Tick Yes Blog

Category - Content Marketing

F is for Fast

In the beginning there were books. You may have heard of them, they’re made up of ink and paper, come in different sizes and vary in depth. Some you can finish in a day or so, others take weeks (depending on your attention span). The interesting thing is that you read from point A all the way through to point Z. “What a linear and boring way of reading”, the modern tech-savvy netizen of today might say, bored out of his mind from the sheer thought of having to concentrate on one thing for more than a couple of seconds.
We read differently today than how we did before the Internet came into our book-reading lives. The fact is that people tend to go online in order to avoid traditional reading, word-for-word. How many websites did you visit before you got to this blog? One? Two? A hundred? Some Internet users visit thousands of websites each month – that sums up to crazy amounts of information consumed, which potentially results in a shorter attention span and a lack of patience. Though not breaking news, it’s one of those things that marketers will always have to struggle with.
You may have heard of the F-shape. This is supposedly how we read online; you could think of this as “F for fast”. First there is a horizontal scan followed by a second horizontal scan, and then a vertical scan to the left of the screen. Translated into actual online practice, the F-shape could equal “heading-top menu-index” or if the page shows an article; “first paragraph – second paragraph – quick overview”. This is of course a basic rule of thumb, as everyone is different.
High school students and professors alike, they all tend to skim read the information rather than take a ‘deep dive’. Does this mean that netizens of today are lazy? Not necessarily, but they are free to do what they want – that’s the magic of the Internet. Freedom allows people to choose what information they want, as a matter of fact it’s essential. There is so much information and yet so little time and patience. So how can your content catch the attention of all those free souls out there? Be clear, direct and provide as much information in as few words as possible.

        Use bullet-points as they provide key information, giving the reader a quick overview;
        Present key information up front with a summary. If you’ve ever had to read or write an academic essay, then you know that an abstract is your best friend. Readers are looking for that key piece of information – help them find it;
        Use informative words, and use them early on. The first two words in every title, heading or paragraph are the most important (plus this is better for SEO);
        Be smart, but not too smart. Writing riddles will have readers abandon your website in an instant;

It goes without saying that your website needs to follow suit, otherwise the best writing and all of the world’s knowledge won’t help you. Reduce the page size to help it load faster, use logical menu tabs and headings, or simply don’t write anything at all – using video is a great example of how you can provide lots of information in a visual format.
Always take two important F-words into consideration; Fast and Freedom. Make it easy for online readers; remember that they are free to leave you at any time.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: heartharmony.com.au, bdb.co.uk

Just Add Happiness – Coca Cola Marketing

You’ve read posts like this one before – it’s about Coca Cola’s marketing campaigns and why they’re great. We love the way that the soft drink company has raised the standard for content marketing – not so much using content as a tool, but as a marketing strategy altogether. Recently we’ve had the pleasure to see a couple of new interesting campaigns, more often than not including the famously loved vending machine. Here’s a pick from Coca Cola’s momentous archives:

      The invisible vending machine (above); this vending machine was built into a wall and camouflaged. It would only become visible if a couple passed by, asking them their names (which would show up on the wall when told) and offer them a bottle of coke;
      The “hug me” vending machine; this one offered bottles of coke in exchange for hugs;
      The Christmas vending machine; the day before Christmas, this vending machine located in Argentina would open up a secret door when people put money into it. This would give them access to a snowy, Christmas decorated room housing Santa Claus;
       The happiness vending machine; these ones appeared at a number of locations and could as well be called the “gives-away-lots-and-lots-of-free-stuff” vending machine. People who interacted with the machine got free coke, surfboards, skateboards and pizza among other things, provided by the machines anonymous inhabitants;
       The dancing vending machine; this one had people dance for free coke;
       The transformer; this one wasn’t really a vending machine, but a person dressed as a transformer capable of turning into one (the ad was so great we didn’t want to leave it out!);

Some of you probably see a reoccurring theme in some of these videos; give away free stuff and people will love you. This is true to some extent, who doesn’t love free stuff? But Coca Cola does more than that. The people in these videos only expected a bottle of coke, but ended up enjoying something out of the ordinary instead.
Coca Cola makes the consumers in each campaign feel special (not EVERY machine out there will hurl free stuff at you), and the company get to use their reactions for some unique and compelling content. By making more of a happening out of these campaigns, they create an “I was there” kind of discourse, having people from Hong Kong to Argentina discussing the brand. This way, consumers come to look forward to the company’s next move.
We may all have different takes on Coca Cola, but you’ll have to admit that they have made their marketing into an art. “Happiness” is a keyword, showing that they know what advertising is all about. A great ad will leave that positive imprint and association – having you come back for more.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs. 
Image & video courtesy: thedrum.com, Youtube; Coca Cola, Openhappinesskorea

Keep it Simple Part 1 – A Customer’s Perspective

Remember when the decision making process was less complex? Maybe it never was, but isn’t it a little trickier nowadays, you know, with this global network called the “Internet”, presenting all possible options plus one extra? Back in the old days when there were two brands of shampoo to choose from, one for men and the other one for women – shopping was bliss. Now there are thousands, and by the gift of the Internet, customers have instant knowledge access to most probably all of them.
You’ve all heard the expression “information overload”; it’s one of the hazards of the digital age. This is not just something that critics of modern society made up to scare kids away from the computer and into the playground. Studies show that humans in fact do have limited information processing abilities. With too much information entering our brain, our ability to make good decisions is notably hindered.
Variety is great however. Customers are more in control – they’re well informed and have the ability to pick the best option from a wide selection of products and services. This indirectly benefits the companies due to customers disregarding the less honest brands. It’s more likely therefore that the last man is the one who actually knows what he’s talking about and how best to ‘walk the talk’.
Back in the days when there were only a couple of brands to choose from, there was less pressure for companies to spend endless hours creating a marketing campaign that cost more than Victoria Beckham’s wardrobe. On the plus side however, diversity has created a more caring society where customers really matter.
Moving on – diversity may be a good thing, but that doesn’t make it easier for people to choose what shampoo to buy, quite the opposite really. Or forget about shampoo, how about which university to go to, what stock to invest in, where to cut ones hair? Some decisions, if made incorrectly, could mean utter disaster (or at least major inconvenience and a bad hair do). So how do we make good decisions in a world filled with information?
There are two different kinds of decision makers that you need to know about; maximisers and satisficers. A maximiser will make sure that he or she has considered every single option before making a decision. A satisficer will however settle for the first option that fits the bill/need. One may assume that being a maximiser is the way to go, but according to Psychology Today, maximisers tend to be less satisfied with their decision. The downside of knowing all of your options is that you also know what you’re giving up. So maybe the maximiser tactic should be saved for those super important decisions (and not which shampoo to buy).
So if your customers are struggling with indecision, chances are that they’re using one of the following strategies to make up their minds – they could for example:

      Divide the options into different aspect categories (this shampoo smells good, this one is cheap, this one is eco friendly), then pick the best choice from each category and narrow down the preferences until only one item remains;
       Consider two products at a time. The winner of each “round” will face the next opponent until no more opponents remain;
       Find the worst alternative and throw it out – then keep at it until the best option remains;
       Simply go for a brand they recognise.  For the customer, selecting what they know may not be the best alternative on this list, but it works really well for making quick decisions. This is why it’s so important to create brand awareness among consumers (as discussed here).

Having too much information can be just as frustrating as a lack of it, plus few customers can handle the wrecking ball of information being launched at them every day (excuse the Miley Cyrism). Knowing that customers have limits and are forced to use different strategies to cope with what indecision gives you, Mr Marketer, an understanding of why you need to keep your marketing strategy as simple and clear as possible to cut through the clutter.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: magneticresume.com, indezign.net

How Personal can Digital Get?

When was the last time you received a letter? It’s an old-school form of communication, true, but we dare you not to feel sappy should you ever get one in the mail. A letter demonstrates the personal effort someone has gone to actually sit down, pick up one of those “pens” they still sell in Kikki K, and place their feelings and thoughts on paper.
You may have heard of Sinead O’Connor’s open letter to Miley Cyrus late 2013. The letter was a reaction to Cyrus’ statement that her controversial video “Wrecking Ball” was inspired by the Irish singer-songwriter’s “Nothing compares 2 U”. O’Connor decided that as the older and more experienced of the two (she’s 47, Cyrus 21) she was in a position to warn the pop-star, all “in the spirit of motherliness and with love”, about the dangers of “prostituting” herself.
It backfired, as Miley Cyrus didn’t appear to like being considered a practitioner of the world’s oldest profession or a puppet to the music industry. She released some of O’Connor’s old tweets from when she was in a bad mental state – claiming her to still be unstable. O’Connor replied with another letter, minus the motherliness and the love, and then another, and another…
What (probably) started out as a well-intended warning from one artist to another, ended up in a large scale feud including the rest of the world. Why send a letter, one might ask? As mentioned before, it’s personal. Ok, then why send an open letter? You can still be personal, but you’ll also get an audience. Every Tom, Dick and Harry can vent their opinions on Twitter for everyone to see, that’s the general idea of social media, but the form of the classical letter makes the message seem more sincere while being something out of the ordinary nowadays.
Open letters have been published in droves, that secret was discovered long ago, but as a form of communication it still catches people’s attention. Open letters may be addressed to a specific person, but as a third party, we get to listen in – and there’s something exciting about eavesdropping.
So the personal aspect of the open letter is a lie. It’s just another blog post in silver wrapping. The O’Connor/Cyrus correspondence wasn’t just a clash of values; it was a clash of generations. O’Connor tried her best to reach out to a woman of the social media age with a (for her generation) valued form of communication. In the end, she was mocked, mainly because of the content, but also for her choice of medium in a time when speed is king – busy pop-stars don’t write, they tweet (and twerk in this particular case).
So how personal can digital get? Not very, one would say. You can send a private message through most social media platforms, or simply send an email, but part of the emotional trace gets lost in translation from handwritten to digital. Maybe the main reason we get sentimental when receiving a handwritten letter is the fact that someone actually took the time to make something – just for you.
What do you think? Can digital get us as personally connected to others as a letter can?
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image courtesy: lettertohumanityproject.blogspot.com, familius.com

The Art of Tweeting #2

Or, 4 Very Good Reasons Why No-One is Following You

Hello! You’re here again. You took our advice and started a Twitter account? Well bravo. But you’re having a problem? Okay, well let’s take a look at your problem. Hmm, so you can’t seem to get any sort of followers on Twitter? That’s troubling since on a social media website like Twitter, having a profile which thrives on the love of followers is a necessity. Although we do recommend turning it off and on again, let’s take a deeper look at what may be the cause of the problem.
Not Focusing on Appearance
Twitter allows you to completely change the background and the display picture of your profile. That’s why make sure to take the time to place your logo or  Company colours on the profile. This allows viewers to connect your profile with the business more easily. It won’t help if you’re keeping a profile picture of Pikachu when you’re a web content business. There is no connection between Pikachu and web content at all.
Trying to be ‘Too Cutesy’
Yes, that’s something which can annoy people on a generic basis but often  you might be trying to be funny or hilarious but it just backfired on you. One of the most common ways that this happens is in the profile section. While it might be funny for comedians to call themselves a cabbage or a meat sack of bones, it’s not that hilarious when you’re using it for a business. Keep the text crisp, to the point, precise and something which defines your business completely.
Sharing Irrelevant Information
On Twitter, people expect you to be you. No, not you as a person running your business’s account but they expect you to be true in representing your business on Twitter. For example: If you’re posting as a business that focuses on shoes, you can post images of tons of shoes of celebrities, of the ones in your inventory, even horse shoes will count as shoes. What you shouldn’t do is post a picture or tweet about the totally awesome burger you ate for lunch and the free fries you got with it. It can be a bit of a turn off and you might end up losing a few current followers too.
You Always Promise to Follow Back
You can’t entice people to follow you since you always follow back. Twitter isn’t about having a large group of followers and gathering more. It’s about choosing, curbing and creating a stream of your own kind of content by following people that you want to. If you’re promising follow backs to gain followers, you’re not attracting people who are interested in your business or your products. Just like you, they’re too busy scrounging for more followers and they’ll probably never look at your page again. You’re just a number they collected and they’ll keep you like that.
Your Following Ratio is Disproportionate
Now don’t go crazy and start focusing on following people only. If you’re following a thousand people but you’ve only got around 10 followers for yourself then it might look like your account is a spam account. While it’s reasonable that you won’t have too many followers, try to maintain a neutral ratio in order to prevent your profile from looking suspicious.
Happy Tweeting!
Follow us on Twitter @TickYes
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Image Courtesy Google Images: www.elitedaily.com
Image Courtesy Google Images: www.freshspace.co
 
 

How to Succeed with Google Search

 
Google search is the ultimate search engine tool that is widely utilised by consumers to search for products, services and information about anything that could catch their attention. Retailers understand that consumers nowadays are infinitely smarter than their predecessors and can easily utilise search engines to look for what they want on the Internet.
 
However, to help make their products reach their target audience, they do have to make sure that they show up on those search engines. With the help of search engine optimisation (SEO), all this was fairly easy to achieve, but what will one do now that Google Search is getting a makeover which will make the old SEO tricks null and void. So what do the retailers who depend on Google do? They get in with the times and set their sails to catch the winds of change. With the help of the following tips, you can strategise and successfully utilise the new Google Search.

Be Committed
At first it was easy to fool Google’s SEO system with just a few well placed keywords and other factors that helped the content show up as the main search result for Google. And that was it. The post could be around 3 years old and your blog could have no new content but Google would still show it. You can say goodbye to shortcuts like that now. You’ll have to continuously post new content and ensure that even if you don’t have quality, your quantity can help push you into the results.
Be Interesting
It’s as simple as that. You might think that you are pretty interesting but trust me; it’s something that is easily assumed but harder to accomplish. There are tons of people who are funny, loud and wacky on the Internet, but try to post  things that will distinguish you from the rest of the market. Interesting content gets more hits, more views, more followers and just more of everything.
Don’t do Anything by Halves
Google’s SEO was pretty easy to trick. All you had to do was tweak the right elements a bit and then you were set. However, the new update ensures that you can’t just tweak your way into the search results. You’ll have to start working on producing content and other materials that is not only relevant but is also completely integrated with Google’s search engine for optimal content optimisation.
No More Shortcuts
Long story short, Google just cut off all your shortcuts to get your content to the top of the search results. However, it’s something which is still relevantly new. Give it some time and the faithful interwebs will work out some loopholes for you to manipulate. In the meanwhile, get some content writers and chain them to their desks. Writing new content for every post isn’t easy and it looks like it’ll be a really long night.
 
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images Courtesy of  Google Images
 

What Kind of Digital User Are You?

Social media has indeed infiltrated quite a number of fields including the business industry. Apart from marketing and journalism, professionals from various fields have had to learn to adopt the social media culture or...

YouTube, a Pirated Movie Haven

Ever had that moment when you’re trying to remember a particular part of a movie or a lyric in a song, and you leave it up to the Internet gods to help you find it? Google may be your best bet in refreshing your memory, but for those who prefer a bit more visual, you’d have to agree that YouTube is your best friend.
 
With millions of videos uploaded on the site, it’s almost impossible to keep all videos at bay before upload completion. Even with all its security systems and copyright regulations, a good percentage of the videos uploaded on the site still infringe most copyright laws. Interestingly, these videos don’t only defy copyrighted songs, music videos and personal clips, they go beyond that…way, way, way beyond that.
The online platform, known to most as a video haven, can also be seen as a sanctuary for pirated movies. Hundreds, if not thousands, of full length movies are available to stream on YouTube for the entire world to see. The big question, however, is why Google (who owns YouTube) allows this illegal process to succeed when it has always been a strong supporter of anti-piracy acts? Let’s take a closer look at what the site has to say.
What is Copyright?
According to YouTube, a copyright is automatically attributed to the person who created or originally owns the work. For a work to be eligible for copyright protection, it must be creative and in a tangible medium. This means that TV shows, music videos, musicals, songs and movies are held under this clause.
Why isn’t YouTube Putting Pirated Movies Down?
YouTube says they do not have the capacity to determine copyright ownership. The site, however, offers a Content ID feature which allows content owners to submit their content to the site’s database which will be used to scan all videos uploaded on the site. If the feature identifies a match, it will apply corresponding policies that will be chosen by the owner.
Notably though, the social media site stresses that it does not have the power to mediate between copyright ownership disputes. It can only take down or block a video if the owner sends a notice to the website.
Having said this, could it be that YouTube’s more lenient regulations on copyright infringement is a part of its online strategy to keep users glued to the service? A way to push customer retention by allowing them to post any video and let content owners do the dirty work? Seems like, although it’s hard to say.

Conclusion
YouTube seems to be washing its hands off this tricky issue. As much as it wants to keep its relationship with its partners on top, it also has to serve the needs of its target market—that is the video-uploading population. Actually, it is worth noting that YouTube’s move to reconcile both the market and its partners’ (content owners like labels, production houses and networks) welfare is commendable. It was able to optimise what they have to benefit the content owners, the video up-loaders and YouTube itself.
 
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Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Video/Image Courtesy: Youtube.com

Why to Invest More on SEO

The age of social media continues to flourish as the different sectors in society take part in this growing network. From what used to be a simple online platform for families and friends to connect, it has grown to become an industry on its own.
 
Aside from the greater population of mere mortals who use social networking—students, regular employees, parents, junkies and the homeless—both the politics and the business sectors have also adopted the trend. Notably, even schools and the church have taken part in this movement. Now, you can simply follow the Pope and Barrack Obama on Twitter, or be friends with Harvard University and Nike on Facebook.
“You Rock, Barack!” can now be sent straight to the president of the United States, thanks to social networking.
It has also been proven that social media marketing has been very effective not only with businesses and brands, but also with campaigns, movements and even fund raising. As a matter of fact, it’s almost unbelievable how a simple Facebook page or a Twitition can reach so many people, raise millions and make dreams come true. Notably, online ads have also been very effective in boosting brand presence, familiarity and in the long run, revenue.
Facebook Marketing
Advertising through social networking sites like Facebook have been widespread since the site allowed ads. According to International Venture Capital Post, marketing through the site is one of the easiest ways to reach millions of potential customers and clients. Facebook also notes that over one billion people like and comment on an average of 3.2 billion times a day. With these figures, it is almost important for brands—especially with Facebook’s diverse demographic—to have a strong presence on the site.
Notably, with the social networking site’s new “hashtag” feature, your brand will be able to stir public conversation that can help point back to your brand or service. With the help of a social media agency, such services can be used fully to the best of your business.
SEO and You
The International Venture Capital Post also noted that more and more businesses have been using SEO to help bring the limelight on their brands. A report by Econsultancy and Netbooster reveals that a great number of UK companies spend 18% of their marketing budgets on search engine optimization.
While there are a number of reasons why you should also consider using this service, one simple reason would be that it does the dirty work for…well, at least the hard work. In a nutshell, SEO helps your brand pop-up on searches related to your business. With billions of people using Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines every day, it’s almost stupid not to include this service in your digital marketing strategy and just pass up the opportunity for your brand to be seen by billions online.
 
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Why Quality Beats Quantity

Cost is no longer a barrier to content promotion and dissemination. But for it to work, people still have to want to see it
In the world of content production, and in particular with content marketing, something that frequently holds people back is the notion that good content needs a big budget. This is hardly new. It’s based on decades – centuries, in fact – of cost being the major barrier to creating or disseminating quality content.
Before the arrival of the printing press, the only way to circulate whatever content you’d created – be it a theory, or a painting, or a poem – was to either find a rich benefactor (luck) or to jump on a horse (cost), ride to neighbouring towns (cost) and spend your time gathering crowds and spreading the message (cost). For Joe Medieval, who had potatoes to plant andwenches to woo, time was too valuable a thing to waste on such trivial pursuits.
Of course, after the printing press and again after the Industrial Revolution, there were more creative and practical ways to share your content with the world, but the cost of having it duplicated and disseminated was so prohibitive that only a small fraction of the population could ever hope for that happy situation to eventuate.
Anyone can create content, but few can do it well
Moving forward to modern society, it is still only very recently that access to publishing has become available to anyone with a laptop and a basic understanding of the Internet. Prior to blogging, digital cameras and recording, MP3s and free movie-editing software, cost was still the main obstacle to successful content.
Now, throughout history there are examples of the exceptions that prove the rule – of poor people who have made successful films and written brilliant novels and plays and painted masterpieces. But for all the protestations of ‘I worked my way to the top!’ and ‘Rung by rung I climbed the ladder of success!’, the uniting and often unspoken factor in each of these rags-to-riches success stories was that they shared in a healthy dose of luck.
This is not to undermine the extraordinary talent of these people, because it is unquestionable they had it in spades. But because of the prohibitive cost of publishing a book or making a film or recording an album in the past, it was necessary for their talent to be spotted first by someone else who could put up the funds required to either create the masterpiece, or have it reproduced, or distribute it.
To a degree, top-level success still requires that sort of backing to support the talent. Justin Bieber may have been discovered on YouTube, but it still took a savvy marketing team with plenty of money behind them to turn him into a global phenomenon.

Social media cuts out the middleman
Yet the Biebster, like the Arctic Monkeys before him, is proof that a noticeable shift is now occurring. Individuals are now able to kickstart their careers by producing and promoting themselves through the content they upload for free. At the other end of the scale, some of the biggest bands in the world – Radiohead, for example – are already cutting ties with their record companies and marketing themselves directly to their fans through the Internet and social media.
But this also means the marketplace is becoming more crowded as more and more people jump on the DIY bandwagon. In the case of artists, talent keeps people coming back for more. In the case of other forms of online content, it will still be the quality of that content that sells it and makes it stand out from the crowd.
 
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