Blog : Content

Content at the core of all media

Content at the core of all media

Business Basics Series

A brand’s voice and personality depend on the type of content it produces. The effectiveness of a brand’s marketing campaign depends on the delivery method of that content. The substance of your media is intimately involved in every step of the purchase decision-making process. It is the most stable mechanism of brand promotion.

Customer engagement, which is a strong predictor of company growth and brand loyalty, is built through providing value to the consumer. This action is most often achieved through value, usually achieved through useful content. “Emotional engagement is far more important to consumers than promotional content,” thus making the quality of the content the main factor in its success.

A reputation…is it owned or earned?

While everyone recognizes the role of content in owned and earned media, it’s harder to determine if content has a place in paid media or if paid media is rendering content useless. Owned, earned, and paid media sources are almost always used together in unison. They’re used to build off each other, but they have key differences worth elaborating.

Owned Media refers to all channels that a company manages and curates, like websites, blogs, and social media. Its main strength is the control it gives a company over their brand image. Its main weakness is its limited reach—though 89% of marketers are using social media around 16% of Facebook fans see the brand’s content on their newsfeed.

Earned Media includes all mentions of a brand on third party channels. Sometimes referred as organic advertising, search engine optimization and mobile app store optimization. It is the shared, the reviewed and the viral. Its main weakness, that of having no control of what is being said when, is counteracted by its main strength, the power of word-of-mouth to influence people’s decisions. The skepticism people have when viewing ads is equivalent to the trust that comes from another person’s recommendation.

Paid Media is comprised of all of the advertisements that you have paid. These include Adwords, sponsorships, and content written by others for a fee. Many times, this can appear as sponsored items, appearing in a news channel feed. Another name is “native advertising”. It is expensive, yet, far-reaching. This is a highly targetable resource. While many have frowned upon it, paid media is important to a marketing campaign because, without it, your best content might remain hidden. It is not a replacement for “true content”, but it is a valuable tool in taking owned media and pushing it to possibly blurring the line toward earned media. Competition online has made it hard to sift through information on the basis of interest alone and paid media allows one to place an ad before eyes who are searching for it.

At the core of all three strategies lies content. It is content that draws people to your website. It is content that makes people want to talk about your brand and share it with their friends. And it is content that keeps people engaging with ads even when they’re savvy enough to recognize and avoid them. Paid media will reach an audience, but it will rarely keep them watching more than they have to.

Content is what makes consumers say, “Wow, I didn’t even know that was an ad for something!” Questions for the ad industry become “Where do we draw the line between advertising and content?” and “How visible do we make that line?”

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

In a mobile environment, it is critical to provide users the finest quality user experience (UX). Web browsing must be experienced as a seamless transfer of form and function across all platforms. Consumers demand a fluid environment regardless of which device they hold in their hands.

To meet this consumer demand, Responsive Web Design (RWD) was crafted to provide fluid mobility to web content. Designer Ethan Marcotte was concerned with the collective elegance of both the internal code and the external page. He largely crafted the concept and practice.

RWD is the practice of building a web page able to display cleanly on any screen and any device, of any size. To the user, this means the media may be displayed a bit differently, graphics look slightly different, and there may be an alteration of function. But for the most part, the web page you saw on your desktop will display on your mobile phone.

A design problem:

Sadly, for many websites this is not the case. A non-RWD site may look perfectly fine on a desktop. That same site may become ‘user-hostile’ when viewed on a smartphone. Certain content may extend beyond the width of the screen (a common occurrence if it’s held in the vertical position). Some content and media may simply not display on different devices. Navigation throughout the site on a mobile device might be troublesome for a user because the design elements aren’t found where users expect them to be.

The reason for a responsive website design is to present users with a flexible interface. Without a responsive design, you risk losing potential customers who can’t figure out how to use your website or simply offending those who won’t accept its less-than-professional rendering on a mobile device. Either way, you lose face and revenue.

To create a responsive website, you’ll need the assistance of a design team who appreciates the desires of your company and the needs of your audience. Contact Colure to discuss your mobile design needs.

Protecting Your Brand Identity

Protecting Your Brand Identity

The increasing digital nature of the world has been a blessing to marketers. SEO-focused blogging and social media marketing have allowed companies to focus awareness and dramatically increase their profits for little cost. At the same time, the consumer-focused nature of this digital world has also threatened one thing, brand identity.

Establishing Your Brand Used to Be Simple

Before the internet placed so much power in the hands of consumers, your brand identity was in your hands. Businesses could control the messages about their company. They could control content, ensuring the perception of their brand remained positive and on-point.

A Plethora of Voices

Today anyone can go to social media and criticize your products and brand. They can write a blog posting that ranks higher in Google’s search results than you’d like. Control has left the hands of the marketer. The issue is multiplied in the service industry, where review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie’s List – all designed to improve customer experience – can seriously threaten your brand’s credibility and identity.

The consumer has a direct voice to connect quality to value. Now branding efforts must address both macro and micro management strategies. Companies must be responsive to individual voices of dissatisfied consumers, while focusing resources toward broader quality efforts and branding.

This is the price of doing business. Rightfully so, consumers can now put their mouth where their money is. The business community must do the same.

What Can You Do?

Successful companies leverage positive reviews into word-of-mouth advertising. This remains the single most effective type of advertising today.

If your company is being battered with negative reviews, what can you do? Here are a few ideas to start:

  • Find them. Use focused social media searches to discover what consumers are saying about your company. 
  • Respond diligently. Once you’ve found complaints, don’t just dismiss them. These reviews are actively read by consumers. Consumers are often more likely to embrace a review than an advertisement.  Respond to the feedback openly and solve the issue. Deal with it.
  • Improve. Don’t just make empty promises. Empty lip-service is the worst response you can provide to a complaint. If you have an issue, deal with it. If you get called on the carpet because of poor service – deal with it. If the customer is upset – deal with it. Don’t dismiss the complaint, resolve the issue. Even if it costs you a few dollars and a bit of time – solve the problem. At this point, damage from the mismanagement of a complaint only escalates.
  • Grow from your mistakes. Learn what the consumer wants. It’s that simple.
  • Take feedback. Make this an opportunity to improve your brand – your customers will thank you for it.

Contact Colure’s marketing team. Discover the art of crisis management. Learn from a team that can help you properly manage your corporate image.

The Software Development Process

The Software Development Process

The Software Development Process is an organized, systematic approach to developing software. It’s an organized pathway traveled together by both the client and a software development team. The development cycle is an upward spiral that allows for discovery, new growth, consideration of new ideas, inspiration and change.

The process begins when a client approaches a development team with an idea for a new ‘digital mousetrap’. It’s critical that the software team listen to all the concerns of the client. These may include a timetable, budget concerns, support, logistics and so on. In turn, the clients must understand that the development team will do everything in their power to assist them.

During your application’s development, you will encounter numerous pressures that will divert you from your end goal. It is critical that you have a focused plan and a development team who can appreciate these concerns. A solid team will keep your project focused toward a specific goal.

The Software Development Process includes the:

  • development phase – it starts as an idea, quickly followed by an analysis; quality standards are established; specific goals are set.
  • design phase – you’ll discuss form, function and the delegation of duties.
  • implementation phase – The actual program code is written during the implementation phase.
  • testing and verification phase – after the development team has a working copy of the project, they will usually issue it out to a limited group for beta testing. Here, they gather data on what works and what can be refined. Quality standards are met.
  • documentation phase – here the data is brought together and assessments are made.
  • maintenance phase – this is the longest phase. It consists of the constant updating of the program and customer management. This phase continues long after the final release of the project.
The key to success is open communication.

The process is often met with long hours, varied opinions, and strong emotions for a project. This mixture of blood, sweat and tears is critical to the creative process. For as much as a client is passionate about the function of an application, the creative team has similar motivations. They view the project from the inside-out. Ones and zeros take on form, function and texture.

It is this marriage of visions that brings life to the original idea. Each project is more than just the sum total of the various parts. The project evolves with each new idea, inspiration, and dream. Contact Colure’s Development Team to discuss bringing your software dreams to life.

Successful Content Marketing Campaigns

Successful Content Marketing Campaigns

Content marketing is the technique for creating and sharing free content to provide the consumer with an additional level of product interaction. It is meant to attract new customers and to encourage current customers into developing a loyal, repeat business. But, it should be more than a portion of a company or product. It should be used as a tool to engage your audience.

Four successful content marketing campaigns:

  • Birchbox – a monthly subscription service that provides an array of carefully selected beauty samples to customers. They use content marketing to enhance the online shopping experience for their customers. Birchbox features articles about personal grooming, fitness, and popular beauty products to engage its customers. This has been the key to Birchbox’s success, allowing Birchbox to create an interactive experience for customers as if they were in a store.
  • Red Bull – the energy drink maker uses its content marketing to blend in with the community that enjoys its products. Red Bull specifically chooses to be associated with extreme sports through their advertising. They provide featured videos, films and photos of extreme sports and stunts to associate high energy with the essence of its community.
  • MasterCard – the financial institution uses their content marketing to create a hassle-free, convenient way for costumers to enjoy MasterCard’s features. On the MasterCard website, MasterCard offers features such as a saving calculator and debt FAQs to assist customers with their finances. To minimize inconvenience for it’s customers, helpful videos and ATM locators are located in its “Priceless Pointers” section on its website.
  • Kraft – the international food conglomerate, mastered the use of content long before it was a popular marketing technique. Kraft’s website features recipes, tips, ideas, and videos to assist customers with their products. They understand the power of connecting with their customers. Kraft has created a forum where customers can go beyond simply sharing their recipes. Customers experience those products on a most basic human level – while breaking bread. Kraft expanded its brand from simply selling their products to forming an online community that has become ingrained in the lives of its consumers.

A company’s content marketing has to be relevant to the company’s mission, products, and services. It should allow customers to consistently learn and engage with a brand. As content marketing continues to grow, it proves to be more of a long-lasting relationship than a trend. Content marketing will continue to be a necessity for companies to grow and actively engage their customers.

Contact Colure’s team to discuss marketing strategies for your business. See how a focused approach on your project can dramatically modify your performance in the marketplace.

Why Content is Critical to Your Audience

Why Content is Critical to Your Audience

Relevant content is critical to grabbing your audience on an emotional level because they’re searching for answers to their questions. If your content is nothing but bologna, you will lose your audience in a matter of seconds.

So, how do you engage your audience? Take the proper steps to ensure valuable and easily readable content

Three things you need for strong content:
  1. A goal: Provide a focal point of the article. All ideas will contribute towards this central theme.
  2. A voice: Define your point of view and express yourself in the content. Make your statement and provide examples to support your statement. People will need to understand why they should believe what you think.
  3. A lesson: Remember, you are the author. You may not be in a classroom, but be sure to enrich your readers. Be sure that they gain something from reading your work. You are educating and entertaining them by providing information they may not have.

The average Internet user will view a web page and determine whether to continue reading or visit another website in approximately 8 seconds. Even if the user stays longer than those 8 seconds, they have the tendency to skim through, reading only about a quarter of the article. Your content needs to stand out and grab their attention quickly. You must understand your audience.

A short attention span is a dangerous thing. Like the bull that charges a red flag, Internet users flee when they are distracted. They’ll begin to scroll down the page to see a picture or a video. If they notice that the article is going to take 10 minutes to read… Bon voyage! They’ll be gone in a flash. Why would they waste their precious little time reading an elongated article, when they can go visit another web page that tells them what they want in half the time?

Quality content is critical to your audience because it’s the only thing that engages your reader.

Contact Colure to discuss your project’s content, vision and scope.