Tag Archives: communication

At the Christmas Party, dancing is allowed but not encouraged.

Christmas Party Dancing

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

‘Tis the Season to be jolly, but be careful out there.

Yep, it’s that time of the year again. That time, when a lot of companies seem to spend their time panicking over their end-of-year goals, the Christmas party and reviewing the efforts of the ending year. The trouble is though, that when doing so, a company can take their eye off marketing communications, both internally and externally. We will look at some do’s and don’ts for the Christmas Party and then we’ll see what we need to keep in mind when looking ahead to 2015.

Let’s face it, Christmas is not the time to start being somebody you’re not. Just because ‘tis the Season to be jolly’, it shouldn’t mean that you try to be somebody else. For instance, you might have a glass of wine with a customer at lunch, and on your return to the office, decide to be more ‘open’ and tell somebody what you really think of them – this can cause total chaos in the ranks. In similar circumstances, one might feel a little safer to say things online that appear funny to you, but this also might backfire.

The ultimate place to be careful, of course, is at the (in)famous Christmas Party, where people ‘let their hair down’, this is a minefield and it can all end in tears. Not a good start to a new year. Such a gathering is not an opportunity for the boss to wind down or for you to tell her what you really think. You might have spent a long time earning people’s respect – don’t blow it all over a bottle of wine. The goal is to enhance your good reputation while at the same time having fun in a way that doesn’t get whispered about the following week.

Here are some do’s and don’ts in relation to the Christmas Party:

  • DO – thank the boss early in the evening; DON’T – treat the free bar like a buffet
  • DO – eat early; DON’T – talk about work colleagues (or customers) at the party
  • DO – wear party hats or antlers; DON’T – carry around mistletoe
  • DO – cancel any meetings for the next morning; DON’T – discuss work issues
  • DO – dance if you are asked; DON’T – try to repeat the moves from Saturday Night Fever

Without trying to be a killjoy, I believe that you should situate your mood somewhere between merry and jolly and a couple notches short of being full of festive cheer. By all means enjoy yourself but just remember to be careful out there. You have been building your personal brand throughout the year – use the party to enhance it – not ruin it.

Looking ahead to 2015.

Having survived the Christmas Party, what will the New Year have in store for us?  Well, one thing we do know is that customers will be looking for a personal experience with a brand, rather than being sold to. To do this, companies will have to integrate their marketing activities so that the customer experience is seamless, at whatever buying stage they are at. Also, the use of analysis, on which to base their marketing activity, should be more prevalent, so as to obtain a more effective return on their marketing efforts. 2015 will be about being smarter with your marketing communication.

As customer’s expectations (and choices) are rising rapidly due to modern day ‘connectivity’, so too are their expectations that businesses will understand them and satisfy their needs. In this regard, internal marketing will be as important as external marketing. Employees, as brand advocates will be an important element in customer engagement and indeed, retention.

Two elements in every company’s modus operandi will be even more critical next year as more and more people ‘go online’. 1) Local SEO, as opposed to nationwide SEO, will become more lucrative and 2) personal content marketing will be done through storytelling. In general, the online marketing experience will become an increasingly important tool of differentiation.

Tips and Timesavers.

Now is the time to agree your marketing activity for 2015. The very first thing to review is your message. Your message should be an honest reflection of your offering and one that is easy to promote and remember. Here are 5 tips to consider as you plan your 2015 activity.

  1. Revisit your marketing plan (what is your USP?)
  2. Does your marketing  talk directly to the buyer (is your message easy to understand?)
  3. Do you know your marketplace (what is your service’s / product’s appeal?)
  4. Have you a solid marketing image (have you a strong, clear public image, at all touch points?)
  5. How will you make your customer feel appreciated and important (consistent, excellent service?)

So to finish off before we go to our O’C&K Christmas night out this evening, here are some ideas on how to use social media as a layer rather than a channel during the Festive Season. Decorate your social media sites with Christmas decorations just like you would in your office e.g. your Facebook cover. Why not add some visual ‘spice’ to your photos, use Pinterest to help with shopping dilemmas, run contests online for prizes. I presume you have sent a personal holiday email to your customers already or why not create a Vine or Instagram video to wish them Season’s Greetings.

Our final thought is to encourage businesses to support worthy causes. Every business should have some form of CSR activity going on but especially around this time of year, as people’s minds turn to giving. Not only is it achieving social good, but it is also a good way to build goodwill for your brand also. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

We Supported Nurture this Christmas 

  If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K




Business Marketing – building relationships with effective communication.

christmas business marketing

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

7 ideas for SME’s marketing online this Christmas.

Whenever the owners of small or medium sized businesses ask us about business marketing, we respond by separating the two words. We suggest that, business is about building two things; trust and relevance and marketing is about building one; a relationship. The tool needed to build all of these, is communication.

You can talk about any type of ‘new’ or ‘old’ marketing you want to, influencer marketing, engaging marketing, broadcast marketing, transactional marketing – it doesn’t matter. People connect with people and communication is how that happens, in whatever way that works for both.

Wanting a relationship is human, it is only the type of relationship that differs. As a result, organisations (of any size) must seek out ways, online and offline, which build relationships. Use any method you want to, social media, traditional advertising, growth hacking – just make sure that you are creating an environment for a person to have a positive engagement with you / your brand.

If you think about it, in this digitally enhanced and fragmented world of customers – building a relationship that can’t be copied or stolen, may be the only differentiator, in business. How do you build such a relationship? – By using consistent and effective communication.

Business marketing is about communicating a relevant story.

Let’s be fair, some organisations are embracing the notion of consistency in their communication. Almost every day we read about the tsunami of organisations entering into the content marketing and / or storytelling space. The trouble is that sometimes, this is not done in a consistent and effective manner, because they are storytelling from a traditional advertising mind set.

To me, this is a waste of time. Personally, I don’t want any of my timelines interrupted by a tweet, a Facebook or Google+ post, advising me about a great product! No, for me social media is -s-o-c-i-a-l…. I don’t want to discuss my holidays with my bank manager (even if she, ahem, paid for it). Educate me or entertain me – that’s it.

If you want to share a story that includes your brand, make it a compelling and authentic one that I might be interested in. Also, tell me the story where and when I want it. I might want to check out a service of yours on my mobile but I may read about your story in a blog, on my tablet. And if it’s that useful yes, I’ll share it with my friends on my social media networks. Lastly, please make it different to all the other ‘stories’ because my time is precious.

Be smarter about your business marketing because time is precious for everyone. Your time is spent concentrating on growing your business and marketing has to play its role. To do so, however, your marketing must respond to people’s needs and desires. You have to acknowledge this if you are to earn people’s attention.

The fact that you can’t force anybody to listen to your story anymore, means that you have to ensure that you are part of their story. You’ll read many blogs, articles and books on the need for data management, new technology, automation, targeting, optimisation and measurement. But without being authentic when marketing your business, people won’t care and you’ll end up being a busy fool.

Building blocks for smarter business marketing.

Even before embarking on your storytelling journey, there are some building blocks that should be in place, especially if you are a small business with a small marketing budget.

  • Identify your USP. Choose one thing that differentiates you from competitors and build around that.
  • Be clear about your audience. Don’t waste time on an audience that will never buy your offerings.
  • Use the right channels. A channel should get new customers, and/or build relationships / reputation.
  • Start off with a clear business model. Ensure correct pricing – from a customer’s point of view.
  • Enjoy yourself. Do things you enjoy and that fit with your company’s values.

Tips and Timesavers.

We mentioned above about a business building relationships. Last week one of our Facebook friends, contacted us for activity ideas, to sell products online between now and Christmas. We do apologise for mentioning the ‘C’ word so early in November. However, as we can’t all afford the big TV campaigns, some of the ideas below may help to level the online playing field for SMEs, in the coming weeks.

  1. Maximise social: If you’re planning some offline activity such as a flyer (QR codes), a trade show, a Christmas market stall – broaden your activity impact using social media. Have early-bird discounts, talk about the advantages of shopping early and online. Use each channel / audience in a different way and invite them to get involved (by sharing). If you have a range of products think of using Pinterest.
  2. Site optimisation: track search activity and re align landing pages and search terms. Have you access to FAQs or a sizing chart (fashion). Use large thumbnail images, quick view buttons and testimonials. Make sure the check-out process is simple.
  3. Create an experience: Set up an advent calendar. Each day have an offer on a particular product, have a discount, a 24 hour competition, a quote, a picture – anything that raises awareness or drives people to your site. (O2 have done this in Ireland in the past offering music downloads). Use Instagram to give people gift ideas.
  4. Get emotional: Email is still a personal channel. Use an online ‘pull strategy’ to encourage people to send their gift ‘wish list’ to you. Get them to write a story about why they would want to give one of your products to someone they love. Maybe the best story would get a free gift etc. Their email would give you permission to mail your catalogue to them, for inspiration.
  5. Be generous: Create Christmas themed gift cards. Offer free discount cards – people tend to spend more than the card offer. Promote a BOGOF offer which would help people to solve their gift buying problems by getting two for one! How about free posting?
  6. Be helpful: Delivery countdown. Remind your online followers that there are only ‘x’ amount of days left to ensure pre-Christmas delivery. Let them know if a particular product is almost out of stock.
  7. Be human: Set up a scheduled tweet. Don’t go overboard on this but there is nothing wrong with a little Christmas cheer – schedule a ‘greeting tweet’ for Christmas Eve or Day.

Hopefully, some of these might ‘spark’ an idea of your own.  We want to ensure that you have a turkey stuffin’, wine sippin’, santa hat wearin’, cracker pullin’ bit of fun, this Christmas season.

Outsourcing your content management.

To finish, I’d like to return to the notion of organisations entering into the content marketing and / or storytelling space, in an ineffective manner. Sometimes the task of ‘storytelling’ is delegated to the overworked marketing team (or development person) that are trying to get their heads around data management, new technology and customer’s increased expectations.

The obvious answer is to outsource. However there is a caveat here also. Traditional agencies may lack digital knowledge and digital agencies may lack strategic know how. There is a new breed of content and editorial agencies but the trouble is that they may well lack brand knowledge. Perhaps we will eventually get an integrated model that can understand both the editorial mind set and the brand management side but in the meantime, make sure you all agree the deliverables up front.

“Here’s the plug folks – at O’C&K we combine our own experience and that of our ‘contacts community’ to deliver brand management, engagement strategy and storytelling into a seamless experience for your brand. Let us know if we can help”.

  If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K


Warning: To be human is to love a good story.


“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

10 steps to start telling your story right now.

Why do businesses and so many marketers continue to ignore the fact that customers are human and like a good story?

Do you think I’m stretching it a little when I suggest that your customers, or prospects (people), want to see, hear and understand the real you?  They want to know your story. I don’t believe that they want to hear you broadcast how good you are or how much they need your product / service. Do you know why? Because you are not talking to them in a natural way and they see no value for themselves, in your corporate blurb.

I alluded to this in a previous post, but I believe that it is worth reiterating here. Treating people as humans is a business requirement and not just a casual option. In fact have you noticed that your colleagues, your employees and even your online followers are all human also? Not only that, but they all have one other thing in common, they want brands to relate to them in an interesting way that brings them benefit.

The way that businesses can do this is quite simple to understand but a little bit harder to put in place. Our tips and timesavers below will outline some ways that you can start to make your brand more human with storytelling.

Once upon a time ……

It is true that for brands to break through the ‘noise’ today, they need to be more interesting and relevant. I read recently that ‘friend of mine’ awareness is replacing the traditional marketing measurement of ‘top of mind’ awareness. This reinforces the power of word-of-mouth and also the way that purchasing decisions are being influenced. A friend’s advice is an emotional one and usually acted upon. So if brands are to make any inroads into building relationships with customers, they must connect with people in the way that a friend might – through emotion.

The main way of doing this is by telling a story.

‘Once upon a time ….’ is one of the most emotionally charged string of words, ever. From when we were babies, we always tuned into what comes next after those magical words. Brands have to start telling and stop selling. People in general want to know more about you but will only listen if it is interesting and relevant, to them. How to achieve this from a business point of view, is by revealing a story theme within the guidelines of a clear communication strategy.

Think about it, a brand is really an amalgamation of stories anyway. The ideal would be for you to pull these stories together into a theme and proactively manage them. Of course, if you don’t tell your story, others will and it may not be a positive version.

Topics you could source internally might include:

  • the added value offered by your brand,
  • various audience experiences,
  • your employees,
  • the rationale behind your identity and your image,
  • what others say about you.

In fact, why not allow your stories ‘fit in’ with those of other people. Even better – become a hub for the sharing of ideas and conversations. Give people a face, a voice, a platform to be heard.

When discussing this point with some of O’C&K’s clients, they often say “but we don’t have a story to tell, that’s why we advertise”. Our answer is that every brand has a specific story to tell which should be told because it is the one thing that your competitors cannot replicate. And from a sales point of view, people connect with stories not products.

For instance, the original iPhone was sold as a life changer about how people could connect rather than a pocket computer. What Apple Inc. did was to make the customer (you and me) the hero of their story. Whatever you might think of Apple they definitely changed our lives with the smartphone.

If you decide to start telling your story however, it must be your authentic story. Not some aspirational place where you want to be. Let people know who you are – across all communication, online and offline. Be consistent and constantly thinking about ways that you can add value to your customers.

Brands that I am interested in are ones that I learn from, I laugh with or I love what they do for others. Of course business values are great but I find that they are all similar – have a look at a company’s values page on the next few websites that you visit and you’ll see what I mean.

To me, it’s kind of obvious that businesses need to connect more with people through personal values which means getting emotional, however strange that may sound. I guess social media can help us in this regard. It gives us the opportunity to talk directly to, or listen to, customers. Even a simple ‘thank you’ on twitter can go a long way. As I have always said to sponsees – ‘try to over- deliver on a personal level with a sponsor’. In that way renewal of a sponsorship contract is more probable, nine times out of ten. It’s all about the personal touch.

Tips and Timesavers.

The real trick here is not to focus on your own story, your own campaign, new services or your achievements. Talk about why people’s lives will be improved as you strive to achieve your vision, not how you’re going about it. Tell stories that make people laugh, make them sad or make them mad.

Here are some tips to start you on your journey:

  • Brainstorm with your team. – It is important that you know who and what you are before you can start connecting with your audiences. What is your culture?
  • Determine your audience. –  ID, research and prioritise your top 2/3 audiences. What different requirements have they and what tactics are required for you to satisfy them.
  • Focus on the relationship that you want to build. –  Be a human and have a personality.
  • Don’t interrupt your audience. – Speak in their language and be part of their story.
  • Listen to their story and provide value. – Your story must be of benefit to them in some way.
  • Get your team to be social. – Everybody on your team is a potential curator of stories.
  • Get your audience on board. – By connecting with their emotions they will buy into your story.
  • Leverage different mediums. – Find out where your audiences are and go ‘play’ there.
  • Be human all the time. – Show pictures of you and your team – doing ordinary stuff.
  • Plan it. – Have an editorial calendar, a social media policy and measure impacts.

Telling your story – a science or an art?

If you don’t see yourself as a storyteller, an external professional can help you to encapsulate your company’s story. The downside of not doing this is that your communication with people is going to be unfocused and less effective. Also, don’t waste time trying to set-up multiple channels of communication because, once you have determined your audience, the channels will select themselves.

Adam Weinroth, CMO, OneSpot has provided us with an interesting infographic on the science of storytelling.

The human element of storytelling is to ensure that your team and your audience are sharing compelling content. If that content is aligned to your brand promise and vision, it will be relevant and useful to all parties.

By the way, don’t allow the thought of writing the content to put you off – you can outsource this element also. The important thing is that your internal team is operating like a newsroom and is focused on your communication strategies.

Having a human brand means that you keep in mind that your customers and employees are human too. Humans like stories and are always looking for value in them. That value may be educational, entertaining or simply an alignment with their beliefs. Go on, tell us, what’s your story?

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K


Have a professional marketing approach or hire one.

professional marketing

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Professional Marketing can eliminate bad habits and denials.

You may not have noticed that Aidan and myself have recently re-designed our website. Click here to have a quick look.  Anyway, why did we change? Initially, we focused our work on SMEs that were looking for a professional marketing approach to their business. Our site was informational and aimed at the challenges facing them. As a result, it was quite heavy on content / text.

As we progressed through our first year in business, we noticed that we were receiving repeated requests in relation to specific areas of our expertise. The requests related to the not-for-profit sector ( fundraising and dealing with corporates), commercial sponsorship proposals and the development of engaging communication campaigns. All are areas in which we have extensive knowledge and experience.

If you’ve had a quick look at our new site, you’ll notice that we’ve put these three areas up front to show ‘what we can do together’. We do provide many other services, but we’ve learnt that when an organisation makes the decision to hire a professional marketing company and go searching, they want to see your strengths, quickly, clearly and up front.

What we’ve noticed of late, when meeting potential customers, is that without the help of a professional, many had built up some bad marketing habits.

I’m going to talk about some of these bad habits first. Then I will mention some of the more common defences that organisations put forward, when deciding upon whether to hire a professional or not. I’ll finish by giving you a few pointers to keep in mind if you do decide to hire an external resource to help you develop your brand.

Bad Marketing Habits.

The most common bad marketing habit that organisations fall into is reproducing the same marketing plan, year after year. There may be a few ‘tweeks’ but rarely do they take the time to completely re-evaluate their activity.

Here is our free business guide that we have used with some clients, which might be useful for you to audit your marketing strategy.

A further bad habit is a focus on sales with no marketing effort at all. As a result, they spend a lot of time and energy on attracting new customers (which could well be non-buyers). We would suggest that they should be engaging with existing ones and enticing new customers that show similar characteristics. The next habit is quite common also – businesses base their marketing on old data and perhaps some research that they have done in the past. As a result, any marketing plans will not be well founded.

Here’s another one for you – have you ever used old brochures with labels over the outdated content? There is nothing so unprofessional looking in my eyes. Again this occurs when the finance people (or the owner) decide to ‘save’ on costs, which usually leads to a bit of DIY marketing. For instance, I’ll bet that you know at least one person who has a) talked a friend into building a website, b) had a sibling take photos or a company video or c) allowed a young marketing intern to write the content of your brochures and / or buy ads in local media. None of these are good ideas from a professional image, point of view.

How about over- marketing? We have engaged with businesses who flood their customers with direct mail, special offers, unprofessional in-store radio ads, daily emails etc. This is one of the worst habits as it could drive customers away from your business. Finally, this habit is a more modern one – not understanding how to use social media channels for business. There is a fine balance between over and under posting. And if you decide to have a presence online (which you must), not listening to your customers is the greatest time suck of all.

Are you in denial?

Even if an organisation has no bad habits, sometimes when we meet business owners, or their marketing person, they slip into denial about their need for professional marketing. Quite a lot of the SMEs we talk to have a misconception about marketing. Their first response is “we’re too small to have a formal marketing plan”. As a consequence, they think that marketing is just about running ads in local media rather than as part of an integrated campaign, aligned to business objectives.

It does take a while but eventually they acknowledge that a marketing plan can be a roadmap for their business. In fact, on occasions we have saved them money by suggesting smarter ways to approach their existing marketing activity.

When we talk about their target market, the reaction sometimes is that they ‘know their customers very well’, so they only need to market to potential customers. I’ve referred to this ‘bad habit’ above so I’ll just mention one point in this regard – societies are changing, the business landscape is changing and your customers are definitely changing.

Another common reaction is “we don’t have the budget for more marketing”. Usually, this is because they are comparing themselves to large businesses or competitors. They don’t realise that by dropping some existing activity and having a more targeted approach, they can achieve more lucrative results. A relatively inexpensive way of marketing these days is to manage an online presence. So a lot of our recommendations include a content marketing plan. This plan includes social media tools for listening and content distribution.

To finish this section off, I would emphasise that reducing your marketing budget may provide a short term gain, but will prove to be expensive in the long run. Also, if your business is not online, at an appropriate level, you are going to be left behind. There are many competitors out there champing at the bit to engage with your customers – don’t let them. If you aren’t the marketing ‘type’, hire a professional to help you.

Tips and Timesavers.

So, if you do decide to hire a marketing professional, I always say to people, ‘hire somebody you’re comfortable with’. Professionals do have to charge for their work and efforts, but I say again, find a person that suits your style and budget.

In deciding to get outside help, do a little research yourself before meeting them. It is useful for you to know your immediate competitors and have an opinion on their brand. At least you will have a better idea what to discuss when you have a meeting.

When you do meet, think about how they make you feel.  Are they listening to you?  Do they make you feel at ease with a topic that may be outside your comfort zone? Let’s presume that they have the experience, but even so you should still determine if they have built up trust in their own industry? Do they know your industry? Don’t be afraid to ask them anything at all. In fact, ask them to produce a presentation for you outlining their modus operandi and their own sources of data.

One thing I will say is that if you have done your research and have met and agreed to use a professional, you must allow them to do their work. After all they are professionals and you have to trust them to do their job. Some business owners have their own creative ideas about what the solution should be and get involved too much. I admit that I have been guilty of this, in my previous life, on the corporate client side.

When you decide to take the leap into professional marketing, just remember that it is for the long haul. Marketing attends to how you engage your customers. It is up to you to ensure that what you do as a brand owner lives up to your customer’s expectations.

You are knowledgeable about all aspects of your business but if you subscribe to being the best, you should be professional about your marketing, and hire one.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K

5 content marketing drivers that you must adhere to.

content marketing drivers

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

“We tried content marketing already but it didn’t work”.

Have you ever heard a business owner say this? We have, but in saying that, being smart about any of your marketing activity means outthinking your competitors. Content marketing is just a way of pulling it together.

When Aidan and I started up O’C&K, one year ago, we planned our company’s online presence using a content marketing strategy. Our thought process was that content marketing is a way of thinking as much as an activity. So if we were to help businesses to be smarter about their marketing, we wanted to create or curate relevant content to share with them. Furthermore, by example, we wanted to encourage customers to use content marketing as a relatively inexpensive way to communicate in general. Then, when added to traditional methods of marketing, as a strategy it would serve to develop their brand and grow the business.

As we reflect on our first year, it seems that in general, more and more businesses are creating content. Some efforts are effective and some of it is, just drivel, and a complete waste of time. Perhaps now with a hint of an economic recovery in this Country, it is opportune for businesses to review their communication. This should be done because quite a few are not joining the dots when it comes to their marketing activity. Let’s face it, most businesses appreciate that the use of video, social and mobile is changing the business landscape. They also acknowledge that content matters in this new environment, but they just can’t seem to pull it all together.

Content can comprise many elements.

Let’s look at some of the main ones and their pitfalls. Then, we will look at what we consider to be good content drivers.

Social Media: It is great that more and more businesses use social media, but unfortunately some do so with a broadcast mentality. They are stuck in a traditional marketing mindset and what they do online and offline is disjointed. I have written about this previously, but it is worth repeating here. I believe that if you are not focused on nurturing relationships, both online (by sharing relevant and engaging content) and offline (by networking), your business will not survive, in the long term. It has never been easier for people to ignore you and your communication, and they will, unless you are useful to them somehow.

Blogs: It  is an excellent idea for businesses to own a blog. Unfortunately though, some use it as a sales tool, a product manual or perhaps worse still – don’t maintain it. To be successful a blog must be a relevant source that educates, inspires or entertains your customers, in the first instance.

Blogs and social media go hand-in-hand in building your relevancy so you should take advantage of that fact. Together they are ideal content marketing tools, but take care to ensure that you write them in a non technical, interesting and engaging manner.

Video: You knew that YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet – right? Did you also know that it handles more than 20% of all traffic on the web? There is much research in existence that shows the internet is turning visual. I mean, just look at the popularity of Vine, Instagram and Pinterest, (here’s a great board to follow if you’re on Pinterest). Videos are becoming part of our personal daily online lives. It should be no surprise that businesses are learning that videos can be an integral part of their marketing activity. Video production isn’t the daunting and expensive option that it used to be, a twitter colleague of ours @thadykav is a good example of this.

We’ll be the first to admit that O’C&K don’t optimise the potential of our YouTube account much at the moment. This is because initially, we are concentrating on other channels to build a presence. It is our intention to embrace video, in the future. When we do it will fit in with our content marketing strategy and be creative, consistent and of quality.

Others: The danger of press releases and case studies is that irrelevant ones are ignored by everyone and thus, so can be a time-suck. Unless you are up to date on search engine and content optimisation, you can attract penalties from Google online. Many people don’t realise that websites should fit into the content marketing strategy rather than lead it. Free offers of white papers and e-books must be relevant to your target audience, because if not, they can just become an irritant.

As alluded to in a previous post, ( here ), the expectations of the general public, towards business, are changing. In relation to purchasing habits they want their needs satisfied in an easy, quick, transparent way. They definitely do not want to be sold to. So, providing your audience with something they want, will build an authentic and beneficial relationship with customers and prospects.

If a content marketing strategy is to work for you, your activities should reinforce how your business puts the customer first. If you can align the content of your marketing activity with your behaviour, you will be leveraging it in a profitable way for your business.

Tips and timesavers.

Whatever the number of elements you include, there are 5 content drivers that you must adhere to.

  • It should be relevant (for your customers, their context and your business).
  • It should be useful (after reading it your reader will do or think something in a different way).
  • It should not focus on your business (your brand must be part of your customer’s story).
  • It should be clear and consistent (the style of writing or presentation should not distract the reader).
  • It should be compact and renewable (nobody watches or reads long and / or stale content).

Nobody said this was easy, by the way. We know that some businesses get nervous just thinking about using social media, not to mention having a content marketing strategy. There is no need to panic. Outsourcing is a common and acceptable method of handing this element of branding over to people that can ‘ease your pain’. Just a word of warning though, shop around and agree what exactly they will do for you. The marketplace is swarming with gurus, scammers and poor performers.

If you decide to keep content marketing in-house, the worst thing that you could do is to give the  job to an already overworked assistant / HR person / marketing intern. Especially if they don’t have it in their job description. In such scenarios, you will end up using the inevitable excuse for dropping a pro-active marketing approach; “we tried that already, but it didn’t work”.

If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page. Of course if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K