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content marketing Tag

What is Content Marketing really? And is a Content Marketing Strategy different than a Content Strategy?

To the second question, NO, there is no difference.

Let us explain our answer to the first question.

There are many definitions given for content marketing, but ours is pretty simple.
The use of any consciously consumed piece of content created to enhance relationships, education and convince with the goal of getting someone to make a decision or take action.
For us this applies to visibility, awareness, lead generation and conversion or sale.

Content Marketing Strategy vs. Content Strategy

We say there isn’t a difference.
But what do others say?

Some say that content marketing strategy is understanding who your audience is, creating your message, have a brand guide and implementing it.
Some say that content strategy is more about channel strategy and the types of content that goes on those channels.

While we agree that both should exist, we also believe they are one in the same and that it goes beyond the content.

What is Content?

Content is a tool to communicate.
That’s it.

We dare you to argue with us on this. We always win!

Content Marketing Strategy

When we create a content marketing strategy we do these things:

  • Ask you questions about your business
  • Ask you questions about your customers
  • Look at your customer data & behavior
  • Research the market using search engines
  • Research your customers using search engines
  • Research the market using social media
  • Research your customers using social media
  • Identify how your targets consume online
  • Develop a channel strategy
  • Develop content for each channel
  • Optimize content with each channel
  • Track, measure and monitor behavior
  • Continuously optimize

This is how we think content marketing should be done and we’ve seen it work again and again.

Contact us if you want to learn more or contact us if you want to debate our ideas.

Adobe is currently developing a program that can sample your voice and recreate the sound with undetectable accuracy!

What is Adobe VoCo? (Project VoCo)

“When recording voiceovers, dialogue, and narration, wouldn’t you love the option to edit or insert a few words without the hassle of recreating the recording environment or bringing the voiceover artist in for another session? #VoCo allows you to change words in a voiceover simply by typing new words.”

Adobe states it pretty clearly in their statement above.

Whatch the video below to see how Adobe Project VoCo works.

Adobe VoCo

Concerns About This Platform

Some journalism, risk and ethical experts are concerned with the development of this voice reproduction and manipulation product.

  • Faking statements to draw more journalistic attention.
  • Tricking people into taking action. Think the Nigerian email scams on a much more realistic scale with spoofed phone numbers and someone on the other end that sounds exactly like your mom!
  • Financial Security. Some firms use voice print technology as a security screen.

These are just a few of the concerns they have with Adobe’s Project VoCo.

But Adobe states that they are taking measures to allow for validation within the files that would detect if something was real or not at a commercial level. *but this still leaves it open against the average Joe / Jane

Competitors to Adobe VoCo

While audio manipulation is nothing new. Making it easy / simple is. And making it “Good” is as well.

Google’s Deepmind has a product titled WaveNet that is also constructing and simulating speech constructs.
You can view more of that here: https://deepmind.com/blog/wavenet-generative-model-raw-audio/

While Google isn’t recreating the voice of a specific user, they are certainly constructing a highly intelligent speech modeler that if coupled with mimicking technology could be indistinguishable as being computer generated or human to the typical ear.

Project VoCo & Voice Mimicking Use Cases

As Adobe points out, it can easily be used for audio books, podcasts, and voice over talent.
For us this is extremely valuable as a customer service application.

Imagine an intelligent system that knows what you purchased, what your issue is, collects your personal profile information, can detect your emotion from your voice pattern and engages with you in an efficient and emotionally connected way.
And the whole time the person on the phone thinks they are speaking with an actual human being.

This takes the workflows we create today to a whole new level!
Coding in emotional triggers, PII (personally identifiable information) gets tied to your emotional profile.
I have to admit this is pretty exciting stuff.

While not available for use yet, we are working on projects like this to make how we interact across business applications more efficient and profitable.

Check out some of the comprehensive ways we are working in content marketing by Clicking Here –> http://acumenstudio.com/content-marketing-agency/

Have you heard the back and forth on how Data is marketing’s savior or how Data is way overvalued in Marketing?

On both sides of the debate, there are many opinions and strong feelings about how important it is to decision making, composition, design, user experience, etc.

Here’s the thing…

Everything is Data!

Seriously think about it.

  • The reason you don’t or do like a specific food… DATA!
  • That feeling you get in your gut when you know something is right or wrong… DATA!
  • The Best Practice you tout as being so knowledgeable on… DATA!

Emotions, likes, dislikes, associations, beliefs, etc. are all crafted from experiences and historic data that form these things for you as a person or business.

You can take that data at face value or read in between the lines to solve problems, create efficiencies, innovate, become self-aware, understand an audience, etc.
This information is extraordinarily important as it concerns decision making or creation at all levels, in all environments across all mediums.

See how we use data in our approach to content marketing here.

In my many years as a digital citizen, few things have brought more joy to my heart than the schadenfreude of seeing companies firmly plant their feet in their mouths on social media as part of their digital marketing.

It happens so often, with such alarming regularity, I often wondered how many job openings there would be for someone to work in digital marketing without making their company or client look like, well, an uninformed doofus.

Thankfully, I found such a position at Acumen Studio, so I feel this platform is a great opportunity for me to share a few tips on how we help our clients with their social positioning. We’ll begin with an anecdote of my own (almost) failure:

October 11 is “National Coming Out Day,” and we felt it was important as an agency to support the struggle of LGBTQ individuals all over the world by sharing something on social media. Many brands and companies participate in social issue discussions throughout the year, and frankly, some are hit or miss.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pretty solid, right? Edgy, without seeming too self-serving or overly corporate. We don’t lend our voice to the discussion to simply increase our name recognition, we do so because we care.

Others, well…not so much.

You see, the Seahawks won an important football game after overcoming a significant point deficit and…well, the specifics don’t matter so much as the idea that professional football does not equal the struggle of Martin Luther King. At all.

Moving along, I wanted a quote for our National Coming Out Day post that spoke to the issue with Acumen’s unique voice, plus something that would fit in an Instagram photo. A bit of quick Google-fu landed me the following: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You’re not scared. You’re an asshole.”

This quote was attributed on the site I found it (along with several other quotes I recognized) to one Morgan Freeman. Yes, that Morgan Freeman.

Seeing the issue yet?

Having finished the design portion of the post, I was prepping the text and getting ready to publish when that nagging public relations and journalist part of my brain piped up. “Hey, do you remember how it’s the rush to be the first to post about something, or not really having professional input, that usually causes the biggest problems?”

Thankfully, I heeded that voice; a quick check of Snopes.com told me no, Morgan Freeman had never said that. The “quote” was from a tweet from a parody Twitter account using an image of Freeman as its avatar. It had been falsely attributed around the internet ever since.

Picture me, then, wiping my brow in relief. This potential bullet flew harmlessly over Acumen’s digital shoulder and we avoided a potential public relations nightmare.

The point of this anecdote (and this entire post, really) boils down to this: one of the most underappreciated aspects of your company’s digital marketing strategy is public perception. Online communities are almost rabidly tenacious to catch corporate entities with their social pants down. If you want to arrest a ring of thieves, you hire an ex-thief because they understand the mindset of the target. If you want to avoid the harsh brand damage that can come with an ill-advised social media post, you come to me, because I understand social.

Bane meme social media Tumblr

What other digital marketing firm is going to offer that?

To finish up, here’s a nice list, because the internet abhors a vacuum:

  • Don’t be in a rush to post about a trending topic for digital marketing without doing your research first.
  • Don’t let a single person brainstorm, create and post to social, no matter how trustworthy they are.
  • Do allow your brand or company to participate in social discussions, as it builds trust with current and future customers.
  • Do incorporate social discussions into your company culture, as it builds trust with current and future employees.
  • Finally, don’t use a meme you don’t understand. If you don’t quite get it, ask an intern. Or me.

Zach is a content and digital marketing sorcerer who spent time on the high seas as a Mass Communication Specialist for the U.S. Navy before graduating from Southern Illinois University. Apart from his love of KPIs and the invention of the “Like”, good St. Louis ribs, and Cardinals baseball, he’s also got the greatest job in the world: being a dad.

 

Just a quick post today on something very important to us.

What is the Best Marketing Technology?

Answer: A Question

Questions are the most powerful tool we have as marketers.
What you don’t know affects the outcome of your efforts.
Many of us have solutions or “know” the market.

The biggest thing we must focus on is The Goal.
To know the Goal, we must ask what it is, if it isn’t known (which is an answer to your question) you must define it, which will require even more questioning.

This cycle continues across all aspects of marketing, business, relationships, LIFE.

Question Everything & Execute Intelligently!

I’m going to make this a very short article.

I continue to talk to companies who are not seeing results from their “content marketing” or the agencies doing that work for them.

And EVERY TIME it is due to the same thing.
The content is not being distributed effectively.

In fact, much of the time that content isn’t being distributed at all!

Here’s the Thing About Content Marketing Distribution

Many companies and agencies still believe that you can simply create sexy website or write well crafted blog posts and it will generate new business for them.
This is WRONG!

While a sexy website and well formed content is useful when applied correctly, if you do not distribute this to those who will benefit from it most, then you wasted your time and money.

That’s it.
Your content MUST be delivered multi-channel to ensure visibility, awareness, conversion and revenue.

Go-To Distribution Channels

  • Website (optimized for search engines and users)
  • Blog Posts
  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Paid Search
  • Video
  • Print
  • Streaming Radio
  • and more

Wherever your prospects are, you must be there.

Quit just making pretty looking & sounding things and start putting it to work.

What we see over and over again are people and agencies speaking on how easy SEO is and minimizing it by only talking about the most basic aspects of both SEO and overall Digital Marketing.

Why is this?
It definitely makes it easier to sell, but is that the only reason?

We dug in and realized that the reason most people minimize how important the tactics within Digital Marketing actually are (including SEO) is because they SUCK at Execution. They cannot do the work well.

It’s easy to say you should be strategic and speak to the right people at the right time online, but when it comes to actually pulling that off, most fail and fail hard.

This is where we differentiate in that our execution is deep and drives massive results.

Our advice to everyone is to Quit talking about Digital Marketing like you know something if you can’t back it up with execution.

Talk to us!

The Question: “What should I include in my content marketing?”

Here are the things that YOU SHOULD be including in your content marketing efforts.

You don’t just need content, you need Awesome Content!

Developing relevant content does not have to be a difficult. It doesn’t require any special tools, secret or magic. It all begins with understanding who your prospects & customers are, how they behave and what they crave.

The formula:
Useful x Consumable x Inspired = Innovative Content

This process begins with the creation of a piece of a REAL IDEA, Not some 2,000 word “evergreen” piece or ebook. Something Awesome.
Many marketers will tell you this should be a 50 to 100 page ebook or massive how to guide. The problem is most people can’t handle it. Big = Overwhelming.

Everyone wants to believe there is a magic bullet. So create the Magic Bullet!

Highly valuable & easily consumed content is the gift that keeps on giving. This content will attract links, generate traffic and build brand awareness.

Once your content is created, blast it EVERYWHERE: Company pages, email, blog, sponsored updates, Display ads, SlideShare, PPC, Twitter, etc.

Simple Execution
In many cases it is easy to develop a set of goals, but a plan is specific, executed over time and measurable. After determining what your Big Idea is going to be, write that out into a series or digestable snapshots that can easily be distributed over time. This can include videos, infographics, blog posts, 3rd party posts, podcasts, etc.

Week 1: Publish & Schedule Your Content
Week 2: Conduct a Webinar
Week 3: Run a Contest
Week 4: Lead a Twitter Chat
Week 5: Do an interview: On TV, Online, At a Conference, etc.

While all of this is running your content is being promoted though influencer outreach, promoted posts, email, sponsored updates, paid search, retargeting, organic social, organic search, etc.

Everything gets tagged and tracked for performance evaluation and follow up.

Your Blog
Make your blog content diverse, relevant and structured.

Monday: Case Studies, Statistics / Infographics, Industry (35% time spent)
Tuesday: Strategic Research & Analysis, Points of View, Thought Leadership (20% time spent)
Wednesday: How-To Posts, Guest Blogging, Peer Content (25% time spent)
Thursday: Bold Points of View / Strong Opinion, Challenger (5% time spent)
Friday: Light-hearted, Cultural, Funny Amusing (15% time spent)

A Quick View
SEO – Lays the groundwork
Social – Fuels the content
Content – Fuels the demand

Winners:

  • Consistently deliver content that their target wants to consume & share
  • PR efforts guide their vision as a leader in the space
  • Deliver amazing experiences on and offline
  • Build a thriving community

Make a plan, make it Asesome, deploy, track & measure, optimize, close new business and WIN!

And this is why we are considered the best content marketing agencies in St. Louis.