A Strategy for Content and Advertising

I’ve been thinking about content, advertising and social media recently and have shared the following guidance verbally with a few people, so it’s time I write it down and share it.

My guidance to get the most out of your content, especially if you are focused on brand management, brand strategy and how they can work in the online world. The following is high-level, since each topic includes a wide variety of strategies, goals and tools. However, this can be a good starting point for you:

  1. Have an editorial calendar that makes sense for your brand. Think of holidays to align your brand to, days of the week, number of times per month, and so on.
  2. Using your content management system (CMS), publish your content (text, images, video) to your site. This could be your blog, your brand’s own web site, or wherever you deem is your primary repository for content. A few services that run in the cloud on Windows Azure include Umbraco, SiteCore, Kentico, and Composite C1 
  3. Use a URL shortening service for the URL to your new piece of content. Such as http://ow.ly/ or http://bitly.com/. These will give insights as to where the URL is being shared.
  4. Share that short URL to the different social networks, but time it so you get the maximum benefit. You should do your own testing to determine that, but Dan Zarrella just shared some great data via his blog that gives you starting point. For example, share on Facebook and e-mail on Saturdays, but Twitter on Friday. See http://danzarrella.com/infographic-how-to-use-contra-competitive-timing-for-more-retweets-likes-comments-and-clicks.html for the details. 
  5. While this content is being posted and shared, run advertisement in parallel that is obviously related to the content with elements such as color, imagery, tone of voice or content. I of course suggest using http://advertising.microsoft.com, but I admit to being a bit biased since I work at Microsoft.
  6. Measure the traffic to your content and advertising and where it’s coming from so you can optimize for the next time.

Once you figure out the right tools, services and the process that works for your brand, you could build a custom service to automate the publishing, URL shortening, sharing at the right time, publishing/purchasing advertisement and reporting of the results. This would then allow you to focus more on the content and less on the infrastructure.

Do you have any other suggestions? 

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Combining Technology and Marketing

A favorite topic of mine is creative (and fun or useful) marketing solutions that are built on the latest and greatest technologies. Related to this, my colleague at Microsoft, Adee Wada, just posted a blog entry about how marketers need to create or update their smartphone and table strategies. These are still new channels for many marketers, and what you can do with them makes them quite interesting. As Dan Heaf, Digital Director at the BBC said:

‘..the context is different, the interactions different between devices and screens. Those that understand that are poised to succeed.’

Adee and others make note of the need for good design with high-quality back-end system that, when working together, create great consumer experiences. From Microsoft, this means building with SDKs for:

  1. Cloud computing: Windows Azure
  2. Native Mobile Apps: Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8

Read the full article: CONTEXT MATTERS – Building Blocks for your Multi-Screen Strategy