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Is Content Marketing the New Home for PR Professionals?

content marketing Is Content Marketing the New Home for PR Professionals?The rapid growth of content marketing is increasing demand for PR professionals. As a result, many are asking what skills they need to capitalize on this industry trend.

For those of you that are unfamiliar, content marketing is the process of generating high-quality online content with the goal of building trust and community among your brand’s target audience, and to establish your brand as an industry thought leader.

A content marketer combines the investigative and content production skills traditionally held by journalists with the outreach skills and promotion skills of PR professionals. This is what Holly Regan of Software Advice recently referred to as the convergence of PR and journalism. This convergence is forcing PR specialists to expand their skill sets and implement new tactics.

In years past, PR professionals relied heavily on producing a press release, developing a pitch, and reaching out to big media outlets. However, the growth of digital content and content marketing has revolutionized how a PR professional can promote a product or brand. Nowadays, shares, tweets, “likes,” links and blog posts can actually be more effective than pitching a big media reporter. Using these digital media strategies allows PR professionals and content marketers directly reach their target audience.

Matt Braun, Director of Public Relations at Hanson Dodge Creative, says: “Organizations now use Twitter to break news versus a press release…and it’s forced people like me to use tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs as vehicles by which we can get others to publicize products and clients.”

As more companies develop content marketing strategies, they will also need PR professionals who can do more than plan an event and pitch a reporter. These companies will need people who can effectively use search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, social media networks, Google Analytics, and email outreach to reach their target audiences.

Is the Growth in Content Marketing Driving Demand for PR Specialists?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of PR specialist and manager jobs rose by nearly 63 percent between 2000 and 2010, and is expected to rise another 21 percent between 2010 and 2020.

568W Content is King.001 001 Is Content Marketing the New Home for PR Professionals?

However, we wanted to find out how the growth in PR jobs compared to the rising trend of content marketing. To develop a more accurate picture we decided to search through New York City’s Craiglist page and look for the most common job titles in PR and content marketing. Here’s what we found:

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Clearly demand for content marketers is growing. The question you should be asking yourself is how can a PR professional capitalize on this growing trend?

Five Tips for PR Specialists in the Age of Content Marketing

Here are five tips for PR specialists who are looking to capitalize on the growth of content marketing:

  1. Reach your audience directly. The days of rocking out a press release, pitching a bid media report, and calling it a job well done are over. PR specialists must now learn how to directly speak to their target audience from digital platforms like blogs and social media networks.
  2. Develop new skills. Nowadays, PR professionals need to know more than how plan an event and send out a press release. It is imperative that you diversify your arsenal by developing skills in disciplines like: SEO, graphic design and digital marketing.
  3. Sing your own song. PR professionals are usually good storytellers. It is time for you to start using your expertise and skills to develop your own content strategies, such as social profiles and blogs.
  4. Be ready for anything and everything. Real-time digital platforms like Twitter and Facebook, have forced PR professionals to be ready for anything at all times. That means you should have “post ready” materials ready to go before you reach out.
  5. Think beyond the press release. In the past, many PR professionals relied on sending out a press release and pitching a big media reporter to generate high-quality coverage. With the rise of digital marketing, you now need to figure out new ways to engage your audience like, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or blog.

PR professionals, if you plan to ride this wave of content marketing opportunity, make sure you skills and tactics are up-to-date.

About the author:

Ashley Furness Is Content Marketing the New Home for PR Professionals?Ashley Verrill is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at ashleyverrill[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314call skype logo Is Content Marketing the New Home for PR Professionals?512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +
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Expert Video: How to Create Your Future Customer Engagement Strategy

CustomerEngagement Expert Video: How to Create Your Future Customer Engagement Strategy Constellation Research CEO and Principal Analyst R “Ray” Wang visited the Software Advice offices during the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive Festival to talk about some research he released called “Building Your Interaction Strategy with the 9 C’s of Engagement.”

In today’s world, we face constant demands for our attention — from social media to news alerts and loyalty programs. Wang asserts that companies must find ways to cut through this clutter if they want to compete in the future. To do this, they need to create a true engagement strategy based on authentic, natural and trustworthy interactions.

A lot of organizations think they know what this means: sending a coupon on a customer’s birthday, or liking a post about you on Facebook. But most don’t look at the big picture, or they just end up coming off as “creepy” in their engagements.

Instead, he suggests following the “9 C’s of Engagement” when building your interaction strategy. These fall into one of three categories:

  • People Centric Values: Culture, Community, Credibility
  • Delivery and Communication Styles: Channel, Content and Cadence
  • Right Time Drivers: Context, Catalyst and Currencies

In this video, Wang describes how companies can use these three pillars to build an effective engagement strategy.

Ray Wang Video Screengrab Expert Video: How to Create Your Future Customer Engagement Strategy

 

About the author:

Ashley Furness Expert Video: How to Create Your Future Customer Engagement Strategy Ashley Verrill is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at ashleyverrill[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314call skype logo Expert Video: How to Create Your Future Customer Engagement Strategy 512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +
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5 Jobs for Tomorrow’s Customer Service Team

customer loyalty 5 Jobs for Tomorrows Customer Service TeamLast summer, I wrote an article for InBlurbs called “5 Jobs for Tomorrow’s Marketing Team” that explored how trends in marketing will affect recruiting and staffing in the future. The post received so much feedback, we decided to revisit the idea this year through the customer service lens.

I rallied some of the biggest names in staffing to help me come up with roles they see in emerging in the future support organization. Experts from Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, SimplyHired and other staffing sites chimed into the conversation. The biggest change affecting these roles they see involves the shift in how customers contact a company. Forrester released a report earlier this showing customers increasing usage of communities by as much as 25 percent, live chat by 24 percent and self-service by 12 percent. Additionally, customers are increasing their use of social customer service and mobile, which will require new talent and technologies.

So without further adieu, here’s five roles we see becoming part of the customer service team of the future:

Self-Service Content Strategist

The individual in this role would continually mine for popular topics in call center notes, as well as review Web analytics data to assess which articles in the self-service community garner the most traffic. At the same time, they would also moderate content created by the customer community and facilitate the sharing of this user-generated material. Their goals would be two-fold:

  • Deflect tickets from the call center by encouraging more customers to resolve problems on their own with self-service options; and,
  • Drive customer retention and return purchases by creating a loyal community of brand advocates.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) Developer

The person in this role would help ensure the right answer is found no matter how or where the question is asked–whether it’s typed in a search box on a webpage, in a chat session, or spoken to an interactive voice response (IVR) system. This requires sophisticated algorithms that can process natural language to find the answer.

While most companies will deploy off-the-shelf or open-source NLP technology, the NLP Developer will need to make substantial configurations to apply it to their company’s specific use cases and content. I see this role as important for making the most of your content. All the effort creating it is meaningless if the customer can’t find it–fast.

Social Service Success Coordinator

The Social Service Coordinator would ensure social customer service efficiency, while keeping an eye out for opportunities to market support interactions. In order to respond effectively, companies have to use social listening technology. This person would work to refine keyword identifiers that tell these systems what signals a customer service message.

If the contact center suddenly gets an influx of calls about a particular product, for example, the coordinator would want to start listening for combinations of that word and “help,” “broken,” “angry” and so on. If a Twitter user responded with a glowing “thank you, I will tell my friends!” that person might handoff the interaction to marketing for promotional uses.

Mobile Customer Service App Manager

The Mobile Customer Service App Manager would act much like a product manager exclusively for the customer service mobile application. They would work with internal or external developers to optimize the user experience for all of the company’s customers.

If analytics showed one feature is used more than another, for example, they might try featuring it more prominently on the app home screen. Or maybe they’d work with the NLP Developer to refine speech recognition for that function. Optimizing content in this way can increase customer satisfaction as much as 60 percent, one report showed.

Virtual Call Center Director

The individual in this role would oversee the virtual call center — a network of customer service agents that work off-site (typically from home). This person would decide when and how to interact with these individuals, monitor their performance, and adjust the size of the team as needed. During peak communication cycles, for example, the Virtual CSR Manager might increase the number of agents on duty.

The Virtual Call Center Director would also consistently comb through key performance metrics to identify weak spots. If they noticed one remote agent lagging behind their cohorts, they could start monitoring calls and provide additional training.

These are just a few of the potential job titles our experts see emerging in the future. What changes do you see? What’s missing from this list? Join the conversation by commenting here.

 

About the author:

Ashley Furness 5 Jobs for Tomorrows Customer Service TeamAshley Verrill is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at ashleyverrill[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +
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The Debate Results: Will Technology Kill the Call Center?

customer loyalty The Debate Results: Will Technology Kill the Call Center? Last month, I told you about an upcoming online debate called: “Will Technology Kill the Call Center?”

Research firm Software Advice moderated the event earlier this month with a panel of call center and customer service technology experts from IntelliResponse, Drumbi, Avaya Inc. and Etech Global Services.

The 45-minute discussion was hosted in a Google+ Hangout where the panel answered a list of scripted questions before fielding queries from the digital audience of 40. The group talked about trends in customer contact channel utilization, technology and the future call center.

The speakers offered advice for consumer contact strategy and ways companies can prepare for the future.

The speakers agreed first of all that customer contact channel utilization for non-traditional channels – such as virtual agents – is growing. This is primarily the result of better technology that can finally deliver on the promises from six years ago. So customers are now empowered with a choice of how they want to contact you. But this doesn’t mean they are using these contact avenues instead of phone – it just means by the time they get there they are likely at a critical point.

“The company needs to be smarter when they get there,” Avaya Director of Customer Experience Management Laura Basset said. This means knowing whether the customer interacted with self service, and what they looked at. Did they ask a question to a virtual agent? Did they log into their online account?

Ultimately, the debate ended with the agreement that the call center won’t disappear because of technology – it’s already gone. The reborn contact center is a different environment where agents are increasingly expected to handle interactions from myriad channels. This will continue to change the skill set and expectations from these facilities. Watch for more changes to come, they warned.

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Click here to watch the entire recording.

 

Read also: Will Technology Kill the Call Center?

 

About the author:

Ashley Furness The Debate Results: Will Technology Kill the Call Center? Ashley Furness is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at Ashleyfurness[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +
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Will Technology Kill the Call Center?

customer loyalty Will Technology Kill the Call Center?Customers love instant gratification of call-in service. Until recently, that’s what phone service got them.

But these days the majority of people have tired of extended holding, automated prompts, unhelpful agents and getting lost in a sea of transfers. Couple this with new technologies for better, faster self-service and you’ve got a change a brewing in the consumer support industry.

 

Later this month, I will host a Software Advice live debate on this topic called, “Will Technology Kill the Call Center?” The event will begin at 1 p.m. Central on September 27 in a Google+ Hangout. To watch the event and chime in with your own questions, visit my Google+ page that day and comment in the feed. Add me to your circle on Google+ and I’ll send you an event reminder.

I will run the event similar to a political debate. A panel of four experts will answer a set of questions one by one, with opportunities for a rebuttal after each response. I will also close with a few questions from the audience, collected via comments in the feed on my Google+ page. To watch, just go to my profile page and click the round play button in the “Hangouts” box.

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Here’s a list of the speakers:

Jim Iyoob is the senior vice president of global development for Etech Global Services. He has more than 15 years contact center outsourcing experience in domestic and offshore inbound, outbound, and live chat operations.

Shervin Talieh is the founder and CEO of Drumbi–a technology startup focused on mobile and social customer service. Drumbi leverages voice and data synchronization to streamline call routing and phone customer service. Previously, he also served in leadership positions for Goldeneye Solutions and Accenture.

Laura Bassett is the director of customer experience management and emerging technologies for Avaya Inc. Avaya designs, builds and manages business communications applications for more than one million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500 companies.

Mike Hennessy is vice president of marketing for IntelliResponse. His company provides “Virtual Agents” and other customer self-service offerings. Previously, he worked for Truition and as a communications consultant for Amazon.com, Dell, The Royal Bank of Canada, Hewlett-Packard, and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals.

See you there!

 

About the author:

Ashley Furness Will Technology Kill the Call Center?Ashley Furness is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at Ashleyfurness[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314call skype logo Will Technology Kill the Call Center?512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +
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Eloqua Announces Chatter Integration

Eloqua revealed this week a new integration with social enterprise app innovator Chatter. The Salesforce.com-owned business network will automatically be integrated into Eloqua’s Marketing Automation (MA) platform free of charge.

The new “Chatter inside Eloqua” won’t be publicly available until next quarter, but I was granted a sneak peek earlier this week. Eloqua connected me with their product team who gave me a demo. In short, the upgrade forges a stronger collaboration channel between Marketing and Sales, as well as extends socialized enterprise value further in an organization. On a technical level, the integration enables teams to share a single Chatter stream. Also, data from Eloqua is synced with Chatter.

Eloqua Chatter1 Eloqua Announces Chatter Integration

One of the most interesting features I noted during the demo was the expert search function. The marketer in this scenario needed a subject matter expert to review a health-related email before sending it to a customer segment, so he typed “?Health” in the search field. Chatter responded with the profiles of individuals who previously worked with health-related campaigns, including the qualifications and success they had (such as “completed 36 email campaigns with that keyword” or “has the highest email open success rate for that term”).

He then contacted the selected expert, Jill Roberts, by simply typing “@JillRoberts” and his message into Chatter, which alerted her through her dashboard. Jill scanned the discussion thread for context into the campaign and caught a critical issue: “Docs would say patient, not customer,” she replied.

This entire interaction happened without one email and without ever leaving Eloqua. This integration increases collaboration without forcing employees to toggle between yet another business tool.

The integration also allows Eloqua to automatically push information into the Chatter news feed when various milestones are reached. For instance, in the demo scenario, Eloqua posted, “Good News! The Health Care Campaign has achieved a 15% better than average open rate.” In response, the marketer commented, just as you might on a link in Facebook, “Thanks @JillRoberts — I couldn’t have done it without you!”

Follow this link to read the entire news release: http://www.eloqua.com/news/press/Eloqua-Unveils-New-Chatter-inside-Eloqua.html

Research for this brief was provided by Software Advice.

About the author:

Ashley Furness Eloqua Announces Chatter Integration Ashley Furness is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at Ashleyfurness[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314call skype logo Eloqua Announces Chatter Integration 512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +
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5 Jobs for Tomorrow’s Marketing Team

5 Jobs for Tomorrows Marketing Team  5 Jobs for Tomorrows Marketing Team If you want to see the future of marketing, just take a look at recent job postings. Recruiters increasingly request such new generation skills as SEO, analytics, mobile, social media and content in lieu of mass media and direct mail acumen, for example.

At the same time, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects marketing payrolls to swell by at least 13 percent between 2010 and 2020. So what does this shift in desired skills mean for the industry? What new positions to experts expect will be created during that time period? This week, I asked more than 30 marketing and recruiting specialists what they see in the industry’s employment future.

Here are five of the most common new roles they envision.

“The industry needs to emulate, then stimulate, consumers’ nonlinear, multi-screen, in-control purchase behavior,” Protagonist Partner Tom Cotton said.

1. Cotton and others I interviewed see companies recruiting a Marketing Integration Planner in the future, or someone that would identify ways to deliver a single marketing message, campaign or branding effort across multiple digital channels. For example, using a pay-per-click advertising campaign to promote a viral video, or using SEO keyword analysis to help craft a press release.

Marketing consultant Jocelyn Saurini said “people don’t call directly in from an infomercial or click a banner and immediately buy items.” Instead, they search for reviews, interact with brands on social media and pay attention to trending topics in the industry. So marketing teams need to make sure they utilize every channel at once with a unified message.

2. Other experts I interviewed introduced this idea of a Crowdsourcing Specialist. This plays into the idea that companies can no longer dictate their brand identity to the customer. They need someone–in this case the Crowdsourcer–to monitor conversations happening on the Web about the brand and develop messaging that responds to customers’ voiced expectations.

That person would also use the crowd to promote and send out calls to action, such as inviting customers to compete to create the best video about the brand, and perhaps tying the theme to something trending on Twitter.

3. Marketing automation, browser history, on-demand advertising, Google analytics and other data gathering tools have armed marketers with more return on investment resources than ever before. For this reason, companies will look to one expert, a Vice President of Marketing Data Analytics possibly, to decide when, why and how marketing data should be tracked. Their goals would be to improve marketing performance and predictive modeling, and continually refine the company’s definition of the ideal customer.

This information would be shared with brand and campaign strategists who design promotions.

4. Also as a result of new data, companies have increasingly moved their marketing budget strategy from quarterly allotments for print, direct mail and media advertising to constantly-shifting spending from one channel to another. This could develop into a ROI and Marketing Budget Officer position, experts said. This person would constantly track ROI from all promotion channels and adjust spending based on those results.

5. “The idea is to get marketing tactics out there quickly, track results, then continue with ones that work and dump ones that don’t,” says crowdSPRING co-founder Mike Samson. “The idea is to try a bunch of things and learn through constant trial and error.”

6. Finally, content creation is likely one of the fasted growing skills in marketing teams today. Every expert I interviewed mentioned companies wanting to hone their content strategy. Eventually, this might be led by one Content Marketing Manager or Officer that would plan websites, blog, video, infographic, webinars, social media and other content vehicle development. The individual would decide how that content would be promoted and cross-promoted, then track its performance.

Three Ships Media CEO and founder Zach Clayton described it this way: “the people who are able to create a lot of value in the marketing organization of the future think in terms of content, not channels, and in terms of insight, not data.”

Research for this article as provided by softwareadvice.com/crm.

Photo courtesy of Victor1558.

About the author:

Ashley Furness 5 Jobs for Tomorrows Marketing Team Ashley Furness is a Market Analyst for research firm Software Advice. Her professional experience spans journalism, sales, advertising and SEO marketing. She’s a seasoned writer having produced copy for business journals, a sports magazine, daily deals advertising and industry blogs. She can be contacted at Ashleyfurness[@]softwareadvice.com, or by calling 512-582-2314call skype logo 5 Jobs for Tomorrows Marketing Team 512-582-2314. LinkedInTwitterGoogle +

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