How to beat Pokemon Go with content marketing

Morning thoughts
This is a cool photo from unsplash.com, a new dawn fits with the mood.

It’s 5.30 and i am sitting in my garden at dawn, under a half moon. It’s quiet apart from loud chatter from the garden birds. Easy to think at this time of the day. Another swig of freshly made coffee and I am ready to tap something out.

I was going to call this article, “How to beat the ass of Kim Kardashian,” but that does not scan right. Plus I have done Kim Kardashian’s ass before, which also does not scan right. Perhaps I should leave Kim Kardashian’s ass alone.

So I go with Pokemon Go, what can go wrong with that?

Today you are going to take Pokemon Go and beat it into the ground, at least you think you are.

Because you are going to publish a blog post, what was it called? “10 ways to blah blah blah”.

You have finally finished the article. You are happy, even though you know the blog post will fail. You are happy because you know it meets your primary goal, which is to get your dumb ass of a boss off your back.

It wont work of course because people are not interested in reading “10 Ways to blah blah blah”. But your dumb ass of a boss, the marketing manager doesn’t realise that.

As a blogger for hire, a word slave, you know that the end reader is not whom you should be pleasing. The person you need to please is your dumb ass boss, who always requires stuff to be done at the last minute, who has no thought for strategic planning or connecting up with what was produced last week. Plus each time he goes to a conference he comes back with a new technique, be it longer copy, every blog post being a list, infographics… etc.

Unfortunately no one yet has told him that content marketing is dead, that it’s more about building a better product these days. You are wedged between the ass of Kim Kardashian and Pokemon Go. Or at least your content is. In other words, no one will notice your blog post. But they will be hunting down an content to do with Pokemon Go.

The answer the marketing manager yells is “more promotion”. “Lets buy sackfuls of the stuff”. As if promotion can be bought off the shelves of the local Kwicky Mart.

“Your cousin once had a drink with that journalist on the Times,” the marketing manager yells at the social media intern. “Get him on the phone now, there’s a drink in it for you.”

But these days, unless the story is about Pokemon Go and physical injury, the journalist will not be interested.

In this scenario, when the media has moved on (as it always does) from the craze of Pokemon Go, the marketing manager yells out, “We need Pokemon Go content here people, has any one thought of an infographic.”

If this sounds like your boss, I empathise.

Content marketing is not dead.

But your content marketing is dead, or never gets seen which is the same thing. Simply because there is too much competition for the attention of people out there and no amount of promotion is going to work.

It’s no longer about the content, it’s about the product.

“But I make content,” you explain.

No, what you are really making is a product. Great content should be seen as a stand alone product. It must earn it’s right to exist in the Universe. Everything else is filler, and as a blogger for hire you know all about that.

Content marketing is seen by some as marketing the product the company is selling. This is the wrong mindset, unfortunately the marketing manager wants the company product marketed and does not care about the content, but is told that content marketing is the way. But this leads to a failed content marketing campaign, because the content is never given enough investment in time and money to work.

The often cited example of content marketing is the Michelin Guide, but this is a stand alone product. It has always stood alone with no direct competition and is nothing to do with the selling of tires.

Do you really think that content marketing with blog posts is going to achieve a successful ROI?

Blog posts can support the buying process as a consumer searches for specific, narrow, product information. But as a stand alone product that changes your emotional relationship between the consumer and the brand, c’mon, forget about it.

The solution to this problem is simple:

  1. You find what the crowd hungers for.
  2. You produce that which they desire.
  3. You feed the crowd before the competition turns up.

The content you produce must:

  1. Earn its place in the Universe.
  2. Exist in a space with no or little competition.
  3. Be conceived of as a standalone product.

Very few will get this right, and this is good because those who do will get a very tasty ROI.

I fully accept the irony of the fact that this is a blog post, which in a way it has the purpose of marketing my content marketing services. But that’s not really true, I write this because the issue has been in my mind for a number of months. I help businesses with their communication and persuasion because I enjoy developing solutions to the problems that arise.

So even if no one reads this blog post it has at least enabled me to organise and justify my thoughts.

Thus it has earned it’s right to exist.

What a Content Marketer needs to know about Pokemon Go


The new thing is Pokemon GO

Pokemon Go logo
As a content marketer it is something you need to know about, because so many people are playing it and seeking information online. It is creating a massive, rabid crowd that will devour content. Whenever these trends explode and reach critical mass there is huge opportunity for anyone who uses content creation to market their brand or business online.

What is Pokemon Go?

It’s an app you download to an iPhone or Android and uses augmented reality to direct you to places in the real world, via a map to collect stuff.

How much does it cost?

Pokemon Go is free

How does Nintendo make money from this?

It’s share price has risen during the first week of its release, increasing the value by $7.5 billion. It also has access to a huge amount of personal data.

Is it available in the UK?

No, as we publish there is no time soon that Nintendo is planning to launch in the UK. As of now, the app is only officially available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand

How popular is this?

Google trends show it’s as nearly as popular as sex. Interest in the keywords of Pokemon Go, sex, Tindr and Snapchat, over the past 30 days.

pokemon trends

When you type in “How popular…” Google suggests puts Pokemon first and Pokemon Go, 3rd.

Pokemon suggest

This from Forbes.

The data gets even more staggering. As of 48 hours ago,Pokemon GO was installed on 5.6% of all Android devices in the United States, and is installed on more Android phones than Tinder (insert “Pokemon is now more popular than sex” joke here). Not only that, but on average users are spending twice the amount of time engaged with Pokemon GO than they are on apps like Snapchat.

Can Pokemon create bad headlines?

Primal brain headlines have already been created such as “Pokemon Go player finds dead body in Wyoming river while searching for a Pokestop” Expect more of this as the media generates headlines to surf the wave of interest in this subject.

How nuts are people for this?

Anecdotal evidence suggests, “very”. Whilst your wife is giving birth to your child, a Pokemon shows up and you have to low key catch it….

pregnant pokemon player

Source

Can local business take advantage of this?

Yes.
This is big and not to be ignored because you think this is silly.
Whenever something such as this becomes this popular, if you are ahead of the curve you can create attention grabbing content and improve your brand.

pokemon stop

Source

This may do little for passing trade but this image is being used by high authority news sites. Sometimes it’s not about what the thing actually does, but about the sizzle you can create around it.

Even museums can use Pokemon Go to help them, when this museum found Pokemon and Pokestops all over their location, they took screen shots to use in their content marketing.

Museum using pokemon go

Your business may become a Pokemon stop, if this is the case you can create a Lure module to attract other players, this lasts for 30 mins and can be advertised on your Facebook or other social media page.

pokemon lure

Source

This aspect is a fast moving part of the game and more and more ways of local business taking advantage of Pokemon Go are coming to the surface as I type.

This is a fast moving story, as more people use it and they are already using it in number that are making Snapchat look, “megh”, it will be something which could potentially create massive returns for a clever content marketer.

Updates will be blogged about and sent out over the email list.

Get in contact if you need more ideas of how to use Pokemon Go to make your business message sizzle.

****UPDATE 1****

SEO consultant sacked in Singapore for complaining about the unavailability of the game in that region. Via Chris Gilchrist

Some people are so desperate to play this game they are employing a hack.
UK rollout of Pokémon Go delayed – here’s how to get it on iPhone and Android now – Guardian

Pokémon Go: armed robbers use mobile game to lure players into trap – Guardian

Intriguing response from a Dad: “I Don’t Understand Pokemon Go, But I Give It Five Stars For Getting My Dumb Son Out Of The House”

Although some of this may be made up, but even made up stuff is getting shares due to the intense interest of the story.

****UPDATE 2****

Content marketing blog posts about Pokemon GO

3 content marketing lessons from the success of Pokemon Go  Brafton.com Author, Kyle Gaw Twitter

3 Pokémon GO Lessons For Social Media Marketers addthis.com Author, Christian Brink Twitter

How Pokémon Go Is Disrupting Marketing as We Know It ama.org Author, Zach Brooke Twitter

Will Pokémon GO become a marketing platform for local businesses? clickz.com Author, Al Roberts

Pokemon Go, A Marketer’s Dream sugarspunmarketing.com Author, Jennifer Cario Twitter

How pokemon go might change marketing as we know it square2marketing.com Author, Mike Lieberman Twitter

***UPDATE 3***

If you are actually playing it as a game, (as well of researching as a business opportunity of course) you may want to check out these tips on playing.

There are some who say not every business can benefit from using Pokemon Go in their content marketing. But this is about attitude and your mindset. To be effective in creating great content you need to be able to look everywhere, you also need to be able to understand what drives crazes like Pokemon Go and be able to present viable content ideas that protect the brand and yet attract large numbers of the right kind of people.

Content marketing ideas for Pokemon Go:

Tesco could create an article that advises it’s shoppers to play Pokemon Go with safety in mind when in their stores. Highlighting the fact that whilst Tesco wants you to have fun, they care about their shoppers.

Brewdog could produce a “No drinking whilst playing Pokemon Go beer”.

An insurance website could highlight the accidents that could happen whilst playing Pokemon Go. As with the Tesco idea, highlighting that the company cares about their users and making sure the core aspects of their products are being promoted (provision against accidents).

Recruitment websites could collate stories of people spending too much time playing Pokemon Go at work and people who have resigned just to play the game. A twist could be where an employer offers Pokemon Go playing time or even an office league.

Along with the correct mindset, it’s useful to consider what journalists need for their work and how you can help them. If you have an interesting story about Pokemon Go, a journalist could benefit from using it. You simply have to promote them with the right story, at the right time.

***UPDATE 4***

A pizza joint in New York, linizio.com, has been getting a lot of press mentions by dropping a lure to attract Pokemon and claims sales are up 75%. It’s not the fact that sales are up, but the press attention is what is the real win. Create a sizzle and then create a narrative around that which highlights the original sizzle.

Pokémon Go is helping restaurants and bars make money
Pokémon Go Brings Real Money to Random Bars and Pizzerias
Gotta catch ’em all: Pokemon Go is boosting business for restaurants

Finding new ways to use Pokemon and then using it to get media mentions is an effective way to links and social mentions.

There are enough of these “how business is using Pokemon Go”, to increase brand and revenue for it to be happening everywhere. If the next phase in the roll out of the app is to focus on getting business to optimise their locations by dropping lures and other items which we don’t even know yet, then it makes a lot of sense to add this to the marketing toolbox.

We note in this article from Gizmodo that Nintendo are considering commercial tie ups with the likes of MacDonalds.

Fancy a new career as a PGO, Pokemon Go Optimiser?
it’s only a matter of time before a new job is created to help business to market using Pokemon Go and other augmented reality apps which are obviously now being talked about, could Hogworts be next. A petition for such a Harry Potter game has now been created.

More Pokemon Go links:
If You’re Ignoring Pokémon Go, You’re Making a Huge Business MistakeBusiness owners and marketers can’t afford

A useful map created by paulypresleyrealty.com, of downtown Austin, Texas. Real estate websites should approach this as a bit of fun, but also consider that it can lead to real links – such as this one – and that although a business owner may not think they are in the Pokemon Go business, they should consider that this is how marketing works online. You create and interesting bit of content and now an SEO blog in Cornwall, UK is now linking to you, adding to your Google authority and possibly giving you a bump in the rankings.
Which is a good thing.
Pokemon Go in Austin: 13 of the Best Places to Catch ’em All

***UPDATE 5***

More useful advice from content marketing bloggers.
Pokémon GO Proof Participatory Content Is A Game Changer!
Pokemon Go — Content Marketing Lessons For All Of Us
How Pokemon Go Is Paving the Way for Business
And news of who is making money out of this.
‘Pokemon Go’ could generate billions for Apple
What Pokemon Go & Snapchat Have That Angry Birds Never Did?

6 Essential tips to make your Outreach work

Outreach is for people

Implementing effective outreach is easy, but from the examples I see in my email inbox it seems that some find it difficult. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years.

Be a good human

Everything else is mechanical and about the process you use to implement the activity.

I do feel that this should not have to be explained, but it clearly does. We all know the feeling we get when what seems to be a cut and paste, cookie cutter type email lands in our inbox.

Use the persons name you are communicating with.

This is such obvious advice that I feel embarrassed to type it. But the temptation to go nuts with the many tools that are available and blast out a message at the push of a button, tempts the link builder to not have to bother with the social norms of communicating and hope that the scatter gun tactic works. Just as long as the trigger is pulled enough times.

Too much social chit chat and not enough results

The opposite of blasting out the message is one of building relationships with people, but this can also becomes less effective as people enjoy connecting and chatting, forgetting that the point of the exercise is to get the link. But building relationships with people can be very powerful, and the way to be efficient in your communication is to be self aware of when too much chat, is too much.

Show me is far more powerful than tell me

I sometimes note that people put the word “expert” in their Twitter bios. Without any other social proof all this really tells us is that they know how to spell the word “expert”. We base our opinion of someone on the activity they do and what others say about them. It’s the same with outreach, to be effective you must show you can be trusted and show that you care. And if you want to make an impression that you know what you are doing you must show that you are capable. Simply telling the people, “I am an expert in making tiramisu, does not make you an expert tiramisu expert.

Make them an offer they cannot refuse

We don’t have to invoke the horse’s head reference here to make the point. But unless you have something for the person you are trying to influence, why do you think they will do what you want? It is common in the outreach emails I get for people to use cheap psychological sales trick that even a second hand car salesmen would blush at. Such as:

“I have an amazing opportunity for you to inform your readers of our awesome product launch”.
“We are super excited to share the awesome news that you can now blog about our amazing service”.

And on and on it goes, you can fill a whole blog post with examples of this kind of nonsense. And I have to resist coming back to the sender with some snarky remark as I know they are being told to do this by their PR boss who has just nipped out for another two hour lunch with a client.

Offer something real, if it’s a guest post offer, show them the links and social success that your last offering got and make sure that you will not only Tweet about your own guest post but their next few blog posts. Be nice, be generous.

What does amaze me is that people are so stingy with their social shares as if people lose something, in reality it’s the opposite. People respond positively to those who are seen to share.

You have to grind it out and pre-pay for the boredom

Outreach is simple, but it must be done right and it must be done a lot. This means that a highly capable person must be employed to implement. Especially if communication is going back and forth with the person you are trying to influence. I occasionally reply for further information when being outreached to and am shocked at the inept replies I get back.

This is usually because the initial outreach was templated and sent out blindly and the reply is being dealt with by a poorly trained worker. This is why outreach is boring, because you have to have intelligent, socially aware, trained experts to reply to further communication.

Rarely does the initial outreach result in a win. Which is why you need a follow up plan. Of course if your plan is to mass blast as many as possible and go for the numbers, this is not important. But for brands of value this is not an option.

Conclusion
I have being doing outreach, before it was called outreach. The earliest I can think of was in 1999, when I ran a celebrity stock marketing game online and was building links to it with a picture I took of Julia Roberts. She was making the movie, Notting Hill at the time and my street was in it so I created a lot of original content.

The key is communication and persuasion, if you get that right, success will follow.

I offer an outreach service to promote content, I also offer training to help your team become better. Get in touch if you want to get more results.

Are you losing money overcomplicating content marketing?

complex

You have a finite marketing budget and every penny has to work if you are going to compete effectively. The problem is thepeople you want to reach, are greeted with a huge amount of digital noise each day and for your content to reach them it needs to do quite a lot of work.

To get your message to connect to these people, you must find some way to get their attention, get them to come to your website and get them to buy your stuff. Nothing complicated about that. One way to to achieve this is to employ a content marketing strategy.

Sounds sexy doesn’t it?

These days adding the term, “strategic” makes anything sound more powerful. “Kids, we are going to initiate a strategic, ice cream acquisition methodology that will have an intrinsic, synergistic outcome with the soda we are about to drink.”

It’s natural for any digital marketing person to overcomplicate things, this is mostly because we tend to think about the stuff way too much than is normal. We forget the simplicity and elegance that is effective content marketing.

Communication

Because at it’s most fundamental, content marketing is about only two things.

  • Communication
  • Persuasion

Everything else is fluff.

When buying content from anywhere, ask these two questions.
“How is this piece of content going to be communicated?”
“How is this piece of content going to persuade anyone?”

If the answer is overly long, or difficult to understand, then it probably wont work. For something to be effectively communicated it must be able to reach the person it is aimed at. It must cut through all the digital noise and distraction and be able to get in front of the gaze of whom it is for.

A content marketing professional will tell you that the content will be “promoted”, but what does that actually mean? How is your digital agency actually going to promote your content to the people it is designed to reach.

The truth is that content promotion should begin even before the content is conceived. Most regard promotion as a thing that happens after the content is created, however if you design the content promotion before the content creation you can make sure the content is extremely effective at achieving its promotional goals.

For example, the people who will be interested in such content, or in the problem that the content is addressing will already know what will attract them – because really it’s not about the content is it? It’s about the solution that the content solves with regards to a specific problem, such as, “Which is the best Hotel I can stay in Rome, for the least amount of money?”.

And so if you ask the people whom you are going to promote the content to, “What content are you actually interested in?”. Then you immediately know that this is what they want and not only that the person is probably going to be interested in seeing the content when it comes out.

This is a very good technique with journalists, simply asking them, “What content are you interested in seeing next week that will help you with your own work?” Is the perfect question for a deadline focused, overworked journalist.

When it comes down to it, getting your content to be properly communicated is a simple process of using techniques that are common sense and conducive to the positive interaction with your fellow human beings.

If your answer to, “How should we communicate this content?” Is simply to shout about it blindly over your social media network, it is going to be drowned out when up against content that has already been promoted to highly influential people in the creation phase.

The relationship with the individual the content is being promoted to is crucial, and should be deemed as an asset to be invested in.

But in this world of push button marketing the human relationship is often neglected and yet it is essential to the effective communication of any content.

Persuasion is where things get interesting.

First you must know what the point of your content is, what is its objective? Your content must justify its reason to exist in the Universe. It has to earn its keep. It must impact on the reader and be able to persuade them to perform a specific action, such as a retweet, or to allow them to think about something differently. For example develop a stronger emotional attachment to your brand, so next time they are thinking of buying they are more likely to buy.

Content marketing is rarely used for direct sales, although it can be. It tends to be more effective in positioning the brand in the mind of the consumer in a positive light.

This is more akin to seduction, even to romance. It is subtle and it is nuanced, but it does not have to be complicated. There are distinct steps towards a piece of content being able to persuade.

  • Desire
  • Trust
  • Resonate
  • Motivation
  • Action

Desire.
People must hunger for information that will give them the ability to solve the problem in their head.
Trust.
Your voice must be trusted, no reason to doubt your message should exist. You build trust by showing you know your subject, by caring about the people you are communicating with.
Resonate.
An individual must relate emotionally to the message, this is because a change in the state of mind must occur for things to move in the direction of motivation and an action.
Motivation
Sometimes the objective is to achieve a positive social signal, get a link or some other overt action. These should be seen as physical acts which the reader has to be motivated to perform, a click of a mouse, a few clicks of a keyboard. You need to be able to motivate the reader to action.
Action
If there is no action have you really persuaded. This is the point of the whole exercise, to initiate change. To make something happen, even if it is something internal, which cannot be seen such as a change in attitude.

Content marketing can be deep with regards to implementation and as a whole can have a lot of moving parts which have to work smoothly together. But fundamentally the technique is simple and straight forward. There is no need to overcomplicate things, unless of course your motivation is that you need to hide something.

Creating topical content is easy when on your doorstep

Control

Today the UK “Leave” campaign for getting out of the EU started their tour with Boris Johnson, the ex mayor of London in Truro, just a few minutes from where I sit typing this up.

The UK referendum on whether or not to leave the EU is creating a huge amount of content in the political space and some is seeping into where I work, which is the commercial branding sector. It is a tricky thing to use because if you take a side you alienate the other side and if your business can’t afford the added attention from taking such a stance, best to keep out of it.

Although it does feel that when people shop it’s more about the price and quality of the thing they buy, than whether or not they are pro or anti EU.

When I heard that Boris was going to be setting off from Truro in a big red battle bus, made in Germany of course, I knew it represented a chance where I could grab some unique content.

Remain

Now as I am not a political blogger you are justified in thinking, “what’s the point”. But I was able to get quite a few, professional stills and a bit of video that is unique and where I hold the copyright. This means I can now use this content to get attention, build my brand, get links and social signals.

The content created becomes an asset that I can use quite a lot in the run up to the election, and every once in a while afterwards. I can use the assets in a number of ways.

  • Contacting pro/anti groups and giving them permission to use the content in exchange for a link.
  • Examples of real time content creating, just like I am doing with this Linkedin post.
    Open a dialogue with journalists, letting them use the assets in return for good will. It’s always good to help journalists along the way.
  • Selling the assets on the open marketing. I wont be doing this with these assets as there was more than enough content created by other media people who happened to be crammed into the other bus. Also, I would get far more value by elevating my own brand.

Most find creating content very hard, but there is usually something happening on the doorstep in real time that you can tap into, and if you are the only person there who is creating content about it, all the better.

In Cornwall we have a lot of auto events, for clients who are in this space I have gone to these events creating huge amounts of original content for them to use. Having something original that others want is a great place to start in your content creation. You don’t have to work as hard on the promotion side if you do this.

I will be taking bookings for this seasons content creation that happens in Cornwall. Get in touch if you want something cool creating.

If you need to learn more about these techniques, you may want to try out my Content Mastermind Group.

I have also published this on Linkedin