Menu

Craig

Content Marketing

Who Do You Create Content For?

At Percolate, one of the ideas we’ve developed to think about content marketing is the idea of content building blocks – key objectives and elements that every marketer needs to be able to address in their content. The first building block is Audience. 

All marketing content needs to take into account the audience it’s trying to reach. No marketer would deny this, and yet often we see content being created without a strong idea of who the targeted audience might be – and as a result, the content often falls flat.

What is audience exactly? It is the broad set or sets of people your brand is seeking to reach, influence, and engage. Your audience may be customers, potential customers, or even people who are new to your brand. (more…)


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Events

SMW Client Panel: What’s Next?

SMW PANEL: [I: Defining Content Marketing] [II: Defining Success] [III: What's Next]

As part of Percolate’s programming track, The Content Marketing Revolution, we hosted a panel discussion titled “The Biggest Challenges for the Biggest Marketers” – a 30 minute discussion on how the world’s largest organizations were dealing with the dramatic shifts in content marketing.

Joining us were representatives from three major brands – Brandi Boatner, Digital Experience Manager at IBM, Andrew Bowins, Senior Vice President of Digital Corporate Communications at MasterCard, and Michelle Klein, Vice President of Smirnoff Global Marketing Communications in Digital at Diageo.

In the final summary the program, our panelists discuss broader industry shifts in digital and social, moving from campaign-based to sustained communications, and what needs to happen next for the industry to continue to move forward.

Jordan Bitterman, Mindshare [moderator]:

We’ve mentioned before that the industry is moving from campaign-based to sustained communications. That takes an awful lot of content and a lot of expense. Why is creating content worth it?

Brandi Boatner, IBM:

We have to. We’re a technology company. We’ve always tried to stay ahead of the paradigm shifts with technology in social. We were always early adopters of social computing and social media guidelines. What we realized is that as our customers changed, as consumption and buying behaviors change, we needed to adopt.

Look at things like cloud computing. There’s the joke with Amy Poehler right now with Best Buy’s commercials – “Are we in the cloud right now?” – but cloud computing has really changed our business. If you look at all of the content that we create just around cloud computing, that content we create has to resonate. Without it, how would we be able to accurately describe what is cloud computing?

Andrew Bowins, MasterCard:

IBM has done it so well and have taken a business that is largely enterprise and B2B and made the story resonate down to the consumers, down to the town level, the cities, the government.

(more…)


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Insights

New Possibilities for Real-Time Marketing

As a brand, all communications falls somewhere on the spectrum of unplanned to planned and reactive to proactive. Rebecca Lieb from Altimeter has broken this down into a framework of four quadrants that we’ve used to guide our thinking on this topic, shown below.

quadrant

On the top right, you have traditional media - planned, proactive content, or what brands have been doing for years across channels. Due to lead times and production costs, brands were exclusively focused on campaign-based communications.

When social arrived, brands started focusing on customer complaints on Facebook and Twitter. In other words - unplanned, reactive communications, found on the bottom left. SMMS apps were created to address the explosion of CRM and customer service inquiries that occur on social each day and have been focused on that goal ever since. (more…)


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


News

SMMS is over. What’s next?

Yesterday Google announced it was shuttering Wildfire, its social media management software (SMMS). Beginning immediately, Wildfire will no longer be signing up new customers, and the company’s offering will be integrated into other Google products. Since that point, Wildfire has been contacting its clients to tell them that their business would no longer be serviced after the end of 2015.

Over the last few years, Wildfire has been used by brands to manage their social media campaigns across platforms. Google had acquired the company for a reported $350 million dollars in 2012, a year that also featured notable acquisitions of other SMMS companies like Buddy Media and Vitrue. With this announcement, Wildfire has effectively joined Syncapse, another SMMS, who shut their doors in the middle of 2013. (more…)


SMMS is over. See what's next.

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Events

SMW Client Panel: Defining Success

SMW PANEL: [I: Defining Content Marketing] [II: Defining Success] [III: What's Next]

As part of Percolate’s programming track, The Content Marketing Revolution, we hosted a panel discussion titled “The Biggest Challenges for the Biggest Marketers” – a 30 minute discussion on how the world’s largest organizations were dealing with the dramatic shifts in content marketing.

Joining us were representatives from three major brands – Brandi Boatner, Digital Experience Manager at IBM, Andrew Bowins, Senior Vice President of Digital Corporate Communications at MasterCard, and Michelle Klein, Vice President of Smirnoff Global Marketing Communications in Digital at Diageo.

In the second of three parts summarizing the program, our panelists discuss the most important metrics and KPIs they take into account with content marketing, and how large organizations think about return on investment on content marketing spend.

Jordan Bitterman, Mindshare [moderator]:

Can you talk about what are the KPIs that you specifically are trying to hit? What are those measures that you need when you create content?

Andrew Bowins, MasterCard:

What we look at and try to understand for is performance. What content was engaged and commented on, not just looked at. And in that conversation or the comment – what trend or insight can we pull out of it. MasterCard is lucky because 30 million times a month in social and digital, our brand is engaged around and there’s a discussion.

It’s in that analysis and in those analytics that we set our KPIs: Higher engagement, response rates, and participation in programs. Engagement KPIs and insights from them are far more valuable to me as we report into executives than likes, shares or addressable audience that was built.

A proud moment for the team was when we could stand up to the executive committee and say content we launched and stayed engaged around during the Grammys trended and stayed engaged with until the Super Bowl. We were still trending in the top 5 or top 10 against some of the biggest brands that had the big traditional spends during the big game. (more…)


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Events

SMW Client Panel: Defining Content Marketing

SMW PANEL: [I: Defining Content Marketing] [II: Defining Success] [III: What's Next]

As part of Percolate’s programming track, The Content Marketing Revolution, we hosted a panel discussion titled “The Biggest Challenges for the Biggest Marketers” – a 30 minute discussion on how the world’s largest organizations were dealing with the dramatic shifts in content marketing.

Joining us were representatives from three major brands – Brandi Boatner, Digital Experience Manager at IBM; Andrew Bowins, Senior Vice President of Digital Corporate Communications at MasterCard; and Michelle Klein, Vice President of Smirnoff Global Marketing Communications in Digital at Diageo.

In the first of three parts summarizing the program, our panelists discuss the definition of content marketing and best-in-class examples from across the industry. The conversation brought to light several key takeaways that could assist brands of all sizes with their approach to content marketing.

Jordan Bitterman, Mindshare [moderator]:  

I do think it’s important, at each time an audience gets together to talk about content, that we reset the definition of content. Give us a sense of a piece of content that you’ve seen from a brand recently that has you excited.

Michelle Klein, Smirnoff:

What I’m most interested in, actually, is where brands find that symbiotic relationship between stuff that happens in the real world and stuff that happens online, and create experiences that can be appreciated in either format. For me, the stuff that Vice has done with the Creator’s Project with Intel, what Red Bull does, is where the sweet spot is for marketers and brands.

Andrew Bowins, MasterCard:

It must have been about a year ago when I learned a really valuable lesson from Noah at Percolate. He was on a panel like this and a similar question came up, and every brand that was on the stage was self-congratulatory about how well they had done and scored themselves an eight out of ten. Noah kind of sat their blank faced until it got to his turn and he said, this industry changes so fast and content has evolved so much, but we need to not be so self-congratulatory. We need to recognize that we have to continue to learn and test.

So that stuck with me. But I’ll give you my personal opinion on two pieces of content that I love. Everything that GE is doing right now around ‘My Mom Makes Electricity.’ To me that’s a brilliant piece of content that was created and delivered through channels with a specific audience and purpose in mind. The ability to track back and measure its impact makes it exceptional.

From a pure emotional perspective and the power of rich storytelling – the ‘Thank You Mom’ work that P&G has done. You can’t find anybody that hasn’t seen that and been touched or discussed it. And again, powerful storytelling matched with a prescribed audience creates brand preference.

(more…)


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Insights

What Declining Reach Means for the Future of Content

Since Facebook adjusted their News Feed algorithm in early December, there’s been a considerable amount of coverage about the decline in organic reach for brands. As more data emerges, the story becomes more apparent: one study documents a drop in organic reach from 9.5% to 7.7%; another cites a 42% decrease in fan penetration; a third claims declines can range as high as 88%.

organicreach.graph

While these studies generate a lot of clicks and attention, the recent uproar around organic declines misses the bigger opportunity by a large mark. With social, marketers can think of reach in terms of billions of people, not just millions. With organic reach already capped around 16% of fans, many brands were stuck measuring reach in the thousands.

The signal is clear from social platforms about what they offer marketers: massive scale and the data to make good use of it. As targeting capabilities mature, the real-life applications become almost farcical – for example, the ability to message several millions of moms 34-45 in the United States that have purchased frozen pizza in the last six months.

Social platforms – now some of the largest media companies in the world – have structured their businesses on sponsored and targeted content. The shift away from organic shouldn’t come as a surprise to marketers. And despite recent attention, it actually hasn’t – Social@Ogilvy and others began predicting organic declines of 40% as early as 2012.

As the idea of an “organic post” goes away, the job of the marketer is to capture attention and deliver messages that fit the brand. With a focus on paid promotion, brands will create two kinds of content in 2014.

Promoted Brand Content

If brands are no longer able to reach mass audiences without sponsorship, social starts to look a bit like television. And indeed, the language being used by social platforms themselves has leaned towards a TV advertising narrative. On Facebook, any moment can offer primetime reach. On Twitter, second screen activity plays a nice complement to any TV advertisement. The growing focus on visual storytelling in social aligns more closely to the pattern of content TV advertisers are accustomed with.

The News Feed is designed to deliver “the right content to the right people at the right time” – and brands should take full advantage of this. Test multiple pieces of promoted content to small segments, and learn before promoting content to larger audiences. Create specific messages for niche groups, and promote content only to the people that will find that message valuable. Place a lot of small bets, and go big on the content that works.

Organic One-to-One Response

As brands create less and less unsponsored content, the role of organic communications shifts towards consumer response. Twitter in particular has become a critical CRM channel for certain industries like airlines, restaurants, and retail chains. And according to Altimeter, many consumer expect to be responded to within an hour.

However, there’s a gap between consumer perceptions and social reality. 4 out of 5 messages from consumers don’t ever receive a response, and the majority of top brands engage directly in a very limited fashion. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook have redesigned to move consumer responses to side channels separate from the main brand feed.

This isn’t to disparage consumer response or downplay the effect that a one-to-one interaction has from a marketing perspective. Ignoring a customer on social could sour him or her on a brand indefinitely. With some individuals having influence and audiences that rival brands and media companies in size, tracking who is interacting with your brand becomes particularly important for brand management.

Is there overlap?

Customer interactions can also be used as a trigger for original brand content. Often, the same team is responsible for both creating brand content and for managing consumer outreach and response.

For example, Oreo and KitKat used one woman’s tweet as inspiration for original content between the brands. Denny’s regularly riffs with its followership, using comments as inspiration for real-time, often bizarre, content creation. SmartCar used an off-hand joke as inspiration for a light-hearted infographic.

With the above examples, the focus is still on the brand, but with consumers as the context. This not only gets the brand’s name out in a clever, potentially viral manner – it actually furthers the perception of the brand as receptive and responsive to their consumer base. Organic interactions can be complemented by paid promotion and take full advantage of the massive targeted reach social offers.


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Insights

Facebook to Wall Street: Content is the atomic unit of marketing

Facebook announced their latest earnings on Wednesday, posting $2.59 billion in revenue and beating analyst estimates. The market has responded in kind – Facebook’s market value went up by more than $20 billion in a single night, and the stock is currently trading at near-record highs. Apart from the effects on Wall Street, the latest from Facebook presents a series of clear signals for marketers about one of the largest media companies in the world.

What can the latest earnings announcement teach us about Facebook?

Facebook is officially a mobile company

In 2013, Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Facebook is a mobile company” and the latest news makes it official. For the first time, mobile ad revenue was greater than desktop ad revenue, now accounting for 53% of all ad revenue, or $1.25 billion. The company posted its first billion-dollar mobile revenue quarter, more than all revenues combined the previous year. Mobile ads generated $8 million on Black Friday alone.

Mobile usage is also the key driver of gains for Facebook. Mobile monthly active users have more than doubled in the last two years, growing to 945 million. More notably, mobile-only users now account for a massive portion of Facebook’s user base, with nearly 300 million people accessing the site exclusively through mobile. As marketers think about their future on social, mobile teams can’t be divorced from the planning process.

MAUs.2

Social provides global scale

One of the most important trends to note in Facebook’s growth is its international focus. Facebook gained 2 million users in North America in Q4 and another 6 million in Europe – but grew by 17 million in Asia and by another 14 million across the rest of the world.

MAUs.1

The potential for global scale is massive, and even with 1.2 billion people on the platform, the company is still very early in its plans for international expansion, with Mark Zuckerberg admitting “We’re still a small part of the world’s population.”

As the largest social network, we can look to Facebook as a leading indicator of broader trends for all social platforms. International expansion will be a key focus for almost all social platforms, and marketers need to plan for how their brand is managed, portrayed, and controlled on a global scale.

Facebook side-rail ads are going away. Facebook tabs are gone.

Facebook side-rail ads and tab experiences have been declining for some time, but the latest revenue figures signal their status as a marginalized tactic.

News Feed ad revenue drove Facebook’s gains, up more than 65% in all of the regions of the world Facebook tracks. They also outperform other advertisements and continue to drive up the price per ad. Facebook’s ad prices increased by 92 percent in 2013, citing that the positioning and quality of their advertisements – ie. in-feed – matters far more than the volume.

Mobile has no place for side-rail ads and doesn’t easily host tab experiences. If Facebook is seeing more revenue, better rates, and better consumer response from News Feed ads, we can reasonably expect them to downplay display ads and tabs in the near future, or completely eliminate them as with the Sponsored Stories product. Once a go-to tactic, Facebook tabs are experiencing the same siloed treatment that brand microsites did in the early 2000s, and should be off the table for any forward-facing marketer.

Content is the atomic unit of Facebook marketing

If we take the above three trends – mobile, global, and a focus on the News Feed – then the future of Facebook revolves around content. The leadership of Facebook echoed this sentiment from all sides, with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

“We have this long-term goal of making the advertising quality content as good and as relevant and timely as the content that your friends are sharing with you,” Mark Zuckerberg stated on the call. “Our plan is to continue focusing on improving quality, since we think this is the best way for us to improve the experience for people on Facebook, returns for advertisers, and our own revenue.”

For marketers, creating great content has to be the biggest focus when planning for social. This is the biggest win for all parties. Advertisers see better reactions from potential consumers, Facebook sees greater revenue, and Facebook users have a better experience on Facebook with less interruption from brands.

 


Want to learn how to make great content for Facebook?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Insights

How Do You Plan for the Super Bowl?

Last year’s Super Bowl was the third most-watched TV show in U.S. history, drawing an audience of nearly 109 million people. With more than 80% of viewers using their mobile device as a second screen, tens of millions of tweets were also created during the game.

Social was already primed to complement a mass-media event like the Super Bowl when last year’s blackout opened a large dialogue about social, rapid response, and real-time marketing. Many marketers are asking themselves the same question:

What’s the best way to plan for a live event like the Super Bowl?

In this free report, we walk through some of the best ways to set your real-time marketing up for success at a major event like the Super Bowl. We also share several different ways Percolate’s content marketing platform helps brands of all sizes tackle the challenges associated with live event coverage and content creation.

Download the report today and learn how Percolate can help make the most out of one of largest marketing events of the year.


Learn how can Percolate help you with real-time event coverage.

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.


Thoughts

New Whitepaper: The Content Marketing Revolution

Prior to 2010, digital marketing was defined by search, banners, and microsites, with a small percentage allocated among a long tail of other tactics. Over the last three years however, spending patterns have dramatically shifted towards tactics focused on content marketing.

What happened? What inspired marketers to focus their thoughts around content?

Two phases of digital communications have occurred since 2010, driving a revolution in content marketing – Social and Mobile.

In our recent whitepaper, The Content Marketing Revolution, you’ll learn what has happened in the last three years, how Social and Mobile have fundamentally changed media, and how these shifts have signaled a radical transformation in terms of what it means to be a marketer.

We’ll also examine the massive changes Social and Mobile have brought about in the scale, pace, and pattern of communications, and what all of it means for a modern brand.

Click through to download your free copy of “The Content Marketing Revolution” today.


Want to see the future of Content Marketing?

Get in touch and we’ll show you our system in action.