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

Vanity Publishing: How to Become an Author

Self-publishing used to be considered an arrogant, egotistical way of getting yourself published – aka vanity publishing. You didn’t need a publisher to certify your work and get it printed. Instead, you could take out the middle-man and advocate your own work as being worthy of publishing. Rather than having your manuscript sitting in a pile of other dusty pages begging to be picked up, vanity publishing gave the person the power to stand behind their work without a third party backer.

That was then. But, now the stigma has dramatically changed and that’s thanks to the explosion of the digital world. What it’s done is eradicate the term vanity publishing and made self-publishing a celebrated platform open to all.

Continue reading

How you can 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 your 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 encourage 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.

On the internet, people go in search of interesting and valuable content, and understanding this is the key to drawing profit from Content Marketing.Continue reading

Understanding Your Audience

It’s important to know and understand your audience for a number of reasons.

Understanding your audience is vital, it means you can make decisions about what content you should be producing in order to reach the most people. You want them to engage and connect with you. People tune out or click through information that they’re not interested in. It’s your job to create content that people want to know.

Your content is good – you know your stuff. But it doesn’t matter how good your content is or how strong a writer you are, you won’t build a community or grow your audience until you fully understand who you’re writing for.

There are a number of questions you must ask about your audience in order to be able to create content that is valuable and worthwhile.

Who is your audience?

Who are you talking to? Where do they work? What do they do for fun? What types of conversations are they having? These, and more, are all important factors you should consider when you’re creating your content – whether for a business or for a personal blog.

What do you have to offer them?

What content do you have that will benefit your reader? What problems does it solve in their day-to-day lives? What are you providing of value for your reader?

Pam Moore says “Content that connects with an audience is the key to inspiring an audience to listen, to engage and to take action. Content is the foundation of conversation. Conversation is the fuel that will ignite your success.”

To create sharable and engaging content, the first step is to get to know your audience. It is with this knowledge that you can create inspirational content that truly connects with a community. Your audience wants to learn something – it’s your responsibility to deliver on that. Focus on providing content with value.

If you’d like to learn more about making the most out of your content from the Content Marketing Agency who know it all, then drop us a line or come down to DVO HQ for a chat!

How To Write For The Web

Writing for the internet – whether for an e-zine, an online news site or a blog – is very different from writing a feature for a newspaper or a magazine. There are a number of things you should consider when writing for the web. You don’t need to have an English degree to understand the basics – you just need to know how to write and enjoy doing so.

Keep it short and sweet

People tend to skim-read when reading content on the internet. Long-winded paragraphs and flowery language are best left to novels and poetry. Your sentences should be as concise and clear as you can make them – use only the words you need to get your message across. According to Kathy Henning, as a general rule, online text should have half as many words as print text, but often one-quarter or even one-tenth will do.

Use line breaks and lists

You should break up your content into bite-sized paragraphs and use lists to illustrate your article. Lists are easy to scan – especially if you keep them short.

Be relevant

It may be tempting to write about your particularly bad day at work, but if it doesn’t relate to your website, leave it out. You can assume, quite rightly, that your readers won’t care – even if you do.

Be factually accurate

You want to be a trusted authority on your chosen subject. If you’re trusted, readers will return to your site time and again. The one thing that can break that trust is if you post information that isn’t factually accurate. Double-check any facts and figures before you press publish.

Grammar and punctuation

It’s important to properly proofread your work. Bad spelling and grammatical errors will send people away from your website.

Useful links:

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

Why You Should Be Guest Blogging

The benefits of guest blogging are two-fold: firstly, by guest blogging you can build links to your blog, which will organically increase your organic search rankings; secondly, guest blogging leads to exposure for you and your blog, which will naturally brand you as a thought leader in your field and help you discover more business opportunities through a solid digital Content Marketing strategy.

Building backlinks

By having a post on a reputable website you will get a link back to your website. You want to receive back links from more established websites than your own.

You can check this using PageRank – PageRank is an algorithm that factors in all the links to a site and the weight of those links. Each website, when ranked by Google, is assigned a number between 0 and 10. You should aim to guest blog on a website that has a higher PageRank than you.

When people are impressed with your content, they will want to share your links in as many locations as they can. These back links reflect positively on your search results and mean you rank higher in Google.

Gain more publicity

Publicity and exposure are two things that can come with guest blogging. By providing high-quality content and posting it on a high authority site, you’re creating a positive image of yourself and your blog. People will start to think of you as an influencer in your own right and your content becomes infinitely more sharable.

It’s free advertising. What could be better?

How to find a blog to guest post

Research: choose a blog that specialises in similar topics to you.

Outreach: connect with bloggers or websites on Twitter, retweet content.

Write well: make sure content is your absolutely best work.

Follow up: share guest posts all over your social networks. Track comments and reply to every reader who comments or asks for more info. It’s all about engagement.

Give as you receive: have guest bloggers on your own site. http://unbounce.com/content-marketing/how-and-why-you-should-be-guest-blogging-with-case-study-kinda/

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

How to attract and curate User Generated Content (UGC)

This week we’re looking at how you can bring some UGC into your brands life, curating user generated content alongside creating content.

It’s time to start curating user generated content (UGC), you need it on your site. You know why? Because it gets people interested in, engaging with and sharing your brands story. Above all it builds trust, people trust other people more than your brand, get over it it’s a fact. Content marketing and integrated campaigns feel lacking without the addition of UGC, such is it’s power.

But, not all UGC is the same and every company requires a different variety. UGC can fall into various categories, including product reviews, blog posts, forum entries and social media sharing. Most importantly, not always is it beneficial. The mindset shift in a UGC world is moving from simply creating content to curating user generated content.

Content created by your users does a lot to influence your brand. It stands as a representation of your company and has a lot of sway in recruiting potential customers to your site.

So, before you start plastering your UGC all over the web, consider which type of audience you want to attract.

Once you know this, you can start seeding your site or social media stream with comments and content that is going to get your desired audience communicating with your brand.

Here are a few ways to inspire people to generate content for your brand:

Run a competition

This year, Tourism Australia has re-launched their ‘Best Job in the World’ competition, which gives people the chance to win one of six amazing jobs in Australia, while also subsequently promotes tourism in the country.

After huge success last year, YouTube, Canon and Ron Howard have teamed up again for Project Imagin8ion. The competition asks photographers to submit their most imaginative photographs under categories including setting, character and time, with a winner being selected in each. This will form the fodder for a 30-minute movie to be directed by Howard. While the entrants get the opportunity to contribute to a movie directed by a Hollywood star, the brands also get their names shared and publicised.

Make a platform for people to contribute to

Websites like TripAdvisor and Allrecipes do this very well. In fact, much of their business plan depends on UGC. For these brands, having their users providing the content for their site creates a website for people who want advise from a community of likeminded and knowledgeable people. It’s the relatable factor that makes this approach work. On these sites, users contribute travel advice and recipes respectively. Millions of users log on daily for advice from people like them, not a travel writer being paid to review a hotel, or a top chef expecting every household to have a pasta maker and a bamboo sushi rolling mat.

The Guardian has also just implemented this approach. Their new platform – GuardianWitness – invites anybody who’s in the right place at the right time to contribute live news content to the site, whether video, photographs or audio material.

Make UGC your product

Chicago-based printing company Threadless sells designer t-shirts. But, it’s not what you might expect. The company invites artists to submit their creative designs to their site for ranking. Over a week, the Threadless community rates the designs from 1 to 5 and leaves feedback that helps the company decide which piece to print on a t-shirt. The chosen artists receive upfront cash and royalties from the sales. Effectively, the users are doing all of the work; all Threadless has to do is print the t-shirts.

Trust your users

After all, they’re the ones who will buy your product. Burberry launched the site, Art of the Trench, in 2009 and in true high-end designer fashion, paved the way for many other brands to follow. The website shows photographs of real, fashionable people wearing the iconic Burberry trench coat. Utilising your users photographs is a great way to get people sharing your brand on social streams.

Yogawear brand Lululemon has also done this effectively by incorporating Instagram into their marketing plan. Using a specific hashtag, users were asked to tweet or Instagram photos of themselves living #TheSweatLife and wearing Lululemon clothing.

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

Creating Content Is Easy, But Gaining Readership Is Hard

In today’s digital age, creating content has never been easier, but getting it seen, read and paid for is a whole different ball game. As a full service digital agency it’s in our DNA so this week we’re sharing some of our insights to help you do things better.

Pre-internet era content creation used to be simple. It was created and distributed by select publishers and newspapers, and they would fund the creation process through advertisements and paid subscriptions. These publications would have a relatively stable readership base that would gobble up their content like daily bread. However, a variety of players have entered the content creation market since then.

Brands now give away free content in an effort to engage with their target market as a way to maintain and grow their consumer base. Bloggers write on their own platforms to make their opinions freely accessible to the public. And normal people share their own titbits of content via social networks as an efficient way to ‘socialise’ and ‘share’. A good piece of content nowadays needs only a topic, opinion and an angle, written with no grammatical errors and posted in a timely manner.

As the quality of these free branded and blogger content continues to improve, readers are left feeling reluctant to pay for content since a plethora of free options exist, forcing traditional publishers to rethink their monetisation strategy.

Furthermore, the abundance of free content also makes gaining readership harder than ever for brands and bloggers, as readers can now pick and choose free content as they please, resulting in a huge SEO and social media investment by both brands and bloggers.

The biggest issue that content providers face is no longer the content creation process, but a distribution and readership issue. This is why modern day content creation involves SEO, social media, guest blogging, free access and web versions of print articles.

The problem lies in the fact that there is so much content on the web, meaning a single piece of content will inevitably struggle to be seen. Creating content is dead easy, but gaining readers requires a whole lot more work.

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 Respond to Negative Brand Content

This week we look at negative brand content and steps to make things better.

Negative brand content can be hard to swallow. But at some point every brand and business will have a negative brand content experience, you just need to know how to deal with it. With the rise of brands using social media as a platform to engage with their customers, it has become easier for people to spread negative comments about brands online. But do not fear, there are ways that you can manage this negativity and even use it to your advantage.

Social media is a very easy platform for complaints. If a negative comment is made by the wrong person it can spread like wild fire. This could result in serious damage to your reputation and a consequent effect on sales. Here’s a few tips on how to tackle negative brand content:

  • Don’t panic! This might lead you to tweet or comment defensively without thinking about the effect on the reputation of your brand.
  • Who are they? The type of person who is sending out negativity regarding your brand is important to how you form your response. There are trolls on twitter that are just trying to get your attention, but industry experts or genuine customers making a negative comment or writing a bad review need to be addressed.
  • Timely Engagement Nip it in the bud with a strategic response. Use the negativity as feedback and opportunity to engage with your customer. It’s not a good idea to ignore a genuine complaint as it will be perceived that you simply don’t care about your customers. Use this opportunity to show that you do value your customer’s feedback and that you are willing to provide a solution to the complaint.
  • Don’t be a robot When you respond to a complaint or review, make sure you sound like a human being. It won’t work in your favour if your customer feels that they are communicating with an automated service, so give everyone a unique and genuine response. Be honest and apologetic and make sure you’re using real words and not corporate jargon.
  • Be Honest Don’t try to avoid or hide negative comments. If you respond professionally and appropriately it can actually to your brand a favour.
  • Get Ahead It is safe to expect that you will experience some kind of negativity online somewhere along the line, so be proactive. Establish an online presence for your company or brand via Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, blogs and shareable creative content. This way search engines will always be populated with content you’ve created when you are searched for and not negative press. 

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

The Rise of The Mummy Bloggers

With the fragmentation of media channels and audiences on the internet, it’s become harder than ever for companies and political parties to identify demographic groups united by a creed or culture. But over the past several years, one such collective has emerged and become a major force of influence over consumer and other preferences. These are the Mummy Bloggers.

What you think about Mummy Bloggers probably depends on the angle your relationship to them points from. If you’re a mother of young children, you appreciate the shared wisdom and insight into the sometimes baffling experience of trying to raise a child. If you’re a marketer, you see Mummy Bloggers as a potential gold-mine, a way to disseminate your brand name and products to a consumption-hungry audience. If you’re slightly jaded about the whole people setting up blogs and websites to get free products from companies thing, you probably won’t care much either way.

Mummy Bloggers didn’t start out as a freebie-seeking, swag-bag grabbing group. They were women with something to say talking to other women who wanted to listen. They are undeniably a phenomenon and probably mark the first time in history where women have been able to communicate with each other on a mass scale via a direct channel about their personal experiences of motherhood. Some commentators have gone as far as to label Mummy Bloggers the third wave of feminism.

Somewhere along the way, the movement became commercialised – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Who better to decide which company sells the best baby bottles than a Mummy Blogger? If a mother discovers a company selling, say, a type of lunch box which solves a space in the school-bag problem for her, why shouldn’t she share that information with her followers and fans online? And if she is writing about it, and effectively doing PR for the company, why shouldn’t she get paid for it?

The point about Mummy Bloggers that is often overlooked is that, generally speaking, the most successful ones aren’t just ‘Mummies’ with sick-strewn jumpers and ratty hair. The top bloggers are socially elite and well-educated and usually start blogging while on a having-a-baby break from prestigious corporate careers. In the US there are almost 5 million blogs which qualify as Mummy Blogs, but of that number only about 500 breakthrough and are read by a mass audience.

The other 99% of Mummy Bloggers will never break through into the mainstream, but can nevertheless acquire writing, marketing, PR and social media skills which they can parlay later on into paid careers. Perhaps that’s the real value of the genre to its practitioners. And despite being a digital collective, Mummy Blogging is intensely social. Dedicated conferences like Blogher, CyberMummy and BritMums attach thousands of women who have or hope to start online blogs.

For brands, blogger outreach to Mummy Blogs is increasingly a place where top names battle for attention, hoping for reviews from “real mums” and access to the valuable power of word of mouth. Being a player in the Mummy Blogger world can mean access to free products, getting big media buys and even trips to the red carpet in Hollywood and Caribbean cruises. In the future, this area will become more tightly regulated: in the US the Federal Trade Commission has already issued guidelines requiring bloggers to disclose their connections to advertisers. Expect something similar on these shores soon. Although not until after the next General Election.

It’s unlikely that Mummy Blogs will ever return to their origins, when it was just about the writing and connecting, but expect to see more authenticity in product reviews in the future, as the best Mummy Bloggers seek to protect their reputations and retain their audiences.