An example of great content marketing by Hamleys

This is an excellent example of content marketing. Pun intended. Hamleys knows precisely what it clients enjoy, and is happy to give it away for free.

Stories being told to children at Hamleys

They keep the kids entertained, buy some incredible good will, and all but guarantee some repeat sales.  After all, what child can sit in a toy store listening to stories for an hour without buying anything?

It wouldn’t surprise me if every parent that got this was planing a trip. I know I am.

Offline ‘content’  marketing is just as powerful, if not more so, than its online counter part. If you know your audience well, developing content that gets attention will be easy.

Yes, it will require you to invest upfront and there is some risk. But hopefully cases like this will help you convince your stakeholders that investing in content is worth its weight in gold.

We got some publicity!… Now what?

Getting an article published about you in a newspaper, trade journal or online is a big feat. There’s no doubt that you put in lots of effort, and you’re going to enjoy the extra publicity. It’s not time to rest on your laurels though!

Any article published about you or your business can keep working for you long after its initial circulation has finished. Instead of just filling some space on a pin-board, you can use the articles to build your brand credibility and to give reporters a good reason to write a little more about you.

The number of articles/mentions you get in the media should also be a key metric you use for tracking your marketing agency/team’s effectiveness. Even b2b companies can benefit from media coverage.

Recording the details

The first step is to make sure that all your article details are properly recorded so that you can cite them properly. There’s nothing worse than saying “yeah someone wrote about us, but we can’t remember who”. Wikipedia has a great mechanism of citation that you can refer to, but as a general rule for any type of publicity you get, remember to capture the following details:

  • Name of the author(s)
  • Title of the article within quotation marks
  • Name of the publication in italics
  • City of publication, if not included in name of publication
  • Year&month/date, of publication
  • Volume number, issue number, and page numbers (article numbers in some electronic journals)
  • Scanned copy/pdf copy of the article itself (really handy in case the original publication disappears)
  • URL of publication (if also published online)

Your article citations should look something like this:

Blogs, Joe. “Gourmet Cooking in Hotel”. The Acme Trade Journal. New York.  1999/12/31, Vol 1, Issue 2, p3

Try to fill all the details in, but don’t worry if you’re missing a few details. It becomes considerably more difficult to get some of these details as the articles age, so it’s best to record the details as soon as the article’s published.

Building Credibility

If you have a Wikipedia page, put your articles as references or external links at the bottom of your Wikipedia page. This not only makes your business look more well established, but the chances of editors removing well cited/referenced pages is much more limited (as long as the rest of the page is still in compliance with Wikipedia policy).

At a minimum, add just the citations with a link to the online version (if available) or the scanned copy, on the Press/Media page of your website. If you don’t have a Press page, this is perfect time to create one. Journalists are always more comfortable writing about a business that’s been published before.

Shout about it

Of course, remember to tell the world 🙂 Someone wrote about you! It’s a big deal. Talk about it through all your social channels, send out an EDM. Let people know you’re a little bit more famous. The extra attention is what you’re looking for!

What are you doing to make the most of your media coverage? 

The real cost of outdated websites

Whilst I was in Bangalore I was looking for a HSBC ATM to withdraw some cash from, so I hopped onto the HSBC website (below), used the ATM finder and drove to the nearest ATM location. Here ends the good news. I spent 30 minutes and a little too much frustration looking for the ATM before I finally called the HSBC call center, who (after a few minutes of hold music) informed me that there were no ATMs in ITPL – and that the website was wrong!

Snapshot of HSBC India Online Branch Locator

I’m not entirely sure whats worse. The fact that I wasted so much time driving around and looking for the ATM (which didn’t exist), or the fact that I don’t trust the branch/atm finder service.

Rather than helping, having an outdated website causes customer frustration, and creates the wrong impression of your brand. If you can’t provide up-to-date or correct information, You’re probably better off not providing the information at all. If you’re compelled to put something online, at the very least specify the date the information was published/last-updated, so your readers have some idea as to how current & reliable it is.

If you’re building a website, keep in mind your ability to maintain it with fresh, or at least current & relevant information. If you have to maintain an existing website, and don’t have enough internal resource – or can’t get support from other departments, consider cutting back on the size of your website. It’s better to direct your customers to a fresh, well maintained, relevant but small website – than a big site, with minimal or outdated information.