You’re a busy director in for a small but thriving business. You’ve seen all buzz around content marketing and you’ve taken the leap and added a blog. Your business now has a licence to publish its thoughts, views and advice online, which is awesome.
The thing is, it’s not exactly setting the world on fire as you’d hoped, nor driving much in the way of traffic and leads.
Perhaps, like many, you’ve signed off a plan for an article or two a month, written by a third party. However, the copy writer probably isn’t the subject-expert that you are, and whilst the content is ok, it’s just a bit generic.
If this feels familiar, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Firstly, some great news!
You made the right choice in investing in content. There’s a reason why 78% of CMOs cite content as the future of marketing. When done right, it’s very powerful. However, there are countless other businesses in your niche who have all received the same wisdom. They’re all doing the same thing.
There is an abundance of content online and it’s easy enough to appreciate why that is. That has resulted in a crowded market and it’s tough to make an impact. So, to own this channel, you have to be strategic, committed and intentional.
Here’s some ideas to help you get the most from your blog and take your content marketing strategy up a notch or two.
Take Some Ownership
Typically, a content team will do their research online (then jazz it up with their unique flair to make something new). As a result, whatever they produce may feel a little ‘done already’. Because of the widespread nature of the beast, the chances are, they’re recycling content that has been through the mill a few times already.
This can easily be remedied by your business taking a little more ownership of the content being produced, bridging the gap.
Clients have industry knowledge:
- Product knowledge
- Customer understanding
- Unique insights
Agencies have marketing knowledge:
- Tone of Voice
Rarely the two meet, despite best intentions.
Businesses are usually quite ‘hands off’. After all, they’re paying for an agency to do the marketing and of course, the agency are doing what they do which is to execute as best they can.
However, when the client / agency relationship behaves more like an integrated partnership, with a clear editorial agenda and vision, things most forward at pace. So, get involved, help your agency help you. Bring your expertise to the table, and let them do what they do best, which is advise and execute.
Creating New Information
Online research is fine. It’s good to reference others and expand on their points. However, your content marketing strategy is not going to thrive on bread and butter alone.
By definition, news is “new”, so conducting your own research is a sure-fire way to make an impact. Sign off some consumer research, go data mining, hit the streets with a clipboard, whatever. Just create something original that others can reference, rather than just referencing the work of others.
For example, Glaze recently conducted research into the used cars marketing in Northern Ireland and published a report for car dealers. This was shared widely and even picked up by a leading local digital marketing news portal. It also resulted in a few leads!
Look Beyond The Written Word
There’s a world of content beyond written articles and loads of great ways to integrate simple technologies. Some ideas include:
- Live polls can be used to drive real time data and dynamic charts which update themselves.
- Dynamic infographics can update in front of you, i.e. “since you’ve been here [rising number counter] plastic bottles find their way into the ocean”.
- Even just little visuals and mini-infographics can bring traditional block-content to life.
Stop Writing, Start Cultivating
Any given copywriter will probably have lots of similar briefs to fulfil making yours just one of many on the to-do list. That’s pretty standard. But, if your content reads a bit “churn and burn”, there are some great ways to breathe new life into proceedings.
One of the best ways to inject some much-needed quality and expertise is to crowdsource content. Ask other experts in your network to weigh in on a chosen subject. To do this, pick a topic which enables contributors to lend their wisdom, experience, or creative flair and send out an invite. Easy.
For example, in the run up to Christmas, Ballymount Fireplaces invited local interior designers to offer their festive fireplace decorating tips. Meanwhile, HR solutions provider Forde HR Cloud sought expertise under the topic of “Writing Job Descriptions & Attracting Candidates” gaining contributions from local business owners.
In all cases, the content was powerful, plentiful and of the highest quality. You also stand to benefit from our contributor’s social reach, assuming they are gracious enough to share with their audience. Above all, it’s also nice to provide a platform for others.
Circle Back & Improve
Finally, if you’ve been in the game for a little while now, sustainability can be an issue. Once you’ve exhausted all key topics and obvious places to research, it can sometimes feel like there’s nothing else to write about. So, take a break and start revisiting old pieces.
One of the main purpose of doing this is to try boost the performance of old content and improve click-through rates (CTR) in search engines. It’s an effective exercise because the majority of the work is done, and it might just be a case of finessing to get the piece over the line.
There’s a superb guide to improving CTRs here, but the basic principle is to use data to identify content which is in striking distance of driving traffic. Then make some tweaks. This could be as simple as improving the page title and headers. It might involve a little more of a revamp like providing a 2016 piece with a 2018 update, or adding some crowd-sourced quotes to expand the piece.
It’s really important to go back and improve content rather than continue to publish more of the same. Otherwise, there is a danger of duplication and cannibalisation which Google doesn’t like at all. Improving existing content is a far better use of time.
Pick ‘n’ Mix
None of the ideas and suggestions are silver bullets by themselves. The key is to integrate a variety of solutions where possible and relevant. Try mix and match whatever works for your business and over time, your content marketing will become one of the most valued marketing channels.
About the author: Dave Clough is a Digital PR Consultant for Glaze Digital in Belfast. He has a strong background in digital marketing having previously been the SEO Manager for Argos and worked in senior positions for numerous leading digital agencies in London.
To celebrate our 20th year as Ireland’s representative body for internet businesses in Ireland we are offering 14 months membership for the price of 12 months!
If you join the Irish Internet Association right now you don’t have to pay another cent until 2019!
We have a range of networking activities throughout Ireland as well as our Net Visionary 20th Anniversary Celebration plus exclusive offers on our ECommerce solution rolling out in 2018.
Join the Irish Internet Association today and avail of 14 months membership for the price of 12 months. Membership ranges from just €220 per year.
This offer is available for the month of November only. Simply visit http://www.iia.ie/join-now/ to join up securely and we’ll take care of the rest.
The IEDR is planning on liberalising the registration qualifying criteria for a .ie domain. Its proposed to make it easier and more efficient. The .ie is a high quality tld and the IEDR are looking for comments and input on the proposed changes. Essentially the claim to the name is being dropped. This means companies need to be aware variants of their name as a domain can be purchased by someone not associated with their company.
Read more here from the IEDR.
Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry – the quality of entries was extremely high.
You can view the 2017 Shortlist here.
The event was sold out last year, many tickets have been pre-sold already and we have a slightly reduced capacity for seats at the venue. So please secure your tickets now to avoid dis-appointment.
Also we will be presenting the Net Visionary Award to a very worthy winner – don’t miss it!
We look forward to meeting you on the night and Good Luck!
We have 3 Awards which are open to public voting:
- Best Mobile Service or Application
- Best Use of Technology for Social Good
- Best Social Media Activity
You may send in your vote for one of the nominations within each Award category but you don’t need to enter for each Award. Your vote will still be counted if you vote for a nomination for one or all of the Awards.
The Public Voting will be open from Friday 4th August until Friday 11th August (midnight) so if you are a nominee, get busy on social media to ensure the votes come rolling in!
Public Voting open 4th August – 11th August 2017
Last Date for Entries – Tuesday 18th July
Entries have been coming in fast and furious in recent days and we’ve had lots of enquiries about extending the deadline.
So the good news is, we’re keeping the entries open for one last week. It’s free to enter and we limit submissions to 500 words; so it’s a quick process.
Go for it!
Btw – Don’t forget the Awards night (15th Sept this year) was a sell-out last year – tickets available to buy online now.
Wolfgang Shine on the European Stage
Last week saw the 2017 edition of the annual European Search Awards take place in Krakow, this sixth year of the awards ceremony dedicated to awarding stand out examples of digital marketing excellence across the Continent.
This year saw an unprecedented showing among a number of Irish agencies, who were impressively represented on the evening and in a glowing testament to the state of digital here in Ireland, were fortunate enough to have collected a couple of gongs on behalf of their innovative client campaigns. Let’s take a look at how the Irish fared in Poland.
The European Search Awards
In their sixth year, the European Search Awards celebrate the very best in European SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), PPC (Pay Per Click), Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing across 29 categories. The awards are widely considered among some of the most rigorously judged competitions of their kind. All shortlisted entries come through a robust two-step judging process, a process overseen by an influential and respected international judging panel.
Irish agencies win 4 European awards
Ireland was very well represented in the competition this year, with five digital marketing agencies featuring in the Krakow finals. Wolfgang Digital featured in a record 14 categories with a total of 16 nominations in the competition. The Dublin-based performance marketing agency has a great track record in Europe, with the victory this year marking a third consecutive ESA win.
— Wolfgang Digital (@WolfgangDigital) May 3, 2017
They went on to bring home two awards on the night, the first of which was the ‘Best Use of Search’ in the Financial sector for their ‘SERP Domination’ entry with Zurich Life. Later, they were crowned ‘Best Integrated Campaign’ for their work, ‘A Fresh Full Funnel Fashion Campaign’, carried out with Littlewoods Ireland.
CEO, Alan Coleman, cites their “cross-channel” approach to campaigns and working with “long-term clients” as their key to success.
Starcom Ireland also enjoyed European success at this year’s ESAs. Nominated in 2 categories, it was their campaign, ‘Winning Fastest Growing Lottery in Europe’, that brought home the award for ‘Best Use of Search’ in Gaming with National Lottery Ireland.
— Starcom Ireland (@WeAreStarcom) April 27, 2017
A strong European presence
While that concluded the Irish winners on the night, there were other strong contenders throughout the competition. Mediaworks earned four nominations including ‘Best Small Integrated Agency’. VROOM Digital were nominated for the ‘Best Use of Search’ in Travel with the Sandymount Hotel and Mediavest were up for the ‘Best Mobile Campaign’ with Ulster Bank.
The new Board of the IIA launched its Vision and Mission this week, in the light of a recent strategic review.
At an event well attended by a mix of industry veterans, new innovators and long-standing IIA partners, plans
for 2017 were discussed and these included a wide variety of activities and initiatives. CEO Alex Gogan outlined how Advocacy will play
an important role for the organisation, to give members a voice when it comes to issues of policy and best practice.
The IEDR was announced as the primary partner for the Dot.IE Net Visionary Awards 2017, with a date for this to be confirmed shortly
The MyeComm Kit will be completed and launched and this will be a tool to help SME’s identify the best internet tools to use to drive future growth.
Enterprise Ireland is funding a number of regional events to promote the kit and members will be invited to attend these events at no cost.
Elevon were announced as new partners for the IIA and other sponsors are coming on board shortly.
The Diploma in Digital Marketing, run in conjunction with the Irish Times Training Dept., continues to be popular with two courses kicking off shortly.
Two new initiatives included an intention to launch into Northern Ireland, in the face of Brexit. And the Internet of Things (IOT) will be a focus for educational events.
All-in-all exciting times ahead and lots of opportunity for members to access resources, network, build their profile and engage with the IIA
IIA Strategic Review
For almost 20 years, the Irish Internet Association (IIA) has played a pivotal role in terms of being the independent representative body for internet businesses in Ireland.
Recently a Strategic Review was undertaken and this has been extremely helpful in giving the new Board of Directors a basis for identifying a new Vision and Mission for the organisation
You are invited to read this document and we trust you will see the benefits for members in having a clear strategy going forward.
Dear Members and Friends of the IIA,
We wanted to provide you with an update on where we are and the good things that are happening behind the scenes.
Update 1: Future of the Organisation
· Following the AGM the outgoing board has been working with a number of interested stakeholders to ensure the future of the IIA is a bright one.
Update 2: Strategic Review
· At the IIA AGM on 22nd November it was agreed by a unanimous vote of members that a business strategy consultant would be engaged to undertake a consensus-building exercise to identify a vision, mission statement and strategic priorities for the IIA.
To complete the survey, please click here:
· The survey will remain open until Thursday 19th of January, following which the final report will be compiled and shared with Members. Your feedback will be pivotal in determining the future direction of the IIA.
Update 3: Renewals
· Membership renewals are on hold until the new board is in place. This is the right thing to do based on the current situation of the IIA as it has no capacity to deliver as it has no staff at present.
Update 4: Diploma Courses
· We are still very much open for business and our Diploma courses are running this month. If you wish to book you can find all the details on the IIA website or you can email us at email@example.com . Also if you know anyone who is interested in doing a course please spread the word.
We hope that covers everything. If you have anything you want to ask or anything you want to contribute to the IIA you are more than welcome to email us.
Irish Internet Association