Bristol is home to a thriving community of marketers, many of whom are at the forefront of all things digital. As the Internet Ocean continues to be swamped with various forms of marketing material, we spoke to three local experts to hear their thoughts on how to get ahead in 2017.
Magnus Linklater, MD of Bespoke Digital Content Marketing
It’s true that cutting through and getting noticed online has become increasingly tough, so I expect to see a real emphasis on producing quality content rather than simply publishing for the sake of it. That might sound like an obvious statement, but comprehensive research from Beckon suggests that only 1 in 20 pieces of content is actually worthwhile.
When you consider that the same study also states 300% more content was published in 2016 than the previous year, an awful lot of it must be collecting digital dust. Rather than let these revelations dissuade you from continuing with your content marketing efforts though, think of it this way: if you refine your strategy and focus on producing insightful material that says something meaningful, you can really monopolise your audience’s attention.
With everything you produce, you need to ask yourself - is this the best piece of content out there on this particular subject matter? Does it give clear, actionable advice and add value to the wider conversation? Does it say something new rather than regurgitating what’s gone before? If the answer is ‘no’ then you desperately need to go back to the drawing board, because 2017 is the year that mediocrity will kill your content programme.
To give your output the best possible chance of succeeding and being within the top 5% of content, use a tool like Answer The Public to see what people are actually searching for in relation to your products or services. Find out what your customers want, and give it to them.
Another great way of maximising your online presence is to conduct a targeted outreach campaign. Essentially, the idea is to provide guest articles for high-quality websites relevant to your niche, and the benefits are threefold:
- It gives you an opportunity to showcase your expertise in front of potential clients;
- It gives you great material to share on social media;
- Obtaining reference links from authoritative websites will boost your organic rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), increasing the likelihood of people finding you online.
Embracing these steps, in tandem with great video content and a strong social media strategy, should see you outperform the majority of marketers in 2017.
Jon Mowat, Owner of Hurricane Video Marketing
Appropriately enough, Jon submitted his words of wisdom via this short video:
Jon Payne, Technical Director of search and social media wizards, Noisy Little Monkey
More ‘regular’ brands will soon be getting involved with Snapchat. At the moment it’s mainly the likes of Mashable and Vice, but increasingly it won’t be the sole domain of publishers. For example, last year, Taco Bell’s ‘taco head’ lens (which turned users’ heads into giant tacos) was viewed 224 million times in a single day, paving the way for a huge spike in sales.
Live video has been a fast area of growth and will continue to be so as brands learn how to cash-in on live-streaming events. There’s something very appealing about ‘in the moment’ experiences, so this is a great way of capitalising on that most-coveted of metrics that marketers frequently bang on about: engagement.
Brands will continue to risk their reputation by not having tight editorial processes, as evidenced by this awful Yahoo Finance faux-pas where the word 'bigger' was mispelled with an 'n':
Facebook will continue to dominate, and may well continue its land grab of the social media space. It already owns Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as virtual reality heavyweights Oculus Rift, and other purchases are sure to be in the pipeline as Mr. Zuckerberg focuses on shaping our mobile experience.
Mobile is now the primary access point for Internet use, so if you really want to get ahead in 2017 it’s imperative that your website is optimised for mobile search.
Thank you to Magnus, Jon and Jon for their contributions.
Marketing that matters
The takeaway message for businesses serious about gaining online traction this year is that, no matter what you produce - be it written content, video messages or social media posts - you need to consider how your audience will react to everything. This may sound slightly patronising but, as noted above, the stats suggest that this isn’t happening often enough.
Embracing the concepts of emotional storytelling coupled with 360-degree video can help you create immersive experiences and, provided you amplify your content and properly showcase your company culture on social media, you can drive targeted traffic to your site.
As long as your copy is captivating and your website is made with mobile in mind, converting clicks into customers should come a lot easier. Here’s to a productive and profitable year ahead!