Tag: content marketing

3 Things We’re Focused On During The COVID-19 Crisis

3 Things We’re Focused On During The COVID-19 Crisis

Like most of you, the Imprint team has begun working remotely. Luckily, two weeks prior we did a “dry run” for a day to test our technology and communications with everyone working from home. This helped make our move to remote pretty seamless.

The other thing we did at the outset was clearly define our focus and make sure all our team members know our priorities. As the news swirls around us, having a shared sense of purpose gives us all some much-needed stability:

1. Family first. The health and safety of the Imprint team and our families is our most important priority. Plus, if we’re not healthy, we can’t fulfill our obligations to our clients.

2. Clients. We’re focused on being both proactive and protective. Imprint’s core strength isn’t creating content during a crisis—it’s strategic, ongoing communications. So as a valuable partner we’re busy creating journey maps, walking in the shoes of our clients’ customers. By understanding and anticipating what these customers need and want, we’re helping our clients think two steps ahead in creating the right content, in the right format, to protect the valuable relationships they’ve built with their customers.

3. Morale. In the time of confusion, when your work family is suddenly not around, it’s incredibly important to be there for each other. To keep spirits up and keep our team moving forward together, we’ve established a morning video huddle. Starting each day at 8:45 a.m. checking in, listening and sharing has helped everyone maintain a routine—which we know is crucial in times of dramatic change. We have a “know your role” policy, which helps for effective and efficient meetings. And now we’re encouraging “know your role, plus.” Bring a story, a joke, an insight into how you and your family are coping. It helps bring some fun and much-needed humanity to each encounter.

Find your points and be laser-focused on them. They’ll help your team, your clients and your business push through this challenge.

Stay safe, stay healthy – and stay home.

We’re here to help, and to listen. Please always feel free to reach out to me at aseibert@imprintcontent.com.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Content

When Bad Things Happen to Good Content

And what you can do about it right now.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans… Well, that goes for content, too. Your best efforts to create content that audiences—not to mention hungry search engines—gobble up with a spoon can go awry for any number of reasons.

Here, members of the IMPRINT team identify five common missteps and remedies to get content back on the right track.

KNOW AND FOCUS ON YOUR AUDIENCE

Andy Seibert, Managing Partner

I’ve seen marketers get really excited about a topic or a format because they personally relate to it. That’s good.

While marketers or content makers may love the content they’ve created, they’re not exactly the target audience for the content. So it’s not likely to help advance business goals. That’s bad.

The remedy: Know your audience and always put them first. Map their day, their buying journey—whatever has you empathizing and walking in their shoes. Only then will you truly understand—from their perspective on a granular level—what they need to know, when they need to know it and in what format.

CONTENT FIRST, FORMAT FOLLOWS

Julissa Ortiz, Director

You’ve got excellent content that you decide to deliver to your audience in an interesting way—in this case, one that’s not text-driven. That’s good.

You choose video because it’s so popular and impactful. But because your content is very data-heavy, video might not be the most effective way to tell this story. That’s bad.

The remedy: Let content drive format, and not vice versa. Early in the process you need to consider not just what you’ve got to offer, but also the best way to disseminate that information. Instead of video, in this instance, an infographic could be a better choice. It’s a great way to show stats and data in a way that’s easy to digest for readers. There’s never a one-format-fits-all solution.

DEFINE ‘WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?’

Michele Radcliffe, Senior Director

You’ve created a content campaign to introduce a new financial product that will save readers money by reducing fees. That’s good.

The response starts strong but falls off. Your audience perked up at the idea of lower fees, but they weren’t amply educated to adopt the new product. They didn’t take action. The bottom line—how this makes their lives better—wasn’t clear. That’s bad.

The remedy: Readers need to quickly recognize relevance, value and, most importantly, what’s in it for them. Educate them through content. Show how lower fees in an investor’s portfolio translate to more money to grow and how, over time, that growth can add up to the difference between affording a seven-day cruise vs. a five-day cruise. Expand your storytelling to overtly connect these dots.

PROMOTION IS TOP PRIORITY

Kimberly Papa Amadeo, Editorial Director

Your content checks all the right boxes: it’s on strategy, the key messages are clear and compelling, the “what’s in it for me” takeaway is sharp and relevant, and it’s all delivered in the optimal format. That’s good.

But you don’t have a plan to share it and amplify it. So after it’s published on the brand’s site the results are … crickets. Your carefully crafted content is like the proverbial falling tree in the forest, landing without a sound. That’s bad.

The remedy: Promotion should be part of your overall strategy and editorial development from the start. Early on, determine how you’re going to get that great content in front of your target audience—whether it’s through social media, email, online ads, your sales force, other custom-tailored means or all of these. If you’ve got it, you need to flaunt it.

PREPARATION PAYS BACK

Colter Hettich, Managing Editor

To add variety to your content and to boost traffic, you decide to launch a YouTube channel because it’s such a popular platform and is where the eyeballs are. That’s good.

You had a brilliant (obviously) idea, but the post-launch results are disappointing. The graphics didn’t turn out as clean as you wanted, you had to scrap three videos because a guest bailed last minute, and you’re not ranking nearly as high in search as you expected. That’s bad.

The remedy: Preparation for every step is part of the process—from who’s writing the script and who’s booking the guests to who’s charging the batteries and who’s responsible for SEO. It sounds obvious, but it’s often the least sexy process that can cause the most issues and ultimately result in work that falls short of your vision. Anyone who’s properly painted a room knows that before you touch a brush you have to move the furniture, tape off trim and lay down drop cloths. You’re painting a room, not a Pollock. It takes time, but after thorough prep the painting becomes exponentially easier. The same holds for creating and deploying your content.

 

Don’t go awry, email imprintcontent@gmail.com to discuss your program.

 

10 Secrets to Content Marketing Success for Financial Brands

10 Secrets to Content Marketing Success for Financial Brands

The Imprint team is delighted that the Gramercy Institute named us one of the financial sector’s Top Agencies for 2018.

We were especially thrilled to take part in a round table discussion with our peers, where each agency was asked to name one key driver to success in marketing for financial brands. Here are my takeaways.

1. Reuse content

You’ve got reams of content by now and, let’s face it, some pieces could use a face-lift. So don’t keep producing new content unless there’s a clear purpose; optimize what you have first. Focus on repackaging, transforming and enhancing evergreen content so it’s visually engaging, snappier, and optimized for social sharing.

2. Aim for the white space

Figure out what makes your brand stand out. Define what’s different about you, and your unique point of view. Also make sure your solutions and insights are relevant and useful to your customers and clients.

3. Have a purpose

Define how you are helping your customers and clients, as well as the value you’re providing. This can be emotional support, practical help, advice, information, guidance or data – ­or a combination of all of those things.

4. It’s human to human

We can all get caught up in discussing B2B strategies or B2C campaigns, but it’s always H2H – human to human. You’re talking with people. And people respond best to conversations, so you need to listen.

5. Collaborate

Of course your agencies are vendors, but they’re also partners. They’re full of fresh ideas and expertise, and they want your business to be successful—that’s why you hired them. So involve your external teams in every stage of your program from ideation to implementation.

6. Try new things

Don’t be afraid of pushing against brand guidelines. Take risks and innovate. Your audience, whether B2B or B2C, is expecting to see new formats and approaches to brand story telling. Fortune favors the brave.

7. Confront your internal hurdles around social media

You need to be where your customers and clients are having conversations. And that’s often on social channels—not a website. We’re in a highly regulated industry, but all brands need to get to grips with the compliance and approval obstacles that prevent them from taking true advantage of social media’s opportunities. You need to tie social into content development process and also plan for some spontaneity.

8. Create an emotional connection

People want interaction on social media, so leverage that. Be personal, warm, and informal and you’ll create a dialogue that will be incredibly valuable both to you and your customer or client. Ensure your content makes sense to your audience’s life or business.

9. Inspire action

Give your audience a way to respond to your content—and not only through a 1-800 number or an email address. Ensure your audience will want to share and comment on your content.

10. Be strategic not tactical

Every piece of content you create or repackage should be built around a goal, a target audience, a customer journey and a message that supports, builds and brings to life your brand’s business.

 

To the teams at:

 

Congratulations! We’re proud to be part of such a smart, thoughtful and committed industry. Thanks for your insight. Here’s to a successful, strategic and engaging year of financial content marketing.

Election 2016: Should Brands Get Involved?

Election 2016: Should Brands Get Involved?

If you’ve used Facebook, Twitter or other social media this fall, you’ve likely noticed that that you have a group of friends and acquaintances that are extremely vocal about the election. But you also likely have a whole other group who, at least on social media, have stayed completely silent on anything election related.

The same division is happening in Corporate America. Some companies have openly stated their positions on the candidates, the issues and even the tone of the debate. Others, however, have remained completely silent.

At Imprint, we’re aware that commenting on the election works better for some brands than others. Kenneth Cole, for instance, has produced multiple pieces of content around voter registration, and Hotels.com has created a whole campaign, including articles, tweets and videos aroud their mascot, Captain Obvious, running for president. Even Tic-Tac recently joined the club.

But for an industry like financial services, election-related content is critical. People are concerned about how their savings could be impacted, how tax rates could change, which way  interest rates could go and how their debts could be affected. Financial marketers should be in those conversations.

We were interested in how financial firms were approaching election content. We used Vista, our quarterly content monitoring study, to track and analyze the election-related content produced by a competitive group of financial service firms.

There certainly was a lot of content – more than 50 individual election-related pieces published across 25 firms. However, only 10% of the firms put forward a strong point-of-view. Many firms touched on the key election-related financial concerns and most providing a historical perspective on what typically happens in the market during election periods. But very few firms advised the reader on what to actually do with this information.

We felt two companies bucked the trend, producing election-related content that had an excellent point of view and gave its readers insightful and actionable information.

OppenheimerFunds: We liked OppenheimerFunds’ engagement and promotion strategy. It has a dedicated content hub where the OppenheimerFunds team has been tracking the elections for months – and continually updates the content to reflect the most current views and status. The hub contains all the components that the firm then uses to feed other communication formats and messaging. Other standouts? The content is very visual – with charts and infographics – and they have a taken a multi-format approach publishing articles, video, webcasts, and whitepapers. OppenheimerFunds also has a clear perspective that’s helpful.

UBS:  This firm also has an area of its site dedicated to this topic, called ElectionWatch – where the content is kept fresh and up to date as we move closer to the election.

All-in-all, we think this is an important topic – and a great opportunity to share your firm’s thought leadership. But, like any content opportunity, if you want to optimize the effort there are things you can do to make it great:

  • Put forth a clear POV: Election content is everywhere – readers are inundated with information so you need to take a position in order to stand out.
  • Consider a dedicated content hub: Putting everything in one place makes it easier for your audience to consume content.
  • Use visuals to help tell the story.
  • Avoid dead ends: Offer clear next steps and actionable CTA’s to guide the reader along the customer journey.

For more insights on how content intersects with Election 2016, listen to our podcast, Contagious Content, and find more insights in our election-focused Vista quarterly content  report.

CC 4: Election 2016: Trump, Clinton and Content Marketing

CC 4: Election 2016: Trump, Clinton and Content Marketing

With Election Day less than a month away, which candidate is winning at content marketing? How should brands join the conversation? Check out our latest podcast where the Imprint team offers up their answers to those questions.

Intro music Golden Sunrise by Josh Woodward // CC BY

Print isn’t dead, only patience

Print isn’t dead, only patience

In the Campaign Live piece below, I offer my thoughts in regard to print media–the death of which has been greatly exaggerated.

 

Click-through rates, opens, impressions, downloads and…dog-eared pages? Developments in analytic capabilities have allowed marketers to understand the ROI of each initiative, and in an increasingly digital world, these results begin to pour in almost immediately after pressing go.

Read More at www.campaignlive.com

Is Winning Everything?

Is Winning Everything?

Taking Learnings from Rio Onward to Cleveland.

I just returned from attending the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and I’m off to Cleveland next week for Content Marketing World. Two different cities, for sure. But I learned some lessons in Rio which I am definitely packing in my carry-on.

Content Marketing World is like the Olympics of content marketing: multi-days, tons of talent, ending in very competitive awards categories. Imprint, at only three and a half years old, is nominated for Small Agency of the Year for the third year in a row.

So what did I learn in Rio that I’m taking to Cleveland? Of course I was reminded of the preparation, dedication and focus of world-class athletes. What really inspired me, though, was the sense of team. While everyone wants to win, the spirit of the collective work – what happened throughout the year – matters most.

The Olympic games in Rio put these athletes in the spotlight. But how hard do they train when no one is watching?   I didn’t have to ask that question to Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaton, the fittest married couple on earth. The answer is hard; they train very hard. This year, Ashton repeated a gold medal win in the men’s decathlon and Brianne took the bronze in women’s heptathlon.

At a small agency, you do everything. You roll up your sleeves, dig in and do your very best. And often there isn’t anyone watching.   You’re representing your team, and standing for your collective mates. I am so proud of the team at Imprint and the incredible work that has been done this year.

Win or lose in Cleveland, it’s bigger than one award. Here we go!

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