with the ‘star’ house of the series. The three stars of the show all belonged in Gryffindor, thanks to their courage, spirit and bravery in everything they do. No Gryffindor is afraid of a challenge, and will try anything at least once. For the marketing world, that means you need to be willing to try new things. Don’t just stick to the same one or two marketing strategies you always have. Instead, face your fears and delve into the unknown. That could be trying out a new platform, posting new types of content or even hitting the ‘send’ button on an experimental new campaign. Be a beacon for the bold, the bright and the adventure-loving, and they will come to you.

 

Hufflepuff – The Empathetic 

 

“You might belong in Hufflepuff, where they are just and loyal. Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil”

Hufflepuffs might be the butt of many jokes, but their values are something everyone should aspire to, regardless of if you’re in marketing or not. Hufflepuff house is all about hard work, loyalty and trustworthiness. Which is exactly what you want out of a brand. If you lean towards Hufflepuff, your content marketing will be naturally focussed on honesty, integrity and crafting a genuine connection with your readers. Empathy is an amazing quality, and true Hufflepuff marketers can understand their customer’s pain points and offer real solutions that appeal to their emotions.

 

Ravenclaw – The Clever

 

“Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw if you’ve a ready mind. Where those of wit and learning will always find their kind”

I’ll put my hand up here, I’m definitely a Ravenclaw girl – academic through and through. To even get into the Ravenclaw common room, students have to answer a complex logic riddle – something like:

‘What came first, the phoenix or the flame?’

The answer of course is that a circle has no beginning. Ravenclaw marketers are all about data, statistics and analytics. To embrace the Ravenclaw, you need to produce content that is well researched, logically sound and compelling. Research your competitors, see what they do, and use that data to do better. Not only that, but you will need a strategy for promoting it and a way to analyse and measure its effectiveness so that you can improve for next time. When you think about it, it’s no wonder that the Ravenclaws of the marketing world nearly all end up being strategists!

 

Slytherin –   The Ambitious

 

“Or perhaps in Slytherin you’ll make your real friends. Those cunning folks use any means to achieve their ends”

And finally, Slytherin. The house in general has gotten a pretty bad rap, mainly due to spawning so many evil witches and wizards, including the infamous Voldemort himself. However, there is nothing about the inherent values of Slytherin house that’s evil. They are cunning and resourceful, with big dreams and a willingness to break the rules to make them happen. While you shouldn’t go breaking any actual laws, good marketers should never be afraid to colour outside the lines when it comes to their content. Try something that’s never been tried before, do that thing you’re ‘never supposed to do’, and never EVER settle for ‘good enough’. Instead, always strive to be better, and inspire your customers to do the same.

 

Of course, as a copywriter, I need to not only understand, but write in all of these styles. After all, it’s my job to help you figure out which house you’re in, and then write fab content for you to reflect that. If you’d like to find out more, then just drop me a line and we can have a chat. If you quote this blog, I’ll even bring you some Harry Potter themes biscuits!

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Celebrating The Life Linguistic – Or Just Chatting Shit With Copywriters?

Celebrating The Life Linguistic – Or Just Chatting Shit With Copywriters?

So last week, despite being firmly in the middle of my lovely two week holiday, I strapped on my best copywriting helmet and braved the sodden winds of Bournemouth beach for Copy Cabana. I actually discovered this gem of an event last year – about three days too late for the 2016 event. So I swore to myself I would get tickets the second they went on sale for 2017’s shindig, and thanks to the lovely Vicki Ross, I damn well did.

 

For those of you who aren’t quite as sadly dedicated as I am – Copy Cabana is the name given to the gathering of over 300 copywriters to talk about words. And believe me, the very best words were on display. From the moment the first people sidled through the doors (and were then told off and sent away for being 10 minutes early), the room was buzzing with ideas chatter that could only come out of copywriters.

 

It. Was. Amazing.

 

It was great fun too. I’m really glad I didn’t bother with heavy eye-makeup, because the speakers had me staring wide-eyed in wonder, laughing so hard I was in tears (I’m pretty sure the guy next to me thought I was having a nervous breakdown) and moved to the point of tears. I left feeling inspired, uplifted, and I’m pretty sure I drove my husband mad on the drive home with my excitable chattering. But I also learned some pretty amazing stuff too, and I wanted to share that with you lot. Because you all deserve to learn too! Strap in guys, this is a long one.

Fall in Love With The Devil In The Detail

 

Sarah Topping was the speaker I was most looking forward to seeing at the event, so when they announced that she was up first, I couldn’t contain the excited squeal (again, sorry Andrew!) Sarah Topping has my dream job, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more jealous of a human being. She cut her teeth by waddling through the Puffin/Penguin/Penguin random house offices writing all sorts of exciting and colourful copy. Sarah taught us all about the devil in the details, and how you really do need to put the research work in if you want great results. When creating book blurbs of a few hundred words, Sarah will read the entire book cover to cover, just in case the main character dies in chapter 4. Likewise, when writing anything you should know all of your facts before you start, or else you could write something completely wrong.

 

Seriously people, do your research.

The Robots Are Coming

 

I have never heard such a simultaneously terrified and angry outburst as when Glenn Sturgess and Pete Stephen announced that the robots are coming to steal copywriters jobs. This fantastic and informative talk had us all panicking that in 20 years, AI will be so sophisticated that it can write copy better than us. They even gave us a lovely poem, written by AI:

 

‘But it’s not all doom and gloom!’ they cried. ‘Copywriters just need to adapt!’ So instead of fearing the robots, we should be using their unlimited analytical and pattern recognition to test and improve our own writing (while we still can). In 20 years, we may be calling ourselves digital anthropologists instead of copywriters.

 

Everyone Loves Ice Cream

 

Next up was the most delicious speaker of all – Kerry Thorpe, Communications Lead for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Once I had got over my sudden desire to work at Ben & Jerrys (dogs, picket fence desks and 2 pints of free ice cream a day?!), Kerry revealed to us that that carefully crafted whimsical tone we see plastered over ice cream tubs isn’t all it seems. Instead of being just a clever piece of marketing tone, the teams at Ben & Jerry’s really live and breathe the ethos. Social responsibility, cheeky fun, experimentation and truly amazing ice cream – that’s what they’re all about. Kerry reminded us that companies who truly embrace their identity are the ones that create these standout brands. They do what they love, and it shines through in everything.

Care, And Care Hard 

 

A surprise insertion, the 4th speaker at this illustrious copywriting conference was….

 
A window cleaner.

 

Yes, you read that right. But he was a window cleaner who reminded us that we do our best work when we actually care about our customers. The same goes for any business, any service, anything. Care, and care hard. Or what’s the point?

 

Avoid Going Up Shit Creek

 

These ladies truly amazed me, in part because they run their content marketing school from a pub, and that’s pretty awesome. But they’ve also created some amazing graphics that describe exactly what the content marketing journey is like, and give you a compass to navigate it with. For example, their map of ‘content island’, which needs no follow-up:

 

They encouraged us as copywriters to get a bit more involved in the content strategy element of what we do, and help our clients do the same. Something I fully plan to embrace (watch out clients!) They also provided me with my first favourite quote of the day:

 

Dogs aren’t just for Christmas, and content writers aren’t just for web copy’

Something About Poetry

 

I’ve got to be honest here; there was a chunk of Rishi Dastidar’s section that completely flew over my head for two reasons:

 

  • I have about as much poetic talent as a duck on stilts.
  • Something he said sparked a fire in my brain, and I was scribbling down a children’s story idea so fast I’m surprised my page didn’t catch fire.

 

But in all seriousness, Rishi was great. His points about the creativity of copywriting and poetry (and their similarities), and how as copywriters we should always be trying to mix the magical into our everyday copy, just as poets do.

 

Guide To Wine Writing

 

Our celebrity appearance was Joe Fattorini (he presents The Wine Show on ITV) taught us that subject experts are quite shit at writing about their subject area, because they have the ‘burden of knowledge’. This is something I rabbit on about quite a lot (though I say ‘blinker vision’) and really shows when it comes to wine. Joe regaled us with tales of his days donating wine to the homeless in exchange for ‘real reviews’, and how the ‘fancy’ wine copy is often lying to you (ask me how later). Experts who use posh language to impress their customers rarely do, and instead, you should be looking for the real reasons people use your product if you want good sales. For wine – relaxation and because it’s enjoyable.

 

This spawned my second favourite quote of the day, when he described wine as ‘a wank in a glass’. And no, I’m not explaining that one any further.

 

Care Again

 

I don’t actually have many notes from Karen’s speech, mainly because I was so engrossed in listening to her stories. As the fundraising manager for World Vision UK, she has to reach out and pry money from the hands of privileged Westerners and give it to poor children suffering in the world’s harshest places. All she did was read us some of the letters they send to their supporters – telling the stories of these poor children and how their donations helped. By the end, I was reaching for my wallet too. Emotion might just be the single most important weapon marketing has, and we don’t use it enough.

Tone Of Voice Isn’t Bullshit

 

Remember when I said some of the speakers left me laughing so hard I was crying my eyes out? That was this guy. Every other word out of Nick Parker’s mouth was a mixture of laugh out loud comedy and genuine genius, which made his talk about tone of voice all the more impressive. He shared some fantastic examples of good and bad tone of voice with us, and coined his own names for the 10 tones of voice that provide marketing gurus with the fuel they need. A few of my personal favourites included ‘Ronseal’, ‘Big Friendly Giant’, ‘Playful Children’ and ‘Foolbiscuits’. But more to the point, tone of voice isn’t all bullshit. It’s the hand of Midas that turns your ‘meh’ content into true marketing gold.

Everyone Is Biased

 

Making a complete U-turn, Elle Graham-Dixon made everyone take a good hard look at themselves. With some simple riddle, she exposed the gender bias of everyone in the room, making us all feel like awful human beings. Although she did try to make us feel better by explaining it’s our brains who are lazy and make presumptions, not us. Still, Elle’s half hour segment about bias and stereotypes sent every copywriter in the room away with a new desire to write more inclusively, use insights instead of stereotypes and be the change we want to see. Bravo Elle.

The Art Of Being Interesting

 

Our final speaker of the day was promoted as having written the most expensive marketing book of all time (£3000 a copy), and being an all-round ultimate copy guru. Unfortunately, as a speaker he just wasn’t my cup of tea. No offence to Steve Harrison, but sometimes people don’t gel. Maybe I was getting tired (it was very warm in that seminar room). It’s not you, it’s me. Etc etc.

 

Steve did make some really good points, even if I didn’t connect with him as a speaker. And I know a lot of other copywriters there loved him. He reminded us that we really should be focusing on the problems the end readers of our content have – and not the problems the client who commissioned it has. We shouldn’t be writing content to get the client more sales; we should be trying to solve their customer’s problem. That’s how you generate buzz around a brand and turn passive readers into real-world sales.

 

And that’s it. My first experience of Copy Cabana was inspiring and insightful, and it’s definitely changed the way I think as a copywriter. I can’t wait to see what they have in store next year! (No pressure Vicki and Andy!)

 

Oh, and thanks for sticking with me for nearly 2000 words. I promise the next blog won’t be as long.

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What Politicians Could Learn From Marketers

What Politicians Could Learn From Marketers

I’ve got to be honest, I never thought this would happen. All my life I have been quite anti-politics (much to the ire of my family) and while I keep up to date with what’s going on, my interest in the subject is limited to almost 0. However, recently I’ve started to think. Politicians who are out to secure votes and win the public’s confidence – like they currently are for the general election – aren’t really all that different from the business owners I work with every day. They are reaching out to people and trying to convince them to buy into their promises and their abilities. And this got me thinking. What tips could politicians take from marketing gurus that would really help them appear likeable and gain that confidence?

Branding

 

If you want to market an idea, you need good, strong branding. Figuring out what you stand for and how you come across is an essential part of marketing, and it’s something politicians often try – but fail – to do. It’s actually something that Jeremy Corbyn has been very good at. He has staked out his views and beliefs (aka his brand) and he has stuck to it with a stony-faced defiance that you can’t help but admire. Like it or not, political parties are brands, so they have to stand out in a crowded and noisy marketplace, just like any other brand. The ideologies you stand for as a politician are exactly the same as those you would employ as a business owner. But your success will only be as strong as your branding – so the more thought, time and effort invested into it, the more memorable you will be. Notice there that I didn’t mention money there. Good branding is not always the most expensive or flashy – it’s the one that’s been best thought through and most consistent.

Research

 

For a business to market itself effectively, they need to research their target market, find out what matters to them and speak to that. It’s the basics of good marketing, and you will find the brands with the most successful campaigns are the ones who have done comprehensive market research. Once you understand who you’re talking to and what’s important to them, it makes it much easier to sell yourself to them. Granted, that’s much simpler when you’re selling a product or service as opposed to a philosophy, but the general idea is the same. But what I see in reality is politicians who have completely missed what motivates the general population in a leadership campaign. It’s not tax cuts, it’s not grand empty gestures, it’s leadership – with substance. If politicians were more attuned to market research, there might be more community focussed policies and popularity around politics.

Consistency

 

Once you have a brand, it’s important not to go off brand, and not to lose your dignity along the way. For example, when McDonald’s challenged about their ingredients, they carefully planned films and broadcast a series of videos and other adverts that spoke directly to that concern. They came across as open, honest and trustworthy, and the brand came out the other side better than when they entered the fray. But what’s that got to do with it? Well, we have all seen the politicians (not always British ones) get drawn into irrelevant sideline discussions and enter schoolyard style brawls in an attempt to dirty their opponent. Whether it’s who can be tougher on immigration or which of them cares more about a certain issue, these petty arguments always result in lower confidence and lost votes. As a business with a strong brand, you know who you are and what the issues really are – so you should be able to handle the bumps in the road without getting rattled. Instead, rise above the rest of it and maintain your brand values consistently, and you will always come across the better party.

Capitalise On Events

 

The inspiration for this entire post came from one simple fact – this years’ local elections were held on May the 4th. Now anyone who is or knows a Star Wars fan (so basically everyone) knows the cult popularity of this date, which is unilaterally known as ‘Star Wars Day’. So why, on local election day, did not a single election candidate in the South (I can’t speak for other areas) capitalise on this fact? In a time where politicians are desperately trying to appeal to the younger generation of voters, showcasing that they are at least aware of their culture is a no brainer. Sure, dressing up as a Jedi at the polling station might be going a bit far, but as far as engaging and unique publicity goes, this was an open and depressingly empty goal.

 

And so at the end of it, I’m still not all that interested in politics (but yes, I am voting this year, so no comments about that please). I truly believe that politics needs a complete rebrand, to take us away from a system that leaves so many disengaged and disappointed with the way the country is run, but feeling like they have no voice to say so. And to do that, politicians should definitely take some advice from the marketing world.

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What The Hell Is Content Marketing?

What The Hell Is Content Marketing?

Whenever I meet new people and tell them what I do, I am almost always greeted with a blank look. While we may have chosen the term ‘creative content agency’ because we like the ring to it, the nuts and bolts of what we do is content marketing. If you’re trying to market your business online, odds are you’ve heard about content marketing somewhere along the line. It’s everywhere you look, with 86% of businesses today using it in one form or another. But if you don’t practice content marketing, do you know what’s involved, what it means, or how you can weave it into all of your marketing efforts to make them more effective?

What Does ‘Content Marketing’ Mean?

 writingContent marketing is defined as ‘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.’ A bit of a mouthful! In essence, the point of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating, curating and retaining content that is relevant and valuable to them. By doing this, you are portraying yourself as a thought leader in your subject, establishing trust and ultimately changing or enhancing the behaviour of your customers. This could be convincing them to start using your service, change the way they behave towards something or encouraging them to talk about your brand.

Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight. The key thing to remember about content marketing is that it’s an ongoing process that needs to be integrated with your overall marketing strategy. The creation and dissemination of original content and media is essential, and for this to have a noticeable effect it needs time to circulate and build an audience. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me they quit blogging or using social media because they didn’t see an increase in sales after the first 2 weeks. If you’re going to invest in content marketing, you need to understand that you are playing a long game, and it might be a while before you see any significant results. The concept of content marketing is built around the tried and tested idea that if we as businesses deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

How Does Content Fit Into My Marketing?

The marketing world has been undergoing a subtle shift for decades, moving away from direct selling and advertising and towards subtle, broad marketing strategies. Today, marketing your business effectively is almost impossible without great content. Quality content affects all forms of modern marketing, including:

  • calendarSocial media – content sharing is a fundamental part of all social media strategy.
  • SEO – search engines rank and reward businesses that publish regular, quality content over those who don’t.
  • PR campaigns – Successful PR campaigns don’t talk about the business but address issues the audience cares about and discusses them, through content.
  • PPC – For a Pay Per Click campaign to work effectively, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound Marketing – Driving traffic to your site and generating inbound leads revolved around drawing uses in with great content.

Essentially, for any marketing activity you can think of, content now plays a key part in its execution and effectiveness. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to (in fact, many would actively avoid buying from a business that ‘hard sells’), instead, they want valuable information when making their purchasing decisions, which is where content marketing comes in. Once you have created your content, it can spread through social networks generating powerful word of mouth exposure and convincing people to visit your site and buy. The takeaway here is that content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing process, not something completely separate.

Intrigued? Content marketing is as powerful and effective as the time and money you put into it, so if you want to see great results, be prepared to jump in with both feet. Not sure you can create your own content? There are always people out there to help you out – like us! At Eleven Eight we not only create high-quality content, but we teach you how to create and spread your own content. Want to know more?, Give us a call or drop us a line for a chat with absolutely no obligations.

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story...
Read More

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up...
Read More

Whenever I meet new people and tell them what I do, I am almost always greeted with a blank look. While we may have chosen the term ‘creative content agency’ because we like the ring to it, the nuts and bolts of what we do is content marketing. If you’re trying to market your business online, odds are you’ve heard about content marketing somewhere along the line. It’s everywhere you look, with 86% of businesses today using it in one form or another. But if you don’t practice content marketing, do you know what’s involved, what it means, or how you can weave it into all of your marketing efforts to make them more effective?

 

What Does ‘Content Marketing’ Mean?

 

writingContent marketing is defined as ‘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.’ A bit of a mouthful! In essence, the point of content marketing is to attract and retain customers by creating, curating and retaining content that is relevant and valuable to them. By doing this, you are portraying yourself as a thought leader in your subject, establishing trust and ultimately changing or enhancing the behaviour of your customers. This could be convincing them to start using your service, change the way they behave towards something or encouraging them to talk about your brand.

Of course, change doesn’t happen overnight. The key thing to remember about content marketing is that it’s an ongoing process that needs to be integrated with your overall marketing strategy. The creation and dissemination of original content and media is essential, and for this to have a noticeable effect it needs time to circulate and build an audience. I’ve lost count of the number of people who tell me they quit blogging or using social media because they didn’t see an increase in sales after the first 2 weeks. If you’re going to invest in content marketing, you need to understand that you are playing a long game, and it might be a while before you see any significant results. The concept of content marketing is built around the tried and tested idea that if we as businesses deliver consistent, ongoing, valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

 

How Does Content Fit Into My Marketing?

The marketing world has been undergoing a subtle shift for decades, moving away from direct selling and advertising and towards subtle, broad marketing strategies. Today, marketing your business effectively is almost impossible without great content. Quality content affects all forms of modern marketing, including:

  • calendarSocial media – content sharing is a fundamental part of all social media strategy.
  • SEO – search engines rank and reward businesses that publish regular, quality content over those who don’t.
  • PR campaigns – Successful PR campaigns don’t talk about the business but address issues the audience cares about and discusses them, through content.
  • PPC – For a Pay Per Click campaign to work effectively, you need great content behind it.
  • Inbound Marketing – Driving traffic to your site and generating inbound leads revolved around drawing uses in with great content.

Essentially, for any marketing activity you can think of, content now plays a key part in its execution and effectiveness. Today’s consumers don’t want to be sold to (in fact, many would actively avoid buying from a business that ‘hard sells’), instead they want valuable information when making their purchasing decisions, which is where content marketing comes in. Once you have created your content, it can spread through social networks generating powerful word of mouth exposure and convincing people to visit your site and buy. The takeaway here is that content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing process, not something completely separate.

Intrigued? Content marketing is as powerful and effective as the time and money you put into it, so if you want to see great results, be prepared to jump in with both feet. Not sure you can create your own content? There are always people out there to help you out – like us! At Eleven Eight we not only create high quality content, but we teach you how to create and spread your own content. Want to know more?, Give us a call or drop us a line for a chat with absolutely no obligations..

4 Marketing Myths We All Need To Stop Believing

4 Marketing Myths We All Need To Stop Believing

The great wide world of marketing is something that many people know something out, but it’s very rare to find someone who knows everything. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s impossible. Marketing is a huge field with a lot of opinions and ideas, some of which work and some don’t. you can follow the best advice out there but it might not work, or follow none of it and see great results. What amazes us is that there is still a large portion of people who believe and perpetuate some ideas about marketing that have been proven to be completely false. These can at best leave customers with unrealistic expectations and at worse cause some serious harm to their business. So naturally, we wanted to bust some of them for good and sort the fact from fiction.

Content Creation Is The Same As Inbound Marketing

This is by definition untrue. Content creation is the act of conceptualising and creating content (fairly self-explanatory), whereas inbound marketing encompasses all marketing activities that bring visitors in, as opposed to having to go out and get prospects attention (outbound marketing). Inbound marketing earns the attention of customers, makes the company easy to be found and draws customers to the website by producing interesting content. Obviously creating content is a very important part of this and will help to give your customers the information they want and establish you as an expert, but just creating more content alone won’t bring you results. It needs to be combined with your web design, SEO efforts, your social media presence and interaction, email marketing, marketing automation and conversion process in order to be effective. Content is really only 1 part of the puzzle.

‘I Just Need A Website And I will Get Customers’

Yes, having a website is really important and it’s a vital first step, but that alone won’t get you customers. Let’s get rid of this ‘build it and they will come mentality once and for all. It only worked in Field of Dreams anyway. Nothing in marketing works in isolation, instead relying on complementary efforts to produce results. If you simply build a website and leave it there, you won’t see any results –we’d be willing to put money on it. You have to put yourself out there and promote for people to notice you above the throng of thousands of other businesses competing for your prospects attention.  If you are not using other marketing and advertising tools to put yourself in front of them, it is impossible for you to be found and generate sales. Unfortunately, it’s no longer good enough to simply have a pretty website, you’ve got to know how to use it too.

If I’m Doing Something, It’s Better Than Nothing

This ideology is nothing short of insane. Marketing costs money, so if you’re just doing something because it fulfils the mandate for ‘doing marketing’, you are literally just throwing money away. Before you start saying yes to the first thing that comes along you should be doing research to figure out which marketing efforts will bring you the highest ROI. You need to define and hone your message and brand identity, dedicate time and money to making sure your message is getting to the right people and the resources to monitor, evaluate and change the direction of your marketing to make it successful. If you aren’t able to do that then marketing is just a way to camouflage throwing good money out of the window.

Marketing And Advertising Are The Same Thing, Right?

WRONG! It’s amazing how often we still hear the terms marketing and advertising being used interchangeably as if they were the same thing. Let’s clear this up. Advertising means buying time or space to relay a message. Like buying a billboard on the side of the road or a prime time TV slot to run your advert. It is a part of something bigger. Marketing, on the other hand, is the act of moving a product from concept to customer delivery and drawing in those customers. This encompasses the ideas of your company, your brand, how you communicate, the design, processes, measuring of effectiveness and market research. In short, marketing is a bloated giant of a concept, while advertising is relatively straightforward and small part of it. Marketing activities can include blogs, email newsletters, customer research, cold calling, search engine marketing and so much more. For small and medium sized businesses, advertising is actually the worst performing form of marketing, because advertising is a mass market tool, whereas most small and medium sized businesses are aiming for a niche market. So instead, they employ wider marketing tactics to gain new customers and raise awareness.

Marketing is a never ending task for every business out there, not least because there are so many options to try and avenues to go down. That’s why it’s important to take a measured view of your activities and understand how everything works and what it could do to your business. Hopefully shedding some light on these common marketing myths have helped to shape your ideas moving forward and will make your next marketing effort all the more successful. For more information on marketing myths and the truths behind them, or just to talk to us about your marketing strategy, get in touch today for your free consultation.

7 Reasons Your Business Should Be Blogging

Every business should be blogging.   There really isn’t a question about it anymore. Blogging isn’t some new-fangled form of marketing with no proof behind it. They’re been around a fair while, and they’re here to stay. By now, all the savvy businesses are...
Read More

The F Word (And Why Your Content Needs More F’s)

Relax, I’m not here to deliver some big sermon on swearing, or tell you that you need to pump your copy full of expletives in order to be noticed. Nothing like that. Today, I want to talk about a whole different type of ‘F’. You see, people don’t read in straight...
Read More

How To Get Your Blog Ranking On Google

Google, google, google. There isn’t a day goes by where we aren’t reading something about Google. How to get your website to page 1 is the main one, since occupying that coveted page 1 spot will gain you more clients, more exposure and ultimately, more success. And...
Read More

4 Benefits To Story Driven Marketing

Brand storytelling isn’t a new concept. So in a sense, this blog might just be rehashing old ideas. But here’s the thing. Only the bigger businesses seem to be doing it. Why do you think the John Lewis adverts get such attention every year? Because they tell a story...
Read More

Which Hogwarts House Does Your Content Belong To?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m a bit of a Potterhead. Harry Potter came out in 1997, when I was just 6 years old. As an avid bookworm, I had my head in the first book almost as soon as it could get from the book shop shelves and into my eager hands. I grew up...
Read More