Mar 13, 2013

How content marketing works

Creating content that inspires, informs and entertains helps you make sales without selling.

From start-ups to multinational corporations, businesses are changing the way they communicate with their customers by focusing on content, and the results only support the latest trend.

  • 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads -ContentPlus
  • Interesting content is a top 3 reason people follow brands on social media ContentPlus
  • 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content, they are also more likely to buy from that company - Custom Content Council

What is content marketing?


[Image from ContentPlus]

Content marketing is really quite simple, it’s a piece of content - be it words, images, graphics - that adds value to your readership and;

"stops short of a direct sales pitch or call to action, but which seeks to positively influence a customer in some way." - StudioOne

If the content is of high quality, your audience will then share, like and spread your message to their online friends, which is also fantastic for SEO.

Focus on blogging, not flogging

A company blog should be written as if it was for your personal blog.

You have a product section of the website to sell your wares, so leave the blog page as a place for people to learn more about the experience, knowledge and personality of your business.

Add value

In the way we hope you find this of this of value, you should focus on giving something to your readers. This then adds to the longevity and - most importantly - the ‘shareability’ of your content.

If you run a catering business, share a recipe for an ingredient in season.

If you sell design services, make Photoshop/InDesign guides.

If you are a creative, tell people exactly what inspires you every day.

Just add value.

Show your personality

Old Spice demonstrated a sense of humour and doubled sales, $1 Razors displayed their attitude and people noticed and SB.TV’s cool persona made the young YouTube blogger a multimedia mogul.

By showing your personality, people can connect with you and your brand on a personal level and will become more loyal to your brand.

Communicate authentically

Authentic communication resonates better with people. It helps build relationships both in our personal and professional lives. Yes, we hear stories about people blagging their way to the top, but as George G. Blaisdell, founder of Zippo, once said;

"Build your product with integrity …. stand behind it 100% and success will follow."

Imagine your online message is a guest at a party - a very, very busy party! Do you want to listen to someone who only talks about themselves, or would you rather have a conversation with the guest that has something interesting to say and is open to debate?

Enjoy it!

Yes, the first rule of marketing and PR is to write for your audience. This is important, but we also strongly suggest you write for yourself.

When you are learning, having fun and feeling good whilst writing, it will resonate with your audience.

Enrol people in your messages by giving them the same experience you feel when you think of your business.

If you aren’t laughing, learning or pushing yourself with your content marketing, neither will your audience and they will go somewhere they can.

It is nothing new

The most important thing to understand about content marketing is that it is not a new form of marketing that is impossible to grasp.

Michelin did it when they created the Michelin Guides, John Deere’s The Furrow magazine andsoap operas created by many soap companies.

Content marketing is nothing new, but we appear to be doing it well again.

Mar 11, 2013
Mar 1, 2013

What is this internet of things thing?

27 February 2013 by Russell Weighton, Thom Rogers

Chances are you’ve started to hear people talking about the internet of things, but what does this ambiguous phrase mean?

Connected devices


The FT explains the internet of things as:

The vision of the internet of things is to attach tiny devices to every single object to make it identifiable by its own unique IP address. These devices can then autonomously communicate with one another.

More simply put, it is where your things (trainers, keys, dog, bath etc) are connected to the internet, allowing them to communicate with your digital devices. 

To get a clearer picture of what it all means, let’s look at a couple of the more popular applications.

Nest

Featured before on the Hoop blog is the Nest, a ‘smart’ thermostat that learns how you use energy. It also connects to the internet, allowing you to control your device remotely using your smartphone.

Withings Wi-Fi body scale

This set of scales from Withings sends data to your online devices, allowing you to monitor your weight and send the information on to your doctor. 

Nike+


Nike have fully embraced the internet of things. Firstly, they had the Nike+iPod, where you placed a small sensor into your Nike+ (this Hoopster would recommend the Flyknits) shoe, which would send data of your run to your iPod or iPhone, allowing you see how far you ran, how fast and how many calories your burnt. As an added feature, this data could also change your music in real time to reflect the speed of your run.

Now, Nike+ has a full range of hardware that links up with your digital devices to track your training, helping you set realistic target goals, share that data with your friends on social media or to your personal trainer/doctor via email.

Combine this with Nike’s gamification of the whole process by adding Fuelpoints, and you have a product that really taps into the possibilities of the internet of things.

What it will change?

Everything according to some. The internet of things could change the way we interact with the world.

Before, there was a separation between the physical world of objects and the online world of the internet, which was accessed on our computers and then, later, smartphones and tablets. Now and in the future, we will have the internet connected to everything from front door locks, toasters, fridges and air conditioners.

The issues

While many label the internet of things as the future, some are suggesting it could leave people even more open to attacks from hackers.

Currently, Vint Cerf is demanding for the internet of things to ‘be locked down’ before the possibility of attack, especially when more advanced systems start becoming connected. The Register explain:

While an internet fridge isn’t much of a threat, it and other systems could be hacked, and the results could range from the simply irritating to the catastrophic.

Why we should be excited

However, at Hoop we don’t like to be all doom and gloom and believe the inevitable rise of the internet of things will be an exciting time for everyone. 

For businesses, this will allow them to collect huge amounts of big data on how their customers use their products, giving them the information on how to adapt their business with the consumer in mind.

On a personal level, we can start making sure our door is locked away from home, find the dog when it runs off and even have the bath ready for when we walk through the door.

Navigate
About
An all-sorts collection of articles, videos, presentations around how people and business are using the internet. Subscribe via RSS.