“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

Blogging is important for every business. So we don’t just offer ghostwriting services for others. We blog for ourselves. Why? To discuss big issues such as content strategy, commissioning and ROI, as well as tactics for effective copy creation or editing, not to mention news about Collective Content.

Remember, over a third of marketers say blogs are the most valuable content type. Let us know what you’d like to read about here.

Content marketing trends #3 Personalised content

There are several reasons why targeting people more individually can pay off. A one-size-fits-all approach is obviously quicker and cheaper, but personalising marketing material can ramp up the audience experience. It can make a brand stand out. It can develop trust with individuals.

A simple example of this is for a visitor to a landing page who enters their name and email to download an infographic or e-book. Next time they visit the same site, they could be greeted by their name and provided with links to content that relates to what they’ve previously shown an interest in.

There is momentum for greater personalisation: One piece of research found that 94 per cent of digital professionals believe personalisation is “critical to current and future success”, while personalised lead nurturing leads to a 20 per cent increase in sales opportunities from leads.

Examples of the results greater personalisation can bring include Co-Operative Travel, which increased visitors to its website by 95 per cent after implementing personalisation, and saw a 217 per cent revenue increase. Carmaker BMW said that a campaign of personalised picture messages sent to 1,200 customer phones improved conversions by 30 per cent.

Other examples include:

  • Coca Cola: The company’s Share a Coke campaign saw 150 of the most popular names in a region printed on Coke bottle labels to encourage people to buy drinks for friends or family. The campaign resulted in 12 million media impressions in Australia before the campaign went global. It also contributed to a seven per cent increase on Coke consumption by young adults.
  • Nuffield Health: The private health provider developed a series of segmented landing pages and personalised email messages for different constituent groups. The conversion rate for these types of campaigns went from less than one per cent to more than eight percent as a result.
  • The Guardian: The newspaper’s website made use of a cookie-based toggle switch to enable visitors to turn off content on stories they weren’t interested in and to avoid such subjects in the future

To help achieve personalisation, marketers need to make use of the data they have on existing users and collect it from people using its marketing channels for the first time.

This can start with small requests (name, email etc.) before more data is obtained once a level of trust has been established.

This data can then be used to personalise calls to action (CTAs) for brand websites and email campaigns, or to use a customer’s name in ways that will appeal to them, such as a personalised greeting on a homepage.

Whatever creative approach you take with personalised content, it’s clearly an approach that will become increasingly powerful.

Check out our earlier posts on gifographics and parallax web design.

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

 

 

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Quality work – why I constantly assess our agency model

On my mind: How to describe team members at our content marketing agency. That’s partly because we’re preparing a new website – nothing radical, just something every company does. But it’s also because of an article from a partner at a VC firm.

The founding general partner at Eniac Ventures talks about team slides in decks that companies use when they’re seeking seed-stage investment. Several things caught my eye, as they relate to Collective Content (although we’re not looking for investors). Number five on his list is “If you have shared history, make that very clear” – so we’ll be doing that, for example.

Our core team averages about 20 years working with B2B content, as writers and editors. That’s across a mixture of agencies, such as PR and content marketing, and working for B2B companies. But mostly we’ve all worked in journalism (another way we’re different from other agencies). Even our wider roster of part-time specialist writers and designers tends towards the higher end of experience.

This is in contrast to agencies where a team of junior writers often means lower prices, along with a we-can-turn-our-hands-to-any-content approach.

 

Process affects

How does all this affect the way we work with clients? There’s one obvious way and it goes like this: Collective Content works to a four-step process for much content – a white paper or e-book, say. Other agencies, often where content is produced by a faceless ‘pool’ of writers (have you heard about our ‘farm fresh’ content theory?) will feed content back into a cycle of edits and other amends numerous times.

This happens because each stage isn’t as well planned, and because their model is based on cheaper, less experienced writers who iterate again and again. I don’t want to mention Shakespeare’s monkeys. But I just did.

 

The difference

The results – to be honest – can be the same. In one model (ours), a group of experienced writers and editors takes fewer stages to get the right outcome. In the latter model, where a larger group takes several more rounds of work but at a lower per-employee cost, the overall price tag to a client is similar.

Clients don’t necessarily have a preference. They just want a good result.

But I prefer doing things thoroughly at each stage, with the highest-quality people and fewer stages, to keep everyone’s blood pressure at a healthier level.

There is always a trade-off across speed, quality and price. Focusing on quality doesn’t necessarily make you slower – but it can maintain project sanity.

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

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Cyber what? Why consistent style isn’t everything

typewriter

Photo by Bob Newman on Unsplash

As writers and editors, we live in perpetual dread of errors, typos and inconsistencies appearing in our copy. After all, this is our business. We’re meant to be professional.

We’ve written about this before: Pragmatism and clarity should always come before consistency.

It’s just sometimes hard when you see inconsistencies in your copy. Or at least things that readers and clients take to be inconsistencies. Think of it as a kind of mild grammar anxiety.

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So if we’ve talked about this before, why bring it up again?

Well, two reasons. First, because it’s advice to last the ages and never gets old.

Second, at Collective Content we are blessed to have a number of cybersecurity clients. We write a lot about cyberthreats, cyber risks, cyberattacks and cyber resilience.

See the problem?

How do we apply this to writing about cybersecurity? Or cyber security? Or even cyber-security?

The general rule of thumb we use is that if the phrase is in common usage then one word is better than two. So cyberattack, cybercrime and cybersecurity are always one word.

If the phrase is less common, then we split it in two to avoid the reader stumbling over it. Think cyberintelligence.

Another general rule is that when the first letter of the second word is ‘r’ (e.g. cyber resilience and cyber risk), we use two words, otherwise it just looks weird (cyberresilience and cyberrisk).

We’re not big fans of hyphenated words. Full stop. Or period.

Remember clarity and legibility are more important than consistency. We want to get the message across clearly without the reader stumbling across new words in an ever-evolving language.

I just felt compelled to explain this rule to a client and it made me feel a whole lot better. I thought sharing it with a wider audience might help spread the love even more.

So if you see these little ‘inconsistencies’, just know there is method behind the madness.

I hope this was as cathartic for you as it was for me.

 

(Ed: Don’t get me started on do’s and don’ts.)

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

Facebook: facebook.com/CollectiveContent

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/collective-content

Phone:  0800 292 2826