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Content Marketing Final Project

On our final project for Content Marketing class we worked with CrossFit Limestone, a local Cross Fit facility located in Kingston, Ontario. They offer health and fitness and they use a variety of methods and sessions for different levels of capability.

While I was working on my final project and doing research on our client, I realized Limestone CrossFit is very community related, one of their main goals is to create a community that supports each other and are passionate about each other’s goals.

We found the main target market of Limestone CrossFit is men and women between the ages of 20 and 45, they live in Kingston and area and they are either university students or young professionals. They have set life goals and are very strong-minded, they also enjoy exercising and they relate to people who enjoy it as much as they do.

Limestone CrossFit’s secondary target market would be anyone related to their current customers; children, neighbours, friends, co-workers, etc. Anyone willing to improve his or her lifestyle and has clear objectives.

The tactics we used were based on our client’s customer profiles and brand values (open minded, welcoming, approachable and respectful); we wanted the content to be relatable, fun and interactive. For this reason we did four content examples, a video, testimonials, pictures and a blog post.

The video explains how to do a quick workout that can be done at home in case people don’t have time to go to the gym. These are five types of simple exercises done by Kira McNeely, one of the owners of the gym. This was just an example of the kinds of videos they could use as shareable content, but our strategy also suggests Limestone CrossFit to do other types of instructional videos as well as videos showing the culture at the gym.

Testimonials can create a strong relationship with actual and prospect clients, as we all know it is very important to build trust in the community in order to attract Cross Fit lovers, especially in a community like Kingston. But not only for prospects, testimonials also work as a tool for current clients to share their opinions, experiences and recommendations.

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Pictures are able to give the brand its own “personality”, it is a visual way to connect and interact with different demographics, and these can be taken by the gym staff or customers to share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Last but not least, blog posts, the example we wrote relates to three movements anyone can try before going to bed, we considered due the fast paced lives of CrossFit Limestone’s target market, it is important to save time but still be healthy and active any time of the day. But blog posts can be about any interesting stories, experiences, and learning or simply advise CrossFit Limestone would like to give to current and prospect customers.

To conclude, I just want to let anyone who reads this blog post that I’m very happy with the learning experience I had, not only with the final project, but with the Content Marketing course. I’m sure I will use more than one technique learned in this class!

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Social Media & Me, A Love/Hate Relationship

My relationship with social media started when I was 11 years old, even though I don’t consider Messenger a social media network, that was a new way to communicate with people, and it was considered “cool”. I used to communicate through messenger with people I knew in school but we were too afraid (or dumb) to talk to each other face to face.

One or even less than a year later I started using Hi5 and MySpace, the purpose of these platforms was to have a “blog” where you would post opinions, things you liked, you could have music built in you page and it was customizable.

Some time later, Facebook was introduced to me as a way for adults to reunite with their childhood friends, I thought it was very cool but I never imagined it could become what it is nowadays.

I don’t even remember why I started using Facebook, I only remember I used to comment on every single picture I saw, I remember posting pictures doing “model” posses and I remember accepting friend requests from people I didn’t even know back then.

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Yes, that’s me trying to be a “model”

I grew up a little bit and I learned that Facebook shouldn’t become a tool to post every single thing that happened to me, I actually found it (and I still find it) annoying when people post too many pictures of irrelevant stuff, and I no longer commented on every ones “wall” (as we used to call it).

Right now I see social media as a way to communicate and stay in touch with the people I’m away from, it is nice to see family and friends succeeding and growing, but I have to be honest; I tried many times to no longer use social media because I was tired of people being fake and superficial.

It is hard and I hate to admit it, but social media became part of who I am, my generation is completely influenced by social media and everything we do is on the web. Which is the hate part of this “relationship”.

Yes, I might be drowned by Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr, but I actually hate this, I wish I could simply not see so much information, we are controlled by social media and the internet, all our life is there and the worst part is that we were not even forced to input all this information, WE were the ones posting every single aspect of our lives (age, gender, nationality, phone number, home address, work address, friends, family, opinions, etc.)

I only hope we all see how much of an impact this is, I hope we realize how bad social media is for the next generations, and I also hope we find a proper way to use social media and the internet.

With this blog post I don’t mean to diminish social media and all its good treats (which I already talked about in other blog post), I just want to point out my concern about my generation and the next generations. Just like the atomic bomb and any other, everything was invented with good will, but humans manipulate corrupt each other and create weapons out of anything.

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5 Things I Learned From The Steer It Up Campaign

I had the amazing opportunity to work with Spark on a crowdfunding campaign, I got to produce some videos and come up with ideas to get people to donate to the campaign. We called the campaign Steer It Up and our goal was to get enough money to buy a new van for the Kingston Food Bank, we used radio to spread the word but mostly social media. Here are some of the many things I learned from working on this campaign.

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  1. Planning, planning, planning

Before the campaign starts, it is very important to have a clear target market and to know how to reach them, what kinds of posts will you use to reach them and what is the tone of the campaign. It is very likely that you will have unexpected situations to deal with, for this reason it is important to have a plan for everything. In our case, we had to change the message half way through the campaign, we had already introduced the concept but we needed to give our audience reasons to donate, and that’s something we didn’t plan but fortunately we took action.

  1. Pre-campaign must be the 1st on the list

Before the campaign launches, your target market should know what’s coming up and how can they help, get the audience excited about what’s going to happen soon so that campaign starts strong. If the audience see and understand the importance of the campaign for the community they will talk about the campaign, it is also important to already have donations before the campaign launches, this donors could be businesses or brands who will be in charge of sponsoring the campaign, and this will attract more people. 

  1. Being “pushy” is valid (only for the campaign)

Posting too much content on social media might be annoying for the audience, but in this case it is almost crucial to be in front of their eyes most of the time. If people are not completely aware of the campaign they will not donate because they don’t understand why is it important to donate.

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  1. Less is more, paragraphs are not necessary

As said before, posting and being on everyone’s feed is important, however posts that contain more than two or three sentences won’t be read by the audience because (let’s be honest) people are lazy and they won’t read paragraphs asking them for money. We did a video to launch the campaign and it worked really well to introduce the campaign in the community, so an appealing video explaining what the campaign is about should be enough, the rest of the post should be a brief call to action.

  1. Get as many people as possible to share the campaign

Since we know we don’t have enough followers on social media, we asked people to share our videos and posts in order to spread the word and create awareness, the campaign success wouldn’t have been possible if people didn’t share our content encouraging friends and family to donate and be part of the campaign.

Just in case you wanted to watch the videos we worked on, click here.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Tumblr, For The Bloggers and For The Companies Too

I started using Tumblr since 2013, I didn’t really know how it worked or what its purpose was, some friends  just shared their Tumblr blogs with me and I loved how customizable, funny and pretty it was. It seemed very easy to use and I thought it was fun to be able to create your own blog with pictures, gifs, music and videos that you were related to.

This is how my blog looks currently

This is how my blog currently looks like.

Even though I still use Tumblr, my perception has changed a little bit. Tumblr for me is a social media network where (at least in my case) I reblog pictures, gifs, music and videos but my main goal is not to share with the world and let them know how awesome I am. I have my blog because sometimes I want to relax or just get distracted and that’s where I go.

It might be weird for the ones who don’t use Tumblr, “if it is a social media channel why wouldn’t you want to share your blog?” Well, it is social in the sense that you can see what others reblog and if you like it you reblog it or “heart” it, but Tumblr is known for the anonymousness of its users and we love it.

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Calvin Klein’s Tumblr blog

Tumblr is different and in my opinion, a very specific demographic is a user. However, Tumblr is not only used to share what you like, many companies use Tumblr to market their products and moments, but most importantly they are able to create dreams and let their target market reflect on what they share, this is how they build their customer loyalty and their brand. Some examples are Urban Outfiters, Calvin Klein and Disney.

Companies don’t sale their products by “harassing” you with emails or ads, they simply come up with an appealing way to showcase their products and create videos, gifs, pictures  or any content that will be worth to have on a blog, and this is how they create their brand with the specific Tumblr user demographic.

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5 Bad Social Media Marketing Habits

Over Posting

Social media users follow a company for many reasons; some of them just want to know what’s new with the company, others follow the brand on social media because they post interesting or educational material, and others just because they like the brand and they want others to know how cool they are because they follow the brand.

We all want something from the brand we follow, we want updates and interesting posts, but by no means we want the company to fill all our news feed, it is annoying and probably “spamy” for many of us.

Not Being Consistent

Yes, it might be annoying when the brand is posting content all the time, but it is confusing when the company isn’t posting at least twice a day. According to Altimeter Group, 70% of marketers lack of consistency in their social media marketing campaigns. This is a big mistake because if the company isn’t showing enough social media presence, they might be missing out on getting the attention of their audience.

It is good to be consistent in terms of type of content and the timing of the posts so that the audience already know what and when to expect content from a brand. Since many companies don’t have enough time to keep up with social media, they hire social media marketing specialists in order to study and improve the brand’s presence on social media.

Not Interacting Appropriately With The Audience

When having a strong follower basis and posting content that generates comments and probably controversy, most companies tend to ignore comments and complaints, which is a very bad habit. If the audience is commenting and taking positions on any content posted by the brand, it is the perfect opportunity to interact with them, so reply and understand the customers’ position, do not reply the same to everyone, that could create a backfire.

Irrelevant Content

As said before, it is great when companies post consistently, it is important to post shareable content, for example, interesting short videos, educational articles, behind the scenes content, quotes, etc. If the content is relevant for the audience and it gets shared many times, the brand will get higher exposure and its social media community will become stronger each time.

Using The Wrong Language  

Social media platforms are a space for people (which later became for brands) to interact the same way as if they were talking face-to-face, people use popular expressions and a very informal language. In order to fit in the social media world, brands should use laid back and friendly language, trying not to be “sales-pitchy” because followers already know what the company sales and it might get annoying for the followers to see offers on their fees 24/7.

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Buying Followers As The Worst Marketing Practise

There are millions and millions of people around the world who have social media accounts; social media gives us the opportunity to share our favourite moments in life or simply whatever we like and want to show the world. Companies realized how useful social media is to get awareness, create an established fan base, analyze their target market and interact with their followers

Brands usually share interesting, appealing or educational content in order to get followers, in my opinion this is an authentic way to connect and interact with an audience, plus, these followers are real followers, they actually care about the brand and what it has to share with them.

Unfortunately there is a dark side in social media too. It is possible to buy likes and followers in almost every social media platform. This is harmful in every way, but companies can buy as many followers and likes as they want, if their followers are not real or not even know what the company is about, then they won’t really show any interest on the company’s products or services.

As a social media user, I find this annoying and it makes no sense to me, so far it isn’t affecting me or damaging my integrity. But for the company it is way worse than that, buying followers is complete lose of money.

Buying followers would be just like buying friends and this will harm you in many ways:

  1. If you are at least thinking about buying friends, there is something wrong with you, which is making people not like you, and you need to change
  2. When you buy followers or friends, needless to mention, you don’t even know them, so it would be very hard to figure out how to relate to them and make them like you
  3. They won’t be as loyal as a real friend because they don’t know you and they don’t care about you, they just care about the money and very probably they are fake (are a fake account)
  4. If you ever get to know someone that can become a friend, when they realize you are buying friends they won’t like you anymore and they will run away, so you will lose prospective real fans

I read on a Huffington Post article by Nelson Kimron Corion that a company’s EDGERANK score is based on the amount of visits the company gets to its site, likes on comments and how many times it is shared. If the fans a company buys are not interacting with the brand, off course the EDGERANK score will be low and Facebook will see the page as unimportant, which will decrease the chances of increasing awareness and getting real engagement from consumers online.

It is understandable that start up companies that don’t have an established fan based might get tempted to buy followers, however there are many other ways to increase an online fan base, I would suggest to firstly having an appealing profile that appeals to a specific target market, good quality pictures and friendly language, it is completely normal to not have many followers in the beginning, but that’s how all the big companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, RedBull, FedEx and many other huge companies started.

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When To Follow A Brand On Social Media?

It’s amazing how companies around the world are able to get so many followers on social media. Social media marketing might seem very obvious and probably cliché for some people, we see so much content online that we don’t even realise how much effort a company took in order to post a video, a picture or a comment; we simply ignore it and keep scrolling.

Or not?

Yeah, it’s very easy to think users ignore content online, but no, in fact what happens is completely the opposite of that, which is why social media marketing can make a company so successful.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram audiences don’t ignore anything done by a company, if they follow a brand on social media to begin with, they want to know more about it and they are interested on whatever is in it for them.

Shane Schutte finds RedBull as an example of this, “One of the most talked about marketing stunts of 2013 comprised of Red Bull making good on its promise to give a man wings.” They keep their followers entertained and posted on whatever they are up to, one of their most successful and well-known campaign was Red Bull’s Stratos, you may know about it.

They got an Australian skydiver to jump to Earth from space in a pressurised suit, which lasted approximately ten minutes. They live streamed it and ensure the public would see every second of it.

It was a major success because many of their followers and even “non-followers” were into this because it broke more than one record, including becoming the first human to break the sound barrier without the help of engine power.

They gave the audience what they wanted and created more awareness by offering quality content mixed with the adrenaline that makes RedBull who they are as a brand.

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Brand Storytelling: All about authenticity and good execution

This week in Content Marketing class I learned that good brand stories are not even told by the company, they are told by the customers because it isn’t about selling, it is about connecting with the audience.

Ever since I got into Content Marketing I realized that’s the way to go if companies want to become brands that give consumers reasons to belong instead of choose. Relating to what I just said, I would like to talk about British Airways as a good example of brand storytelling. 

What I found most important in this piece of content was the way they craft the story from the beginning until the end, it didn’t take many explanations to let know the audience the feeling imposed by the video, not to mention that no company logos were used until the end which made it more credible and natural.

They used elements like slow motion, nature shots and inspiring music to connect with the audience and make us feel identified with the story. Since the story is told from the character’s point of view , the story sounds credible and the idea doesn’t seem over developed or overproduced.

To be honest I almost cry after watching the video, to me this brand story was simple, engaging and very well executed.

However, as you may know, not everything in life is good. And I agree with Omar Kattan when he mentions on his post Chipotle’s “Back to the start” as an example of failure in brand storytelling.

Have you ever been somewhere that looks interesting but you simply don’t want to know what really is in there because you don’t feel completely sure about it? Well, that’s how I felt when I watched Chipotle’s “Back to the start.”

This brand story is considered a failure because it doesn’t seem reasonable. I understand they want to change the consumer’s common opinion, but they didn’t explain the audience how the problem was solved in a credible way.

Not every story told by Chipotle is bad, I found The Scarecrow story very interesting, and even though it is based on a fictitious story, it gets the point across and gives the audience a reason to react and take action.

The story creates empathy with a protagonist who is forced to work for a company he doesn’t admire, and an antagonist, a “crowbot” that makes sure the scarecrow does his job. A problem is stated so the audience can relate to it as well as create emotions, which probably created a feeling of revolution in the audience right before asking them to play with their new app to “save the world”.

In my opinion this story was told very well, it used good sound effects as well as the appropriate music and with no doubt nice graphics. However, it didn’t fully create a sense of uniqueness and connection with the audience, many of us know that fast food chains are not the most ethically behaved and Chipotle is included in this group. So companies like this should worry more about a way to show consumers a change with real facts instead of showing us a world where everything can improve if we use an app and suddenly (maybe) change the way companies manipulate us.

All the brand story examples were found on Brandstories.net

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Social Media, More Than Gossip And Selfies

During the last 5 months I’ve been working at an awesome place called Spark. I am a videographer and so far I’m very happy because I have learned way more than what I expected. You may think I learned a lot about motion pictures, composition and tech stuff, yes off course I have learned about that! But I also got to really understand the importance of social media, which is what I will refer to on this blog post.

As you may know, I’m an international student and social media has been crucial to me. Through social media I get to know how my friends and family are, I know where they are and I obviously I get to easily communicate with them. But it isn’t only about the people I know and the country I’m from, it is also about the world we live in; through social media I get to know what’s happening on the other side of the globe and I actually get to share thoughts and opinions with people in other countries.

I have to accept that social media with its gossip and selfies occasionally drowns me. It is inevitable to get into other people’s lives when they post and share every single thing they do, which is somehow interesting and even though I don’t post every single thing I do, sometimes I share my thoughts, passions and selfies.

Ever since I got into the marketing world, I realised how important social media is for any business. Marketers realized the huge amount of people constantly scrolling down social media dashboards and what better way to be top of mind than being present on every social media platform.

When I mention a company’s presence on social media I don’t mean the annoying commercials, interrupting videos and ads on the side of the dashboard. I am referring to companies that own an actual social media account and earn hundreds and thousands of followers by sharing entertaining and intriguing content. However I am aware of the possibility of buying likes and followers, which in to me is totally wrong and vague, but I will refer to that in another blog post.

In my opinion, good content marketing is the way to go if we don’t want people to get bored of companies on social media. It’s amazing how social media helps big and small businesses spread the word and increase awareness, but as future marketers we need to make sure social media doesn’t become a cliché (even though somehow it already is).

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“Too Big for You”? Stop Thinking, and Go For It!

For our Placement & Career Readiness class with Kathy Patterson, we had to complete a “simple” but challenging assignment. For the first time we had to contact new people by ourselves in order to interview them about the field they are currently involved in.

From the moment she mentioned the assignment I was very scared, I actually thought of contacting a person I already knew which would be the easiest way to complete the assignment. On the slides Kathy used for one of our class I read a quote from Henry S. Haskins that said, Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it.” From that moment I knew this was a challenge I should face and overcome in the best way possible.

I decided to contact Ruth Wannemacher, the Account Executive at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. First I communicated with her via email explaining her why I wanted to meet her and telling her about my actual status as a college student who is about to join the professional world. Fortunately she replied my email and after this I called her to confirm our meeting time and place.

Of course I was very nervous before our meeting, however she didn’t come to where we were meeting, I waited for 30 minutes and she didn’t show up, so I decided to call her, and as she didn’t answered the phone, I left her a voice mail. Two hours after our meeting time, I received an email from her apologizing, and asking to reschedule our meeting. I felt somehow unsuccessful and powerless, however I was pleased because I still had the opportunity to meet her any time soon, so I agreed, and finally we met at a local Café a week later.

 Ruth Wannemacher was very friendly from the moment I met her, she questioned me about school, and then we started talking about her. I asked her five basic questions that were the base of our conversation; what do you love most about your job? How and why did you get into this field? What is your typical workday like? What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced? Do you have any advice for when I graduate?

Her thoughts were very fascinating, I didn’t expect the answers she gave me, she is a very busy woman who cares a lot about her family, and she has two more businesses aside her job at the Rogers K-Rock Centre. She loves the fact that she has freedom at her workplace and the interaction with various kinds of people, her days are not always the same, and her schedules are somehow flexible. Something that surprised me was the fact that even though she can use her time the way she wants too, the biggest challenge she faces is time.

I learned that as she did, I have to take on any challenge, and even though it may look “too big” to me, I should embrace my self and do the best I could to reach my goals. She never thought she could fill a position like the one she is currently performing, but from the moment the opportunity emerged (thanks to her networking skills), she took the challenge and took advantage of every situation that came along the way.

The advice she gave me was related with how young people like me should never give up on a dream, sometimes we get scared of going further but as she said “you will never get a bad result from working hard.” Those were her last words before offering me a ride home and recognizing my initiative of communicating with her.

I am really pleased with the outcome of this assignment, I didn’t mean to do it only for the marks, I knew it was not going to be easy and that is why I challenged my self, I accomplished my objective that was to network and be able to get more insight on the field I will be exposed to in the next years. I am very happy after meeting Ruth, and gaining more experience in networking and communicating with new people.