w00tonomy content marketing cast: Mark Gorman

Mark Gorman of Thinkhard talks about the future of marketing in Scotland. We like to rave about the wonders of cost-effective videos and podcasting so we’ve put our mouth where our money is and produced this interview.

Se7en deadly sins of online – WRATH

We are uncovering w00tonomy’s take on the se7en deadly sins and the virtues of Content Marketing. These are the vices we’ve seen drag businesses into the express elevator to redesign hell. Going down!

WRATH – blaming the customer for not caring

The last sin in our series happens when all that excitement over your site launch is a distant memory and you start to hear the murmurings of another site redesign. The lack of post launch editorial planning has started to destroy that great design that you agonised over. As the content has been lumped onto the site the usability has been lost and customers complain that they can’t find the information they need. The analytics which were a key part of your business case to support the site development budget have become just another spreadsheet of numbers that are reported each month – no follow-up action and no progress. And a recent customer survey that you ran online your customers say that they find your competitor’s site better and easier to use.

This is when the defensive rage starts to kick-in. The problem is not yours, it’s the customers. They don’t really understand your business; there are very few people interested in your content and it is very dry and uninspiring so it is not surprising nobody wants to read it. And finally your customers don’t really like to use net anyway. Over the years we at w00tonomy have heard all of these. If any of these are true then you should probably question why you built a site in the first place.

The reality is that away from the jargon and Internet speak, carrying out your business online is no different from any other aspect of what you do – it has to be audience focused. People want things that add value to their lives. People like stories and dislike advertising. People like to build trust through relationships over time. People like to learn through interaction. People like to be in control and not be interrupted. What makes online so different is that it condenses all of these experiences onto a single screen.

This why we at w00tonomy are driven by the belief that “every business has story to tell each one of its customers” and why it is the most effective and only way to build long-term relationships online.

Se7en deadly sins of online – GREED

We are uncovering w00tonomy’s take on the se7en deadly sins and the virtues of Content Marketing. These are the vices we’ve seen drag businesses into the express elevator to redesign hell. Going down!

GREED – lots of data no intelligence

You can have too much of a good thing. It has often been commented that online wins over offline because it offers real time feedback of people’s behaviour. This is true, but what is provided is something like this

Page views 10,000; Unique visitors 3000; click through rates 10%; bounce rates 3%; 55% of search engine traffic from Google; Top ten search terms are…

What does that actually tell us? The answer is very little – it gives no real nderstanding of who is visiting a site and what they are doing.

The reason so many businesses accept this quality of reporting (and so many agencies provide it to clients) is simple. With the sophistication of analytics software now available in the market place (Google Analytics, HBX, Omniture, etc) production of data is cheap but intelligence is expensive.

For this reason businesses and agencies are often greedy for data and do not invest the time and effort to turn data into intelligence. Without this investment they try to substitute volumes of data for insight – the intelligence must be in there somewhere so no-one can complain they never saw it.

Data will not help when you evolve your online strategy. Instead any changes you make will be a gamble that will be based on a hunch or the HIPPO effect (HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion) described by Avinash Kaushik.

In order for the cycle of measure and evolve to work effectively your digital marketing strategy should be driven not by the greed for more data but by intelligent analysis making clear recommendations. In. Plain. English. 

Online political guru on the importance of dialogue with punters

A leading expert on online politics sees a wonderful future based on user interaction.

Phil Noble believes members of the public will enter into dialogue on the websites of politicians and political parties, who in turn will respond to negative as well as positive comments and be more open about what they really think.

w00tonomy attended a video roundtable at the US Consulate in Edinburgh with Noble, who is, according to his bio:

one of the leading experts in the US and internationally on the Internet and politics. Noble is the founder of PoliticsOnline and its affiliated company Phil Noble & Associates, an international public affairs consulting firm. Noble is a veteran of over 300 political campaigns and public affairs projects in 40 states and 30 countries. He has worked to elect the head of state in 15 countries.

Noble said that engaging the user in dialogue was the salvation of newspapers (following on from a debate sparked by John McGurk on BBC Scotland ) . Asked if that same principle of user comment and interaction applied to politics, he painted a picture of the power of direct user participation with politicians online leading to a more frank and open public discourse.

(This is something we at w00tonomy believe in, too. The best way of handling negative opinions online is to engage with them. Content marketing is very much like this new type of politics. Proactive and reactive, it engages with people to understand their behaviour in order to develop a message that resonates. It is through content marketing that the process of continuous engagement can take place online.)

Noble said: “The great sin of the new media age is phoniness. The first commandment is ‘Don’t bullshit me.’ New media can provide a broader, richer window on who these people are. That is its great strength. It works when its warts and all.

“It’s about your motives. You can say: ‘Sorry, we screwed up. And we’ll screw up again but this is what we were trying to do.”

He also believes (and hopes) that Barack Obama is going to stroll into the White House in the US presidential election, leaving Hillary Clinton and John McCain in his wake. And he’s going to do that thanks to the power of his online campaigning. “We first saw a glimpse of the power of online with the [Howard] Dean campaign in 2004. Obama is light years ahead of where Dean was.”

Noble praised the vastness of Obama’s online fundraising but also his ability to recruit activists online, with one million participants as a conservative estimate.

“In terms of the primary, it’s over. It ain’t even close. I think Obama is going to change the world. He’s going to win the general [election]. He’s going to raise so much money online and have a unified campaign, fully funded from top to bottom with consistent messages. John McCain is going to be relegated to a bit player. I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama won all 50 states.

As for the next UK general election, Noble has two things to say: “It’s hard for a party to stay in power for more than ten years. And David Cameron is better than Brown at online but he’s been better at everything.”

Se7en deadly sins of online – GLUTTONY

We are uncovering w00tonomy’s take on the se7en deadly sins and the virtues of Content Marketing. These are the vices we’ve seen drag businesses into the express elevator to redesign hell. Going down!

GLUTTONY – just stuff the content in without thinking

Mr Creosote

We’ve all been there. You know this "content stuff" is important and you know you need a lot of it so you grab big chunks of it and throw it all on the plate.

But the best websites are like a balanced meal, not a bargain bucket from Alabama Fired Chicken. The secret to content success is realising that text, video and pictures are ingredients that need to be blended together to produce pleasing combinations tailored for different palates.

Your editorial processes will ultimately determine how successful your site is by the creation of quality content that markets itself and your organisation. The responsibility for site content often falls on the shoulders of a few individuals in the marketing/web team. They are regularly provided content from different business units in a format and using language that is completely undigestable for an online audience. However, what can happen is that faced by the needs of the business the pressure is on them just to get the content up there.

This can so easily become the norm and you end up shoveling content on the site without really thinking about it. The site ends up bloated and unwieldy until it struggles to handle that waifer thin piece of content that will appeal to a vital demographic.

Because content can be fed so easily into a site, the false impression it gives is that it doesn’t require the same thought as offline corporate communications. But the content you publish online is part of your marketing mix. This is why you need to have the user experience at the heart of your editorial process . The usability of your content and how people are going to find it through search engines are key to you not losing control of the growth of your site.

Se7en deadly sins of online – LUST

We are uncovering w00tonomy’s take on the se7en deadly sins and the virtues of Content Marketing. These are the vices we’ve seen drag businesses into the express elevator to redesign hell. Going down!

LUST – project blindness and desire to deliver

birth of venus Businesses and agencies love projects. The project world is a familiar and comfortable place for us all; we know how to scrum, scope, budget,and deliver. And to put icing on the cake we enjoy that great feeling of hitting the finishing line, the launch party.

Too often, though, we are seduced into failing to realise that how the site looks is less important than how it works .

For our customers there is little short to medium term benefit in what happens prior to the launch date. The value to them comes afterwards. Delivering this value is based on publishing engaging content that is targeted at different audience segments. Even though many businesses understand this principle, they struggle to achieve it because they are geared towards one-off project delivery rather than the continuous improvement model for online publishing via effecive content marketing.

This is why when developing your online strategy you need to be marketing-led . By focusing on the importance of the long term relationship with your customers you will not be distracted by the lustful allures of the project life cycle.

Se7en deadly sins of online – ENVY

We are uncovering w00tonomy’s take on the se7en deadly sins and the virtues of Content Marketing. These are the vices we’ve seen drag businesses into the express elevator to redesign hell. Going down!

ENVY – not understanding how others succeeded

Online, your message is fighting for the attention of the user alone against the rest of the internet. There are no sectors, there are no walls. The internet is one vast open playing field. And your message is up against the BBC, YouTube and blogs about kittens.

You’ve seen the success that other sites have had and you want that. But your downfall is that you do not appreciate why those others have succeeded. You want what they have but you haven’t done the work they have.

The BBC and Amazon are classic sites we all rightly admire and desire to copy in some shape or form. But the one principle many fail to recognise is their commitment to quality and engaging content – content that tells a story that people want to hear .

Every organisation has a story to tell about its brand, its products and services and online their is an audience that is receptitive to that message. Understanding the value proposition of your business and your customer is essential to ensuring your content reaches that audience.