6 tips to help you pick the right content marketing agency

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve probably heard it a thousand times: content is king. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would also understand the important role content marketing plays in driving leads and delivering results.

Traditional marketing is falling out of favour with many consumers, and content marketing fills the gaps with regular creations and distribution of quality information relevant to your target audience – drawing them in and ultimately turning prospects into customers.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

But the only problem is that content marketing requires a full strategy, time and dedicated resources. This means that at least one or two team members should be dedicated to executing your content strategy, which can be tough, particularly if you don’t have the knowledge or manpower. If you don’t have the time, your next bet is to hire an agency to assist you. Agencies are generally made up of skilled professionals, meaning you can utilise many different talents and levels of expertise to help you drive your marketing strategy forward.

But with so many agencies out there, how do you pick the right one?

Here are some tips to consider when choosing a content marketing agency:

1. Define your purpose

This may seem like a no-brainer question, but so many brands out there get caught up in creating content just for the sake of it. When planning your strategy, really think about your key goals, and what you want to achieve. Do you want traffic? Increased conversions and leads? Or perhaps building brand reputation and awareness?

Your goals will determine your agency evaluation criteria. For example, if you’d like to to develop a strong content strategy, you might focus more on the team’s knowledge of your industry and knack for strategic and analytical thinking. But if you just want to outsource the content creating process, you would more likely look at hard skills such as subject matter expertise and video or photo editing skills. Most brands might not require the full breadth of an agency’s content marketing skills, so tailor your search accordingly.

2. Measure success

Ultimately, what you want out of your chosen agency is measurable results – to determine your ROI. So find out how they measure success and what content management tools and data sets they use. Getting to know and understand their processes should give you more confidence to select the right agency for you. 

3. Do the groundwork

Being a content marketing agency without a blog and social media accounts is akin to a pilot without a license: unqualified for the job. Don’t take what they say at face value, do the necessary legwork to validate their claims. Check out the quality of articles on their blog, who writes it, and how they’ve been growing over time. Their abilities should shine through at this point, and if you remain unimpressed, move on to the next agency.

4. Get to know the team

Ensure the people working on your account are knowledgeable and skilled. It’s not uncommon for top-level executives to pitch for your account, and then pass it over to other members in the agency – but it’s also your job to get to know who will eventually be on your team. Clarify these details, find out their track record, and if possible, meet and get to know them. They are the ones who will pluck out everything amazing in your company, and turn it into fantastic content that’s worth sharing.

5. Test the relationships

A good relationship is crucial, so make sure to pick a team that you’re completely comfortable and confident in. Besides having faith in the agency’s abilities, you should also feel assured that they will not hesitate to tell you if your ideas might not work, and recommend other strategies that are in line with your goals. Having a good working relationship also helps when you have to coordinate between your in-house team and the agency. The agency should be working as an extension of your company, and should help make this process seamless.

6. Don’t forget culture and values

While it’s important to assess an agency’s skill set and competency, cultural fit is also an important factor to take into account. Besides allowing for a smoother partnership, a good culture also determines the type of team you get. People are an agency’s number one asset, which means success comes from the right people with the right skills, doing the best for their client. It’s essential for the agency to have clear values in place, because those values shape the culture that attracts and retains top talent. Without an amazing culture, an agency will be subject to high turnover, which may affect your account.

And there you have it, 6 things to help you choose a content marketing agency. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should help you get started and point you in the right direction.  

Drop us a note if you’re in the market for a creative content marketing agency. Reach us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

5 steps to help you plan the best content mix

Content Marketing is still marketing. We’ve covered the ‘content’ portion, and now we’re going to apply this to the ‘marketing’ side for the perfect content mix. The basic formula is the same, there’s a funnel, so have something for every stage of the funnel.

Awareness

The most important thing to keep in mind here is who you want to generate awareness from. It is easy to boost a post to an entire market for a week, and bask in the vanity metrics. However, raw impressions or even ‘Likes’ do not mean much. Learn who your audience is, and find out how and where to engage them in a targeted way. It could be an event, in which case roll out live content supported by social. It could be a publication, so try a solid PR pitch or even sponsored content. 

The thing about awareness is, it is the widest part of the funnel, and a good awareness campaign requires a metric tonne of effort. You have to create something entertaining, on-brand and shareable, and distribute it well. That said, wide does not always mean tall. Awareness content should not dominate the content calendar. Put that effort into distribution and quality, not quantity. 10% of the calendar can go here, and space it out across the year.

Interest

This is where we start getting into the bulk of your content. When people ‘Like’, ‘Follow’, ‘Subscribe’, search for you and so on, it means they are interested in your content. To translate that to interest in your product, align both content and product closely. From a potential customer’s point of view, think of the questions they would ask that will lead them further towards you.

Typically, it is a pain point of “How do I do X?”, where X can be any problem, such as:

  • Choosing the right facial cleanser for Asian skin in a Western-dominated cosmetics market that tends to either over-dry or cause breakouts
  • Integrating big data into marketing analytics without the need for IT intervention
  • Getting lunch in Singapore’s CBD for under $10

Furthermore, the context of ‘Problem X’ varies based on prevailing trends. Weather changes cause breakouts, and technology changes cause breakdowns.

News sites and social media are a great way to surface these questions. Apart from that is also Google Analytics and Trends. That means ‘Problem X’ is going to form the backbone of your SEO. If people find you through viral content, they’re looking for a laugh. If people find you to solve their problems, that’s where there’s a clear path to conversion.

40% of your content should make up the interest stage, and if it performs well, feel free to boost on social, or go more in-depth with a white paper.

Desire

Here, people want your product, but they are curious. The solution is to show it to them. Webinars, trailers, teasers, demos, testimonials. Make compelling case studies, create infographics showing the amount of improvement possible… and then put a call to action at the end. Here, conversion should be the main goal; sharing and engagement is just a bonus. After all the effort attracting an audience and building up credibility, this is what needs to happen:

So make this 18% of your content.

Action

As far as content marketing goes, action is pretty straightforward. Want, give, have. However, APAC is a market where a single discount day generates e-commerce sales that dwarf the rest of the world.

So maybe your audience wants your product, but they expect a bit of special treatment. Space out contextualised specials very sporadically to cater for this. Perhaps it is your company’s anniversary, or Christmas. In any case, emphasise the context to make it clear this doesn’t happen every day. After that, dress the copy up to sound fun and drop a subtle call to action at the end. Do this about 2% of the time.

Retention

What do Seth Godin, Bain & Co and Salesforce’s US$2bn annual revenue have in common? True, they’re all rich enough to fill a pool with money, but the point is, they all support the notion that it is easier to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire. In all likelihood, existing customers will be interested in finding out solutions to related problems, and feel reaffirmed by your case studies and infographics. In other words, most of your existing content should already be relevant.

That said, there should still be some space dedicated to the post-funnel- to cover the human side of the relationship. From a content perspective, that means personalising the brand. Make your own in-jokes to get people to laugh with you. Share milestones to let people know you’re here to stay. Tease your latest updates so there’s something to look forward to.

Naturally, this is not the kind of content you would expect people to search for. However it is more ‘Likeable’ than how-tos, so an interesting graphic can get great traction on social. Aim for people to engage with this content organically. If people ‘Like’ your content, then they’re more likely to see your other posts in future, and cost less to boost towards. This stage should form the last 30% of your content.

 

The recommended split should add up to an 80:20 fluff:sell ratio. For brands new to content marketing, it is a balanced, middle-of-the-road guideline to start off by testing everything. However, each brand is unique in their own way, and ongoing data will lead to each option being weighted differently as time passes. Your CRM, Google Analytics and social platform’s insights will be your friends here.

If you need help planning the best content mix for your 2017 communications strategy, drop us a note at hello@mutant.com.sg.

 

5 steps to measure social media campaign success

So you’ve spent the past few weeks working on a social media campaign or advertisement. All the copy has been written, creatives have been approved and it finally goes live. Just as you mentally clink champagne-filled glasses in your head, the results come back and it becomes evident that your campaign just hasn’t worked the way you hoped it would – and if your target audience is not responding, something is definitely wrong.

The devil’s in the numbers and crafting great content is important, but so is making sure that there are quantifiable and measurable metrics that can help you see where you went wrong and how you can do better next time. Here’s what you should do:

1. Define your goals

Before you get too excited and start going into the creative side of things, it is vital that you first define your campaign goals. What exactly are you trying to achieve from this campaign?

To help you along, think about the kind of social actions (eg. like, react, share, comment, tag) you want your audience to take when interacting with your campaign. This can be measured in terms of impressions, shares, clicks, sessions or purchase actions.

2. Choose appropriate metrics that correspond with your goals

Most Facebook campaigns have two main goals: Driving traffic and increasing engagement & awareness.

To drive traffic, track all URLs you post on social media so you know how many clicks and conversions you’re getting. To do this, you can use Google’s URL builder to set your link’s parameters.

TIP: Google’s URL builder is linked to your Google Analytics account so it will reflect what your audience clicked on as well as other key insights. All this should give you a better understanding of what interests your audience

To measure engagement and awareness, look at the reach, number of shares, likes and comments under your posts. These are telling because it will provide you with insight into what prompts someone to take certain actions.

3. Measure

Now that you’ve got your campaign and the right metrics, the next step is to measure performance. What good is a campaign if you don’t know how or if it actually helps fulfill your goals?

Facebook’s Power Editor is a good tool for looking at different kinds of metrics that may be relevant to your campaign. However, you should also be looking at numbers from Google Analytics. Linking up your Facebook page to Google Analytics is key and it’s pretty simple.

TIP: Remember to link Facebook and Google Analytics BEFORE you launch your campaign.

4. Track and Optimise

Track your numbers over a period of time and review them weekly. You’ll have some good weeks and some bad ones so don’t stress if there are occasional dips in performance, but be alert to any trends that may be forming within your audience.

For example, if you notice that more women from your timeline tend to click into your website, while men visit via the Facebook ads on the right-hand-side column, the content that you push out can be better tailored to these specific behaviours. Knowing the small details will help you improve your content so you’ll be able to target your audience more accurately.

Next, optimise the results. Optimisation is a broad term and really depends on the situation. This might mean having to shut down posts or ads that aren’t doing well in certain placements. Instead, you can use that budget for others that are giving you good and consistent results. Try switching up your copy, your creatives or even changing your audience segments – see what works best for your business.

5. Evaluate

This is how you’ll know whether your campaign was a huge success or perhaps why it flopped. It may be a trial and error process in the beginning but dealing with analytics earlier helps you understand your audience so you can tailor your campaigns better.

When it comes to social media, the numbers don’t lie. You can have great content but it must be effective in reaching your audience, otherwise it’s like hosting an amazing party with no guests!

Need help getting your social media content in tip-top shape? Write to us at hello@mutant.com.sg.

Have you been using Facebook the right way?

With 1.65 billion monthly active users, it won’t come as a surprise that Facebook is the most-used social media site across all age groups. I also bet this won’t be the first time you’re reading an article on utilising Facebook to increase brand awareness through social advertising.

First of all, ask yourself why you even set up your Facebook page in the first place and why it is helping you achieve. Your followers are fed with a continuous stream of content as they scroll through their News Feed so how can you make sure that they stop to look at yours?

1. Share timely content

Pokémon Go is the hot topic of the town this week. And it’s likely to stay this way if it continues to cause more trouble than it already has. Multinational fashion retailer Topshop was one of the many brands to jump on the bandwagon. You should always be on the lookout for opportunities to drive traffic to your site by creating and sharing trending content.

timely-content-Facebook

 

2. Join conversations

Engagement, engagement, engagement. Facebook is one of the best platforms for you to hold two-way conversations with your audience. Stay in the loop and know listen to what your followers are saying. Make your brand more ‘human’ by replying to comments when you see them. There’s nothing fans like more than a personal message directed solely to them. Skyscanner is a great example as they are always very consistent with their replies to followers on Facebook and use a very personable tone that in-turn helps create loyal fans.

 

join conversations

 

3. Point to your own content

To help spark curiosity try referencing a point of interest from your article or blog. You have a very short three-second window before users decide whether your content is worth reading so opt for something catchy. Take a look at this example from Buro 24/7 when they gave their followers a sneak-peek into an interesting statistic about Singaporean women.

 

4. Use emojis

Be creative! Text alone may be boring and limits expressions. Of course, you shouldn’t fill your entire sentence with emojis because a) we get your point, and b) it’s annoying.  Instead mix it up a little.  Make sure that your emojis are relevant, don’t put them there just for the sake of adding cute little images to your captions as it doesn’t work. Take this example from Hostelworld’s Facebook page where they have a healthy balance of text and emojis that are both fun and relevant.

use emojis

5. Mix it up

Imagine following a fashion brand on Facebook and finding out that every single one of their posts features its own fashion products in the same manner – photos. Isn’t that boring? If every piece of content you put up follows the same format, chances are your audience will probably scroll past most of it because they’ve seen it before. Add variety to your page by posting your content in different formats be it videos, articles or questions. Make it even more engaging by holding contests or dishing out tips to your followers.

6. Get creative and mobile-friendly

Paint your brand story on a mobile-friendly platform. When Facebook promised that advertising would be immersive, they weren’t kidding! Canvas ads fill the entire screen of your smartphone and exists within Facebook (instead of annoying pop-ups that take you to another app). Skincare brand L’occitane used texts, videos and images to capture its audience by sharing its brand story and used call-to actions (CTA’s) to promote their gift sets.

loccitane

Brands should be making use of these great features to help share content that really stands out and drives action.

7. Go live

You’re a business operated by humans so show that to your consumers. Facebook Live allows brands to share a more personable side with fans, and Dunkin’ Donuts was one of the first brands to utilise this platform to engage with their audience. They provided a tour of their test kitchen and streamed the construction of a donut wedding cake live. Who doesn’t like an exclusive behind-the-scenes look?

Make sure the content you put up live is relevant and appropriate to your audience. You can hold live Q&A sessions and get fans to tune in, and you’ll also be able to see who’s watching your video. Promote your live sessions in advance to ensure that people are aware it will be happening.

 

Remember that visibility of your brand on Facebook depends on the content you post and therefore the engagement on your Page. Make the most out of Facebook and what it offers, and capture your fans by tweaking your content strategy to suit their interests.

Get in touch with us at hello@mutant.com.sg to find out how we can craft targeted and effective social media content.

 

How to give your digital content a makeover

In today’s digital society it has become increasingly difficult for brands to stand out and be seen by the right people. There is so much information online that it’s easy to get lost in the noise – our attention spans are getting shorter and our thumbs are clicking quicker. So, how can brands disrupt the digital landscape and really make an impact?

The answer: by creating thumb-stopping content.

Dare to be different

Content marketing is about being different and creating a new and interesting way of presenting information. Find something unique to your brand – that one thing that represents your brand and your brand only – and base your content around this.

As an example, Australian beauty brand, frank body have done a phenomenal job with their #thefrankeffect and #letsbefrank campaign. This feminine and flirty campaign has encouraged ordinary people to try the coffee scrubs and share their experiences on social media. Here’s an example from the frank body’s Instagram:


The result? From 0 to 350,000 Instagram followers in 12 months.

Create unique and quality content

Products and services no longer sell themselves. We live in a world where the traditional sales approach is a thing of the past, and consumers are seeking timely and accurate information to meet their needs. This means brands need to be at the forefront of what their target audience wants. Very few people these days really read, engage with or trust those direct and pushy sales emails and calls – it’s often intrusive and lacks credibility.

Creating original content in the form of imagery, blogs, illustrations or videos is a great way to stand out from the crowd without being intrusive.

On Facebook, for example, you are competing with everything on someone’s News Feed: pictures of their friends, family, cats, birds, babies…you get the picture. So why should they click on your content?

Personally, I love food – creating and eating it. So I naturally am drawn to food videos. However, there is a big difference between the good and the bad.

This one, for example, is not my favourite. The food looks good but I start to lose interest after about 3 seconds as the video is just not interactive enough for me:

However, I will always stop to watch videos from Tasty simply because they are quick, fun to watch, informative and appealing.

Be prepared for active engagement

Talk to your audience and engage them with your brand. Humans are a very social bunch and want to be involved and participate in different things. So why not create your content in such a way that encourages an action? We don’t all have to be selling fluffy bunnies or makeup to engage with consumers. Even the more serious industries can create great thumb-stopping content.

One of my favourite examples to use is from Hubspot, an inbound marketing software platform. I receive emails from them on a daily basis and I open each email every day. Why? Because the content they supply is very eye-catching, informative, and gives me access to some great resources and events that make my job easier…all at no charge, meaning there is no trap or risk involved.

Being creative and standing out from the crowd is not as hard as you may think. It’s all about thinking strategically and daring to be different – but providing quality and useful content at the same time.

Don’t copy what someone has done – instead think about alternative ways you can reach your audience through social media, emails, or online.

Disrupt the digital landscape and give your readers a reason to click through.

Need some help? Write to us at hello@mutant.com.sg.