Content Marketing Myths to Toss Out the Window

The online business boom in recent years has sent the need for digital marketing skyrocketing. And with good reason. Content marketing is at the very heart of effective communication between businesses (B2B) and between businesses and potential clients (B2C). Among the many things that it encompasses, it can focus on a range of strategies, from email marketing, to social media channels, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Research has shown that quality content drives sales by increasing user traffic and conversions. The rise in demand for this knowledge also means that there is a lot of misinformation out there too. To help you navigate through it all, and avoid any consequent mixed messages, we’ve put together a handy list of five major content marketing myths that you should probably toss out the window.

Ready? Let’s go!

Marketing Myth #1: Content Marketing is something you can manage on the fly.

NOPE! There is a huge difference between adding new content ideas to your editorial calendar as they come up vs. just winging it with your posts based on whatever idea comes to mind. Having a roadmap that fits into your overall digital marketing strategy is crucial. If any of this sounds unfamiliar to you, it might be helpful to step back and take some real time to develop your overall marketing strategy. Need help with this step? We’d be more than happy to show you how!

Marketing Myth #2: Quantity trumps quality.

A common myth often heard through the digital marketing grapevine is that it’s best to keep pumping out content regardless of the quality. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, continually pushing lackluster content actually erodes brand credibility over time. Consider this example using a well-known website: Wikipedia was one of the many high-traffic sites to feel the wrath of Google’s Panda update when they were penalized for overproduction of thin content in 2011. While Panda updates are a thing of the past, it is only because they are now integrated into the tech-giant’s core algorithm. The moral of the story? Quality content is always the way to go.

Marketing Myth #3: Quality content speaks for itself.


We hate to break it to you, but… nothing speaks for itself! Producing quality content is a great start, but you really shouldn’t leave it at that. The next step is making sure that your worthy content actually reaches and gets read, ideally by your target audience. With the over-saturation of information people have to deal with every time they jump online, it’s not easy for them to find their way to the good stuff. You need to come to them.

 

Marketing Myth #4: Prioritizing content marketing is the express route to success.


While a solid content marketing strategy has been proven to generate great results, this doesn’t tend to happen as fast as people think or would like it to. Mostly because the focus with content marketing is that of building a trustworthy reputation as a means of creating a growing, loyal customer base. And often, this takes time, testing, and most of all, patience.

A great example of this is the IT giant, Cisco. Having joined social media networks as far back as 2008, they knew they could benefit from establishing their presence among these channels, but weren’t initially able to demonstrate how. They launched their new router, using only social media to communicate about their product, Over time, their strategy paid off: using only social media saved them over $100,000 over time. And while this strategy looks different for everyone, there really are huge benefits, if you have the patience to let it pay off.

Marketing Myth #5: Anyone can write blog content, and for cheap too!

Oh dear, there are two shades of bogus to this statement… Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

1. Content marketing is so much more than just ‘blogging’ – it’s a strategic approach to communicating with your customers to building a lasting relationship with them based on tangible value and credibility. It also requires factoring in other tools like SEO, infographic creation and online user behavior trends. 

2. Anyone can? It’s fairly common for many businesses to let their budget concerns override their consideration of who is actually going to be doing the content writing. Unfortunately, as far as quality content is concerned, this approach doesn’t get companies very far at all. Good content writing is a serious skill, and no serious skill deserves to be undervalued – especially when it’s been proven to be a huge driver of conversions. Reasonable and respectable rates for a job well done is key in today’s professional world.

Hopefully this has helped give you a clearer understanding of what content marketing entails, the importance of building a solid strategy for it, and the value it can create when you get it right. If you still have doubts as to where to get started, you can always count on us for help to develop a tip-top content marketing strategy. All you need to do is reach out to us here!

10 Steps to Syncing Up Your Team in 2019

Are you and your team feeling the post-holiday blues still? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. And hey, don’t worry about it too much; it’s more than natural after the insane amounts of eating and drinking that tend to take place over the festive period.

If you’re in need of a little kickstart to your Q1, there are some fun ways to reboot your motivation and help start the year with clarity on your company’s needs to steer your new year marketing campaign in the right direction. Here’s an example of an office-wide exercise you can engage with so everyone on your team is feeling synced up and ready to go!

Step 1: Meet and Greet

Schedule some time for a morning meeting with your team – no more than 2 hours should do the trick. Make sure everyone can make it and send out the calendar invites accordingly.

Step 2: Move and Shake

While waiting on the team’s RSVPs, make a list of your three favorite power anthems that will make for the perfect tunes to blast out over a speaker at different points during your meeting. Getting up to shake it every now and then keeps the body as pumped as your mind needs to be for these type of power meetings. Be sure to check your whiteboard and markers are ready for some serious action.

Step 3: Self-Preparation

Prep yourself to be the MC of a dynamic team meeting which people will walk out of feeling ready to take on the world. If you believe it, everybody else will too!

Step 4: Energize!

Pick up some green smoothie ingredients or make a jar of energy balls to help fuel your brains. Or, if you’re more the type to buy these already-made, that’s works! Just keep in mind that you want to sustain a healthy work rhythm, not a fast crash after a short-lived caffeine kick. By now, you’ll be ready to get everyone in the room and set the tone for a great meeting.

Step 5: Snack First, Then Goals

Fast-forward to the actual day with the snacks positioned at the middle of your meeting table, right next to a pile of different colored post-its and a Bluetooth speaker ready on standby. Once everyone is seated and listening, remind them that the main goal of this meeting is to get a hold on the company’s current needs and to come up with actionable ways to meet them through your marketing campaign strategy.

Step 6: Stretch and Reflect

Cue some stretching and general shaking it out to track #1 before you uncap a whiteboard marker and write out the title ‘Our Year in Review’ with three columns underneath with one of each of the following labels: ‘What Worked?’, ‘What didn’t?’, and ‘Lessons Learnt’. Ask your team to take 20 mins to reflect on the three columns presents, grab a stack of post-its and write down 3 points for each column in short sentence form.

Step 7: Open Brainstorm

At the end of this reflection round, read all the post-its back to the team out loud and open the floor for any requests to elaborate on the points mentioned. Keeping this feedback in mind, the next hour should be spent on an open discussion to determine your three main performance objectives for this new year. Everyone is welcome to pitch whatever they feel should be the company’s objectives, answer questions and hash their ideas out with the entire team before you agree on your final three. The key things to make sure to stick to with this task is that they are growth-driven, realistic and measurable goals. Don’t forget the snacks to help energize your thought processes here!

Step 8: Cue Up the Office Anthem

Bring out song #2 to celebrate having laid out your final three together as a team and as a prelude to prepping for the implementation phase.

Step 9: Wrap It Up

To wrap-up, the team would need to decide who will be the lead for each objective. This is best organized in groups of 2-3 members where each person has signed on to one objective nearest to their interest and area of expertise. Each objective’s representatives will be responsible for sharing a progress report on a quarterly basis complete with a brief action-plan for the following quarter, based on indicators or their own justified predictions. What this exercise does is key to empowering your team members with a sense of autonomy and provides them with the opportunity to build their confidence around decision-making and accountability. All in the name of keeping your team engaged, motivated, and maintaining a healthy dynamic in your workplace!


Step 10: Next Track, Next Steps

Celebrate your efforts and gear up for a fantastic objective-focused year ahead with song #3! Just remember to document the meeting’s outcomes with photos via your online workplace. These are bound to be revisited for reference several times throughout the year.

 

DISCLAIMER: You’re bound to know what your team will be most responsive to in terms of style for this activity. Hence, we’re more than happy for you to take this proposal with a pinch of salt and apply it with whatever variation you deem appropriate. We are simply fans of maintaining focus with an upbeat attitude and an inclusive work dynamic!

 

Visual Design Trends for 2019 That Marketers Need to Know [Infographic]

Visual Design Trends

There’s a lot competing for your attention on the Internet these days. From the vast number of ads strategically served to our favorite social sites, all the way to the amount of content produced and published every minute. With so much out there, it’s more important than ever to differentiate and draw attention with the use of visuals. With the right visual design elements, your online presence is literally proven to skyrocket — it can be as simple as tweaking the types of images you’re posting and sharing.

In 2019, visual design trends will be largely dictating our marketing efforts. While we can, it’s super important to absorb as much inspiration as we can and craft visual online strategies well. In this infographic from Deposit Photos, they break down the top visual design trends we all need to know in 2019.

Visual Design Trends

 

What are you looking forward to the most in the next year — more personalization? Environmental awareness? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to hear from you!

 

A version of this post was first published on the Digital Information World blog.

Charitable Companies: Our 5 Favorite Brands That Give Back

Charitable Companies

Thanksgiving in the U.S. is one of the biggest times of years for consumers to bust out their wallets. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other crazy seasonal discounts and sales, it’s hard not to focus on buying things. The Thanksgiving season is also very much about giving back, though – I know, crazy right?

Charitable companies with rock-solid mission statements are among some of our absolute favorites. While much of this time of the year is racked with anxiety and stress and buying, buying, buying, it’s always nice to take a look around and appreciate those businesses that are focused on giving back. Putting your money into the businesses that give back on a local community, regional, or even international scale, makes your purchase all the more worth it.

Let’s take a look at some of our absolute favorite initiatives from brands that give back. 

1. Pura Vida Bracelets

Who doesn’t love stylish, handmade jewelry to complement a holiday outfit? Pura Vida Bracelets is one of our all-time favorite charitable companies, with a mission to help support simplicity in life and the incredible craft of artisan jewelry and other goods. “Pura Vida” means “pure life” in Spanish, a Costa Rican philosophy that encourages the appreciation of life’s simple treasures. Following in line with this philosophy, the organization gives artisans full-time jobs while also helping to fund close to 200 charities around the world. With each purchase, Pura Vida donates 10% of proceeds to important causes affecting our planet.

Head to the Pura Vida Bracelets website here

2. Sudara

Being a women-run agency, our hearts are always with the millions of women around the world who are being held against their will in many capacities. Sudara is one such business that is actively fighting against slavery and sex-trafficking in India by providing women with safe opportunities to learn skills and move towards long-term careers. By offering real hope and true opportunity to these women through living-wage jobs, skills training, Sudara is helping women to gain more control of their lives and open up their futures to even more possibilities.

Head to the Sudara website here

3. Warby Parker

Being able to help someone see is a true gift in this world. So many communities around the world don’t have access to the kinds of vision care that’s needed to support a healthy, happy life. That’s why Warby Parker has stepped in to help bridge that gap and offer better vision to more people in need. With their charitable system, when you purchase a pair of glasses through their store, a donation is made to one of their non-profit partners who will help get someone set up with a fresh pair who really needs them.

 

Head to the Warby Parker website here

4. House of Light Goods

In the country of Mexico, there is a poverty-stricken crisis going on, with unemployment, imprisonment, and other important elements playing a role in the absence of many fathers. Unfortunately, this leaves mothers without the right resources or funds in a vulnerable place in trying to care for their children; this is where House of Light Goods comes in. A non-profit small business that provides real employment opportunities to single mothers in Mexico, House of Light Goods offers a safe place to work, and spaces for children to learn and play, funded by the purchase of a handmade scarf.

Head to the House of Light Goods website here. 

5. Amazon Smile

While Amazon is one of the biggest, most high-performing companies in the world, we can’t deny their influence on giving back. When you shop through their Amazon Smile portal, you can automatically have .5% of your purchase donated to charities of your choice! With absolutely no change in the overall price for you, the buyer, Amazon is set up to help you give back to organizations like the ASPCA, American Red Cross, The Nature Conservancy, and many more.

Head to the Amazon Smile website here.

 

Are you a company looking for charitable activities to launch in 2019?

Get in touch with our team – we’d love to talk shop and help brainstorm ways for you to give back!

Creepy Meets Creative: The Best Halloween Marketing Campaigns We’ve Seen

halloween marketing campaigns

Halloween is here, and it’s the perfect time for businesses to get creative about dressing up their marketing campaigns. Whether through video, a challenge or even a well-orchestrated scare-prank to showcase the true quality of a product, really great marketing campaigns are interactive, engaging, and get people jumping into action — literally.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite Halloween marketing campaigns (of all time) just in time for the spookiest day of the year!

Burger King: The Nightmare King

What gives you nightmares? Is it losing your teeth? Falling into an infinite abyss? What about a burger that gives you actual nightmares? Burger King just released a burger for this year’s Halloween campaign that was scientifically proven to give their consumers nightmares. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this study. Over a period of ten days, scientists tested their “subjects” and invited them to try the specially combined ingredients and monitored their sleep. What they found was that REM cycles were definitely impacted. Nightmarish? For your own results, you’ll have to give it a try!

M&Ms: An M&Ms (Interactive) Ghost Story

In M&M’s Halloween Campaign last year, the candy giant created an interactive ghost story that was released in weekly installments. Why the weeklong delay?  The campaign, targeted at older kids, relied on a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style poll that allowed viewers to choose what happened next in the spooky tale. Whichever choice generated the most votes would be the next plot twist. Viewers shared the story all over social media in anticipation of the next week’s installment in the sweetest countdown to Halloween that we’ve ever seen.

LG: Fake Elevator Floor Prank

What better way to showcase a product than to show it in action? LG thought of a way to showcase the realistic color and sharp quality of its new IPS monitors by creating a fake floor, with picture quality so realistic it was actually terrifying to its users. As the saying goes: “So Real it’s Scary.”

Svedka: Halloween Curse

Can you think of anything more terrifying than being followed? Svedka can’t either, and it’s for this reason exactly that their creepy marketing campaign from last year works. Once you start scrolling through their site, the banner follows you everywhere you go online. Everywhere. The only way to break the curse is to pass it off to someone else by filling out their info in the creepiest lead capture imaginable. Creepy? Yes, definitely. But also scarily creative, and a tiny bit genius.

Oreo: The Oreo Laboratorium

Who says all Halloween campaigns have to be scary? In this adorable campaign from Oreo back in 2014, it relies on user-generated content (UGC) to drive its creativity. It’s as interactive as it is loveable and makes for a really great campaign!

Budweiser: The Budweiser Halloween Takeover

In one of the best campaigns we’ve seen, Budweiser is capitalizing on the fact that there is still a growing market for Halloween in countries outside of the US. In this campaign, it employs popular singer Kehlani to create a full Halloween anthem just for them, so that all 17 countries where Budweiser is sold can associate the whole holiday with their brand.

Ready to Knock ’em Dead?

If a marketing campaign isn’t getting your heart going, then it’s probably not going to inspire your clients, either. These Halloween campaigns are creepy, creative, and make the best use of the season.

Want some ideas on how to build up a marketing campaign for your business that kills it any time of the year? Don’t be afraid to get in touch with us!