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Is the content you’re producing relevant?

Whether you’re part of a team or on your own, it’s time consuming and challenging to identify the right topics for the right audiences and then generate content that connects. Continuously.

You might also be wondering how valuable and relevant your audience finds the content that you do produce… 

Two thirds of C-Suite say the materials they receive are “boring, predictive and repetitive”. What’s more people are increasingly regarding the media they use as being “contaminated with untrustworthy information”!! (Sources: Edelmann and LinkedIn).

So how can you ensure that your content stands out from the crowd as both authentic and trustworthy?

Join content marketing experts  

Celine at oogsta

Celine Naude

Marketing Communications Director – UK and European Agencies, TechData

Janet at oogsta

Janet O’Sullivan

Channel Marketing Manager,
OtterBox

Simon at oogsta

Simon Mottram

CEO, oogsta


where we’ll be discussing the content challenges that today’s marketing teams face and how they’re rising to meet them.

View webinar below:

crowdsource content

Engaging your experts

The Edelman Trust Barometer recently reported that 57% of people admit to worrying about the media they use being “contaminated with untrustworthy information.”

The same Edelman trust barometer also found it’s an organisation’s technical experts we trust most. 68% of the senior management interviewed rated this source type to be ‘very credible’ or ‘extremely credible.’

We know that when you are able to tap into the rich expertise within your business you can provide material of real value and quickly become a trusted advisor.

So how do you engage with your experts? They are extremely busy people with important day jobs and you are asking them to do even more.

There is of course no one size fits all solution to engaging your experts. However, here are some tried and tested principles you might consider:

Celebrate and advocate

Make sure that your expert’s input is known throughout the business and beyond.

Encourage SMEs to share any content that they have been involved in on their own social media – LinkedIn etc. Help them build up their own thought leadership profile.

Demonstrate that participation is strategically beneficial for them both internally and externally.

Reward

What you are asking for is really valuable so it’s important to demonstrate that you recognise this.

Incentives can go a long way to encourage participation. “Contributor of the month/quarter” awards for example. An Ipad is an often used but none the less effective prize.

Smaller regular incentives such as gift cards, snack or beverage delivery, or company branded materials can all show appreciation of their time and knowledge and increase the chances of involvement.

Keep it simple

Be sure to keep communications straightforward when working with your experts.

They’re experts in their particular fields – not necessarily the experts in yours.

Avoid using industry-specific jargon as much as possible and be sure to include them in conversations around feedback and decision making related to their contributions.

Most importantly – make them feel heard. Validate suggestions from your experts via peer reviews and encourage ownership of their input.

Every business is different and in many ways that’s the whole point. It’s your insights, your ideas, your stories generated by your team. We built oogsta for exactly this reason. To enable you to unlock the particular knowledge in your network so you can produce relevant, targeted, trusted content that engages prospects and clients, results in greater demand generation and helps to drive your sales process.

Use cases

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s how some of our clients do it…

Use case 1engaging senior buyers in the world’s largest consumer businesses.

This client’s EDRs are constantly in need of original stories to tell clients and prospects. Their marketers use oogsta to gather insights and inspiration from their delivery teams (their experts). They track and communicate the effectiveness of these campaigns at their weekly sales meetings. The marketing team then reward the experts who have contributed to these campaigns. They also utilise the oogsta leaderboards to track and reward ongoing contributions. This is very important as you cannot just reward experts on the success of the final content. It is essential to reward overall contributions in order to ensure continuous engagement.

Use case 2engaging international technology communities to further the industry

This leading global organisation is dedicated to furthering the technology industries that it serves with international communities based in the US, UK, APAC and Benelux and a range of technology communities made up of experts in their field. Community leaders use oogsta to connect and engage volunteer community experts in multiple initiatives. Leaderboards are used to monitor and encourage engagement and enable each community to easily demonstrate their contribution. Experts can view their contribution against their peers and gain recognition. There has been a 38% uplift in overall engagement since implementing oogsta.

Use case 3Sourcing thought leadership level insights to build audience and drive inbound leads

In a crowded cybersecurity market its vitally important that this vendor stands out as a thought leader. Marketing had the challenge of working with a globally distributed workforce. oogsta enables this company to engage internal and external experts in multiple time zones. Content contribution was implemented as part of each expert’s monthly KPIs and leaderboards are reviewed as part of the monthly company KPIs. The marketing team implemented a ‘content journey’ that demonstrates the outcomes of insight provided: understanding the impact contributions have on company growth has increased overall engagement significantly.

In summary

There’s no magic formula for engaging your experts but if you:

  • Make it as easy as possible to participate and collaborate
  • Celebrate and reward great ideas and insights
  • Demonstrate that you value you their time and effort

I guarantee you will generate more contributions and produce more trusted, targeted content. Continuously.

Book a demo and see how oogsta can help you.

oogsta blog

The value of giving people a voice

“The value of giving people a voice” / “How to set up a laser autoguidance system with a mallet and a spirit level!”

My Dad left school at the age of 14 to become a tractor mechanic. For over 40 years he met farmers and farm managers in all weathers and in all situations. He became friends with many of them. He knew when things were going well, he knew when times were difficult. He knew what equipment they needed most and what equipment they dreamed of owning and the impact that would make on their business. He helped them out at all times of the day and night. He enabled them to get harvests in on time and jobs done. They trusted him.

Towards the end of his career he had to go to on a training course at the head office/factory of the manufacturer he worked for. The course subject: “Installing laser autoguidance systems on tractors and harvesters”.

On the afternoon of the first day the course leader set up break out groups to establish what experience the mechanics already had of installing said equipment and the issues they had faced.

A spirit level and a mallet

Most spoke of their experiences in vague terms, some complained of not having the right tools to do the job. My Dad, not one to speak up in social situations and twice the age of most of these more academically educated mechanics, remained quiet until the course leader asked him directly if he had experience of installing the equipment and if so which of the many expensive factory supplied tools he had found most useful. His response – “a spirit level and a mallet”. After the laughter died down he explained that he wasn’t joking or being un-co-operative and exactly why and how he had found this worked best in many different conditions.

For the rest of the week the course leader found himself asking my Dad for his insights and knowledge on a range of topics and on the Friday as they were packing up to go home the course leader asked if he would consider helping out on future courses. Over the next few years, up until his retirement, my Dad would go back 4 or 5 times a year to be an assistant course leader. They were some of the most fulfilled moments of his working life.

A trusted advisor and a subject matter expert

The course leader had uncovered in an easily overlooked person and quite by chance, what we from the warmth of our home offices would describe as both a Trusted Advisor and a Subject Matter Expert. I would never have dared describe him as such to his face for fear of a violent and X-rated verbal response!

In any organisation it isn’t always the loudest voices or the heads of departments that hold all the knowledge or can provide the greatest insights. In businesses of every size, giving people a voice and uncovering your real experts is difficult to achieve but when you do, it has massive value in terms of commercial opportunities, knowledge management and personal development. We created oogsta to enable businesses to:

  • connect with their subject matter experts
  • unlock the knowledge of their networks
  • crowdsource insights on client’s pain points
  • learn how to better develop new product offerings
  • harvest the inspiration and raw materials to enable new and better ways to connect with clients and prospects

Peer reviews

Of course, not every response will be as “useful” as “a spirit level and a mallet” so we enable your contributors to peer review all insights gathered. We also enable you to see which contributors receive the most endorsements from their peers. This has real business benefits in terms of identifying which topics and opportunities you can pursue with confidence. Equally important from a knowledge and talent management perspective you can see and celebrate who your subject matter experts truly are, not just in terms of the quantity of contributions but in terms of the quality of their insights.

Authentic and original

My Dad wasn’t articulate, but he was authentic and very original and so were the insights he provided. We know that nearly 60% of C-suite audiences consider the content they currently receive as not being fit for purpose. They don’t believe it, they don’t trust it. By extension they don’t trust the businesses delivering that content. However, if you provide authentic, original content consistently you can engage with C-suite audiences and quickly establish trusted advisor status, driving sustained business growth.

Harvesting insights

And finally… I used to think that I had not followed in my Dad’s footsteps in any way. However, I co-founded a business that “harvests” insights and inspiration and the very name of our business; oogsta is derived from the Dutch word for harvest – oogst. Ok it’s a tenuous connection but it’s a connection all the same.s

storytelling

Storytelling: How to maximise customer value and drive engagement through stories

In a recent study across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories, Harvard Business Review found that the most effective way to maximise customer value is to move beyond customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level – tapping into their fundamental motivations and demonstrating an understanding of their needs through targeted insights and unspoken emotional motivators.

Most companies spend their time and budgets mapping customer experience and tracking customer activity across physical stores, call centres, e-commerce sites, and social media, gathering mountains of data from their own surveys, customer tracking systems, loyalty programs, and third-party providers. Their stated goal being “to improve customer satisfaction at each step of the customer journey”. However, overall customer satisfaction is often already high, and anyway it is seldom a competitive differentiator in and of itself.

B2B buyers are twice as likely to consider a business if they feel an emotional connection to it*.

Telling your business’s unique story consistently in an authentic manner will help audiences connect with your brand and make them care about what it stands for on a much deeper emotional level. This is the importance of storytelling in marketing.

Sharing your brand’s narrative is immensely powerful in a number of other ways; authentic stories can empower business leaders under pressure, secure a brand’s place in the market, or help frame the products and services they offer. To quote Fast Company: “Without a compelling story, our product, idea, or brand, is dead on arrival.”

To make this happen it is essential that your story is original, authentic and sustainable. The most authentic, original characters in your story are always going to be your people. Your colleagues on the front lines will always have the best material, but often don’t know who to share it with or how. Crowdsourcing ideas and inspiration from an engaged and enabled workforce can ensure that your story is able to live, grow and succeed.

People have always told stories, and their effects on individuals are remarkable. Stories affect our physiology, shifting us into mind-sets of empathy, trust, or focus. They’re psychologically powerful, helping us to understand complex concepts. Fundamentally, great stories can change behaviours.

So how do you shape and then deliver against your brand story in a consistent manner?

The four key essential elements for developing successful marketing storytelling techniques:

Know your stuff.
Whether told through an experience, a game, or the spoken word, people react to stories they understand. Understanding depends on simplicity. Simplicity arises from complete knowledge of your subject matter, your audience, and your goals. Your own people hold the key to this, tap into their knowledge continuously to capture insights and inspiration and fuel your storytelling.

Listen to your audience.
Know your audience inside and out. Understand what they already know, what they want to know, and how they’d like to be told. Understand and remain up to date with their pain points. Whatever the final medium, tell a story that is informed, relevant, and that resonates with users, listeners, or viewers.

Trust people to take ownership.
The brands that connect best with people are those that take a step back and let their people do the inputting and the talking, enabling them to shape the story and be advocates for the business.

Listen. Make it personal.
Storytelling isn’t just another target-led business tool. It’s a connection between people. It’s important to understand why people love stories and to listen to our audiences both internally and externally as we inform, provoke, entertain and engage them with them on a more personal level.

oogsta helps ambitious businesses engage their audiences by crowdsourcing ideas and insights in order to better tell their story and drive business success.

* Gartner and Google 2019

 

marketing

Ensure your future success

We believe the most successful companies of the future will be those that are able to maximize the knowledge, expertise and influence of their whole team in pursuit of their strategic goals.

It will remain the role of your management team, marketing department and business development functions to define and champion your business and brand strategy.

However, it is only with a strong and consistent contribution from all of your business experts, at all levels of seniority, that you will be able to achieve your full commercial potential and exceed both individual and collective KPIs.

Now more than ever there is a fundamental requirement for businesses to ensure they remain relevant and front of mind with their clients and prospects.

In this post we explore the impact that unlocking the knowledge of your colleagues and contacts consistently and continuously can have on your business and how adopting a content driven go to market strategy will enable you to create and retain trust, develop deeper relationships with clients and prospects, generate demand and drive sales.

Becoming trusted advisors

Once upon a time all you need to be successful in sales was loads of charm and an excellent product. However, today across all B2B sectors that just doesn’t cut it anymore. Central to any successful and sustainable sales strategy there now has to be a focus on building and maintaining relationships and trust. Companies ignore this new reality at their peril because if you aren’t building relationships with your prospects and customers by providing authentic, targeted, thought leadership content, your competitors will be.

We know that expert, relevant, authentic content connects at a deeper level with target audiences resulting in higher levels of trust. When you provide material of real value to each individual prospect, you can very quickly become a trusted advisor. This helps you gain their trust, retain it and quickly begin to build the foundations of a solid, long term relationship.

From first contact to closing a sale, timely, expert, differentiated content can ensure you remain connected with your prospect throughout the sales cycle.

To do this, you need easy access to a continuous flow of the right insights for each prospect you talk to. Oogsta can help you do this by crowdsourcing content from your colleagues and contacts. Continuously.

Making it real, creating emotional connections

A survey by Gartner and Google found that B2B buyers were twice as likely to consider a business if they felt an emotional connection to it as opposed to being offered a service using traditional methods focused on emphasising functional value.

Many companies are busy mapping their customer experience and tracking customer activity across physical stores, call centers, e-commerce sites, and social media, gathering mountains of data from their own surveys, customer tracking systems, loyalty programs, and third-party providers. Their stated goal is typically to improve customer satisfaction at each step of the customer journey. But overall customer satisfaction is often already high, and seldom a competitive differentiator. In a recent study across hundreds of brands in dozens of categories Harvard Business Review found that the most effective way to maximise customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers at an emotional level – tapping into their fundamental motivations and demonstrating an understanding of their needs through targeted insights as we have already highlighted above and also their unspoken emotional motivators. Telling your business’s unique story well, consistently and in a true and authentic manner will make your brand real to its audiences and engage them on a deeper emotional level.

A good story helps clients connect with your brand and care about what it stands for.

In order to do this it is essential that you are true to your story and that it is authentic, sustainable and unique. The most authentic, original characters in your story are always your people. Your colleagues on the front lines always have the best material, but don’t necessarily know who to share it with. By crowdsourcing content from an engaged and enabled workforce you can ensure that your story is able to live, grow and succeed.

A content driven approach can also have the broadest immediate and long-term benefits across your entire business functions:

Mobilising your workforce and giving your experts a voice will have both immediate and longer-term benefits company-wide:

Commercial

  • Increase sales without increasing cost of sales
  • Retain and grow existing clients
  • Convert more prospects, more often

Brand building

  • Develop brand advocates across the business
  • Support Marketing initiatives through high level continuous content
  • Demonstrate a consistent, compelling point of view

Knowledge Management

  • Capture and share organisational knowledge
  • Create cross business learning
  • Identify and measure intellectual capital

Talent Management/Learning and Development

  • Develop talent and give it a stronger voice
  • Increase organisational performance
  • Identify the skills to grow the business

Broader and deeper engagement with clients and prospects

From current clients to the newest prospects a content driven sales strategy enable engagement across the board and is more essential than ever in the current climate. Such an approach will provide for broader, deeper engagement with key audiences across all channels.

Presenting

Developing content to grow contacts and conversations with existing and lapsed clients and current leads.

Prospecting

Developing a framework to create and deliver successful new business prospecting campaigns.

Publishing – Thought leadership

Ensuring a coordinated, consistent approach to the publication of targeted thought leadership briefings focused on key areas of opportunity.

Participating – Webinars/Public speaking

More opinion and content means more public speaking opportunities, and contributions to events.

Programming – Social media

Continuous content across all forms of social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Crowdsourcing content from your colleagues and contacts with oogsta

oogsta can be a core tool in your move towards becoming a content driven organisation. We enable marketers to unlock the knowledge of their networks giving experts a voice.

With oogsta knowledge no longer sits with one person or one team; it can be accessed by anyone with permission and used to create sales and marketing material that resonates deeply with the target audience, directly addressing their pain points and driving inbound leads.

Benefiting anyone involved in content production, oogsta can be used to crowdsource content and then intelligently organise that information and inspiration in multiple formats. Peer reviewing enables you to identify the most important insights and potentially valuable content opportunities. You can generate new content by sending out requests for input to your network and curate responses by topic ensuring that the content produced is always original and always market leading.

Book a Demo to find out how oogsta can help you to easily engage with the experts inside and outside your organisation. 

content builder

Thought leadership content builder

CREATING IMPACTFUL, AUTHENTIC CONTENT EVERYTIME. IN LESS TIME.

In order to assert yourself as a thought leader it is important to create insightful, targeted content that engages and informs your key target audiences. Creating worthwhile, original content takes time and effort. A clear communications structure will enable you to create powerful thought leadership level content with a clear focus and the greatest possible reach, every time, in less time.

There are a number of key elements we need to consider before we ever begin writing:

1. FOCUS AND PURPOSE

in order to ensure the greatest impact and the strongest assertion of your thought leadership position, it is important that every communications piece builds upon the next. This doesn’t mean that all content has to be about the same subject or even related subjects, but they should all share the same core focus and purpose. Your business will have a clear purpose, brand values and core marketing pillars, (each business describes these slightly differently but they are always present) and these should always be reflected in your communications.

2. COMMUNICATION VALIDATION

Before committing valuable time and effort to developing any new content we need to ensure it is a worthwhile and commercially relevant exercise. Answering the following questions each time will validate this:

WHAT DO WE ALREADY KNOW?

What existing company sources of Knowledge/Data/Products do we have?

WHO DO WE ALREADY KNOW?

SPECIFIC target clients/prospects we know who would be interested in this.

WHERE DO WE THINK THIS CAN BE USED?

Justify why for as many of the following as appropriate. Minimum of 2:

Presenting – Growing contacts & conversations with existing/lapsed clients & leads.

Prospecting – Creating a successful new business prospecting campaign.

Publishing – Thought leadership – targeted briefings focused on key areas of opportunity.

Participating – Public speaking – Where, who, when?

Programming – Social media, Which and what and why– Li, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

We can use oogsta to both inspire and validate all of the above.

3. COMMUNICATION CREATION – STRUCTURE AND FLOW

Having validated the topic, the audience and potential delivery channels, it is time to begin creating the story. Constructing a story is very simple and there is a well established structure that your audiences will respond best to: tell readers what you are going to write, write it in the body paragraphs and reinforce it by writing it again in the conclusion in a summarised fashion. You can polish and embellish the final copy afterwards but always map out the shape of your article in bullet points first. It’s easier to edit, move or discard potential areas of interest in this way before creating the final long hand version. If you do this and follow the sections below you will automatically build a story as you go.

SECTION 1. INTRODUCTION

Tell them about what you are going to write. Never introduce something in the intro that you do not intend to address in the body paragraphs. Try and limit to 2 sentences.

SECTION 2. BODY

All articles should have a minimum of two paragraphs. Each paragraph should have a short, simple and engaging heading and contain a minimum of two sentences. The content is detailed information that flushes out the purpose of the article. Transitions are important between paragraphs. The transition is best achieved by making the first line of subsequent paragraphs reference the last subject previously discussed.

SECTION 3. CONCLUSION

Summarise what you just told your readers. Include information about your business and suggestions/links for further investigation.

4. THE STORY FRAMEWORK

Content will flow easily and consistently if you apply the techniques above and remember the story framework:

Intro – maximum 2 sentences

Body = Minimum 2 paragraphs

Paragraph 1 – Sub heading. Min. of 2 sentences.

Paragraph 2 – Sub heading. Transition Sentence. Min. of 2 sentences.

Summary – Minimum Two sentences. Information and links to your business.

You can use oogsta to develop drafts of your story, collaborate with colleagues, and ensure the most powerful communications every time.

Download this free PDF template to help structure your next piece of content.

Book a Demo to find out how oogsta can help you to easily engage with the experts inside and outside your organisation.

creating content

oogsta in action

When, while the lovely valley teems with vapor around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth