How the millennial audience is crucial to your content strategy

Is the Millennial generation the most import demographic to consider in your content strategy? Junkee founder and CEO, Neil Ackland, sits down to discuss why this generation has grabbed our attention and how we can grab theirs. 

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunesSoundcloud and select android devices. 

Rakhal: Neil, you’ve pioneered one of Australia’s leading media companies, Junkee Media. A result of the rebrand by Sound Alliance, which in 2015 last year you announced its intent to focus on delivering lifestyle content for an audience of 18 to 35-year-olds. Not much more than a year later we now see Junkee as well and truly delivering on that and is one of the leading media publishers for millennials in Australia. Junkee Media now owns and operates Junkee, of course, FasterLouder, in the mix, and now as we discussed, AWOL.com.au.

You’ve really made your mark on that audience of Australian millennials. Neil, can you tell us a little bit about Junkee’s transformation from Sound Alliance. What made you, I guess make that decision to form Junkee Media as it is today?
 
Neil: There were some big forks in the road, if you like, that we’d seen with the business and it felt like it was time for a change. The main things that changed was the audience and how they were consuming content had fundamentally changed and our mobile usage was sitting around 65-70% of all of our traffic was coming from mobile so that felt like a fundamental difference. 

The other thing that was really different was our business model. For the first decade that we’d been in business was primarily selling display banner advertising around our content and what had fundamentally changed with the launch of Junkee was that Junkee had a native content model to support it, so we were moving away from the display.
 
I think for the first time last year we tipped over more than 50% of our revenue was coming from native content, so that felt like a real tipping point for us. Lastly, the business had started with music which was the sound of Sound Alliance, if you like, and a bit more recently we diversified beyond music and we were in pop culture and travel and the future of the business was gonna be still to have music at the core, but cater to much broader interests that young people are into, so the sound of Sound Alliance no longer really reflected what we were about.
 
Junkee had been a phenomenal success for us winning awards and explosive growth and we just felt like the Junkee attitude was the right attitude for the entire business. Junkee is all about being smart, ballsy, funny and interesting. It’s about the things that matter and the things that don’t, and we wanted to take that entirety of thoughts and apply it across our broader business.

CommsCon 2016

CommsCon this year delivered shining examples of PR to inspire and bring the industry the common purpose of telling high-quality stories that reach the eyes and hearts of an audience. Kicking off with a keynote by Clarence Mitchell who was thrown into the eye of a perfect media storm when he stepped up to handle the PR around Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, other gold nuggets slowly emerged throughout the day amidst ‘where is it all going?’ sentiments.

Big data, already the biggest thing in the content marketing circles, appeared to be at the forefront of the minds of the PR agency presenters and panelists. But it was influencers like Sam Jockel (Blogger, School mum) with an obsession of analytics, who blew the lid wide open on why influencers need to have KPIs around the campaigns brands pay them for. She mentioned that working with The Remarkables where she was benchmarked against a standard with the onus to deliver impact was a real turning point for her and her blog. The measuring of influencer impact is beneficial for both the brands and the influencers as it opens a feedback loop to allow both sides to get access to measurement of the value of their collaborated campaigns.

In many ways, what PR brings to the table and to their clients is open to discussion. The panel on “Public Relations: The 2016 Creative Agency” reiterated that creativity is one of the key things that any PR agency has to deliver. The agency culture is evolving to encompass SEO and search professionals and sometimes the temptation is to bolt these services on instead of baking them into the brand strategies. Michelle Hutton, Global Consumer Marketing Chair at Edelman, reiterated that it’s simple and it’s all about putting the audience in the center of PR strategy. The quick thinking know-how in the face of situations that must be addressed immediately is a level of expertise that PR agencies offer to their clients and it is one that’s measurable in today’s digital media landscape.

Brands like helloworld who provide retail travel and Schwarzkopf shampoo use influencers to bring their campaigns to life. They shared their case studies and the resulting numbers from these influencer campaigns. Instagram was a platform of choice for helloworld who wanted striking photos from some of their most popular destinations from around the world. The reach was phenomenal with 8.1 million Australians reached through Instagram influencers. Liz Carlson, Travel Blogger and Young Adventuress who usually posts one high-quality photo per day agreed to post twelve photos within twelve hours for the helloworld campaign. She communicated with her audience beforehand to prepare them for the campaign to anticipate the photos that would come out.

One of the key messages from the panels with Influencers was that the Influencers considered themselves business people, if not one person agencies. Perhaps because of their ambitious nature and need for wider acceptance for delivering successful retail PR campaigns, they are very open to working with KPIs.

However, as KPI-focused as influencers might be, brands realise that it’s not only about the numbers. Brands, such as helloworld, who appreciate highly appealing images understand the value of building a User-Generated Content (UGC) archive, which becomes an asset to the brand.

It’s clear that a revolution is underway. Andy Warhol would be proud that we are now all able to get our fifteen minutes of fame, except these influencers are building sustainable business models around what they’re passionate about.

In the brave new world of social media connectivity, people with a willingness to work in a disciplined way to deliver value to brands are getting a portion of the marketing budgets. Given the ambition and passion of the influencers, this will not be a passing PR trend. As mentioned by Matt Kendall, Digital Planning Director at One Green Bean freshly back from SXSW with a glimpse of the future of creativity, institutions and agencies no longer have a monopoly on creativity. Every human being, with publishing tools and technology much cheaper than they used to be, can snap a photo, create a piece of content and use it to connect with others.

These influencers have an incredible awareness that their personal brand and the trust they’ve built with their audience, is a gold mine and they will not let money erode that. If they feel that their audience will not connect with a particular campaign they will simply say ‘no’. They are not acting out of desperation but out of wisdom. Saying ‘no’ will ensure that they can say ‘yes’ to the campaigns that will strengthen and refresh their personal brands. It will be exciting to see what’s ahead for that time old classic, authenticity, as the influencer campaign landscape continues to evolve with the enthusiasm, professionalism and the respect of these new age PR helpers.

To bring a wider perspective to using average, normal everyday people in campaigns, Claire Salvetti from One Green Bean stressed that it’s key to never push people into doing what they’re not comfortable doing. Also, when using people for campaigns, talk to them about where the campaign might go, give them an overview of the best case scenario and a worst case scenario. Always involve them in the editing process. As human-centric PR professionals, we must find the game. Find out what the audience responds to, and then do more of it. Targeting, amplification, and technology are our allies in achieving this.

All of the day’s learnings were wrapped up with a sharp ribbon of a lock note by Chris Savage who touched on all the key threats to the industry with a story on how focus will show us that the conditions are perfect. He showed Edelman and Weber Shandwick as shining beacons of agencies getting it right by bringing new and differentiated talent. In the local scene, he admires One Green Bean for their boldness. “They push themselves forward and claim a seat at the big table”, Savage says. “If you’re green, you grow, if you’re ripe, you rot” is Chris’s key message so one must get comfortable with change. Things are changing rapidly and the speed of change won’t slow down. Smaller agencies that can’t add depth to what they provide will fall by the wayside.

How to ensure you’ll thrive?
1. Get obsessed with planning
2. Positioning, what is your X factor? What makes you stand out? Claim something. 
3. People. Get the best people. Always be hiring.
4. Innovation. Taking small steps consistently.
5. Leadership. People don’t leave companies. They leave leaders.
6. Work on Brand You.
7. Keep re-educating yourself. Virtual reality, Facebook, mobile, mobile, mobile.

As always with Mumbrella events, the key takeaways will nourish us and the industry until the next CommsCon. 

How content marketing is driving growth in higher education

How are Australia’s leading universities using content marketing to get ahead of the competition? Marketing and Communications Coordinator Barbara Serra, talks about the competitive landscape in higher education. Plus, we talk about her experiences growing up with iconic Italian brands. 

Listen to Barbara’s story and advice to future journalists here:

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunesSoundcloud, and selected Android apps

 

Rakhal: I know you’ve become an accomplished content marketer within the agency space. What’s been your experience working in the Australian content and marketing industry? Particularly through the content marketing growth and then also now with an incredible brand like Deakin University?

Barbara: I have a lot of overseas experience. Obviously having worked in the UK for the majority of my career, and having worked for one of the biggest branded content agencies on a global scale. For me coming to Australia, the first thing I’ve noticed was that the market was still relatively young in terms of content marketing and advertising. Perhaps that’s endemic to some specific conditions and constraints that are presenting the Australian market. There is so much untapped opportunity. Perhaps in the last couple of years, brands and companies are really starting to explore the content marketing and the branded aspect of content a lot more.

Deakin particularly has been particularly successful in doing that. We have a number of newsrooms that we service with regular content. They’re attracting a lot of interest but also they’re presenting a great story. They’re providing a lot of validation and trust signals. Also, providing an insight into what we really are as a company, and what our values are which I think its great. You really need to be playing in that space. You really need to be out there and having consumers being able to learn and find out about you and what you’re doing as a company, and most of all what you stand for and what your values are.

Rakhal: You mentioned in a very good point that the content marketing industry here in Australia is still relatively new and immature comparatively to others around the world. That also presents incredible opportunities particularly in your current role at Deakin University. What is it that inspires you to continue in this industry and do what you do?

Barbara: I’m quite attached to storytelling. It’s been a part of my career for so long that it’s hard to move too far away from it, I guess. When digital and online marketing sort of started to becoming more prominent from 2007, 2008, there was a great shift in the market. There was a lot of focus on quick activity, a lot of display advertising and a lot of looking at data and perhaps forgetting to tell the story. Data is great and it’s good to get those insights and understand what moves people and what makes people click, if you like.

What’s really going to build engagement is still going to be storytelling. People don’t really respond that well to data. You need to be able to tell a story about your brand. You need to be able to engage an audience. That’s how we share information. That’s how we evolve, if you like. Not just as consumers but as people overall. It’s really important.

Find out how your organisation can get ahead of the competition too.  


My changing life as a writer

As they say, when one door closes another opens and so it has always been in my life as a financial journalist and editor.

Because I’ve been in the game for well over 25 years, I have worked for a range of publishing groups and have also enjoyed some stretches as a freelancer.

The first time I went on my own, I had just had a baby. The next time, I’d left my job as the editor of a superannuation magazine, planning to find another in the New Year. But then, freelance work just started rolling in. Choice of super funds was about to take off and I guess I was at the right place at the right time.

Somehow, I drifted back into an editing job. In 2014, however, I got “the seven-year itch” and began hankering for the freedom and flexibility of life as a freelancer. I think I surprised quite a few people by taking the dive without much planning.

Of course, things had changed.

It’s a lot tougher out there these days. The economy has been sluggish, print is faltering, budgets have been cut and newspaper and magazine advertising revenue is falling.

I’ve been lucky to gain back some old clients as well as some new ones, but luckier still to have discovered two new words I hadn’t heard of a few years back: content marketing.

As the world wide web spread, as print struggled and as consumers gained the ability to fast forward through their TV adverts, marketers have had to find new ways to reach their target customers. A lot of this revolves around relevant and high-quality content that does well in online searches – a writer’s dream if you can get the work.

One way is through companies like Newsmodo.

I’d never heard of Newsmodo until a friend suggested I join it about a year ago. So I went on its website and registered, pitched for an article and pressed enter, sending the message out of my mind and into cyberspace.

Out of the blue, I received my first brief to write on a topic I really enjoy; financial tips for customers of one of the smaller banks. More briefs followed and I was soon putting my skills to use writing on topics as diverse as payment trends for retailers, loans for small businesses, investing in blue chips, new top-level domains and funds management.

Although I have focused on the financial and business side, Newsmodo publishes a wide range of briefs looking for articles on travel, general interest and crime topics, to mention just a few. You can also pitch your own story ideas as it has a range of news outlets on the lookout for these.

Working with Newsmodo provides me with one of the most important things I was looking for when I decided to go freelance again: variety in both subject matter and clients. And I don’t have to go around knocking on doors I might never have thought of.

Could I survive on the work I’ve received from Newsmodo? Certainly not at this stage, but it’s a great way to supplement the other work I get.

Freelancing in the digital age

Want to work on your own terms? You need to build your personal brand. Freelancer, Mark Howard, outlines his story and how those experiences built his profile as a journalist. Plus, we talk about the perfect marriages between athletes and their brands. 

Listen to Mark’s story and advice to future journalists here:

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps

Rakhal: As a feature freelancer here at Newsmodo we’re seeing lots of brands in the sporting arena, in particular, hiring journalists for work opportunities to create great brand and content. What’s been your experience of working with brands and why do you think they call upon you and journalists and other presenters?

Mark: I think that the second part of that question is due to the typical journalist’s ability to get the message out now. I think messages get lost a lot because there’s so many of them, but I think journalists understand how to cut through. So you see it especially in the sports betting sphere where so many of those guys deliver that message are ex-journalists and I think it works really well. I think that ability to cut through, deliver the message in a short and sharp way rather than banging it on and on and on makes it really effective.

Rakhal: We’re seeing some really exciting developments in the sporting media landscape here in Australia. We’ve got codes like the AFL building their own, in essence, media houses and of course earlier this year Newsmodo announced our content partnership with the NBL, where we’re engaging freelancers to cover games, write material, take photography, create feature stories and other content. One in particular that I know you like is the story about the Hawthorne football club Cyril Rioli it’s a great piece of content. We’re seeing more and more sporting brands get into this, could you tell us about your experience and also this Cyril Rioli piece of content

Mark: Yeah, it’s a really great clip. Cyril is a very humble, quiet man. He’s obviously had a lot of success now he’s won four premierships, he won the North Smith Medal which you get for being the best on ground in the AFL Grand Final. He finally did that last year. He went out to a school and presented a young man with a Cyril Rioli junior membership pack, so the young man didn’t know it was coming, it was shot almost like a candid camera style with a couple cutaways of Cyril walking in, cutting back to the kid.

The young man whose probably 9 or 10, he sees Cyril and it’s just perfect from there. Whether it’s marketing or telling a story. The young man goes up to Cyril and he’s gobsmacked, he doesn’t know what to say and he ends up in tears because he’s just so shocked that his hero is there. Then they interview him a bit after and Cyril gives him a hug and he talks about the fact that he loves Cyril and can’t believe he turned up. There are a couple real zingers for me that catch it, one is the young man cries and working in sport and making a few documentaries etc, people cannot turn off Rakhal.

Whatever you are doing, you can’t turn off if people are crying or laughing. If someone laughs at you, it’s hard enough to laugh back, if someone cries you focus in on this person. The young man cries and then Cyril’s reaction, it’s just priceless unguarded raw emotion and that’s what we try to get to show in sport. Raw emotion, and it becomes difficult because players are guarded the whole time and whenever they show raw emotion their often criticized when they show it, but if you can show raw emotion and that is often tears or laughter that will make anything.

That will make a sports broadcast, it’ll make a news broadcast, it’ll make a movie, it’ll make a clip, it’ll make a YouTube hit. Now emotion is what it comes down to, so the whole time I’m interviewing someone it’s not like I’m trying to make them cry, but if you can make them laugh and relax and talk about things away from the cockpit or away from the footy field or away from the cricket ground. That’s how you engage an audience 100% and I don’t think enough people do near enough.

 


How to plan your written content

So you have grand plans to become a publisher. But do you know exactly what you need to consider before creating some successful blogs, articles or reports? Our Content Editor, Lachlan Searle, will describe the process of commissioning and creating content, as well as the things you need to know about your brand and objectives. Plus, find out what’s working right now in brand publishing. 

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps

 

Lachlan: What I’m really excited about in the media landscape more generally is the power of the consumer. We see this influence everywhere, for instance on websites where eyeballs dictate essentially what is the top ranking article at any given hour, that’s how quickly they rearrange those websites. Also, the power of the consumer in terms of being able to provide comments, and immediate feedback, emailing journalists, and that sort of thing. Also the power of the consumer in the amount they can seek out, both in Australia and internationally.

I don’t think people are as tied to one source or two sources as they were previously. I think that’s really helpful for the media landscape because it means that we have to be providing what the consumer wants and we have to ensure that we’re better than the competition, which can be a challenge in ever shrinking newsrooms and smaller budgets, but it’s a challenge. I think on the whole, the media’s embracing it and is doing a really good job at. I’m excited on my level for the consumer.

On the other level, and this is more relevant to what we do on a daily basis here, I’m excited for what brands can do to get their own message out there. We see brands becoming their own newsroom, which is great, I think, for again the consumer because it means there’s more sources of information and great storytelling for them, but also for the brand because it provides them an opportunity to establish credibility in their field and importantly, connect with their audience. That’s where storytelling comes in and that’s what we really try to do here at Newsmodo is tell great stories.

Rakhal: We sure do. I think you’ve answered in part my next question, which was going to go to the point about why we’re seeing brands wanting to create quality digital content and become great publishers in their own right. Do you think it’s because of their own direction or do you think they’re trying to take part of that market share from the diminishing editorial publishers?

Lachlan: I think a bit of both, but I think overall the main reason is that people have become savvier about marketing. People won’t be sold to so easily anymore, so we need more subtle approaches. I like to think of it as a brand becoming your friend, so it’s someone you can trust, someone that provides great information that you get excited about receiving their EDM on a daily basis because you want to learn about developments in their field, and in things that you’re interested in. Often those can be quite niche areas that won’t be covered in the mainstream area and also that can be covered better by brand newsrooms than they might be in the news media because these are the experts.

Rakhal: Great point. We work across so many different clients, so many different verticals here at Newsmodo now, but I guess one thing that they all have in common is that the strategy needs to be there before they dive into content marketing. What are some of the key things that you think brands need to think about before they approach someone or start creating their own content?

The most integral thing is planning, as you’ve just touched on, Rakhal, and I think this should be quite a wholesale approach. You need to consider obviously the purpose of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, the best way of doing it, so that encompasses a whole variety of different contexts and subject matter. You need to think very, very deeply about what your audience is, who they are, what interests them, and then how you’re going to make sure that you direct content in the right manner so they will enjoy it, keep on reading it, and gain value out of it.

It’s really important that you have great analytics and also that everyone across the company is involved because these are going to be broad campaigns, and you need to get buying from everyone that is associated with your department, and also in the broader company context, so that people can understand why you’re doing what you’re doing because one of the challenges for us that we confront on a daily basis is people that haven’t necessarily been close to the project coming in at a later date after we’ve delivered content and saying, “Hey, why isn’t my company mentioned in this article?” Well, that’s been done quite deliberately because we’re doing content marketing. Obviously that particular person wasn’t brought in at an early date. I think one of the most important things that brands should do when they’re coming up with their content marketing strategy is ensure that it’s a holistic company-wide approach.

Rakhal: I love it. Great advice and that’s something that we, as you mention, we discuss with our clients every day, particularly when we’re starting that initial deep dive in the strategy. How about the mistakes, in terms of the mistakes that we see most regularly made by brands out there in their own content marketing processes, where have they failed? What are the challenges that perhaps we can give our listeners some advice around to help them navigate and hopefully avoid making those mistakes themselves?

Lachlan: Again, I think it’s all about a plan. Make sure you have a plan, firstly. Secondly, make sure you stick to it. I think it was Arnie Kuenn that was discussing in a previous podcast the need to stick out for at least 12 months before you can see ROI. That’s really pivotal because any media organisation could say you need time to be able to establish a connection with your audience. You need to make sure you are talking to your audience in the right manner, so again that comes down to knowing who they are and how to speak to them. In terms of mistakes to avoid I would say rushing into it. Make sure that you’ve actually sat down, considered what you need to do, and obviously we’re here to help with that, and we are as excited to be able to give that advice, so I think overall rushing into it is the biggest problems.

If you want to find out more about how content marketing can help your brand, get in touch via our homepage. 

 


Playing cupid for writers and publishers

So you wake up with a cracking story idea and hit up one of the dozen lucky editors you have on speed dial. Et voila! You sold the pitch and it’s time for pancakes.

Oh, wouldn’t that be nice. For the rest of us, there’s this handy little agency called Newsmodo who can dress up our pitches and send them to the ball. Tasked with playing cupid for writers and publishers, it’s their job to track the interests, politics, and telephone hours of every editor in town. 

From the inside Newsmodo cement relationships with publishers by acting as a filter, bringing them the most convincing pitches and ensuring that content is delivered to a high standard.

Stringer Stress

For freelance writers, pitching can be pretty stressful and is fraught with traps. Say you’ve done your research and found the perfect home for your story. Now you have to think of the best way to approach them. Do they regularly publish work by stringers? Oh that’s not a typo, a stringer is someone hired on a story-by-story basis. But yes, being a stranger can be a problem too. Do they accept unsolicited pitches? 

Uh-oh, I think I might be a stringer stranger.

As a writer sometimes you think you have a solid ‘in’ only to have it blow up in your face. Recently I asked a very friendly editor who regularly publishes my stuff if she could introduce me to a colleague who I had my sights on for a pitch. “Whoa,” she said, “no no no don’t tell him we’re friends. I’m pretty sure he hates me. If you mention that you know me it’ll do more harm than good.”

Publishing is full of these quirky relationships so you really need to have someone by your side who can navigate through all those frienemies. Sadly when Facebook or LinkedIn tell you that people are connected they don’t also point out when they secretly hate each other.

Man Friday with a laptop

Ryan Jones is an editor at Newsmodo who regularly uses his publishing know-how to stop me from putting my foot in it. He’ll be there to point out things like “X won’t want to publish this because it cites an article by rival publication Y”. and counter with, “but I think if we re-frame the pitch I know an editor who would like it.” 

Ryan is also able to explain publishing decisions in a wider context as he is across many works by many different writers. So when he has an editor in mind for a piece already, he knows their likes and dislikes, along with details like the tone of the publication and how much they’re likely to pay. 

Sometimes Ryan will rule out pitches if he doesn’t think that they’re strong enough, or choose not to take them to specific publications if they already have a staff writer working on similar pieces. On other occasions, he’ll tell me when a pitch is nearly there, but will suggest an upcoming event to tie it to that will bulk up the significance and make it more newsworthy
 
Purists may not like it, but the fact is that Newsmodo is able to take stories and polish them into a viable commodity. This means that the platform works especially well for selling pieces to widely read commercial publishers. Correspondingly though, it may not to be the best place to sell poetry to a lit journal.

A problem shared is a problem halved

When you go it alone as a freelancer it’s easy to get disheartened after you meet with a dead end or your story gets rejected. Before long you might get sick of the sight of your story, despite being so excited about it the day before. And worst of all when you finally do get down to writing something it can be hard to produce your best work. 

This is the secret that nobody tells you in these heady days of the gig economy: the real reason that creative industries are thriving online is that everybody is doing two jobs and working twice as hard. The truth is that if you’re a freelancer you also have be a salesman. 

Thankfully through, Newsmodo freelancers have the opportunity to sell stories with an expert like Ryan in their corner. Along with potentially finding more work, you’ll always have an industry expert at the end of a phone who can play agony uncle to your unloved stories.

The 4 biggest things changing your content strategy

 

We interviewed Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute, to discuss the key things you need include in your content marketing strategy. We also looked at the four biggest changes this year in technology and media trends, so that you know how to keep your strategy up to date. 

 

The following is an excerpt from the Brand Storytelling podcast. Available on iTunes,  Soundcloud, and selected Android apps

 

Rakhal:  Now, let’s go over the things that are going to really change or affect the content strategies that are going on this year. Now, something I know we’ve been discussing a lot at Newsmodo is the rise of mobile consumption. A comScore study from the US found that mobile use accounts for at least 54% of digital consumption. Of course, that number is growing rapidly. This really indicates that the business and content producers need to start thinking mobile first. If they’re not already doing that, they need to be thinking about it for at least this year. Do you have any tips for those wanting to review and improve their content from a mobile consumption perspective Robert?

Robert:  Yes, I do. I guess the biggest one would be to not fall into the trap that mobile is a different design. Mobile is simply having our website or simply having our content platform be responsive is not an answer. Mobile is a means of behaviour. It is a consumption behavior not a platform. When you look at mobile from your content strategy, think of it in that way because just a very tactical example of this. If someone is looking for your information, your presence on the web over a mobile phone, their need for the front page of your website that talks about how many awards you’ve won and how many of your executives are the best ever, is not top of mind for them. Think about what is the experience you’re trying to create on a mobile device or more appropriately a mobile consumption behavior? What information or experience can you create?

That will trickle down into everything you’re doing. From the blog you write, to the website you create, to the emails you send, and to the apps you develop, all of that is about what does my customer want to do and how do they want to interact with my experience that is related to my brand in a mobile way? If you start thinking about it in that sense, it changes really everything you’re doing from a content creation process because it’s no longer about just making my regular website mobile capable; it’s about writing and creating something that is mobile optimized.

Rakhal:  Now I mentioned Rich Answers and the fact that an increasing amount of Google searches results in around 20% at the moment of yielding Rich Answers. Now, this is a really new area. We’re also wrapping our heads around it obviously. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for publishers or brands?

Robert:  Yeah, to the extent that I really understand it. What you’re talking about here is the Knowledge Graph that Google is developing where when you put in a question, or you put in a search query, Google will just answer it for you. You can do this now with things like what time is the next movie going to show, or how long does it take to fly from LA to Melbourne? You can do that and you’ll get the answer right there. You don’t have to go to a website. The answer just comes up on the front page of Google. Now, how does that apply to brands? The content that they’re pulling that from in many cases are sites. They are sites that are well-answered, and are well-trafficked, and ranked well in the Google algorithm is that it actually pull that content. Now of course, they’re pulling most of that content from things like Wikipedia and those sorts of things.

You can start to think about your content being a source of that answer because if they click through on that answer, where are you taking them? Thinking about the experience that those customers will have, once you can start to leverage that to some degree becomes a really interesting way for you to leverage questions that your customers may be asking that you can answer. It’s an opportunity there. The other thing that maybe the other side of that coin which is taking up that screen real estate. Google have just taken out the right rail Google Ads to accommodate mobile, means there’s less screen real estate for both the ads and for both organic search results. Getting to the top of Google is important, but perhaps even more important is of the traffic you do drive. What is it you do when they get there?

Rakhal:  I love that. That’s such an important point. Now we talk about social and how fast that’s all changing as well with Facebook instant articles. How can this kind of development affect us as content creators and publishers of great content?

Robert:  Ultimately to me it’s about, as I like to say great content marketing takes a village. It is truly an institutional effort by our company. So many times now what I find is this that many of the businesses I work with are really working at a product silo or a functional silo level, and don’t really communicate with each other, and quite frankly don’t connect the experiences that they’re creating. This product blog over here, and this product blog over here, and the company website,  and all of that, are just disconnected islands where people can visit. Quite frankly, we’re not learning as a business, we’re just learning at individual silo levels. It’s not really helping, and so to the extent that we can build a centralized process around how we create, manage, distribute, and promote content, and use that to cross functionally and cross product, learn and optimize the experiences our customers are having. We will be so much better off.

To find out more about content strategy trends, listen to the full podcast!