Content That Connects – Building a Content Creation Strategy

CONTENTI think a lot about content creation. All marketers do. All marketers have always thought about words and images that connect with consumers- whether on a package or on TV or on the side of a horse drawn buggy.

 

But the absolutely ferocious, voracious need for content that brands have in the 21st century is mind- blowing!

Great content drives engagement and ultimately sales.  We need it. We need a lot of it. and in the typical manner, when a need hits the spotlight, brands are rushing willy-nilly to fill that void, sometimes at the expense of strategy and organization.

Let me give an example. Brand A embarks on a website redesign with a need for blog posts, video and some How-To’s or recipes. Brand A reaches out to everyone with a keyboard or camera and some skill in their network – bloggers, interns, employees, etc… and request content. Content of varying quality starts pouring in.

 

The streams of content, much of it time sensitive, gets uploaded to the website, blog, and social media channels haphazardly tagged and barely indexed. Some have typos. Content is written in a variety of different voices…only some of them the brand’s. Those closest to the brand struggle to take off their “sales person hat” in their writing. Very little of the content is repurposed.

 

Let me suggest a smarter way. Content development, like any marketing initiative should have a strategic focus. Take the time to develop a plan and execute it slowly. Great content written by professional content writers with the knowledge of keywords and some HTML goes a long way. With an understanding of the value of backlinks, search, how to edit a video for YouTube, what photos work best on Intsagram and how to use consumer networks to promote a post, great content creators develop end product that can be used in a multitude of ways- on blog posts and Facebook, as pins and tweets and discussed and promoted through brand advocates. Higher quality content, executed flawlessly goes further…less is more.

 

Building a content program that includes all of the various types working together under one theme goes even further. I’ve found the greatest success for my clients working from an editorial calendar to develop video, photo and written content around a theme, then repurposing it in creative and interesting ways across social media network while integrating it into marketing plans.

 

The framework is the key, but not the end all, because speed and timeliness makes a difference too. Editorial calendars in the digital world need to be flexible and strategic opportunities need to be exploited, so while I advocate a framework, I encourage flexibility. A professional content creation program requires a bit of art and a bit of science and a long term goal. Doesn’t everything?

 

professional content creationMaryanne Conlin draws on her years of blogging, posting, tweeting, shooting and editing experience to create great content for her clients and sometimes for herself.

 

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Whole Food Moms – Don’t give me TMI!

Photo courtesy of: smartypantsmama.com/

Photo courtesy of: smartypantsmama.com/

While the natural and organic shopper is typically portrayed as higher educated/income older baby boomers and younger single millennials, an important and growing segment is popularly labeled as the “Whole Foods Mom”.  Based on the recent top natural food trends that market is poised to explode.

Those trends – more shopping for Convenience, greater awareness of Allergens, growth in Meat-free meals, increased focus on Buying Local, and the trend toward it being Cool To Care don’t necessarily speak only to moms, but play a large role in her grocery purchase. This is, of course why you rapidly are seeing dedicated natural and organic sections in traditional grocery chains.

But moms still represent a small percentage of purchases of natural and organic food. Much of that is not due to lack of need, but rather from lack of understanding. Over 75% of new moms and moms of young children have bought SOME organic foods. Newish parents are information hungry and natural media and manufacturers do a good job speaking directly to their concerns about health and safety.

It’s when those moms attempt to branch out to a greater variety of natural products that the whole process bogs down. Whole Food’s moms STILL have health and safety of their children as their first concern. Natural brands though are too often guilty of TMI. (Too much information).

Moms are busy, working, still doing the majority of child care and household tasks. They along with the vast majority of the American public are still pretty confused about the various terms we use in the industry – natural, organic, certified, non-GMO. And frankly, they don’t have time to learn it all.

Green brands that focus on Whole Food’s Moms greatest need – health and safety for herself and for her family will find the going easier than educating her on the differences in terminology. Restrain from sharing TMI. It’s almost always a good thing.

 

 

headshot new Maryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing, a consulting firm focused on green and sustainable industries, fresh produce, food, Hispanic marketing and marketing to Moms. See her at ExpoEast Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore, speaking on Social Media for Socially Conscious Brands, September 27, 2013 Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

The Smart Watch – Revolutionary or One More Thing to Carry Around?

gearThe big buzz in the tech world this week is Samsung unveiling the Galaxy Gear at Berlin’s IFA trade show. Though the tech press has been gushing about the Smart Watch recently and consumers have been scratching their heads, this trend has real potential to change the way consumers access mobile and…change their shopping/buying/socializing habits as well.

Curiously, the problem the smart watch solves, has already been solved by smart phones. With fewer functions than the typical smartphone, one might wonder how a smart watch addresses an existing consumer need – since you don’t actually REPLACE your smart phone with a smart watch….you add it to the tech you carry about with you.

Frankly, I haven’t worn a watch in years! Why would I start wearing one again when my cell phone does such a great job of keeping me on track and on time?

Not so fast, though. Remember back when the iPad was introduced? It was positioned as a “mobile computer” – intended to replace lugging around a bulky laptop, Instead the tablet computer has actually formed its own niche, one that most tech writers and manufacturers did not predict – as an entertainment tool, for use in the home as much as on the road.

So regardless of how Google and Samsung and the raft of other players intend consumers to use this watch, it will find its own function within the closet of technology consumers currently tote around – or not.

Looking beyond these first generation watches, can a wrist computer replace a smart phone? Do we all need to switch from thumb texting to “middle three fingers of the right hand” keyboarding? Is the screen big enough to let me read my email, play my games and post pics on Facebook? How do I hold my wrist to take a picture anyway?

These are just some of the questions that come to mind – the ergonomic ones anyway.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think the accessibility of a Smartwatch can defiantly increase interaction by consumers at store level (much easier for moms to snap a QR code with toddlers are in tow) – revitalizing that waning technology. Improvements in voice activation could fuel demand for this technology as will GPS functionality which would make it much easier to access our maps while biking or walking…even driving.

The big question still come down to screen size and the consumer’s willingness to tote around yet another piece of technology. The eventual niche smart watches fill could surprise us all.

professional content creationMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing, a consulting firm focused on green and sustainable industries, fresh produce, food, Hispanic marketing and marketing to Moms. See her at ExpoEast Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore, speaking on Social Media for Socially Conscious Brands, September 27, 2013 Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

Missing the Mark With Millennial Moms

Photo courtesy Business Insider

Photo courtesy Business Insider

Earlier this year, while executing plans for a major food client, an opportunity to pair with a lifestyle mobile app came up.  The client reaction could be described as, “huh?”  A nudge and a resounding success later, it had the unexpected effect of  starting  us thinking more about targeting that consumer of the future, the younger, Millennial Mom.

In one of those marketing illuminating moments, we realized that while most of our programs targeted moms 25-54, when we looked around and started asking our brand advocates and digital vendors about the average age of the moms we were reaching, it seemed heavy on the 35-54 and light on the other end. This didn’t seem to be a prescription for exponential growth.

As I wrote about this month, in MediaPost, we’re remarkably better informed on the psychographics of our online target market these days than their actual demographics. At the same time there are some significant differences between Baby Boomers/Gen X-ers and the Millennial generation that follows – the new cadre of moms we’ll be targeting for the next 10 years or so.

More culturally diverse, living a wider variety of “family” lifestyles and more often the family breadwinner than older generations, they also are more collaborative decision makers when it comes to buying the family groceries. This last, I suspect has to do has a lot to do with growing up online where eliciting the opinion of 20 different people can be accomplished in record time.

So, while it’s easy to connect with Millennial moms, it’s not so easy to engage without better insights into their needs, wants and lifestyle. And Millennial Moms do feel neglected by brands, as this study shows. So, take some time to learn more about the moms with whom your brand connects – it just might surprise you.

headshot new Maryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing. Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin