Monitoring is key to content marketing success

A few years ago, I did some acting. I started off with stage plays, before going on to do quite a lot of short films, web series and a couple of b-movie features.

In some ways, being involved with film productions felt more glamorous than theatre. This was partly because of screening events in swish venues (basically parties), those glossy publicity photographs and, of course, the strangely satisfying IMDb records, preserved online for all eternity. I was young and I felt like a movie star! Yet, I desperately missed something about performing on stage…

The intimacy and the immediate audience connection just isn’t there when you’re performing for the camera. After all, it can be months, even years, between the Director shouting “it’s a wrap” and the audience seeing the final edit. As a theatre actor, on the other hand, I had the audience right there with me. My eyes and ears were like real-time monitoring devices that enabled me to test and validate my performance on-the-fly. Moment by moment, I could adjust and adapt according to silences, laughter, tension and applause.

As a content marketer, I still feel like I need that instant audience validation. I’m always looking for their approval and seeking the rewarding feeling that comes with knowing my efforts are valued. The only way you’re ever going to succeed with content marketing is if you’re obsessed with wooing your target audience. Indeed, it’s the pursuit of that satisfying feeling that makes me successful in my efforts. And let’s face it, what are your customers going to do with their approval? They’re going to pay it back in loyalty, advocacy and years of repeat business. Get obsessed with giving the audience what they want!

I’ve found that content marketing is not a million miles from theatre acting in the way you can monitor and adapt to your audience as you go, using real-time analytics and social interactions as our eyes and ears. Are they enthralled or bored, cheering or booing? You can use this instant feedback to continually adapt your performance, make sure you’re holding attention and confirm in your own mind that you’re giving the audience everything they need from your story.

Across all industries, there is a real problem with the measurement of content marketing activity. Just 8% of businesses consider themselves to be ‘very successful’ at tracking content marketing return on investment, according LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community.

Most businesses fall down by looking too broadly at general numbers like page views and shares, without interpreting this data into actionable insights. In fact, according to research by Contently, 90% of marketers don’t feel that their key content metrics effectively measure business results.

Why not take this as an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors? What do you need to look for and how can you translate your findings into actions that will help tip the scales?

Although you’ll measure and monitor each piece of content continuously, you’ll probably want to report more broadly on your activities at certain points. When you set out your content marketing strategy, hopefully you were clear about what you wanted to achieve. Are you getting there? At the end of the day, you need to be able to answer one question: is it working?

I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus only on metrics that directly relate to your aim, goals and objectives. Don’t waste time collecting data and reporting on anything else. In my experience, information that doesn’t prove or justify your activity will just distract you from those actionable nuggets of insight, not to mention bloat your reports and encourage extraneous questions that are impossible to answer.

In a nutshell, by only monitoring the right things, you’ll keep your wits sharp and be empowered to cut loose ineffective efforts that are slowing you down.

The concept is simple: collect the right information, make informed judgements and change things that aren’t working. The mantra goes like this: ‘GAUGE – ACT – MEASURE – ADAPT’.

by Dane Brookes, Director at Group Dane and author of Content Marketing Revolution.

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Content Marketing Revolution

For the past 8 months, I’ve been writing a book called Content Marketing Revolution, which aims to helps businesses and individuals to attract more customers, increase sales and excite brand loyalty…all using highly-targetted content.

It’s no secret that traditional marketing tactics have been struggling to deliver the same results as they once did. Today’s consumers are looking to make more educated decisions based on information, trust and brand affinity. This is where content marketing comes in…

“Dane Brookes inspiringly guides you through the five key steps to success. This book is a must for marketers of all levels.”
Mark Langshaw, Digital Spy

Over the last decade, I’ve worked in marketing andcontent strategy in a variety of sectors, from small one-man-bands to FTSE 100 companies, from local traders to television companies in Nashville and New York. The book shares everything I have learnt along the way, with examples of tried and tested campaigns.

The book guides businesses through my five key steps towards developing, executing and monitoring a content marketing strategy to take control of their market. It also includes contributions from a selection of leading content experts I’ve worked with over the years, including Olivier award-winning writer, Mark Davies Markham, Emmy award-winning television producer, Debora Fougere and the University of Liverpool Media Relations Manager, Samantha Martin. The icing on the cake comes in the form of the foreword by Matt Warnock, Digital Editor in Chief at Philips.

The book is published by Giant Leap Media and is available in paperback and Kindle format. Find out more on the Content Marketing Revolution website or get a copy on Amazon.

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New content marketing hub
The book represent the first step towards a new content marketing hub Group Dane is creating in Liverpool. The hub will pull together a collection of the best content producers and strategists in the UK.

The new hub will pull together content specialists from all over the world, providing a range of services and resources to businesses of all sizes.

Sign up to find out out more about our new content marketing hub, Content Kicks.

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Dane Brookes, Author and Director at Group Dane

Oculus Rift: going beyond gaming

This week our Oculus Rift development kits arrived in the office. I’ve never seen such an excited group of developers, but what is all the fuss about?

420775-hands-on-with-the-oculus-rift-dk2The Oculus Rift is an upcoming VR (virtual reality) head-mounted display. There is quite a lot of buzz around it in the gaming industry, particularly since Facebook acquired Oculus VR in July last year.

There is still some work to be done in developing the set for use as a consumer unit. There are too many wires, the system requires quite a lot of RAM to run smoothly and the display is far from perfect. But – even so – wow. On the plus side, by the time the Rift is released to consumers (probably early next year), there will be ergonomic improvements and a better quality display within the headset.

As a digital marketing company, we can see the huge potential of the technology for use by our clients in various sectors, from selling luxury real estate to experiential education. Although the Rift was developed with gaming in mind, VR devices like the Rift will revolutionise the way we communicate and experience the world.

Rolling Stone’s Mark Yarm talks about a few potential uses of the technology in his blog post 7 Ways the Oculus Rift Could Change Entertainment as We Know It.

Experience live concert thousands of miles away

You want to attend the Fuji Rock Festival, but airfare to Japan is pretty steep. In the not-too-distant future, you’ll be able to watch live shows from anywhere in the world from the comfort of your living room and feel like you’re there. “Now, because cameras are so cheap and can be so tiny, you can flood a concert hall with them — imagine that every single person at the concert had these cameras on them,” says Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. “If they were networked, it could all be stitched into one unified 3D model of the concert.” So you could view the show from almost any angle. Add in haptic feedback (which the Rift doesn’t have), and you could even experience the sensation of slamming into someone in the pit.

Experience past iconic events

Forget live music — how about attending a gig that happened 45 years ago? It would be a “monstrous project that wouldn’t look too good,” Bailenson says, but using actual concert footage and other source material, programmers could create a 3D virtual model of the original Woodstock. “What if you wanted to see Woodstock literally from the point of view of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar?” Bailenson posits. “What if you wanted to be his pick? Anything’s possible.”

Films and TV shows you can walk around in

One Seinfeld fan has already created a navigable version of Jerry’s apartment for the Rift. Unfortunately, Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer aren’t hanging out there —yet. Oculus’ Chung foresees the next step in must-see TV: “You’re in the apartment, and the cast, or some version of them, is actually there. You could have a conversation with them.”

On the cinematic front, Bay Area startup Condition One is gearing up to release Zero Point, the first movie for the Rift—which, in a meta touch, is about the development and promise of virtual reality. You can watch an interactive trailer, which will give you a taste of the experience, here. (Should that version take a while to load, you can watch the regular Zero Point trailer below.)

Read Mark Yarm’s full article.

Group Dane’s venture into VR

We’re bringing in some experienced gaming developers to work on an Oculus experience that we’re hoping to release as close to the consumer launch of Oculus Rift as possible. Watch this space – we’ll keep you up to date with our progress.

Find out more about Oculus Rift on the official website.

Group Dane launches award-winning TV company website

pvp-slide1We’re thrilled to have just launched a new website for the award-winning American TV company that produces stars like including Taylor Swift, Aerosmith/RUN DMC, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Janet Jackson and Billy Joel.­­

Picture Vision Pictures, based in Nashville and New York City, has created some of the most iconic TV concerts, music videos and TV shows for the biggest names in music, all played out on networks like HBO, Disney, MTV, Fox and BBC.

We’re proud to have been chosen to design and develop the new website, after beating off competition from companies on both sides of the Atlantic. This is the second time in just over a year that we’ve won an American media client, so not only is this a very exciting time for us, it also further demonstrates that small UK creative companies can compete on an international scale!

Take a look at our case study for more on this project, or check out the finished product by visiting the website: www.picturevisionpictures.com

Hello, What Next?

We’ve just launched a new website for Northwest-based HR and coaching company, What Next Consultancy.

We developed a bold new brand identity, which not only provides a distinct and recognisable look and feel, but also act as a vehicle for delivering core marketing messages.

Here’s a taster…

wn-homepage1Check out the snazzy video interludes on the homepage:

wn-homepage2Does this page make you want biscuits and coffee?

wn-blog1Most importantly, what did the Jo say about the result?

“When I decided to completely revamp my website, I approached Group Dane because of the unique and very different websites I’d seen them produce for their clients. I wanted a website that was quirky, but chic, reflecting the personality and ethos of my company. I was not disappointed; I’m now the proud owner of a very individual website, which matches my brief exactly and is streets apart from my competitors. I have been extremely impressed with Group Dane’s professionalism and how they truly go the extra mile. Their customer service is exemplary and I’d recommend them to anyone.”

– Jo Banks, Managing Director at What Next Consultancy (UK) Ltd

Take a look at the finished product: www.whatnextconsultancy.co.uk and find out more about the project on our case study.

Famous last words: “Coming soon”

Have you ever noticed a huge empty shelf in Tesco with a “Coming soon…” notice on it for weeks or months? No. The reason they don’t do this is because it’s a waste of valuable space, it’s inconvenient for customers browsing and looks unsightly. So why would you do this on your website?

coming-soon-supermaketInconvenient

Website visitors hate being disappointed and that is exactly how they’ll feel if they click on a page or section of your website and are greeted by those famous last words “coming soon”.

“Coming soon” pages are usually added out of pure excitement for the glorious content that will soon take pride of place, right there for all to see. But in reality, your visitors will feel like they’ve been thrust back into the 90s to play an annoying game of Take Your Pick. Your visitors may be excited to see the content you’re hinting towards, but when they look behind door number 3, they’ll find an out of date pork pie.

Unsightly

Just like empty shelves in Tesco, a blank page with “Coming soon” or another derivative of “Nothing here for you” looks bland. Even if you try to cheer the page up with a nice image, it’s only about as effective as a nice bunch of flowers lodged between the empty supermarket shelves.

The fact you’re spending time thinking about how you can make an empty page look pretty should set alarm bells ringing. Save yourself the headache and hold off publishing the page.

Waste of space

If Tesco are eagerly awaiting a big delivery of a new product, they don’t empty the shelf until it’s due to arrive. This is obviously because they would be losing potential sales by wasting the retail space. The same goes for your website; whether you’re selling products, providing a service or sharing information, poor use of site space will affect performance by diverting customers away from the content.

Wait until the content is ready to be published and only then add the page or section to your site. Your users won’t thank you for waiting, but they certainly won’t hate you for not waiting!