Tag Archives: Content Marketing

How to use video for your brand promotions

525206029With the variety of marketing tools available to brands today, video is one that should not be overlooked.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your marketing strategy by incorporating videos into your brand promotions. Whether you’re posting directly to YouTube, or sharing content through social media, videos are a great way to increase conversions, inform your customers, and set yourself apart from the competition. While it may seem like a challenge to tackle at first, a simple video can make all the difference for your business.

Here’s how you can use video to your advantage when promoting your brand.

Email campaigns

If you’re not using videos in your email campaigns, it’s time to start now. Don’t miss out on all of the benefits that they can provide to your business. According to Animoto, adding the word “video” into your email title can increase open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribing by 65%. Videos can often catch and retain the attention of your audience better than an image can. This could make a huge difference for your business! The next time you plan out an email campaign, consider using a video instead of an image or plain text.

Get social

Social media has completely transformed the way that we promote our brands. It provides an avenue for content to be easily shared to anyone, anywhere in the world. Videos are the perfect medium to be shared because they are often entertaining and engaging. It’s easy and free to upload videos to sites like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using social media to promote your brand. You can be direct and ask for your followers to share your video or you can create an introduction video to pin to the top of your social media feed. Keep in mind, shorter videos are often easier to digest as most audiences don’t have a long attention span on social media.

Take advantage of autoplay

Autoplay is a great feature for marketers to use. Autoplay causes videos to begin playing as a user is scrolling through their social media feed. This makes your audience more likely to continue watching the video all the way through if it has already caught their eye. This means that you should start the video out with eye catching, intriguing content that will grab your audience’s attention right away. Once you hook them, it will be much easier to reel them in all the way. Who knows, your video might just encourage them to become your new customer!

Optimize for search

Just like with any content you publish on the internet, make sure your brand’s video is optimized for search. After all, you want people to be able to find your content! This means that when uploading you must include the proper keywords in the tag section. You should also make sure that the title is a good description of what the video is portraying and includes your keywords. If you are uploading to YouTube, it’s also necessary to follow these rules for the description section.

Have a call-to-action

If you are trying to use video as a tool to increase engagement, include a call-to-action in the video. People are more likely to engage with content if you prompt them to do something rather than leaving the video open-ended. If you’re trying to get people to visit your site to buy a product, at the end of the video include the phrase “Find out more by…” or “Visit our site for more information”. Also include contact information so they can reach you and link to your website not only at the end of the video, but also in the description. This way, information is easily accessible for your audience. You don’t want to give them a call-to-action that’s impossible to complete!

Track analytics

You track everything else in your marketing strategy, so don’t forget to do the same for videos or you will miss out on a ton of valuable information. Videos can do a lot to change the traffic and conversions to your site. Tracking your data through Google analytics provides insight so you can see how your efforts are paying off, or what kind of changes you need to make to improve the results.

 
About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

5 deadly sins of brand blogging

how-to-start-blogging-for-your-business-For brands and businesses of all shapes and sizes, blogging has basically become a necessity at this point.

From improving SEO to attracting leads, there are many benefits of having a blog. When done right, blogging can be very effective (key phrase: “done right”). This means that as a blogger you must stay away from the five deadly sins that may be causing you trouble.

Not understanding your audience

The key to being successful in marketing is understanding your audience and how you should be communicating to them. Depending on the industry you are in, your customers will have different attitudes. Your voice and tone will be much different if, let’s say, you’re a financial service company writing about personal finance compared to a real estate business giving DIY home improvement tips. If you have a solid understanding of who you’re talking to, it’ll be much easier to figure out what you’re writing about and how you’re writing it. Research your target audience enough so that you are able to create content that is relatable and valuable to them.

Not having an editorial calendar

If you have a blog but don’t have an editorial calendar, stop what you’re doing right now and create one! An editorial calendar is crucial for organizing your ideas and being consistent with publishing. Fortunately, this is a mistake that is easy to solve. You can make one using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets and share it with your content writers or the marketing group for feedback. An editorial calendar allows you to plan out the topics you want to cover over time and also holds you accountable for taking action. It’ll also make things easier for you because you won’t have to spend time cramming for ideas and staring at a blank screen. Your ideas will already be laid out for you!

Producing boring content

People like to be entertained, or at least interested in what they’re reading. Now that your editorial calendar is created, don’t treat creating content as a chore. If you are writing blogs simply for the sake of producing content by a deadline, your audience will be able to tell. Write about things that will engage, inform or solve a problem. Start by creating blog titles that will spark interest immediately. Say it in a way that will grab their attention and make them feel empowered to listen to you. If your content is boring, people will skip over it and stop visiting your blog.

Not promoting your content

Now that you have written your content, don’t let it stay stagnant. Part of earning brand recognition is promoting yourself well. The easiest way to promote your content is by sharing it on social media. Encourage your audience to join the conversation to get more people talking. You can also reach out to social media influencers and ask them to share or promote your content. This is a great way to catch the eyes of people who otherwise may have never seen your blog. Promotion is a key step that cannot be forgotten when blogging.

Being impatient

Lastly, it is important for you to realize that success takes time. The traffic to your site will not instantly triple overnight and you won’t jump from the third to first page of search results on Google. Be patient when blogging because your skills will only increase over time. As cliche as it sounds, practice does make perfect. Don’t get frustrated or discouraged if your blog isn’t doing as well as you would like. Keep on writing, because eventually your hard work will pay off.

 
About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

4 Reasons Why Content is Key

3-Key-Takeaways-from-Social-Media-Marketing-WorldProducing great content is what draws people into your business and allows your audience to discover what you can offer them.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “the strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.

Content marketing includes a broad range of tools for you to attract your audience. It can be anything from blogs and images, to webinars and social media posts. Your content should be something that both educates your audience and encourages them to take an action.

Now, why exactly is creating the right content for the right audience so important?

First impressions

It’s human nature to make initial judgments on new things. When you meet someone new, you probably form an opinion about them before you’ve even had a conversation with them. People will do the same thing with your content, which is why it’s so important to make a good first impression. Part of making a good first impression is understanding your audience. Make sure that you research your target audience to understand what they are looking for. If you research your audience enough beforehand you will waste less time on creating content that may not apply to them.

When sending out email newsletters, for example, catchy subject lines will persuade your audience to open the email rather than ignore or delete it. If you’re creating graphics, make sure they are attractive and easy to read. Creating a distracting image can often be a turnoff for people or cause them to misinterpret your message. Lastly, when deciding on a title for your blog be direct and informative so that your audience can easily understand what you are going to tell them.

Helps with SEO

Content marketing is key to driving organic traffic to your website. Producing useful content opens up many opportunities for your business and will lead more people to visit your site who will actually find value in it. Including your site’s keywords every chance you get, like when writing informative blog posts, will increase your rank in Google search and provide many SEO benefits.

Shows your creative side

Creating valuable content is an opportunity to show off the personality of your business, so don’t be afraid to have fun with it! The content you create will be associated with your brand, so use your content to create a voice for the company that people can easily associate with your brand. Don’t hesitate to get creative and catch the eye of your audience in an entertaining and engaging way. Being creative provides more value to your audience because they’re more likely to pay attention to something that stands out yet is still personable.

Connects with your audience

Your content is a great avenue for connecting with your audience on a more personal level. This is your platform to directly speak and interact with your customers. Social media channels give you the chance to receive feedback and learn more about what they’re looking for. Research and understand their needs so that you can produce content that is right for them.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

Summer content marketing tips

If you’re like most people, the first things that come to mind when thinking about summer are vacation, beach and relaxation. It’s safe to say that content marketing doesn’t make the cut.

While summer may feel like the time to take a break, content marketing is just as important during the summer as it is during the rest of the year. Creating and generating content that leads back to your business will help raise brand awareness, increase your search engine rankings and ultimately get your brand in front of possible leads.

If you need some motivation, here are some content marketing tips for your summertime strategy.

Stay consistent

The best way to stay fresh on people’s minds is to continue posting content on a regular basis. It takes time for your target audience to recognize your brand, and consistency is key to increasing that recognition. Even if you’re planning on taking a summer vacation, you can easily create content and schedule it ahead of time with one of the many social media scheduling platforms out there.

Summer themed

You can use the season to your advantage by tying it into your content marketing strategy. Consider writing a blog post on the ‘Best business reads for the beach’ or adding some fun summer ideas that incorporate your product or service into your email newsletter. Staying on theme will make your brand relatable and pique more interest from your audience.

Partner up

Summer is a slow time for everyone. Consider partnering up with another brand with similar goals to create content that both audiences would benefit from. You could do an Instagram giveaway with each other’s products, or could even have them write a guest blog post for the company blog. It’s a win-win for both parties involved!

Guest appearances

Referrals from others are an easy way to get new business. Try to see if you can guest blog for a popular website, or even be a guest on a podcast. It helps your business’ credibility to have others promote you every once in awhile.

Recycle

If the summer ends up making you too busy to crank out new content every week, at least recycle old content to make sure your content marketing efforts don’t go stale. Repost old videos or reference past blog posts, but try to add in a summer twist so that it makes sense to the current reader.

About Sam Lauron:  Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities and helps run the newly launched Startup Over Coffee, a crowdsourced map of local startup resources. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

How to write a Listicle for your brand

How to write a listicle

Arm yourself with coffee, paper and pen!

Chances are good that if you visit any number of popular Internet news outlets like BuzzFeed, Thrillist, and The Huffington Post then you have seen a listicle about some topic or another.

A listicle, for those not in the know, is combination of article and list where a media outlet essentially curates a topic and presents its top picks (or pans) for a given moment in time.

A few examples:

  • Top hotels in New Orleans (Travel & Leisure)
  • Best tacos in Austin (Bon Appetit)
  • Best iPhone apps for productivity (tom’s GUIDE)

The benefits of listicles include buzz for your brand, clicks for your website and qualified leads for your business.

The beauty of listicles is that you can create your own for use on your blog or a guest post on another blog or as a sponsored listicle in an established media outlet – for a nice fee, mind you.

How to write a listicle:

Step 1: Subject.

Pick a topic to write about that relates to your business directly or indirectly. Avoid picking your top 10 products as that would make the listicle appear self serving and turn off readers interested in finding a ‘reasonably’ objective list. Also, decide on a particular angle for the list. Say you are an all-inclusive beach resort in Florida that caters to snow birds. You might try any one of these angles:

  • 10 beaches in Florida that cater to seniors
  • 7 secret ways to save on airfare to Florida
  • 8 best golf package deals for seniors

Step 2: Research.

To be taken seriously, research your topic thoroughly. Figure out what key details you want to share with readers. Say you want to create a list of Vermont bed & breakfasts with the best view of fall foliage, you will need to decide what factors will drive the ranking and why some made it into the list while others did not. For instance, I recently wrote a listicle for Culturemap about the top 10 coffee shops in Austin for professionals. I addressed such items as WiFi network, parking, popular drinks, power outlet availability, etc. In the end, I gave each of the coffee shops on the list a score out of five coffee cups.

Step 3: Layout.

How will you present your listicle? Will it be in paragraph form with a smartly written description of each contender? How about as a bullet list with terse explanations or numeric ratings of specific features? Or perhaps you will go with a blended approach in order to be free to describe something without sacrificing directness. No matter what you decide, you should prepare a summary layout of the finished listicle to use as a kind of template for later.

Step 4: Short, sweet and error free.

A necessary ingredient to successful listicles is brevity. Avoid rambling descriptions or stuffing the piece with too many details. You might consider letting colleagues and friends read the listicle and incorporate their feedback. Plus, let the piece sit for a couple of days and then go back over it with your editorial glasses to pick out any weak sentences or bad grammar.

Step 5: Visual.

To make a listicle pop you should use high quality images. The listicle idea above on golf packages for seniors in Florida should have pictures of manicured putting greens, breathtaking bunker shots and plenty of seniors enjoying a round of links. You can also use vines or GIFS (short looping still photos) to capture an animated version of your subjects – think best Mardi Gras parades or top Spring Break destinations.

Step 6: Byline.

You are providing a media outlet with fresh, free content so the least it can do is provide you with a short byline (author description mentioning your name and business.) with a chance to get a linkback (embedded URL of your website’s domain name). This is the golden nugget you are mining with a listicle – a chance for increased buzz for your name, your brand and business website.

Step 7: Publish.

After you write your listicle you want to see it published, right? Finding the most relevant media outlet will make that job a lot easier. Continuing our example about the Florida beach resort catering to seniors, the author would be wise to approach websites focused on Florida tourism and senior lifestyle. Hyper-local media outlets like to publish listicles about all kinds of topics from where to go for Mother’s Day brunch to the best summer camps for kids. If you can’t find an established media outlet to publish your listicle, approach industry blogs that may have smaller audiences but will still provide you with a strong linkback to your website.

Step 8: Promote.

A no-brainer, really. Promote the heck out of every listicle you publish. Use your own social media assets to spread the word several times over the week the piece is published, then spread mentions out over the next few weeks and months to keep it circulating. Ask friends and collaborators to share as well in order to maximize the reach on social networks. Consider pre-composing tweets to make it easier for friendly mentions. Thank any shares on the platform used in order to show your gratitude (and prime your friends for future shares).

Final thought: don’t take rejection the wrong way. It often takes many tries before you strike gold with a publication, especially in a national media outlet. Keep trying, learn from feedback, make connections with media professionals and eventually you will be rewarded.

About Dave Manzer:  Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech startup PR firm for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare, consumer and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave about the PR over Coffee blog, feel free to tweet him at @davemanzer or email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.

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