Global content marketing expert Rebecca Lieb is this week’s guest on Brand Newsroom, as the team discusses the performance of content marketing. ROI, Rebecca says, is about way more than just sales.

A strategic advisor, research analyst, keynote speaker, author and columnist, Rebecca specialises in digital marketing and media — with a concentration in content strategy, content marketing and converged media.

It’s a fascinating chat. Have a listen here:

 

Here are some key take-outs:

  •  Research shows 70 per cent of organisations operate without a content strategy, making it impossible to measure their content’s performance because there are no benchmarks

“But when companies do measure performance they do seem to be really rather ridiculously narrow and performance is based on sales — how many units or widgets or item did we sell as a result of content marketing. Sales are essential to the lifeblood of any company but there are so many other things content marketing can achieve that aren’t necessarily linked to sales. — Rebecca Lieb

 

  • Volume metrics including likes and shares are “pretty darn meaningless”
  • There are financial results that aren’t linked to sales. For example providing advice on your company website to answer your most common enquiries could save you thousands of dollars in call centre costs

“Every time we introduce the idea of content marketing to a group that doesn’t know about it the first question they always ask is ‘what is the ROI on this?’… but they never ask that question about any other kind of marketing… things like brand awareness, customer loyalty programs, customer service.” — Sarah

 

  • Think about what your costs are and how content can help to address those costs
  • Test and optimise your messaging to make sure it resonates with consumers before investing advertising dollars

“Content can address every single aspect of the funnel, from consideration and awareness all the way to cross and upselling. Content can also be an indication of brand health — it can measure attitudes, conversations and behaviour towards your brand.” — Rebecca Lieb


Here are the links you might need

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at ROI earlier this year.

 

And here’s a great discussion with another content guru, Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute, on how to market your content.

 

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Fast food chain KFC has been slammed by critics for a sexually suggestive picture it ran on social media this week in Australia. Carrying the tag NSFW — the Internet shorthand for “not safe for work” — the ad featured a man and a woman engaged in physical contact on a couch.

While the post was pulled after just an hour the debate lives on — with the Brand Newsroom team this week deeply divided over the ad’s rights and wrongs. It’s a real bun-fight. Have a listen:

 

Here are some key take-outs:

  •  It’s a cheap stunt — will it actually help sell any chicken?

“This is not a strategy, this is a PR stunt. Let me be very clear, I recognise this for what it is. But here’s the thing: Can’t they do a better job? This is so boring. It’s tired. We’re going down to ‘sex sells’.” — Sarah

  •  This decision was made at the highest level. The ad was never meant to last for more than an hour. Apologising for it, saying you didn’t know it was going to offend, is disingenuous. And that affects trust in the brand.

“I tested this with my wife and friends and everyone had heard about and while they said it didn’t upset them or make them want to go and buy more chicken, they did all know that Hot and Spicy was coming back.” — Nic

  •  Every brand wants something that will go viral but is this the kind of message you want linked to you brand.

“If this works other brands will certainly look at that as something they would want to consider.” — James

Here are the links you might need

  • Here’s an article about the KFC controversy.
  • Here’s the last podcast about Sex in Advertising, mentioned by Nic:

 

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at…

 

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Editorial workflow can be messy. There are too many stages involved, too many approvals, and often something like 15 interested parties getting out their red pen to make unnecessary changes. It shouldn’t be this hard.

So how do you streamline your editorial workflow processes to ensure they’re as efficient as possible while still remaining flexible?

This week James, Nic and Sarah go in search of some insights from traditional newsrooms. Their guest is long-time journalist and Lush Digital managing editor Dan Hatch.

Here are some key take-outs:

  •  The editorial process should be as linear as possible: Articles are assigned, written, reviewed and then published. Everyone on the team should have a defined role and as few people should be involved as possible (especially in the review process).
  • The key to achieving this is trust; build a good team of writers and trust them to deliver. Build trust with your client to the point where they don’t feel they have to endlessly review every piece of content.

“It’s marketing’s job to get out of the way. If you want to have a good process then what you need is to allow your writers or brand journalists to do their jobs without constant interference from subject matter experts, boards of directors, executive teams, product managers… otherwise the audience will never be served. — Sarah

  •  Communication is key. Have a clear editorial calendar and make sure all your team is working from it, so everyone is “singing from the same song sheet”.
  • Have defined roles for everybody. Make sure everyone in the chain knows exactly what their responsibilities are and to whom they’re delivering their content.

“Once you know someone is good at the role you’ve defined for them. Trust them to deliver. They’ve got a deadline, they will deliver by that deadline.” — Dan

  •  Your workflows and processes should support your overarching strategy. Clients will have more faith in you if they can see everything fits into wider plan.
  • Give your writers enough time to produce quality articles. But be nimble and flexible when something comes up that requires a quick turnaround.

 “You have to be responsive. You have to be able to see opportunities and put your response together quickly to get the maximum amount of engagement. ” — Nic

Here are the links you might need

Here’s Brand Newsroom Episode 59 featuring James Dillon of Gorilla 360, who suggested this week’s topic:

 

  • You can find James on Twitter here, too.
  • You can also find Dan Hatch on Twitter here.

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James, Sarah and Nic took a close look at brand journalism versus traditional journalism.

 

And here’s a chat from a couple of weeks ago about how the major shake-up of the new industry is a real opportunity for content marketers.

 

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Brands have fallen over themselves to build social media profiles to reach their consumers, but is social really providing a return-on-investment? Where is it that most brands are going wrong? And how do you give your company the best chance of social media success?

This week Nic Hayes and Sarah Mitchell are joined by Kohen Grogan, founder of Yappy — a social media app and marketing software platform that makes it easy for users to set up and manage campaigns, harvest databases and track conversions from content across any platform on the social web. His platform is specifically designed to answer the ROI problem.

Here are some key take-outs:

  •  Unless you have clear business objectives there is no way you’ll be successful in social media
  • Return-on-investment needs to be defined more broadly than just a sales conversion — anything that moves people along the path to brand loyalty or an eventual sale is a return
  • Social allows you to influence consumers before they’re even searching for your product or service

“My huge frustration is that companies spend tons of money on social media without any kind of business plan or any kind of strategy, they just jump in with both feet. Now we get lots of pushback on ROI on content marketing — they don’t want to do anything like create an asset, but they’re happy to go out and spend thousands of dollars and tons of hours playing around on Facebook without any kind of plan” — Sarah

  Brands need to understand three core things before their social strategy can deliver on their business objectives:

  1. The content side: What type of content do you need to produce to achieve those objectives?
  2. The audience side: Who are the audiences that content needs to resonate with? (And be able to quantify the success).
  3. The campaign side: Run campaigns through applications and be strategic in harvesting data so you can test the success of the content

“The people are there, the mass audience is there, but what people aren’t getting right is the strategy behind it and being able to actually measure and quantify it.” — Kohen Grogan, Founder of Yappy.

  •  Traditional advertising is not free and nor is social media. It requires investment
  • Find the right social channel for your organisation, don’t just assume it’s Facebook

“We jump into these spaces too quickly and too easily, without any real strategy behind it and just hope that we get there.” — Nic

Here are the links you might need

  • Check out Kohen’s company, Yappy.
  • Here’s a newspaper article about Kohen’s journey and Yappy’s success.
  • And here’s last week’s podcast on TrackMaven’s social media effectiveness for business-to-business study, mentioned by Nic and Sarah…

 

Have you heard the one about…

Recently James Lush, Nic and Sarah also took a close look at ROI on content marketing…

 

(And here’s Sarah’s blog post on content marketing ROI.)

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