S1: E4 How to plan your content for changing digital media habits

Hello friends, this is Episode Four of the first season of The Marketing Mindset Club podcast, and welcome back MMC’ers who have been here before the virtual clubhouse is open. Believe me when I say I wish we could have a real clubhouse right now because I am so longing for that GMT and some face to face in person conversation, but for now this virtual attentive will have to do. I know I say this every episode, but I really didn’t mean it when I say, I appreciate you coming back and listening some more. I really hope you’re finding the show valuable. But I guess you are if you’re coming back, because there must be something there.

For everyone who is new here, welcome to the Marketing Mindset Club. Grab a seat, pull up a chair or a bit of floor, wherever you’re comfy, doesn’t matter. I’m all about supporting you, as a marketer. So whether you’re completely new to marketing. You’ve been thrown in at the deep end in your company, or you’re looking to up your marketing game. This is the place to get the latest tips and insights in this season.

Each episode is split into three bits:

  • The digital news bit where I’ll talk about what’s happening and why it matters
  • The Learning bit where I’ll deep dive on a tool or technique or strategy that you can take away and use.
  • And the real life lessons bit, which does what it says on the tin is all about stuff I’m learning, and I’m reading about from people doing real marketing stuff right now.

So let’s get going.

The digital news bit

This week the 2020 Reuters Institute Digital News report was published, and the headline that caught my eye was on the BBC, where they highlighted that the use of Instagram for news had doubled since 2018. It said nearly a quarter of UK 18 to 24 year olds use Instagram as a source of news about coronavirus, but my first thought is that this pandemic is such an extraordinary scenario is that trend, due to the uniqueness of the situation. Well, from what I can tell, the data in the report was collected prior to the coronavirus hitting most countries, the data is from 80,000 people in 40 markets and interrogates the media use in January and February 2020, but after the pandemic hit. But they also polled part of the audience again in April, to give a really good contrast into how media consumption and online behaviour has changed.

The top finding was that coronavirus crisis has substantially increased news consumption for mainstream media in all six countries before and after the pandemic had taken effect. Television news and online sources have seen significant upticks, and more people identify television as their main source of news, despite its previous decline. Consumption of printed newspapers has fallen as lockdowns impact physical distribution, which has almost certainly accelerated the shift to an all-digital future of news. The report found a significant increase in payment for online news in the United States and Norway, with smaller rises in a range of other markets. But still, a large proportion of audiences around the globe are satisfied with the news they consume for free and cannot see anything that would convince them to pay.

So, we have to ask ourselves the question if the decline of printed news that you would otherwise pay for continues, and eventually we see the complete eradication of printed news, will the majority of the world be consuming news for free, and in which case you have to ask yourself about certain biases or restrictions. You know, and that is a whole other debate. In contrast, however, almost the same proportion of the audience around the globe are concerned with fake news online. And the most highly attributable source of that is domestic politicians, just gonna leave that there.

Social media is the highest potential source of fake news with new sites and messenger apps in second and third, but with a comparatively small percentage of the audience vote across all countries, 29% of people said Facebook was their biggest worry for fake news, which goes in complete contradiction to the earlier statement that most audiences can’t see themselves paying for news in the future so they’re worried about fake news but they’re also not worried enough to want to pay for a new source.

At the same time, the use of online messaging and social media substantially increased in most countries WhatsApp saw the biggest growth and more than half of those surveyed used some kind of open or closed online group to connect to share information or to take part in the local support network. As we discussed in episodes one and three of this season. We marketers have had a captive audience of potential prospects who are spending considerably more time on their screens right now than they were prior to the pandemic. But, will that change when things go back to normal? My opinion is No, not really.

What’s interesting about this report as a whole, in my opinion, are these three things.

  1. Firstly, coronavirus has likely caused a lasting shift in how the global population consumes media. This means we as marketers need to do some user research for our specific audiences to understand how behaviours are changing in our individual niches.
  2. Secondly, there is a trust issue around news content on social media, compared with more traditional channels, which is especially pertinent in this year of political elections, and this global health crisis. It means if you’re trying to do marketing communication through social media. Be especially careful to back up your message and don’t be ambiguous or misleading.
  3. Thirdly, the consumption of news is now, largely mobile and given that video is now essential for delivering messages brands can’t afford not to have a video strategy.

This week also saw Reddit, turn 15 years old so happy birthday Reddit, whoo, congratulations. Still an anathema to some, but the absolute lifeblood of the internet to others. Can you believe that means Reddit has been around since 2005. No, me neither. It makes me feel incredibly old. It’s had its moments of brilliance, one of which was President Obama’s ‘AMA’ or asked me anything session which actually broke Reddit’s servers at the time with demand, but it has since amassed over 3.8 million views Reddit, however, is a particularly tricky platform for brands who are obsessed with self promotion at best your marketing can be ignored. At worst, you can attract all the trolls in the forest.

The platform is focused on community building and online discussion, rather than highlighting individual profiles or specific content posts and comment threads called subreddits, move up and down on feeds, based on up votes and down votes from users. So, as you might expect, up votes are like Facebook lights which signal Reddit algorithms to move content, up, down, votes do the opposite by moving less engaging content down. There was a good example I saw from Toyota recently. They promoted a post that featured a video of the car, they were pushing being driven by two different pro drivers. The brand focused on telling Redditors, a story about racing and the drivers themselves rather than forcing a traditional ad on them. The content marketing approach, meant that the content was interesting to the audience. And by promoting it specifically in a Formula One subreddit, they were leveraging an audience that already had a strong interest in cars and the videos topic. So, if you do decide to include Reddit in your mix plan to repurpose or make new content that entertains the audience or adds value, but stairway from promoting a traditional push ad.

Also as an aside for anyone who is feeling their energy or their passion for their business has just jumped up a level, you might want to look into the effect of the summer solstice and the lunar eclipse that just happened. And this is a bit off topic but whether you believe in energy from the universe or the planetary movements have any effect on us or not. A really uncommon set of events is happening up there in the sky, so check it out.

The learning bit

So, onto the learning bit. Today we’re going to talk about the hero hub and help content planning model, you’ll sometimes hear this referred to as hero hub and hygiene, but the theory is exactly the same. It was originally devised by Google, as a content model to help Youtubers plan out their channel strategy, but it can be applied across all forms of content marketing it ties in closely with the concept of inbound marketing that we discussed in Episode Three of this season. So if you haven’t listened to that at that episode you’re on next list. I really like it because it’s really straightforward. It’s an easy concept to understand, and it’s incredibly flexible.

So, the way to imagine this model is if you have a line graph with an X axis and a y axis. Imagine the x axis, the one that goes horizontally, is the passage of time, and the y axis is the amount of content activity are doing what you would expect to see on the line graph, are some peaks and troughs.

Source: Ab-uk.com

The hero content peaks in various different times of the year, so you have a line graph that goes up to a peak and then down to a trough. And that signifies different moments throughout the year. And I’ll come on to describe what those moments might be in a moment. And then you’ve got your hub, and help content, and they are more consistent, the, the help content is almost a very flatline. It’s a continuous amount of activity on a regular basis, but it’s not particularly high volume or high profile, and the hub content sits nicely between hero moments and help content, and over the passage of time you will expect to grow that library.

And the reason for having content that ranges from Hero which is quite broad appeal to help, which is answering specific questions, is to capture users at all stages in their journey, and with all levels of knowledge of your brand. There is a diagram of the model on the accompanying blog post on marketing mindset club if you want to go have a look for yourself.

So, what does hero hub and help content actually mean? Well hero content is the big ticket initiatives that grab attention and have universal appeal. Google refer to these as tentpole activities, and they should provide a massive step change in audience growth. They’re often entertaining or informative, but hero moments can be anything, such as a launch event, an industry showcase a PR-able or shareworthy film, any thought leadership stuff or any guerilla marketing. Think of it as your Super Bowl moment, they don’t come along very often, but when they do you go big. It’s usually a good idea to invest the kind of time and money in a hero moment when you successfully built up a good volume of hub and help content.

Hub content is the regularly scheduled content that keeps your audience engaged, and helps develop a passion for the brand. Formats can include films, podcasts brochures competitions, long form, blog posts live streams, but it’s really important that there is consistency with the brand, the quality of the content and the frequency across all of these pieces. If one of those is out of kilter it won’t resonate with your audience

Help content is the useful stuff that is informative and answers the questions that your potential customers have. It enables prospects to answer questions about your offer or your product, and it might include spec sheets, customer service FAQs, how-to videos, product comparisons, maybe information films or animations. Anything that serves as a way of delivering specific information about your product or service. It’s the perfect tool for capturing prospects who have specific questions, your content will appear in the longer search terms. And if you deliver quality content that meets the needs of the audience, you’ve created a positive value exchange, and they will begin to associate your brand with a positive experience. They may or may not subscribe or follow you at this point, depending on the nature of the issue they have, but you have an opportunity here with your unique brand to be memorable. And as I said earlier, the reason for having content at these three different levels, is to appeal to prospects and customers who will be at different stages in their journey. For those with no prior knowledge of your business, you need to create that awareness. You then need to create moments of engagement, which lead to a sale, a lead generation or sign up or whatever conversion is you’re trying to drive.

Now I use this model every day for most of my clients, and it works really effectively. It’s very flexible. It allows you to bolt on your paid owned and earned media strategy for amplifying reach. And if you want to find out more about that, go back over episode two of this season.

So I was trying to find any downsides or disadvantages to using this model because, let’s face it, there are limitations to every type of strategic model, but I really couldn’t find any. I know for myself, it’s always been very flexible and I’ve always been able to adapt it to each client’s situation. The one thing I should say, is that switching between hero moments and hub and help content production, definitely requires a mindset shift in order to make the most of a hero moment, you’re going to need to consider your paid media approach, how PR links in with your content reach amplification goals, and where you’re most likely going to find the prospects that you’re looking for, making the most of that hero moment and making sure you get good ROI on budget is all about making sure you have the right strategy in place to reach the right number of prospects.

The real life lessons bit

So, on to the real life lessons bit. I have a quick update for you on the conversion rate optimization activity we were talking about in the last episode, for those who missed it in Episode Three of this season, I shared our strategy for getting more leads for a b2b tech clients, by trying out the LinkedIn lead generation ads, using a white paper lead magnet. We decided on this approach because of limitations with the clients website, and the low conversion rates we were seeing in the benchmark phase of the campaign. So, we designed a custom piece of creative to go in the ad hosted the white paper on the client side, but crucially users enter their details on LinkedIn. They don’t end up on the destination site to fill in a form, which was originally part of our issue, and the initial results are that it is killing it.

We have roughly tripled our conversion rate so far. I’m not going to share the full results with you right now but I’ll do a full rundown at the end of the campaign, but I would suggest if you are in b2b you’re trying to do a lead generation activity. Step away from your website and consider doing lead generation ads and LinkedIn, I highly recommend them.

The lesson here is that if you’re constrained by forms or user flow on your website. Try comparing your conversion rate with a LinkedIn lead gen. ad and all you’ll need is a piece of content that meets the value proposition you want to get across, but it also needs to be compelling and useful and timely LinkedIn also recently launched a new ad type called conversation ads. We’re about to run a trial with a different b2b client for the one that I was just talking about so I’ll tell you more about that in coming episodes. But the premise is that it works a little bit like a chat bot. When a user is online if they meet your targeting a message will arrive in their inbox that typically finishes with a question and then they have options that they can click on. If they respond to one of the positive options, you know, yes, give me more information, or something similar. The chatbot may then present them with information that’s relevant to the thing they’ve clicked on which can culminate in a lead generation form. It sounds interesting. But we’ll see what happens when compared with the other formats in the coming weeks.

Something else I wanted to share with you that I’ve been working on is schema markup for podcast episodes. So, a client of ours is producing a podcast, and we’ve obviously enhanced their website with specific podcast schema markup in order to help Google identify the episodes.

If you’re not familiar with the term schema, it’s very simply a set of labels that help search engines, understand the kind of content that’s on the page, so they can return better quality search results that align as closely as possible with the user intent, but this is not so much a lesson as me asking you a question have you managed to get a podcast to appear in the rich results at the very top of the search for a unbranded search query. If you have, I would love you to drop me a DM on Instagram at marketing mindset club, and we can talk about how you have achieved it. Because I am in that situation that I’m sure we’ve all been in where I am racking my brains to think about what else needs to be done to connect the dots for Google.

And that’s all I have for you this week. Thank you so much for being part of the Marketing Mindset Club I’m so glad you tuned in. Don’t forget to rate review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, it really helps me out my goal to grow this club. I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments and questions. So head over to Instagram @marketingmindsetclub, and I’ll see you next time.