Tag Archives: outsourcing

Are You Wasting Your Time and Money in the Content Strategy World?


It is almost a year since we ventured to write a post about content as part of a marketing strategy. It’s probably not surprising that it has been this long as the topic is extremely well documented upon. You could almost call it a shock of content – to borrow a word. (borrowed from here)

Anyway, we were reminded recently of how precious time can be wasted in a business environment. We were discussing a potential client’s digital marketing activity. They were proud of their efforts in that they activated an online presence through a website, social media and a blog. So far so good – you say.

We asked to see their strategy document, be it an overall marketing or a digital one. They replied that they hadn’t written one down. “No problem, ” we said and asked them to tell us what topics they shared with their audiences. They replied “really interesting information about our brand / products etc.”

We had a quick look at the aforementioned prospect’s online activity and noticed that a) there was no real SEO being undertaken, the blog read like an advertisement and they were cross distributing posts across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Even their social media profiles were inconsistent and definitely not brand aligned.

Nor did they measure engagement rates but they did know their followers /page likes figures.  And therein lies the problem with brands on ‘digital’ nowadays. Sometimes their activity does not form part of an overall cohesive marketing strategy. Most of their online activity is a waste of their time.

“Is this not marketing”, they asked, to which we replied “yes, but not with any empathy for the customer’s experience of the brand.” In fairness, their intentions were good and all they lacked really was a vision; a strategy as to what they want their brand to be known within a specific audience.

Like many businesses who are caught up in the allure of the ‘shiny online baubles,’ this organisation doesn’t concentrate on building a congruent and relevant brand experience across the web.

Our discussion motivated us to pen this article in relation to the much-abused words content and strategy. We will spend the rest of this post outlining why we think it is important to have a content strategy and how to implement it in a way that doesn’t waste anybody’s time or money.

Having a strategic approach to content is a no-brainer

Our point is that more time should be spent developing a strategy, up-front, and not jumping straight into producing videos or hopping on social media channels etc. This should be a no-brainer for your organisation, really.

Not having a content strategy manager role in your business is also a good start. Our opinion is that everybody who works in your organisation should become a content strategist – because everything is content. Different people can bring it alive through user experience, blogging, ad copy, your website architecture, CTA buttons, packaging and social media etc.

If it is understood that all content should be focusing back to a core objective then every piece of content will say something (add value to) about your brand.

Be it educational, entertaining or informative – all content produced should have some link to a core marketing strategy. Of course great content doesn’t just happen, which is why we must plan tactics for search, social and offline marketing.

One word that we haven’t mentioned to this point is measurement. We don’t mean measurement of outputs – we mean how the content can be tested for relevance. Measuring relevance means, if your actions / content aren’t having the desired effect then it can be changed accordingly – saving time and money. An editorial calendar is fine as long as it can be changed when and if, needs be.

If you are a start-up business, an organisation with a cause or an SME, try and communicate some personality and character in your content. Good content is in abundance so with a little more effort, excellent content shouldn’t be far behind.

What does engaging (clickable) content look like?

We are all aware that we can pay for audience reach online through search engines and social media platforms. The real challenge, however, is after achieving a targeted reach – making your content clickable i.e. inspiring enough for people to click-through.

Here are 6 ways that an organisation can make their content more engaging:

  1. make your content relevant for the platform that you are on e.g. LinkedIn vs Instagram
  2. have an emotional element in your content to make it shareable
  3. ensure your style is conversational  – it is social media after all
  4. make it unique, valuable or at least compelling
  5. spend more time developing a great headline
  6. make sure it is well written i.e. structured well and free from grammatical errors

Whether owned or paid for, creating clickable content is key to spreading the word about how you can solve customer problems and inculcating your brand story.

How about outsourcing your content strategy?

We know that Google is eradicating old (bad) SEO tactics. We also now know that they are encouraging the use of content to prove search result relevancy. This is only right, in our opinion. But, what if you don’t have the staff, time or the experience to manage this element for your organisation?

Unfortunately, what’s happened is that many content gurus have appeared on the scene – promising you the world and its mother. Let’s call this activity they offer – online marketing.  Many of these gurus don’t appreciate that providing different types of content for use online only forms part of your overall marketing strategy.

The danger is that other, possibly simpler and more relevant, forms of marketing might be neglected. Communicating online should not be a stand-alone marketing activity.

Also, it is not as easy as they say it is. Imagine trying to be an SEO and social media expert, a journalist, a project manager, a community builder and an analyst. On top of this, you must have a sound knowledge of the business and a pleasant disposition (this last one is not an option).

Here are some considerations for you if want to outsource but avoid the said gurus:

– they should have the skills to research and write, informative and valuable content

– they should know what to write when to write it, how to distribute it and analyse the results

– they should be able to explain how they will conduct on / off page SEO and show results

– they should be able to outline how they will get good value for any paid-for activity

– they should have examples of successes achieved with other clients

Tips on how to make your content strategy stand out and how to avoid mistakes

Every bit of research is telling us that the availability of content is ever-expanding. It’s a huge element of online marketing and has become a favoured lead generation tactic for many organisations. There are mistakes that can be avoided and to help your content stand out in a crowded marketplace, here are some Dos and Don’ts, we recommend:


– Write what you want to write about – get potential reader insights

– Pump out truckloads of content as a box-ticking exercise

– Forget that relevant content distribution is 50% of any success

– Write the piece, neglect to edit and publish under time constraints

– Miss the opportunity to engage further or convert a CTA

– Be inconsistent by not sticking to a schedule (whatever frequency that is)

– Be afraid to voice your opinion on heartfelt topics – originality is good

– Ignore design, layout and optimisation for search

– Forget analytics so as to be informed as to what’s working and what’s not


– Align your content strategy with your business plan

– Make your content relevant to a specific audience for a specific pain point

– Reinforce your brand’s positioning by incorporating your branding elements

– Use appropriate channels / formats for how your audience want to absorb your content

– Curate content as well as creating content and re-use offline where appropriate

– Make it user-friendly and findable

– Commit the resources, both human and financial, internally or externally

– Use owned, paid and earned media to achieve your business objectives

– Measure CTAs and conversions


The importance of a content strategy is becoming more evident which, in turn, is being driven by Google’s search algorithms. However, producing content is still de rigueur. This is fine if it is attracting the right target audience and getting them to take appropriate action as a result of them engaging with your content.

It is imperative though that your content strategy is integrated with your business objectives to ensure that it yields results. The one caveat we would have is that a successful content strategy is not something that is achievable in the short term, it can take a long time.

If you do decide to implement a content strategy, though, just remember to be yourself (define your brand), speak in a language people understand and make it shareable. Then you won’t be wasting your time in the content strategy world.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

12 Things You Want To Know About Event Sponsorship


I was chatting recently, with a bunch of my friends, about the array of large sports events on offer this year. There are the Rio Olympics, Euro 2016, the Tour De France, the Cricket Series and the Ryder Cup, to mention but a few. The conversation came around to money which led us, inevitably, on to sponsorship.

Some of you that know my background will appreciate that this topic is one of my favourites.

In fairness, my friends stayed with me as I espoused brand fit and awareness, crowd loyalty and the attitude of rights owners. They know that brand communication is what I do for a living, so they were sympathetic.

As usual, I ended up discussing (arguing) the difference between advertising and sponsorship – even if I knew they were just doing it to get me going.

For the record, guys, of course, both advertising and sponsorship have massive power and they do go hand-in-hand mostly. But, I believe there are different reasons for using them separately.

My discussion prompted me to write this post about sponsorship. I will outline 3 important pre-sponsorship agreement areas to attend to and then list 9 reasons why event sponsorship is effective.


Advertising is perfect (and necessary, we could argue) for establishing a brand and raising awareness. It usually is a campaign so it is for a specific duration with measurable results.

Sponsorship, on the other hand, is usually a long-term commitment between a business and an event. The objective is to build a strong and sustainable relationship with an audience. Preferably the audience should be mutually sought after by the business and the event. With a good partnership, research shows that good event sponsorship can lead to high levels of awareness, recognition and loyalty.

Event sponsorship is best where businesses genuinely have a joint objective, with the rights holder. In essence, it should fit both of their images, values and audiences.

From a sponsor’s point of view, they should be relevant to the nature of the sponsorship (similar attitudes as the audience). They should have some similar demographics e.g. geographical, and should be in it for the long term. As a result, they will have a greater chance of affecting the attitude of their target audience.

As I’ve pointed out in previous posts on sponsorship, changed attitudes can lead to changed behaviour. At the end of the day, with clear marketing communication objectives, a business will be able to decide whether to use advertising, sponsorship or both.

An up-front effort will ensure that you start off on the right foot.

Traditionally there have been seven sponsorship platforms:

  1. Arts & Culture
  2. Broadcast
  3. Cause
  4. Fashion
  5. Film
  6. Music
  7. Sport

You could probably add digital (eGaming), on to that list now. To a certain extent, nearly all of them can be approached in the same way. This is because the most important part of a sponsorship is that the partnership is a win-win-win situation i.e. for the audience, the event owner and you, the sponsor. You getting bang-for-your-buck is, of course, essential if the partnership is to endure.

We would suggest three essential things to do before entering a sponsorship arrangement.

The first one is at the identification stage. You really should undertake research to determine what relevant opportunities are available. Needless to say that there will be many events looking for a sponsor. However, you should only consider those that have the same values, audience and attitude as your brand. We call this, having a good brand fit.

When you have a list of potential prospects, be tenacious when meeting with them by asking pertinent questions. For example, determining the timing and place of the event is important because it must fit your business calendar or portfolio of other sponsorships.

Also, find out if there is a communications / event theme (does it match yours?), is there a marketing budget / team (will you have to do it all?), what is the size of the database (will they get the audience they propose?) and who are the other sponsors / suppliers (any competitors in there?).

The second most important thing is determining if your business audience is the same as the event audience. It’s best to have a narrow focus rather than accepting a general description such as male / female / young / old etc.

The third is, determining what value you will receive for your investment. I do not mean simple branding opportunities here. If you have certain objectives that you want to achieve (speaking opportunities, meetin’ greets, VIP hospitality etc.), make sure all of them are achieved and ignore the distractions of signage / tickets / mentions etc. if not required.

You may or may not be the sponsorship decision maker

If you are a small business and the sponsorship investment is large, the decision may have to go to a Board. In a medium to large business, if you’re not the final decision maker you will have to make the case internally. In either case, the best suggestion we can offer you is to include the results of your research, outlined above.

Your outline should include such items as, brand fit, audience profile, predicted ROI, benefit packages and your personal recommendation. These are the basic necessities and if the decision maker needs more information, at least they’ve shown an interest in pursuing the proposal further. Negotiations with the rights owner can commence.

Outsourcing vs In-house

It might be that you are a business owner and you don’t have time to undertake the research above. Your options would be to outsource the job or employ a sponsorship manager. The difference is usually experience and cost.

From my own background, I am aware that a sponsorship manager wears many hats. These hats can be business development, events manager, marketing, social media or even a CSR expert!

Anyway, whatever ‘hat’ the person is to wear, you should look for as many of the following attributes as possible. If hiring a sponsorship manager they should be / a:

– good negotiator                                                  – proactive but patient

– somewhat creative                                            – self-confident and committed

– great communicator                                         – multi-tasker (team player if relevant)

– good with people                                               – decision-maker

I’m not sure where I read the following quote but it stuck in my mind ever since.

“We hire people based on the skills we are looking for, and we fire them based on the people they are”.

If you are thinking about outsourcing, here are a few questions to consider:

– do I / my team have the time                          – look for experience of sponsorship previously

– do I / my team have the experience              – are they active in the industry and online

– do I have the budget                                        – get specific references from other experts

Tips and Timesavers for Event Sponsorship

More and more marketing communication options are becoming available due to technology. At the same time, the CFOs (or your business partner) are looking for more powerful ways of differentiating your brand from competitors. Whilst you could argue that traditional marketing channels have lost some impact, one option that doesn’t appear to have lost its effectiveness is event sponsorship.

Here are 9 reasons why it’s still a powerful way to achieve business objectives:

  1. Brand awareness and recognition
  2. Targeted marketing (see above)
  3. Brand credibility enhancement
  4. Online / offline media exposure
  5. Lead generation and new business partnerships
  6. Community impact
  7. Sampling / special offers
  8. Data-base / mailing-list usage
  9. Measurable*

*I smile when I think about the traditional ad measurement of ‘opportunities-to-see’ loved by the media so much. This is like counting how many people look at your shop window but don’t go in and buy anything. I mean, what’s the point?

Bad sponsorships have been guilty of measuring the wrong numbers also. Logo exposure, name recall, share-of-voice, anyone? Businesses now realise that these common measurements have no effect on the bottom line. An example of what should be measured would be loyalty, propensity to buy and brand perception.


Event sponsorship is still a powerful marketing communications tool. As a sponsor, however, it is important to have your sponsorship objectives linked to your business objectives. Also, a business benchmark should be agreed prior to the event (Guinness do this by installing pumps in surrounding bars before an event and measuring any increase in sales + pouring rights revenue, of course).

A final heads-up is to be realistic with your target figures. Make sure they are achievable and measurable. If you have business measurement tools in place – include sponsorship in them.

Event sponsorship offers you the privilege of connecting with people and building relationships with them through something that they care about. Get it right, at the start.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K


7 Good Reasons Why Your Business Needs Social Media Marketing.

social media marketing

Constantly, we are reminded that social media marketing is all about time management. We would argue that managing your business’s online presence is all about time management, but would agree that social media management is a large part of that time suck.

That being said, when done properly social media marketing can be very lucrative for your business. It can also be a little ‘fun’ as you have the opportunity of engaging with new people, most of the time. Before it can be lucrative or fun, however, it is imperative that you decide what you want it to achieve and how you plan to manage your activity.

As long as your proposed social media marketing is linked to an overall online strategy and more importantly, your business objectives – you’re good to go. Of course, it would be great if you had the time to manage the individual relationships yourself. More than likely, though, as a small business owner you just won’t have the time.

Having decided to pursue using social media, good housekeeping would be to avail of one of the many tools out there. In particular those that allow you to schedule posts. Admittedly, these can take a while to discover what days / times your audience prefer. Eventually, though it will make your content more relevant. You can always outsource the role but be sure to be mindful of who you use. See here for tips from a previous post.

If you go it alone, do your best to integrate social media marketing into your regular workday. Even 30 uninterrupted minutes a day would be fine. Assign a particular time for sharing relevant information. You can also tell your brand story and like / favour / save items posted by those you follow.

Don’t forget that your blog posts etc. should be optimised for search engines, as well as your website, to enhance positive search results.

In general, your social media activity should not be a campaign to sell your product / service but it can be used to boost your business’s visibility and reputation.

Put a little more thought into why you want to use social media marketing.

We’ve mentioned this already above, but it cannot be stressed enough – you must have an idea of what you want to achieve when starting to use social media. It might be for brand exposure, as a customer service platform, as an informational channel, or to drive website traffic etc.

Thereafter, you have to decide what platforms / networking sites you are going to use. The bottom line is that you work on channels that will return the most for your efforts.

Using social media is also a good way of delivering on your brand promise, i.e. to reiterate your ‘purpose’ to your audience so they know what to expect when they engage with you.

Social media marketing can also be an opportunity to humanise your brand. Although, we firmly believe that social media is just that – social, it is definitely a way for businesses to show how friendly / casual they can be (or not). Being friendly does not mean being intrusive, but does mean sharing other people’s content.

Another advantage for marketing activity is that there is a huge momentum change on social media towards being a visual experience. Capitalise on this by including loads of pictures / images / videos with your posts. This can be particularly useful for marketers who can use infographics and how-to videos etc. and thereby provide relevant value to an audience.

People have a natural tendency to tell and share stories. Therefore, almost any social media platform that facilitates engagement will be popular. Of course, new ones will appear continuously, but all indicators are that the growth of social media is unstoppable. Surely it is a no brainer that every business should be taking advantage of the opportunity.

As participation grows, it is becoming harder to be heard on social media.

One result of the increased usage of social media by individuals and businesses is that it is most definitely more difficult to be heard, especially if you’re a business start-up.

We have been active on twitter, for instance, since we started up in 2013 and the scene has definitely changed. From our experience, here are some tips in relation to increasing your chances of being heard online.

  • You really must have a professional profile photo and bio. Use keywords, hashtags and links to your website.
  • You have to commit to being active such as consistently following people and posting / sharing their content.
  • Connect with people in your industry that you may not know.
  • Meet the people you connect with online – offline. Attend group gatherings – here are some tips on networking from our last blog post.
  • Be an active listener and build thought leadership within a narrow community.
  • Use the tools available to you, to join the conversation.

Tips and Timesavers.

We were asked at a networking get-together recently to give some reasons why a business could not survive without social media marketing. Here are seven reasons we offered in reply:

  1. More and more of your customers are hanging out (searching) online.
  2. Traditional marketing methods are becoming less effective (but still useful when required)
  3. Your customers expect a customised experience by interacting with real people.
  4. Building a community of loyal ambassadors is easier online.
  5. Managing your social media marketing can differentiate you from competitors.
  6. Even the ‘big’ corporates are using it – notice the CTAs for social media engagement on traditional TV / Radio advertisements.
  7. It is much easier to measure and to receive feedback than the traditional methods of surveys and polls etc.


In the greater scheme of things, smaller businesses using social media marketing is still relatively new. For organisations about to embark on the journey, it would be wise to plan it like any other marketing activity i.e. set goals and a timeline.

This plan would typically include who will manage it, how it will look and how much time will be spent on it. When set-up and linked to your other ‘owned’ media, you should be as active as possible.

Bear in mind that social media marketing is NOT an alternative, cheap form of advertising. It is a tool to progress business goals which should be tracked and measured.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers. Jim – O’C&K

The Simplest Ways To Make The Best Of Business Branding.

business branding - O'C&K

5 branding tips you should be aware of when portraying your business

When prospective clients approach Aidan and myself, they usually want some simple solutions to their business branding dilemma. The usual problem is that they “don’t have the time to allocate to marketing”. As a result, the rest of the meeting is spent determining whether it makes sense for them to outsource, do it themselves or approach it on a project basis. Does that sound familiar?

We’ve written many posts on this blog about brands, so we’re going to focus on the topic of ‘branding’ which may be of some assistance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs),  in particular..

In O’C&K, the first three branding elements we look at with a client is; a) that the logo is simple, up-to-date and easy to recognise, b) that their ‘tone’ matches their target market’s expectations e.g. trendy, professional, fun, warm, educational etc., and c) that all their visible collateral (online and offline) is consistent and reflects their business strategy.

In general, we have to lower the expectations that any tweaks to their branding will result in an overnight success. We further explain that it can take years of research, of trial and error and of adapting to circumstances, to develop the brand that they aspire to have.

Effective branding can reinforce the building of trust amongst a brand’s audience – O’C&K.

The human interaction element of your business brand.

Most people are more likely to buy from a brand that they are familiar with – would you agree? Reinforcing that familiarity means getting the above basic elements right because they can appeal to people’s emotions.

Thereafter, by aligning the brand’s messaging with the logo, tone and collateral you will be better placed to distinguish your business from your competition.

When you think of it, small businesses are strong on the human element side, because of the integral part that the founder / owner plays in its development. The real challenge, however, is to ensure that the branding reflects this personal touch and that it is replicated at every single touch-point.

In addition, you must make every effort to ensure that work colleagues have ‘bought into’ the brand. Without them, it is genuinely impossible to reach your brand development ambitions. In fairness, staff  are the most human element of your brand that people encounter, on a daily basis. They must receive every assistance and encouragement to adhere to the agreed branding principles.

I read an interesting article, here, by Andrew Bosworth (BOZ.), wherein he discusses the reason why the power of brands, as tools to help humanity scale, is more important now, than ever before.

Understanding the power of business branding.

The most important thing to understand about business branding is that even if you decide not to bother with it – most of your competitors will. So at a minimum, if you don’t want to outsource to a company like ours, we recommend that you have a look at your branding yourself.

Look at the three elements we mentioned at the start of this post and ask yourself this question – Does your existing branding tell people who you are, what you do and what to expect from you?

Answering this question will force you to understand your own true value. Thereafter you can ensure that your branding activity reflects the promise and the message. The aim is to build an emotional attachment with your customers. If you do, from a bottom-line point of view, the price will not be as prominent a factor when they are deciding to engage your brand on a repeat basis.

Allow us to summarise our points made above into a checklist for you to determine the power of your branding.

  • Do you understand the value of effective branding?
  • Does your branding outline and reflect your promise?
  • Is your brand messaging and design easy to recall?
  • Do you understand people’s perception of your true value to them?
  • Does your branding distinguish you from your competitors?
  • Can people interact with your brand in a human way, at all touch-points

Don’t be afraid to break some of the rules of business branding.

When passing through an airport book shop, I’m sure you’ve noticed all the self–help business books on display there. Their titles certainly seem to be effective in luring some business travellers into purchasing the ‘ideal’ way of undertaking successful branding.

Books that provide “38 tips to build a better brand” or “19 ways to avoid ruining your brand” (apologies if these are any author’s actual titles – ed), just don’t do it for me. Any of the ones I’ve chosen has presented me with templates and many case studies of multi-nationals that have based International success on various branding guidelines.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that all self-help books are a waste of time. I’m just saying that I would prefer to take the practical advice of a colleague in a similar industry or a successful friend in an SME, rather than follow all the rules and guidelines.

In saying that, there are excellent authors out there covering every strand of marketing you can think of. For instance, I purchased Jeremy Miller’s Sticky Branding book recently, which I can recommend (no affiliation) for small to medium sized businesses.

We mentioned the three elements of business branding, that we look at, so let’s revisit those again briefly, in more of a self-audit context.

For example, when undertaking your audit, remember that social media is not a brand strategy. It is a way increasing your visibility online. Just ensure that you include it when reviewing your visible collateral, mentioned at (c) above.

When looking at your ‘messaging’, along with design, it should be reinforcing your brand positioning and easy to recall. The challenge here is to avoid using clichés. By doing so, you will avoid just promoting the industry you’re in and instead will be focused on your own brand.

There is no ‘average’ any more so branding yourself as ‘more efficient than’ or ‘cheaper than’ won’t cut the mustard. Businesses should excel in/at something if it is to survive in the long run.

In fact only by doing something that’s valued by people, will allow you to grow your brand. Just being more efficient or cheaper is not a sustainable strategy. Selling something at the lowest price will not create loyalty to your brand.

Selling at the lowest point only creates loyalty to that price point. Instead we have to be really clear about what we want people to know about us and use that in our branding activity. Otherwise they won’t remember anything.

Tips and Timesavers.

At this stage I think we can agree that your brand is your business (what you do), and branding is how you want people to see you (what you say). Let’s have a look at some ways in which we have to be mindful of how we portray our businesses through branding:

  1. How you portray yourself through words – be conscious of how you sound through all media – website, social media, blog content, emails, texts, meetings, phone answering etc. Consistency of tone and voice builds familiarity.
  2. How you portray yourself through branded collateral – using templates for letterheads, email signatures, online channels, business cards, tender documents etc., not only builds awareness but also delivers on expectations.
  3. How you portray your standards – maintaining your brand standards after the sale reinforces your brand promise. People expect the high standards promised and when delivered upon, are less likely to move away.
  4. How you portray your appreciation for people’s custom – over delivering on your promise will delight customers. Constantly look for ways to surprise your existing customers.
  5. How you portray your branding standards to work colleagues – making it easy for colleagues to implement consistent branding in their work through style guides and templates etc. will result in a more positive brand culture.


From time to time, have a look at your brand, through the eyes of a prospect. Ask yourself – what impression would you have and would you stick out from competitors? You will soon discover whether you are thriving or just stumbling along.

“Every business has a brand – the only question is whether it’s an intentional one”

John Jantsch. – Duct Tape Marketing

“We hope you have enjoyed our marketing tips and timesavers blog” – Aidan & Jim.

 Would you like us to notify you, by email, when we publish new content? If so, just let us know by clicking here. Of course, we can always meet face-to-face, just leave your details here and we might grab a coffee, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K



Inbound Marketing – should it stay, in-house, or should it go?


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

9 tips for planning your inbound marketing.

It’s been a few years now since brands realised that people were becoming increasingly annoyed by ‘intrusive’ marketing. What arose (primed by the advances in technologically assisted connectedness), was a method of attracting people to your brand rather than invading their space with an irrelevant message.

This ‘new’ approach was called inbound marketing and appeared to be a logical way to proceed, mainly because consumers have never had it so easy to be able to switch off irrelevant brand communication.. Of course, it was, and is, a back to the future scenario because the rationale for smarter marketing hasn’t changed, just the methodologies available.

In fact, inbound marketing is flying so high nowadays, it’s like there is no other way of marketing. It has become king of the marketing castle. To confound matters further, there are many practitioners out there proclaiming that traditional marketing is dead because ‘content marketing’ has taken over.

Before we proceed, let’s clarify one thing – in our opinion content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. It is the lifeblood of an inbound strategy without which, there is no hook for people to listen to your brand communication.

Well, to all you marketers and organisations out there, you’ll be pleased to know that traditional (outbound) marketing is not dead. It is alive and well. It still has a part to play in a focused marketing plan. Here is a table outlining sample activity that may form part of your detailed marketing plan, depending on the target audience and business goals.

Traditional / Outbound / Push Marketing Inbound / Content / Pull Marketing
Radio or Television ads Website – SEO
Outdoor advertising Social Media
Tradeshows or Exhibitions Blogs
Direct Mail Whitepapers or eBooks
Flyers, Circulars or Inserts Email campaigns
Outbound Call Centres eNewsletters
Banner or Display ads Podcasts, Webinars or Video streaming


A brief summary of the above table is that – outbound activity is an attempt to ‘buy’ the attention of the targeted audience whereas, inbound activity is an attempt to ‘earn’ their attention. Of course, both methods have their pros and cons but the essence of success is a mix of both, that will provide measureable results.

9 tips for planning your inbound marketing.

Although almost everyone is talking about embracing inbound marketing, it is not as easy as having a few social media accounts and blogging every now and then. It takes commitment, perseverance and some creativity to achieve measureable results. These results will be based on a business plan and should culminate in increased leads, conversions and sales.

Here are our tips and timesavers when planning your inbound strategy.

  1. Invite, don’t interrupt. – Use social media, blogs, articles, newsletters etc. to engage with your audience.
  2. Help, don’t sell. –  If you know your audience well, you will know what they want – give it to them.
  3. Humanise, don’t automate. – When you get the leads, you need to nurture the relationships.
  4. Be relevant not incidental. – Blog a lot of relevant content, as regularly as you can.
  5. Measure, don’t guess. – You can be smarter about your marketing by knowing what works.
  6. Be visible, not hidden. – Use SEO to increase the likelihood of being found in searches.
  7. Talk directly, not generally. – Use email selectively and customise content for recipients.
  8. Spark conversation, not self-promotion. – Use social media as a ‘social medium’ not an advertising channel.
  9. Entice rather than pay. – Short, consumable content that educates or entertains will work.

Stay or Go? Content marketing In-house, or outsourced?

The first thing to emphasise here is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question. The fact is, that it totally depends on your business objectives and of course your budget. It may also be the case, as it is with some of our own clients, that a combination of both is the more suitable.

Some of the main arguments we hear against outsourcing are:

A) can outsiders capture your brand voice? Our answer is yes they can – there are many very talented writers out there who are extremely creative and professional enough to avoid the content becoming just more advertising copy.

B) Our own marketing dept. / person can write a blog – yes they could, but different audiences require different approaches / channels, and we would ask “do they have the time and expertise to adapt”?

C) In-house people understand the brand guidelines better – at the end of the day, content that connects with people is what counts not content that adheres to company rules. Of course, if the agency is not producing what it promised it is also easier to terminate their contract than it is that of an existing staff member.

Accordingly, we encourage organisations to outsource in the following four situations:

-You don’t have the time to do it yourself.

-You don’t have the expertise in various content types.

-Keeping up to date on trends is too much of a chore.

-Your marketing needs to be smarter, in order to grow your business.

Every time we discuss this topic with clients or prospects, we offer them a trial period of six months with O’C&K. In that way, a company owner (marketing manager) can gauge the time and effort that is required to manage an inbound strategy and supply quality content. Thereafter, they can decide which route adds more value to their business operation.

Six months is not sufficient time for an inbound strategy to kick-in but at least it will show the volume of effort involved.

One other alternative, referred to above, is to outsource one element of your marketing plan. This could be writing a blog, a white paper or an e-book, managing an email or social media campaign, all of which could be once-off projects as part of your overall engagement strategy for clients.

Let’s face it, you are in business to grow your company and improve your revenue. Outsourcing some or all of your marketing, can help you reach your business objectives. Sometimes, expanding your internal marketing department or hiring an intern is just not a good use of your resources.

If you do outsource, it means that you could use the savings to drive growth while in the knowledge that your marketing activity is playing its part in your success.

We would say that though wouldn’t we?

Because that is what we do..

   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