tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/blogging Latest Blogging content from Econsultancy 2017-08-07T12:15:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69315 2017-08-07T12:15:00+01:00 2017-08-07T12:15:00+01:00 Love Island 2017: Is this the future of influencer marketing? Dave Trolle <p>This year, ITV2’s Love Island took to our screens for the third year running. Those that know their reality TV (and admittedly there’s a few in the Summit office) will be aware that Celebrity Love Island started way back in 2005. Although the show only ran for two seasons, it came back with a bang in 2015 with a non-celebrity line up and Caroline Flack at the helm as host.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8152/love_island.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="119"></p> <p>For those who haven’t seen the show, the premise involves single contestants entering a villa with the aim of coupling up. To get their hands on the £50,000 prize money, they must then convince the public that their love is true.</p> <p>As the last three series have evolved, so has the programme’s popularity. A record 2.4m viewers tuned in for the finale on Monday night; up 1.3m from last year’s figures. But what is it that has increased the interest of the show’s audience and for many, made the show 100% their type on paper?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8146/google_trends_love_island.png" alt="" width="650" height="243"></p> <p><em>Google searches for ‘Love Island’ over the last three years. Source: Google Trends </em></p> <h3> <strong>Shareable content</strong> </h3> <p>In a world where we are bombarded by content from the moment we wake up until we put our head on the pillow at night, content really is everywhere we look. Whether it's reading an article shared by a friend on Facebook, watching a recipe on YouTube or downloading your favourite podcast, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content marketing</a> has the power to resonate with an audience on every level. </p> <p>Content that is tailored to an audience’s interests does not always need to lead with a promotional motive, but should cater to what the audience is looking for, even if they don’t know what they are looking for at that moment in time. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7937/Love_island_image_Blazin_1.jpg" alt="" width="300"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7938/Love_island_image_Blazin_2.jpg" alt="" width="250"> </p> <p><em>@LoveIslandNot Twitter Account &amp; Love Island App</em></p> <p>Over the last few months, Love Island has spawned a huge amount of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67547-10-excellent-examples-of-user-generated-content-in-marketing-campaigns">user-generated content</a> in the form of memes. These images or videos with humorous accompanying text made fun of the quotes or scenarios that played out in the popular show.</p> <p>Many memes have gone on to be made into products, helping ITV make additional profit and further the programme’s messaging by providing consumers the opportunity to buy products in the Love Island app. </p> <p> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7939/Love_island_app_1.png.jpg" alt="" width="250"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7940/Love_island_app_2.jpg" alt="" width="250"></p> <p><em>Love Island App</em></p> <p>Over the last few years, memes have become a significant part of how content is shared online. In many instances, memes create an inclusive group for consumers. This can be attributed to an increase in viewing figures as audiences become inquisitive and look to join up dots from the content they see online with offline media such as television. After all, no one who scrolls through their Instagram or Twitter feed wants to feel like they are missing out on the joke.</p> <p>TV content has been shown to prompt an increase in related online searches, and the tendency of audiences to browse on their phones and tablets while simultaneously watching television creates an opportunity for online advertisers to capitalise. Increasing online activity during opportune moments is likely to yield an increase in revenue.</p> <p>The benefit of this type of user-generated content is that it puts the consumer first. They are in the driving seat and producing the content being shared. When attributing this type of content to the <a href="http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/10/kraft-content-marketing/" target="_blank">KRAFT model</a>, its perishable and executional nature mean it reaches its desired audience in a real-time and opportunistic way, having a great impact at the time of distribution.</p> <p>This type of content gets shared all around the country in a matter of minutes, all the while further building the Love Island brand.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8147/Julie_Fleischer_s_KRAFT_Model.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="373"> </p> <p><em>Julie Fleischer’s KRAFT Model</em></p> <h3><strong>Understanding your audience</strong></h3> <p>Over 7.2m #LoveIsland tweets were created during the seven weeks over which the show aired this summer. With A-lister fans including Stormzy and Liam Gallagher (who even admitted to missing the first night of Glastonbury to tune into his favourite show), the show has gone from strength to strength in pulling in a large and varied audience. </p> <p>With ratings plummeting for shows such as X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, audiences are looking for new forms of reality TV to quench their thirst. With less of a focus on staged scenes (although we’re not naïve enough to believe Love Island is a documentary) the programme incorporates modern forms of media to entertain and create a sense of relatability.</p> <p>Mobile phones are used by contestants on each show (“I’ve got a text!”) and audience participation - such as creating tweets - is featured in challenges, which adds a further sense of inclusion.  </p> <h3><strong>Influencer marketing</strong></h3> <p>In a saturated market where brands continually struggle against competitors in order to be seen by their audiences, influencer marketing can be the golden bullet in a brand’s strategy.</p> <p>Influencers, for those who do not know, are individuals who have a large social following on a particular platform. By working with influencers, brands are able to target specific groups and individuals rather than a market as a whole.</p> <p>Marketing to your audience has increasingly become about specificity and identity. If consumers can identify with products based on their own interests, such as reality TV, they are more likely to feel inclined to buy. Products that are ‘on trend’, such as slogan t-shirts or water bottles, allow the consumer to say ‘I’m part of this group and I know what’s popular!’</p> <p>But what influencer marketing does, which in itself is unique, is it allows the audience to identify with that person. <a href="https://www.tapinfluence.com/influencer-marketing-statistics/" target="_blank">49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions</a>, highlighting the opportunity for brands to further their reach.</p> <p>With the sponsorship deals rolling in for this year’s contestants now they’ve left the island, it is no wonder that brands are making the most of their new-found fame. With viewing figures as impressive as they were for the programme, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-40204228" target="_blank">a mainly female (67.4%) audience with many falling into the under 35s (63.6%)</a> category, it is a perfect opportunity for brands to reach their target audience by aligning with social platforms such as Instagram, which mirror the audience demographic.</p> <p>Although these numbers are important, it's key to understand that an influencer’s content must work in line with a brand’s overall messaging in order to be authentic and encourage a desired action (e.g. sales).</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7943/Instagram_demographics.jpg" alt="" width="657" height="650"></p> <p><em style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://napoleoncat.com/blog/en/instagram-user-demographics-in-united-kingdom-march-2017/">Instagram Demographics – Napoleon Cat March 2017</a></em></p> <h3>Instagram Demographics – Napoleon Cat March 2017</h3> <p>Digital marketing expert <a href="https://considerableinfluence.com/blog/really-influences-customers/" target="_blank">Jay Baer</a> says ‘true influence drives action, not just awareness.’ While social media influencers may have thousands or millions of followers, if they are not the right fit for your audience it will not drive customers towards your brand, but rather in the other direction.</p> <p>Influencer marketing used as part of a wider digital marketing mix can have a dramatic impact on a brand’s overall objectives. Ultimately, consumers have the option to tune in or tune out of what is put in front of them, making it crucial the right voice is chosen for your audience.</p> <p>It is worth noting it is not always those who shout the loudest, but who have the most engaged audience, who reap the rewards. The <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69161-micro-influencers-how-to-find-the-right-fit-for-your-brand">rise of the micro-influencer</a> has been a key discussion topic of 2017, and this shows no sign of slowing down. Working with influencers who charge less and yet are just as effective is a way for brands to generate a high return for a minimum investment.</p> <p>The future of influencer marketing ultimately comes down to brands remaining authentic with who they choose to represent their brand and building influencer relationships that will last longer than just a social post. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, download these Econsultancy reports:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing"><em>Measuring ROI on Influencer Marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/"><em>The Rise of Influencers</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-voice-of-the-influencer"><em>The Voice of the Influencer</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69164 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 2017-06-22T14:13:00+01:00 Should sales be used to measure the ROI of influencer marketing? James Collins <p>According to research from Linqia, marketers are predicted to spend $50,000 - $100,000 per influencer marketing programme this year (doubled from 2016’s $25,000 - $50,000). If you’re spending big budgets, you need to know why you’re considering influencer marketing as part of your marketing mix, and how you’re going to measure it.</p> <p>This is something many marketers have been aware of for a long time: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing/">a recent Econsultancy report</a> revealed that measuring ROI on their influencer initiatives is the biggest challenge for 65% of marketers.</p> <p>So what’s stopping marketers understanding the value their influencer marketing activity is driving? There’s already a wealth of research out there on this fiercely debated topic – and there’s one question that comes up time and again: should influencers be judged on sales?</p> <p>The short answer is yes – if that’s what your objective is. To clarify:</p> <ol> <li>It depends on what you want to get out of your campaign. Marketing basics: start with your objectives and determine how you’re going to measure performance from there.</li> <li>As consumers are often exposed to brands and products through influencer marketing at the earlier stages of the buying cycle, measuring the impact on sales across the whole user journey – not just at the last click – is essential.</li> </ol> <h3>What do you want to achieve with your influencer marketing?</h3> <p>Understanding what you want your influencer marketing to achieve will not only shape the tactics used but also how it will be measured. </p> <h3>Raising awareness and reaching new customers</h3> <p>Many influencer campaigns are about awareness and brand positioning. Here, working with brand-relevant influencers that offer the potential of long-term partnerships and ambassadorship is key. Awareness has always been tricky to measure but things are getting more sophisticated. Tools now exist to help brands measure KPIs such as sentiment and share of voice, taking the understanding of performance beyond simple ‘reach’. </p> <p>Logically, brands want to raise awareness among their target audiences – those people who are likely to go on to become customers. One way to measure this is to look at how much new customer web traffic is driven by your influencer campaigns. Rakuten Marketing data shows that 84% of the revenue driven by content publishers (including influencer bloggers) is from new customers, indicating that they are effective at reaching new audiences.</p> <p>This data can then be used to generate positive KPIs, such as cost per new user. These stats can help build a stronger case for influencer activity as an effective means for new customer lead generation. </p> <h3>Engagement</h3> <p>Web traffic in general – whether that’s from new or existing customers – is still a common indicator of success for influencer marketing, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">The Rise of Influencers report </a>showing that 79% choose it as their most important metric. </p> <p>But how much can just looking at amounts of web traffic really tell you? Not a lot. It’s the action that consumers take once they visit your site that’s truly important. How long do they spend on your website? How many different pages do they visit? Are they visiting high value areas of your site, or did they just bounce and disappear? Measuring the onsite activity of those people referred by influencers gives more meaningful engagement metrics.</p> <p>Measuring engagement is about measuring the impact of your influencer marketing beyond sales and comparing it to other types of marketing. This type of measurement is particularly pertinent for retailers that don’t rely on ecommerce – for example, household brands stocked by supermarkets.</p> <h3>Sales and conversions</h3> <p>All that said, let’s not forget the importance of sales and revenue. Trying to get budget for campaigns that may not have a provable ROI is a huge pain point for marketers. According to another Econsultancy report – <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/the-new-face-of-luxury-maintaining-exclusivity-in-the-world-of-social-influence">The New Face of Luxury</a> – the biggest challenge to implementing influencer marketing for luxury brands (a key sector taking advantage of influencer marketing) is budget.</p> <p>When budgets become constrained, the activity that can’t be linked to revenue generation is commonly the first to be cut. But, as we’ve discussed, influencer marketing is often about raising awareness through aspirational content, with a view to generating purchases further down the line, rather than pushing immediate sales. </p> <p>Rakuten Marketing data backs up this hypothesis: it shows that content publishers, including influencers, start more converting customer journeys than any other affiliate publisher type. As well as this, of all the revenue driven by content publishers, 54% sits in the first position in the user journey.</p> <p>The visualisation below, based on aggregated data from Rakuten Marketing affiliate clients, shows that social networking and content publishers (two key channels for influencer marketers) commonly appear at the beginning of the user journey.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6666/affiliate-category-sales-funnel-small.jpg" alt="Affiliate category sales funnel" width="800" height="411"></p> <p>This demonstrates that if you are going to measure influencer marketing using revenue, analysing and reporting on data across the whole user journey, rather than just at the last click, is essential. </p> <h3>Understanding the multi-channel view and seeing incremental value</h3> <p>The need for better attribution to measure influencer marketing was cited as the most common request in eMarketer’s recent Measuring Influencer Marketing guide. This demand is only going to increase in line with the demand for better measurement of the ROI of influencer marketing.</p> <p>Using attribution and analytical tools that provide a multi-channel view across the whole user journey is essential to demonstrating the impact influencers have on sales. Having this view enables performance marketers to understand the value of influencers in the context of their other marketing channels, wherever they appear in the user journey.</p> <p>Even if the objective of your influencer campaigns is to increase brand awareness or engagement, being able to tie those newly engaged visitors back to sales further down the line will help give you the power you need to secure your influencer budget.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68815 2017-02-20T10:52:00+00:00 2017-02-20T10:52:00+00:00 Becoming an influencer: Notes from a fledgling travel blogger Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently caught up with Marion (while she was on a jealousy-inducing trip to Guatemala) to find out how she has generated such a large following, how she works with brands, and her thoughts on travel influencers in general.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3939/Marion_Payet.JPG" alt="" width="720" height="534"></p> <p>Here’s what she said.</p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Could you start by explaining a bit about your blog and how you got into the industry?</h4> <p><em>Marion Payen:</em> I initially started my blog because of an interest in creating something more authentic than I was seeing elsewhere. </p> <p>I recognised that I could offer more than standard recommendations from huge companies like Lonely Planet. I mean, a brand like that might tell me to go to a specific market – but how will I know if it’ll provide me with anything unique or truly interesting? I’m more inclined to trust someone with a personal point of view rather than a book that’s been written for the masses. </p> <p>So, I aimed to build something based on the notion that if you like my lifestyle and the way that I am travelling, then you would like the recommendations I make too.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>Did you start your blog with any knowledge of influencer marketing? </h4> <p><em>MP: </em>In terms of my own background, I started in the hospitality and travel industry in Florida, then I moved to London where I worked in retail – specifically ecommerce and digital marketing. </p> <p>This is how I knew I could offer something different from other travel websites, because I already knew many tricks of the trade. </p> <p>I had worked with influencers myself through affiliate channels, and had general knowledge of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/">SEO</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/paid-search-marketing-ppc-best-practice-guide/">PPC</a>, coding, etc. – so I knew I could use this to my advantage, especially compared to other bloggers I was seeing at the time.</p> <h4> <em>E: </em>What are the main strategies you have used to build your audience?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> I obviously have the main website, but as I didn’t originally have much money to invest, I knew that in order to drive traffic to it I needed to use another organic channel like social media. </p> <p>So, I started <a href="https://www.instagram.com/hibiscusandnomada/">with Instagram</a>, spending days and days just being really active on it, engaging with the community and making friends with mutual interests. </p> <p>Over time my presence grew. From last June to now I have managed to reach 29,000 followers, and that’s just organically, from being super active and building my own community.</p> <p>Eventually, this audience has also found its way back to my website, so now we’re at about 1,500 visits per month.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3941/HN_insta.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="420"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> At what point did you start getting interest from brands?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> Quite recently. Before that, it was purely me reaching out to brands through email and social media, saying this is what I do if you are interested. </p> <p>Then, about a month ago, it seemed to flip – I started to get emails every day from brands and websites saying that they had found me. As soon as I reached about 25,000 followers on Instagram, it started to happen, and then I also got quite a bit of press coverage from online and print magazines. Combined, this seemed to really ignite interest.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Do you only work with a certain type of brand, and how do you decide who to work with?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> Absolutely, since the very beginning I’ve made a point of being picky. I’ve seen a lot of other bloggers on Instagram being quite blatant, posting photos of a watch with a mountain in the background.</p> <p>I would never want to get paid to promote a brand that I don’t believe in, so I only work those that I think are a really good fit for me.</p> <p>For example, I am now working with a brand that offers travel insurance, because I have used it myself and I know that my audience will find it useful. If I am holding an expensive watch – why would a backpacker be interested in that? I’m not scared of saying no or explaining that it won’t be a good fit, either.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What would you say is the best way for a brand to approach an influencer?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> A brand can usually get my attention if it is a personalised message, so not just mentioning that they have seen my blog, but pointing out a specific article or photo that they liked. </p> <p>I get countless emails saying that someone wants to work with me, so I really need to feel that there is some kind of personal connection. I can also tell if it is an email they have sent to hundreds of other bloggers – I can read between the lines. </p> <p>Lastly, I have to feel like it’s not just about them, that it’s about both of us, and that all parties will be able benefit from the deal.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How do you see influencer marketing evolving? Do you think it will reach saturation point?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> I do think it will reach saturation point. You can tell this, not just from the amount of influencers, but the type and quality of content that they are promoting. You can usually tell that it’s not authentic, that they are staying in a hotel simply because they are being paid to – it doesn’t align with their identity or approach to travel in any way. </p> <p>This weekend I was in the south of Mexico, in a hostel that paid for my entire experience, and while the hostel is definitely a place I would stay at (and promote), my article will also include detailed information about the day-trip I went on and every single activity I did. It’s always better to promote a story rather than just a straightforward recommendation. </p> <p>I think authentic influencer marketing will evolve in this way, telling the story and entire experience of a place rather than just one aspect.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Finally, what’s the best place you’ve been or experience you’ve had thanks to your blog?</h4> <p><em>MP:</em> The best feedback I’ve had has been from my Iceland trip - I was there for a whole week over New Year. I didn’t even really plan anything, then I slowly realised that it was winter, there would only be four hours of daylight, we’d be freezing. </p> <p>Who goes to Iceland in winter? But we embraced it and ended up taking the most incredible photos. The feedback was amazing, with people commenting that they now want to visit during the winter time rather than summer, and asking questions about how we got there, how we travelled and so on. </p> <p>People don’t even think to go to a place like Iceland before they see photos and then they get obsessed with it. For us, this is so rewarding – it shows that you can truly inspire.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3940/Iceland.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="429"></p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, check out the following research from Econsultancy:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">The Rise of Influencers</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-voice-of-the-influencer/">The Voice of the Influencer</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68528 2016-11-15T10:30:02+00:00 2016-11-15T10:30:02+00:00 How fashion magazines are adapting to the influence of digital Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently attended a panel discussion at Web Summit to hear how fashion magazines are adapting to the growing influence of digital.</p> <p>The speakers were Jo Elvin, editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, Christene Barberich, co-founder &amp; global editor-in-chief of Refinery29 and Laura Bradley, editorial director of Dazed Media.</p> <p>Here are a few of the most interesting points raised.</p> <h3>Start with the story – not the channel</h3> <p>While fashion magazines might have separate editorial teams for print and digital, the lines between the two are becoming increasingly blurred.</p> <p>Speaking about how Glamour approaches digital content, Jo Elvin said that the key is to start with the story first – and think about the platform or channel later.</p> <p>Instead of thinking 'we need to create a presence on Pinterest', it should be 'what do we want to say and why?'</p> <p>These questions should be the starting point for every article or feature in order to feel authentic and relevant to the reader.</p> <p>The concept of storytelling is not something that should only be considered by fashion brands either, but the magazines writing about them, too.  </p> <p>Christene Barberich elaborated on this, explaining how Refinery29 strives to speak about fashion in the wider context of readers' lives – not just in line with the changing seasons. </p> <p>Similarly, as the audience interested in fashion tends to be smaller than general lifestyle, Refinery29 uses the vertical in relation to others like beauty, health and entertainment.</p> <h3>Finding the right platform</h3> <p>Further to the subject of storytelling, Laura Bradley spoke about how the pressure to be present on a multitude of social media channels can be overwhelming. </p> <p>Consequently, it is important to stick to the platforms that best suit the magazine’s style and that the audience responds to the most.</p> <p>For Dazed Media, this is undoubtedly Instagram.</p> <p>As a lifestyle-orientated channel, it enables the brand to create a world for users to become immersed in and to return to on a regular basis. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1469/Dazed_Instagram.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="712"></p> <p>Alongside Dazed’s multiple accounts, such as Dazed Fashion and Nowness, the company’s writers and editors often use their own personal accounts to further the brand’s presence online. </p> <p>Some use it to curate funny videos or to celebrate their own sense of style, but whatever the topic, it helps to bring a personal touch to the wider brand. </p> <p>Laura also explained how, more often than not, she also responds to the brands that place less emphasis on the product, and instead focus on the setting, surroundings, or general aesthetic of an image.</p> <p>She cited Glossier, the cult beauty brand that started life on Instagram, as a great example of this. </p> <p>Its feed is full of understated posts ranging from flowers to subtly made-up faces – but the products themselves are barely there.</p> <h3>Embracing tone of voice</h3> <p>Is there a difference between writing for digital and print? According to Jo Elvin, the answer is no. </p> <p>While many people assume that writing for online is always fast-paced and focused on short and snappy features, she explained how Glamour no longer differentiates between the print and digital reader.</p> <p>Instead of being entirely separate entities, the magazine’s teams work together to ensure that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67149-how-to-create-simple-brand-tone-of-voice-guidelines-for-twitter/">the tone of voice</a> is consistent across the board.</p> <p>On this topic, the discussion moved to the importance of having a distinct tone of voice – as well as what <em>kind</em> of voice works best when it comes to digital.</p> <p>The panel agreed that, while it might not suit luxury or high-end fashion, a relatable and relaxed tone is often the most successful. </p> <p>Magazines like Glamour aren’t afraid to use emojis or write in the first person because it knows that the audience does too.</p> <p>The key is tapping into the voice of the reader and being a reflection of this.</p> <p>Interestingly, Glamour has recently experimented with podcasts having found that the medium works well with its informal, chatty nature.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1470/Glamour_podcast.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="433"></p> <p>Emphasising the importance of a conversational and relatable tone of voice, Laura also added how magazines are using social media to provide customer service as well as great content. </p> <p>If a reader wants to find out about a particular product release, for example, Twitter is the perfect platform to establish this connection.</p> <h3>Social influencers are not the enemy</h3> <p>Finally, the panel commented on the recent controversy surrounding <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2016/sep/29/vogue-editors-declare-war-fashion-bloggers" target="_blank">Vogue’s criticism of fashion bloggers</a>, and the impact of social influencers in general.</p> <p>The general consensus was that Vogue appears wildly out of touch.</p> <p>Speaking about the early days of Glamour, Jo Elvin explained how many people were sceptical about its potential for success, especially when the market was already flooded with women’s magazines.</p> <p>However, she firmly believes that there will always be room for quality - and the same principle applies to influencers.</p> <p>With many dedicating years to building their own mini-brands, there’s no reason why a blogger can’t have the same authority as someone who works for the biggest fashion magazine in the world.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66560-what-are-influencers-and-how-do-you-find-them/" target="_blank">Social media influencers</a> simply add to the fabric of the fashion industry, reflecting what readers are interested in and how they are able to connect to it. </p> <p>Instead of criticising it, it is clear that this new competitive (and digitally-focused) reality needs to be embraced. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68229 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 2016-09-08T10:52:00+01:00 How Casper uses clever marketing & content to sell mattresses Nikki Gilliland <p><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/01/26/half-of-women-in-uk-sleep-deprived_n_9076030.html" target="_blank">46% of women</a> and 36% of men suffer from lack of sleep, so it’s a huge problem for many.</p> <p>Tapping into the selling power of a solid eight hours, mattress startup <a href="https://casper.com/uk/en" target="_blank">Casper</a> has built a reputation for capturing consumer interest through its quirky <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content marketing</a> and unique business model.</p> <p>Having recently launched its ecommerce site in the UK, here’s a look at why it’s one company worth keeping an eye on.</p> <h3>The Goldilocks of mattress brands</h3> <p>Do you want a bed that’s soft, firm or somewhere in between?</p> <p>Buying a mattress is traditionally a try-it-and-see shopping experience, but Casper disrupts this by selling just a single ‘universally comfortable’ model. </p> <p>With studies showing that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/21/choice-stressing-us-out-dating-partners-monopolies" target="_blank">too much choice leads to more stress</a> and less satisfaction, this might prove to be preferable for consumers.</p> <p>Casper also draws in its audience with a focus on convenience and value for money.</p> <p>As well as shipping and delivering its mattress in a special vacuum-packed box, it offers a tempting 100-day trial and free returns. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8450/Caspar_dream_team.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="709"></p> <p>By recognising the fact that purchasing a bed is a rare and drawn-out experience, and deliberately disrupting it, Casper’s business model could prove to be a game-changer.</p> <p>Of course, the question is - will consumers be willing to take a leap of faith over the boring but fail-safe in-store experience?</p> <h3>Dedicated to the subject of sleep</h3> <p>Both the copy and design on Casper's website is beautifully engaging.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8445/Caspar_customers.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="728"></p> <p>It attracts consumers with a friendly, conversational and reassuring <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice/" target="_blank">tone of voice</a> – but it’s not the only way Casper utilises copy. </p> <p>It has two blogs – both designed to entertain and retain customers.</p> <p>The first, <a href="http://blog.casper.com/" target="_blank">Pillow Talk</a>, is a tongue-in-cheek take on everything bed-related.</p> <p>From ‘The cutest Casper sleepers’ to ‘Eight reasons why this blog post is trying to sell you a mattress’, it is a reflection of the brand’s fun and offbeat personality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8451/Casper_blog.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="691"></p> <p>The second, <a href="http://vanwinkles.com/" target="_blank">Van Winkle’s</a>, is an independent publication that’s dedicated to all things sleep-related.</p> <p>Using sleep as a vertical much like health or lifestyle, Casper's content team writes about the subject in a more informative and authoritative fashion. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8447/van_winkles.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="554"></p> <p>The aim of Van Winkle does not appear to directly promote or sell Casper mattresses (the brand is absent apart from a couple of links at the bottom of the homepage) - instead, it looks to be an extension of the brand as a lifestyle.</p> <p>With syndication on the likes of Huffington Post, articles have previously garnered huge traffic.</p> <p>By adding to the conversation about sleep and getting consumers interested in the topic in general, it could still be a way to increase awareness.</p> <h3>Your mate on social media</h3> <p>Alongside its editorial offering, Casper also wins the hearts of its millennial audience on social. </p> <p>Often tweeting customers using GIFs and emojis, it is unafraid to take the informal style of its main ecommerce site and ramp it up a notch.  </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/yohugogo">@yohugogo</a> <a href="https://t.co/l5IXivIbep">pic.twitter.com/l5IXivIbep</a></p> — Casper (@Casper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Casper/status/768458011048312833">August 24, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Its subject matter is often samey – with jokes about breakfast, naps and the daily struggle of first world problems.</p> <p>Yet, it is chatty and consistent, which also gives the impression that it’s actually there to help.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Everyone should be asking the important questions.</p> <p>Why isn't today Friday?</p> — Casper (@Casper) <a href="https://twitter.com/Casper/status/768825307860180992">August 25, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Taps into trends</h3> <p>Unboxing videos are a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66678-how-the-top-five-uk-ecommerce-brands-use-youtube/" target="_blank">YouTube genre</a> usually reserved for high-tech gadgets and luxury beauty items.</p> <p>Thanks to Casper, there’s been a new trend of people filming themselves opening their packaged mattresses.</p> <p>There are countless videos online, and yes, it is as baffling as it sounds. While it’s probably quite satisfying to see a mattress spring into shape in real life, watching others do it is less thrilling.</p> <p>For Casper however, each video serves as brilliant advertising, and reinforced the vacuum-packed convenience of its USP.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AD9lg11Yyv8?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Innovative but consistent</h3> <p><a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/04/04/how-start-up-casper-plans-to-wake-up-the-sleepy-mattress-market/#751a2cb12892" target="_blank">Describing its aim to be Nike of the sleep world,</a> Casper is unashamed in its desire to ramp up its product offering.</p> <p>With its ranges for pillows and sheets, it’s already selling more than just mattresses.</p> <p>In hopes of targeting an entirely new market, it’s also just released a dog-bed in the US.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8448/casper_dog.JPG" alt="" width="615" height="691"></p> <p>It remains to be seen whether these extra lines will be as successful as its main product, however it shows that Casper isn’t afraid to experiment.</p> <p>What's more, it also reflects the brand’s consistent dedication to sleep – regardless of the species.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8449/casper_insta.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="509"></p> <p>Across the board, consistency is one thing that Casper does really well.</p> <p>From Twitter to email, it manages to convey a consistent identity across all consumer touchpoints.</p> <p>Whether you’re in the market for a new mattress or not – there’s a lot to appreciate here.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67858 2016-06-02T14:59:12+01:00 2016-06-02T14:59:12+01:00 Eight reasons why content strategy should be central to every marketer Blake Cahill <p>At the same time, consumers are no-longer passive armchair spectators.</p> <p>They are much more likely to be contributors and commentators on their own platforms and social media feeds.</p> <p>In many ways, consumers are leading the debate – whether via social media, web, video, podcast or blog – which makes it even more important that the content that brands develop is smart, targeted and relevant.</p> <h3>So what is content marketing?</h3> <p>According to the Content Marketing Institute, approximately nine out of 10 marketers today are using <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64539-introducing-the-periodic-table-of-content-marketing/">content marketing</a> – regardless of company size or industry.</p> <p>Content marketing can be used to influence business decisions (b2b) or consumers (b2c) but either way, the techniques are the same and they’re not new.</p> <p>The father of content marketing is a little known (in his day) farmer called John Deere.</p> <p>He launched <a href="https://contently.com/strategist/2013/10/03/the-story-behind-the-furrow-2/">The Furrow</a> magazine back in 1895 in order to tell farmers how to be more profitable – and of course, sell his wares on the back of it.</p> <p>It helped catapult the John Deere tractor into a global brand and was the very first example of content marketing. Over a century later, and The Furrow is still going strong, available in 12 languages in more than 40 countries.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5617/john_deere_the_furrow.png" alt="" width="779" height="623"></p> <p>For a formal definition, the Content Marketing Association says content marketing is, “the discipline of creating quality branded editorial content across all media channels and platforms to deliver engaging relationships, consumer value and measurable success for brands.”</p> <p>Perhaps a less formal definition is to say that, unlike other lead generation strategies, content marketing gives something to readers, rather than asking them for something.</p> <p>The reason The Furrow worked is because it carried content that was useful. If there was a selling message in the content, it wasn’t obvious and it wasn’t the primary point of the exercise.</p> <h3>Why is it different to social media marketing?</h3> <p>There is also a distinct difference between social media marketing and content marketing.</p> <p>According to the <a href="http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/02/content-marketing-vs-social-media-marketing/">Content Marketing Institute</a>, in social media marketing, the center of gravity - the focus of the marketing activity - is located within the social networks themselves.</p> <p>When marketers operate social media campaigns, they are operating inside of Facebook, inside of Twitter, etc. As they produce content, they place it inside of those networks.</p> <p>In contrast, the center of gravity for content marketing is a brand website — whether it be a branded URL like AmericanExpress.com or a microsite for a brand’s specific product, like <a href="http://www.openforum.com/" target="_blank">Amex’s Open Forum</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5620/Amex_Open_Forum.png" alt="" width="700" height="423"></p> <p>Social networks are vital to the success of content marketing efforts, but instead, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are used primarily as a distributor of links back to the content on the brand’s website — not as containers of the content itself.</p> <p>Here are eight good reasons why a successful content marketing strategy is worth its weight in bitcoins:</p> <h4>1. It’s produced for a brand, by a brand</h4> <p>Traditional media advertising is increasingly losing its value. Users don’t like it, or trust the sales messages.</p> <p>By comparison, content marketing represents a form of word-of-mouth marketing, whereby users consume, engage and share your brand content.</p> <h4>2. Content marketing delivers quality lead generation</h4> <p>In general, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, <a href="http://www.demandmetric.com/content/content-marketing-infographic">but costs 62% less</a>. </p> <p>Great content will attract high-value customers, and these customers will come back for more.</p> <h4>3. It builds bonds that last</h4> <p>Good content will work across any channel. Engagement is the key. <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/media-network-blog/2013/may/10/google-content-marketing-seo">Google</a> has also taken a strong preference to content marketing, rather than SEO, to rank search results.</p> <p>Content marketing forms a powerful, <a href="https://insights.newscred.com/the-top-32-most-influential-content-marketing-brands-of-2014/">long-lasting bond</a> with its target audience. Authentic content will position you as a brand leader in your own right.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5618/John_Deer_the_furrow_2.png" alt="" width="800" height="388"></p> <h4>4. It’s measurable and effective</h4> <p>All content platforms have a number of established methods for proving effectiveness. Despite the rise <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67083-is-native-advertising-sustainable/">in native advertising</a>, content marketing still seems to rule the digital world.</p> <p><a href="http://frac.tl/" target="_blank">Fractl</a> and <a href="https://moz.com/" target="_blank">Moz</a> used survey responses from more than 30 content marketing agencies and cost data from more than 600 digital publishers. They found that content marketing has a better overall return on investment.</p> <p>Great content marketing can also earn a company significant ‘earned media’, where you don’t have to pay for including branded content in magazines, for example.</p> <p>If it is shared across media channels, it potentially produces thousands of dollars of free brand exposure.</p> <h4>5. It performs a number of marketing tasks</h4> <p>Content marketing is a Jack-of-all-trades tool. It can help build awareness, loyalty, sales, engagement, cut-through, point of difference and much more.</p> <h4>6. It will influence consumer decision making</h4> <p>Content marketing allows you to influence decision makers well before they have made up their minds.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/5619/john_deere_the_furrow_3.png" alt="" width="776" height="619"></p> <h4>7. Consumers will love you</h4> <p>Content marketing helps to inform, inspire and entertain.</p> <p>Helping your current and potential customers first, without even thinking of pushing products, builds trust, word of mouth respect and high-quality, long term advocates.</p> <h4>8. It creates content for good</h4> <p>While there’s nothing inherently wrong with “feel good” content or even product-lead content, today’s culture views those traditional approaches as ultimately self-serving. </p> <p>Content with embedded social values that are deeply ingrained in the company culture (Uber’s recent fight against New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, for example) or that drive its business strategy, will be a differentiator in consumer decisions going forward.</p> <p>***</p> <p>Remember, while the content medium can be extremely powerful, context is all important; if you respect the platform, your audience and the agenda, then content marketing can really strike home with your target audience.</p> <p>So, the next time you are questioned on the cost effectiveness of content marketing, remember the story of John Deere, the humble Mid-Western farmer in the US who went on to forge a global business empire on the back of some very savvy tractor-tainment, and a world class product too!</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67752 2016-04-20T01:00:00+01:00 2016-04-20T01:00:00+01:00 Three online copywriting tips supported by research Jeff Rajeck <p>These include:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67708-10-common-online-copywriting-mistakes">10 common online copywriting mistakes</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66120-12-handy-tips-for-writing-better-web-copy">12 handy tips for writing better web copy</a>.</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65642-nine-writing-rules-you-can-safely-ignore">Nine writing ‘rules’ you can safely ignore</a>.</li> </ul> <p>But where do these tips come from? Are they just general 'rules of thumb' or is there some scientific substance behind them?</p> <p>Though most writing tips come from writers sharing their personal approach, research does exist which supports some of the best practices.</p> <p>Three such tips are listed below along with links to the original research, for the curious.</p> <h4>Before we start...</h4> <p>Econsultancy is offering an Online Copywriting Workshop in Singapore on Wednesday, May 25th.</p> <p>You can find more details about the workshop and register here: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/online-copywriting-workshop-singapore/dates/2780/">Online Copywriting Workshop (Singapore)</a>.</p> <h3>Tip 1: Use simple vocabulary</h3> <p>Using simple words makes sense. Doing so forces the writer to think clearly and makes it easier for the reader to understand what is being said.</p> <p>But there is another reason why writing simple words is a good idea. In short, literacy in English-speaking countries is not as high as you may think.</p> <h4>The research</h4> <p><a href="https://www.ets.org/research/report/reading-skills/contents">A recent study by ETS</a>, a non-profit dedicated to advancing education, measured three aspects of reading comprehension across print vocabulary, sentence processing, and passage comprehension.</p> <p>After testing a variety of people in a number of countries, the researchers organized the participants by the level of reading proficiency.</p> <p>The first chart, Table 2, shows the distribution of subjects by levels of reading proficiency. Notice that, for all countries, around half of participants are below level three.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3993/Picture1.jpg" alt="" width="748" height="435"></p> <p>And the second, Table 10, shows the relative time it takes for people with proficiency below level four to complete a passage comprehension task.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3994/Capture.PNG" alt="" width="762" height="383"></p> <p>The paper notes that level three is a reference point for 'a typical, skilled adult reader.'</p> <p>So, <strong>more than half of participants in the study take much more time to comprehend writing than a 'typical' adult reader.</strong></p> <p>The study has more details about the methods used and the differences between the levels, but the overall point is that people read at very different levels.</p> <p>When you are writing for the web you typically cannot choose your audience, so your readers may require more time than you think to understand your writing.  </p> <p>And in our age of short attention spans, difficult reading could mean that many people will not read what you have written.</p> <p>There are no quick solutions for this issue. Using focus groups to review your brand copy would be ideal, but it would be a lot of work to manage the testing and implement the recommendations.</p> <p>One easier way to help <strong>keep your vocabulary simple is to check what you write against a basic English dictionary.</strong></p> <p>Ogden's Basic English publishes a <a href="http://ogden.basic-english.org/wordalph.html">2,000 word index</a> which can help you identify words that should be easier for all audiences to understand.</p> <p>Once having reviewed the vocabulary, be mindful of the words that you write. If you find yourself reaching for a thesaurus or dictionary when writing, then be aware that you may end up losing readers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3996/image.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="400"></p> <h3>Tip 2: Use short sentences</h3> <p>Another way to ensure you don't lose readers is to use simple sentences.</p> <h4>The research</h4> <p>In a frequently-referenced (yet sadly not available online) research paper, the American Press Institute measured reader comprehension against sentences with a varying number of words.</p> <p>The study found that: </p> <ul> <li>For sentences with less than eight words, readers understood 100% of the information.</li> <li>For sentences with nine to 14 words, average comprehension was 90% of the information.</li> <li>But for long sentences (up to 43 words), average comprehension dropped to as low as 10%.</li> </ul> <p>The results make sense and the recommendation is clear. <strong>Use shorter sentences.</strong></p> <p>(Source: “Readers’ Degree of Understanding,” American Press Institute)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3995/pic.jpg" alt="" width="945" height="454"></p> <h3>Tip 3: Help readers navigate your writing</h3> <p>Simple words and concise sentences are a good way to ensure readers will understand your writing, but they still have to read it.</p> <h4>The research</h4> <p>According to <a href="https://www.nngroup.com/articles/how-users-read-on-the-web/">research</a> by the Nielsen Norman Group (NN Group), people do not read sentences in sequential order when browsing the web.</p> <p>Instead, they 'scan the pages' and choose sentence fragments to get the information that they are looking for.</p> <p>Because of this behavior, tests indicate that text which is 'concise, scannable, and objective' enjoys a comprehension boost of 124% among readers.</p> <p>The link offers more details of the research, but the NN Group offers suggestions on a few simple things writers can do to achieve this boost in comprehension: </p> <ul> <li>Use highlighted words</li> <li>Include meaningful sub-headings throughout an article</li> <li>Use bulleted lists</li> <li>Keep paragraphs to one idea</li> <li>And remove at least half of the words used in offline writing.</li> </ul> <p>Following these guidelines are a good way to ensure that readers will, at the very least, skim your writing correctly and understand the point you are making.  </p> <p>What more can you ask for?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3997/image2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="400"></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>For experienced online copywriters, these tips are obvious.</p> <p>Most successful writers online use simple words and sentences and employ headlines, bullet points, and emphasis to help readers navigate long blocks of text. </p> <p>It's good to know, though, why we should do so.  </p> <p>Research shows that people are simply more likely to read and understand what you have written if you follow these guidelines.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67731 2016-04-11T14:27:17+01:00 2016-04-11T14:27:17+01:00 Think affiliate marketing doesn’t work for luxury brands? Think again Chris Bishop <p>But no longer. Affiliate marketing has truly come of age.</p> <h3>Isn’t affiliate just voucher codes?</h3> <p>This is not just about voucher codes, cashback and last-click for advertisers, this is part of a holistic approach to digital advertising that promises real and sustained ROI for high-end brands.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/whoaretheaffiliates.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>The modern managed affiliate programmes use sophisticated groups of content publishers, including mainstream “offline” publishing houses such as Condé Nast.  </p> <p>This is performance marketing through deep partnership, levered via tenancy, editorial, blogging, email and (yes) incentives like voucher codes or cashback. </p> <p>Partnerships with high volume and niche sites that can deliver the kind of primed-to-buy, long tailed traffic available nowhere else.</p> <h3>Are you at risk of losing control of your message?</h3> <p>No, but…</p> <p>For years affiliate networks and technology companies used the size and scale of the channel as a key selling point, promising brands access to tens of thousands of affiliates.  </p> <p>Given that they worked on tracking fees based upon revenue generated by activity, who can blame them? </p> <p>However, this wasn’t what luxury or designer retailers, already nervous about losing control of their brand’s messages, wanted to hear. </p> <p>Only now, with dedicated, digital agencies selling these solutions as part of a wider media strategy, are brands being given the whole picture.</p> <p>When properly managed, affiliate marketing allows brands to deliver relevant messages to highly-targeted customer segments.  </p> <p>But it’s the size and scale of the networks that makes this targeting possible in the first place.</p> <h3>But isn’t luxury all about exclusivity?  </h3> <p>Why would luxury brands want their valuable name bandied about on affiliate channels with everyone else’s?</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/chriscarcollection.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>Success in the digital age requires a change in mind-set for luxury brands as customers’ buying cycles accelerate and competition stiffens in every part of the market place.  </p> <p>No longer can scarcity be the strongest value in a luxury brand's armoury, as the array of choice and quality available elsewhere can fill any sales vacuum.  </p> <p>Instead, luxury today is defined by desirability, product excellence, exemplary service and, fundamentally, a brand promise.</p> <p>And affiliate channels are exactly where a brand’s promise, desirability, service and excellence are defined for its target audience.  </p> <p>They are key to the continued success of luxury brands in the digital age and are proven to send ready-to-convert customers direct to online stores.   </p> <h3>Luxury is talked about and bought online more than ever</h3> <p>Deloitte says that 58% of UK millennial luxury consumers buy their luxury goods online. What’s more, 85% of luxury consumers regularly use social media.</p> <p>According to Google one in five luxury purchases happens on the web.</p> <p>And participating in high profile online retail events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday clearly doesn’t dim the lustre of a luxury brand or cannibalize their full-price sales.</p> <p>In 2015 our client NET-A-PORTER saw Black Friday was its highest day for sales that year, with one item sold every second on its website. </p> <p>What’s more, offering deals and vouchering is not regarded as damaging to luxury brands’ reputation by consumers.  </p> <p>In fact, these luxury customers were four times more likely to be searching for deals on Black Friday 2015 than non-luxury customers (Experian).</p> <h3>Do affiliate tactics really deliver incremental sales to luxury brands?</h3> <p>Yes, they do.</p> <p>One of our retailers had always assumed cashback websites would only reach customers already on its files and has little effect on overall profit. We helped them prove otherwise.  </p> <p>A tactical trial conducted with Quidco for the brand found that 86% of consumers that bought their products via the publisher during the trial were “new to file” and their average order value was much higher than the norm.</p> <p><img src="https://openmerchantaccount.com/img2/shopstylesolacelondon.jpg" alt=""></p> <p>For another fashion retailer, working with affiliates achieved over 300 pieces of content coverage in a three-month period which, in turn, contributed to content websites driving 50%+ of the brand's affiliate revenue.</p> <p>Affiliate channels have proved, time and time again, to bring new customers and incremental sales to the table for every kind of brand, particularly those at the very top end of their sector.</p> <h3>Who else is using affiliates?</h3> <p>The roll call of brands that are using the affiliate channel as part of the marketing mix is impressive – Agent Provocateur, Barneys New York, Burberry, Liberty London, NET-A-PORTER to name a few.</p> <p>But if the affiliate channel was just about vouchers and cashback, they wouldn’t be using it.</p> <p>These brands know the value of curated conversation and content-led buzz to their brand; they are finding new and exciting ways to engage through affiliate marketing.  </p> <p>Crucially, they are realising that careful planning, targeted partnership and innovative execution ensures the biggest ROI alongside an extension of digital PR.</p> <h3>The lessons of affiliate marketing</h3> <ul> <li>Luxury affiliate marketing is happening... if you’re not doing it, you’re already losing out.</li> <li>Luxury consumers are savvy, switched on and impulsive – take advantage of that.</li> <li>Be led by the data and use experts to help you execute the highest quality campaigns.</li> <li>Choose who manages your affiliates carefully – your brand’s success will live or die by their experience both within wider digital marketing, the specific affiliate channel and naturally their knowledge of your brand / sector.</li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67565 2016-02-24T11:42:50+00:00 2016-02-24T11:42:50+00:00 A day in the life of... Head of Editorial at Government Digital Service Ben Davis <h3><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0007/2245/carrie-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Carrie Barclay, GDS" width="300"></h3> <h3>Please describe your job! What does a Head of Editorial in UK Government do?</h3> <p>I’m responsible for the overarching editorial strategy for our blogs platform - which is home to over 80 government blogs. </p> <p>I work with colleagues across government to encourage and support blogging as an important communication tool.</p> <p>I’m also responsible for the content on the Government Digital Service (GDS) blog - my role is similar to an Editor-in-Chief; I plan and commission content, edit posts, as well as working with other GDS teams to make sure their content is reaching the right audiences, and that they’re receiving the right level of support.</p> <p><a href="https://www.blog.gov.uk/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2264/Screen_Shot_2016-02-23_at_15.22.29.png" alt="government blogs" width="615"></a></p> <h3>Whereabouts do you sit within the… government? Who do you report to?</h3> <p>GDS is technically part of Cabinet Office, and day to day my work feeds into the strategy and development of the Head of Digital Engagement and Design.</p> <h3>What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h3> <p>You need to be really organised, and pretty ballsy; but you also need to balance that with a patient, supportive nature.</p> <p>You need to have a deep understanding of the workings of central government, and be confident enough to be a leading advocate for the platform and its processes.</p> <p>It’s my responsibility to make sure that teams and individuals across government have the skills and support they need to blog successfully, and autonomously.</p> <p>You need to be a strong communicator, and have a really strong, developed editorial approach.</p> <h3>Tell us about a typical working day…</h3> <p>I check emails first thing and deal with anything urgent. I’m a parent, so I make sure my daughter gets off to school before either heading into Holborn or to my home office if I’m working remotely. </p> <p>Before anything else I’ll have a coffee and a catch up with my Assistant Editor - she’ll fill me in on anything that I’ve missed, and we’ll go through my diary to see what the day holds.</p> <p>During the day it’s usually a mixture of meetings and planning, commissioning, and publishing posts.</p> <p>I also spend quite a lot of time away from the office around government working with colleagues either to talk about prospective blogs, working through issues, or just catching up and offering support. </p> <p>My role is very autonomous so I’m free to plan my days the best way I see fit. Some days are very admin-heavy, others are dedicated to strategy and planning.</p> <p>Whether I’m working in the office or remotely, I’m in constant contact with my team online or on the phone to make sure we’re all up to speed with each others workloads and priorities.</p> <p><a href="https://www.gov.uk/guidance/content-design/blogging"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2266/Screen_Shot_2016-02-23_at_15.25.50.png" alt="gds blog guide" width="615"></a></p> <h3>What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h3> <p>I love the autonomy and flexibility; I’m able to work from home when I need to, and go where I’m needed across government.</p> <p>Fundamentally, I love being part of such a high-profile project that directly affect citizens around the country.</p> <p>What sucks? <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66973-how-to-ensure-a-pain-free-sign-off-process/">Sign off process</a>. Government is a very busy and complex place to work, so sometimes getting a post signed off by all the interested parties can mean delays and missed deadlines. </p> <p>But, it’s a completely necessary evil. When you’re working with words that represent the UK government, you can’t afford to cut corners when it comes to sign off.</p> <p>It can be frustrating, but the reality of publishing misleading or false information is much worse.</p> <h3>What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h3> <p>We use a blend of analytics and social media monitoring to keep an eye on things.</p> <p>I’m not massively interested in high numbers of visitors - some of our blogs are quite niche - I’m more concerned with consistency and engagement.</p> <p>Our comments facility is important, but these days many more conversations happen on social platforms, so that’s where we focus our attention.</p> <h3>What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h3> <p>Well, the platform itself is pretty important - we use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65372-the-complete-guide-to-setting-up-and-running-a-wordpress-site/">Wordpress</a>. For my work day to day I use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67489-slack-yammer-facebook-who-ll-win-the-collaboration-battle">Slack</a> and Google Hangouts to engage with colleagues and Google Drive for reports, presentations, documents, and images.</p> <p>I also use <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66187-17-fantastically-useful-tools-for-content-writers-and-bloggers">Hemingwayapp</a> (to check readability); Flickr (for creative commons images); Basecamp (to organise our communities); Brandwatch (social media management); and Trello (to manage workflow).</p> <p><em><strong>Hemingwayapp</strong></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2275/Screen_Shot_2016-02-23_at_15.37.17.png" alt="hemingwayapp" width="615"></p> <h3>How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here?</h3> <p>I started out as a digital journalist about 12 years ago, and ended up as a spa reviewer and beauty journalist. I began blogging alongside my job in 2010, running three blogs: one lifestyle, one food, and one interiors.</p> <p>By 2012 I’d quit my day job and was blogging, writing, and consulting through my editorial agency, Digital Bungalow, full-time. I joined GDS in 2013.</p> <p>Although I have no plans to move on at the moment, I imagine that my next steps could be taking my central government blogging expertise to another part of government, or another public sector or charity organisation.</p> <p>That said, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t consider a step back into the private sector, or even back into digital journalism again, if the right opportunity presented itself.</p> <h3>Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h3> <p>My favourites at the moment are: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>ASOS</strong>: they’re really committed to content across blogging, social, and apps and understand their audience incredibly well.</li> <li> <strong>Toblerone</strong>: these guys are the kings of strong real-time marketing.</li> <li> <strong>Nike</strong>: now one of the best brands on Instagram - they’re always creating communication from the perspective of the user.</li> </ul> <h3>Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?</h3> <p>You have to have curiosity; things change so quickly that you have to have a curious spirit to maintain the energy needed to stay on top of everything.</p> <p>You need to be confident and friendly, but also be willing to stick your head above the parapet and fight for what you believe in. Oh, and don’t be a dick.</p> <p>-----</p> <p><em>If you're looking for a new challenge in digital, see the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy jobs board</a> or benchmark your own digital knowledge using our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-skills-index-lite/">Digital Skills Index</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Alternatively, if you already work in the digital industry and would like a Day In The Life profile, you can email us via press@econsultancy.com.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67448 2016-01-27T11:11:00+00:00 2016-01-27T11:11:00+00:00 Dear marketers, stop using generic stock images Jack Simpson <p>Why spend hours <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66633-12-elements-of-a-user-friendly-blog-page">crafting a lovely blog post</a> only to litter it with pictures of strangers in suits smiling at each other? </p> <p>It’s meaningless corporate guff. The photographic equivalent of saying ‘I hope you’re well’ at the beginning of an email.</p> <p>I mean, look, if you want your website/blog page/marketing material to look utterly generic and devoid of any personality whatsoever then be my guest. </p> <p>Otherwise, read on…</p> <h3>What constitutes generic stock imagery?</h3> <p>It falls into two camps: excruciatingly cheesy lifestyle photography or dull, stupid graphics. Sometimes the two are combined for extra awfulness. </p> <p>Plenty of fun has been poked at the former already. Women laughing alone with salad is the first example that springs to mind. </p> <p><a href="http://thehairpin.com/2011/01/women-laughing-alone-with-salad/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1066/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_14.41.40.png" alt="women laughing alone with salad stock photography" width="650"></a></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67434-four-brands-with-a-brilliantly-funny-tone-of-voice">Innocent Drinks</a> recently had a dig on Twitter, posting images of stuffy business types standing around water coolers. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">That photo from our newsletter led us to search for more stock images of people at water coolers. It's a goldmine. <a href="https://t.co/G8c3YZQfyF">pic.twitter.com/G8c3YZQfyF</a></p> — innocent drinks (@innocent) <a href="https://twitter.com/innocent/status/685409528385503232">January 8, 2016</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PeopleAtWaterCoolers?src=hash">#PeopleAtWaterCoolers</a> <a href="https://t.co/qi9BIwwWv1">pic.twitter.com/qi9BIwwWv1</a></p> — innocent drinks (@innocent) <a href="https://twitter.com/innocent/status/685409889028542465">January 8, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>The issue has become such a blight on the world that even Hollywood had a swipe.</p> <p>To market comedy film Unfinished Business last year, makers Photoshopped Vince Vaughn’s face onto some classic corporate stock imagery. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/0575/unfinished-stock-01c-2015.gif" alt="" width="650">

</p> <p>And be careful when Photoshopping your product into rubbish lifestyle stock images, or you might end up on the sharp end of a meme. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1067/bLs6vmq.jpg" alt="bad stock photography tv" width="650"></p> <p>As for the latter of the two horrors I mentioned above, bad graphics, let’s take a look at what I mean. </p> <p>Say you’re writing a post or page about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/">SEO</a>. Do you think this would be a good image to include? </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1069/Seo-blocks.gif" alt="bad stock photography graphics" width="500"></p> <p>The answer is no. No it wouldn't.</p> <p>Why? Partly because it adds nothing to the content. Partly because it is entirely bland. And partly because it has probably appeared about a thousand times across God-knows-how-many other websites and will continue to do so as long as it shows up under ‘SEO’ in Google images.</p> <p>What about a nice word cloud, then?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1072/4431348645_8bf799117e.jpg" alt="Bad stock images word cloud" width="380" height="316"></p> <p>No. Why would you do that? Just stop it. </p> <p>Word clouds might work for data visualisation, but what good could you possibly add to a page of content by including the above monstrosity? </p> <p>Graphics are almost invariably meaningless and should be avoided if possible, especially on the news...</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9mnVWJpMhuE?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>What you could do instead...</h3> <p>To avoid being accused of abject negativity, I’ve listed a few ways you can make your images less awful. </p> <p><strong>Find something relevant</strong></p> <p>Here’s a whacky idea: how about finding an actual picture of the specific thing you’re talking about and using that?</p> <p>You’ll probably have noticed on this blog that we like to include lots of imagery to support whatever we’re writing about.  </p> <p>Take the below paragraph about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66920-why-visitors-only-read-20-of-your-web-page">scanning</a>. I could have included a stock image of a man staring at a screen to indicate somebody reading a blog post.</p> <p>Something like this, maybe:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1073/man-coffee-cup-pen.jpg" alt="bad stock photography man looking at screen" width="587"> </p> <p>But that would have been stupid, so instead I used an image from a real study that tracked readers’ eyes as they read on-screen content. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/6990/PowerPoint_Presentation_-_Online_Copywriting_september_2015.pdf_2015-09-11_16-00-38.png" alt="The F shape content scanning" width="587" height="425"></p> <p>The first of those two images is pointless. It adds nothing. People understand what a person reading a blog post looks like. They don’t need a visual representation. It isn't relevant to the point I was making in the post. </p> <p>Images should always add something to a piece of content that words can’t achieve alone. </p> <p>Look at the imagery in a recent <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67339-three-marketing-trends-to-watch-in-2016">marketing trends post</a> we published. </p> <p>When you’re dealing with general words like ‘social’ it can be tempting to use some ridiculous abstract graphic to represent them.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1074/Social_Media_Marketing.jpg" alt="Social graphic stock image" width="337" height="307"></p> <p>But in this case the writer used screenshots to illustrate specific points. A much better idea. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/0751/Screen_Shot_2016-01-15_at_11.01.39.png" alt="" width="363" height="357"></p> <p><strong>Make your own</strong></p> <p>We’re lucky enough that we all carry fairly decent cameras around in our pockets. Most of those cameras enable you to edit images and send them to your computer with ridiculous ease. </p> <p>Why not spend a bit of time creating your own images so you don’t have to rely on the generic dross your stock photo library is likely to cough up?</p> <p>Here’s one somebody made to show what a Venn diagram is:</p> <p><a href="http://visual.ly/venn-me"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/2903/venn.jpeg" alt=""></a></p> <p>If you want to take photos for static landing pages or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67377-10-ecommerce-sites-with-grand-product-photography">product imagery</a>, you might want to use something more advanced than your phone.</p> <p>But even doing that costs relatively little time and money, and the results will be well worth it. </p> <p><strong>Use humour</strong></p> <p>It can be hard trying to find relevant photos. Sometimes I think a post is done but I spend another 20 minutes desperately trying to find a header image that isn’t completely rubbish. </p> <p>If you really can’t find an image that is suitably relevant, and you can’t or don’t want to make your own, try going down the humorous route. </p> <p>This means you can be a little bit abstract in your choice, as long as people will actually get the link between the image and the written content. </p> <p>How can a single image illustrate the perils of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67437-marks-spencer-s-new-australian-website-six-things-to-note/">a British ecommerce site marketing to the local Australian population</a>? Through a rude search mix-up involving the word ‘thongs’, of course.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67437-marks-spencer-s-new-australian-website-six-things-to-note"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1076/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_14.59.50.png" alt="stock photography using humour" width="379" height="351"></a></p> <p>Trying to represent silent video? Stick a picture of Charlie Chaplin in there. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67442-how-to-create-facebook-video-ads-that-cater-for-silent-autoplay"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1077/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_15.00.07.png" alt="stock photography using humour" width="379"></a></p> <p>Friday stats round-up? Rebecca Black, obviously. </p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67436-top-10-digital-marketing-stats-of-the-week-2/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/1081/Screen_Shot_2016-01-26_at_16.39.14.png" alt="stock photography using humour" width="379" height="362"></a></p> <p>What I’m trying to show you with these examples is that if you can’t find a decent image that directly relates to your content, find something that indirectly relates to it and make it funny or entertaining.</p> <p>At least then you’re adding something to the content. </p> <p>To be fair, the thongs image achieves both. </p> <h3>Conclusion: stop being lazy</h3> <p>I’m not trying to insult people, but ultimately the reason bad stock photography is so rife in business is because it’s easy. </p> <p>It takes seconds to find a stock photo that is loosely connected to your content, and by the time you’ve written a post or a web page you’re probably ready to be done with it. </p> <p>But that little bit of extra time and effort you spend on finding and including decent imagery could <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-content-strategy-best-practice-guide/">make your content stand out</a> against the sea of indistinguishable tripe floating around the internet. </p> <p>What are your thoughts? Generic stock photography: yay or nay? </p>