All posts in “Content Marketing”

Webinar: Content Marketing That Works: Just-in-Time Vs. Planned

Join Maggie Fox on April 2nd at 12pm EST / 9am PST for an exclusive webinar  from Social Media Today titled Content Marketing That Works: Just-in-Time Vs. Planned.

You’ve heard that “content is king,” but you know that really, content needs to be both compelling and timely to earn its crown. What types of content fit that criteria as relates to your brand, and how do you go about getting ahold of it? Next, how does content alone become a successful marketing campaign?

Join us we dive into the nuances and best practices of content marketing in this webinar. We’ll look at how effective content gets developed and what works – or doesn’t – for various brands, as well as how to capitalize on real-time events with appropriate content, as brands like OREO were able to do within minutes during the Super Bowl blackout. We’ll discuss case studies on Tide and Hallmark, and much more:

  • Is your brand right for content marketing?
  • What expectations should you have for a content marketing campaign?
  • How do you resource an effective campaign?
  • How do you make sure your content stays consistent with your branding?
  • What are the best tools for different types of contents, and where are your customers going to consume your content?

Interested in joining the discussion? Register HERE!

Social Media and the Small Business: Heaven or Hell? (…and 5 tips to make it easier to cope!)

Ruth Bastedo is Director, Business Development at Social Media Group. Follow @rutbas

Last week, I was up in the Muskoka region, which around these parts is affectionately known as “cottage country”, talking to a sold out group of women business owners in the region. The event was organized by the Mukoka YWCA’s Women in Business program, and the topic was “Strategies for Success”- based on an article I did last March for the Globe and Mail on women entrepreneurs, “Ten Strategies for Achieving Success as an Entrepreneur“.

It was a fabulous evening, and it was great to get to know the group of 60+ women business owners, all of whom were keenly looking for ways to build and market their businesses in a smaller community.

The talk was not on social media. It wasn’t really about marketing. It was about how business owners set goals for success and put together the support structure required to reach them- but “dealing with social media” turned out to be a hot topic. I am always struck in these types of situations by the love/hate relationship that small business owners have with digital marketing in general, and social media as a sub-section of that.

Digital marketing is a necessity for all small businesses. Period. You ignore it at your peril. But many, many business owners (and I would put myself in that bucket, in my time as a business owner) have a huge challenge finding the time, resources, workflow and strategy to make it truly effective. Let’s face it, it can be a grind. That’s the hell part. And then all you feel is guilt for ignoring what you know can be an incredibly powerful, game changing exercise.

BUT, it doesn’t have to be this way. Really. It can be heavenly.

It took me a long time to find my groove in the social media space, and I’ve been in digital communications for 15 years. This is hard stuff to get your head around, but if you tweak your approach, and find that magic combination of channels, content, tools and workflow. It can be very easy to execute, and incorporate into a daily routine. Once I hit that right combination, I started seeing results immediately. My social media world is aligned, and for now, does what I need it to do.

Looking at this task from an non-marketer’s perspective, here are 5 tips that I think would be of huge benefit to any small business owner, looking to get a handle on “this social media thing”, with a minimum amount of pain.

1. Access “Social Media 101” content. There’s a ton of it around. One recent post that I thought was a good solid, up to date overview of the major channels is “Social Media 101: Getting Started on the Top Social Networks”. Pick one or two as a starting point for your company. It’s likely going to be Twitter and Faceboook, for consumer oriented companies, and Twitter and LinkedIn for business oriented companies.

2. Determine your marketing objectives. Do you want sales leads? Brand awareness? Do you want to reach out to your customers, and get them to refer other customers to you? Is your marketing effort local, regional or national? It could even be international. Be clear on what you’d like to get out of this time you invest in social media. How can social media integrate or support what you are already doing on the marketing front. Look at models out there that reflect your objectives.

3. Be clear about your target audience. Who are these people? What information is going to be most relevant to them? How are they going to use and engage in social media? In order to engage with your audience in a meaningful way, try making a list of all the ways your content can add value to their lives. This list should guide you in developing value add content.

4. Develop what we call a “content strategy”. This is developing a mechanism to create, curate, source or simply pass on content that is going to be relevant to your clients and customers. People are more likely to “follow” you if you are providing thoughtful content that is going to add value to them. You have to figure out where to find this content, and how often you are going to “share” it with them. Quite often, we develop “editorial” or “conversation” calendars ahead of time, so you know what themes you are going to focus on every week. Download the Social Media Group White Paper on Content Marketing for a good introduction.

5. Find a tool that works for you. There are lots out there, but a good tool makes all the difference in the world. A couple of months ago, I started using a tool from a local company called Get Elevate, which makes it easy to find content, curate it, and send it out via Twitter. There are some good lists out there- here’s the type of thing you should be looking for: 50 Mostly Free Social Media Tools You Can’t Live Without in 2012. Find something that you find intuitive, and easy for you and your staff to use, and that lines up to your marketing objectives.

As a small business, keep your scope small and focused, and before diving in, be clear on what you want to achieve with your social media investment. Test as you go… at least for the first little while. Get help if you have to, professional or otherwise- but social media can be a very valuable part of any marketing plan, but you have to at some point, just start somewhere.

Webinar: Content Marketing on the Social Web

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at Social Media Group. Follow @jbenedet.

Join Maggie Fox, Ann Handley, and C.C. Chapman tomorrow, Tuesday Jul 31st at 12pm EST / 9am PST for a free live webinar titled Content Marketing on the Social Web, hosted by Social Media Today.

The internet is full of content which can quickly become a blur to internet users. The quality bar for content has been raised. Continually producing high quality content is not always enough to reach your ideal audience anymore. Content overload is now a reality!

Marketers need to make adjustments to strategy and tactics in order to differentiate content, reach the right audience while they are in content consumption mode, and help solve problems. These adjustments require a detailed understanding of your audience such as: topics of interest, common problems, and the delivery method of content.

The panelists of Content Marketing on the Social Web will discuss questions like:

  • Who is excelling in content marketing right now?
  • Where does good content come from?
  • How fast does a marketing department have to move to keep up with changing tastes?
  • What kinds of businesses are best at content marketing?

We hope you can make it – register for the free webinar now!

The Future of Advertising at a Glance

Jordan Benedet is a Manager on the Client Strategy and Innovation team at
Social Media Group.

No, I’m not talking about Catvertising. The online advertising landscape is changing at a staggering pace. A recent report from mobile analytics company Flurry provides a great visualization that illustrates how long consumers spend consuming TV, Print, Radio, Web, and Mobile media against how much advertisers are actually spending within each media category.

The results are clear. Print advertising is getting a substantial amount of advertising dollars, but consumers are no longer spending much time consuming that type of content.

Mobile and Web categories are where things get interesting, showing huge gaps between advertising spend and consumer time on each medium. Advertisers continue to pour money into traditional mediums, despite the fact that mobile and web platforms offer better engagement opportunities. This trend cannot sustain itself. Sooner or later, all advertisers should understand that their advertising budgets need to be adjusted to compensate for the migration to web, social media, and mobile platforms.

Media Spend vs COnsumer Time on Media

Mobile & Tablets

Mobile is a different advertising beast compared to traditional search and display ad units, and it’s projected that in 2012 mobile ad spend will reach $6.5 billion! The question is not whether your company should invest in mobile advertising, it’s how much should be invested.

Currently, the total amount of mobile ad impressions being served is somewhat limited. This is a result of mobile advertising still being in an infant stage, and also because screen real estate on smartphones and tablets is much smaller than the average computer screen, reducing the amount of total amount of ad impressions per page view. The limitation of available impressions is not necessarily a bad thing, however, since it will motivate advertisers to ensure ads and content are highly relevant to the audience being served.

Marin Software reports that ad clicks coming from smartphones cost 35% less per click, and produce 72% higher click through rates compared to desktop advertising. Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story—Marin also reports that computers and tablets produce conversion rates that are 160%, and 145% higher than smartphones, respectively.


Although the gaps in conversion rates are wide, it should be noted that smartphone conversion tracking can be much more difficult to achieve in comparison to standard desktop ads. Leo J. Shapiro and Associates has recently reported that 66% of smartphone owners use their devices to research products while shopping. If customers make their purchase in-store rather than online, this would result in conversions that cannot be tracked back to a mobile ad – essentially lowering mobile ad ROI.

Mobile ads are not just about search either. Neilsen recently released a study which states that Android users spend twice the amount of time in apps compared to the mobile web. This puts even more pressure on brands to ensure their mobile advertising strategy includes 3rd party mobile ad networks such as AdMob or iAd.

My point is that mobile and web advertising is where real growth is happening. It’s essential for advertisers to start exploring new ways to serve ads in mobile search, within apps, and on various social media networks to truly understand what budgets are required to achieve specific campaign goals (be that awareness or conversion). Now, if only those cool cats at the new Catvertising agency could figure out how to use a mobile phones and tablets…

Cat Tablet



How Content Marketing is Changing Everything – SMG Webinar Recording

Recently, SMG’s Leona Hobbs hosted a webinar, How Content is Changing Everything. Drawing on SMG’s experiences and expertise, she explored how content marketing is emerging as a major challenge (and opportunity) for marketers, how progressive programs and partnerships are changing the way branded content moves across the web, and how it can effectively be used to earn attention and shift marketing from push to pull in a billion-channel universe.

For all the details and to watch the recording, check it out here.

If you’d like to be the first to hear about upcoming webinars from SMG, pre-register now!

How Content Marketing is Changing Everything – Free SMG Webinar March 22

SMG Content Marketing

Content Marketing is the latest buzzword – but what does it mean for marketers?

On March 22nd at 12pm ET, explore How Content is Changing Everything during a live webinar hosted by Leona Hobbs, VP of Social Media Group.


Webinar Overview – How Content is Changing Everything

Disruption. It’s one of the most common buzzwords used to describe the social web. But when we use it, we have largely been referring to technology and platforms – broadband web access, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook. But what about content? In some places, there’s too much, in others, not enough – causing major problems for established business models. In this presentation we’ll explore how content is emerging as a major challenge (and opportunity) for marketers, how progressive programs and partnerships are changing the way branded content moves across the web, and how it can effectively be used to earn attention and shift marketing from push to pull in a billion-channel universe.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • What is Content Marketing?
  • Why should I care?
  • What can I do with it?
  • How do I find my target audiences?
  • What kinds of results can I expect?
  • What do I need to get started?


About the Presenter

Leona Hobbs

Leona Hobbs, Vice President & Partner. With over a decade of experience in communications and marketing, Leona leads the SMG account teams and provides social media and digital communications counsel to SMG clients. A specialist in digital communications and social media marketing, Leona frequently speaks about Internet-powered communications to students and at conferences. She is an advisor to the Public Relations Program at Loyalist College and a volunteer organizer of the Toronto Girl Geek Dinners and PodCamp Toronto. In 2010, Leona received The International Alliance for Women World of Difference 100 award in the Community category. / @flackadelic