Why branded films are the next step for video content

Warning: Contains extremely engaging and very distracting video

Have you heard? Hollywood heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Di Niro and Brad Pitt are to star in a new film. If that’s not impressive enough, Martin Scorsese is directing, and the whole thing was written by The Wolf of Wall Street’s Terrence Winter. But there is a catch. It’s not a feature length film, rather a short, branded picture – albeit costing $70 million. And the brand behind it? Studio City, a new casino in Macau.Continue reading

Audience building for Books About Town

If you’ve been following us on Twitter, you may have heard we’re working with Books About Town, a collaboration between the National Literacy Trust and Wild In Art to encourage reading for enjoyment. Based in London, the Books About Town plans include a series of sponsored BookBenches, designed by top artists and celebrating stories linked to the capital. The benches, shaped to resemble open books, will start popping up around London this July.Continue reading

The importance of long-form content and why you should be creating it

Long-form content is vital. The stats don’t lie, deeper content with rich visuals works much harder for your brand.

Whilst I admit that on the surface the online world we live in seems to place a great amount of importance on short-form content, it’s the long-form content that really engages consumers. It’s our job as a full service agency to get to the truth and uncover these insights. You will be able to find multiple articles that celebrate the economy of a 140 character Tweet; of ten minute Ted talks that are revolutionising everyday education; and of infographics that can explain complex data in a scannable and shareable visual.

So where does this leave long-form content? Is it all over for articles that run into thousands of words? The answer is no. Here are the reasons why long-form content should play a role in your content marketing strategy.

Google likes long-form

While you should always create content for real people, the fact that Google likes long-form content cannot and should not be ignored. There is little use in creating content if Google won’t rank it and people can’t find it. Content without an audience is the tree that falls in the woods with nobody to hear it – it’s irrelevant. Google is getting smarter and it knows if you are creating derivative short-form copy that isn’t telling your audience anything new. It favours content that is original and in-depth, and that truly offers something to its audience.

Encourage engagement and loyalty

It is a fact that reading a 10,000 word treatise on the latest trends in your business is not going to be appealing to everybody, but since when is successful content marketing, or successful business for that matter, about appealing to the lowest common denominator? If you have a niche audience, they will appreciate well researched and well put together long-form content that provides them with an expert point-of-view rather than a throwaway sound bite that is repeated throughout scores of pages on the internet.

Easy access

There was a time when access to long-form content meant storing bulky encyclopaedias on your shelf and subscribing to numerous printed magazines, but that is no longer the case. In our age of mobile technology, everybody can have access to long-form content on their smartphones, tablets, and kindles. The staggering popularity of online self-publishing indicates that a broad cross-section of people are accessing long-form content regularly via their mobile devices. Not only is long-form content accessible via many devices, but it is becoming easier and easier to manage how we read this content through sites and apps such as longreads.com.

People love stories

Human beings are storytellers by nature. We find our way through the world by talking to other people, by sharing our viewpoint, and by listening to the tales of others. Storytelling is something we have always participated in, and something that we engage with every day.  Marketers responsible for creating content can get so caught up in following trends that they forget they are writing for real people. There is no better way of making your audience feel something than by getting into the details of storytelling, exploring deep psychologies, and giving your audience the kind of context that short-form simply cannot provide.

In conclusion, short-form content undoubtedly has its place, but when you want to create something valuable for your audience that promotes true engagement and loyalty, long-form content should be at the heart of your content marketing strategy.

If you’re looking for a London based digital Content Marketing agency to help boost your brand then give us a call on 020 3771 2461 or drop a note through our contact page.


10 ways you can profit from content marketing.

This week we discuss how you can move from a nice to have to a must have, creating profit from content marketing to make it an invaluable part of your strategy.

We’re often asked “how do I profit from content marketing?” The point of marketing – any kind – is to inspire action. What that action is depends on your business. But, for most, this usually involves buying a product or service. Effectively, marketing should get people to take notice of you. The content is meant to grab someone’s attention, make them listen and then call them to act. Simple, right?

Well, not always. The internet is an entirely different medium from television, radio and print. Thus, the traditional tactics used to market brands on these platforms, don’t always transpire to success online. The web works in a completely different way. Online, content is the most valuable thing and profit from content marketing is the goal.

On the internet, people go in search of interesting and valuable content. And understanding this is the key to drawing profit from content marketing.

Forget 30-second TV ads and radio snippets of someone yelling at you to ‘hurry, buy now’. It won’t work online. Looking at the digital habits of shoppers, they don’t want to be bombarded with advertising telling them why to buy something. They’re smarter than that and they expect more.

Take the made-for-television ads, which act as previews for many YouTube videos. These ads usually have a ‘skip’ button pop up after 5 seconds – which is the route most of us would choose to take. This goes to show one of the stark differences between television and online ads. The attention span of an online user is far shorter. If you can’t grab someone’s attention in the first few seconds, you’re never going to get it. In essence, the 30-second ad is dead, and instead you only have an extremely small period of time to get your message or name across.

So, to profit from content marketing, you need to create branded content that readers, viewers and users are going to see and share. Don’t make an advertisement. Make content.

How can you do this?

1. Start a blog for your brand and post regularly on it.
2. Create an infographic about a relevant news story and include your logo on it.
3. Start a Twitter account for your brand and use it to interact and connect with followers and potential clients.
4. Create a quirky animation and share via social streams.
5. Produce a video for YouTube, or even found a channel on the site if you want to regularly post videos on here.
6. Comment on other people’s blogs, forums and twitter posts. Rather than fill their pages with spam, engage with them and contribute relevant and values responses.
7. Create an ebook. This is a great way to get your whole brand message across in one lump.
8. Start a free podcast or webinar featuring specialist industry advice. You can then use transcripts of these to produce an ebook.
9. Identify a common problem or issue that faces your industry and produce a report that provides solutions on the topic.
10. Formulate a press release and distribute it through a site like PR Newswire where it has a possibility of being picked up by a high profile site and included in their content.

If you’re looking for a London based agency to help with your marketing needs, then why not get in touch with DVO!

Content Marketing: Why it should be a community effort

We discuss the importance of content communities and why building them is vital to your online marketing success

Building content communities is a must have for any brand looking to successfully market to the reality of todays connected consumer. Content Marketing hinges on the simple notion that your audience will engage and interact with your brand as long as the content you provide is relevant to their needs, of a high-quality and is provided regularly. The question is: how is it possible to do this?

The answer: it gets easier when your content communities begin to grow.

Reaching a position where your audience is engaged with your brand at such a level to help create your content is seen as the Holy Grail for many companies. Why? Because it affords you the luxury of being able to depend on your supporters to talk you up as well as bring new ideas into the mix, from the other side of the table. After all, a community that feels their thoughts and ideas really matter, are more likely to champion the brand.

While the content might need a little work in order to bring it into line with your style guide and editorial tone, the difference in voice can be refreshing. The change of tone will be a welcome change for your readers, and the value of having one loyal fan sing your praises to others is substantial. Marketing basics commends the strength of word of mouth – using consumer generated content is, essentially, the digital version of this age-old practice. In a study conducted by Nielsen, 92 percent of 28,000 participants across 56 countries stated that they would trust word of mouth recommendations from their family and friends over all other forms of advertising, in other words, ‘earned’ media is worth its weight in gold.

So, how do you go about creating these meaningful relationships with your potential brand ambassadors and guest bloggers, as they’re intrinsically linked to the success of content communities?

First of all, make it abundantly clear that user generated content is an invaluable commodity when looking to gain fresh insight and perspective into your audience wants and needs, and that you’re keen to introduce it as such so to give your audience credit where it’s due.

Another key point is to consider the kind and level of audience engagement you’re asking for. Is it a simple testimonial, an image, or perhaps it’s something a little more involved. While the number of submissions will usually decrease with the amount of effort required, those people who do take time to prepare a quality submission are more likely to align themselves closely with your brand and are a valuable resource to hold on to. With this in mind, it’s essential to look at the quality of the content, rather than just the quantity.

Competitions are also highly beneficial as a way of incentivising a request for user generated content. One successful example of this comes from IMEDEEN. In 2012, the beauty brand launched a competition to find women to represent its range of anti-ageing skincare supplements. The brand launched the competition globally, asking for those with ‘natural beauty’ that belies their age to come forward. Paired with a highly efficient PR campaign, the competition was given a great amount of exposure. The results? Three winners (and brand ambassadors) from Brazil, Scotland and Corsica and a wealth of content.

Much of the content world has taken well to the practice of teaming up with others in their industry. Many content marketers provide a great example of this when they call on others in similar roles to enrich their sites with guest posts and interaction. It’s refreshing to see camaraderie within an industry and readers will find the change in tone and pace a welcome break from brand rivalry.

With content acting as the lynch pin in Digital Marketing, it’s important to make these connections with your brand’s fanbase to keep your site and social activity as fresh as possible.

If you’re looking for a London based digital agency to help with your marketing needs, then why not get in touch with DVO!

How to find a wider audience for your content

We discuss the importance of brilliant content and why it’s so important to think strategically about how you create your content to get the results you want.

The crux of successful content marketing lies in the creation of brilliant content. But even well-written, game changing content needs some marketing of its own in order to gain and grow a dynamic and lively audience.

Brilliant content can sometimes attract a decent crowd all on its own, but more often than not it’ll need a big nudge in the right direction. To prevent your best content from gathering dust in the corner of the internet you need to get the right people engaging with it and talking about it.

  • Tailor your strategy: It’s important that you position your content in front of your target audience and that you aren’t simply frantically throwing your content in the faces of people that will find it irrelevant. Tailoring not only your content but your content promotion strategy will see it spread and reach a wider audience much more quickly and effectively.
  • Get it in front of an influencer: Influencers can be anyone; from an industry specialist, a celebrity, an author to an uber blogger. Anyone who has a large social following and, above all, someone that your potential audience will listen to. Finding relevant influencers that simply can’t say no to sharing such wonderful content will mean that your brand can become an authority in that field. If a piece of content is passed on through social media, whether its Twitter, Facebook or Google +, by an influencer it will automatically instil a level of trust in your brand. If all goes to plan you will find your brand on its way to widening a loyal fan base.
  • Start a conversation, engage people: Tap into the mind of your potential audience, what do they care about? What do they want to know? What are they biting their nails over? Do they have a problem? Solve it for them. Look into current trending topics and what the most prevalent influencers are chatting about over Twitter.
  • Create a Blog: Your brand needs a blog. This will give you the opportunity to tap into a brand new audience and makes shareability literally as easy as clicking a button. Express the unique voice of your brand via the content of your blog, this will increase the likeability of your brand and in return you’ll be rewarded with the trust of your audience.
  • Don’t be boring: Create something that people will want to share, but really think about it. Making facts look pretty or fluffing them up into a piece of editorial is not shareable content. Infographics, Ebooks, white papers, videos, images and blog posts are just a few examples of some of the exciting content that you could be sharing with your potential audience.

Finding a wider audience all comes down to creativity, relevance and trust. Get excited about your content, have faith in your brand and promote it in every which way you can. Create brilliant content! When the shares, comments, likes and retweets start coming in, watch your audience grow.

If you’re looking for a London based digital Content Marketing agency to help with your marketing needs, then why not get in touch with DVO!

Content Marketing – How to get your brand on the news agenda

Content distribution is vital. You can have the best content in the world but if nobody sees it, it’s useless. DVO’s editorial director discusses how to get your brand into the news agenda, exploring the process editors go through when selecting stories. It’s what he did across his 20 year journalism career.

How does a news editor decide what to publish? There are a strict set of rules which they follow to determine what’s going to make it into their news stream. It comes down to timing, significance, proximity, prominence and general interest. For your influencer engagement to work you need to generate online content that fulfils at least two of these characteristics to stand a chance of your brand making it into the news stream. PR based content distribution isn’t easy but reaps huge rewards if you can do this.

Timing: News editors relish breaking news simply because it sells. Hence, the more current your content, the more newsworthy it will be. Readers are used to being fed constant updates on events and being informed of the latest stories as they unfold, so your content has to contribute to this expectation.

Significance: A story about a newsworthy event involving hundreds of people is going to demand much more interest that an event involving a couple. The number of people involved determines the level of news significance.

Proximity: The closer a story breaks to home, the more newsworthy it’s deemed. There are exceptions to this rule (depending on the scale of the event), but the vast majority of the time, people want to know about what is happening around them. If something happened in your city, it’s much more relevant to something that happened on the other side of the world.

Prominence: Content featuring famous, well-known people or brands have much more sway in terms of news value than a piece of content featuring a member of the general public.

General Interest: These stories are unique in that, if they’re good enough, they disregard all of the aforementioned principles and still make the news agenda. These are stories which tug on a person’s emotions and don’t usually date as quickly as other news.

The overriding element that summarises all of these points is relevance. Content needs to be relevant to be picked up by news editors. That means relevant to their readership as well as your target market.

The fact is, no one is going to log onto a news website to read a piece of biased, ad riddled content. So, the content for your brand has to adhere to this.

The key point to remember is that news websites aren’t a marketing service, but they can be a marketing platform you can take advantage of if you know how.

If you’re looking for a Digital Content Marketing agency to create great online content to help boost your brand, then get in touch with us at DVO and head on down to the DVO HQ on the HMS President.

The Importance of Quality Online Content: Why Keyword Stuffing Doesn’t Work

Keyword stuffing used to be an effective tactic used by SEO agencies to improve content ranking. Now, this tactic doesn’t work. The world of SEO has completely changed and only the highest quality content makes it to the top ranking positions in search engines.

Google’s new algorithms, brought into play on 24 April 2012, have demanded that online content ranked in the top Google spots be of the highest, ethical quality. Their filtering systems, Penguin and Panda, weed out the designated ‘immoral’ content from the honest and quality content by penalising sites that use old-fashioned marketing tactics to draw traffic. These tactics include low quality link building, over-optimisation of anchor text, cloaking pages, over-publishing poor quality digital content and of course, keyword stuffing. Any content featuring these faux-marketing strategies will no longer rank at the top of a Google search. And in the future, these filters will become stricter.

Keyword stuffing is essentially packing as many keywords as possible into content with the aim of making it more appealing in search rankings. At some point, we’ve probably all done this. But, you have to acknowledge how tedious this kind of content is to read. Other than rankings, stuffing adds little value to the content and doesn’t help to build a loyal readership.

Who would want to read a clearly sales-driven piece of online content featuring the same phrase repeatedly throughout over a well-written, engaging article incorporating organic links that are relevant to the topic.

While stuffing may have worked on previous audiences, in today’s online realm, readers and search engines both demand high-quality content that delivers an informative and entertaining read.

Online content needs to be promoted using real digital marketing skills, rather than taking shortcuts. This means recognising the audience, catering to their requirements, generating desire, encouraging action, measuring, analysing and improving. Modern SEO practices are much more targeted and direct in their approaches to improving search rankings. And it is this approach which is going to produce long-term and enduring results for your business.

At DVO, we pride ourselves on being a digital content marketing agency that only delivers the best in online content. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your brand excel in the search rankings then don’t hesitate to get in touch and head down to DVO HQ on the HMS President for a chat.

Is The Homepage Dead?

Did you know that less than half of the visits to NYTimes.com start on the homepage? The question is where are they all coming from? The answer: search and social.

Instead of coming in via the front door, more and more people are accessing websites (in particular news sites) through the back gate.

The fundamental reason is that people use the web to gather information differently to any other medium. When you go online you know what you want and you look for it directly through a search engine. Let’s focus on newspaper here.

Rather than going to the virtual front page of a paper and clicking through it from there, you use a search engine to find a particular article and enter the site through that page.

Unlike the traditional print newspaper model, people using digital news sites don’t sit down and read the whole paper. For that reason, the editorial layout of an online newspaper probably has less importance than in a print version. In a broadsheet or tabloid publication, pages are laid out in terms of lead stories and newsworthiness, guiding the reader through the news. This is in complete opposition to how most people access news online – free to search a giant database of information for exactly the story that they want.

But, this doesn’t mean the homepage is altogether unnecessary. For general news consumption, the front (home) page still has meaning. Despite changing habits, audiences continue to enter news sites via the home page to find out breaking news, lead stories and major headlines. Also, there still seems to be a loyalty to publications digitally like there is in print versions of newspapers. Plus, there are sites which specifically attract readers because of the content on their homepage – Mail Online for example.

There’s also another kind of reader to consider. The ones who enter a site through the back door and then click through to the homepage to see what the site is all about, or what else it has to offer. In that sense, the homepage on a news site acts more like a magazine cover than a front page. It gives a teasing glimpse of what’s inside, but nothing more.

So, while the homepage isn’t dead, it has definitely changed in its appearance and purpose. Instead of killing it off completely, you need to look at your homepage with a fresh pair of eyes. How does your audience use your site, what do they go to the homepage for, or what would attract them to the homepage? Perhaps you need to view it as more of a central page than a traditional home page.

DVO are a digitally integrated creative agency with a wealth of experience. If you think we may be able to help you, then get in touch and head down to DVO HQ in Camden for a chat.


Brands as Publishers: Understanding your audience

Some of the most successful brands today – think Innocent, ASOS and L’Oreal – recognise that the best way to attract customers is to produce high-quality engaging content and build lasting and valuable online communities.

The shift towards social media and online communities and away from faceless advertising strategies is undeniable. Brands are acknowledging the need to grow organic followers, and what better way to do so than by creating a ‘brand personality’ by utilising the social channels and networks available to them.

This has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of distributing content and gaining engagement – therefore building a community of loyal customers that will return time-and-time-again.

Social media

Food and drink aficionado, Innocent, was last year named the most ‘social’ brand in the Social Brands 100 ranking of consumer brands and their use of social media.

It was measured by different markers, including but not limited to brand post engagement on Facebook, a comment to post ratio on the brand blog, all brand mentions on Twitter and average views per video on YouTube.

Innocent’s desire to engage with their community rather than broadcast marketing messages has shown that by focusing on both community and content – and utilising all social media channels – you can achieve immense success.

Great content

The rise of ASOS, the online clothing shop, is in part down to the great content created around the brand. With a customer glossy print magazine and a Facebook page with over 2.2 million ‘likes’, the brand embraced the publisher role with gusto.

The decision to mail magazines to the homes of ASOS’s customers made the brand an essential part of their lives – and also added much-needed fashion credibility to a relatively new fashion brand.


Over the past two years, L’Oreal’s Garnier Fructis brand has partnered with music magazine Rolling Stone to create content around the discovery of new, emerging musicians.

In 2011 they made history by searching new unsigned artists and asking consumers to vote and decide who would be the first ever unsigned artist to grace the cover of Rolling Stone.

This is another example of great content being produced by brands who are acting also as publishers.

If you’re looking for a London based digital agency to help with your marketing needs, then why not get in touch with DVO!