A Picture Is Worth A 1000 Words: In Content Marketing Too

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a 1000 words.This morning I came across a presentation by Wakster’s Philippe Ingels. Wakster is a British agency dedicated to the use of illustrations for Marketing. I though the topic was particularly relevant to our readers and so I am sharing his presentation with you. Rather than try to bore your readers to death, why don’t you try something different? That’s the meaning of Philippe Ingels’s presentation and also the gist of our work at Visionary Marketing.

A pciture is wortha thousand words
I used Philippe Ingels’s picture above. You will find others in this piece. His presentation is available hereafter

On the web and elsewhere, advertisers tend to believe their own dreams and their motto is “if customers cannot hear our message, let’s shout it out a wee bit louder!

A picture can make you stand out from the crowd

However, the results are poor. Users hate advertisers for being insistent. The more they are the more they hate them. So both advertisers and publishers are trying to lure readers into reading their uninteresting messages by throwing more and more banners at them. I even counted up to 4 layers of banner advertising on one particular website. These publishers’ web analytics platforms will add up all these “readers” into their stables. But it is an illusion. For readers have averted their eyes from that content for a long time. Big data and a big illusion too.

A picture is worth a 1000 words

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Is De-indexing (NSEO) a real threat to your business? – Part 1

In recent years, the marketing world has been shaken by a new phenomenon that has become a dirty word: Negative SEO or NSEO. The other words associated with NSEO are “De-ranking” and “de-indexing” or, in more common parlance, the “disappearance” of your link from search engine pages. Many people are wondering how real the threat of NSEO is, and what its concrete impacts on a company’s online business can be. We should start by explaining that SEO is the optimisation of your website’s visibility and by extension its position in the search engine result pages; this is done by discovering and using a number of criteria that are factored into search engine algorithms. The more closely your site matches the criteria used by search engines to determine whether content is relevant, the more other sites will post links to your site, and the higher your website will rank in the search results. This basically amounts to raising your site’s visibility without having to pay for advertising space. When a content marketing projet goes online SEO must be performed quickly to gain a top spot in search engine results in order to secure a large audience and make a quick and lasting marketing impact. This is precisely the time when the site is at risk of an NSEO attack that could cause it to lose its high ranking. But before going on to further describe and analyze NSEO, here is a bit of historical background.

The Birth of the Internet: from a mere gadget to an essential tool

At its inception (1995-2000), the Web was used by individuals and academics solely for the purposes of sharing information and communicating globally. The idea of individuals creating a website, inventing a concept and being able to put it online quickly was novel at the time.

Efforts to implement a high-quality content strategy can be destroyed by one NSEO attack. Hence the importance of being vigilant and protecting your website from such attacks.

From the year 2000 on, as interest in this new communication medium grew, more and more people began to use the Internet, and consumers especially became interested in exchanging information about products and services; it was at this time that price comparison websites appeared. Companies came into direct competition due to this new and unanticipated use of the Internet.

Around 2005, marketing departments started telling management that it was important to be present on the Web, although at that time the commercial side (sales of new products, before and after-sales service, etc.) was not yet part of that presence. With sites like eBay and PriceMinister, exchanges and sales of secondhand goods developed exponentially. Marketing departments quickly realized that it was to their advantage to use Internet too: there were opportunities for product advertising and promotion, for using new marketing tools, maintaining customer databases, tracking customer behavior, etc.

amazon e-commerce site

As the Web and especially the social networks developed, marketing departments kept control over the company website without necessarily working with their IT departments, although they were in charge of DATA and network services. They gradually turned their sites into sophisticated and highly customised marketing machines that became the chief source of data on customers’ online behavior in addition to data from their retail outlets. Social networks also made it possible to communicate directly with customers.

Today, the situation can be described as follows: the company website has become the cornerstone of sales and marketing activity for companies across all sectors. Another interesting fact is that IT departments are often not part of the team when projects are being implemented, although they should be included not only in the technical side (hardware, back and front office software), but also in Web security in order to protect the investment made by the marketing department.

The aim is not to pit company departments against each other, but to show that historically Internet has arrived in businesses from an unexpected direction and responsibility for Internet activity sits between two departments with different cultures and ways of working. Therefore, website security and NSEO attacks were not necessarily on the marketing department’s radar screen, especially when they were under pressure from the sales department which was following its own agenda. This created a kind of no-man’s land between SEO as it was understood from a marketing standpoint and Web security as seen by the IT department.

While this situation still exists today, the website is now critical to the life of a company. In addition, the fact that the Web is global and totally open has resulted in the appearance of techniques designed to thwart the sales and marketing strategies used by marketing departments on the corporate website; these techniques are questionable (if not outright dishonest) and extremely devious, and one of them is NSEO.

What exactly is NSEO and what are its impacts on content marketing?: information or disinformation?

In the keen global competition that companies encounter on the Web, some may be tempted to harm their competitors by using means that verge on the illegal. These damaging tactics are nearly impossible to trace and have a direct impact both on the company’s turnover and share price. Expedia appears to have been the victim of precisely such tactics in the U.S. in January 2014. Read more

Content: the past, present and future of marketing

‘Content marketing’ is under the spotlight. Blogs and tutorial videos are surging everywhere on the Internet. Some brands are doing it perfectly right: they are telling the right stories to attract and retain new and existing customers. The common belief that ‘Content marketing is a new concept’ is completely wrong. It has existed for ages. The difference is the impressive exposure posts can get today, with a little marketing effort. In this article, content marketing will take us back in time to tell us its story.

The art of content marketing

Content marketing is an art. The art of educating customers, without selling. The brand accompanies the customer in a continuous way, by delivering information, educating them and making them more intelligent. Like every strategy, content marketing has a purpose: enriching customer behaviour in a certain direction, towards a goal. In other words, content marketing is based on a constant delivery of information to customers. In return, the brand wins loyalty and sales.

Accompanying customers - inspired by www.hubspot.com
Accompanying customers – inspired by www.hubspot.com

We live in a highly visual world: a post that includes a picture, a graph, an infographic gets much more exposure than an ‘empty’ post. Consumer are more attracted to visual content than text, and thus interact more with it. So when creating a worthy content, enhancing it with visual element is a golden rule.

A good content must be relevant. The brand should understand what its target audience finds interesting, appropriate and useful. By doing so, it can be referenced by influencers, and gain a multiplied exposure!

Content marketing is not new

As promised, this article will take us back in time.

1897_Furrow_Front_Page_1897
John Deere – The content marketer

Some believed John Deere to be the original content marketer. In 1985, he started publishing ‘The Furrow’. This magazine was an educational resource for his customers. In it, one could learn how to become a more fruitful farmer. Back in the 19th century, publishing magazines was the only way to transfer content to consumers. The Furrow had 1.5 million copies in circulation in 40 countries.

Another name we have all heard: Michelin. A few years after the conception of the Furrow, in 1900, the Michelin guide was created. This guide helped drivers maintain their cars and find travel accommodation. In addition to offering advice and content to consumers, this guide helped the tire manufacturer drive sales, by encouraging consumers to drive and wear out their tires.

Content marketing is so powerful it not only drives sales, but also saves companies. Jell-O would not be where it is today without content marketing. In 1904, the plant was on the verge of being sold, before one last strategy was attempted: the distribution of free Jell-O recipe books. This initiative lasted 11 hours and was very effective. By 1906, Jell-O sales were boosted to $1 million.

If we travel back to 2010, we observe that 80% of brands use content marketing and 25% of their budget is spent on it.

All in all, content marketing has always existed, and has always had a huge impact on a company or a brand’s performance. It has increased in importance, in power and in exposure.

 

 

 

Adblocking: a cat-and-mouse game built on trust

Adblocking is a hot topic these days. A never ending cat and mouse game between advertisers and consumers in which ingenious developers are constantly finding new ways of avoiding or trying to avoid advertising pressure. What Adblocking is showing us too is a lack of trust on the part of consumers. Who else but Doc Searls, one of the co-writers of the celebrated Cluetrain Manifesto was in better position to raise the subject? This is exactly what he did at our late September meeting in Prague*. Once more, consumer trust ranked high on the agenda.

“Adblocking is becoming a big deal and it’s even one of the biggest downloads and even more so in certain countries like Germany and Austria” Doc said in his introduction to the subject. “This has grown and grown and journalists are describing it as a War now”. Even better, Apple has made this decision to add adblocking in the IOS 9 SDK. You will then be able to block whatever you want. “Immediately after this change” Doc said, “Adblockers became the most popular apps on the store”. 

Adblockers-Trust-consumers
Doc Searls talking about Adblocking in front of the panel of ODR experts at the Prague September meeting organised by Youstice

Adblocking: Apple knows before consumers they really need it

“It’s very easy for the Press to describe this as an Apple vs Google feud” Doc added “but the point is somewhere else”. Doc’s argument is that Apple is making it easy for consumers, because “they know what the customers want even before they know themselves what they want”. Apple has indeed taught us to expect the unexpected, offer products we don’t need apparently, and then once the object has been created we suddenly realise we are craving for it.

One of the interesting things about the Adblock controversies is that it emphasises that our world works through advertising. “But online, the junk-mail world has taken over and this isn’t what we were expecting” Doc added. Things have gone out of control. The publishing world acts as if they didn’t understand what is happening. To them, this is how the world works and that’s that but “we, as consumers, we have never signed up for this”.

Why do we need trust in business?

Lea Whing has an interesting point to make on this. when Doc Searls mentions trust, what are we hearing? “Are we only interested in trust because this is what will trigger consumer purchase?” She asked wittily, “or is it because people need it? If so, what do customers really need?”

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Improving One’s Presentation Skills in Just 15 minutes

Today’s selection is…

This piece by Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Clarity Dan Martell, a marketplace for entrepreneurs who want to be in touch with investors. In this piece, Martell describes that you guys have been wasting your time working. You should have spent it “speaking” for this is the best job in the whole World ($5,000-$10,000 for a 20 minute presentation…) Well, what he didn’t tell you though is that in order to get there, you need to work a bit on your reputation, that a reputation isn’t built in a day, and eventually, that people will hire you in order to speak about a subject, only if they know that you are good at it. Or better, if someone they know tells them that you are good at it. As to the presentation itself, I don’t know about the 15 minutes. I believe he must be referring to the time it will take you to read his post and not the hard work you will have to put into building a good presentation (the quality of the presentation, by the way, depends very much on how you feel on a given day at a given moment and the kind of interaction – or lack thereof – you are getting with the people in the audience). Last but not least, that kind of prices is only valid for famous entrepreneurs and I’m not even sure it’s applicable to entrepreneurs outside the US. Unfortunately, you might have to go on working for a while. And don’t forget, speaking in front of an audience is a very tough job.

Dan Martell and Sir Richard Branson in a picture taken from Martell's homepage

How to Create a Great Presentation in Just 15 Minutes | @DanMartell

Did you know that the highest paid profession in America is professional speaking? Speakers can earn between $5,000 and $10,000 for a 20 minute keynote presentation. It’s the reason why great entrepreneurs know how to get up and share their message.  They indirectly get “paid” by moving employees, partners and communities to engage with their business in a way that goes far beyond the financial upside. Some of the best, like Mark Zuckerberg (Founder/CEO of Facebook), go even further and learn other languages, so they can share in a more authentic way. If you can master – or at least be mediocre – at speaking, it will open up the world to you. I’ve been paid to fly around the world sharing stories of lessons learned with amazing entrepreneurial communities.

via How to Create a Great Presentation in Just 15 Minutes | @DanMartell