SEO-based approaches are marketing snake oil

Beware SEO based approaches promising the earth.

There seems to be a ground swell emerging that SEO based approaches are a panacea for marketing in general. Pushing the customer to one side in favour of a chase for rankings.

Snake-oilDespite warnings about the dangers of guest blogging with links, many companies are still interested in using this form of content marketing to boost SEO. It does make sense. It’s always been difficult to measure ROI on marketing. Just because a certain amount of people see a billboard or an advert doesn’t guarantee you’ll see a boost in sales.

SEO provides a result. It’s easier to measure in terms of a number, a position on a Google search or an improvement in a keyword. But the reality is that using only SEO as a measure of ROI is the equivalent of marketing snake oil.

It’s great if you’re on the top ten Google results for a certain search term. That does put you in the face of a lot of customers who wouldn’t otherwise know about you. But it’s not everything. It’s not building an audience. It’s not building a brand. What we encourage our clients to understand is that they don’t just need to focus on boosting their ranks in search engines, but building an audience behind their brand.

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Three marketing lessons from Google’s Pokémon Challenge

Yesterday, April Fool’s Day, Google released a YouTube video announcing a competition to find Pokémon. Each person who sought out a hidden Pokémon in a real world location could become a Pokémon Master. Even though the augmented reality was part of the prank, you can participate in the Google Pokemon Challenge on Google Maps in real world locations until this evening.

There’s a lot of reasons this prank works in Google’s favour, but here are the three major content marketing lessons to take away from the search giant’s Pokémon Challenge:

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Promotion and using influencers to build your audience; the ASA speaks

A key aspect of the work we do at DVO is driving awareness of our clients’ content and brands. After all, we can publish the best content in the world on their websites and promote it on their social but that’s often seen by just a small section of the potential audience.

That’s where our digital communication and promotion arm comes into play. DVO’s team-within-a-team is dedicated to helping our stories reach as wide an audience as possible, so we can engage more people and bring them to our clients’ owned media. Think of them as a mad hybrid of media buyer, planner, PR person and promotional expert working on the myriad digital platforms that exist.

But that’s all marketing speak.

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Five questions that say yes to content marketing

Why you should be saying yes to content marketing and dropping some of the old practices, they could get you in trouble.

I’ve been taking a good look at Eric Enge’s pieces on Search Engine Watch recently. They make it absolutely clear why content marketing is such a compelling proposition for brands and why older link building practices have become a genuine liability.

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam and the public face of its search quality team – the SEO police if you like – said this recently when asked by Enge what the best link building strategy was:

Make a fantastic website that people love and tell their friends about and link to and want to experience. As a result, your website starts to become stronger and stronger in the rankings.”

The same is true of all your online content.

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The rise of the growth hacker

The rise of the growth hacker. Another digital term to describe a practice we’re all doing as marketers anyway or something new?

The term growth hacker is something we’re hearing a lot these days, is it just another buzzword or something more? In a previous post I referred to a survey that highlighted a skills gap in digital marketing. And while it was commissioned by a recruitment company (presumably in the hope of generating business) it also raised a big question that many brands encounter, certainly the ones we speak to: how do we structure our marketing departments and what skillsets do we need?

Today there are so many platforms, marketing automation tools and strategies ­– not to mention traditional media and PR – the list is getting longer and longer. Continue reading

Creative content for conversionists

DVO is an interesting business. We’ve straddled the gap between brand and conversion since we started even though our clients seem to fall into one of two camps; either very brand focused or very conversion focused. DVO, however, is something of a metaphorical bridge between the two. It’s vital that they work together for content marketing to be effective.

This post is the first of two looking at both sides of this coin and, hopefully, offering up some insights too. Initially I want to look at the nuts and bolts needed to deliver great creative.
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What is content marketing anyway?

So what is content marketing anyway? Something we hear on a regular basis because as an industry we’ve done little to simplify and educate time and resource poor clients who want to do it but don’t want to have to unpick the 25 different versions.

So what is content marketing anyway

As a full service digital agency a question we’re constantly asked is “So, what is content marketing anyway?” Agencies are now entering a space that confuses brands because of the ubiquitous nature of the name. Content marketing is essentially about how consumers behave, particularly online, but the majority of content marketers are sticking to their historical approach.

What does content marketing mean to us? Content marketing is a hybrid of disciplines, optimised to deliver the best results for a client depending on their priorities. Brand awareness and conversions are the foremost measure of success. We create strategic, brand-centric, buyer-focused, search optimized, technically sound, creative, and results-driven content. A lot goes into one simple term.

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Three content marketing lessons from the 2014 Super Bowl

It says a lot about the power of content marketing that the TV spots that run during the Super Bowl are just as popular, and sometimes more popular (especially in the UK) than the game itself. The stakes are high. Brands only get a small amount of time to convey a message about their product. Quality content is paramount.

Hulu, an American-based subscription service, not only hosted the Super Bowl ads but provided a platform for Americans to vote on their favourites. What can the three most popular ads teach us about quality content?

Budweiser Puppy Love

Budweiser – puppy love and the power of cute

They tell actors to never work with children or animals for a reason. But is it possible for businesses to harness the power of cute? On the outside, if someone told you they were going to make a Budweiser advert with a puppy in it, you might roll your eyes and think that it’s a hokey, maybe even cringe-worthy connection. Puppies and beer put together could spell a potential lawsuit. But what this ad proves is that, if done well, even beer companies can work with the cute factor to create something that appeals to wider audiences.

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Useful content drives sharing

When our clients commission us to create content for them, our first goal is to create something that provides value to the viewer. Last year, IBM demonstrated this idea by creating adverts that doubled as benches in urban areas.

The best approach in content marketing is one that keeps in mind not only the objectives of the brand who wants potential customers to know about them, but also one that takes the viewer into consideration. Sometimes companies are so concerned with ‘viral’ content that they forget what makes content go viral in the first place.

A marketing study by Chadwick Martin Bailey found that 72% of the people they polled shared content because they found it interesting or entertaining. But does it really take a genius to sort out that thought-provoking or entertaining (and sometimes both) content motivates people to share? The key then is combining the two.

What’s so successful about IBM’s approach is that they are not only changing the typical interaction that happens between an advert and its viewer, but they’re also providing something of value to the viewer. Sure, it’s just a bench. But it’s enough that it gets individuals interacting with it.

That’s the approach that DVO consistently takes with content. We seek to combine entertaining with thought-provoking or usefulness to create content with value. During our campaign with PropertyWide, we used their expertise to create an engaging infographic that compared the average rent prices in cities across the UK:

Both The Independent and Economic Voice, among many other publishers, found the content useful for their audiences, and the information appealed to multiple audiences from finance blogs like Savvy Scott to student publications like

Experience has taught us that the best rule for creating content that effectively spreads your brand message is to understand what makes people share. Highly effective content marketing involves making either thought-provoking or entertaining content. And if you can combine both, you have the best both worlds.

We’re a London based content marketing agency that can help you optimise your webspace. If you’re interested, get in touch!

Webspace – A new paradigm in online marketing

Successful online marketing is about building a great website, then promoting it through advertising, optimising it for organic traffic and getting some journalists to write about you, right?

Nope. That’s more like what you do if you have an offline shop.

Online marketing is about optimising multiple properties to function as an interrelated digital ecosystem. I call that a webspace.

Up until fairly recently, online strategy has been dictated by the ‘rules’ of marketing of an offline, pre-internet world. But, due to more digitally savvy marketers gaining senior positions and the sheer volume of data available today to measure success, this is changing.Continue reading