The upheavals of 2020 have led to some fresh consumer habits and the revival of some more traditional ones. Communicators must stay alert to change. By Rodolfo Oliveira.
“A great disturbance in the force” is under way.
This is probably one of the most well-known quotes from movies. It’s certainly a phrase that summarizes the situation we’re going through, given there is a consensus that this is a defining moment in modern history, where all existing assumptions are questioned and key pillars of society and economics are challenged.
If the ongoing trend of science and facts versus conspiracy theories, myths and fake news amplified through social media was not a big enough challenge, we are now faced with an upheaval of unprecedented dimension, with the current pandemic and the changes it has brought.
As the dust starts to settle, and from the first decisions around “being all together to face this challenge” at the beginning, we are witnessing some startling changes.
Online news spike
One of the areas where this change can be felt is in the traditional media space, which has seen a spike in online readership of news sites that is still going strong (as Comscore highlights) at about 28% above average before covid-19, even if there is not so much of a similar trend on ad investment, as brands shy away from the kind of news that people follow. Yet, more and more people are relying on these sources to provide validated information and insights as to what’s happening around them, and there is a growth in subscriptions for many news outlets, mainly digital.
There has also been a number of new sites and initiatives from the most credible media outlets to develop fact-checking initiatives that can cope with the flurry of fake news being published via social media and amplified in some extremist outlets.
In Portugal, that initiative started with Poligrafo in 2018, a site single-focused on the subject, but has since been replicated in many other publications.
On the business side, we witness industries such as tourism being entirely redefined. Key trends include the acceleration of ecommerce to address lower footfall in retail spaces and telehealth suddenly becoming something normal. In Portugal, all major healthcare groups and the National Healthcare Service have engaged in developing solutions for distance medical appointments, including video support.
Commuting is being replaced by work-from-home scenarios, which further drives the growth of ecommerce referred to above. And, overall, consumers want brands to address their specific needs and requests, creating more meaningful and customized experiences.
This all-new landscape creates a challenge for companies, which need to adapt fast. Where do consumers now spend their time? What do they do while there? And what are their evolving expectations? These are all new challenges that completely void existing assumptions. It’s time to get back to the drawing board and redefine engagement and experience, as well as be ready to adapt as needed, mastering the new formats that are growing.
Public relations professionals and their customers need to ensure that their skillsets cover all these new fields, from branded content to digital skills, including podcasts (which are growing in terms of reach and total value of investment from brands), and to infuse storytelling in everything, while also being able to measure results effectively, showing the business value of the initiatives under way.
Rise of the podcast
The growing importance of the Podcast has been recognized in Portugal with the launch of a brand-new Podcast festival last year. Named Podes, it brings together the ecosystem of people developing them, educating visitors through workshops and recognizing the best podcasts across several categories.
Globally, Stitcher, one of the leading platforms (now part of SiriusXM), has seen the number of podcasts published skyrocket, with a growth of more than 129,000% since 2010. Also, there is a trend of shorter episodes and a rise in the mini-series format, with listeners tuning in to learn about a multitude of themes they are interested in. And there has been a clearer match of the population age to the listener base.
So, the fact that you’re putting yourself in isolation for a moment and given everything that is going on right now, having access to a focused audience is critical for brands who are trying to make sure that they’re top of mind. And as I said, there’s a lot of new listeners, especially younger listeners — people in their 20s who are building their domestic habits — so if you want to find a relatively clean environment where somebody is focused, listening and paying attention, podcasting is a great way to do it.
At the same time, traditional engagement methods such as email marketing have proven their resilience and enjoyed strong growth in 2020, with Open Rates up 21.8% and clickthrough rates up 22.5% worldwide according to data from Klaviyo published by AdWeek.
It is therefore critical to develop both strategic and tactical approaches since, as John Lennon put it so appropriately, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (Beautiful Boy/Imagine).
So, make sure you have a masterplan that covers all your digital properties and tools, together with cohesive messaging. Yet be prepared and able to switch course if needed.
Enlist social listening to quickly identify trends and changing consumer behaviors, while also ensuring that social media is leveraged and has coherent messaging. Ensure that key messages are tailored for each audience. Diversify content to be able to match the patterns of information gathering, including infographics, video, audio and traditional written content, with adequate SEO support.
Be creative! Remember that people do not expect an answer to all the questions and that, at a juncture in time when uncertainty is the new normal, the focus should be on listening to customers. Practice flexibility and adapt, being with the customer and available wherever they are and in whatever channel they use.
Customers are eager to have someone they can trust, that has values and principles and strives to excel at them. That is what we should all look at. Above all, keep in mind that expecting the best while planning for the worst is always the best option.
May the force be with us all.
Initially published in IPRA. Opinion article by Rodolfo Oliveira, Managing Partner at BloomCast Consulting.
Currently, content and its importance for business is a theme increasingly addressed. But not all content is in fact relevant and that is the secret. For example, we all value our time because we consider it to be a scarce commodity, so we must make choices everyday about how best to use it. From the choice of the meeting we want to which conference we attend, but also the most relevant content and information we intend to read. In the latter case, a quick survey allows us to assess our interest and understand whether we want to continue. And it is in these short moments of analysis that companies must concentrate to be able to attract the audiences they intend to conquer for their content.
Thus, contents are an increasingly important and disputed asset. With the growth of digital marketing, it has taken on a much more strategic role: attracting as many audiences as possible and ensuring their loyalty. However, to be able to confirm this readability of the contents they must be relevant, structured, and useful to your readers.
It sounds easy, but it takes time, continuity, and analysis.
In this sense, in order to captivate potential readers, the relevance and quality of the content must be the main priority of the organizations and not their frequency of periodicity of publication, as these must depend on the objectives of the organization. They must be created to meet what the audiences need. Much more than creating content for all existing platforms, whether they are social networks, blog, newsletters, podcasts, webinar or even media, the most important is the positioning of this and the message we want to convey with it. Obviously, it is crucial to be where the readers are, but that is worthless if the content is not informative, objective and responds directly to the needs of those who consult the information. Creating empathy with the reader through their ability to clarify or captivate by the story presented is fundamental for our content to be a success.
This change is the result, among others, of the current facility for searching for information online. Costumers and consumers, when accessing the organization’s information, already have a reference and are looking for more specific, more objective information. That is, the content to be developed must respond to the type of information that costumers search for online. Another fundamental aspect is the coherence of the information in different channels, because the potential costumer can access it through the website, social networks, blogs or get information through the news published about the organization different messages, in different digital properties can lead to a loss of interest or to a perception different from that intended by the organization.
What are the vantages of creating relevant content?
Producing good content enables numerous advantages, both for the companies that develops it, since they start to be considered as experts on the subject, as well as for the public that reads it, because they now have access to the content they were looking for, namely:
- Relevance in searches: as companies produce quality content, their relevance increases on Google Search Engine, allowing them to conquer the first search pages and consequently increase the number of visits and possible interactions. According to the Search Engine Journal, 93% of all traffic comes from a search engine and 60% of clicks go to the top three sites in the search results. On the other hand, 75% of users never click on links after the first page results, according to ImForza.
- Longer browsing time on the website: the more relevant content there is, the greater the interest and browsing time of users. According to BrezzyHill, 47% of consumers see 3 to 5 pieces of content creates by a company before talking to the company.
- Higher conversion rate: the more traffic and the longer a consumer is on the website of a given organization, the greater the chance of being able to generate leads or retain a costumer. Quality content is the key factor in any good SEO strategy, as well as improvements in content increase traffic by up to 2000%, according to Marketing Sherpa.
- Reach and visibility: only through the production of relevant content, which the consumer is looking for, will be possible to retain it, since Google processes an average of more than 40000 searcher every second, translating more than 3.5 billion daily searches and 1.2 trillion annual searches worldwide, says Internet Live Stats.
Currently, due to the pandemic that we are experiencing, certain types of content have been boosted and are crucial to attract new readers and keep the old ones interested.
Different types of content?
Podcasts are a type of content that has been gaining prestige, even before the emergence of the pandemic. More and more, it is companies that have invested in this tool, because in addition to being practical, it is also relatively simple to create and has a good impact on listeners. In Portugal, more than 2.2 million people listen to podcasts regularly and seek to listen more and more. This is due, above all, to the possibility of being able to be heard anywhere, depending on the availability and willingness of each one. In this sense, companies should even consider betting on this type of content since it is yet another innovative way to reach their target audience.
In addition to podcasts, webinars have also seen an increase in their creation and use. These are a good platform for generating leads, captivating potential customers and, one of its biggest advantages, can be reused for other content such as e-books, related articles on blogs and posts for companies’ social networks. On the other hand, given the national scenario, this is an excellent initiative to avoid holding events, since if they are live, they work in the same way as an event, but online. There is a set date and time for your presentation, but it does not need to be cancelled.
With the huge growth that social networks had and the respective role they play today in generating leads and reaching the target audience, blogs ended up losing a bit of their traditional space, ending up reinventing themselves. Currently, a company blog is an excellent tool with relevant and in-depth content to attract readers who are looking for specific topics. When you want to search for certain information, as a rule, you search on Google and very rarely do you go past the 2nd search page. The advantage of a company having a blog it that, according to research cited by RUNNINGDIGITAL, there are 434% more pages on search engines and the more they publish, the more they will appear on the first pages of these. However, to get the best out of publications, as previously mentioned, it is essential to analyse and identify what type of content is of interest to the readers. Because the more useful the information, the more shares the bog will have, thus reaching many other readers.
That said, if the content produced is relevant and recurring, the company will begin to be recognized for its know-how and to gain notoriety for its good content and, consequently, will start generating leads. Regardless of the content format (social media posts, newsletter, podcasts, webinars, among others – there are so many other formats), if it is attractive and clear, it will certainly capture the attention of new customers and retain existing ones. The most important thing is not to create a text that boasts about how good the company it, but that shows it through its knowledge.
To learn more, see our Guide to creating content, which is a part of the BloomCast Content Series, is a document developed by BloomCast Consulting with the aim of providing useful and easily actionable information to define the communication line that should be used in creating content. In it you can find the best practices for creating the different contents as well as some relevant statistics and facts in relation to the different formats.
Looking for more information on creating content that makes sense for your business? Contact us and find out how we can help you innovate your communication
A content (E-Book) is a vague concept that can be materialized in various formats and interpreted in different ways but that, essentially, is reflected in all the methods of creating shareable information on a specific topic.
Regardless of its type, the goal is almost always the same, to have substance, relevance and create value for the organization. Regardless of the type of content they all serve a propose, be it informing the audience, improving the website’s SEO or even creating strategies for social networks, which is why it is so important to carry out a prior analysis in order to understand if the content produced and what you are thinking is in interest of your target audience, so that you can achieve the best possible results.
Currently it’s essential to be in digital and, in this sense, content has taken on a much more strategic role in allowing organizations to reach the maximum possible audience and ensure their loyalty. However, in order to confirm this reading adherence to the content, it must be relevant, structured and useful for its readers.
What is relevant content?
Creating uninteresting or inappropriate content is a decision to avoid, as it can tarnish the company’s reputation. The truth is that the relevance of this, be it a podcast or webinar, is the differentiating factor between yours and all possible content that already exists, within the half million pages created daily. Unfortunately, there is no standard that defines what is relevant content but there are some guidelines that should be used in the process of selection and definition of the content to be worked on. For example, developing an analysis of the trendiest subjects at any given time can help organizations to think about whether it makes sense to address this issue with their audience. Today, more than ever, it is necessary to consider what people are looking for, where they are looking for and when.
There are countless types of content that are worth exploring, and with the digital innovations and creativity of marketers, the tendency is for them to appear more and more. From the classic email marketing, of which they are part as newsletters, to the recently discovered webinar. Thus, contents are a different way of presenting your know-how. Each has specific characteristics, such as the creative freedom that an infographic offers its creator or the interactivity and dynamism of a video, for example.
Today, more than ever, content is essential to retain and captivate an audience interested in what you can offer.
Tools to create content
Creating content is a task that requires time, effort and knowledge of the areas and subjects of the moment. However, professionals in this area do not have to develop and implement strategies without help, since a good job in this field can also come from the use of online tools and software. There are several free and paid platforms that are an important complement when writing online content, since they not only improve the result but also reduce the time spent on eventual changes, leading to a better use of it.
In this sense, we have outlined a guide with the best practices to adopt to develop the carious types of excellent content (blog, email marketing, newsletters, infographics, videos, webinars, podcasts and branded content). These indications must be followed, transversely, when they intend to proceed with the creation of any of the different content formats.
The Guide for Creating Content, which is a part of the BloomCast Content Series, is a document developed by BloomCast Consulting with the aim of providing useful and easily actionable information to define the communication line that should be used in creating content. In it you can find the best practices for creating the various contents as well as some relevant statistics and facts in relation to the different formats.
In the last few months there were a lot of news that came to pinpoint the limitations in the response of the telephone line that was making a first screening and forwarding of potential cases of Covid-19 in Portugal. During this period, there were also several announcements of guardianship on the reinforcement of the line’s capacity and other improvements to the response capacity.
Now Altitude Software, a Portuguese multinational that – in partnership with the Company Altice – provides the technological solution to support the line, came to reveal and detail what changes were made and which technologies ended up having a relevant role in strengthening a line that registers 40 thousand daily contacts.
The pandemic support plan was activated in March and involved the operation of 2200 new service lines and the integration of new tools, including 1900 interactive answering systems (Interactive Voice Response) and Voice Bots to automate a first line of assistance response and screen what were Covid-19 cases. With the new systems, which take advantage of technologies such as artificial intelligence, it was possible to «reallocate health professionals’ time to the next stages of the care process», emphasizes Altitude.
As the pandemic progressed, new tools were integrated into the screening and care process, such as a mobile application to streamline remote appointments scheduled by health professionals or a video channel capable of responding to the needs of the mute-deaf community.
As Altitude explains, whenever a video call is requested through the SNS24 website, access to a sign language translator is now automatically established to facilitate communication.
During the last few months, health professionals who serve via the hotline have also seen the possibility of responding to users’ contacts from anywhere, via mobile phone and with the security of a VPN connection. The technological solution to support the call centre is hosted in the cloud, which facilitated the transition of the service to a remote regime at a time when confinement obligations restricted mobility, explains Altitude.
The technological support of the Health Ministry contact centres is ensured by Altitude’s Xperience Engagement since 2018. To respond to the pandemic it was necessary to reinforce capacity and introduce new features that, according to the company, were planned and executed in three days.
Initially published in Ntech.News.
Podcasts (E-book) are audio content, made available through a file, which allows the listener to hear when, where and on the device they prefer. When was the last time you heard a Podcast? The likelihood that anyone in your close contacts has recently listened to a podcast is high. According to a 2019 study by Business Insider, more than three-quarters of Internet users in the United States heard content in digital audio format such as music (streaming) and podcasts, at least once a month last year. Additionally, 51% of the population has heard a podcast at least once and 26.9% are regular listeners of at least seven podcasts.
In the current context, with requires social distance for the benefit of all, and based on thisese data, there has never been a better time to start developing a podcast. The explosion of this format has attracted the attention of the public, which is increasingly receptive to listening to content this way. Companies like Apple, Google and Spotify are investing a lot in new tools for podcasters which addings value forto companies, which already looked at podcasts as something attractive and differentiating to incorporate in their strategies. If, on one hand, the podcast allows you to reach a new audience and create an individual experience, thus providing greater proximity to all listeners, on the other hand, its portability allows it to be heard in any location, something that values the time of its listeners.
Still, developing a podcast is a complex process that involves more than putting ideas on paper and speaking into the microphone. Therefore, in order to create this content, it is important to consider certain details, such as: its purpose and format, the tone of communication and even the distribution platforms to be used.
In reality, this process is easier than most consider, since with the right indications, betting on the creation of podcasts can reveal a great return since it is still a little explored tool, when compared to other content channels, with only 900,000 active podcasts ( versus 500 million active blogs).
In this sense, we have outlined a guide with the best practices to adopt to develop podcasts of excellence. These indicators must be followed, transversally, when it is 21intended to proceed with the creation of the concept of the podcast itself.
The Podcast Guidebook, which is part of the BloomCast Content Series, is developed by BloomCast Consulting with the aim of providing useful and easily actionable information to define the communication line that should be used in the creation of podcasts. In it you can find the best practices for creating a podcast as well as some statistics and facts relevant to the format.
Avila Spaces, a business center located in Lisbon and profusely distinguished in innovation in the flexible workspaces market, created the WORK SAFE initiative, a set of measures to guarantee the protection of customers in their return to their shared workspaces. In this context, it adopted seven security measures that are already being applied by international hotel and aviation companies and that can serve as an example or other national companies. These measures are:
- Check-in Safety: upon arriving at Avila Spaces, a temperature test (optional) will be carried out and customers will be asked to disinfect their hands with alcohol. If necessary, a protective mask will also be provided. Each client will need to bring a paper placemat to use on their worktables, to avoid contact with surfaced. In the end, this placemat will be put in recycling.
- Distance and protection of desks: the tables in the business lounge area and individual desks in the coworking area have an acrylic partition that separates the workplaces, to maintain the recommended distance.
- Hygiene protocol: a protective mask should be used in the space and in the common areas there are several alcohol dispensers to clean your hands when entering and leaving Avila Spaces. The cleaning of all surfaces will be enhanced and there will be dedicated employees for this procedure.
- Air renovation: meetings in the Avila Spaces terrace will be privileged; the cleaning and maintenance of the AC will be done more regularly. Priority will also be given to opening windows to circulate the air in the business lounge area.
- Meeting rooms: meeting rooms will have a reduced capacity to guarantee the distance between users, being immediately cleaned and disinfected as soon as a meeting ends.
- Commons spaces: the Avila Spaces reception will be protected by an acrylic wall and the circulation in the business lounge is regulated with arrows, to guarantee the distance.
- Cup: the cutlery is placed in disposable paper bags and the garbage will be closed and placed in the proper containers with greater regularity by the Avila Spaces team.
Carlos Gonçalves, chief executive officer (CEO) of Avila Spaces, highlights the importance of this initiative noting: «At a time when a phased and controlled return to face-to-face work is beginning, companies need to start taking the necessary precautions and preparing the spaces for the new normal. At Avila Spaces, in addition to the implementation of indispensable security measures, we created the new position of Safety and Wellbeing Advisor, something we think is crucial for the task of returning to the office to be thought of in the most embracing and comprehensive way».
More Information here.