Saturday, November 24, 2012

Content: Biggest Product of the Digital Economy

Forget highly suspicious claims of digital drugs making kids "high" off audio tracks. The fact is content may prove to be one of the most important products of the new digital economy.

In Internet marketing circles you'll hear plenty about "content marketing" these days. These are just buzz words for blog articles, videos, podcasts, and similar online content that attracts visitors who may eventually be converted to customers.

The variety of platforms on which to publish and distribute content or offer it for free or paid download in the new digital economy are nearly endless. Blogs, social media networks, YouTube and other video upload sites, Blog Talk Radio, audio sites like SoundCloud, simple Website building communities like Squidoo, sites that offer free or paid download of e-books and other content files--these are all possibilities.

Setting aside for the moment amateur essayists, video makers, musicians, and the like, many people who upload content do so for business reasons.

Either they are attempting to boost their brand online, attract traffic which will convert to revenue in the form of orders of online products or services, create awareness of a brick and mortar business in order to drive offline customer activity, or drive traffic to affiliate links or pay per click advertising.

The importance of content as a tool for online business marketing has given birth to a new industry of content creators as outlined in this Small Business Trends post from Amie Marse.

But let's get back to the story of digital drugs, MP3 tracks that can be downloaded for $16.00 or less off the Internet and supposedly induce a mind altering experience. (Color me skeptical.)

These may be the most extreme examples of content clearly making the jump from mere marketing material to product. Of course, the digital economy has a long history of downloadable content for sale from music to reports and white papers to more questionable "business" products, e-books and more.

But with monetized content it seems we are talking about much more. What is premium content worth on the Web, whether a marketer pays superstar content creators (bloggers etc.) for it, or whether those superstar creators with high followings and a strong personal brand monetize that content themselves?

For businesses of the future, content will not be simply a means to an end, but an end in and of itself. Popular content will be worth its weight in gold.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Digital PR: How to Create Competition on Facebook

There are thousands of businesses on Facebook and they are all competing for the same thing: engagement from users. Therefore a digital PR campaign that gives users an incentive to ‘like’ a Facebook page will give a business an edge in a highly competitive market. Once a member of the public has ‘liked’ a page, it is then up to the business to keep the fan interested and invested in the business.

Below are the key steps you need to follow to ensure your digital PR competition creates a positive impact:

Goals: Create clear marketing goals. What is it that you want to achieve by hosting this competition? It sounds obvious, but by having clear goals you will be able to judge the success of your competition at every stage.

Understand your audience: Understanding your audience will help you not only to construct an effective competition tailored to their needs, but will also help you to keep them engaged on your page once the competition has ended.

Plan and create: Once you understand what your audience wants, you can plan what type of competition you are going to construct. Making the prize attention grabbing is always successful in ensuring ‘likes’. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive – just something that stands out.

Spread the word: Push the word out about your competition. Notifying relevant bloggers and online influencers about the competition will boost the reach of the digital PR campaign.

Consistency: Be sure to follow through. Update the Facebook page frequently otherwise people will think you are inactive. Ensure that the way you communicate on your Facebook page is compliant with your brand personality.

Length: Try to avoid allowing your competition to run for too long. Page fans will lose interest if the competition lasts too long. If it needs to be a long competition, then why not look at breaking it up into stages? Perhaps you could have a finalist selected at every stage and then an overall winner at the end of the competition. Be sure to publicize the winner through your social media channels and any other appropriate outlets.

Engage: Send out fun and interesting content. Use imagery and links to entice your fans to visit frequently. Give them a page worth coming back to once the competition has ended.

Guest Post: PHA Media is a London PR agency setup in 2005 by former newspaper and magazine editor Phil Hall. They are an award winning firm offering a full range of PR and publicity services across traditional and digital PR.