Category Archives: Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog

Why great content is a great strategy for the future

There’s a very interesting discussion about the future importance of links on the Marketing Profs site, which reminds us that it’s not the link which matters, but the signal which it gives. The Future of Link-Building: Linkless Mentions for SEO says: “Link-building done right is still the best way to reach your audience, share your content, and secure those coveted top rankings. However, links themselves don’t hold inherent value to search engines: Links are just a signal search engines use to understand their users better. If search engines discover a better, more accurate way to gauge user trust, then links could quickly become obsolete.”

The best way forward, the article suggests, is to employ the key foundation of link-building: creating great content which people will want to link to. That way, if conventional links start to be overtaken in importance by social media mentions, for example, you’ll still have the content which will get the attention. And as we’ve pointed out many times, if that content also answers the questions people are asking, it can get you a presence in the search results like nothing else.

Are you taking advantage of the editorial talent out there?

I was reading a nice article the other day about the idea of a brand journalist and I think it’s a good approach to creating content for your promotional activities. Many companies will use a freelance technical writer or an editorially-focused “PR company” to create articles for them, but most are used on an ad-hoc basis and given specific tasks. This is a missed opportunity.

The idea of a “brand journalist” is to treat the subcontract writers as part of the team, and to give them a regular target (such as a monthly article, or a twice-weekly blog update, or whatever), but not to limit them to specific writing tasks which you come up with. Many of the freelance writers out there are former magazine editors, who have been trained to start with a blank sheet every month and to go and find the most interesting stuff out there to fill it. They’re very good at that.

I’ve worked for companies in both capacities, and I can tell you that you’ll get much better results if you get the freelance writers on board properly. Sure, I like to think I did a decent job if a company rang me up and said: “can you write up a case study on a major client of ours?” But I did a much better job for the company which said to me: “can you write a fortnightly article for our website and customer magazine, which will give a nice balance over the course of a year between product promotions, case studies, technical backgrounders and the like?” This let me immerse myself in the market, ensuring that I kept up with developments and their impact on the client, so I was always ready to come up with topical ideas.

You might say: “Well, I employ a PR agency, and this is exactly the sort of thing they’re supposed to do”, and indeed it is. But do they? Is the person who writes content for you really embedded in your market (including legislation, your competition, etc)? I hope so, but it’s a question you need to ask. Moving from an editorial position on a magazine to freelance writing or a PR agency is a commonly-taken path, and I’d recommend taking advantage of the talent out there. As a magazine editor I always loved getting material written by one of my predecessors in our magazine sector, because it was inevitably exactly what I wanted. If any reader needs any introductions, just ask.

Seven Reasons Your Content Marketing Needs a Brand Journalist on Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog

Give your emails a fighting chance

It’s amazing how many people assume that marketing emails which don’t bounce back have been read by their recipients. In fact, the response rate of your emails may be much better than you think. But only because far fewer of them get read than you imagine. After your email has disappeared into the void (and not been returned), it has to negotiate a long list of tricky hurdles: spam filters at the Internet Service Provider level; firewalls at the recipient organisation; personal spam filters; recipients not liking the subject or sender and binning the email; and recipients not being able to read the email because of the formatting. If you lost just 10% of your emails at each stage, that’s nearly half of them down the drain straight away.

Yet if you sit down and write me a personal email right now, the chances are I’ll get it. Why should the same not be true of broadcast emails? Somehow my spam filter and my eyes (looking at the sender and subject line) can tell what’s a one-off, potentially important email and what’s just someone trying to half-heartedly give me and a thousand other people a tired, impersonal marketing pitch. We all need to make our marketing emails much more personal.

For more thoughts on this topic, have a read of Email Marketing: Sent Does Not Mean Delivered on the Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog.

Empathy has always been the key in industrial marketing

There’s some discussion going on in the more academic marketing world at the moment over whether emotional marketing has finally been beaten by rational marketing. This might seem a world away from our everyday concerns in the business-to-business sectors, but it does have some relevance. In Right-Brained or Left-Brained Branding? on Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog it highlights that this move might just be a misreading of consumers wanting reassurance rather than indulgence, a situation which most industrial marketers will take for granted as being normal. The article suggests that a balanced approach is surely still the best way, and empathy might be the big winner in your marketing message. I agree, but I suspect you instinctively know what people are more likely to respond to out of these two marketing scenarios: “Here’s the best Widget in the world at this price. Look at the updated benefits and features it offers” or “You can have our updated Widget that has the new features you need to make your life easier (demonstrating how) for less than you would expect to pay”.

Website redesign from the inside out

Today I have a tremendous article which I want you to file away somewhere safely for the day when you decide to “redesign” your company’s website. Redesigning Your Website: Who’s Taking Care of the Content? on the Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog discusses the most important omission from almost every corporate website redesign: what is actually going to go on this great new website.

If you talk to website designers, you’ll find that nine times out of ten, when they’re approached by a client, they’re told: “We’d like a redesigned, more modern website, which is easier to navigate around, looks cleaner, and is more consistent.” Whilst these are all laudable things to do, they’re the equivalent of saying: “Our company’s products are a bit old-fashioned, can you come up with a new logo?” The look and feel of things is important, but it can’t make up for a lack of substance.

Now, most website designers know this. But you won’t hear them say: “Great! I assume that you’re improving the content and facilities on the website, and you want a redesign to integrate these efficiently!” Why not? Because like any consultants, they tell you what you’d like to hear. If you want a paint job, you can have a super paint job. Why make you rethink employing them?

But don’t think a paint job will disguise the product underneath. A website redesign should mean a redesign …from the inside out.