authentic

What is Authentic Content?

If you’ve read this blog before, you may recall several references to the importance of authentic content. That’s because at the core of every great brand, there is an existing authenticity that tells a story, portrays core values or reflects a certain culture or personality type. This authenticity is what the target audience relates to and is often what turns everyday consumers into empowered brand loyalists.

But just as genuineness and honesty is hard for many people, achieving authenticity is difficult for brands. It’s risky. It’s courageous. Being real means opening oneself up to criticism and critique.

So, how can we define this? Whether found on social media, blogs or company websites, here are three distinct qualities of authentic content:

1. Relevant

Authentic content doesn’t stray from the brand’s original purpose and the target audience’s interests. Fitness Magazine wouldn’t blog about a new chocolate cake recipe (unless it was a “clean” version) just as Dunkin Donuts wouldn’t tweet about the importance of daily exercise. If they did, fans of these brands would be confused and it wouldn’t accurately affect the existing brand culture.

2. Helpful

Great brands know their target audience’s likes, dislikes, tastes and preferences. That’s why great brands creating authentic content are considered helpful in their attempts to educate, entertain or benefit target audiences in one way or another.

Check out Birchbox’s YouTube channel for great examples of helpful, authentic content.

3. Original

Being you means being original. Consumers see through regurgitated information that fails to stand out from the clutter of marketing messages we see each day. Sometimes, being original means taking risks and exposing innovative marketing strategies.

_________________________________________________________

Thanks for reading Emerging Media & the Market! What’s your favorite example of a brand using authentic content?

Twitter_circle

What Makes a Good Tweet?

During last week’s IMC discussion, I came across this interesting infographic titled “5 1/2 Best Twitter Practices” created by an interactive media agency called NJI Media.

NJI_twitter_infographicIt got me thinking… what makes a good tweet? How can individuals,  small businesses and corporations craft tweets that are more likely to be retweeted, favorited and talked about? Here’s what I came up with, and I’m interested to read what others are thinking.

5 Qualities of a Good Tweet

1. Include a link.

Many accounts with a high number of followers frequently include links in their tweets, and there’s a reason why. People on Twitter LOVE to click on links. According to the infographic above (and many other sources), 57% of all retweets include a link.

2. Utilize real time and user-generated content.

The same infographic says that because Twitter is a fast news-gathering tool, tweets are more likely to resonate with followers when companies tweet what they see when they see it.

The same goes for user-generated content. When Twitter accounts have a history of interacting with followers through conversations, retweets and favorites, other followers notice and are more likely to engage.

3. Practice authenticity.

Share relevant, brand-consistent content. I’m a firm believe that authentic content goes beyond any quick hashtag tip out there and that those in a target audience are capable of seeing through regurgitated messages and sales pitches. Whether it’s a corporate brand or personal brand, the account has to give followers content that is original, authentic and, most of all, created directly for its audience.

4. Use hashtags.

Several sources claim that tweets with hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted than those void of hashtags. But don’t just play the guessing game when it comes to including them. Experts suggest doing some research in order to strategically use hashtags as a tool.

Need some help? Check out this blog post written by a contributor of the Social Media Examiner, where you can find three hashtags tools helpful for your social media strategy.

5. Keep it positive.

It may seem obvious, but people really don’t like negativity. This tends to be a bigger issue among Twitter accounts of individuals rather than companies, but it’s a mistake nonetheless. Keep your tweets positive and your followers will be more likely to listen to what you say — and perhaps they’ll pass it along, too.

 

What else do you think makes a good tweet? Comment below and share!

_________________________________________________

Next on Emerging Media & the Market: What is Authentic Content?

 

SEO Search Engine Optimization - Words on Chalkboard

5 Quick and Dirty SEO Tips

Search Engine Optimization isn’t exclusive to companies with large budgets. There are several quick and dirty SEO tips small businesses and individuals can use to rank higher in search engines and make their content more visible to audiences. The following five SEO tips are simple ways anyone can optimize an online presence:

SEO Tip 1: Blog.

Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo favor fresh, updated content. A beautiful and newly-launched website is best optimized if well-maintained. A great way to ensure proper maintenance is to add a blog component to your website, which encourages the creation of new content that is cranked out on a weekly basis.

Not sure how to get started? Check out Mashable’s HOW TO: Create a Successful Company Blog. Simply define your audience, and start from there.

SEO Tip 2: Promote on Social Media.

Publish a new blog post that you know your audience will enjoy? Share it on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter. Most likely, those who find the content helpful, entertaining or beneficial will be inclined to share it. These links to your content on social media platforms let Google know your website is credible, and will also increase your visibility for specific keywords.

SEO Tip 3: Use Keywords.

Think about the words your audience will type in search engines to find you. Include your location in your text and use keyword research when writing content. Although detailed keyword research tools often cost money, there are several free keyword research tools to choose from for a more basic approach. Search Engine Land discusses three of these tools here.

SEO Tip 4: Content is King.

It’s true. Anyone can start a blog, but not all blogs are effective in engaging audiences. At the end of the day, no amount of post length or keyword density can match up to the effectiveness of relevant, authentic content.

How can companies write authentic content? It all starts with the target audience. Leave out the marketing messages and sales pitches, and focus on what your readers want to spend their time reading. What do they love and enjoy? What knowledge do you have that can help them tackle their daily lives? Start there.

SEO Tip 5: Include Images and Video.

Spice up your content with images and video. Visuals are not only appealing and effective for information sharing, but they’re also SEO friendly. Google favors pages with long stay durations, which happens if readers are spending time watching video on your website. Additionally, there are several quick technical tricks you can utilize to optimize your page’s images. Check out DIY Theme’s rundown on SEO Image Optimization here.

_____________________________________________________________

What are some other quick and dirty SEO tips you use to optimize your website or blog? Comment below to share!

Next week on Emerging Media & the Market: What Makes a Good Tweet?

4263193267_fb5cee0c57_z

Benefits of Unofficial Company Blogs

Many brands that are serious about engaging with consumers host official company blogs, enabling them to control the timing and topic of brand messages. But what happens with consumers take the initiative to create their own “unofficial” company blogs?

Search “unofficial blog” coupled with the name of just about any popular brand and you’ll most likely find several results of unofficial company blogs led my consumers. Here’s a few for quick reference:

Unofficial Apple Blog

Unofficial Starbucks Blog

Unofficial Disney Blog

Surrendering power to the hands of the public isn’t always a bad thing, though. In fact, unofficial company blogs give many benefits to both businesses and like-minded consumers:

For Businesses

Source: http://blaugh.lockergnome.com

Source: blaugh.com

When consumers post overwhelmingly positive feedback about a brand and it’s products or services, companies gain free content that is often viewed as more credible in the minds of consumers. Just take a look at this infographic from Ambassador’s website that shows the power of peer recommendations and word of mouth.

word-of-mouth-marketing-infographic

On the flip side, negative feedback still isn’t necessarily a bad thing if leveraged to build closer relationships and a stronger consumer-oriented brand. Companies can closely monitor blogs led by brand loyalists, giving them the opportunity to tailor products and services to their target audiences’ preferences.

For consumers

As you can see, consumers are more likely to trust the recommendation of peers rather than the sales pitch of a company. Unofficial company blogs are often seen as a reliable source of information, providing honest product reviews and testimonials.

What do you see as other benefits of unofficial company blogs? Do they outweigh the potential risks?


Next week on Emerging Media & The Market: 5 Quick and Dirty SEO Tips

 

Socmed_-_Flickr_-_USDAgov

2014 Socialnomics Recap

The 2014 version of Socialnomics has finally been launched on YouTube. As always, the video provides some surprising statistics about our increasingly social population and where the future of emerging media is headed.

Here are some statistics that stood out to me:

1. Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old. (Woah, that includes me!)

2. Apparently, 53% of millennials would rather lose their sense of smell than their technology. (Embarrassingly enough, that includes me too…)

3. More people own a mobile device than a toothbrush. (Gross.)

4. Each day, 20% of the terms typed into Google have never been searched before.

5. Grandparents are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter.

6. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements.

7. The average person has a 7 second attention span; the average goldfish has 8.

 

It’s easy to see the impact emerging media is having on our population. More than ever before,  businesses must find a way to leverage this new technology to connect with target audiences. The key to creating relationships is through two-way engagement, and the days of relying on one-way communication channels are long gone.

What were your takeaways after watching Socialnomics 2014? Comment below to share!

 

real-women-dove

Marketing Short Films: Brilliant or Misleading?

Marketing short films are a form of branded content that, if done correctly, speak directly to an audience by humanizing brands, telling stories, or creating meaningful experiences. Although some brand short films do find creative ways to “advertise” throughout the duration of the film, some seem more like entertainment than advertisements.

Here’s an example of Chipotle’s award-winning brand short film, Back to the Start, which advocates sustainable, humane farming practices—values that are at the core of the Chipotle brand.

Most would agree that this marketing tactic is brilliant, as its creative way of reinforcing brand ideals speak volumes among Chipotle’s audience. But what happens when brands, unlike Chipotle, advocate messages with the goal of increasing sales rather than reinforcing brand values?

A prime example of this is Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign. Created in 2004, the campaign has advocated for women and girls to embrace their bodies and insecurities by challenging beauty stereotypes. Here’s one of the campaign’s most known marketing short films, Dove Real Beauty Sketches.

The video is admittedly relatable to women, as the viral nature of the YouTube video shortly after its launch shows. However, once people began digging a little deeper into the company, some began questioning Dove’s motives.

Here’s a brief rundown. Dove is owned by a company called Unilever, which also owns Axe. Yeah, you know, the brand that produces commercials depicting women with model-like body structures and boasting the “How Dirty Boys Get Clean” slogan? Top this fact with Dove’s casting call requesting women in the video to be “flawless” with no scars or tattoos. Is this company genuinely telling women to embrace themselves?

Despite the positive effects the campaign has had on women, is Dove authentic in its marketing efforts? Or are they merely trying to do whatever it takes to increase sales? As long as customers are happy, does all of this even matter?

Comment below and share your thoughts. Are brand short films always ethical, or, in cases like Dove’s, can they be entirely misleading?

images

3 Multicultural Marketing Disasters

Known as the world’s  “Melting Pot,” the United States is a country full of diversity. While more than 77 percent of the nation is White alone, the future of our composition emanates from a variety of different backgrounds and cultures as percentages of Hispanic, African American and Asian American populations continue to rise.

images

This also provokes change in the world of marketing and emerging media, where businesses must find ways to adapt and relate to a changing marketing landscape. This means that both traditional and emerging methods of targeting and communicating with specific audiences must be based off of thorough research and a clear understanding of cultures, values and beliefs.

Many have tried, but several have failed..miserably. Luckily, we can learn from the mistakes of several unsuccessful —and often offensive— campaigns. In no particular order, here are three failed attempts of multicultural marketing:

Abercrombie and Fitch— “Two wongs can make it white.”

Cracked.com

Cracked.com

Cracked.com

Cracked.com

 

 

 

 

 

In 2002, clothing retailer Abercrombie and Fitch launched a new line of t-shirts showcasing Asian caricatures as the main theme. The culprit in this marketing disaster wasn’t so much a lack of research as it was a blatant insensitivity to the Asian culture. In fact, a PR representative from the company’s then go-to agency thought Asians would love the t-shirts. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise considering the company’s long history of not only accused racism, but also sexism and size discrimination.

Burger King 

YouTube is a popular platform for companies utilizing emerging media to connect with audience members. But when Burger King filmed this ad of Mary J. Blige singing passionately about the fast food chain’s new crispy chicken wraps, the concept immediately sparked outrage over African-American stereotypes. The situation became worse for BK when Blige almost immediately joined in bashing the ad and apologizing to her fans, claiming the commercial was filmed in a different angle than originally pitched.  Although less blatantly insensitive than Abercrombie’s Asian t-shirt line, a dash of common sense and a whole lot of understanding could have saved Burger King from this multicultural marking disaster.

American Apparel

American Apparel’s newest accessory? Mexicans.

Business Insider

Business Insider

…at least that’s the impression some fans received when they visited the retailer’s online website. Although widely recognized as an ally in the immigration reform movement, American Apparel and its ad left a bad taste in the mouths of many consumers. Color Lines blogger, Jorge Rivas, admits something feels “off” about the ad, suggesting it would have been better had the company “included a caption about agricultural workers and how they’re paid so little that chances are they can’t even afford a plain $18 American Apparel t-shirt.”

_________________________________________________________________________

Unfortunately, these are only three of a long line of mishaps resulting from a lack of marketing research and, in Abercrombie’s case,  poor taste. Comment below to share some more memorable multicultural marketing disasters.