How to Target Your Content for the Right Audience

What is B2B versus B2C? And has the line between the two blurred?

Some of us are doing business differently these days. And because of this, we’re standing apart from the crowds. It’s not just that timeframes from thought to launch have shortened or that interactions have become more transparent; there’s also a marketing push that demonstrates how many of us are returning to key and core values of doing good in this world. We’re looking for genuine voices, integrity and innovation that move toward more conscious contributions for the greater good.

Because of this, traditional means of creating distinctive messaging for B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) audiences have begun to shift toward a style of communication that focuses on person-to-person above anything else. No matter how large an organization becomes, every team is still comprised of individuals who have feelings and perceptions, which often prove to be subjective.

Start by understanding what audience you’re aiming to reach to adjust the tone and subject matter accordingly. From there, create with authenticity and focus less on pushing sales than fostering value-added relationships. By sharing your perspectives and expert advice, you are actively helping to foster long-term outcomes.

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2014 Predictions: Mobile Marketing

Every year, people spend most of January and well into February spouting their predictions about the latest trends; we’ve all heard it: it’s going to be the year of x, y and z. Most of the time? These predictions don’t pan out.

There is good reason to believe, however, that 2014 is truly going to be the year of mobile. If you care about online marketing, there are a few mobile trends you should really have your eye on in 2014 and beyond.

The Experts Weigh in on Mobile Search

Mobile is already big, and is on its way to getting bigger in 2014. Researchers from Nielsen, the global information and measurement company that compiles the Nielsen Ratings, teamed up with Google last year to publish a comprehensive study on mobile search, which found that three out of four mobile searches lead to follow-up actions such as purchases, phone calls, further research, visits to brick-and-mortar retail locations and, if you’re lucky, word-of-mouth sharing. According to the Google/Nielsen study, there are about two follow-up actions per shopping query, on average, and more than half of these follow-up actions take place within an hour. This clearly demonstrates that there is a tremendous opportunity to reach customers through their mobile devices! The study also found that 77% of mobile searches happen in the workplace or in the home, where people typically have access to a desktop computer they could be doing the same search on. People actually seem to prefer mobile searches, even when they have other options. Tapping into this powerful marketing resource, however, isn’t always so cut and dry.

Location is Key to Mobile Marketing in 2014

There is no denying that location is central to mobile marketing this year and will continue to be in the future. As of 2014, your brand can use location-based data and strategic analytics to reach and convert your target audience and maintain relationships with current customers. There are several ways to go about this based on the unique specifications of your brand, your location, your customer base and your industry. Wearable technology may even become a bigger trend as the demand for complex location-based mobile marketing grows, and developers find new ways to study how consumers move in order to be more responsive to their wants and needs.

Mobile Payments are the Challenge to Rise To

Accepting mobile payments can automatically put a business in a better position to make sales and secure smoother transactions for customers, and many experts (such as the technology writers at BusinessWeek) have been writing and talking about how mobile payments are getting easier and better in 2014. The new payment processor Braintree claims to have processed $4 billion in mobile transactions last year alone, which is a reported 400% increase from the $1 billion in mobile transactions the company processed the year before. With the continued success of companies such as Uber and Airbnb, which rely on this particular mobile payment platform, consumers are going to expect fast, simple, safe and secure mobile payment processing from more and more of the companies they do business with. Keeping up with this trend is a challenge that businesses should be willing to rise to if they want to be successful in 2014.

Mobile Success Will Also Require Specificity

Some experts have gone so far as to say that there will be more web traffic coming from mobile devices than from desktop computers in 2014 and 2015, and eventually more ecommerce sales will be completed on mobile devices than on desktops. The challenge, however, is often in converting searches to sales or leads in the mobile environment. The Google/Nielsen study revealed that more often than not, mobile searches are tied to very specific needs in very specific contexts, such as looking up information about a product before making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. In fact, they claim that shopping queries on mobile devices are twice as likely to happen in a store. So, being successful with mobile marketing will require specificity and responsiveness, plus a firm understanding of how your target audience uses their mobile devices. Perhaps, making sales won’t be how you win with mobile marketing. Perhaps it will be with branding, image marketing and lead generation. The specific content you provide consumers in the mobile environment should depend on what goals you have and what approach you’re taking.

From the looks of it, being flexible, willing to test the waters and open to the trends of the marketplace are going to be essential components for success in this constantly changing mobile landscape. What do you think? What does mobile mean for you and your business? Feel free to comment below. Also, stay tuned for our next post on the 2014 predictions for SEO and social media.

 

4 Expert Tips Guaranteed to Make Your Content Shareable

Being a writer is tough, but you already knew that.

Devoting one’s life to words and self-expression has been risky for a long time, and thanks to the Internet, scribes must also write everything with “viral” potential in mind. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge or war to win page views, though. If you write something good, you should want people to read and share it. Here are some ways to make that happen.

Include an eye-catching headline

BuzzFeed and Upworthy have mastered the art of publishing intriguing headlines, and though their similar brands don’t appeal to everyone, these sites know how to grow their audiences. All of your pieces of content must have interesting headlines, because with the amount of content circulating around the Internet, readers don’t won’t waste time clicking on a headline that just doesn’t seem that exciting. Tell users right away why they should be reading your content, and keep the headline as crisp and tight as possible. The faster you can get your message across, the better. Facebook used to be about sharing college-related content, but now it feels like a BuzzFeed subsidiary, which reveals how an intriguing headline can shape and dictate media outlets.

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2014 Content Marketing Predictions

Content marketing has been part of the online landscape for years, but until recently, it wasn’t exactly a hot topic. This started to shift in 2013, though, with content marketing becoming increasingly essential to the survival of brands in the online space. Now that 2014 is underway, the content marketing experts are making their predictions. Here are a few worth paying attention to:

Content Quality over Quantity

Content marketers should embrace higher-quality content as opposed to larger quantities of it in 2014, according to Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships. It’s time to take a more strategic approach to the marketing efforts designed to drive sales and lead acquisitions. “We’ll see brand marketers create content brands designed to build subscription-based relationships with a loyal audience,” says Davis. “Subscriptions that demand higher-quality content, delivered consistently and shared widely.”

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5 Ways to Increase Customer Engagement through Wicked Content

You.

You are your best brand, your greatest advocate and your own specialized expert. In a world where technology is moving forward at exponential speeds, notice how often the success pendulum now swings the other way – old school is becoming new school.

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman at Google, has said that the amount of content we’re producing in this day and age is essentially replicating everything we’ve ever created around the world since the beginning of mankind … every 48 hours.

While we live amidst innovative social media and technological tools designed to facilitate genuine connection, many individuals are still yearning to be seen, to be heard and most importantly, to be valued.

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7 Great Reasons to Hire Professional Content Writers

Maintaining a blog or other business content seems simple enough: You write a few informal yet educational paragraphs, include a photo or a video and then upload. But as anyone who has run a professional blog or website will tell you, there’s a great deal more to it. If you want to get a lot of traffic to your site, you’ll need to know how to make your page a top search hit. If you want to engage readers, you’ll have to know what makes an article interesting and not just informative.

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Monday Must-Reads – 3.11.13

Spring is almost here – a fact you are no doubt aware of as you groggily make your way through today, deprived of a precious hour of sleep thanks to the arrival of Daylight Savings Time.

Unless, of course, you’re from a non-observant state, such as those laid-back Hawaiians or cantankerous Arizonans, who, as we all know, don’t really care what the other 49 states think of them.

But shake off the cobwebs, because here are this week’s must-reads.

  1. Scientific American gets to the bottom of the Daylight Savings shenanigans. Cows give less milk, workplace accidents go up and all kinds of other observable grumpiness ensues, all because we set our clocks forward.
  2. ClickZ blog names Taco Bell the champion of social buzz this week with its new Cool Ranch Taco. But really, did you expect anything less?
  3. I just spent a slushy weekend in Boston posting dozens of pictures of buildings and food to Instagram, but Entrepreneur has some more lucrative uses for the photo-sharing app. Check out their marketer’s guide to Instagram.
  4. Speaking of the social Web, odds are, if you’re a social media marketer, you’re using it to keep your finger on the chatter surrounding your business. But your social spying has not gone unnoticed. eMarketer reports that new research shows that users are aware that businesses are monitoring their online conversations.
  5. On the more traditional, inbound side of things, Duct Tape Marketing blog gives some good pointers for how to increase sales leads through your website.

 

Freaky Friday – What it Takes to Censor the Chinese Twitter

It’s no secret that the Chinese government is not a fan of free and unencumbered access to the Web. But unlike North Korea, which restricts Internet access to all but a privileged handful of citizens, China recognizes that you can’t maintain your status as a rising power without you know, email.

So you can actually get on a computer and surf the Web in China, albeit one that is heavily censored. In fact, unlike repressive regimes in say, Syria or Egypt, China has done a fairly good job keeping the conversation under control – i.e. no criticism of the government – even using the Web to boost its legitimacy.

But while it’s well known that the Chinese Internet is heavily policed, we actually don’t know much about how it’s done. Rice University professor Dan Wallach and several colleagues recently set out to measure how censors keep non-approved content from appearing on Weibo – essentially the Chinese version of Twitter.

You can and should check out the entire story here at MIT’s Technology Review. The results are equally fascinating and freaky. Wallach and his team measured the volume of messages as well as the time and frequency of deletions to make conclusions about how Weibo is censored.

To keep tabs on Weibo’s 300 million users, who send 100 million messages per day and 70,000 per minute, Wallach figured that it takes 1,400 censors at any given moment and likely 4,200 each day to scan and delete messages. And roughly 12 percent of all messages are deleted.

I try not to get too political on this copywriting blog. But at least to me, this is very important work if for no other reason than it highlights the fact that a free and open Internet isn’t a given.

And it can’t be taken for granted.

Monday Must-Reads

Happy Monday, iCopyInsiders. Ready for another week at the office?

Of course, I use the term “office” loosely. I imagine that – for many of our writers and clients – the office is wherever we make it. I like cafés as much as the next blogger, but I tend to stick to the nook in my apartment where I’ve set up shop.

I’ve got my headset, French press, WiFi, plenty of peace and quiet to write and a decent sixth-story view of Brooklyn, complete with a giant tree so I can tell the season. When the leaves turn green, I will finally go outside.

I bring all this up because telecommuting is suddenly the subject of surprisingly intense debate, with Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!, axing work-from-home as an option for the tech company’s employees.

Which brings us to Item No. 1 on the weekly reading list.

  1. Where do you stand on telecommuting? Slate offers both sides of the debate. Tech columnist Farhad Manjoo writes that work-from-home is awesome. Katie Roiphe begs to differ.
  2. On to a topic only slightly less controversial: social media and ROI. eMarketer reports on a recent study showing that Twitter generates the most leads for small to mid-sized businesses, while Facebook generates more traffic. Social media itself only accounted for 5 percent of sales leads in the survey of 500 businesses.
  3. In other social news, this via The New York Times, Facebook is set to display targeted ads around the Web with its acquisition of Microsoft’s Atlas Advertising Suite.
  4. Of course, our passion here at iCopywriter is organic search, so if you need a refresher, this column in Entrepreneur has five simple strategies that just about anyone can use to improve their SEO. It’s a good primer for SEO newbies.
  5. And, finally, the Girl Scouts of America has pulled the plug on the ecommerce ambitions of reality television star Alana Thompson – known as Honey Boo Boo – saying she can’t sell the cookies over Facebook because it defeats the purpose of selling the cookies.

Other than dispensing tasty treats, the cookie program is meant to help young women gain confidence and business skills. I’m sold. Now, where can I find some Tagalongs?

That might be worth leaving the office for.

 

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Battletoads as Business Metaphor

Struggling daily deal site Groupon fired CEO Andrew Mason on Thursday. It wasn’t exactly a surprise. The company posted a terrible fourth quarter and the conventional wisdom has taken a dim view of Groupon’s business model for a while now.

Instead, the chatter focused on Mason’s epic farewell message. In it was found one of the surest signs yet that the Nintendo Generation has truly come of age: a reference to the ‘90s video game Battletoads.

Specifically, Mason compared his journey to the heights of entrepreneurial success – and subsequent fall – to making it to the infamous Terra Tubes level without dying. Wired unpacks the semiotics of Battletoads – and just what Mason meant – pretty well in this article. You can also check out Terra Tubes in their unedited glory on YouTube.

I never imagined I’d think about Terra Tubes again. Actually, that’s not true, because I’ve never even thought to think that I’d never think of Terra Tubes again.

But now that the memories are rushing back to me, I can’t come up with a better example of struggling against impossible odds in a ruthless digital world. My seven-year-old self aspired to defeat Battletoads above all other games. I even cleared Terra Tubes (although not without losing many, many lives first). But hey, the next level is called Rat Race (another great metaphor) and I never did beat Battletoads.

If the self-esteem movement brought us participation trophies and scoreless soccer, ‘90s video games were still there to teach children what it’s like to strive in the face of perpetual failure.

Not a bad lesson for budding entrepreneurs.