Have brands really become publishers?

content-is-king

content-is-king

Thanks @waynedenner for another great post on the shifting nature of communications. The greatest asset for any communications strategy (and arguably the organisation) is the quality and unique nature of their content. Some of the farthest reaching publishers of content have been amateur enthusiasts or opportunists with laughing babies or others, seeing a gap in the market have maximised the opportunities of servicing content in different ways (thinking Huffington Post, Twitter among so many others). For non-publisher brand owners, content is what gets you SEO rankings, what differentiates you in the decision making stage, and great content and a crap product/service are more likely to sell online than a great product but with crap content… likewise, brand sites with great content (& UX!) will be a more lucrative source of consumer content than the publishers themselves. By being the authority on a subject area, it doesn’t  matter if you are a publisher or a brand, the user decides, seeds and shares!

Over to Waynes post….

This will be a short blog………..

Yes…. Just kidding.

On a more serious note the delivery of content has we previously have know
it has changed, the game has changed. The PR & Marketing Communication
powerhouses no longer control delivery of the message or how the message is
created – in a nutshell it’s created a lot of the time by the brand. Many brands
have been quick to realise by jumping on the content creation train it has helped
them offer more engaging ways to connect with their customers using a different
variety of channels and mediums, all of which have only been made, possible by
the Internet.

This step or change has become very important and as I see it and has opened
up a whole new level for brands to begin to try and build connections with
their audience at a more personal level. This will be the brands chance to re-
humanize advertising and make it become more social and join up the dots.
Now more than ever because of Social Media & Digital brands actually have to
care what people think, the consumer wherever they are in the world have a
voice. The content, which they create & publish, is spreadable on a global level
get it right and just think of the impact which it can have on your business.

This shift although it be massive is great because brands with products
and indeed those with services now have a global focus group and there all
connected just think what can be done with this consumer insight if harnest
correctly create and delivery better products and experiences for customers,
which will equal a more profitable business.

Now this all matters why? Because content is spreadable

Many reading this will be able to think of a number successful brands who have
already become publishers and been very successful at content creation however
those brands who have still not even entered the arena for them its going to
be hard because what we are increasingly finding is just with other areas of
Social Media content on there brand has already been created by the a new type
of publisher ‘The Customer’ the brands who have got stuck in early are those
brands who have been able to build connections with their users, re-connect
advertising messages and shape the face of the content which their consumer
wants to receive and content which the consumer is able to help spread on
behalf of the brand.

About Wayne Denner

digital_arabia_wayne_denner

Wayne Denner is a leading digital marketing professional and lecturer.

With over 14 years experience in traditional & digital marketing, Wayne has planned and developed successful campaigns for clients across the UK and Ireland, including Diageo, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers,Drinkaware.co.uk, Orange, Armagh City & District Council, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council and O2.

He has been at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital marketing industry for over a decade and is an expert on emerging trends including social engagement, online reputation management, branding media, web 2.0 & e-commerce platforms.

Wayne also lectures on the Chartered Institute of Marketing program on Digital Marketing Essentials & Integrating Digital Media & Branding and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Follow him on Twitter @waynedenner

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Why user generated content matters and why businesses need to encourage it.

digitalarabia-wispa

digitalarabia-wispa

Thank You @WayneDenner for this great post on the importance of businesses encouraging User Generated Content. This is an essential part of integrity based marketing and it can pay off-dividends for brands improving on products and services. So many case studies exist on how this has improved services and even brought back products from “beyond the product grave”. Wispa Anyone?

Everyday our web of influence changes, over the past 5 years we have seen a massive shift towards social conversations platforms like Facebook & Twitter have exploded and brought with them a whole word of new content – this content was not created by famous writer’s nor was it created or dreamed up by fluffy marketers it was created by regular people. But before we get into ‘why user generated content matters’ lets me clear on just what UGC actually is, oh and by the way UGC is becoming a major part of Search #Fact and before I forget businesses also have a small part to play in UGC.

We have developed into a society or a world that likes to share and by sharing I mean digitally share. UGC is content which we upload to a website or social media platform – examples of such content includes Audio, Photography, Video, Written & Reviews. Now its no secret that I am not a fan of mass marketing and I believe that nowadays we are subjected to so much more advertising messages coming from a variety of different channels that as businesses and marketers we really need to take a step back and look at what if any of the message is actually reaching the customer or is it being lost. It is generally now accepted that peer recommendations online are more likely to lead to a sales conversion and that the attachment or advocacy connected with user-generated content can indeed be a powerful tool to strengthen and grown your consumer base all of which matters in the competitive space of trying to win customers online.

digitalarabia-twitterbird

digitalarabia-twitterbird

Research carried out has shown that more than 8 in 10 say user-generated content from people they don’t know influences what they buy and indicates brand quality, while 51%* say it is actually more important than the opinions of their friends and family, and far more trustworthy than website content.

*Source Talking to Strangers Millennials trust people over brands Jan 2012*

Now for me as an online customer engagement fanatic the whole user generated content area excites me a lot. As I see it there is a massive opportunity for businesses especially the small ones of become big players if they can get it right and build advocacy via social media it can really boost their business. For me where many of the businesses fail is getting it right, they sit on the fence way to long, dip their toe in the water or put in a half ass effort. I’ve always found in the past with using social media you need to go all in, a bit like poker to see any of the benefits. The generation of this content for the businesses comes at very little cost although it is worth pointing out it can come with its problems and the negative downside to those businesses that under perform.

I’ve included some steps, which you can take to start the ball rolling, and encouraging the creation of user generated content among your customers.

  • Ask and encourage customers to post reviews and comments on their experience with your brand, business or service. Include links to trusted review sites.
  • User generated content websites such as Tripadvisor attract search engines visitors linking your site through UGC are contributing towards improving your ranking and increasing your visibility via the search engines.
  • UGC is easier grown if starts with the business, this is where the small part businesses play which I mentioned earlier in the blog comes into play – create content which connects with the needs of your customers.
  • Encourage Discussion – the reason social media has been so explosive is because of its discussion aspect – its created outside of ‘actual’ physical conversations a place people can talk, share experiences, ideas at the touch of a button. Within your business social space online encourage customers to suggest ideas, contribute towards the success of your business, and why not even ask for their opinion on your products or services and how you could improve on them.

By encouraging customers of your business to create UGC they are in fact contributing to your overall business marketing efforts as the research shows earlier in the blog 51% say UGC is actually more important than the opinions of their friends and family, and far more trustworthy than website content.

In a nutshell your customers the ‘Users’ want to generate the content so at all opportunities encourage this of course from time to time the content generated maybe not what you have wanted it to be but its how you manage the process which will have the biggest impact and create the most leads which will win you the business. By providing great customer service within and throughout your business will lead to content being generated about your business and be sure to reward and incentivize fans for creating good content.

About Wayne Denner

digital_arabia_wayne_denner

Wayne Denner is a leading digital marketing professional and lecturer.

With over 14 years experience in traditional & digital marketing, Wayne has planned and developed successful campaigns for clients across the UK and Ireland, including Diageo, Carphone Warehouse, Specsavers,Drinkaware.co.uk, Orange, Armagh City & District Council, Invest NI, Newry & Mourne District Council and O2.

He has been at the forefront of the rapidly-changing digital marketing industry for over a decade and is an expert on emerging trends including social engagement, online reputation management, branding media, web 2.0 & e-commerce platforms.

Wayne also lectures on the Chartered Institute of Marketing program on Digital Marketing Essentials & Integrating Digital Media & Branding and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Follow him on Twitter @waynedenner