Man Bites Dog

content marketing

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pick-n-mix content

The new breed of B2B customer demands more. Marketers must push the boundaries and organise content strategies around the person, not the channel.

In an always-on environment, time is precious, attention spans are short and budgets need to work harder than ever. It is widely acknowledged that prospective customers are 60 per cent of the way into the buying cycle before they will even make contact. This makes the window of opportunity to start a conversation all the more challenging.

So, what can you do to keep prospects engaged?

  1. Satisfy their Hunger for ‘Snackable’ Content

Some studies suggest the average adult attention span is 2.8 seconds. If they read content on an iPhone-sized screen, their comprehension levels drop 48% of their desktop scores.

With more and more time being spent on smaller, mobile screens, cutting down information into bite-sized chunks that can be easily grasped and quickly consumed will be increasingly important.

70 per cent of buyers claim they review four or more pieces of content prior to purchase. The whitepaper remains the most read piece of content, however 60 per cent of buyers say they don’t have time to read. In this instance, less is more.

  1. Think About The Length of Your Tail

Another good reason for snackable content is it means you can invest in a ‘long tail’ of insights and content that keeps your target audience engaged over a longer period of time – with multiple opportunities for meetings, engagement and storytelling to convert them into sales and establish yourself as a thought leader.

  1. Content is King, Relevancy is Queen

While B2B decisions are often made by multi-layered groups of people with complex interrelations, the ability to reach individual influencers and decision makers with tailored, relevant and campaignable content is an important factor in generating a competitive advantage.

  1. A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

The trend for visual content is set to continue. The Rise of the Digital C-Suite report revealed 80 per cent of business leaders are watching more online videos than ever before and 65 per cent visit the vendor’s website after watching them. The power of imagery in marketing is supported by a study on the Picture Superiority Effect, which shows that when we read text alone, we are likely to remember only 10 per cent of the information three days later. If that information is presented to us as text combined with a relevant image, we are likely to remember 65 per cent of the information three days later.

There is no right answer when it comes to creating content but be it text, imagery or video, it is essential to pick and mix assets that can be activated across multiple platforms, acting as a magnet to pull prospective customers towards your brand.

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 Fresh_winner_web_button

Multi award-winning B2B communications consultancy, Man Bites Dog, has scooped four trophies at the Fresh PR Awards 2013.

Man Bites Dog’s work with the Legatum Institute claimed gold in the ‘Freshest Not for Profit Campaign’ category and took silver for ‘Freshest Media Relations Campaign’ and ‘Freshest Strategic Campaign’.

Man Bites Dog specialises in communications for the service economy, integrating media, digital and social campaigns to deliver remarkable brand and sales impact.

The judges said: “Man Bites Dog hit exactly the right target audience, producing high quality media results arising from the clever use of data. A strong and solid campaign from this innovative team.”

They went on to describe the 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index™ as “a quality campaign which generated international coverage, way over its initial target […] delivering great aplomb to a wide target audience.”

Senior Account Manager, Alex Kent, also won one of the biggest prizes of the night, being crowned ‘Freshest Young Professional’.

The judges felt Alex was a worthy winner: “Alex clearly has ambition, drive and energy and with these qualities she goes that extra mile for her clients and colleagues.”

Claire Mason, Founder and Managing Director of Man Bites Dog, said: “We’re thrilled that our global work in partnership with the great team at the Legatum Institute has been recognised by three awards.

“Alex in particular is so deserving of her Young Professional award. I am consistently amazed by Alex’s sheer brilliance – she inspires everyone around her and she always delivers.”

The full results are now available online via http://www.freshawards.co.uk or via the Fresh Blog page http://freshawards.blogspot.co.uk/

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newspapers

You’ve spent time getting to know your target audience and to understand the challenges they are facing.

You’ve worked hard to identify an issue or angle that you know will capture their attention, and showcase your expertise or ability to solve a particular problem.

You’ve crafted insightful content around this ‘hook’ in the form of press releases, or an engaging video, or attention-grabbing infographic; and you’ve identified the most appropriate contacts and channels via which to distribute these assets, whether that’s journalists, bloggers, website editors or relevant partner organisations.

If you’ve undertaken this process effectively then you’ll enjoy the buzz of seeing your content take on a life of its own, in the form of press coverage, or online discussions and social sharing.

I’ll always remember a colleague exclaiming with delight many years ago that there’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh press coverage in the morning, and while the nature of that coverage may have evolved over the years to include digital conversations, the essence of that statement remains true. It really does feel incredibly rewarding when someone else deems your story interesting enough to publish, share and debate.

But that shouldn’t be the end of the story. Coverage for coverage’s sake is merely elaborate ego stroking. If you’re engaged in any kind of public relations activity then you need to have a clear idea of how you want your target audience to react, and what action you want them to take as a result.

Put yourself in their shoes. Does the coverage, or the write-up from a respected blogger, or the content they’ve stumbled across on their favourite social networking site make them want to take action? What’s the nature of that action? Is there a specific website they can visit, or a phone number they can call? And, equally as importantly, how will you track those actions?

If the aim is to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your main company site then are you confident they’ll find what they need when they get there? They might be interested in buying your products or procuring your services, or it could be a speculatory visit to inform future buying decisions. Either way, their expectations need to be immediately fulfilled. If it takes longer than a few seconds to understand your organisation, or find the information they’re looking for, then you’ve lost a potential customer.

To give an example: there’s absolutely no value in targeting a new market if your website doesn’t talk in their language. If you’ve previously focused on SMEs but have recently decided that larger companies are a valuable audience then it’s essential to consider the specific tone and content that will appeal to these contacts.

Structure your home page so it’s obvious where people should go next depending on who they are, and continue the journey to make sure you’re engaging them effectively. That could be encouraging them to share their details in return for exclusive content, signing up for a newsletter or requesting a call back. Do your absolute best to capture their interest in some way, or at the very least to create the impression that you can deliver what they need, now or in the future.

If you take these considerations into account when planning PR activity then you’ll minimise the risk of simply shooting into the wind, and create the right foundation from which to achieve true ROI from your comms budget.

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From the revolution of the Gutenberg press to the über interaction of today’s social media, the communications landscape is ever evolving. Amid this constant change, the importance of video as a tool for engaging business audiences is growing rapidly.

Using Video in PR

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Business leaders are increasingly technologically engaged (in some instances seemingly addicted). The growing presence of the iPad in the boardroom and the rise of ‘Crackberry’ culture (or should that be iPhone addiction now?) is evidence of this. For a time-poor, but switched-on audience, video content is an ideal medium, especially in B2B communications.

Sites like Youtube, Metacafe, Vimeo and Slideshare each have their own unique set of socially engaged audiences and comms opportunities. Alongside this, many ‘traditional’ media outlets are recognising the opportunity to engage their audiences in new ways by experimenting and developing their own video channels.

The Guardian’s recent announcement of a ‘digital first’ strategy is pioneering, but it won’t be long before this approach becomes the norm. National newspapers are investing heavily in video with the Telegraph and the FT both creating credible platforms. From a communications perspective, it’s clear video offers big opportunities, especially when many such channels are open to external content.

Top PR agencies are now au fait with online news distribution and SMNR, but video has not yet been exploited to its full extent. Video can put a ‘face’ on a story and summarise ideas quickly and in an engaging manner.  This, coupled with the falling costs of production, makes video the next logical step for adding value to PR activities.

We’ve outlined some considerations to enhance your business to business PR video efforts:

1. Get creative:

‘Going viral’ is the holy grail of high tech marketing and the same principles apply in business. Without creativity your video will languish with minimal hits and have little to no effect. Consider striking ways of making your case, create something that hasn’t been seen before and surprise your audience wherever possible. Even if you don’t ‘go viral’, developing powerful, creative content will enhance your chances of interesting what may be a small, but high-value audience.

2. Ditch the branding:

Though online media outlets are increasingly using video to supplement their coverage, heavy branding will kill-off your chances of being featured. Think of video as an extension of your content rather than an advert – it is an opportunity to add additional perspectives and personality to views and opinions. Accept that you’ll be credited in the story and settle for a quick introductory name and title banner.

3. Add, don’t repeat:

Video shouldn’t repeat what you’ve already said in other content. Use it as an added bonus to support releases, promote your thought leadership, provide extra insight and convey interesting sound bites. If appropriate, think about interviewing customers, analysts or other relevant spokespeople.

4. Make it easy to use:

It’s great to host video on your website, but using YouTube, Vimeo or another common platform will increase your opportunities to see, search visibility and potential pass-on rates. These sites provide easy-to-use embeddable HTML code, which can be included in releases and easily added to stories by media.

5.Let people know:

It may sound simple but the only way to drive interest to your video is to shout about it. Let the press and bloggers know video is available when you launch the story. Likewise, email and tweet defined audiences with key video content. Other important social outlets include LinkedIn, Ning (for niche groups), Twitter, key message boards, and any other online space your identified target group occupies.

Some other good blogs to check out are:

PR Daily
http://prdaily.com/Main/Articles/10_reasons_PR_pros_should_use_video__8710.aspx

The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jun/26/digital-first-what-means-journalism

Planet Content

http://www.planetcontent.co.uk/using-video-in-online-pr

PR newswire blog

http://blog.prnewswire.com/2011/04/26/using-video-in-social-media-and-search-engines/

 

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