Monthly Archives: April 2020
- YouTube’s popularity has made it the second most popular search engine after Google.
- For marketers trying to market their products and services to new audiences, YouTube needs to become a priority.
- Venngage’s Ronita Mohan outlines everything you need to know about YouTube product marketing in the ultimate guide below.
- From deciding your target audience and goals to creating great, targeted content, YouTube SEO, metrics to analyze and more material that will add value to your video marketing efforts.
YouTube marketing has fast taken over the world, not just because of the popularity of online videos but because of the accessibility of the platform.
This has led to YouTube becoming the second most popular search engine after Google. Users are heading directly to YouTube for detailed visual answers to their questions, instead of googling their queries.
For marketers trying to market their products and services to new audiences, YouTube needs to become a priority.
We outline everything you need to know about YouTube product marketing in the ultimate guide below.
Outlining YouTube marketing goals
No marketing strategy would be complete without setting out specific, measurable goals—the same goes for YouTube.
What do you want from your YouTube channel? Do you want to spread brand awareness? Increase conversions? Educate the community?
Accordingly, you will have to design your content and share it with your audience.
You also need to understand the people who use YouTube. Yes, it is a very popular platform, but you aren’t aiming for every single YouTube user.
The goals you set for the channel will also translate into the kind of audience you are aiming to reach—people who want to be educated about a subject, or who want to purchase items that will improve their lives. Or others who just want answers or troubleshooting assistance.
Once you decide on your target audience and your goals, you can create content that specifically caters to them.
Try creating a calendar for your YouTube content—you should aim to post every day, if possible—so that you have clear deadlines for sending out content.
Your videos don’t have to be very long—five minutes at the most—but the channel should be updated frequently so you can improve engagement rates.
Creating a YouTube business channel
According to the latest visual content marketing statistics, video used by marketers has increased by 7% from previous years—and this rise is expected to continue.
When you make a personal Google account, you will be able to sign into YouTube—however, this is not the same as having a business account on the platform.
For one, if you want to upload videos, you need to create a channel—this channel can be specifically for you to upload business videos.
YouTube does offer an option to create an account solely to manage your business—the Brand Account option allows multiple people to use the same login to manage the account and gives you access to analytics.
You still need to create a channel for the Brand Account if you want to upload videos, leave comments, and make playlists.
Once you create your channel, it is imperative that you add your brand logo as the profile image, in the right dimensions—800 x 800 pixels.
You also need to add a YouTube banner (like the Lego channel example above)—2,560 x 1,440 pixels is the recommended size from Google. Check the cropping across devices and finalize the art.
With the channel art uploaded, you should add your associated brand accounts—your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al.
The links you add will appear on your channel as icons that users can then click through to.
You will also need to add a brief description of your company, and you have the option of creating a welcome video that will introduce visitors to your channel.
These are the basics of setting up your business channel. Then, it’s onto content creation.
YouTube marketing video types
There are a number of video types that you can explore when creating content for your YouTube channel. We look at seven of the most popular varieties below.
1. Behind the scenes
Take users into the life and times of your brand and your company culture with behind-the-scenes videos. Tours of your office space, Q&As with staff members, highlights from office events—these all make for excellent social content.
The Lush behind-the-scenes video is a great example of how engaging this content is—two employees share how a product is made, intercut with visuals of the actual process.
It’s soothing, calming, fun, and it gives the company a more personal outlook.
2. “Best of” videos
Most YouTube channels round off the year with ‘best of’ videos—of the year, the decade, the season, best tools, or best strategies. And this is something that you can collate for your brand, or collaborate with someone to create.
“Best of” videos are also great gateway content—someone searching for videos on a particular topic could find yours and be interested enough in your content to watch more.
3. Explainer videos
These are very popular types of videos—people are constantly looking for solutions to their problems. This is why YouTube has become a favourite search engine in its own right.
Make life easier for users by creating explainer videos that showcase how to use a product, how to troubleshoot an issue, or how to understand a concept or industry.
Google Small Business’ video on taking high-quality photos is a simple but effective explainer—it features someone who has had success in the area alongside clear and easy-to-follow steps.
Note the friendly and comforting tone that makes the video more accessible to users who may be at the beginner stage of business photography. This helps make content more relatable and engaging.
Interviews with professionals in your field, in your company, or in an area of interest to your audience also make for popular content.
Akin to explainer videos, interviews also place your brand as a thought leader in the field—it tells people that you don’t just create content, you are an expert on it.
This interview from Inc with a leading CEO in the field makes for great content. The light and personal tone, the choice of the interviewee, and the message all place the brand as a thought leader trying to improve the knowledge of their audience.
Lists make for very popular content online—whether in blogs, infographics, or videos, lists about a topic are eye-catching and easy to consume.
Listicles are the most popular kind of content online. The Ahrefs video here is short, snappy, and to the point.
But the reason why listicles work is that they are finite—the audience knows there are 3 points and they can also go back to the point that is more relevant to them.
When attention spans are low, it helps to make your content more bite-sized, as exemplified in listicles.
6. Product demos
Make your product readily usable for customers by creating a product demo—that you can then use on your website. A demo will answer a lot of questions about the way a product should be used, while also acting as a sales pitch to buyers who are still on the fence.
Oracle Netsuite’s product demo has a simple set up—two people discussing the product with shots of the product in use. It gives users a visual guide to follow and refer to when they’re using the product themselves.
The internet may be a bastion of content, but it also has a propensity for spewing information that is patently untrue. If you want users to engage with you, you need to be real.
And what better way to do that than to feature testimonials with real people—staff and customers—on your YouTube channel?
These make for convincing videos that will make your brand look more human.
Omada’s testimonial video shows the importance of giving brands a human face—these are real people who were helped by a company and that makes the brand more attractive to potential customers.
Creating YouTube videos
Now that you know what kind of videos you should be creating, it is time to make your videos.
The content you create should be brand-conscious—ensure your logo is visible but that it doesn’t overwhelm the screen.
You should always include a call-to-action—asking people to subscribe to the channel, to like your video, visit your website, or to use a promo code.
Adding a strong and relevant CTA will help users stay engaged with your brand beyond viewing a single video.
Also, though many think that YouTube videos need to be highly stylized and have great production values, that isn’t always the case.
Focus less on how your video looks, and more on the content of your video.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What story are you trying to tell?
- Who are you telling it to?
- What do you want in return?
Answer these questions when you are making your videos—that will help you generate interest in your audience much more than expensive visuals.
Remember that video marketing on channels like YouTube is less about making sales, and more about making connections.
Don’t put content out there and hope for the best. You need to engage with the audience—ask people to comment and then reply to them. Look out for trolls and report them immediately.
Promote your content on social media channels. Add a link to your YouTube channel on your website and newsletter.
SEO isn’t just for written content—it has a huge role to play in video marketing, and eventually in how well your channel is received.
There are a number of SEO tools that you can use to make this process easier. But first, you need to know the key aspects of YouTube SEO that you need to work on.
If you want your audience to find your content, your channel and videos need to have the tags that are relevant to them.
The VidIQ extension is a good tool for checking tags that would be relevant to your content and are more effective in reaching your target audience.
As with tags, when creating videos, ensure you choose the keywords that not only describe the content but also appeal to your audience.
Use a mind map to brainstorm your keywords and keep track of which ones are most effective for your audience.
You will have spent time optimizing blog headlines. The same goes for YouTube videos. The headlines you choose should be extremely relevant to your topic.
Keep the headline to 60 characters—as you would do with a blog headline—so it isn’t cut off on search engines.
You should keep the primary keywords to the beginning of the headline—another important way to boost organic SEO.
Don’t use obscure keywords as this will make it harder for your videos to be found—and will negatively impact your ranking.
Looking for inspiration?
Here are some headlines that earned brands 1000s of views:
- How to find influencers to explode your Shopify store
- Is this candy actually as intense as it claims?
- What do real people say about Purple?
Short, sharp, and focused headlines will improve clicks and engagement.
The type of thumbnail that appears beside your video has an impact on how many people click on it—thus improving your ranking. According to YouTube, 90% of the top viewed videos feature custom thumbnails.
When you upload a video to YouTube, you will be able to choose a frame from your video. While this makes the process easier, it doesn’t actually tell the audience much about the video.
Instead, create a customized frame to use as the thumbnail—this can include visuals from the video, alongside the headline and a tagline.
Customized thumbnails will share more information than a random screenshot from the video, and make your content more attractive.
5. Video descriptions
Your video headline can only share so much information—to make your video more compelling to the audience, and for YouTube SEO rankings, write a detailed video description.
As with titles, ensure your primary keywords are kept in the front of the description. Include bullet points about the key areas you are discussing—if you can include timestamps for when in the video you will be discussing these points, even better.
Add a bit of levity by including links to the music you’re using in the video. And you should definitely include your CTA in the description.
To break it down, here are the essential elements of a great video description:
- To-the-point introduction, written in brand tone, explaining exactly what viewers will see in the video
- Keywords, used at the beginning of your description and sprinkled throughout. Avoid keyword stuffing, as you would do with a blog
- Include your CTA below the description—a link to subscribe to your channel, visit your website, or use a code
- Below the CTA, add links to related content
- Add timestamps to important moments in the video
People don’t realize that hashtags on YouTube are definitely a thing—and they can be massively helpful for your organic SEO.
YouTube allows a maximum of 15 hashtags, which can be used in the titles and descriptions of your videos.
These hashtags are clickable—users can see all content related to those hashtags. This also means you need to be judicious in your use of hashtags.
For one, they need to be relevant to your topic. They also need to be popular—obscure hashtags, like rarely-used keywords, won’t be clicked on.
Use hashtags to make your content more easily discoverable but choose them wisely.
The discussion around which YouTube metrics you should be focusing on has been raging for years. There are a large number of metrics available but they aren’t all made equal.
Here are some of the metrics that you should examine when trying to determine how well your content is performing:
- Bounce Rates – The rate at which people are leaving your video before completing it
- Click Rates – The number of times your video is being clicked on
- Completion Rates – How many times your video has been watched to completion
- Comments – The number of comments your video received
- Conversion Rates – How often users viewed a video and then acted on the CTA
- Likes and Dislikes – The number of likes or dislikes your video received
- Recurrence Rates – How often viewers watched the same video multiple times
- Referrals – Where users are finding your videos from
- Sharing – How often people are sharing your videos
- Subscribers – The number of subscribers your channel has
- Video Views – How many people watched a video in total
Those are a lot of metrics but you don’t have to study each one to decide whether your content is a success.
Go back to the goals that we mentioned in the first point of this blog—what are you trying to achieve with your YouTube marketing strategy?
- If you want more conversions from your videos examining the completion rates and conversion rates of your videos will tell you whether your content is engaging enough for people to act on your CTA.
- If creating a wholesome YouTube channel is your goal, study the referrals to find out where people are finding your content—so you can optimize those channels further.
Though you will want to grow your subscriber base, the number of subscribers you have may not be indicative of how good your content is.
- If your videos are being viewed despite low subscriber numbers, it may be a sign that your content is good but isn’t catering to repeat customers.
- In general, bounce rates and completion rates are good indicators of the success of your content.
When people leave your video without completing it, that means it didn’t hold their interest. If most people are leaving around the same point in the video, that gives you an idea of what you need to improve in the content itself.
Videos with low completion rates could be indicative of the fact that your videos are too long. Try creating shorter videos to see the impact on completion rates.
Focus on the metrics that align with the goals of your video marketing strategy instead of looking at every single one of them.
YouTube advertising is an option that brands can explore once they have become more comfortable with the platform.
According to PPCHero, 48% of marketers are investing in YouTube advertising, making it the third most popular advertising platform, after Facebook and Instagram.
There are a number of YouTube ad formats that you can use to reach your target audience.
Some YouTube video ad formats:
- Bumper ads: Six-second long unskippable ads that play before, during, and after videos. These cannot be skipped.
- In-stream ads: These 15 second-long ads come in skippable and non-skippable forms and appear before, during, and after videos across YouTube and other Google-affiliated videos.
- Masthead ads: The masthead ads appear muted at the top of the YouTube search page. These ads can be 30 seconds long.
- Outstream ads: Optimized for mobile marketing only, Outstream ads appear on mobile websites associated with Google, not on YouTube mobile.
- Video discovery ads: Much like banner ads, the video discovery ads appear on the YouTube homepage, search results pages, and alongside related videos.
Depending on your needs, you can create ads that will improve your brand awareness and reach.
Bumper ads have the best chance of being seen because they are unskippable—but they are also only six-seconds long. If you can create strong messaging within that time, you can reach your target audience.
For a start, it makes more sense to create in-stream ads. You have more length to play with—15 seconds—and you can have them placed during a variety of relevant videos.
If you are unfamiliar with the platform, it’s always best to test out a few options so you know how which direction to go.
Video marketing on YouTube can feel like a challenge at first—but by following the above steps, you can start to build a following on the platform and improve your conversions.
Now that you have these basics in the bag, you can launch a YouTube channel to market your brand and products and let it grow into a successful marketing platform.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.
WhatsApp eyes lending feature in India as Amazon rolls out Pay Later to tens of thousands of customers
In a filing with the local regulator in India, the company has listed credit as one of the areas it will pursue in the country. The Facebook -owned service declared with the local regulator earlier this month providing credit or loans as one of the “main objects to be pursued by it in the country.” No other financial service is listed in the filing.
At an event in Bangalore late last year, Abhijit Bose, WhatsApp’s head in India, said he believed that the mobile payments market in India, which has attracted dozens of local and international firms in recent years, is still at a very early stage in the country and may eventually see firms move beyond just offering a way for people to send money to one another.
WhatsApp has yet to receive approval from New Delhi for a nationwide rollout of Pay in India. Local media reports claimed earlier this year that WhatsApp had started to expand Pay’s reach in the country in various phases.
Ajit Mohan, a Facebook VP and India head, told TechCrunch in an interview last week that only 1 million WhatsApp users in India, same as before, have access to its mobile payment service.
Dozens of payment services in India have expanded to credit, or online lending, in recent quarters as they search for a business model in the country. A number of firms, including Paytm, India’s most-valued startup, and MobiKwik today offer small ticket credit to millions of users in India.
Tens of millions of users have started to digitally transact money in India in recent years. But the local payments body has removed most of the fees they could levy on banks and merchants to make money. The move has resulted in firms exploring other financial services, such as credit and insurance and target merchants to make money.
This year, Paytm has expanded to serve merchants, launching new gadgets such as a stand that displays QR check-out codes that comes with a calculator and a battery pack, a portable speaker that provides voice confirmations of transactions and a point-of-sale machine with built-in scanner and printer.
The Alibaba and SoftBank-backed company is offering these gadgets as part of a subscription service that helps it establish a steady flow of revenue. Paytm’s Money arm, which offers lending, insurance and investing services, has amassed more than 3 million users.
On Wednesday, Amazon unveiled and began rolling out Amazon Pay Later, a service for “tens of thousands” of eligible customers that would allow them to access instant credit of up to 20,000 Indian rupee ($ 264) to buy a range of products spanning multiple categories including daily essentials, electronics and clothing. Customers can also use this credit to complete their bill payments on Amazon, the e-commerce giant said.
Those accessing Amazon Pay Later service can repay the amount in the subsequent month to Amazon at no additional fee. They can also repay the amount at “nominal interest rates” in up to 12 months.
Amazon Pay Later is a unique service that will help customers expand their access to credit and experience the most convenient option of making payments. In current times Amazon Pay later empowers our customers to better manage their monthly spends,” said Mahendra Nerurkar, chief executive of Amazon Pay India, in a statement.
Flipkart’s PhonePe, another major player in India’s payments market, today serves more than 175 million users and over 8 million merchants. Its app serves as a platform for other businesses to reach users. The company is currently not taking a cut for the real estate on its app.
WhatsApp’s expansion in mobile payments in India, estimated to grow to $ 1 trillion by 2023 (according to Credit Suisse), could create new challenges for the aforementioned players.
Facebook, which like other American tech giants counts India as one of its biggest markets but makes considerably less revenue in the world’s second largest market, “reaffirmed” its commitment to India this month.
The social giant invested $ 5.7 billion in Reliance Jio Platforms this month to acquire a 9.99% stake in the Indian telecom giant. Over the weekend, JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by Jio’s parent firm, began testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp, teasing the first peek at the collaboration between Facebook and Indian telecom giant Reliance Jio Platforms.
Online lending could help WhatsApp, which does not charge users any fee or monetizes through ads, explore a way to make money.
WhatsApp has not responded to a request for comment.
[Story and headline updated at 12:09PM IST to add details about Amazon Pay Later rollout in India.]
The world has been turned upside down the past few weeks, but one lesson of business remains as important as ever: treating your customers well is the best avenue to future business strength, particularly at a moment of extreme stress.
As businesses come to terms with the economic crisis underway, executives are moving resources from customer acquisition to customer retention — and that’s proving very lucrative to startups that service the customer success market.
Case in point: New York City-based Catalyst, which I profiled just last summer following its $ 15 million Series A led by Accel’s Vas Natarajan, has seen huge revenue growth the past few months. The data-driven customer success platform has seen its revenue grow by 380% since the Series A financing according to CEO Edward Chiu.
Steep revenue growth is (unsurprisingly) attractive to investors, and in a moment of fortuitous timing, the company signed a $ 25 million Series B term sheet with Spark Capital just as the COVID-19 crisis was getting underway.
Chiu said Catalyst wasn’t seeking the investment, having much of its Accel round still in the bank, but he ultimately decided that having the extra capital in hand through a looming economic recession was the right decision. The capital officially hit the bank account at the end of March, and was led by the firm’s growth investor Will Reed.
While the company didn’t disclose the valuation, a source with knowledge of the matter quoted a valuation of $ 125 million. That’s a serious valuation for a company that launched just two years ago in April of 2018.
Outside of more funding, the core story of the company’s product remains the same. Catalyst wants to bring together all the data sources and team members who interact with customers — everyone from designers and engineers to customer success managers — into one dashboard to ensure that everyone has accurate and up-to-date access to all the information they need on the health of every customer.
One growth area that the company is exploring outside of the B2B space of its existing customers is in healthcare, where the company has seen some inbound interest. Chiu says that Catalyst is exploring the steps required to reach HIPAA compliance with its platform, and hopes to expand to more sectors over time with the capital from its Series B.
When we last checked in with the company, Catalyst had 19 employees and was targeting 40 employees by July 2020. Chiu said that Catalyst is already at 35 employees, and will likely hit 60 to 70 employees by the end of the year.
- Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky has said that the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most significant events ever experienced.
- Pharma search engine marketers want answers to these key questions – “How are these shifts impacting the search messaging landscape? How to adapt SEM campaigns to remain relevant to shifting patient/provider needs and stay competitive in the search auction?”
- Ian Orekondy shares insights from AdComplyRx analysis of 50k+ SEM text ads from over 500 prescription treatment brands serving on thousands of keywords.
- The analysis showed that copy messaging with search terms like “savings” and “coverage” has rapidly risen.
- He highlights some quotes from industry veterans to help paid search marketers gain clarity on these conundrums.
Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said on Tuesday’s earnings call that the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is “one of the most significant events that any of us have ever experienced”.
It has caused more than 120,000 deaths and is impacting every industry, especially the pharmaceutical sector.
According to IQVIA’s ‘COVID-19 Market Report’, published April 10th with data through March 27th, “increasing unemployment pushes more patients onto Medicaid and into economic fragility. [Likewise], providers are financially strained due to decreased visits, reduced elective surgeries, and lower reimbursement rate [and] many pharma companies are expanding patient support in response to the COVID-19 crisis…with free branded drugs through Patient Assistance Programs…and copay reduction & patient savings programs.“
These companies include Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Abbvie, and more.
So the question for pharma search engine marketers is?
How are these shifts impacting the search messaging landscape?
And how do we adapt our campaigns to remain relevant to shifting patient/provider needs and stay competitive in the search auction?
To help answer this question, AdComplyRx analyzed over 50k SEM text ads from over 500 prescription treatment brands serving on thousands of keywords (condition, treatment and brand terms) comparing the frequency of mentions of various pandemic-relevant messages over two time periods: 4/1-4/13 (post-stay-at-home orders) vs 3/1-3/13 (pre-stay-at-home orders).
Pharma search ads shift to “savings” and “coverage” amid COVID-19 pandemic
Since Google’s ad policy restricts ad messages containing terms like COVID-19 or Coronavirus, AdComplyRx also measured terms like “cost”, “savings”, “co-pay”, “supply chain”, “availability”, “fill”, and “delivery” in terms of frequency of mention within paid search (SEM) text ad copy from prescription drug brands in the U.S.
Based on this analysis, AdComplyRx is observing the following shifts in Rx Pharma SEM advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mentions of “savings” grew by 11%
These included “savings card”, “co-pay card savings”, “patient savings, register for savings.
Mentions of “coverage” grew by 40%
These included “insurance coverage” and “formulary coverage” saw the most significant increases in the frequency of mentions within Rx pharma brand SEM text ads.
The top categories that showed the greatest increase in the frequency of the words “savings” or “coverage” were Hematology, Diabetes and Respiratory.
The Oncology category showed little change in the frequency of any of these messages during these time periods.
Mentions of “savings” in paid search (SEM) ad copy messaging
- Haematology (+96%)
- Diabetes (+48%)
Mentions of “coverage” in paid search (SEM) ad copy messaging
- Respiratory (+184%)
- Haematology (+156%)
Since it is unlikely most pharma brands have already created new search ad messages and received approval from their med-legal team, this data suggests that Google’s advertising platform may be dynamically adjusting existing pharma brand search campaigns to better serve patients and providers based on their search behaviour (for example, search interest and click behaviour).
How should pharma brands shift their search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns?
- Search Engine Machine Learning algorithms are working on behalf of advertisers by prioritizing the most engaging messaging themes thanks to functionality like:
- Responsive search ads
- Optimized ad rotation
- Extension prioritization
In light of this, GVP of Search at Publicis Health Media, Peter Levin suggests,
“Think beyond refreshing creative through new asset submissions.”
“Brands should strive to maximize the impact of already approved assets and prioritize patient assistance and treatment accessibility messages.
Pharma brands can ensure a nimble response in the short term by enabling these features and making sure priority messages are available across campaigns while trimming away lower priority message themes. Don’t neglect planning out long-term responses with new messaging strategies and landing page content, as well as the potential for new paid keywords as the editorial landscape evolves.”
Sri Nagubandi, Director of Search at Syneos Health suggests that,
“Pharma brands should take both a short–term and a long-term approach as this will be an ongoing concern globally until there is a viable vaccine. In the short term, brands should begin tracking ‘Brand name + Covid‘ and ‘Category Name + Covid’-related search volume to understand how patients and providers are searching around their specific brand situation. For example, we are seeing some categories like oncology where search activity is increasing as patients and caregivers seek to understand the impact on ongoing treatment, especially for the immunocompromised.”
Additionally, from an organic SEO perspective, Nagubandi cautions,
“Do not use a takeover modal window on your brand.com website to communicate Covid-19 related messaging. Google has not suspended best practices because of the pandemic. Instead, use an updated header above the top navigation.”
How can these insights impact pharma brands’ SEM campaigns to improve patients’ lives?
With marketing budgets in flux and paid search (SEM) being one of the few marketing channels that many marketers will continue to invest in, brands will be relying more than ever on search traffic to support their business and serve patients and providers during this challenging time. Since search advertising is a competitive, auction-based marketplace where advertisers with the most relevant and engaging ad copy typically see improved ad click-through rate (CTR) and reduced cost per click (CPC), ensuring your brands’ search campaigns contain frequent mentions of the above messages can help brands reach more patients and providers with potentially life-saving treatment messages within limited marketing budgets.
Ian Orekondy is the founder and CEO of AdComplyRx, a pharma ad tech stack based in New York.
The post COVID-19 and Pharma paid search: How should SEM marketers optimize amid the changing landscape? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
How do you leave the place that made you? You figure out what it made you for. TechCrunch made me a part of the startup ecosystem I love. Now it’s time to put that love into action to help a new generation of entrepreneurs build their dreams and tell their stories.
So it’s “TC to VC” for me. After 8.5 years at TechCrunch and 10 in tech journalism, I’m leaving today to join the venture team at VC fund SignalFire. I’m going to be a principal investor and their head of content.
I’ll be seeking out inspiring new companies, doing deals (when I’m eventually up to speed) and providing pitch workshops based on countless interviews for TechCrunch. Thankfully, I’ll also still get to write. We’re going to find out what founders really want to learn and produce that content to help them form, evolve and grow their companies. I’m doing my signature bounce & smile with excitement.
Where to follow my writing
You’ll still be able to follow my writing as well as my journey into VC on my newsletter Moving Product at constine.substack.com as well as on Twitter: @JoshConstine. No way I could just suddenly shut up about startups! If you’re building something, you can always reach me at joshsc [at] gmail.com
On the newsletter you can read a deeper explanation for why I picked SignalFire . I also just published the first real issue of Moving Product on how quarantine is “loaning” concurrent users to startups that will help the new wave of synchronous apps snowball to sustainability, plus commentary from top product thinkers on Facebook’s new Rooms.
Why I chose SignalFire?
I was drawn to SignalFire because it’s built like the startups I love writing about: to solve a need. Entrepreneurs need tactical advantages in areas like recruiting, where they spend most of their time, and expert advice on specific problems they’re facing.
That’s why SignalFire spent six years in stealth building its recruitment prediction and market data analysis engine called Beacon. It can spot deal opportunities for SignalFire’s new $ 200 million seed and $ 300 million breakout funds while helping the portfolio hire smarter. Then SignalFire assembled more than 80 top experts, like Instagram’s founders, for its invested advisor network. Traditional funds need partners to exhaust their social capital asking for favors from friends to help their portfolio. SignalFire’s model sees its advisors share in the returns of the fund, so they’re sustainably motivated to assist.
SignalFire’s founder and CEO Chris Farmer was also willing to invest in me, figuratively. I’ve written about thousands of startups but I’ve never funded one. He and his team have offered to mentor me as I learn the art and science of investing. They also accept me for my opinionated, outspoken self. Instead of constricting my voice, the plan is to harness it to highlight new ideas and proven methods for building companies. I wrote this post on my newsletter with a deeper look at why I picked SignalFire and how its modernized approach to venture works.
What makes TechCrunch different
Of the 3,600 articles I’ve written for TechCrunch, this was the hardest.
TechCrunch gave me the platform to make an impact and the freedom to say what I believe. That’s a rare opportunity in journalism, but especially important for covering startups. TechCrunch writes about things that haven’t happened yet. There are often no objective facts by which to judge an early-stage company. Whether you decide to cover them or not, and the tone of your analysis, depends on having conviction about whether the world needs something or not, if the product is built right and if the team has what it takes.
If you rely on others’ signals about what matters, whether in the form of traction or investment, you’ll be late to the story. That means editors have to trust their writers’ intuition. At TechCrunch, that trust never wavered.
Eric Eldon, Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino put their absolute faith in our team. That gave me a chance to write the first-ever coverage of startups like Robinhood before its seed round, and SnappyCam before it was acquired by Apple and turned into iPhone burst fire. My editors also never shied away from confrontations with the tech giants, like my investigation into Facebook paying teens for their data that caused it to shut down its Onavo tool, or my exposé on Bing suggesting child abuse imagery in search results that led it to overhaul its systems.
I’ll always be indebted to Eric Eldon, who gave a freshly graduated cybersociologist with no experience his first shot at blogging back at Inside Facebook. Editors like Alexia Tsotsis and Matthew Panzarino helped me develop a more critical voice without sterilizing my personality. And all my fellow writers over the years, including Zack Whittaker and Sarah Perez, pushed me to hustle, whether that meant pontificating on new product launches or exposing industry abuse. If my departure from journalism elicits a sigh of relief from the companies in my cross-hairs, I know I did my job. The TechCrunch business and events team have turned Disrupt into the tech industry’s reunion. I appreciate them giving me the chance to learn public speaking, from the most heartfelt moments to the cringiest. And really, I owe them the rest of my life, too, since I met my wife Andee at a Disrupt after-party.
Treating writing like a sport to be won kept me cranking all these years, and I’m grateful for Techmeme offering a scoreboard for extra motivation. I’ll unhumbly admit it’s nice to hang up my jersey while ranked No. 1. My gratitude to Jane Manchun Wong for furnishing so many scoops over the years, and to all my other sources. It’s been fun competing and collaborating with my favorite other reporters, and I know Taylor Lorenz, Casey Newton and Mike Isaac will keep a close eye on tech’s trends and travesties.
But most of all, I want to extend an enormous thank you to…you. To everyone who has read or shared my articles over the years. I woke up each day with a sense of duty to you, and felt proud to say “I fight for the user” like Tron. What makes this industry special is how the community refuses to treat it as zero-sum. We grow the pie together, and everyone knows their competitor today could be their future co-founder. That makes us willing to share and learn together. I believe no recession, correction or bubble-burst will change that.
So I’ll leave you with a final thought that’s made my life so fulfilling: If you have the privilege or create the opportunity, turn your passion into your profession.
Specialize. Learn. Then make what you want. If you can find some niche you’re endlessly interested in, that’s growing in importance, and at least someone somewhere earns money from, you’ll become essential. Not necessarily today. But that’s the beauty of writing — it teaches you while proving to others what you’ve been taught. No matter what it is, blog about it once a week. In time you’ll become an expert, and be recognized as one. Then you’ll have the power to adapt to the future, however feels most graceful.
Personal news: It's TC to VC for me! I'm leaving TechCrunch to join SignalFire as a principal investor & head of content. I'm also launching my newsletter where I'm writing now: https://t.co/F7gvssC4Ky A "toast", to the future! pic.twitter.com/XRhDxdS5NF
— joshconstine (@JoshConstine) April 27, 2020
Yes, it’s arriving just in time for Star Wars Day.
Feed: All Latest
- Every successful content campaign understands its audience and knows their pulse. How do you know whether your content campaign is worthy of being viral?
- Fractl’s first in-depth study into viral emotions found that the most common emotions invoked when consuming viral content were amusement, interest, and surprise.
- Domenica D’Ottavio shares the key ingredients of successful content campaigns with some interesting examples.
Successful content begins with understanding your audience. What does your audience like? What do they avoid? What do they want to learn more about? What are they most likely to share and engage with?
Fractl’s first in-depth study into viral emotions found that the most common emotions invoked when consuming viral content were amusement, interest, and surprise. After executing thousands of content campaigns, we keep these three emotions in mind when creating content—particularly the element of surprise.
Easier said than done, though. What makes content surprising? How can you use surprise in your content marketing campaigns to earn links and media coverage at top-tier websites?
In this post, I’m going to share two examples of content market campaigns that embraced the element of surprise and why they were primed to be successful.
Content with shock value is primed for social sharing
You often don’t know, until you start working on a project, whether your content will offer something readers don’t expect.
If something is surprising enough to get Whoopi Goldberg talking about it, you know you were successful. In a survey execution for one home-improvement client, we asked 1,000 Americans about their cooking habits.
What seemed innocuous at first, quickly became a link building success, in large because of the huge disparities in the results.
Why the content worked
Not only did we learn that Millennials are the worst cooks, but we also learned they have trouble identifying a butter knife, compared to other generations surveyed.
These two news hooks directly resulted in widespread coverage, because they were surprising enough, but also relatable enough, to spark conversation among readers.
After the first placement went live with Washington Post, this campaign spread like wildfire across the internet, earning top tier placements at dozens of publishers including USA Today, Thrillist, and The Daily Meal totalling 145 press mentions for a simple survey execution.
This content campaign is a perfect example of how just a few data points can carry a campaign. The content idea itself doesn’t need to be surprising — that is, exploring cooking habits — just as long as a single component of the data is shocking.
Surprising content that’s useful, too, can produce big wins
While the previous two campaigns produced results full of shock-value, a project doesn’t have to be controversial to be successful.
A lot of brands and businesses want to produce content that’s not only entertaining but also informative and useful to their audience. When producing surprising content that also can be informative, consider the impact of the information. What ideas can you produce that will contribute positively to people’s lives?
In a content campaign for one career-related client, we wanted to find out how much money you could make in various careers that don’t require a degree.
Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Many of whom entered college during or following the great recession. So, topics related to career and finance are hot for millennials, as many of them graduated with student debt, and may have trouble finding work with the degree they earned.
Survey executions are useful for new studies, but when the data already exists and is available for use, why not use it? The average person often finds it difficult to interpret meaningful findings from existing data sets, which is why they can be perfect for link building content campaigns.
After digging through the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (a free-to-the-public data source) we found that contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a degree or to own your own business in America and earn 6-figures.
In addition to being surprising, this data also proved useful to our audience.
Many college graduates in America are not making six-figures. So, this campaign was surprising and eye-opening to them. For those looking to get started in a different field, this study provided a glimpse into what high-paying jobs are out there. For those without degrees, this study provided hope and inspiration to improve their situation.
After earning coverage on CNBC, this campaign appeared across many work and career-related publishers wanting to cater to their audience and deliver these surprising and informative findings. Capping out at 141 press mentions, this campaign was also featured on MSN, Marketwatch, and The Ladders.
An element of surprise grabs and keeps the audiences’ attention
When producing content, not every aspect of your piece has to be surprising. In fact, we find that it’s usually one or two data points that yield the majority of link building results for our clients.
The key to creating successful content campaigns in any niche is to intend to serve your audience first. Come up with ideas that answer their questions, and then put your own surprising spin on it.
When producing any successful content campaign, make sure that there’s an element that’s newsworthy, surprising, and data-driven for optimum success.
Domenica D’Ottavio is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter @atdomenica.
The post Why content campaigns need to be surprising to earn top-tier press appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Facebook will soon allow users to go on “virtual dates,” the company announced today. The social network is planning to introduce a new video calling feature that will allow users of its Facebook Dating service to connect and video call over Messenger, as an alternative to going on a real-world date. This sort of feature is much in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced people to stay home and practice social distancing.
But for online dating apps, which aim to connect people in the real world, it’s a significant challenge for their business.
For the time being, government lockdowns have limited the places where online daters could meet up for their first date. Restaurants, malls, bars and other retail establishments are closed across regions impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. But even when those restrictions lift, many online dating app users will be wary of meeting up with strangers for those first-time, getting-to-know-you dates. Video chat offers a safer option to explore potential connections with their matches.
When the new Facebook Dating feature goes live, online daters will be able to invite a match to a virtual date. The recipient can either choose to accept or decline the offer via a pop-up that appears.
If they accept, the Facebook Dating users will be connected in a video chat powered by Facebook Messenger in order to get to know one another.
As the feature is still being developed, Facebook declined to share more specific details about how it will work, in terms of privacy and security features.
Facebook is not the first online dating service to pivot to video as a result of the pandemic. But many rival dating apps were adopting video features well before the coronavirus struck, as well.
Bumble, for example, has offered voice and video calling in its app for roughly a year. The feature there works like a normal phone call or Apple’s FaceTime. However, users don’t have to share their phone number or other private information, like an email address, which makes it safer.
The company says use of the feature has spiked over the last two months as users embrace virtual dating.
Meanwhile, Match Group has more recently rolled out video across a number of the dating apps it operates.
This month, the Match app added video chat that allows users who have already matched to connect over video calls. Match-owned Hinge also rolled out a “Dating from Home” prompt and is preparing its own live video date feature, as well, Match says. Plenty of Fish (PoF), another Match property, launched live-streaming in March, giving singles a new way to hang out with friends and potential matches.
Match Group’s flagship app Tinder has not yet embraced live video dates, but still offers a way for users to add video to their profiles. The company couldn’t comment on whether or not video dating was in the works for Tinder, but in the post-COVID era, it would be almost bizarre to not offer such feature.
Other dating apps have also launched video dating, including eHarmony and a number of lesser-known dating apps hoping to now gain traction for their video dating concepts.
Facebook says the feature will roll out in the months ahead and will be available everywhere Facebook Dating is available.