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With ongoing algorithm changes to Facebook and Instagram in particular, the ability to communicate directly with your own database is more important than ever.

One medium of communication that is seeing a resurgence in value by organisations and marketers is the now humble email.

But what is it about email messaging that has lasted and brought it back into vogue as a valuable marketing tool?

Put simply, it is the only guaranteed-delivery option the internet has left.

As The Wall Street Journal’s technology reporter Christopher Mims recently wrote, “In the #deletefacebook era, it’s become a way to fight back against the algorithms that try to dictate what people see.”

Readers sign up to receive email communication and whilst your communication remains relevant, that should prevent them from hitting the unsubscribe button. Email is still free and a direct way of communication which can be personalised.

The key is take the view that you’re building a loyal and engaged community. Members are looking for you to provide insight, authenticity and interesting information — not just sales spiels.

And whilst the Snapchat generation may view email as being antiquated and not immediate, they all have email accounts. The truth is that you can’t rely on email marketing alone and you will ignore social media platforms at your peril. However, email marketing should hold a key place in your marketing communications mix.

email marketing

Mims quotes Wales-based jeans company Hiut Denim co-founder David Hieatt as saying, “If you ask me, would I want a mail­ing list with 1,000 peo­ple on it or 100,000 fol­low­ers on Twit­ter, I’d take the 1,000 emails all day long, be­cause the busi­ness you get from 1,000 emails will be much more than you get from 100,000 peo­ple on Twit­ter or In­sta­gram.”

Your email database is valuable and can be maximised from a marketing perspective very cost effectively. Ensure you build your database and gain the contact details of each new client or prospect.

Two very effective marketing programs which enable you to market effectively to your email database include Mailchimp and Marketo.

Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform that helps you to create marketing campaigns and share with clients, customers and other contacts. Mailchimp will assist with your list management and compliance with direct mail requirements. The platform enables you to manage subscribers, generate custom reports, view click-through and success rates, track your emails, and ensure full transparency of campaigns.

Marketo is a powerful engagement service offering a cloud-based email marketing platform with a range of capabilities including marketing automation, social marketing, lead nurturing, budget management, analytics, sales insight, and website personalisation. One of the big benefits is native integration with CRM suites such as Salesforce.com. A leading digital marketing suite, Marketo will streamline your email marketing processes and enable you to provide unique customer offers through personalisation.

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Facebook has announced changes to its news feed flagged last year which will have the effect of prioritising posts from friends and video content over posts from media outlets and businesses.

For news outlets and pages this will change the likelihood of their posts appearing in your news feed.

Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed wrote in a post that Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships

He wrote: “With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. To do this, we will predict which posts you might want to interact with your friends about, and show these posts higher in feed. These are posts that inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion. We will also prioritize posts from friends and family over public content…”

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”

You can read Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement here in full:



So, what types of Page posts will show higher in News Feed?

According to Mosseri page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.



If you still want to see all content from a favourite page or business, you will still be able to; you’ll need to change the appropriate preference setting to see posts from your favourite pages.
This change is a sure-fire reminder that Facebook is there to make money and not just to give a business or publisher a free platform to promote itself and drive traffic. Organic reach will continue to decline for them and necessitate a rethink on the sort of content they provide and the level of sponsorship they will need or future posts.

If you’re a brand and can generate engagement, discussion and sharing then you may still be able to generate organic reach. However, all brands will need to rethink their content marketing strategies and decide how important Facebook is to their marketing programs.

Facebook has introduced these sorts of changes before and now it’s up to users and advertisers to react and respond.

Hopefully one meaningful change to news feed will be the penalising of publishers who seem to thrive on clickbait-type articles and headlines.  We’re looking at you, Fox Sports!

Image copyright: grinvalds / 123RF Stock Photo
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Put simply, producing cornerstone content is about getting your web or blog page to rank highly by Google.

Of course, it is helpful to have informative content for the benefit of your customers and site visitors, but ultimately Google will need to be told which of your articles are the most important – especially where you write a number of posts about similar topics.

Cornerstone content then are those articles (or a static page on a topic) that you feel are the most informative and that you would like to rank highly in search engines. The key then is to create internal links to that page of content or article.  Internal links are an important ranking factor.

It’s possible to have more than one cornerstone page on a website. You may have one for each of several key topics.


cornerstone content

Cornerstone articles can be long, including everything relevant and important for your readers about the topic. Make sure it uses good SEO practice – keyword focused, headings, imagery etc. Smart internal linking can push this article up in the search results. It’s a good idea to update it regularly and expand on it when possible.

You should link all your other posts about a similar topic to that article. An internal linking structure will increase the chance of your content article ranking in Google.

If you’re using the WordPress platform, the Yoast SEO Premium plugin makes it easy for you to identify which are the cornerstone articles and to be prompted to link to them.

Blogging guru Brian Clark outlines the two core goals of cornerstone content succinctly as:

  • The first goal of cornerstone content is usefulness and relevancy to the visitor, no matter how they arrive.
  • The second goal is to make that content so compelling and comprehensive that people are willing – no, make that excited – to link to it.


cornerstone content

Benefits of creating cornerstone content

  • It provides a very informative source and value to readers
  • Google is responsive to these sort of articles and they rank well in search engines
  • Cornerstone content helps you boost your blog’s credibility
  • People will be more likely to share this content on social media
  • It can attract back-links from other authoritative sources
  • Ultimately direct a lot of traffic and hopefully new subscribers and customers.

The benefits of linking can be seen by Fairfax media in all their articles and newsletters where they are constantly linking back to their own stories. They are forming content clusters with their authoritative journalism and feature articles.




A content article that amazes us on our own blog with the constant traffic it receives is an article about the difference between publicity and public relations. It works because it provides answers on a topic, is informative, responds to a search query, and is shareable. And, as you can see, we will link back to it wherever possible as cornerstone content.
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celebrity endorsement Why do brands embrace the faces of celebrity? It’s not a new phenomenon and has been part of our daily consumption for many decades; in fact, it’s difficult not to name a product or company that hasn’t engaged in some form of celebrity endorsement. Celebrities can be a vehicle for brands to reach out to new audience niches as well as the mainstream. Some well-known and successful brand associations include George Clooney (Nespresso), Jennifer Aniston (Emirates), Nicole Kidman (Etihad), Michael Jordan (Nike) and Jamie Oliver (Woolworths). Success can add millions in brand value through positive association and the power of aspiration. Consumers are well aware that these arrangements are paid for but will see past that if the association is credible and real. Guy Sebastian has recently been announced as AirAsia’s brand ambassador in Australia in a deal that promises to work well for both parties. AirAsia receive the benefit of a very likeable personality with a clean image in the vast entertainment industry. AirAsia sees the synergy of entertainment and travel working together in a lifestyle brand sense to appeal to their audience, produce engaging content and attract attention across borders. Sebastian in turn is looking to promote himself further across Asia and AirAsia’s massive reach will assist. The airline has worked before with musicians in other markets and several top executives are former music industry executives including the co-founder, Tony Fernandes. AirAsia X Group CEO Datuk Kamarudin Meranun said the airline was thrilled to have Guy on board calling him a “natural fit for AirAsia”. “Guy embodies AirAsia’s values and ideals with his support of the community through charity work and will promote AirAsia’s brand,” he said. guy sebastian In an interesting twist, about the time Sebastian was announcing the arrangement with AirAsia, controversial Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios parted ways as an ambassador for Malaysia Airlines after just one year. Sometimes the relationship just doesn’t work out, or maybe, wasn’t a good fit to start with. In another format, Australian radio and TV personality Jules Lund has established a marketing start-up called Tribe which targets brands that want to get active in social media through associating themselves with brand personalities or ‘influencers’. The marketplace model allows users (influencers) to bid online to provide services or endorsements for a product or brand which can then be purchased by that brand. Tribe promises ‘authentic advocacy’, with influencers choosing brands, not the other way around. Tribe has just completed a round of funding to fuel expansion in technology and markets. It has claimed to have worked with more than 500 brands and have about 4500 influencers on its books. If you’re considering a brand ambassador here’s a checklist of some key considerations:
  • Choose the right brand ambassador! What are they going to do for you and who do they appeal to? Is their association with your brand or product believable? Do your research thoroughly.
  • It needs to be a two-way relationship with real benefits for both parties. It’s not just about dollars.
  • All obligations and terms need to be set out in writing for executing. And, also allow for the arrangement not working out.
  • Meet regularly to manage obligations under the contract and explore new opportunities.
  • How will you measure the success or otherwise of your investment? Is it in sales, audience recall, specific brand attribute measurements, or digital media traction? Be clear with your own goals and expectations.
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If you’re in the tourism industry and looking to enhance or begin your social media and online presence, then there’s some key considerations to think through and some planning required. Have a look at what other successful businesses are doing and learn from their efforts. seeaustralia Think about what types of online media your audience is likely to use. Is it Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter? Or something else? And don’t forget about TripAdvisor. Many consumers rely on online reviews for their decision making. Peer influence is very important in the process. Over 50% of Facebook users say their friends’ photos have inspired their choice of holiday and shaped their travel plans. Here are five key considerations to shape your tourism social media efforts: 1. Be informative Your goal should be to become an authority on your region and its attractions. Avoid the temptation to simply plug your own business at every opportunity. You will win a loyal following if you’re able to provide a regular flow of useable information that provides advice and tips for visitors. Provide accurate updates on local happenings and interesting events, new tourism product, travel conditions and yes, even the weather. Suggest a list of key things to visit, great photo spots, provide maps and amazing photos.
If you employ an imaginative and informative content strategy it will help in SEO and have your business rank more highly on search results. If you give potential visitors value in terms of superior content, they are more likely to have a connection with your brand. 2. Be authentic Be real and believable. The effect of ‘gilding the lily’ can be a loss of confidence in your business by visitors and result in negative online reviews and an erosion of trust with your audience. Show what the experience is that visitors can truly expect – accommodation, activities, scenery, food and most importantly the character and characters around you. A rising tide floats all boats, so the more you can accurately enhance the profile of your region the better for you. There’s not a finite amount of success available. 3. Involve your audience Social media is very much a two-way street. Interact with and have a conversation with your online community. Ask questions, ask for feedback and invite them to contribute content. You’ll be amazed at how many gorgeous photos, stories and experiences can be shared from your own visitors.
 

Feeding time at Lovers Cove 🐠🐟💦 #fishfeeding #daydreamisland #lovewhitsundays #thisisqueensland 📷@dream.living

A photo posted by Daydream Island Resort And Spa (@daydreamislandresortandspa) on

They’ll give you honest feedback and recommendations. Thank them for their reviews and don’t ignore their communication – good, bad or otherwise. Consider what competitions, promotions or incentives you can run on your platforms, big or small. Encourage guests to tag your accounts on their posts on their own pages. 4. Employ a content marketing strategy A lot of great content doesn’t happen by accident. Much of it is planned and thought out. A simple but effective tool is to utilise a content marketing strategy and it can be as simple as using a calendar. This can be a spreadsheet, online doc, or paper diary.
  • What advice pieces can we create?
  • Consider the time of year e.g. Christmas, Easter or school holidays
  • List local events we can post about
  • Look at seasonal opportunities
  • Are we running any promotions for specific booking periods?
  • Look at a theme for a certain period – e.g. to coincide with Mothers’ Day, or a local food festival.
Once you start its pretty easy to brainstorm a whole list of topics and specific pieces that can form your content platform. You will also need to consider what medium it’s best for – your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, local or national media, or all of these. Don’t forget to include video. It’s one of the most powerful forms of delivery and all platforms are embracing it. Your videos don’t need to be long or elaborately produced productions. Once you’ve got a calendar settled it will help drive your activity and keep you focused and motivated. It needs to be flexible but with a bit of effort should help fuel your content creation. Here’s an example of what a calendar may look like: tourism Source: Webbedfeet.com.au 5. Post regularly across all channels Don’t allow your content or online presence to wither on the vine. Post regularly across all your social and online assets. It doesn’t need to be every day for each medium but you should feature regularly and make sure you are responding to messages and thanking your community for their involvement. They will like being appreciated. And, don’t forget to share… https://youtu.be/V3OJkky52c0  
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Manage your social media community before it begins to manage you. This is good advice if you’re building your social media presence and intend to use it as a useful marketing tool and a source of information for your audience including potential customers. A dedicated social media presence takes time and requires daily attention and some planning. Don’t feel you need a presence on all social media accounts, especially if your resources and time are limited (Do you really need that Pinterest account?), but narrow down the key ones to a manageable few and make a concerted effort on those. It’s better to do a few channels well than a lot poorly. Here’s some other key tips to help you save time and be more effective. Implement a content management plan A proactive social media presence requires a solid content marketing plan. Your audience will respond more positively if your content is well thought out and timely. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Maybe call it an editorial calendar and identify key dates, events, holidays or seasons. Work out a monthly plan and break it down into weeks. Is there a specific theme for the month? Is it a holiday or a summer related activity you wish to promote? Try and mix up your content so it’s not too repetitive but make sure it’s all relevant.  Indicate which platform it will be posted on and what external resources are required e.g. images, video etc. Identify your clear target audience for each post and keep them in mind when you create the content. social media Use a social media management platform There are various tools that help you manage multiple social media accounts and platforms. Some of these include Hootsuite, SproutSocial and TweetDeck. There are others but these are three popular suites that can integrate your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts (and others), enable posting to different accounts from one central dashboard, view numerous feeds and schedule posts in advance, which can be a lifesaver. These tools also have the added advantage of giving you metrics of all your accounts in one place like your reach and levels of engagement. SproutSocial also has a nifty service called Landscape for resizing an image beautifully for each social media platform. Practice social media listening Social listening is the art of listening in to conversations taking place and being willing to engage or join in the conversations. If you’re not monitoring your accounts then you will be missing out on important feedback and insights into your community and customers. It’s important to note that many customers may not say exactly what they feel directly to you or on your page; their criticism may be on an anonymous page or competitor profile. Put simply, you need to expand your efforts in just looking in the obvious places for feedback. The above companies also incorporate social media monitoring into their tools where you can monitor sentiment and search for key words or terms. Put simply, there’s no point in engaging in a social media marketing effort if you’re not going to monitor and interact with your audience. Image copyrights: rvlsoft / 123RF Stock Photo and 2nix / 123RF Stock Photo
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