Having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability
Clever, witty, or readily effective, as a speaker, speech, rejoinder, etc.
Dashingly or impressively neat or trim in appearance, as persons, dress, etc.
This isn’t a particularly easy blog to write. Of the yValues series, this is the stickiest. Telling people you’re smart is…tricky. People like to be known as intelligent, but claiming that intelligence is more often seen as hubris than informative. We certainly think we’re smart, and the clients we partner with seem not to disagree, but how do we get that point across to you, dear reader, without coming across as, well, egomaniacs?
It’s a conundrum, to be certain. But that’s what we do, isn’t it? We solve problems. Let’s give this one a try.
“Our industry is dynamic. It is imperative that our team be, and remain, smart to provide cutting-edge insights to our clients day in and day out.” —Henry Crook, Media Planner
The sum total of ymarketing’s intelligence comes from its people. Those who bolster brands tend to define them, and ymarketing is no different.
Our team wasn’t just taught; they were forged. Professionals in their own right, each member of the ymarketing family stands alone as a pillar in their field. Most of our team comes with a long list of accomplishments from within their discipline, bringing with them an independent brand of their own.
Not every person who works here is a fully blossomed flower. Our team of experts is supplemented with new blood as we occasionally welcome hungry young minds to be trained, mentored, and crafted by the very experts previously mentioned. No person is an island at ymarketing, with each group rooted in tenure and seasoned with ambition.
“Smart teams make everything a little bit easier. I rely on them to do my best work. With faith in my team, we can solve any problem, get through any obstacle, and produce quality work. I am more excited about the work I do because I learn and grow with my teammates.” —Lonna Dayhoff, Sr. Account Executive
We are smart enough to know that we are not smart enough. There is no end to education. The marketing game changes often with new technologies, methodologies, mediums, and tools revealing themselves daily. It’s not enough to have a degree or some experience – we have to adapt, constantly, regardless of the particular field we are in. It’s one thing to know what the cutting edge of technology is, but it’s another to be able to utilize it.
ymarketing is fully invested in each person that works here, encouraging a constant flow of training, education, and understanding for all industries. Is there new software available for our Paid Media Team? Let’s send them to training. A rare conference with a hard-to-access creative wizard? Book the Creative Team a flight. We expect everyone on our team to continue sharpening his or her professional toolkit, and ymarketing is ready and able to help however possible.
“New technologies are rapidly accelerating the speed at which companies can go to market. Our clients can’t afford us to be anything other than smart and evolving.” —Mark Palmer, Sr. Analyst, Analytics & Insights
As Isaac Newton said, “Only my application brings me success.” Do you know what’s better than being smart? Using that intelligence towards an admirable goal. All the training in the world wouldn’t make the ymarketing team add up to much if we couldn’t make it worth our partners’ while. We are genuinely excited by strides in our disciplines, and anxious to leverage that momentum for our clients. We do this not only because it helps to maximize our partners’ top lines, but also because new toys are fun for us to play with.
Since, as we said, the marketing space changes daily, so to do the problems that come with it. With clients across multiple industry spaces, each of those problems requires a unique solution. Every day presents a new set of hurdles to vault. To overcome those challenges effectively we depend on smart people who like to be challenged. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty.
The world of SEO is constantly changing. What SEO looks like in five years could be completely different than SEO today. What is true one year can depreciate by the next, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest industry happenings.
Let’s take a look at the trends in SEO for 2017:
Google has begun testing on their mobile-first index, which means that their results will make mobile the primary consideration of their ranking algorithm. While Google has stated that their primary index will still be a single index of websites and apps, their algorithms will use the mobile versions of a site’s content to rank pages, understand structured data, and show snippets from those pages in the results.
Google stated that those without a mobile site don’t need to worry about ranking as they will use the desktop site instead. The only drawback is that if someone does not make their site mobile-friendly they will not enjoy the mobile-friendly ranking boost.
“If your content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, and your site is responsive or a dynamic serving site, you shouldn’t have to change anything.”
“If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making changes to your site.”
“Structured markup must exist on both the desktop and mobile version.”
“If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user-agent to view your site.”
Since Google is testing their mobile index it is likely to become their official index in 2017, including a primary focus on mobile users overall. In fact, as of this writing, the Google mobile-first index has been pushed live for certain subsets of users. Google’s move towards mobile signals a shift in SEO towards the optimization of websites for the mobile experience.
During the latest SEJ Summit in New York, Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google, reinforced this idea, noting that it is important to focus on creating mobile-first content since mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches.
AMP and Page Speed
Google launched their new framework for enhancing page speed back in February of 2016. In an effort to curtail the ranking of sites that aren’t optimized, Google created a custom framework to ensure that all sites have the best-optimized page speed when loaded from their search results.
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, are a “spec to enforce the critical rendering path” as laid out in this presentation from Michael King, Managing Director of iPullRank Digital Marketing Agency. Alternatively, Ms. Ohye confirmed that it would be required to have HTTPS websites for PWAs (progressive web apps) and much of the AMP functionality on Google’s search results. She also confirmed that there are 150 million AMP pages currently in the Google index, with about 4 million new pages being created every week. This reinforces Ms. Ohye’s April 2016 SEJ Summit assertion that Google is “investing in AMP in a big way”.
An Increase in Website Implementations Featuring Sweeping Technical SEO Changes
Despite the rhetoric of some (see: “Why Modern SEO Requires No Technical Expertise”), good SEO does, in fact, require a great deal of technical expertise. Coding, code structure, website structure, optimizing site speed, and a deep understanding of several other topics are all required to be the most effective at SEO. One can concentrate on things like content and/or links alone if that’s preferred, but it is a mistake to think that those things make up SEO entirely.
Some may say that SEO is not technical. To anyone seeking to reap the most benefits from their SEO work, the naysayers are wrong. The most technically savvy SEO folks will be at the forefront of a technical renaissance in 2017 – why not be with them? This is not to say that quality content takes a back seat to technical know-how. It will be important to get both content and technical SEO right in 2017 since they work hand in hand towards a synergistic power rankings relationship.
Entities Will Become Even More Important
According to a patent filed by Google, they are working on methods to associate entities with an actual search query. Upon the integration of this kind of search protocol, when a person enters a search query it will be more likely to return results that entities associated with the query. This means more accurate search results for users and these search results can end up associating other objects with the entity in question.
In 2017, Schema.org markup will become even more important and should be heavily considered for all SEO workflows (some industries will be heavily reliant on Schema.org markup compared to others). Not only is the individual markup important, but the markup’s relationships and how it defines entity-related items on websites as well. This will become even more crucial to get right when running SEO campaigns.
New TLDs Will Become a Big Thing
.com, .net, .org – these are all known as TLDs (top-level domains). For a while, they remained the TLD kings because they were all that most people were familiar with. In the past year, however, some TLDs have seen significant growth: .nba, .you, .shop, .nike, and .open to name a few. And TLDs like .zip, .cc, .gdn, .mov, and .buy have all seen a substantial increase of usage.
As more and more people become familiar with new TLDs it will be easier to use them. While they will become more popular they will probably not be as utilized as .com. This will make them much easier to use in nabbing new online sales from a marketing and SEO perspective. It is likely we will also see the emergence of new TLD markets as a result.
As the research (and above image) shows, many domains are purchased to ensure that nobody else in a given competitive space snatches them. High trust flow and authority websites have not yet been created with these domains and there is no sign that these sites are in a development stage. It would be a good idea to check on this every few months to see just how the use of these newer TLDs is progressing.
What Should an SEO Campaign Look Like in 2017?
With the rise of mobile indexing, website owners should concentrate on making their sites more mobile-friendly, which includes AMP implementations. The mobile-first focus should help websites have a top-down development approach and take into account Google Analytics data. This development approach should include responsive designs rather than separate websites that use a .mobile subdomain. Proper implementation will allow one to modify content on the mobile site without ever touching the same content on a desktop site.
Technical SEO implementations should focus on improving site speed so that a website is faster than competitors in the same space. Development should be focused first and foremost on laying out code so that it is optimized as much as possible for both AMP and improving site speed.
Schema data types, relationships, and how they interact with one another should be a focus of optimization workflows, ensuring that the end result is increased proliferation throughout rich snippets showing up in Google search. In order to have the best possible results, it will be necessary to include research and optimization in Schema.org SEO campaigns, focusing workflows on accurate coding implementation.
Keeping up to date on the latest SEO technologies above will help any website be at the forefront of the industry, beginning with two major foundations: cross-device compatibility (with a mobile focus) and technical SEO. The more technical SEO gets, the more granularity can be expected, and the better SEO will be.
If you gathered the CEOs of every company in the world together and asked them whether or not they and their employees are driven, chances are they would reply with a hearty, “duh.”
Compulsion is how things get done. We are each propelled to make decisions every single day. Hungry? Find food. Need money? Find work. Looking for love? Find a date. Being driven is the natural way by which we move forward.
The real question is not whether or not a person or company is driven, but what is it that drives them? Sure, we all go to work every day and do what we need to do, but why? What drives us to get through the workday?
At ymarketing, we’re driven by something special… But to understand it fully, one must first look at the things that do not drive us.
“There’s a Tupac lyric that has stayed with me: ‘Never surrender, it’s all about the faith you got, don’t ever stop, just push until you hit the top.’ That’s the drive every single day – reaching the top.” —Miguel Estevez, Jr. Systems Engineer
Money. It’s not about the paycheck here. Don’t get us wrong, paydays are great days, but that’s not why we’re at ymarketing. Our team could find a check at any number of other agencies.
Fear. There probably aren’t too many folks who would admit to it, but fear (particularly fear of failure) is a powerful motivator. Many people do what they do for validation, or as compensation for something – all of which is based in fear. It’s possible to achieve great things with fear as a driving force (or even money for that matter), but the goal in those cases isn’t to be great at something, it’s to not be bad at it.
“Being driven means, to me, that you are so passionate about something that you chase it, hunger for it, find ways to evolve it and make it better.” —Adam Ortman, Performance Media Strategist
It’s not money, shame, or fear of failure… So what is it that drives the team at ymarketing?
Autonomy. The people who make up ymarketing are inspired to remain individuals; the things that make us unique motivate us.
We did not stumble into our respective disciplines. Nobody is here by accident. Spend some time with the people at ymarketing and you’ll find that everyone is exactly where they want to be. The passion for our craft – to continually learn about it, understand it, and improve it – is the reason each of us does what it is we do. That individual passion permeates every action we take; it consumes us wholly.
“Keep working and fighting for your personal goals (not the ones someone else sets for you). It’s going to be hard, but you can never give up on you.” —Ashley de la Rosa, Digital Designer
The autonomy within our craft is embraced at ymarketing, never muted. While we continue to develop individually as designers, analysts, production experts, and more, we enhance the abilities of our team as a whole. We are driven to remain individually sharp, well informed, and at the ready for change.
And here’s why that matters: ymarketing is always evolving. We’re adapting and changing to adjust with each announcement of new technology, every update to our various toolkits, and the constant ebb and flow of the way the world does business. We do this not because we are driven by finance or some personal insecurity, but because we, as individuals, love what we do, and as a team we do it well.
Earlier this month we posted a blog about family. While the company as a whole did just fine in 2016, our family had a truly monumental year. We had marriages, life changing trips across the globe, intimate moments of connection between friends and families, and even a few fresh new humans brought into the world.
We asked our team to share their favorite moment from 2016. Here’s what they said:
Thank you to everyone who made 2016 the year it was.
Families are amorphous. There is not one set style of family. Parents, siblings, and friends come in all shapes and sizes, sometimes related by blood and sometimes not. Different families behave in different ways, each with their own set of customs, rules, and beliefs. The relationship dynamics between various members of any given family are not unlike thumbprints, unique to the participants.
What is acceptable in one family might not be for another, and vice versa. For example, if a couple of brothers grew up pranking one another and, at one time, hypothetically of course, the eldest brother locked the youngest brother in a dog kennel for several hours until their parents returned home, some might see that totally fictional scenario as mean, while others could view this absolutely made-up and not-at-all-real-to-the-writer-of-this-blog moment as laughable through the lens of history.
Different strokes for different folks, right?
“Being family at ymarketing means that I have 60+ supporters cheering me on to succeed in my career, both personally and professionally. At ymarketing our family is so tightly knit that no matter where you turn, you have a friend to laugh with, grow with, and ultimately, experience life with.” —Chelsea Vogt, HR/Recruiting Associate
To define “family” is to build a wall around a constantly changing, ever-evolving cluster of relationships that seems to evade entrapment. And yet, when we talk about family, we understand the closeness, dependability, and enjoyment implied.
When ymarketing mentions family as a value we use it as an adjective, a word that describes the nature of our relationships with one another and our clients.
Among its peer values (caring, driven, fun, and real) family is the easiest to slip into at ymarketing. The luster of camaraderie is undeniable among those who work here. Relationships are fostered through honesty, embracing the things that make us different from one another while founded on the tenets that unite us.
“My Italian mom and I got into an argument one time where she ended up launching a perfectly juicy sausage my way, hitting me in the head. We had an awkward dinner that evening but after some of her amazing crumb cake, we kissed and made up. Even though the ymarketing family isn’t blood, we spend a lot of time with each other. That’s important. We care for the work of our clients and the work that we do for them. It can be tense. Stuff happens. It’s okay to throw a sausage as long as you kiss and make up.” —Peter Corsello, Account Director
With our clients the bond remains. Sure, we don’t see clients as often as we see one another, but we generate relationships that pick up where they left off every single time. Those awkward moments you experience when you don’t see someone for a while and you don’t know what to say? Yeah, we don’t have that. Our clients excite us. We are enthusiastic to see them as much as we are to keep in touch with them. The only thing more exciting to us then developing relationships with our clients might be the pride we wear when we help their business succeed beyond precedent.
Something else found in almost all families is making up after a disagreement. When you live with someone you’re bound to butt heads – the same is true of working together. Maybe DJ forgets to put his dishes in the sink, which really annoys Chelsea. Perhaps Manny takes his shoes off and forgot to thoroughly scrub his toes the night before, driving Kingsley’s olfactory sense into a rage. (Like the completely untrue brother-in-a-kennel example above, these examples absolutely never happen.) Whatever the reason, gripes occur.
And that’s okay.
“On some days we spend more time at work than we do at home. It helps that we enjoy one another’s company and have become extensions of each other’s families.” —Penny Laris, Senior Media Planner
The trick is to air out frustrations, find a resolution, and move on amicably. Disagreements happen with one another and with our clients, but we’re family so we can make up and move on. We don’t do this out of obligation, but because we genuinely care for one another and hope that we can build each other up as often as possible.
The definition of “family” is tricky. It’s a term that continues to spark great debate across the globe. But there are ideals common to all familial relationships that can be found here at ymarketing. It’s important to us that those ideals remain standard across the links of every relationship we develop. Family is a priority at ymarketing, even if we can’t define it. We just… feel it. Work with us and you will too.
*In reference to ymarketing, this particular definition may, at times, be false.
A little while back we had our Sr. Copywriter sit down with our CEO for the first of a series of interviews with some of ymarketing’s heavier hitters. You can digest it as text, or listen to it in the embedded video below. Either way, enjoy (and let us know what you think).
Hey there. I am James Ninness, Senior Copywriter at ymarketing, and we are talking with– Well, I’m going to let you introduce yourself. That’s the first question: Who are you?
Yeah, hi! I am Ryan Lash. I founded ymarketing back in 2002 and I am our Chief Executive Officer.
Nice. We’re starting at the top.
So, second question, and this one is probably vague so feel free to dig in wherever you want, but what is ymarketing, specifically to you? Not, ya know, what we put on the company branding materials, but to you, what is ymarketing?
That’s a good question because ymarketing has taken the shape of a few different forms over the years. To me we’ve always been a source of assistance for our clients to help get them to the next level using technology-enabled, sometimes disruptive, media channels; things like search engines and social media platforms. And now it’s “the internet of things”: cool content, that sorta stuff. But to me it’s a living and breathing organism that is complicated because of the dynamic nature of people in teams that come together and collaborate to make things happen. And it’s my first family that I started and it’s been growing up in a fast way, which is scary but exciting at the same time.
Has it grown up in a different way than you anticipated?
Yeah. Early on the notion of a, call it “digital marketing agency,” or something to that effect, didn’t really cross my mind. That wasn’t the purpose. We were here to help our clients grow their businesses. That happened to be through disruptive technologies and the word “agency” sort of came along for the ride as a label. I never really liked it, but that’s what our clients thought we were, so I kind of went with it.
Nice. Now, you’re a father. You have two children?
Yeah, I got two kids–
Which is your favorite?
Well there’s no favorites when it comes to kids. My favorite’s whoever’s behaving at the time.
So why do you think companies need a digital agency? What makes us relevant today?
Well, we live in a world that changes every second. Technology is advancing at an exponential pace these days and it’s very challenging to stay on top of it. More importantly, to understand what opportunities that presents to our clients and a lot of our clients don’t have a deep bench of subject matter experts within their own organizations. And so it’s a good solve to extend your team in a very broad and deep way from a digital or technological perspective to up their marketing game, to essentially become smarter marketers by collaborating with us.
Nice. Now let’s say the digital agency thing didn’t work out 14 years ago. Where is Ryan Lash today?
If it didn’t work out with ymarketing I would probably be at a different agency of sorts, either standalone or in-house at a client’s. But doing something that’s challenging or rewarding on a daily basis.
You’re the CEO. What does that mean to you?
Well, it means a few things… First and foremost the buck stops here, for better or worse. That means I sometimes have to make some tough decisions. But for me, what I really enjoying doing is, looking into my crystal ball through strategic planning of sorts and ensuring that we have an aligned long-term vision and we’re all following the same north star as an organization, because it’s really hard to stay focused on that when you’re lost in the day-to-day client deliverable game called “business as usual.”
In your experience what surprises the clients you’ve had the most about ymarketing; their expectations versus what they actually get from us?
I think a lot of clients have been surprised by how impactful we can be even though we’re not a 10,000-person shop. And that comes through agility, by staying ahead of the curve, understanding “what’s next,” and holding hands to help bring our clients’ businesses forward. I’ve seen a lot of cases where we surpass results from other agency programs, or even dethrone other agencies because we’re, from day one, able to move a lot faster, generating better results.
And is that because we’re a more nimble team, you think?
Yeah, it’s a combination of nimbleness but also getting a very clear understanding of our clients’ businesses and their objectives. But also having a lot of control in terms of their own customers’ experience as a user, if you will. Understand what touchpoints are critical in influencing their path to purchase, but controlling both the media elements and also the creative or development elements – call it “paid” and “owned media,” which I’m starting to dislike from a terminology perspective – but by having the ability to influence those experience, and most importantly optimize them, we’re able to do things a lot fast and efficiently than other organizations.
What is your favorite thing to eat?
I’m a big fan of Mediterranean food; specifically the Lebanese genre of Mediterranean food and it’s because of their hummus. It’s different than a lot the run-of-the-mill hummuses[?], if that’s even a word. Some are made with just garbanzo beans. They tend to add a little bit of lemon and the right type of olive oil, to just create the perfect blend of hummus, which I seem to crave more often than not.
Now I am also craving hummus… What is your favorite part of your job?
The ability to make things happen. I’m truly driven by results, so when we do great things and we take a look at them and see how amazing some things are, I’m really excited and encouraged by that.
I like the ability to, to shift gears very quickly if things- if there’s a better, call it opportunity, or a different way to do something, or to just create something new because it didn’t exist before. As a very creative thinking organization we have the ability to come up with better solutions, test them to see if they’re going to be effective, and if we pass these tests, or if they become, call it “statistically significant,” we can roll them out across the organization or within our clients’ organizations on many different levels. So the fluidity is very exciting. We can come to work with new clay to play with and mold it into whatever we want.
And what is your least favorite part of your job?
Employee reviews. There’s gotta be a better way.
Where will you and ymarketing be in ten years?
We’ll be part of something a lot bigger. We’ve got a lot of grandiose goals. We do a lot of work today in the healthcare and automotive spaces, which are great because they kind of- they’re very complimentary in terms of client expectations and the type of campaigns we roll out, the speed and scale… In ten year though, we’ll be in ten different verticals, like healthcare and automotive, but other categories like pharmaceuticals, insurance, retail, and probably some new verticals that don’t exist today because they’re all being disruptive- being disrupted by technology and those technologies will disrupt each other and so on and so forth. But we’ll have a very great depth of clients in their own respective industries to work on as a team and to learn from and cross-pollinate with and we’ll have a lot recognition for doing so. I believe we’ll have won Ad Agency’s Agency of the Year at least once over the next ten years. And the future looks bright. We’re going to be a part of something a lot bigger and greater than we have today, which is very exciting.
ymarketing does a lot of philanthropic work. Why is that so important to you?
Well it’s great to show up to work or to the office and continue to do great things for our clients and to help each other… But there’s always a third leg to that stool, if you will, that really helps you sit up and that’s giving back to the community. And we’ve always had a dedicated corporate social responsibility program in place at different levels with the help of team members that volunteer their time, but it’s very important that we give back in a big way. I always refer to it as good karma. But we are part of a community in Orange Car- Orange County, California. And the community is very supportive of us as a business, and I feel that we have an obligation to give back. But more importantly it just feels really good.
Awesome. That’s it! Thank you for talking to me today.
True; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent.
Existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious.
Being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary.
Being actually such; not merely so-called.
Genuine; not counterfeit, artificial, or imitation; authentic.
Unfeigned or sincere.
Informal. Absolute; complete; utter.
ymarketing embraces authenticity. It’s a value that can simultaneously challenge and encourage. When someone who is “real” tells you that you’re doing a thing well, it can mean the world, particularly when that same person has provided opportunities for improvement in the past; appreciate the bitter to enjoy the sweet. Whether it’s with our clients, for the company, or amongst the people who work here, being real may be our most prized value.
We talk a lot about results. Our clients know that we pride ourselves on generating tangible solutions that impact business. Those results come with hard work and can, at times, require a bit of flexibility on the part of the client. Nobody likes to hear that they need to adjust their expectations, or reassess their marketing collateral, or investigate a rebranding… These can be timely and costly, but when properly executed they can mean the difference between exceeded expectations and mediocre results.
“Being ‘real’ means saying it how it is and not holding back, which I’m very good at by the way.” —Alice To, Performance Media Manager
ymarketing wants our clients to succeed (after all, their thing is our thing). To achieve the results we all want, honesty is crucial. It doesn’t really matter what someone wants to hear – the truth is the truth. We don’t offer fluff or Band-Aid solutions. ymarketing is here to help our clients achieve their goals and we develop the right plan of action to do just that.
Have you ever tried on a new outfit that you thought looked cool and showed it to someone whose opinion you trust, only to have that person tell you it looked ridiculous? Were they right? That’s the honesty we expect from our team.
“At ymarketing, being “real” means being your authentic self, without fear of reprobation, and thriving in whatever environment you find yourself in.” —Muhammad Ali, Analytics & Insights Manager
We are a team of creative folks with varying ideas on how things should be done. We are constantly refining, improving, and realigning our processes and expectations. To do that effectively we require a team capable of quick, honest, and reliable feedback. That feedback can feel…brutal, especially if it’s your idea that is being criticized. On the flipside, there is no better feeling than a team you trust supporting your suggestions.
Speaking of our team, the individual women and men who make up the body of our family are just as demanding as the clients or the company – perhaps even more so. Each ymarketing employee is carefully selected and tasked according to their professional strengths. We work tightly together and we’re always working to hit landmarks before handing projects off to the next department, leaving little time for indecision.
“ ‘Come as you are.’ Yes, it’s an old Nirvana song, but it’s also the ymarketing vibe. We have employees from all walks of life. They bring their individuality and flare to work with them every day.” —Alex Franks, Sr. Systems Engineer
There is a great amount of trust in one another’s expertise. ymarketing works hard to hire the very best we can find, which bolsters faith in each other’s ability to function at a high level. We rely on one another to provide honest feedback according so that the all employees can provide the greatest service possible. Our cornerstone is one of trust, faith, and sincerity.
We thrive on real.
It starts with individual integrity, a trust bred from sincerity amongst employees. The ymarketing brand leverages that group-trust into an authenticity, breeding dependability wherever we go. And as a dependable company committed to results, our clients benefit from genuine insights and recommendations. ymarketing’s success is directly tied into our interpersonal and professional ability to be real. We’re pretty proud of that.
0r How to Make Sheep Farming Even More Interesting
More businesses than ever are investing in content and content marketing. These days they’re one of the most effective ways to strengthen SEO and generate online brand awareness. But what’s a brand to do if they perceive their industry as, well, boring?
We’ve put together a few starting points that can help you generate content ideas for your brand. Whether you’re a niche boutique, a large B2B corporation, or (for the illustrative purposes of this post) a sheep farmer, these steps should get you started.
What You Know
When it comes to content ideation, starting close to home is usually the easiest. Take what you know and use it to solve problems for your customers or audience.
Even if they aren’t the ones creating content, your employees are on the front lines and are likely the greatest source of content for your business. By tapping sales teams, customer support teams, or any other group of employees that engage with your customers, you can discover a wealth of information about your customer’s needs. Meet with your teams and find out what questions they’re being asked the most. Look for common themes or pain points that customers are experiencing and develop content to answer those questions. Chances are that before they talked with your employees they tried to find a solution online.
“Who shears your wool?” “The baa-baa.”
Proprietary Knowledge & Insights
Regardless of your business type, you are bound to have information related to your industry that might be of interest to your customers or peers. When thinking of content opportunities look at what’s happening in your business: Are you seeing a trend in your market that nobody else is discussing? Do you have data that tells a story about your customers or product? These can be great content opportunities that only you have the insight into, and if it’s of value to your customers or your industry it’s bound to benefit your business. Our sheep farmer may want to share how much wool a single sheep nets.
Fun fact: The fear of being nude is called gymnophobia.
While this tactic is often suggested, it’s still an area many businesses overlook. Your own website analytics and tracking can be a great place to find useful content ideas. Looking at data in tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console give you a direct line-of-sight to the keywords people are searching to get to your website. Do those keywords align with the content that is being delivered? If not this may be an opportunity. Take it a step further if your site offers search functionality and leverage the data to see if your content fulfills the needs of those searching within your website.
“They’ll never see this coming…”
Topics Parallel With Your Business or Product
More great opportunities for content creation are the things that are happening around you. Identify ways to work with that content and spin it to your benefit. While these pieces are usually better at targeting higher in the funnel, they tend to be great ways to generate buzz around a brand.
Pop culture is always a great place to look for content ideas. What’s popular? What are people buzzing about online? Is there an angle that your business can take to speak to this popular thing and tied it back to your brand or product? (Spoiler: There almost always is.) Think outside of the box. Find the lowest common denominator and give people a reason to appreciate your efforts. Whether it’s a lengthy retrospective on a complicated issue, or a quick joke to make people smile, get your brand out there. It’s an election year, so our sheep farmer can discuss presidential events featuring sheep, like when President Woodrow Wilson used a flock of sheep to keep the White House lawn manageable.
President Wilson: green before it was cool.
Another great content opportunity is seasonal trends. Are there certain holidays or events that lend themselves well to your brand or product? Explore these, and again, think of an angle your business can take to tie your brand or product into the happenings of that season. Need some help? In the age of social media, not every holiday has to fall on the calendar… Almost every day is a hashtag for something; from the serious (#NationalHumanTraffickingAwarenessDay 01/11/16) to the lighthearted (#NationalUglyChristmasSweaterDay 12/16/16), there is something for your brand to connect with. With Halloween season upon us, our sheep farmer might want to do a fun post on horror films featuring sheep. Silence of the Lambs anyone?
“It gets the wool sheared off its skin…”
“…Or it may overheat again.”
In Demand/of Critical Importance
Exploring critical issues or topics that your business may be able utilize, or help create solutions for, is another way to generate content. Are things happening in the world that people are concerned with, or pressing issues that your company is working to support? If so, there are content opportunities here. How do your company’s business practices, products, employees, or policies impact or align with these goings-on? Tell a story that aligns your brand with the issue at hand and engage with an audience looking for businesses like yours. Sustainable energy and the environment are popular topics both in and out of an election season. Did you know that sheep are being used to help maintain solar farms and keep grass and plants from overtaking solar panels?
Thankfully the sheep don’t jump very high.
While content ideation can be difficult, it’s not impossible. Sometimes it takes a little extra digging beneath the surface to find some of the topics that are slightly less obvious, but can be a hit for your business. If executed well, strong content can help generate brand awareness, and if you’re lucky, backlinks and social shares for your website.
ymarketing got a facelift recently. Well, “recently” like, four months ago. We’re only just announcing it because our ducks were all over the place and we wanted them in a nice, clean row before we started chatting about it. Said ducks are now in said row and we’re ready to share.
The branding has been touched up. We’ve got a fresh green in our logo with collateral across the board to match. We’ve prepped our logo bug to take a bit more of our brand’s weight in an effort to maintain simplicity whenever possible (for a great example of this, check out the top of our homepage). And we’ve got a favorite new phrase around the office: Your thing is our thing. It’s a mantra that sort of wraps up what we do with our clients day-to-day.
If you haven’t already, click around our website (which is, we’re assuming, where you’re reading this). Check out US to learn more about ymarketing the company; dig around YOU if getting in touch with us is something you’d like to do; WE is where you’ll learn a bit more about the people behind ymarketing; and, ALL is a great place to see a small sampling of the work we’ve done/can do.
The last thing we’d like to share with you is our brand video. ymarketing started in 2002 and, for whatever reason, we haven’t had one of these. We’re pretty proud of it. Because it’s been a few months since it came out and we’re only just announcing it, we put together a “bubble-up” version with morsels of behind-the-scenes trivia you might enjoy. Check it out:
Thanks for catching up with us. We know you have a lot of options when it comes to internet ramblings and we appreciate you choosing ymarketing.