BRANDE : Strategy

April 18, 2014

Inside the Agency Secrets: Integrated Content Marketing

With content-on-demand, the disappearance of prime time, and fragmented audiences accessing information from phones, phablets, and glasses (to name a few), it takes a holistic marketing approach to reach and disrupt in today’s world. The best campaigns are those that find the balance between scintillating content and 360 marketing. Today, we bring you behind the curtain and share agency secrets on how to mix it up  Brandemix-style!

Define the “product”.

This is whatever you’re promoting. It could be a product, a sale, a trip to the moon, or something more informational —  a conference, a webinar, a white paper, a newsletter, a slide show, or some other offering that has value to your audience or your business.

Determine the call to action.

What do you want your audience to do? Buy, sell, download, sign up, attend, click, share? Whatever it is, all your integrated marketing will be based on making that action happen. Some recent studies have indicated that multiple calls to action can work, but right now, I think best practice means a single, clear CTA. In the case study below, I wanted people to register for a free webinar.

A simple, direct call to action

A simple, direct call to action


Launch the promotional channels.

This is where the “integrated” part comes in. You need to promote the product and call to action in a consistent manner across as many channels as possible. That means using the same keywords, taglines, logos, colors, and any other distinguishing characteristic to create what I call a holistic and aligned disruption. Inconsistent messaging dilutes the messaging and causes confusion, as your audience won’t be certain if they already fulfilled the call to action. Which channels? For our webinar, we wrote a sort of “sneak preview” blog post and published it two weeks before the event. A few days later, we shot a video teaser, giving away a few “fun facts” but mostly pointing people to register:

Video promoting the webinar

Video promoting the webinar

We also posted the link on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. We posted it as a status update on our LinkedIn company page and in relevant LinkedIn groups that I belong to. Finally, we included a plug for the webinar and a link to register in our monthly newsletter.

Track the clicks.

This way, you’ll know what’s working. We used our email server to track clicks from the newsletter and bit.ly to track links that were posted everywhere else. When we found that Twitter was bringing more sign-ups than other social networks, we adjusted our promotion accordingly.

Bit.ly tracks clicks and referrers

Bit.ly tracks clicks and referrers

We included another way to analyze the traffic by asking on the registration form, “Where did you hear about us?”


A new product or event is a great time to re-engage your email recipients. Every email list has “no-shows,” who never open the emails but also don’t unsubscribe. Brand Driven Digital recently conducted a case study on sending these silent spectators a final “We miss you!” email that allowed them to leave the mailing list once and for all or click a “confirm” link to stick around. Amazingly, the study found that 39% of recipients opened the email, 41% took action to stay on the list, and only 7% either actively or passively left. How many hundreds or thousands of your mailing list recipients just need a little goad like that to become more engaged?

An example of a final "We miss you!" email to re-engage recipients

An example of a final “We miss you!” email to re-engage recipients


Putting it all together.

Finally, of course, we held the webinar. It not only promoted the agency to a new audience but also gave me a new list of warm leads to connect with in the ensuing weeks and months. Those who registered but didn’t attend received a variation of the “We miss you” email, giving them another chance to engage with me. In a way, integrated content marketing is easy because, once you create the content, all you have to is re-purpose it. Our content was a webinar, but on Twitter, it was just one “fun fact” and a link. On Facebook, it was an infographic. On YouTube, it was a short video. But they all included the full name of the webinar, a link to register, and the keywords and search terms we wanted to capture. Clear, consistent, and compelling. As an agency that has launched successful content marketing campaigns for clients of all types and sizes, no doubt we can help you with yours. Write us.

January 21, 2014

Winning the Competition for Content Marketing

According to a study by KPCB, the amount of content that people are sharing globally is around two trillion gigabytes. So, whether you’re a content marketer or a social media recruiter, you’re up against a lot of competition.

What sort of content should you create? And where should you post it to have the best chance of being shared?

I recently went to an expert in the field, ShareThis. They’re the ones who created that little button you see on so many blogs and websites (including this one), letting you easily share a post on more than 120 social channels. Their most recent study has some eye-opening findings.

First, the five leading channels for sharing are Facebook, followed by Twitter, which together make up 75% of all internet sharing. Email comes in third, followed by Pinterest and LinkedIn.

But that’s only one part of the story. A second study by ShareThis found that Pinterest content is five times more popular for sharing content than Twitter is — though Twitter itself is a more popular channel. In other words, fewer people visit Pinterest, but those who do share a lot of content. So if you have photos, cartoons, or infographics, you should post them on Pinterest along with Twitter for a one-two punch.

I was also surprised by the latest information on video sharing. 66% of video shares happen through Facebook. 13% are shared on Twitter, with sites like Reddit and Tumblr making up most of the remaining 21%. Once again, it seems that Twitter isn’t always the best venue for sharing content. Video creators, take heed.

The findings of both ShareThis and venture capital firm KPCB convinced me that mobile is the future of sharing. Right now, mobile sharing is twice as social as the desktop, and I expect that number will increase. The typical user checks social media on their phone nine times a day, but checks the web on their computer only three times.

50 ways to share content via buttons like ShareThis and AddThis

As always, it seems the only constant is change. 2012 became the year of Instagram, but now it gets fewer photos uploaded per day than Snapchat does. If you want to be seen as a cutting-edge brand, you may need to add Snapchat to your marketing strategy. 

What are other strategic ways of sharing content? Video gets all the attention, but don’t forget about audio; 11 hours of sound are uploaded to SoundCloud every minute. So consider creating songs, speeches, and podcasts along with YouTube videos.

It’s also time to re-evaluate Facebook likes. They’re not the same as shares. Scott Monty, social media director at Ford, recently called likes the “digital grunts” of Facebook: “The like, as far as I’m concerned, is the minimum commitment you can ask from a fan. Likes, comments, shares — it goes in that order of importance.” Keep that hierarchy in mind when analyzing your metrics.

There’s real value to a share. EventBrite came up with this breakdown for buying an event ticket: A share on LinkedIn is worth 92 cents; a retweet is worth $1.85; and a Facebook share is worth $4.15. This may mean the era of “clickbait” articles is over, since content that gets clicks and views simply isn’t as attractive as that which gets shared (I’m looking in your direction, UpWorthy.)

As for the type of content to produce, Likeable Local’s CEO Dave Kerpen recently delineated seven important qualities. The more of these your content has, the more shareable it becomes:
Consistent — Post regularly so readers know when to expect your content.
Useful — Find a way to help, educate, or entertain your readers.
Authentic  — Be honest and real instead of writing press releases for your company.
Emotional — The most shareable content often tugs our heartstrings.
Where the audience is — Find the right channels using the statistics given above.
Paid for — Use sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter.
Storytelling — Tell the true stories behind your company, its leadership, and its employees.

Need help determining what content to create and where to post it? Brandemix has a long history of using shareable content to support marketing, branding, and recruiting campaigns. Contact me if you’d like to know more.

And don’t forget to share this article using the button below!

December 23, 2013

The Most Popular Blog Posts of 2013

As 2012 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at the year’s most popular blog posts. The topics range from telling your brand story to embracing new technologies to engaging your employees. I hope these articles will help you become an employer of choice and attract top talent — and avoid some of the biggest social media mistakes. 

Here are the BrandeBlog’s six most-read posts of 2013.

Employer Branding: Recruiters Help You Tell the Right Story

One of the biggest recruiting trends of 2014 is employer branding: the promise your company makes to its employees. And one of the biggest trends in marketing is brand storytelling: the use of content and experiences to bring your brand to life. Combining these trends can bring a powerful presence to your talent acquisition. Here’s how to do it.

How to Become an Employer of Choice
A recent Gallup study found that only 47% of American workers are completely satisfied with their jobs. A MarketTools study found that 21% of employees had applied to another job in the past six months. Clearly, many employees are ready to look elsewhere for the next step in their careers. To attract the best of these workers — and make your current employees stay with you, follow these steps to become an employer of choice. 

Create Goodwill for Your Small Business with Community Involvement

For any small business to succeed, it must build goodwill with the surrounding community. You can have Facebook fans or catalogue customers all over the world, placing orders by phone and email, but if locals aren’t walking in the door, you’re doomed. Branding your business as a “hometown hero” can make a huge impression on your customer base and serve as an important differentiator in the marketplace.

Build an Employer Brand Fortress by Integrating with Your Corporate Brand

One question that gets asked in every employer branding workshop we hold is, “Where does our employer brand fit with our corporate brand?” Some companies create an employer brand slogan that lives only within recruiting or HR. That’s often against best practice, as it has no bearing on a true employer value proposition. A strong EVP is based on the unique elements of your culture and workplace, resonates with the people you would like more of, and integrates with the same value proposition to your consumer base. Integrating the two brands isn’t always easy, but it’s crucial to success.

Social Media PR Disasters: Applebee’s Wild Night
If it’s true that you can learn more from failure than from success, then there’s a lot to learn from Applebee’s mysterious midnight meltdown. After the restaurant chain’s controversial firing of a waitress, critics took to Applebee’s Facebook page to complain. In the early hours of Saturday, February 2, someone from Applebee’s tried to fight back. What happened next is a perfect example of what not to do in a PR crisis.

Recruiting with Google Glass
Google’s new wearable technology may change recruiting forever. Why? Because, as the economy improves and the competition for talent increases, Google Glass will allow organizations to show a job listing and a corporate culture instead of telling. From talent acquisition to employer branding, here’s how this amazing visual device can be used to engage job-seekers in several new and exciting ways.

What do these posts’ popularity tell us? That there a lot of people with an interest in  and a need for  social media trends, marketing, and branding. As it so happens, they are also specialties of ours! 
Want to be more popular to job-seekers, employees, and customer? Put Brandemix on your to-do list for 2014.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays.

December 17, 2013

How to Conduct A Social Media Competitive Analysis – For Free

It’s important for every business to conduct a competitive analysis to find their niche in the marketplace. But how do you analyze your competition on social media? How can you compare a big brand on Facebook to a small brand on Twitter? 

The good news is that you can conduct a fairly thorough competitive analysis using sites and tools that are completely free. Here’s how:

Basic Social Media Metrics 
First, see if your competitor promotes their social channels on their website and their blog — if they even have a blog.  There’s a big difference between tiny icons at the bottom of a website and big “Follow us” buttons at the top.  

Then, look at their social profiles to see how many likes they have on Facebook, how many followers they have on Twitter, etc. These raw numbers alone don’t tell the whole story, but they’ll be crucial to determining other statistics. 

A great place to start is Wildfire‘s Who’s Winning in Social feature, which lets you compare follower growth of three brands (including your own) on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ over a range of time, from the last seven days to the last two years. 

Wildfire’s “Who’s Winning in Social” interactive app

Simply Measured offers a number of free reports aimed at specific social channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram, with Pinterest coming soon. For Twitter, the report tells you how influential your followers are, the top keywords in your followers’ profiles, and even a breakdown of followers by time zone.

A few social channels themselves offer free information on your competitors. Facebook lets you create “interest lists” that allow you to see your competitors’ latest content and what type of content is resonating with their followers — in real time. Be sure to set your lists to “private” so your competitors won’t know you’re watching them!

Content Metrics
Now you know your competitor’s numbers, so it’s time to determine what type of content they’re posting. You can start with a quick scan of their feeds. Many brands start with text and links. More advanced brands add photos and videos. Expert brands also post polls, contests, and games. 

For a deeper analysis, you can use Infinigraph to see what type of content your competitor is posting, along with the most common days (and time of day) to post different forms of content.  You’ll not only discover a competitor’s content strategy, but you may find that different content is posted on different sites; for example, food and design photos do very well on Pinterest.

Engagement Metrics
Lots of followers is good, strong content is great, but how is your competitor’s audience actually responding? Engagement is really the most important metric of all.

Rival IQ
 shows your competitor’s content within the last 90 days, sorting the content by the type of engagement per each post.

Rival IQ’s “Competitive Landscape” feature

Why is this important? Take Twitter. When someone favorites a brand’s tweet, only the brand sees it; but when someone retweets a tweet, that person is actually sharing the content with all their followers. Pinterest and Facebook make similar distinctions between approving a post and actually distributing it.


It’s also very useful to see the tone of engagement. Is your competitor posting a lot on Facebook…because they’re responding to numerous customer complaints on their timeline? Are followers associating the competitor with good things or bad things? SocialMention lets you see the ratio of positive comments to negative ones

Putting It All Together
Armed with this information, you can determine what types of content generate the best types of engagement for your competitors and learn what opportunities you have to stand out from the crowd.

Did you find a social media opportunity but aren’t sure how to exploit it? Brandemix has a great deal of experience in social media marketing, branding, and recruiting. Contact us and we’ll work together to put your findings to good use.

August 14, 2013

Brandemix Bonus Reel: Improving the Customer Experience

How can retailers improve the customer experience — before and after the customer visits the store? Jason Ginsburg explains.