Content Marketing – How to get your brand on the news agenda

Content distribution is vital. You can have the best content in the world but if nobody sees it, it’s useless. DVO’s editorial director discusses how to get your brand into the news agenda, exploring the process editors go through when selecting stories. It’s what he did across his 20 year journalism career.

How does a news editor decide what to publish? There are a strict set of rules which they follow to determine what’s going to make it into their news stream. It comes down to timing, significance, proximity, prominence and general interest. For your influencer engagement to work you need to generate online content that fulfils at least two of these characteristics to stand a chance of your brand making it into the news stream. PR based content distribution isn’t easy but reaps huge rewards if you can do this.

Timing: News editors relish breaking news simply because it sells. Hence, the more current your content, the more newsworthy it will be. Readers are used to being fed constant updates on events and being informed of the latest stories as they unfold, so your content has to contribute to this expectation.

Significance: A story about a newsworthy event involving hundreds of people is going to demand much more interest that an event involving a couple. The number of people involved determines the level of news significance.

Proximity: The closer a story breaks to home, the more newsworthy it’s deemed. There are exceptions to this rule (depending on the scale of the event), but the vast majority of the time, people want to know about what is happening around them. If something happened in your city, it’s much more relevant to something that happened on the other side of the world.

Prominence: Content featuring famous, well-known people or brands have much more sway in terms of news value than a piece of content featuring a member of the general public.

General Interest: These stories are unique in that, if they’re good enough, they disregard all of the aforementioned principles and still make the news agenda. These are stories which tug on a person’s emotions and don’t usually date as quickly as other news.

The overriding element that summarises all of these points is relevance. Content needs to be relevant to be picked up by news editors. That means relevant to their readership as well as your target market.

The fact is, no one is going to log onto a news website to read a piece of biased, ad riddled content. So, the content for your brand has to adhere to this.

The key point to remember is that news websites aren’t a marketing service, but they can be a marketing platform you can take advantage of if you know how.

If you’re looking for a Digital Content Marketing agency to create great online content to help boost your brand, then get in touch with us at DVO and head on down to the DVO HQ on the HMS President.

The Importance of Quality Online Content: Why Keyword Stuffing Doesn’t Work

Keyword stuffing used to be an effective tactic used by SEO agencies to improve content ranking. Now, this tactic doesn’t work. The world of SEO has completely changed and only the highest quality content makes it to the top ranking positions in search engines.

Google’s new algorithms, brought into play on 24 April 2012, have demanded that online content ranked in the top Google spots be of the highest, ethical quality. Their filtering systems, Penguin and Panda, weed out the designated ‘immoral’ content from the honest and quality content by penalising sites that use old-fashioned marketing tactics to draw traffic. These tactics include low quality link building, over-optimisation of anchor text, cloaking pages, over-publishing poor quality digital content and of course, keyword stuffing. Any content featuring these faux-marketing strategies will no longer rank at the top of a Google search. And in the future, these filters will become stricter.

Keyword stuffing is essentially packing as many keywords as possible into content with the aim of making it more appealing in search rankings. At some point, we’ve probably all done this. But, you have to acknowledge how tedious this kind of content is to read. Other than rankings, stuffing adds little value to the content and doesn’t help to build a loyal readership.

Who would want to read a clearly sales-driven piece of online content featuring the same phrase repeatedly throughout over a well-written, engaging article incorporating organic links that are relevant to the topic.

While stuffing may have worked on previous audiences, in today’s online realm, readers and search engines both demand high-quality content that delivers an informative and entertaining read.

Online content needs to be promoted using real digital marketing skills, rather than taking shortcuts. This means recognising the audience, catering to their requirements, generating desire, encouraging action, measuring, analysing and improving. Modern SEO practices are much more targeted and direct in their approaches to improving search rankings. And it is this approach which is going to produce long-term and enduring results for your business.

At DVO, we pride ourselves on being a digital content marketing agency that only delivers the best in online content. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help your brand excel in the search rankings then don’t hesitate to get in touch and head down to DVO HQ on the HMS President for a chat.

Is The Homepage Dead?

Did you know that less than half of the visits to NYTimes.com start on the homepage? The question is where are they all coming from? The answer: search and social.

Instead of coming in via the front door, more and more people are accessing websites (in particular news sites) through the back gate.

The fundamental reason is that people use the web to gather information differently to any other medium. When you go online you know what you want and you look for it directly through a search engine. Let’s focus on newspaper here.

Rather than going to the virtual front page of a paper and clicking through it from there, you use a search engine to find a particular article and enter the site through that page.

Unlike the traditional print newspaper model, people using digital news sites don’t sit down and read the whole paper. For that reason, the editorial layout of an online newspaper probably has less importance than in a print version. In a broadsheet or tabloid publication, pages are laid out in terms of lead stories and newsworthiness, guiding the reader through the news. This is in complete opposition to how most people access news online – free to search a giant database of information for exactly the story that they want.

But, this doesn’t mean the homepage is altogether unnecessary. For general news consumption, the front (home) page still has meaning. Despite changing habits, audiences continue to enter news sites via the home page to find out breaking news, lead stories and major headlines. Also, there still seems to be a loyalty to publications digitally like there is in print versions of newspapers. Plus, there are sites which specifically attract readers because of the content on their homepage – Mail Online for example.

There’s also another kind of reader to consider. The ones who enter a site through the back door and then click through to the homepage to see what the site is all about, or what else it has to offer. In that sense, the homepage on a news site acts more like a magazine cover than a front page. It gives a teasing glimpse of what’s inside, but nothing more.

So, while the homepage isn’t dead, it has definitely changed in its appearance and purpose. Instead of killing it off completely, you need to look at your homepage with a fresh pair of eyes. How does your audience use your site, what do they go to the homepage for, or what would attract them to the homepage? Perhaps you need to view it as more of a central page than a traditional home page.

DVO are a digitally integrated creative agency with a wealth of experience. If you think we may be able to help you, then get in touch and head down to DVO HQ in Camden for a chat.

 

Brands as Publishers: Understanding your audience

Some of the most successful brands today – think Innocent, ASOS and L’Oreal – recognise that the best way to attract customers is to produce high-quality engaging content and build lasting and valuable online communities.

The shift towards social media and online communities and away from faceless advertising strategies is undeniable. Brands are acknowledging the need to grow organic followers, and what better way to do so than by creating a ‘brand personality’ by utilising the social channels and networks available to them.

This has been proven to be one of the most effective ways of distributing content and gaining engagement – therefore building a community of loyal customers that will return time-and-time-again.

Social media

Food and drink aficionado, Innocent, was last year named the most ‘social’ brand in the Social Brands 100 ranking of consumer brands and their use of social media.

It was measured by different markers, including but not limited to brand post engagement on Facebook, a comment to post ratio on the brand blog, all brand mentions on Twitter and average views per video on YouTube.

Innocent’s desire to engage with their community rather than broadcast marketing messages has shown that by focusing on both community and content – and utilising all social media channels – you can achieve immense success.

Great content

The rise of ASOS, the online clothing shop, is in part down to the great content created around the brand. With a customer glossy print magazine and a Facebook page with over 2.2 million ‘likes’, the brand embraced the publisher role with gusto.

The decision to mail magazines to the homes of ASOS’s customers made the brand an essential part of their lives – and also added much-needed fashion credibility to a relatively new fashion brand.

Collaboration

Over the past two years, L’Oreal’s Garnier Fructis brand has partnered with music magazine Rolling Stone to create content around the discovery of new, emerging musicians.

In 2011 they made history by searching new unsigned artists and asking consumers to vote and decide who would be the first ever unsigned artist to grace the cover of Rolling Stone.

This is another example of great content being produced by brands who are acting also as publishers.

If you’re looking for a London based digital agency to help with your marketing needs, then why not get in touch with DVO!

Webspace – A new paradigm in online marketing

Successful online marketing is about building a great website, then promoting it through advertising, optimising it for organic traffic and getting some journalists to write about you, right?

Nope. That’s more like what you do if you have an offline shop.

Online marketing is about optimising multiple properties to function as an interrelated digital ecosystem. I call that a webspace.

Up until fairly recently, online strategy has been dictated by the ‘rules’ of marketing of an offline, pre-internet world. But, due to more digitally savvy marketers gaining senior positions and the sheer volume of data available today to measure success, this is changing.Continue reading

Vanity Publishing: How to Become an Author

Self-publishing used to be considered an arrogant, egotistical way of getting yourself published – aka vanity publishing. You didn’t need a publisher to certify your work and get it printed. Instead, you could take out the middle-man and advocate your own work as being worthy of publishing. Rather than having your manuscript sitting in a pile of other dusty pages begging to be picked up, vanity publishing gave the person the power to stand behind their work without a third party backer.

That was then. But, now the stigma has dramatically changed and that’s thanks to the explosion of the digital world. What it’s done is eradicate the term vanity publishing and made self-publishing a celebrated platform open to all.

Continue reading

How you can profit from Content Marketing

The point of marketing – any kind – is to inspire action. What that action is depends on your business. But, for most, this usually involves buying your product or service. Effectively, marketing should get people to take notice of you. The content is meant to grab someone’s attention, make them listen and then encourage them to act. Simple, right?

Well, not always. The internet is an entirely different medium from television, radio and print. Thus, the traditional tactics used to market brands on these platforms, don’t always transpire to success online. The web works in a completely different way. Online, content is the most valuable thing.

On the internet, people go in search of interesting and valuable content, and understanding this is the key to drawing profit from Content Marketing.Continue reading

Understanding Your Audience

It’s important to know and understand your audience for a number of reasons.

Understanding your audience is vital, it means you can make decisions about what content you should be producing in order to reach the most people. You want them to engage and connect with you. People tune out or click through information that they’re not interested in. It’s your job to create content that people want to know.

Your content is good – you know your stuff. But it doesn’t matter how good your content is or how strong a writer you are, you won’t build a community or grow your audience until you fully understand who you’re writing for.

There are a number of questions you must ask about your audience in order to be able to create content that is valuable and worthwhile.

Who is your audience?

Who are you talking to? Where do they work? What do they do for fun? What types of conversations are they having? These, and more, are all important factors you should consider when you’re creating your content – whether for a business or for a personal blog.

What do you have to offer them?

What content do you have that will benefit your reader? What problems does it solve in their day-to-day lives? What are you providing of value for your reader?

Pam Moore says “Content that connects with an audience is the key to inspiring an audience to listen, to engage and to take action. Content is the foundation of conversation. Conversation is the fuel that will ignite your success.”

To create sharable and engaging content, the first step is to get to know your audience. It is with this knowledge that you can create inspirational content that truly connects with a community. Your audience wants to learn something – it’s your responsibility to deliver on that. Focus on providing content with value.

If you’d like to learn more about making the most out of your content from the Content Marketing Agency who know it all, then drop us a line or come down to DVO HQ for a chat!

How To Write For The Web

Writing for the internet – whether for an e-zine, an online news site or a blog – is very different from writing a feature for a newspaper or a magazine. There are a number of things you should consider when writing for the web. You don’t need to have an English degree to understand the basics – you just need to know how to write and enjoy doing so.

Keep it short and sweet

People tend to skim-read when reading content on the internet. Long-winded paragraphs and flowery language are best left to novels and poetry. Your sentences should be as concise and clear as you can make them – use only the words you need to get your message across. According to Kathy Henning, as a general rule, online text should have half as many words as print text, but often one-quarter or even one-tenth will do.

Use line breaks and lists

You should break up your content into bite-sized paragraphs and use lists to illustrate your article. Lists are easy to scan – especially if you keep them short.

Be relevant

It may be tempting to write about your particularly bad day at work, but if it doesn’t relate to your website, leave it out. You can assume, quite rightly, that your readers won’t care – even if you do.

Be factually accurate

You want to be a trusted authority on your chosen subject. If you’re trusted, readers will return to your site time and again. The one thing that can break that trust is if you post information that isn’t factually accurate. Double-check any facts and figures before you press publish.

Grammar and punctuation

It’s important to properly proofread your work. Bad spelling and grammatical errors will send people away from your website.

Useful links:

If you’re looking for a London based digital Content Marketing agency to help boost your brand, why not get in touch with DVO!

Why You Should Be Guest Blogging

The benefits of guest blogging are two-fold: firstly, by guest blogging you can build links to your blog, which will organically increase your organic search rankings; secondly, guest blogging leads to exposure for you and your blog, which will naturally brand you as a thought leader in your field and help you discover more business opportunities through a solid digital Content Marketing strategy.

Building backlinks

By having a post on a reputable website you will get a link back to your website. You want to receive back links from more established websites than your own.

You can check this using PageRank – PageRank is an algorithm that factors in all the links to a site and the weight of those links. Each website, when ranked by Google, is assigned a number between 0 and 10. You should aim to guest blog on a website that has a higher PageRank than you.

When people are impressed with your content, they will want to share your links in as many locations as they can. These back links reflect positively on your search results and mean you rank higher in Google.

Gain more publicity

Publicity and exposure are two things that can come with guest blogging. By providing high-quality content and posting it on a high authority site, you’re creating a positive image of yourself and your blog. People will start to think of you as an influencer in your own right and your content becomes infinitely more sharable.

It’s free advertising. What could be better?

How to find a blog to guest post

Research: choose a blog that specialises in similar topics to you.

Outreach: connect with bloggers or websites on Twitter, retweet content.

Write well: make sure content is your absolutely best work.

Follow up: share guest posts all over your social networks. Track comments and reply to every reader who comments or asks for more info. It’s all about engagement.

Give as you receive: have guest bloggers on your own site. http://unbounce.com/content-marketing/how-and-why-you-should-be-guest-blogging-with-case-study-kinda/

If you’re looking for a London based digital Content Marketing agency to help boost your brand, why not get in touch with DVO!