Content Marketing

The Real Cost of Modern Marketing

Across both B2B and B2C, the largest challenge digital marketers face is reaching their audiences with relevant content. Now that content has become the core vehicle for brands to connect with their audiences, it’s imperative that marketers seek efficient, cost-effective content workflows to engage their audiences – which have fragmented across mobile and social.

At this week’s AdAge Digital Conference in New York, Nestle revealed that its teams produce more than 1,500 pieces of marketing content each day for its 800+ Facebook pages.


What type of investment does that entail? For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume each Facebook post takes 2 hours of work, with 30 mins spent on each of these four steps:



Weibo, WeChat and the Future of Chinese Social Media

“China, not the U.S., is the most important country to watch as it relates to social and mobile.” -James Gross

With each passing day, our co-founder’s statement sounds less like an educated opinion and more like a hard fact. Simply consider the scale of the Chinese social + mobile market. The country has 618 million Internet users, and 500 million of them primarily access the web through mobile. The United States only has 319 million people in total.

But in order to understand China’s social + mobile landscape, you have to go beyond its massive scale. You have to understand what makes the Chinese market and the platforms that dominate it distinct from those in the United States.



Forrester’s Google Plus Advice Reveals Where SMMS Fails

Nate Elliott is out with a new Forrester report on The Case for Google Plus. It is a solid report that captures a lot of the trends that we are seeing here at Percolate. For all the criticism that Google+ has received, one thing is clear: it is a massive platform with global reach and a green field of opportunity for brands.

Google Plus now has over 300M people around the world that use it monthly. That makes it one of the largest media platforms in the world and gives it greater reach than almost any TV or traditional digital media opportunity.

How did Google Plus create such a large platform in the face of the criticism it has received? Because it took advantage of the three major shifts that all media are undergoing. (more…)

Content Marketing

Every Piece of Content Starts With a Trigger. What’s Yours?

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. 

There is always an internal or external catalyst for a piece of marketing content. This is what we call a trigger – the reason for why this content is being created and published. The trigger leads to an outcome: what do you want the content to do? Assuage an angry customer? Stay ahead of breaking news? Demonstrate leadership in the market? Capture leads from a new customer segment? Your trigger provides the inspiration or incentive to create. (more…)

Content Marketing

The Patterns Behind the “Most Shared” NYTimes Articles

If you want to grow your audience, you need to understand how people share your content.

At Percolate, our readership comes primarily from direct traffic and Twitter referrals. Direct traffic is also known as “dark social” because it’s likely that most of these readers are not actually typing in our URL, but clicking to it from links in emails, as well as chat and mobile applications which don’t result in a referral source. [1] Traffic from Twitter is more straightforward: links to our blog posts get shared by @Percolate and lots of other folks on Twitter, and people click on them.

It follows that if we want to grow our traffic, we should try to understand why our audience chooses to share things over these channels. Which brings us to a question: is there a difference between content shared on Twitter vs Email?

A quick look into our own Google analytics wasn’t particularly insightful: the top articles for both traffic sources were similar. Perhaps this was a dead end. But then, something interesting happened. (more…)

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…)

Content Marketing

The Rapid Evolution of Social Platforms

In the past week, we’ve seen a flurry of activity from social platforms experimenting with changes to longstanding elements of their services.

In an effort to streamline conversations in Twitter, the company recently experimented with removing the @username at the beginning of tweet reply for certain users on the Twitter Android client. Not content to run just one experiment at a time, today The Verge reports that certain Twitter users can now see how many views their tweets received. For advertisers, this is nothing new, but it looks like the product team wanted to see how revealing this data to consumers would affect user behavior. (more…)


3 Things That Hold Back Your Content Marketing

Over the past six months, we’ve spent a great deal of time talking with brands both large and small to identify the key challenges and components of content marketing. While there’s a diversity of perspectives and certainly every brand has a different spin on content, we found three major challenges that were shared across the industry.

These challenges drive the need for a more systematic approach to content creation (which we’ve identified as a major trend for 2014) and will be top of mind for CMO’s into the foreseeable future.



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.



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.


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…)

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