Are you a content marketer or content developer? The Cloud9 Marketing blog will be one you want to follow with relevant trending topics and industry news specific to content development and marketing.

We’re often asked how long it takes to see results with content marketing. Many businesses expect to see an increase in leads and sales immediately. But the truth is –no matter how great the content you put out – content marketing takes time and perseverance!

While it can be frustrating to not see the fruits of your labour straightaway, content marketing is a long-term game that allows you to deliver quality information to your customers. Seeing slow results in the first few months is nothing to worry about – here’s why.

It’s different to traditional advertising

Marketers are constantly debating how many times it takes for a consumer to see an advert before they change their behaviour. Some believe that the answer is 7, but for others the number can range anywhere from 3 to 20 times. Despite varying opinions, everyone can agree that advertising relies on showing products or services enough times in order to get a sale.

With content marketing, you need to come at it from a completely different angle. Unlike advertising, it is not meant to create immediate leads. Instead, the quality content that you put out serves to raise brand awareness – over time.

And runs on a different timeline

Often businesses start off strong with content marketing, but get tired and give up after a few months. With no immediate pay out, it’s easy to think that your efforts aren’t paying off. Because there is no instant gratification, and no guaranteed method of success, many give up on content marketing prematurely – before they are able to see improvements to their online visibility and customer interactions.

It takes a little experimentation

Learning how to write content that will rank well is a serious skill. It takes a while to understand where your audience likes to hang out online, and how they want to engage with your business. It also takes a bit of experimenting to find which type of content will work best for your business online – whether it’s blogs, articles, podcasts, videos or e-newsletters. Once you master the format, you have a way to target your audience uninterrupted, and teach them about your product or service in a way they find interesting and engaging.

And has different goals

Unlike advertising, the purpose of content marketing is all about building loyal customers and brand advocates. While an ad campaign can get you short-term sales, high-quality, engaging content has much more lasting power when it comes to gaining loyal consumers that trust your brand.

It’s complex!

SEO is changing all the time: Google changes it’s algorithm 500-600 times a year, and rarely lets everyone know of its updates. This means that there is no recipe for success with SEO. Rather, it’s a constant learning process of jumping through hoops, experimenting with content, and sticking with it!

While content marketing is a long-term game, it is something you should be investing in. Why? Because it works. Here at Cloud9, we can monitor and analyse your content marketing efforts to ensure you’re on the right track to producing great results for your business. To find out more, please get in contact.

Real-time marketing is nothing new, but thanks to the power of social media more and more businesses are starting to embrace it as an effective form of online marketing. RTM is bold, loud, and undoubtedly one of the best ways to garner attention. And even better, RTM doesn’t require fancy technology, extensive planning or complex automation: All you need is some clever timing. Here’s a breakdown of what real-time marketing entails, and how you can use it to increase traffic to your website and increase sales.

What is real-time marketing?

Businesses use real-time marketing to interact with their target audience based on current local, national or global events and trends. Brands can engage with their consumers and connect them to what they need at critical moments. This doesn’t mean that brands are jumping on every Internet trend, but rather adding value to certain online conversations.

RTM is the antithesis of planning ahead, as it relies entirely on relevant news and current crazes. Businesses use real-time marketing for live event promotion, location-based deals, and most commonly for social media engagements. One of the most notorious RTM strategies comes from OREO, and their single tweet during the infamous 2013 Super Bowl blackout.

What are the benefits of real-time marketing?

 

It’s impactful

Marketers often struggle to come up with new, innovative ways to engage the always connected consumer. Real-time marketing offers a solution. Enabling marketers to adapt their message to a specific context, RTM cuts through the noise and allows businesses to connect with people in the right place at the right time.

It increases engagement

With RTM, businesses can reach people interested in their products or services wherever, whenever. Instead of blasting out generic messages across all social media platforms, you can personalize these messages to spark a dialogue with consumers, and increase the quality of engagements.

It diversifies your content

While it’s important to show your expertise through longer forms of content, sometimes shorter pieces can have more of an impact. These bite-size pieces of content, such as graphics or tweets, offer a quick and easy way to inform and engage your audience, giving them something to remember!

It increases a sense of urgency

Everyone wants to be in on the latest trend. When businesses tailor marketing to consumers in a time of need, their products or services become more appealing. Urgency motivates people and incentivizes them to engage with your brand. By structuring your advertisements to reflect a current event or trend, consumers will recognize how useful your products or services are in the current moment.

It’s inexpensive

Real-time marketing does not require huge amounts of money, making it one of best ways for small businesses to market their products or services. With a bit of swiftness and creativity, you can easily connect your brand with current and potential customers through relating to the most popular Internet topics and crazes.

Whether or not you’re using real-time marketing for your brand, it’s important to be in the loop with what your customers are talking about online. Here at Cloud9 Marketing, we specialize in social media management, as well as brand story-telling and graphic design. If you want to take your businesses marketing efforts to the next level, schedule a free consultation with us to get started!

video-marketing

The online content world is changing and video is now surpassing text as the best medium to engage with your target audience online. YouTube is the internet’s second biggest search engine with over three billion searches a month, over one billion unique monthly visitors, and bigger than Yahoo, Bing, AOL and Ask.com combined. Even though video is such a powerful medium when you ask the average business they are not leveraging this format yet. Time constraints, difficulty level and unfamiliarity with video are key reasons why businesses are not jumping on this internet trend. Here we explain why it’s absolutely paramount that businesses use video marketing and why it’s not as difficult as most people think.

Engagement

Think of your own experience when engaging with content online. Are you more likely to read through a 1000-word Blog post or watch a two-minute video? Internet data proves that video engagement is higher than written engagement. According to the Content Marketing Institute users are 10 times more likely to engage, share, and comment on a video than they are a regular Blog post. Videos command more attention and therefor viewers are more inclined to interact with the video in some way. Videos also evoke emotion more quickly than the written word due to the varied signals (voice, expression, music, body language) compared to written posts. If you are looking to increase interaction for your business or brand, video is the way to do it.

Reporting

Reporting metrics for written Blogs posts are limited. You may be able to tell how many people clicked on a particular post, and the bounce rate (percentage of users that abandoned the site after viewing only one page) but that’s the extent of it. It is hard to know with Blog posts how many people read the first sentence only, who read half the article and who devoured every single last word. With video you can tell the duration of the video watched through a feedback loop that measures click-thru-rate, number of times watched and drop off points. These stats can be examined at a granular level so you can monitor behaviour on an individual basis. Recent stats show that 64% of viewers watch on average ¾ of a video (Brainshark); it is safe to say written content does not get digested as fully as video.

Search Engine Optimization

Adding video to your website can increased the likelihood of ranking on the first page of Google according to Comscore. Video not only enriches the content on your site which is positive for SEO it also provides additional opportunities to insert keyword labels, expand your site-map and back-links from YouTube will certainly help with your website’s SEO performance. With the increased usage of videos online the user experience on your site will increase. A video rich website will positively affect your site’s bounce rate, engagement and average page duration which will in turn help your website rank better in search engines.

Conversions

The most important reason to use video on your website is that it converts users better than any other medium. According to Search Engine Land, videos on retail sites kept visitors an average of two minutes longer and converted 30% more people. A recent study shows that 71% of marketing professionals believe that video converts better than any other medium. In a world where the average web-user is drowning in written content, video is the way to get ahead.

The good news is thousands of dollars of equipment and production software is not needed to create a powerful marketing video for your website. There is inexpensive online software that is easy, intuitive and effective if businesses want to have a stab at creating their own online videos. Here at Cloud9 marketing we create impactful and conversion-driven videos for our clients. If you see the importance of adding video as a component to your online marketing strategy but would rather leave it to the pros, contact Cloud9 today.

blogging-cloud9

When I mention blogging to clients, it’s usually met with eye rolls. I often hear statements like, “Blogging is just a big waste of time” and “how does Blogging actually translate to ROI?”. I can totally understand why people don’t like blogging. If you’re not a writer, and you’re busy with other aspects of the business, making time to blog is simply not a priority. That being said, according to many experts it’s the cheapest and most effective way to increase the search engine optimization (SEO) of your site and get found online by potential customers. If you aren’t convinced about blogging, read on…

Blogging helps with search engine results

Search engine algorithms determine where your website ranks on the search engine results page (SERP), and SEO is the process of optimizing your website for better placement. One of the key factors search engines look for when ranking a website is fresh updated content. There is no better way to add new and relevant content to your site then in a Blog. And if you don’t like the word Blog feel free to change it to Latest News, What’s On My Mind, or some other original description. The purpose of a Blog (or whatever you call it) is to bring that fresh and unique content to your site so it gets indexed by search engines and your page ranks better organically.

Blogging drives traffic to your website

I’m pretty sure you would agree that you’d like more traffic coming to your website. Producing regular blog posts is kind of like fishing; you put the information out there on the web, and wait for somebody to bite. Every time you post a blog and share it on social media, you’re casting your content into a sea of potential customers. The more content you generate the more likely people will find it and visit your site, or link to your content from a relevant website. Companies that Blog receive 97% more links to their website than companies who don’t according to Hubspot. Inbound links are one of the key signals search engines look for when ranking a website.

Blogging generates leads

Correctly curated blog posts can be excellent lead generators. Adding a call to action to every Blog post in the way of a link, form or pop-up will encourage people to take action on your site. According to Huffington Post businesses that use blogs receive 67% more leads than ones that don’t. If you want leads and you don’t want to pay for them, blogging is an affordable and effective way to convert leads into customers.

Blogging establishes credibility

No matter what your industry is, you likely want customers and clients to think you have more credibility, experience or know-how than your competitors. Blogging is a great way to establish this credibility in the online domain. By publishing blogs on your social media, and key industry sites you’re showing potential customers that you know what you’re talking about. As you build authority in your industry or niche through blogging, your brand recognition and trust sky-rockets in the minds of potential clients and customers.

The most important thing to remember about blogging is that results don’t happen overnight. Blogging is a long term plan that must be implemented consistently and strategically for desired results. Many companies who understand the value of blogging, from small family-run business to Fortune 500 companies, choose to outsource their content creation. Blogging is one of the most affordable ways to get people to your website, but it needs to be done right and it does take time. At Cloud9 Marketing we have a team of writers who are experienced at crafting content that drives traffic and brings results. Contact us today and find out how we can help your business with blogging.

search engine optimization SEO digital marketing

Marketing has come a long way in the last few years, if you ask people in the industry many would probably agree there have been more changes in marketing in the last 5 years, then there has been in the 50 years prior. With the explosion of the internet, uptake of mobile and ability to seamlessly track and monitor advertising spend and ROI online, it’s no surprise businesses around the world are diverting their budget to digital in 2016. Here are some key Marketing Stats that are so important to the way a business markets their products and services in both the B2B and B2C space, they simply cannot be ignored.

  1. In 2016 67% more leads will be generated by companies with an active blog

Content marketing is essential for optimal SEO performance and is the best way to drive traffic to your website. Blogging about useful, informative and engaging information that is relevant to your target market will drive traffic to your website, ultimately increasing conversions for your business.

  1. The average person now spends more time online then TV and all other media combined

This should come as no surprise. Smartphones, tablets and computers have become an extension of people’s bodies and people now turn to the internet instead of traditional media like TV, print and radio to get information.

  1. Total spending on Internet advertising is predicted to grow 12.9% next year. The Internet will become the largest medium for advertising in 2016 (ahead of TV)

Internet advertising is cost effective, highly targeted and traceable. These three features along with potential reach have seen the internet surpass TV for total ad spend.

  1. Social ad spending has doubled over the past two years.

Social media advertising is easy, cheap and effective. With platforms like Instagram now offering ad functionality, total social ad spend is expected to continue with double digit growth over the coming years.

  1. By 2019 mobile advertising will represent 72% of all US digital ad spending

As smartphones become more functional, and websites more mobile-friendly consumers will increasingly use their mobile to research and purchase products and services online.

  1. Digital marketing spend is forecasted to account for 35% of total budgets in 2016.

How much has your business allocated to digital marketing this year? Companies have noticed the value of online marketing and larger portions of budget are being spent on digital marketing.

  1. The top four channels for increases in digital marketing spend last year were email marketing (61% of marketers increasing spending on this channel), social media (49%), mobile marketing (40%), and SEO/PPC (38%)

Most businesses have a combination of email marketing, social media, mobile marketing and PPC as part of their digital marketing portfolio. It is getting rarer for companies not to leverage all four of these components to varying degrees.

  1. Mobile commerce is growing fast, 87% of internet users now have a smartphone – mobiles are revolutionizing business

Around the world smart phones and mobile uptake is becoming the norm presenting an enormous opportunity for mobile advertising.

  1. 93% of shoppers buying decisions are influenced by social media

Although social media is not known as the best conversion platform it is absolutely essential for brand awareness and influencing customers to choose your company over the competition. To increase conversions, social media advertising is very effective.

  1. Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy a positive ROI

Content marketing is commonly agreed by marketing experts to be the most important SEO element and those who commit to prioritizing blogging are seeing results.

There is no longer a question of having an online presence or not, and a website that’s not producing fresh content, or a social media presence that’s sitting stagnant, can do more harm then good online. The question now is having the right mix of online marketing components for your business to ensure you are reaching clients with the right message at the right time.

At Cloud9 Marketing we specialize in creating customized digital marketing strategies for our clients in Whistler BC and around the world. Whether it’s social media, SEO, web design, graphic design, content marketing and blogging or branding, we deliver results-driven, customer-centric and highly engaging digital marketing services communicating unique brands to the right people at the right time.

Video Mistakes You Might Be Making

It’s no secret that videos are trendier than ever. From hilarious cat videos, to live news on your smart phone, our society is in love with videos. Embracing film as part of your marketing strategy can drastically improve your reach. We are all for video content because we know how powerful it is, when it’s done right that is. Whether you are gearing up to incorporate video into your marketing strategy or already have it implemented, these considerations for a successful video are key.

Concept

Whatever your concept is, make it clear in the first 8 seconds. The first couple of seconds are when the viewer decides if it is appealing or not. This is your do or die window for their attention. Reflect on what audience you are trying to reach and what you are trying to say about your brand, this is your time to shine.

Overselling

Finding the balance between being clear about your product or idea and drowning people in it can be tricky. The goal with any video is to make a lasting impression and call the viewer to action. You want them to remember your brand, and dig a little deeper on their own free will. It’s about creating engagement from the viewer. Rather than spill all the beans, lead them on with excitement and have all the info they’ll be craving ready in another video, or written on your website and point them in that direction.

Feedback

Everyone needs more feedback. Ask strangers in your target audience what they think about your video. Outside sources are best for feedback as your team, family and friends will have a bias.

Call to Action

As mentioned in overselling, each video needs to call the viewer to some kind of action. The call can be just to create curiosity, generate a referral, get a free quote, how to use your product and so on. Maybe all you are trying to do is get them to like your Facebook page, whatever it is, make sure it is clear in your objectives before and after the video is created.

Boring

A few things can make a video boring. If it is too long, it’s boring. If the concept isn’t portrayed in an engaging way, it is boring. If the people in the video are, well boring, it is of course going to be a boring film. Spending a couple of extra bucks to hire someone to film and act in your video could make all the difference. This is something you’ll need to weigh out for yourself, but if you were planning on using Larry, the monotone receptionist as your lead star, maybe rethink that one.

Placement

Now that you’ve created your perfect video, don’t let it go to waste! Placement on your website should be front and center. On YouTube it should be on your own channel which will eventually have more videos to fill the auto play, this will keep your target audience much more excited about your company as there is even more material for them to view. Be sure to cross post on other outlets like Vimeo and Facebook. If you choose to do paid advertisement with your video choose the sites that will appeal to the right demographic, and again watch placement of where your video will be on each page that you are paying for.

We can’t say this will make video-making fool proof, but it is a step in the right direction. When creating or perfecting your video content keep these helpful hints in mind. If you are interested in video marketing but don’t know where to start, check out Cloud9’s video production & marketing services.

create and curate quality content on your website

When it comes to your company’s online presence, content really is king.

But there’s a caveat—not all content is created equal. You can bombard your fans, followers, and customers with useless content that they will, at best, ignore—or you can share meaningful, insightful, and entertaining content that will keep them coming back for more.

To ensure that you fall into the latter category, you need focus on providing quality content. You can do that in two ways: by creating content and by curating content.

 

Creating Content

Creating content means building original content from the ground up. This is your company’s chance to share its knowledge, use its own voice, and develop useful and captivating content that will wow your customer base.

When you create original content, you own it because you made it. As the primary source of the content, you become the expert. People viewing your content are sticking to your website (or blog, or Facebook page, or… you get the drift)—they aren’t clicking away to read more. In fact, other people might share your insightful content, bringing even more viewers straight to the source: you!

The beauty of creating content is that you control what is being said. That means that you can share what you think is important and you can talk about pretty much anything you want. Just remember: all content, including created content, should focus on quality first. Put thought into what it is you’re producing—and check your spelling and grammar!

Of course, creating content requires a little effort on your part. After all, researching, writing, and revising won’t happen by itself.

As the primary source, readers are counting on you to be the expert. If you’re caught writing inaccurate, misleading, or just plain wrong information, then you’ll need to bear the brunt of the blame.

PROS: Customize content. Draw people to you. Be the expert.

CONS: Time consuming. Tough work. Big responsibility.

 

Curating Content

Curating content means sharing content that was created by other people and companies, like reviews, news articles, or pretty much anything that you find interesting and relevant.

Curating content is not about plagiarizing: it’s about connecting people with content from other sources and giving those sources credit for their hard work.

Sharing, re-tweeting, and otherwise passing along external sources of content is a great way to show your fan base that you’re in tune with what’s going on in your industry. It’s a good way of diversifying the content you provide and of steering clear of self-promoting post after self-promoting post.

When you share content, it’s like high fiving the person who created it, whether it’s a publication, a partner, a passionate customer, or anyone else in your industry. Building a relationship with industry influencers is always a good thing.

Curating content is also a time saver—it’s usually much faster (and cheaper) to find something share-worthy than it is to create it from scratch.

On the downside, when someone clicks on an external link, they’re floating away from your site. Make sure that you give them incentive to come back!

PROS: Quick and easy. Mix it up. Making friends.

CONS: Can’t edit. Leads people away. Lacks originality.

 

The Bottom Line: The best content strategies include a mix of both created and curated content. That perfect balancing point depends on your product, your company, and your industry—talk to us and we’ll help you determine the optimal ratio. Ultimately, no matter the type, always make sure that you’re providing quality content.

startup content strategy to build brand awareness

So you’ve just launched a new venture with a shiny new website. How’s traffic? Non-existant? Well, here’s how to change that with a solid content strategy.

Search engines use various methods to determine page rank and position in search engine results pages (SERPs). A large part of that is determined by relevant and credible links to your content, social media interaction, online discussion, articles and white papers, slide shares, videos, etc.

A start-up should focus on getting as much exposure as possible early on. There are several methods that help to build brand awareness, and they should all be considered.

It is very important to understand that without a solid content strategy that will genuinely appeal to users, social media efforts and other inbound marketing efforts will fall short and the return on investment will be very little.

Creating original content and utilizing tools such as article submission, eBooks, blogging, white papers, slide shares, videos and press releases will help to not only build brand credibility and improve your company website’s page rank (through link backs and shares), it will also give you something to talk about.

Once you have a solid content strategy and have built up enough of a library to feel it is worth presenting to the public, you reach out and you share it like crazy!

And that is where social media comes in. Social media is, in essence, the curation of content. It gives everyone the ability to share content as they see fit. This gives the end-user the control over how extensively your content is shared – unless you use fan blockers or other forceful tactics, which are not recommended if you want to build “goodwill” with your fan base.

If you do not have anything original or well-thought-out to share, people will simply and unapologetically move on and not look back. Which, of course, you don’t want. You want to be the source that people flock to for solid information and share with their friends, colleagues, coworkers and so on. But that is only accomplished when the product is good.

We get a fair amount of start-ups asking for just social media. And while a solid social strategy coupled with Facebook advertising and perhaps contesting can yield good results in terms of social media fan growth and engagement, it may not be the answer to increasing traffic to your web site and ultimately into the sales funnel or develop into leads.

So, is a content strategy important for start-ups? Most definitely.

altitube whistler weekly show

Launching December 2, 2013

AltiTube is the answer to weekly video content on your Whistler business website. AltiTube dishes on local events, festivals, activities, weather, mountain conditions and anything else happening that week in Whistler. Each week we produce a 1-2 minute high definition video shot in Whistler. The videos can be embedded on any Whistler business website and are updated automatically each week – creating fresh, engaging content with no maintenance. Hosted by Liz Hammond and Adam Kaye.

Learn more about AltiTube and the subscription packages at www.altitube.ca or contact us directly for more information.

Watch our intro video below:

content marketing

If you’re reading this, you’re probably already sold on the idea of using content marketing to benefit your business. However, you may still be looking for ways to get the most out of your content marketing endeavors.

Here are four suggestions for making your efforts more worthwhile:

1.    Post content that your customers want: You might think that you should write your blog about your business; after all, a lot of people do just that. However, you need to remember that customers really don’t care about you as much as they care about themselves. You can actually take advantage of this by providing customers with content that they want and getting their attention in exchange. You can post any type of content that you believe will help you achieve this goal. The content might be a video, a how-to article, or a detailed guide, but it should be something that will draw customers to your site and make them more likely to become interested in your business.

2.    Mainly write content that is for the benefit of your customers and only promotes your products occasionally: People are interested in reading articles that benefit them. They do not find posts that praise products particularly appealing. If you provide customers with content that they want to read 9 out of 10 times, you’re more likely to create a reliable target audience.

3.    Post “cornerstone” content on your site: This type of content is categorized and archived in such a way that customers will have no trouble finding it. It also remains valuable for extended periods of time. KISSmetrics provides cornerstone content with its marketing guides, Copyblogger provides it with a sidebar, and River Pools and Spas exemplifies it with its Pool 101 content. Cornerstone content brings you excellent ROI (returns on investment) because it benefits you over time.

4.    Look at  other sites to see the types of content customers want: Visit the websites of other business owners in your industry to get an idea of what people seem to enjoy reading. You can find out how many tweets and shares certain types of content get to figure out what is popular. You should also be aware that creating posts about Twitter or Facebook is sure to get you a lot of shares. Although you shouldn’t limit yourself to writing exclusively about these subjects, doing so on a regular basis will definitely increase traffic to your site.

Contact us to find out how Cloud9 Marketing can help you develop a solid Content Marketing Strategy.