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5 Reasons Content Marketing is a Win-Win

5 Reasons Content Marketing is a Win-Win

5 Reasons Content Marketing is a Win-Win

What if we lived in a world, a bubble, where we didn’t know what was happening outside? We’re constantly shown stuff that we don’t care, and it has no effect on us. Wouldn’t life be boring that way?

Now comes content marketing, pushing all these pieces of content in our faces that are – interestingly enough – of value to us. We see this every day, and many of us don’t actually realize or stop to think about the purpose of it. Now becoming a prominent component of the business landscape, content marketing is everywhere when we turn our heads and even found in the online world. It’s almost like a new space that marketers have infiltrated to get their messages out.

Pushing Social says it best, “Storytelling for Sales.” Through all these layers of content that’s being shared to us, articles, blogs, and videos, there is one last layer standing. That is, getting sales and driving traffic to the creator of the content. Content marketers are constantly pushing new stuff out and consumers (like me) are absorbing it. I believe that the coolest part of content marketing is the value that is delivered and how it’s beneficial for the company brand. Some content is quickly shared while other content will never see the light again. Below, I’ve outlined 5 reasons why content marketing adds value to businesses and the consumers: 

content marketing

1. Branding: This isn’t something new. For centuries organizations have been creating a certain brand they want to resonate with their target market by launching various marketing strategies. If that company had a certain target audience they wanted to cater to, they would make sure the content attracts them. Content marketing is revolutionizing the way businesses brand themselves. One minute you see an article about the ‘benefits of social media’ and the next minute you’ll notice they’ve posted a funny picture that made you laugh. Consumers are often engaged to a certain extent with the brand building and it follows the company. It also helps them recognize the brands they want to align with and prefer.

2. Sharing content: When companies share something they think is cool, you (consumer) either think “That’s amazing!” or “I don’t really care, next.” Each person is unique, and thus the reaction to each piece of content is different. The benefit of sharing online is that you, as a business, reach a wide audience while incurring very low expenses. On the consumers’ side, you get the benefit of viewing new stuff that you didn’t know and you can even share it with your buddies!

3. Learning more: This point was sort of my thought as to why content marketing is good. Both sides essentially benefit from sharing content. When the company decides to engage in content marketing they “retweet” or share content. Consumers will (or not) take notice and read further into the information. Content will either be accepted or rejected, but at least there’s knowledge being spread!

4. Building relationships: Probably the 2nd most important aspect of content marketing or marketing in general, is to build connections with consumers. Some companies lament gravely whenever bridges are burnt with their consumers. Here at Sniply, we take care of our relationships with our users and reply to any questions they have. We want to keep those relationships and reach out to users whenever they voice their opinion. Content Marketing Institute says that you should treat your market as a community. It’s so crucial that as a business, you want those relationships to continue and build that close-knit community. When you see a problem your community is facing, share content that answers it. As a consumer, knowing that the company is trying its best to build the bridge is a good indicator that you can reach out to them one day if you’re stumped on something.

5. Creating value: At its finest, marketing is about delivering value to their audience (community). Content marketing is about pushing relevant, useful content that will benefit everyone: knowledge, a good laugh, even a smile 🙂 What’s so great about content marketing is that you can share articles and posts, and you have that fuzzy feeling knowing that you accomplished your mission if someone learned something from your post. The intrinsic value of any post is judged by each individual person. Understand this, even if you’re promoting your brand people won’t mind if you’re sharing content that is meaningful to them and adds value to their time.

Going Viral: The Science Behind Referrals

Going Viral: The Science Behind Referrals

Going Viral: The Science Behind Referrals

Sharing. It’s at the core of everything we do here at Sniply. At the end of the day, we strive to make content sharing effective and easy for all marketers and influencers.   With sharing at the foundation of our product, you would expect an inherent virality built into our product – users share our sniply links, their followers see the awesome service and want it for themselves. We have certainly seen evidence of this process through our organic growth over the past 3 months. But, what I just described is not a truly viral product cycle. Our users create and share thousands of snips every day; and while this can certainly increase the awareness of their followers to our product, this process lacks a referral of our services – a vital cog in the viral cycle. For a better understanding of the viral cycle, I have added a diagram from David Skok’s blog: ForEntrepreneurs (in my opinion one of the best resources for SAAS business strategy on the web). viral-cycle-loopThe third step of the diagram is the crux of the viral business model – do your users make the conscious decision to share a product or service with friends? The best viral products require inviting your friends for the service to work – the youtubes, skypes, groupons, and other services that require sharing with your friends for the service to work. This required shareability is something that must be built into your product. At Sniply, our users need to share our links for the service to add value; but they don’t need to have their friends on the service for the service to add value, so they don’t need to refer friends (although many of you still have and for that we are extremely grateful 🙂 )

Every business wants to experience viral growth – it costs nothing and is incredibly explosive. So how do the businesses like ours (with some inherent virality in the product, but not a truly viral product) incentivize their users to refer their friends? The most obvious answer is through a customer referrals program. Lets look at a few key ways a strong referral program can increase the virality of your business! Viral business models use two key metrics – the viral coefficient and the viral cycle time. Optimizing either of these two metrics will dramatically impact your viral growth. For the first two examples, I focus on the viral coefficient – a calculation of the number of referrals per user multiplied by the conversion rate on referrals. The higher the viral coefficient, the more shares and conversions, and therefore, the faster your business grows. For a more thorough explanation I suggest reading the aforementioned blog: forentrepreneurs (I’ll attach the link at the bottom, so you can finish reading this first 😉

1. A referral program incentivizes users to share with more people. Referal programs provide rewards for sharing, incentivizing users to share this product with friends. That’s the first battle. The use of scaling incentives in a referral program (greater rewards for the more people you share with) will provide reason for users to invite even more people. This increases the number of referrals per user, and therefore, increasing the viral coefficient.

2. A referral program converts invitees/referees to signed up users If you have a great product, people are going to tell their friends; but that doesn’t mean that every friend they tell will sign up. By providing incentives to invitees, such as discounts or extra features, you can increase the rate at which referees convert into customers. Increasing the rate of conversion increases the viral coefficient. The second key metric in optimizing your viral business model is the viral cycle time. This is the amount of time it takes for a user to pass through the entire viral cycle. The shorter the cycle, the faster users invite their friends and the faster your business grows. Most experts suggest that optimizing the cycle time can have the greatest impact on the virality of your business, and when you get into the math behind all of this, it’s easy to prove why. But that’s for another post. Bottom line: It doesn’t matter how much you increase the viral coefficient if your cycle time is inefficient. A referral program can help here as well.

3. A referral program can start the process of discovery, and accelerate to the process of inviting friends This is less about the rewards offered by referrals and more about the effectiveness of your messaging. By having a strong call-to-action to your referral program, you can convince more users to invite friends, beginning the viral cycle. You can also convince users to invite their friends earlier than they would have. For this situation I think an example describes the effect best. Dropbox is a perfect example; Dropbox is inherently viral, as file sharing is a major part of the value proposition and sharing requires friends on the service. But the viral cycle could be very long – what if you only need to store files for the first few weeks of use. Only 3 weeks later does your colleague request for you to share him on the file, so you invite him to Dropbox. This means it took 3 weeks to reach the decision to share the new service with your friends. But Dropbox offers you additional storage for every friend you refer. Even on day 1, additional storage is attractive and I am incentivized to share the service, cutting the viral cycle time dramatically. Even if I only run out of storage on day 7 and decide to refer friends for the reward, that’s cutting my viral cycle time by a factor of 3! This is possibly the most dramatic impact a referral program can have on your viral business model.

So there you have it. A referral program can have a huge impact on your business’ viral model and impact the formula through every metric.  Through effective messaging, incentives, and a whole lot of A/B testing for optimization, you can massively spur the growth of your company, at very little cost to your business. And these were only a couple of simple examples. There are tons of creative examples of businesses using referrals to enhance their viral business model.

As promised I will provide some more links of cool articles so you can come up with creative strategies for yourself. Enjoy!

10 Steps: How Online Engagement is like a Blind Date

10 Steps: How Online Engagement is like a Blind Date

10 Steps To Begin Engaging an Audience Online – How Online Engagement is like a Blind Date

Engaging an online audience is like going on a blind date, first impressions are everything. The way you dress, look, or present yourself can be very telling on a first date. Similarly, the headlines you use, the intro sentence, or how you start an online-conversation, determines if the reader will continue to read/engage with your content or not. recite-15024-911710967-1t6rojo “On average, only 1 out of 5 readers gets beyond your headline!” – David Ogilvy. So in reality, 80% of the people you are attempting to engage don’t make it to your content, let alone read it in its entirety. This doesn’t only go for blog posts or major companies trying to engage with millions of users, but for literally anything you share online. It is all an attempt to engage an audience or start a conversation, whether it’s a tweet, status update, or a 4-page article. “People go online to talk [write] and listen [read] and so conversation is a critical factor in an online community’s success.”  Therefore, the methods and audience to engage an audience may differ, but the steps to get their attention and start a conversation are very similar. The common denominator here is the intention of all users to converse online, and the goal is to get them to get to choose your conversation to join! Here are the 10 steps I have found to do so:  (maybe just include the second half of the headline?)

1. Do Your Homework – Research who they are and what they like!

researchTake the time before you open any lines of communication to know who your audience is. Look at their interests, and what engages them. It is like googling the person you are about to go on a date with – basics. This probably is the most important step, because based on your findings you will know how you can begin to engage your audience. If you are engaging with a specific audience, a good place to start is to look at a commonality between them. That could be age, career, sport etc. and go from there. If you are trying to engage with a person or a small group of people look at the common ground between yourself and them, and begin with that.

Pro Tip: Google Analytics Demographics and Interests can be a good place to start looking at users interests.

 2. What’s in it for me?

 Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and write about that which is interesting to them and not to you. Not only that, but studies show people are likely to be more engaged if you use memory inducing triggers . That is, writing about what people were already thinking about and can recall most easily. The book, Contagious – Why Things Catch On, explains this concept extensively. The first step to engagement is showing the audience that it’s something they’re interested in, but also that is worth their time. The human attention span is about 8 seconds, and that is about as much time they need to read your opening sentence or headline and decide if it’s worth their time or if they will be moving on to something else.

 3. Help your audience find you – Wear an identifier

keywordInclude key words in your writing that will ensure that whomever is looking for similar content, topics, or ideas, is able to find you. The first thing people scan in a title or the first sentence of a message is the key words that jump at them letting them know that they are in the right place. It’s like the cliché red rose that a guy always wears to a blind date, or any agreed upon marker between the two. The idea is to know how to balance creativity in writing with identifiers of the content you are about to share. It is a difficult balance that might take some testing and experimenting.

For example if you are writing a post about your favorite chocolate brand, titling the post with ‘Coco awesomeness!’ doesn’t really tell me much about what you’re writing about. As opposed to ‘The greatest chocolate brands!’. The latter lets the reader know what they will be reading about. Further, instead of showing up on a search on coco, you will actually be able to target the audience most interested in the topic, chocolate lovers.

 4. Positive Framing – Give a compliment

 Research by O’Keefe and Jenson shows that positively framed sentences and headlines are more engaging and likely to be read than others. People like to be given compliments, pick-me-ups and hope and if you are able to convey that in your opening sentence people are more likely to be engaged. Taking a neutral sentence like ‘the effects of dieting’ into ‘Ways dieting helps you improve your life’. Positive framing allows people to see the good in what they are about to read and are therefore encouraged to read it.

 5. Don’t be afraid to be emotional – Be considerate!

recite-1166-916120102-1wmkr05 (1)Empathizing with someone you’re having a conversation with is usually a given to anyone trying to be courteous. However, we usually don’t lend the same courtesy online. If you are writing about a topic that is easily relatable or of interest to the audience then it is encouraged to include associated emotions in the opening sentence or title. It is like the common saying goes, “people may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.” Thus engaging an audience on an emotional level boosts the likelihood people will be reading your content but more importantly that they will relate to it. For example: Instead of writing ‘Exercising improves your productivity’, try  ‘How exercising made me happier and more productive’. This is both a way to positively frame your statements and have the reader engage with them on an emotional level. That is not to say, however, that negative or sad emotions should not be avoided. Simply be cognizant of your audience, the content and how you want to make the reader feel after they’ve read your content or statement.

 Pro tip: Showing empathy towards a common problem can also be mixed with a question, “have you ever felt…?”

 6. Ask Questions – Pique their interest

A known conversation starter is to ask questions, most notably about the weather. Similarly, a great way to pique people’s interests is to ask them a question they’d want to find the answer to. If you’ve already researched the audience’s interest (reference step 1), then asking a question that will pique their interest isn’t difficult. It’s also a great way to get the audience’s input as to their own opinions about your answer, or their own versions of the answer.

Ask questions but be cautious as you walk down that route. As Daniel Kahneman wrote in his book Thinking Fast and Slow, asking questions is likely to capture people’s attention and get them to think. However, that only works if the question makes us curious, and is not too challenging, because then we tend to skip it.

 7. Emphasize the Social Aspects – Socialize!

You’ve made it this far in the date, and now its time for possibly the hardest part, socializing. The point is to hold a conversation and not to simply pass on information. The reader wants to feel that through reading your content they have been able to gain. The greatest gain from social media, is feeling that you have gained a social know-how. That is why Berger emphasized in ‘Why Things Catch On’ the need to create a social currency, not only making people feel smart but also feel like they are in the know-how. You don’t have to be promoting a brand to create a social currency, its simply information that encourages further social encounters. So it might be including the fact that this is a discussion, or asking what the audience thinks as well about the topic. Inviting the reader to engage with what you’ve shared early on sets a tone to what you are about to share as not simply well crafted content.

 8. Be Precise – Pay Attention to Detail

percisionIn a date, you get brownie points for being able to pick up on the details shared with you. Likewise, being able to share details about you allows the listener to relate to you and get to know you better. Thus the more precise your intro, and headline as to what you will be sharing will get your audience interested. Broad topics do not really give your reader an idea of what you’ll be talking about. Thus if neither the headline or the first sentence shows exactly what the content will be about, the less likely the reader will be inclined to read through it.

Example: ‘Content Marketing Method’ is very different from ’ The Best Ways to improve the shareability of your content’.

 9. Be structured – Show you have a plan for the night

Roadmap-to-Success-2A great date is a well-planned date, and a great post is a well-planned post. Show the reader that you have a road map as to what you will be talking about, that way they know what to expect from the content.

Offer the reader or person that you would like to communicate with something of structure that they would like to know about. For example a list or a guide is always more engaging then a simple topic title. Including in the title who the target audience is helpful as well, for example beginners, youth or simply ‘you’ is sufficient.

10. Practice and Experiment – There are more dates to come.

Most importantly, practicing different headlines and intro sentences is important. You don’t always have to go with the first one you come up with. The secret to Upworthy’s success was their headlines, and the secret to that was drafting so many and experimenting till they came up with the perfect formula. Word has it they have at least 25 headlines for every post they roll out. This post has aimed to show you the main ways to engage your audience but it takes practice to make perfect so don’t shy away from that.

However, all that being said, be careful from not delivering on your headline promise. If you promised a fantastic article that turns out to be mediocre, chances are your headlines will no longer be trusted. More so, people still do read the content if its subpar, your goal is widespread sharing and of online engagement go out the window. Give us your feedback; let us know if there is anything else that helps with online engagement!

Understanding RSS and Its Transformative Role in Content Marketing

Understanding RSS and Its Transformative Role in Content Marketing

Understanding RSS and Its Transformative Role in Content Marketing

If you are a content curator or a content marketer, you probably use RSS, even if you don’t even realize it! Social media professionals are constantly looking for great content to share, with the intention to build their reputation and convert their followers to customers. In order to do this, they drive traffic to interesting or helpful content to deliver value through social media. One of the most challenging parts of this process is finding the best content to share. To solve this problem, most people use a tool that offers streams of content that they can sort through to find the best articles, videos, and images.

Whether people realize it or not, most of those tools are built on top of RSS feeds. RSS (which stands for Rich Site Summary) is a standardized way for a website to tell a computer what content is on the website. For the techies out there, it’s an extension of xml, a language used to transfer data, frequently used in web-based APIs. What that basically means is that it is possible to write a computer program that can understand what content is available on a site if that site features an RSS feed. And thus, RSS readers are born.

So what does that mean for you? It means you can use a great app like feedly to browse the content from all of your favourite sites all in one place. This is even more powerful than most people realize; did you know that Facebook creates RSS feeds out of all their pages and notifications? Every major publication has an RSS feed – and so does almost every blog (don’t believe me? Here’s the Sniply RSS feed: Using all these feeds, you can pull in all of the online information you actually care about into one place for easy browsing – what a time-saver!

The time-savings become even better when you think about curating content. Not only can you see all of the best content all in one place, but apps like Buffer’s Feeds or Hootsuite Syndicator allow you to immediately share that content across your social networks. Content curation has never been so easy!

But if you get that far, wouldn’t it also be great to be able to measure the ROI (return on investment) you get from curating that all of that content for your followers? With Sniply Feeds, now you can! Sniply Feeds allow you to automatically snip entire streams of content so that you can generate an ROI on your curation without changing your workflow at all. All you need to do is a little set up:

  1. Tell Sniply which websites have content that you like to share
  2. Sniply will generate a feed of that website’s content, but replace the links to the content with Snips featuring your message and call-to-action on top of the content.
  3. Hook up the feed Sniply generated to your sharing app of choice and share from the Sniply feed as you would any other feed.

If you want to get into the nitty-gritty of setting up a Sniply Feed, check out the instructions here.

This enables you to provide value to your followers through great content curation while simultaneously capitalizing on your social capital without changing your workflow – now that’s a win-win. And it’s all thanks to the power of RSS!

Sniply Acquires Hoverpost & Headshare

Sniply Acquires Hoverpost & Headshare

Sniply to Acquire Hoverpost and Headshare

Toronto-based Sniply today announced that it has reached agreements to acquire Colorado-based Hoverpost and Paris-based Headshare.

The acquisition supports Sniply, Hoverpost, and Headshare’s shared mission to introduce continuous innovation in online marketing. The combination will help accelerate growth and user engagement under a single brand.

“Hoverpost transforms multimedia content, like YouTube videos, into marketing opportunities for anyone,” said Michael Cheng, Sniply founder and CEO. “When I first met Gregg, I immediately knew that our visions were aligned in terms of where we wanted to take the product.”

Gregg Blanchard, Hoverpost founder, said, “We’re thrilled to join the Sniply family. With their support, we can extend Hoverpost to all types of content on the web with a greater user experience.”

“Headshare is practically the European cousin of Sniply,” said Cheng. “Sébastien and I have been working on solving the same problem with a very similar approach. Instead of competing, we decided to join forces.”

Sébastien Saunier, Headshare founder, said, “We are excited to work with Michael and the Sniply team to deliver a much better workflow for our users. Sniply’s integrations with numerous platforms will make a big difference moving forward.”

About Sniply

Sniply’s mission is to give people the power to customize the content they share. People use Sniply to enhance social media sharing through commentary, suggestions of relevant content, and opportunities for engagement through curation.

About Hoverpost

Hoverpost allows people to embed multimedia content into their own website through a link-shortener. People use Hoverpost to convert social media sharing into traffic for their website.

About Headshare

Headshare is a link-shortener that allows people to share links with a custom header. People use Headshare to engage their audience and drive traffic to their website.