Twitter’s largest acquisition to date, of the adtech business TellApart, has turned out to be a little less big than originally thought. Back in April 2015, it was calculated that Twitter would pay nearly $ 533 million for TellApart based on the company’s share price at the time. But a 10-K report published today notes the final numbers: It was nearly $ 54 million lower… Read More Social – TechCrunch
What are the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of both? When should you use advertising, and when should you use content marketing?
And which method is better?
We’ll answer those questions and more in this article.
What is advertising?
Advertising is a direct form of marketing communication where companies, political parties, religious institutions, government agencies, and interest groups build awareness of their products, services, events, and ideas.
To accomplish this task, advertisers run campaigns with a limited, but focused, use of media that may include:
Print magazine ads
The job of advertising media is to convince people that a product, service, or idea will solve their problems or satisfy their wants.
Here are four ways you could look at advertising:
A company runs a six-month advertising campaign announcing the launch of a new product through a series of television commercials, banner ads, and staged product demonstrations in select cities.
A political party launches a tour of lectures, public service announcements, and emails to inform voters about where their candidate stands on the issues.
A city government purchases newspaper ads and mails out flyers to announce a new recycling program.
Because of their expensive production and short shelf life, advertising campaigns put the product front and center.
In Budweiser’s iconic Whassup commercial, where a group of friends go around asking each other “Whassup,” two of the friends mention that they are drinking a Budweiser.
In Volkswagen’s The Force, a young Darth Vader attempts to use The Force on a Passat, which is front and center.
There’s a limited window of exposure because the media is not owned
Traditional advertising is a combination of three entities: the publisher (television, radio, magazine), the company/advertiser (often companies hire an ad agency to create and manage the campaign), and the audience.
The company/advertiser buys space on the publisher’s media property for a limited time to get exposure to their audience. Once that time expires (once a month in a magazine, a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl), the advertising campaign media is removed, and the audience doesn’t see it again, which means …
The media is gone once the campaign ends
As I mentioned above, the digital age has changed this in many ways since commercials are often published on YouTube. But they still may be eventually removed from a company’s official channel.
It was brilliant because it appealed to the rogue streak in men — that drifter bent. The campaign said, “Smoke Marlboros and everyone will think you’re cool.” What man doesn’t want to look cool?
Yet, like most advertising campaigns, it was a barrage of images and messages. There was no conversation. No relationship except “buy our product.” No space for feedback.
The disadvantage of putting the product “front and center”
Let me pause for a minute and explain why putting the product “front and center” in traditional advertising is a disadvantage. The truth is, when the product is part of the message, we understand right away that it’s a sales message.
That’s not a terrible thing — any reasonable person will understand that a company is in business to sell their products and services.
But this is where content marketing comes in because this hard-sell approach has gradually weakened traditional advertising. If we’ve learned anything about advertising and marketing in the last 20 years, it’s that customers want to be heard.
Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell. In other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.
The types of content companies use include podcasts, blogs, social media, videos, white papers, infographics, SlideShares, and research reports.
Like advertising, content marketing aims to convince people that a product, service, or idea will solve their problems or satisfy their wants.
However, there are some important differences with content marketing.
You own the media and the content
The main difference between traditional advertising and content marketing is that with content marketing, the company becomes the advertiser and the publisher. Instead of selling your products or services to someone else’s audience, you build your own audience — and then determine what to sell.
That’s the story behind our company, Rainmaker Digital, which started as a blog and blossomed into six distinct product lines.
The product is not the focus of content marketing
With content marketing, you may spend roughly 90 percent of your budget on creating content that educates, inspires, and entertains — and only 10 percent on selling a product.
Ten percent may seem small, but the trust, relationships, and authority you build during the other 90 percent really does a lot of the selling for you.
Since content marketing focuses on solving customers’ problems, keeping the audience engaged, and inspiring them to overcome challenges, the practice becomes a long-term game.
Heck, most of us don’t have the brand equity, authority, or pocketbook of a company like Apple, Dove, or Budweiser … so we can’t win with the one-off nature of traditional advertising (particularly if it flops). We can win, however, by consistently publishing quality content.
You open a two-way conversation
In many ways, content marketing was built to satisfy the consumer demand for a voice.
Blogs invited replies and questions through the comments section. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook tore down the walls that separated consumers from companies, allowing people to talk directly to businesses.
This two-way conversation promotes a better business and better product when the company listens and adjusts.
Content marketing helps you build a media asset
A great example of a company that built a business around content marketing is Buffer, the popular social media app. During their early years, they first outfitted their blog with outstanding content and then the team started driving traffic to their website through guest posting and content syndication opportunities.
There’s another important issue I need to point out very clearly here: Companies who invest in content marketing should avoid building on other media properties. This is called digital sharecropping, and it exposes you to the whims of the property owner and prohibits you from capitalizing on the value of a media asset. Let me explain.
When companies invest in content marketing by publishing content on a property they own (their own website), they build a media asset that may be worth money down the road. For example, Brian Clark has been offered seven figures for the copyblogger.com domain — just the website, not the products that actually generate revenue.
People understand the immense value that driving a ton of traffic brings to a company. Content marketing helps you build those traffic streams.
When to use advertising
Let me make this clear: Here’s what I’m not doing. I’m not recommending that you should never advertise. When you think about the benefits of both advertising and content marketing, you’ll realize that one is not better than the other. You just need to figure out which one will help you meet your specific goals.
So, when should you launch an advertising campaign?
One of the biggest challenges new businesses and freelancers face is exposing their products or services to prospects. Think of advertising as a mechanism that quickly closes that gap.
Of course, advertising is expensive — from the planning and production of the media to the buying of ad space. But if done right, it can result in a quick flood of visitors to your site.
Another benefit of advertising, particularly online advertising, is you can get immediate results.
In the early 2000s, I was in control of a $ 250,000 Google AdWords campaign — and I loved it. Within 24 hours of writing a text ad and a landing page, I could see results, adjust, measure, and repeat.
It was a fast-paced, accurate way to learn about what worked and what didn’t.
Of course that was not my money, and you may only be able to budget $ 200 a month toward Facebook ads, but the cost may be worth the results.
When to use content marketing
Copyblogger built an audience through content marketing (two blog posts a week for a few years) before we sold anything from the site. Once we had an audience clamoring for a product, and they told us what that product should be, we built it and sold it to the audience.
So, when is the best time to use content marketing? All the time. Here are some specific examples.
Build a community. This is the goal of just about every business in the world (whether or not they realize it), and content marketing helps build relationships over time as you solve customer problems, inspire them to overcome certain challenges, and entertain them with your personal stories.
Take on a Goliath when you have a small budget. Canva (the design software firm I mentioned earlier) didn’t have the resources to compete with a Goliath company like Adobe. How were they going to get attention? Publish mega posts with highly valuable content. It worked.
Cut through the clutter. Like most small companies, Crew (an agency that manages creative projects) didn’t have a chance standing out in a world awash with technology start-ups. How were they going to compete? By launching Unsplash, a website loaded with free, high-resolution images.
Now that we’ve covered the differences between content marketing and advertising, let’s test your knowledge with a little quiz.
Can you tell the difference between content marketing and advertising?
Here are the rules: Below you’ll find five real-world examples. Your job is to guess which ones are content marketing and which ones are advertising.
Then I’ll explain the answers.
1. Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” videos
The Blendtec YouTube channel displays many of the classic features of content marketing — consistent publishing, entertaining format — but this video is advertising because the product is the main focus of the content.
2. Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”
Wieden+Kennedy, the advertising agency behind this campaign, originally launched two or three commercials on short rotation, but soon discovered their popularity and spun out more than 100 minute-long YouTube videos.
That’s certainly content marketing, right? Again, no, because the product was front and center, and they are no longer making similar videos. It was a limited-time campaign.
3. GE Reports
Answer: content marketing.
As Contently’s Joe Lazauskas said, GE is the new Red Bull when it comes to content marketing.
“Tomas Kellner, a former ‘Forbes’ editor, crushes his reporting, and the stories on GE Reports regularly go viral on Reddit. Brands usually go viral on Reddit for ruining the world or releasing really bad lip-syncing videos, not for their content marketing.”
4. Madden NFL 16 | Madden : The Movie
Can you guess why? While the product isn’t really front and center, it is central to the plot, and the storyline drives this movie trailer.
It’s a one-off commercial announcing the launch of Madden NFL 16, which makes it more of an advertorial than traditional content marketing.
5. Rainmaker.FM podcast network
Answer: content marketing.
While the title of the Rainmaker.FM podcast network refers to Rainmaker Digital, our company name, none of the shows explicitly discuss our products except for a short ad bumper at the start or end of each show.
And each show — 24 and counting — consistently publishes useful, compelling content for a growing audience of people who are interesting in digital commerce, content marketing, writing, editing, podcasting, LinkedIn, self-publishing, SEO, YouTube, public relations, entrepreneurship, and more.
So, how did you do on that short quiz?
Do you feel like you have a better understanding of the differences between advertising and content marketing? Do you feel like you know when to use one rather than the other?
Let me know in the comments if you have any outstanding questions or thoughts. I would love to hear from you.
Introducing IBM Watson. Incase you haven’t heard, Watson is a cognitive system that’s ushering in the new era of cognitive business. Serious stuff, although, this ad isn’t… Featuring a group of battered science fiction bots speaking about trying to take over the world and their dislike for working with humans. Unlike them, Watson works with […]
This week I found ProsperWorks, a simple CRM tool that integrates with GMail and Google Apps with a Chrome plugin, Boardbooster for robust Pinterest marketing and scheduling and Huballin, a tool that allows you to search for data-driven content ideas around any topic.
I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr or one that I took out there on the road.
David Bowie was revolutionizing pop culture before social media was even a thought and now, even after his death, his influence is continuing. A new Instgram mini-series inspired by the music of Bowie’s final album ‘Blackstar’ will kick off February 25 at 8PM (ET) on the photo-sharing platform. Titled ‘UNBOUND: A ★ InstaMiniSeries,’ the 16 episodes were shot with Bowie’s seal of approval after he gave creators Carolynn Cecilia and Nikki Borges unmediated access to the album and its artwork prior to release, so they could come up with visual interpretations for each track. A video posted by InstaMiniSeries (@instaminiseries) on Feb…
We’re living in a post-advertising age. Instead of lamenting the past, or focusing on “the good ole’ days” of traditional marketing, we’re now being called to get more real. Everyone (and their mom) is affected by how we’re consuming the fast-paced media of today. And in turn, the content that we create is influencing the future of business. If you’re not proactively taking part in the profits and process of being more human, you’re missing out on the fun, authenticity, and serendipity that happens when you fuse technology with marketing.
If this sounds like some science-fiction meme out of The Matrix, you may (or may not) be right. It depends on the pill you take (do you want the red pill or the blue?)
Before we slide through another version of reality, we must understand that it’s not only the color of our content that matters – it’s the context behind the red or blue reality that we choose. The content that we create can act as a catalyst for cultural change – not only within your own company, but for the collective of business as a whole.
This means that marketers who strive for more meaning in their written messages will flourish. According to Demand Metric, 86% of people skip TV advertisements. Yet 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it. Businesses who conceptualize and create Human Content understand that the need for a massive cultural change within their organizations are building the new world on the web.
Here’s what will need to happen to create more meaning and cultural change. Human Content will need:
1. More empathy than traditional advertising.
This isn’t hard to do. Empathy is the undercurrent to the ebb and flow of sticky content. This incredible emotion is how we recognize ourselves and our lives in the stories of others, and it’s how we build relationships that foster connection with people and companies (big and small).
Breaking free from the oppressive mold of yesterday’s advertising (through the use of empathy) isn’t a trend. It’s not the future. It’s not a buzzword. It’s right now. And it’s liberating.
Companies who stop advertising and start humanizing are part of the transformative shift in business. Will you be one of them?
2. Context. Lots of context.
The former days of advertising had little context. The “spray and pray” approach often sends customers running in the opposite direction (often with their hands over their ears). But when we use human content, we add layers of context to effectively reach customers in a fun, informative way. This more personal way of communicating is needed (and necessary!) to thrive in the noisy world of today.
As consumers (and readers) of the interwebs, we’re looking for relevant and inspiring content to either 1) get us through our day or 2) educate us about a product or service so that we can make an eventual purchase. When Human Content connects with us in the right way, it builds relationships that help us to add even more context to what we’re creating.
3. Relevance and meaning
Many brands go out of their way to get as many eyeballs as possible. But consumers are getting smarter. If we’re going to be shown an ad, we want a good experience. We want to be left feeling better than we started (which is hard to do when most ads intrude into our personal space).
This brings us to the curious case of the chicken and the egg. Is the future of marketing “custom content” because of the sheer amount of of annoying ads (and the ability to block them)? Or is the future of marketing “custom content” because we have no other choice? This is a rhetorical question – because the answer is both. And the stats prove it.
According to Demand Metric, 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. And it’s no surprise that the young folks don’t like ads either: 8 out of 10 Millennials have clicked out of a website because they were turned off by an ‘irrelevant or intrusive ad.’
Instead of turning the younger generation (and everyone else) off, turn them on by creating Human Content that has empathy, context, relevance, and meaning. The upshot is that you’ll slowly create cultural change within your organizations because it’s more accessible and real – no matter the color of the pill you choose.
This week, we’re back with another great collection of apps and tools to make your work easier, especially when you’ve got a hectic schedule (who doesn’t?) and running around town in an effort to satisfy all your clients and live your life, too.
These design apps with give you some inspiration and allow you to create beautiful prototypes while you’re on the go.
Build apps and websites with the use of gorgeous mock-up templates and bring your ideas to life with some of the best illustration apps out there.
#1: Autodesk Graphic
While it is definitely not a Sketch killer, this app will allow you to create designs and illustrations with ease. Its low cost makes it a great solution for design newbies and enthusiasts who want to try out their skills on a great program without feeling they’ve spent a fortune on the product. Graphic is released for Mac, iPad, and iPhone, and has a lot to offer for its small price.
The third version of Over for iOS is finally out and designers are already raving about it. It’s a sleek and simple design app that allows users to play around with typography, do photo editing and create great graphic design projects. With an improved UI and lots of new features to try out, the Over app will allow you to create beautiful design projects from your own smartphone.
If you’re tired of popups and windows getting on your way while designing, Concepts is the app for you. This amazing sketching app is praised for its sleek UI interface that simply blends with the canvas. It features a modern and handy color palette and great functionality. This app aims to provide architects with a neat tool for drawing and creating visual prototypes. It allows users to export their files in SVG, DXF, and PSD, making they work even easier when they decide to transfer their work to another design platform.
What better way to create app mock-ups than using your phone?
This wonderful design app is created by Steven Shen and makes app prototyping a true delight. It provides a wide range of templates, pre-made elements, and tools for building the ultimate app design right from your mobile design. It’s available on iTunes and allows users to easily visualize their app ideas and share them with friends online.
Apple users are all about design. Knowing that, the creators of the Folium app for the new Apple TV have built a leading platform that allows Apple TV users to experience design in a whole new way. Folium has a sleek, minimalist design that perfectly matched the style acquired by Apple. It presents all sorts of inspiration in an elegant way, adding yet another cool feature to Apple’s amazing new product.
Tired of endlessly surfing the Web to find the best design inspiration content?
Design Hunt carefully curates content from the industry, from app prototyping to illustrations, web and graphic design and many more. The content that Design Hunt shares is carefully selected to ensure only the most high-quality designs are presented to you.
HeyUser is created by ElasticCode and presents a gorgeous video gallery where users can share and browse through a collection of mobile onboarding inspiration. HeyUsers allows its users not only to browse their gallery but also to contribute to it with their own app or idea.
Facebook has announced that it is finally expanding its live video-streaming tool to Android devices, but only in the U.S. for now.
Today’s news comes one month after the social network opened Facebook Live to all iOS users in the U.S., following a short period during which availability was limited to celebrities and those with verified profiles.
Above: Facebook Live on Android
Similar to Twitter’s Periscope, Facebook Live lets you broadcast yourself to the world, in this case by tapping the status update box and hitting the little Live Video icon. You can then choose who you wish to share the video with. In many ways, it’s more accessible than Twitter’s Periscope, as it doesn’t require a separate mobile app — it exists within the main Facebook client.
During the period of iOS-only streaming that preceded this launch, Facebook said that more than 50 percent of people who have watched live-streams have done so on an Android device.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the Android launch during a town hall Q&A in Berlin today, where he was also asked what he would do if he were Twitter CEO. He gave a meandering, indirect response to the question about how he would help his rival get out of its rut, but he did take the opportunity to tout the benefits of Facebook Live.
‘Live’ is going to be an awesome thing for public figures… Imagine your favorite public figure or politician having the power to broadcast from their pocket, go live, have an audience of thousands of people.
There’s a lot more that needs to be done to give people the ability to connect with the people and figures they’re interested in. I think you’re going to see a lot of that on Instagram and Facebook, and if the Twitter folks do a good job, I think you’ll see a lot more of that on Twitter too.
Though Facebook Live on Android is limited to U.S. users for now, the feature is also being expanded on iOS to more than 30 countries today.
The last few years have witnessed a number of new developments with regard to Google’s search algorithm and being an SEO consultant it is very important to monitor, predict and keep track of the direction Google is headed so that I can provide the best services and results for my clients.
With many of those Google updates such as Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, it is definitely harder to do SEO today than it was in the past.
They have changed the SEO landscape in a considerable way. Google has been making changes relentlessly to improve the user experience and in addition to another Google Panda update, we can expect even more changes to roll out this year.
Importance on Mobile Optimization
With cheaper smartphones readily available in the market and more people using data like never before, mobile internet is the predicted future of digital marketing.
A frequent user of Google would have noticed a recent change in search results that answers questions on the search results page itself. Thanks to Google Knowledge Graph, finding answers just got easier. Google is attempting to provide a better understanding of the link between facts and to offer answers to its users faster and more efficiently.
For example, let’s search for “Toronto Maple Leafs” in google.
In the results, we already have quick answers to all the important and current information about the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Google Knowledge Graph shows their past wins and losses, upcoming games, team roster, Stanley Cup wins, social media profile links and more.
While this means good news for the users, it might not seem a welcome change for website owners. Unfortunately, with answers readily available in the search results, this can mean less organic traffic for your own website.
However, if you want to grab this opportunity to by showing your website’s information in Google’s direct search answer box, this is what you might want to do:
Make sure that schema markups are effectively implemented on your website.
Set up your brand’s Wikipedia page.
Setup a Google+ page for your business
Link out to authority and high-quality sites in your niche
Make use of nouns and entities in your content so that search engines can find answers from it.
Emphasis on Age and Quality
The Internet has grown rapidly in a decade and unlike earlier and Google’s algorithm is giving more and more preferences to aged and authority websites in its search results
A quick look at a random search result would show how Google search results are being taken over by older and more authoritative websites. For example, if you see the top 3 search results for the term, “Criminal Lawyer NYC”, you’ll notice they’re dominated by big authority law directories.
And the results.
Let’s even take it a step further and look at the ages for those domains.
These domains are all over a decade old and the competition is very stiff. If you’re a criminal lawyer in New York, SEO might not be the best investment for you.
Authoritative Links To All Pages
“Page that you want to rank for must have tons of links” – It’s a commonly spoken sentence in SEO world.
However, the gap between that statement and reality will continue to grow larger.
With Google changing its search algorithm quite often these days to enhance user experience, there is a growing inclination towards larger websites that have overall authority on a topic. It looks for information from authoritative domains. So, you need to make your domain authoritative by building links not just to the homepage, but to your inner pages as well.
Crack Downs on Black Hat SEO
In order to provide high quality and relevant content to its users, Google has been increasingly gaining control over with the black hat link building methods such as bulk/profile links, SAPE links and blog network links in the past few years.
As a matter of fact, September 2014 witnessed the deindexing of a huge number of websites that used the above-mentioned link building practices. This continued well into 2015.
This was a precursor of changes to expect in 2016; with quality gaining the front seat position, grey and black hat SEO practices may not bring you the sustainable results for your efforts.
These expected changes clearly indicate how 2016 will continue to prioritise quality over quantity.
The biggest takeaway here is that you need to make sure that you make your website look like a trusted and qualitative resource. Think of SEO from Google’s perspective. They want to provide the best user experience to its users to keep them coming back. The more you help Google by providing its users with valuable information, the more valuable Google will find your website.
How do you do that?
Do outreach and obtain links from authoritative and relevant websites
Ensure your website is mobile friendly.
Maintain and frequently create high quality, relevant content on your site. .
Andre is a passionate Digital Marketing and Web Design consultant with Thunder Rank, an SEO Agency in Toronto. He has over 8 years of experience in the online world and is dedicated to providing his clients with nothing less than results.
The content marketing choices you make will have a direct influence on how your audience perceives you, interacts with you, and trusts you. If you make the right choices, you will develop a loyal following that will translate directly into increased business, a better reputation, and improvement to your bottom line. 1. Choose your content […]
Holly Chessman contributes a monthly column on Content Marketing. Holly is the Vice President of Marketing for Glance Networks. Named one of New England’s Top 40 Influencers in Content and Digital Marketing, Holly understands the power of building customer relationships online, as well as the skills necessary to produce and enforce results-driven marketing processes and campaigns. Holly is passionate about implementing business strategies and visual engagement solutions that result in rapid revenue and happy clients.