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Traditional PR pitching took a targeted turn with the widespread popularity of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), the world’s largest network sourcing platform made by Cision. Connecting more than 800,000 sources and PR professionals with 55,000 journalists every year, HARO seeks to narrow the pool for expert commentary, connecting journalists to the best- suited sources for their story. Below are 5 tips that promote best practices for using HAROs as an efficient and effective pitching platform.

Speak to the outlet

When pitching a HARO, taking note of the outlet is often just as important as the topic. Being able to pitch while speaking to the outlet audience ensures that the reporter sees your expert as a potential source for this story and stories in the future. Additionally, different publications may look for different value props when you are noting your source’s qualifications. For example, niche healthcare publications such as Prevention or Healthline, will look for value props in a source that can speak to both patients and providers, while parenting magazines like Today’s Parents and Fatherly, look for specialists that can speak specifically to parents and their child-related questions and concerns. When pitching sources for expert commentary it is important to utilize the tone of your note to match the formality of the topic and the article.

Leverage past connections

Before starting your HARO response, check carefully to see who is on the receiving end of your pitch because the same reporters use HARO repeatedly. This information gives you the opportunity to leverage past contacts while avoiding the common pitfall of over pitching someone or pitching someone the same source twice. Noting the writer’s name allows you to take advantage of instances where you could use a past professional relationship to set your pitch apart from the rest. If a reporter already knows you to be a credible source for connecting them with expert commentary, they are more likely to respond to your pitch, avoiding the back and forth or working with an unfamiliar and potentially unreliable PR professional. Take the time to mention that you’ve worked together before in your pitch. For example: “Hi John, I hope that you’ve been well since the working with Professor X for your article on the impact of trauma and violence on cognition.”

Short greetings go a long way

Unlike more traditional pitching styles, HAROs do not require the same attention to the lead. It is more important to get to the nitty-gritty of your source’s qualifications before the reporter’s moves on to the pool of other submissions. Remember, when pitching HAROs, the need to make your pitch standout is more important than ever, as the competition is heightened and highly targeted. After a short “Hi there…” it can be beneficial to jump straight into the fact that you would love to connect them with a source that you think would be a great asset to their story. To draw their eyes even farther into your pitch, use bold or italicized writing to highlight the name of your expert source. If they take the time to read the source’s name, likely they will read about why they are the best candidate to answer their questions.

Connect the dots

It is not enough to simply regurgitate the topic that the reporter has noted in their HARO. One of the common pitfalls of HARO pitching is to list out a series of expert qualifications but fail to provide information about why these particular skills are the missing ingredient that this reporter must have. Moreover, it is equally as ineffective to just repeat the topic that the reporter listed. Reporters want to see adequate credentials and critical reasoning as to why this source is the best for their article. For example, this can be as simple as saying that a nursing professor’s extensive experience in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provides her with a unique perspective to speak on how certain supplements might affect and/or increase milk production in new moms. Providing this added information does two things. First, it illustrates a logical bridge between the sources experience and the particular topic. Second, it implies that you took the time to write a thoughtful and personalized pitch specific to this reporter’s story.

Take advantage of concise writing

Do not expect a reporter using HARO to read the entirety of your pitch. Often the reason they are using this platform is to cut down on the time that it takes to find a credible source or narrow the pool of candidates to meet a quick deadline. Front load the important information in your pitch, begin with the name of your source and quickly jump into how their particular expertise would provide a different or supplementary perspective to this story. The backend of your pitch should be quick and concise, providing nothing more than simple instructions to reach out if they would like to be connected with your expert.

Alyssa Susnjara joined the Circa Interactive public relations team in the summer of 2018 as a communications specialist and brings expert insight from the media world to the company. Alyssa is passionate about building established relationships with university faculty and reporters, and she has utilized her skills to land placements at publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Vice. Alyssa is a graduate of the University of Oregon, where she studied communications. Go Ducks!

The post 5 Best Practices for Effective Help A Reporter Out (HARO) Pitching appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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Conversions are the goal. Whatever those may be – opt-ins to newsletters, providing an email address for more information, or actually making a purchase – the goal is to get the target to do something you want them to do. And so, measuring the ROI of a campaign means measuring the numbers and types of conversion that are actually achieved as a result of a campaign.

This can be a challenge.

What is a Good ROI?

The measure of a good ROI is not carved in stone, for every organization has a different goal for any campaign. However, we can say that if, for every dollar spent, there is more than $1 in return, a campaign can be considered successful.
But what if the return cannot be measured in dollars? What if the goal of a campaign is not a sales amount? What if it is focused on other types of conversions? How, then, do you measure that ROI? There are some guidelines for doing this, and let’s take a look at them.

Defining ROI

ROI is, above all, a measurement – a measure of the results of some marketing effort – based upon key performance indicators (KPI). And, in order to measure and prove a good ROI, those indicators must be identified and defined up front. As a marketer, you must define those KPI’s, so that everyone is aware of the goals.

Calculating ROI

As a marketer, you have to own the campaigns that you implement and the projected ROI that you devise. And you are responsible for analyzing the activity that shows how each campaign is performing. To do this, you will be measuring different types of activity, depending on your goals for each campaign.

So, let’s take a look at the various types of campaign goals and how you can measure them. The first step in determining ROI is identifying the metrics by which the campaign will be analyzed. And those metrics should allow analysis in real-time, so that you can track the performance indicators you have identified.

1. For E-commerce Marketing Campaigns
These campaigns can range from spreading brand awareness, to acquiring leads, to nurturing those leads, to ultimate purchases. Metrics you will want to use include the following:

• Website Traffic: You are looking for an increase in traffic over time, once a campaign has been launched.
• Subscriptions and Opt-ins: You are tracking the increase in newsletter subscriptions, the opt-ins to receive special offers via email, or a request for more information about a product or service.
• Accepting a free trial offer, placing items in a shopping cart, or making an actual purchase.

2. For Lead Generation Campaigns
The goal of these campaigns is to bring customers to the top of a sales funnel. One of the things you will want to track is where those leads are coming from. Your campaign may include blog posts, ads and posts on social media, backlinks from other sources, etc. To really analyze the performance of a campaign, you will need to know the sources of your traffic. The results can be analyzed by:

• Increase in website traffic
• Live chat conversations in responses to questions/requests
• Opt-ins
• Attendance at webinars, podcasts, and live events, along with acquiring contact information of attendees
• Lead volume, as well as quality of leads and additional conversion rates, including sales.

3. For Content Responses
Brand awareness and spread is highly dependent upon content that is created in a variety of places – on a blog, through email, on social media platforms, etc. Tracking the journeys of all types of content is important, because it allows marketers to determine what is working and what is not. Performance indicators include the following:

• Website traffic and average amount of time spent on each page
• Numbers of comments, likes, shares from specific content venues
• Traffic from backlinks of content that has been placed on major social platforms, other blogs, forums, and niche-related social channels

What is Considered a Good ROI?

There are averages benchmarks that can certainly be considered when analyzing your own. For example, marketers using Google Adwords realize an average of 2.45% rate of conversion. And percentage of sales seem to be highest from direct marketing and emails (8.9% in the U.S.), and lower from social media. But again, these are averages.

Performance Metrics Based Upon History

While industry averages are certainly good to look at, the real measure of ROI benchmarks is a comparison with the performance prior to the current campaign. In this way, you can identify the channels that are performing well and those that are not. In the end, you may be able to get more “bang for your buck” by focusing on the performing channels.

Content Marketing Stands the Test of Time

The combined results of a Nielson and Profit Works study show that email and SEO efforts actually result in higher ROI, when compared with other types of marketing campaigns. And these two venues rely on content, not direct advertising.
When marketers craft compelling, unique, and valuable content, it has “staying power,” is indexed by search engine bots, and shows up in generic searches.

When great content is also presented through emails, with compelling subject lines, the open rate is greater.
Marketers can track search engine rankings; they can track traffic to their content, along with likes and shares; they can track open rates of emails. And these numbers are valuable, even if they don’t result in short-term sales upticks. Over time, they will. Patience is in order.

Marketing Director for Pick Writers, translation review website, puts it this way: “We have spent buckets of money on direct advertising. And we will continue to use these marketing venues. But what we have discovered, through our metrics analysis, is that we generate more leads and ultimate sales through out content efforts. When we can present value to potential clients via content, they respond.”

ROI can certainly be seen as a “numbers game.” And it should be. When marketers launch campaigns, they must be willing to identify the KPI’s of those campaigns in numerical terms. How much more traffic have they generated? What has been the increase in lead generation compared to that before a campaign has been in place for a specific period of time? How many more opt-ins have been generated? And yes, ultimately, how much revenue has been generated in comparison to the cost involved?

But there is also a danger here. Companies can obsess on looking for a positive ROI in short order when, in fact, a campaign may be much longer-term before results can actually be seen. Find the balance. Set up the KPI’s, track results in real-time, eliminate those campaigns that are clearly not working, and allow those that seem to be getting results the time they need.

Elisa Abbott is a freelancer whose passion lies in creative writing. She completed a degree in Computer Science and writes about ways to apply machine learning to deal with complex issues. Insights on education, helpful tools and valuable university experiences – she has got you covered. 

The post What is a Good ROI for a Digital Marketing Campaign? appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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Inbound marketing is the new age marketer style of thinking. Traditionally, clients were drained by hounding them with calls and pestering them until you got a sale. Things have changed. Today, the new line of thought is that if you provide a client with value, they will appreciate it and do business with you thus returning your valuable investment. This is the essence of inbound marketing. Win customers over by providing tremendous value to them without asking for anything in return.

Inbound marketing has proven to be very effective in recent years. Consumers are tired of being hounded with sales calls and emails, and this is why call blockers and ad blocks are so popular today. They appreciate it if your business does not spam them with emails, and they appreciate the value you add to their lives with your product, which is why they return this value to you in form of their business. However, this strategy is not without its downsides. Sometimes potential clients will simply take the free service you offer them and never look back. In today’s online business landscape, it is increasingly difficult to convert leads to sales. Thus, there are several inbound marketing best practices which can help you maximize profits.

Identify Your Ideal Client

It is easy to waste time and energy running after one client that you may never close. You know it, they know it, and all the signs are there. Do not keep chasing after a client that is clearly never going to convert. Instead, study your clients and determine who your ideal client is. Who gives you the largest profit margins? Cater to this client. Exclude leads that are only there to attract fantasy clients who will never convert, and populate your lead pipeline with leads that attract your ideal clients who give you the largest profit margins.

Test Your Call to Action

You need to make sure that you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. Take advantage of A/B testing and data surveys to figure out why and what works. Test out different strategies to improve your situation and figure out which one produces the best results.

Lead Nurturing

As stated before, inbound marketing is all about offering tremendous value to clients and gently nudging them to convert. The process of offering this value is called lead nurturing. This is such an important and essential step because it puts you in constant contact with your potential clients. Sometimes they may not be ready to buy, but that does not mean that they never will. You need to keep them on your radar and to be on theirs so that when they are ready to make a purchase, they immediately think of you.

SEO

You need to dive deeper into your SEO. Sure, you may have done your keyword research and found the right keywords to use, but you need to take things a notch higher. Put yourself in your potential client’s shoes. What problems do they have? What common questions do your salespeople encounter on the field? What are your competitors doing differently to rank content higher than yours? Are they doing SEO only for their website or for their apps as well? Also, remember to stay up to date with the disruptive changes search engines make to keep your site ahead of the pack.

Personas

Personas are a big deal in Inbound Marketing. Your persona is how you get into your ideal buyer’s head. What resonates with them? How can you help them? How can you stand out? Everyone makes the claim that they are the best at what they do, or that they have the highest quality work or whatever. It is all noise if it cannot be proved. Can you prove what you claim? For example, if you have the best manufacturing process, demonstrate it in a video. Truly stand out and convince your persona that you really are what you say you are. Show don’t tell.

Content

Content can make or break a website. In inbound marketing, your customers are looking to add some value to their lives, which is why they are seeking out your content. If your content sucks, then you lose. They have missed what they came to you for and therefore have no need to stay. You do not just need any content, you need awesome, relevant content.

Rilind Elezaj is an experienced Digital Marketing Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. Rilind possesses a strong entrepreneurial mindset and has devoted his career to enhancing the sphere of digital marketing. In his methodological approach, Rilind integrates web development and other digital marketing solutions to create hybrid strategies that bring the best results.

The post 6 of the Best Inbound Marketing Practices appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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Choosing  the right school is one of the most important decisions that prospective students and their parents make. No wonder the 2015 median earnings of people with a bachelor’s degree were 67% higher than that of those who hold only a high-school diploma. So, a good education is the cornerstone of success, which is why you can expect prospective students to conduct detailed research before they make up their mind. The question is, how to make your school stand out from the competition? Your website holds the key to attracting top talent, getting them to enroll at your school, and remain an informed and successful student. Use these student engagement strategies to boost your university’s enrollment and retention rates.  

Strategies to Boost Student Engagement Showcase Your Curriculum

The more informative your website is, the better.

The best college websites provide all the necessary details about the courses and degrees offered and make them easily accessible. Effective website navigation is crucial for bringing this important information to your visitors’ fingertips. The home page should feature a direct link to the programs and degrees page so that it’s always no more than three clicks away from any page of your website.

Go the extra mile, and include more than just a list of courses and their short descriptions. Break down these courses into semesters, include videos and testimonials of the existing students and alumni talking about these programs and their benefits, or even add salary estimates for a particular degree.

Mobile Friendliness Is a Big Deal

Younger generations are practically glued to their smartphones.

Their parents are not far behind on this trend either.

In other words, the odds are that many of them will visit  your website from their mobile devices. A survey has shown that 1 in 5 Americans uses only their smartphone to access the internet. So, the worst thing you can do is serve them with a mobile-unfriendly website.

The result – your bounce rates will soar and your enrollment rates will suffer.

Mobile optimization is key in order to boost student engagement and connect with a majority of your prospective students.

By optimizing your website for mobile you will improve engagement and conversion rates.

You can additionally boost your prospective students’ interest and engagement if you create a mobile app which will help them learn more about your school and why it is the best option for them. To make sure that this game-changing solution will be well-designed, apply filters and search through this list of reputable app development companies and find your match.  

Regular and Timely Feedback

This option is of vital importance both if you’re running a regular, bricks-and-mortar school or online courses because students (and their parents) want to be able to get in touch with the enrollment advisors and teachers to regularly get information about application details and their academic performance.

If student engagement is not met with the right information, these prospects may lose interest and move on to the next schools on their list. The same effect can be seen among current students who transfer after a lack of connection with their university. To drive enrollment and retention, an institution must prioritize student engagement strategies to respond quickly, directly, and personally.

But, is it always possible to provide feedback in a timely manner? Only if you hire additional operators who will be available 24/7, and that’s too expensive and impractical.

Timely Feedback

AI-powered chatbots implemented into your university’s website and Facebook page can pick up the slack and respond to teachers’, students’, or parents’ questions at any time. An example of this is the Genie of Deakin University in Victoria, Australia. This smart assistant is supported by the IBM Watson NLP computer system, a groundbreaking technology which mimics human cognitive capabilities. The Deakin Genie helps the students navigate the campus, informs them about the latest deadlines that they have to meet, answers all their questions about life on campus, and helps them with anything they need.

If your university is struggling to find resources to effectively manage lead flow or student inquiries, Circa Interactive provides cost effective solutions to help organizations engage with prospective students instantly, anywhere, anytime. If you would like to learn how Circa Interactive uses AI chatbots to enable prospective students to take the next step toward enrollment, please visit our automated chat services page.

Regular Feedback

When it comes to feedback from educators, scoring essays is one of the biggest challenges that online professors face since they can have as many as 1,000 students waiting to get the results of their literary efforts.

Enter Automated Essay Scoring (AES).

This sophisticated NLP-based technology is still in development, but its main goal is to help teachers grade essays more efficiently. However, there’s strong opposition from those who claim that such an algorithm can’t grade academic papers accurately and without human interference. Still, with the latest advancements in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, it seems that we’re not too far from its implementation.

Address Their Problems and Offer Solutions

There’s no better way to engage your potential students than by addressing their problems and helping them find solutions.

A blog is a perfect tool for this.

But before you start producing content, make sure to find out more about what your target audience needs. Don’t use your blog only to promote your school as can come off as too self-serving.

Talk to your existing students, or even better recruit them as bloggers who will share their personal opinions and first-hand experiences about your school. 92% of people are more likely to trust recommendations from others over the content generated by brands, which means that UGC will help you build credibility with your prospective students.

Don’t forget about your professors as they can significantly contribute to this project. Invite them to participate and tell something about themselves and their courses. But make sure that a minimum of academic jargon is used in these blog posts because the point is to connect with young people who prefer an informal tone, possibly jazzed up with some humor.

Leverage an Omnichannel Approach

Besides optimizing your website, it’s a good idea to take your interaction with your students to the next level. This is of critical importance, especially for online courses, since there can be little to no face-to-face communication. Email has become inundated with messages from every  channel, so it’s a good idea to tap into the power of social media platforms.

The first step is adding social media buttons and IM widgets to your website.

Live chat, IM groups, social media groups, and discussion forums can be helpful for sharing important information or student collaboration.

Twitter, being one of the most popular and fast-paced social media platforms, offers a fun and effective way to inform your students about their assignments and deadlines, as well as to provide them with online resources they can use. Professors can also host live twitter chats on curriculum topics or industry trends to foster student engagement among those in the class.  

 

First impressions are the most lasting, and it’s your website that plays an important role in positioning your school in a favorable light and driving student engagement.

 

Angelina Harper is a content creator with a background in digital marketing. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching tutorials and camping.

The post How to Increase Student Engagement On Your Website appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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If you have been running the same content marketing campaigns for over a year, you will likely have noticed that they are no longer yielding the same results.
Firstly, because these kinds of campaigns tend to soar in the initial months, and merely drift on a slow breeze as they flutter out; and secondly, because you can’t in all seriousness expect what worked a year ago to work just as well today.
Here to help you out are our five refreshing content marketing revamp ideas to jostle you out of your usual way of thinking, and take your campaigns a notch further.

Take a Look at Your Keywords

No matter how well thought-out and well researched the keywords you initially optimized your content for were, the internet has likely undergone a significant change since then. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can ever be over and done with this segment of your content marketing once and for all.
Trends emerge and shift, users start to look for different things, and they use different terms to find them. In order to keep up, you will need to do some additional research for your old posts, and re-optimize them for new search terms. That way, you will make sure that they can start to drive some additional traffic your way, without having to invest in fresh content.
Make a note of doing a keyword re-search every six months or so. Delve into both your Search Console and see what search terms are bringing traffic in, and use a third-party tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find other potentials. Then, refocus your content around these keywords, and see what happens. You might not always strike gold on the first try, but you will undoubtedly uncover some interesting avenues to pursue.

Delete Failing Content

Even though everyone is still hailing content as its royal majesty, you don’t have to be stuck on every article you have ever published. Just like a keyword tidy-up is recommended, so is a general once-over on all your marketable pages.
Are there a couple that drive no traffic at all? Do you have topics that you have since covered in a newer, better post? Can you redirect your useless content to its fresher cousins? Do you have outdated posts that are merely gathering dust?
You may feel that there is absolutely no harm in holding on to old and practically useless content. And you would be right, to an extent. But imagine if someone were to read this “bad” content, and decide you are not a source worthy of attention? Don’t forget, search engines evaluate all of your pages, including the sub-par ones.
You need to focus on content that works – rather than pieces that hold no value. Before you delete a page however, make sure you redirect any links or traffic coming in from them to better pages, so as not to lose anything from your spring cleaning project.

Optimize Posts with High Traffic but Low Conversions

Now that you have done all this browsing among your existing content, you will likely have come across a few pages that see a lot of traffic come in, but do nothing to convert it. It would be a shame to miss out on all that potential, so why not try and capture a few leads as they come in.
First of all, make sure that this traffic-driving page is pointing to the right internal pages in an obvious way. Do you mention one of your products or services? Are you also linking to them? If not, make sure to remedy this remiss.
Posts which see a surge in traffic are often not one bit promotional in nature. And while you should by no means turn such a post into a sales pitch, adding a crafty CTA to the bottom is the best way to get people to notice you.
A lot of internet surfers don’t even bother to browse the website they have landed on after they find what they were looking for. Your job is to delicately nudge them to explore more, be it with a “further reading” section, or a clever mention of one of your services or products.
If you can, stay clear of adding popups to attract attention – they are mostly found annoying and do not quite elicit the reaction you might have been hoping for. They are not also the favorite tool of search engines either, so try to direct attention by content and links on the page itself, rather than any additional attention grabbers.

Have Your Team to Blog for You

An out-of-the-box way to attract readers it to offer a unique take on a subject. A lot of content marketers will tell you that you need to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in order to make it in this online shark tank.
Whatever industry you operate in, you have already been blessed with these experts – your employees. Whether you get them to write about the process of coming up with a product, the best way to use a certain service, or a hack they have come up with while testing them, ask them to contribute.
You will be achieving two things with this new take on blogging: your customers will get to know the inner workings of your company just a bit better (making you more relatable) and you will be offering value no one else can match.
Don’t forget to promote these posts a bit differently – either on social media or through your newsletter, make sure to highlight them and outline their uniqueness, so as to get readers interested. And don’t forget to get the writer of said post involved as well – be it in the comments section or on social media.

Test a Risky Idea

Finally, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can try to implement a risky idea.
Every revolutionary marketing success is born out of a thousand poor ideas thrown around at a team meeting. We are not suggesting you to try something you know will clearly not work. But if you’ve come up with an idea for a post or a way to promote a product, but can’t find anyone who has done it before, or are even unsure how it might go down, test it.
Don’t pour buckets of money into a tactic that has an ambiguous return on investment. Take a few steps in your newly chosen direction, and see how it goes down. You might genuinely be on to something that will do wonders for your company.
This is especially true if you are looking to try a new marketing channel or a new way to distribute content, or even if you are looking to test a new audience. You will never know if they are interested if you don’t try.
Make sure the campaign is ethical though – you don’t want to be remembered for a social media faux pas, for example.
Content marketing is famous for reinventing itself every season. And the best way to stay abreast of all these changes is to try and come up with a few yourself. Don’t wrap yourself up in a cocoon of tried and tested tactics – dare to test the waters once in a while, and you will certainly both start enjoying your day-to-day more, and getting unexpected results.
Nikola Banicek is an internet marketing specialist at Point Visible content marketing agency. He’s a laid-back guy with experience in PPC, copywriting, and project planning. 

The post 5 Ways to Refresh Your Content Marketing Campaign appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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In an ever-evolving digital and technical world, the marketing game has changed considerably. However, content still remains king in digital marketing. Businesses are now needing to go above and beyond to properly connect to audiences.
Being able to craft compelling copy, utilize language, and put together words with effective storytelling techniques will win attention for your content. When stories are delivered right, it can attract consumers and easily grow an audience.
A new marketing mindset is transforming how we sell and do business, making it necessary to utilize story to captivate audiences and develop brand awareness.
The power of story lets consumers go on a journey and connects meaning on new levels. By building brand trust, and creatively communicating, consumers are more willing to follow your mission. A developed marketing and branding strategy allows content to be seamlessly interwoven and written with a purpose to strengthen brand identity.
Before developing a search engine optimization strategy and taking initiative to rank in Google, digital marketers need to properly develop a cohesive internal brand story and craft a well thought out digital marketing plan and content strategy.
At Circa Interactive, we love to use creative storytelling to help marketing initiatives for higher education. Our education marketing strategies focus on storytelling to improve the enrollment lifecycle.

Develop your content marketing strategy with the power of storytelling:

Know Your ‘Why’ and Include it in Storytelling

Before executing a content plan, establish a personal and professional ‘why’ behind what you’re doing, and know what you wish to accomplish. Without knowing your ‘why’, you’re missing the heart of storytelling. Stories are developed in order to educate and communicate an idea. Your ‘why’ gives insights to your audience about what you stand for and is the underlying reason you create what you do.
The ‘why’ fuels everything; the story you tell, brand strategy, the digital plan, the clients you take on, and more. Always consider how your business purpose impacts people, clients, and society on a larger scale. Connecting to the ‘why’ fuels new passions and drives more meaning and success with everything you do.
At Circa Interactive, we created a story for American University that showcased education and directly spoke to our ‘why’ of inspiring people to get educated. We appealed to prospective students utilizing history and made a story with visuals that people can connect to and care about.


American University’s School of Education’s mission is to better society and build a stronger democracy by creating an equal access to an excellent education.By playing on the theme of education, our team was able to create a story using the theme “Raise Your Hand” to invoke emotion and create a call to action for those that are inspired to make a difference in education. Tell Your Own Story to Develop Your Brand

When scripted correctly, the story and content created can communicate a brand’s motives, values, and perspectives. Your brand’s story delivers transparency and builds trust through the values portrayed. Psychology tells us people are more interested in investing in businesses and brands they stand for and can relate to. Therefore, it’s vital businesses develop their story in addition to helping clients develop better stories.
A brand’s unique story is what ultimately wins consumers over. Getting clear on your company’s internal purpose and values can effectively help people connect to who you are and what you’re doing. People always want to know who they are buying from and what they are supporting. It’s imperative brands take time to develop their story and clearly brand themselves well.
When done well, branding builds the foundation, structures your story, and becomes the backbone and DNA of your whole business. You can gain followers, supporters, connections, and new relationships easier by sharing your story and letting people know why you do what you do. Your brand’s overall image, and the passion behind it, creates more success and gets you known.
At Circa, we wanted to improve how we showcase ourselves, so we rebranded our website and took efforts to better convey who we are, what we do, and share more about the people and ‘why’ behind our brand:

Create Killer Content and Tell a Story That Is Appealing

In a world that is filled with distractions and media overload, brands need to go the extra mile to be seen. It’s imperative their content strategy aligns with a bigger story in order to stand out. Utilizing storytelling to showcase who you are, your passion, the characters behind the brand, and your ultimate purpose, and more, builds brand trust.
The power of story in content creation genuinely conveys to audiences what you’re about and why others should connect with you. Be willing to write in clever, unique ways and consider how it adds value. Garner more engagement by educating consumers through storytelling and sharing your own authentic story.
Long term ROI is made possible by consistently knowing what you’re putting on the web, how it’s assisting clients, and promoting yourself. The content shared and the stories told online correspond directly to the audience you attract and profits you can create. Let your content speak to audiences in creative ways and develop a strategy that can gain lifelong followers. Marketing becomes more efficient and seamless when developed with intention and a cohesive strategy that integrates the power of storytelling to showcase your whole mission.
Circa Interactive works with higher education clients, and we create informative content and infographics to attract audiences and interest prospective students. Our informative infographics educate others and highlight relevant topics that can promote our Universities and educate audiences.
This infographic from American University Online correlates directly with education and has informative information that relates to higher education. The content is interesting and connects American University’s mission of an equal access to education with the trending subject of futuristic education technology.

Credit: American University School of Education Online

Power Your Story and Brand Strategy with Creativity

To be effective in digital marketing, businesses need innovative employees who can intuitively connect content, images, and meaning. Creative thinkers will lead the future of marketing by using storytelling techniques effectively. Without empathy and the ability to unite words and media in artistic forms to catch eyes, you’ll miss out on making a connection with your ideal target audience. Successful marketing campaigns are able to leave consumers with something to remember and evoke deeper meaning that speaks to their desires and connects to their ‘why’.
Take risks with content and be willing to alter strategies. Write your message in meaningful ways and consider what you want your reader to learn. Think beyond what others are doing, form a perspective, and utilize creative thinking to solve problems and innovate. Ask yourself what you can do to be different and get noticed. By shifting ideas of what marketing is, companies can expand their efforts through adopting new tactics, and creating killer content with a thoughtful strategy that makes an impact.

Beyond Powerful Storytelling, Connection Matters

Storytelling adds value and inspires people. All communication efforts serve to convey your story, convey your underlying ‘why’, and highlight your brand. Always remember the problem you’re solving, the audience you are striving to connect to, and the ‘why’ behind your actions and words. Hold values that emulate your internal brand’s story and stick to them. People are ultimately attracted to brands based on how well they can live their story, and have integrity in aligning with it and sharing it well.
Let your mark on the digital world be one of meaning, connection, and exquisitely crafted digital content that shows your brand, educates, and inspires. Your story matters. Make sure you are able to write it well, share it so others can connect with it, and engage successfully.
Circa’s creative director, Joe, and the co-founder, Clayton, share their insight about storytelling and ways to use story to connect to audiences in higher education:

The Power of Storytelling Full Webinar

 

Kali is passionate about digital marketing strategies and loves to utilize her creative and analytical skills in businesses. She studied business marketing and minored in photography and graphic communication at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Kali loves studying storytelling, writing, and utilizing her communication and artistic skills to educate and innovate. She currently helps Circa Interactive in content strategy and analysis, and works on the SEO team. Connect with Kali on LinkedIn.

The post The Power of Storytelling: Use Story to Create Your Digital Brand Strategy appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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With two thirds of Americans using social media to get their news, it’s no surprise that those who report the news also utilize and participate in social media. With a news feed updating almost non-stop, the design of Twitter uniquely positions itself as source for breaking news and is therefore an ideal platform for journalists. Additionally, the site allows journalists to stay up-to-date on new developments within their beat and creates a space for dialogue and feedback on news. When engaging with reporters on Twitter it is important to remember that while they may be an authority and leader within their subject matter, they are people just like us with interests and opinions, so it is best to keep it real. However, when engaging with journalists with the intent to pitch a product or idea, there are certain best practices that may help you stand out. Here are 5 tips for engaging with reporters on Twitter:

Set-up a professional account

If your goal is to engage with reporters on behalf of your company or client then setting up a new professional account allows you the freedom to cultivate a social presence free from worry of past tweets re-surfacing. You should choose a profile picture that is professional and is easy to see, and have a straightforward bio. It should be immediately clear who you are and what your goal is by hovering over your name. If you would rather not set up a separate account for fear of losing some of your personal flair, that is ok, but when mixing work and personal time it is important to be more mindful. This includes what profile picture you choose and how you describe yourself, as well as what you say and tweets you ‘like’. Expressing interests is good, liking or Tweeting inappropriate statements while also wanting to be taken seriously, is not.

Research the expert

What is your end goal for engaging with journalists on Twitter? What do you want them to cover? With your end goal in mind, mindfully choose who to follow. If you work for an agency and want to engage with reporters from varying beats, then Twitter lists is a helpful tool to utilize as it allows you to categorize reporters and stay up to date on what reporters covering that topic are talking about.

Learn the art of lurking

Before jumping in and engaging with reporters you know nothing about, it is best to start slow. Ease into your engagement. Follow the reporters you want to build a rapport with to first see what their interests are and what they’re writing about. Become familiar with them by learning what they like, both professionally and personally. You might find you have something in common that might not be immediately obvious from their job title or beat.

Engage softly, build a rapport and pay it forward

Once you feel comfortable initiating engagement, begin by taking small steps such as favoriting or retweeting them before progressing into retweeting with comment or responding directly. Once you do begin engaging directly, provide positive feedback, resources, or pay it forward by sharing their article in your other networks. These small engagements will notify them and start to put your name and profile on their radar.

Pitch them

Once you’ve built a rapport with a journalist then start to test the waters by responding with a pitch or asking if you can DM them to talk more in depth.
In summary, when engaging with reporters on Twitter you should keep it real. The first step is to simply engage with what they’re saying, either by liking their tweets, chiming in to add to the conversation or responding with feedback to an article they wrote. The key is to slowly build a relationship. When you Tweet at them your name will pop up. Once you’ve established a rapport when you email them they might be more apt to open your pitch because they recognize your name. Depending on the relationship you’ve built and how often that reporter uses Twitter you might find that you can DM them and send your pitch via Twitter instead of email.
Lindsey is a public relations expert who joined the Circa team in January 2018. She currently manages media relations for professors from multiple universities, in a variety of disciplines, helping connect them with relevant opportunities to increase their thought leadership and program exposure. Graduating with honors from Virginia Tech with both a bachelors and masters in Communication, Lindsey understands how to bridge the gap between academia and the media in order to facilitate and support the spread of credible news. Lindsey has obtained media placements for professors in outlets such as The Washington Post, Forbes and Scientific American. Connect with Lindsey on Twitter: @lindsey_baumann

The post 5 Tips for Engaging with Reporters on Twitter appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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What’s Next for the Future of Digital Marketing?

Optimizing for voice search & mobile, leveraging artificial (AI) technologies, improving UX experience and content diversification will be key elements for staying competitive in the future digital marketing landscape.

We reached out to 8 digital marketing experts to get their insights on these developing technologies and share predictions on the future of online marketing.

Read on to discover insights from industry leading digital marketing companies like Backlinko, Search Engine Land and many more.

 

 We Asked Experts in the Field to Share Their Thoughts on the Future of Digital Marketing

 

Brian Dean

Founder & CEO at Backlinko

@Backlinko

 

1. Voice Search

It’s already HUGE. And it’s only going to get bigger.

Already huge: 40% of US adults use voice search once per day.

Going to get bigger: comScore estimates that 50% of ALL searches will be voice searches within the next 2 years.

And I’ve seen this myself. I’ve found myself talking more to my computer and phone than ever before. And as the technology improves, I’m going to type less and talk more.

2. Video

Like voice search, video is “the next big thing” that’s already here. I mean, YouTube is already the 2nd most popular website online (even more than Facebook).

But in many ways, video is just getting started. More and more people are producing videos for Instagram, Facebook and other platforms like LinkedIn. It’s also much easier to create a decent video on the cheap than in the past.

The data backs this up: Cisco reports that 81% of all traffic will be video by 2021.

3. Quality Over Quantity

Blog posts. Images. Podcasts. There’s WAY too much content online.

And people are tuning out: Email open rates are down. Blogs are losing readers. Facebook posts are getting ignored.

In short, people are focusing more on reading, watching and listening to the best stuff.

So marketers that focus on quality over quantity are going to have a big edge over the competition in 2018.

 

Robert Lee

Co-founder & CEO at Circa Interactive
@CircaRob

1. Pullback on Persona Based Targeting Opportunities

It’s been a bumpy road for Facebook over the last six months. With the backlash around privacy concerns and the Russian election meddling, the platform has had to take drastic measures to ease the concerns of Facebook users by providing increased insight into how individuals can tighten up their personal information, while also introducing steps to eliminate some of the platform’s most useful targeting options.

Facebook even launched a large scale advertising campaign apologizing for their missteps and promising improvements into the future.

The most interesting aspect of all of this is the ripple affect spread across other digital environments that have mirrored Facebook in regards to their information collection processes.

Most of these platforms followed suit and many users noticed new alerts pop-up within these environments notifying them of new privacy and information collection policies.

While providing this level of insight to consumers is great, advertisers that rely on these platforms to drive targeted traffic will experience challenges. This could be the last nail in the coffin for more traditional job and skill related segmentation, and force Facebook and other platforms to advance their use of seed-list style advertising.

2. New Web Scraping and CAN-SPAM Regulation

While I can’t guarantee that the government is going to get their act together and move on something like this, having your email address and other contact information online has now become a massive nuisance.

The two elements to this equation are first the ability to crawl websites to acquire users information (which are predominantly done by automated crawls based on search parameters) and the outreach to these individuals via large scale outreach campaigns that are disguised as personal messages.

While this tactic can be very effective when it comes to distributing content and building links, many webmasters are starting to get frustrated with the bombardment as the strategy of automated scraping and outreach becomes more routine.

I personally receive at least 10+ cold outreaches a day even though I continue to opt-out of lists, and while I’m guilty of some of these tactics myself, you can tell a tipping-point is near.

3. Automation and AI

While the same can be said for most industries, automation and more intelligent human-informed (but machine implemented) decision making will continue to eat into the digital marketing job sector in 2018.

While a lot of the jobs that will get swallowed are more fringe digital marketing, strategies such as chat bots and bid-management will continue to advance and replace some of the less technical human-based skill-sets that currently exist.

Content and more specifically copy creation/writing are other elements that could be replaced by machines as technologies become more advanced at producing comprehensible language.

 

Barry Schwartz

Executive Editor at Search Engine Roundtable & News Editor at Search Engine Land 
@RustyBrick

 1.Voice Search

All the data shows that voice search is growing fast now. Between talking to your phone, your Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Home Pod and even talking to your car over CarPlay or Android Auto – voice search is the future.

Expect voice search to be a huge area in the near future and with that, you need to figure out how to optimize for “position zero” and handle transactional voice search commands.  Is it all very new now, so stay on top of it.

2. Mobile Search

Google launched their mobile-first index, which means Google will crawl the web from a mobile phone perspective.  Make sure your mobile site is equivalent to your desktop site and that nothing important is missing.

3. Speed

While speed seems to be less and less of a ranking factor today, Google keeps pushing AMP on webmasters.  AMP and PWAs might be the future or might not be, it is hard to tell.  But everyone wants faster sites, so expect more of an emphasis on this.

 

Alexis Sanders

Technical SEO Manager at Merkle Inc., Writer for Moz
@AlexisKSanders

1. Mobile Remains Priority

Mobile conversion issues have been at the top of Google’s priorities, heightened by mobile overcoming desktop circa 2014. Google’s highly anticipated mobile-first index is scheduled to launch within 2018.

Accelerated Mobile Pages’ (AMP) have been improving dramatically and I suspect we’ll see more e-commerce case studies emerge in 2018.

Finally, Apple’s Safari will start to feel more pressure to support service workers for Progressive Web Apps (PWA). If Safari beings to support PWAs’ core functionality, it’ll drastically improve their marketability.

2. Web Performance Optimization Becomes Sexy

Websites have been growing in size creating a website obesity crisis (HTTPachive.org shows ~280% growth 2011 v 2017). Sites are going to have determine the right solution mix from their website as multiple remedies emerge (including: HTTP/2, AMP, PWA, CRP, RAILS).

3. We’re Going to Continue Hear About Machine Learning (ML) Victories

Google’s research blog has been publishing a ton about breakthroughs in ML, along with technologies that make ML more accessible to the average human being (think: Kaggle.comTensorFlow, and Facets visualizations). ML offers the potential to better understand multimedia content better.

We’ll likely see more poignant, targeted KG responses and SERPs in these areas. Also, as the training wheel supports for Google’s algorithm, structured data is an important aspect of developing data classification. In 2017, we saw their structured data documentation morph about every quarter.

Google will likely continue to expand structured data documentation. Bing will face more pressure to support JSON-LD, as websites being leveraging the format.

4. Google’s Going to Face More Media Pressure

Google will be at the center of public debates surrounding fake news, data security (against hacking attacks), privacy concerns, and proprietary information. Following this trend, Google will likely ramp up the importance of HTTPS. About 60% of the top 100 sites are on HTTPS already.

5. Conversational Devices and Voice Search

Voice search technology is becoming closer to conversational (within a word accuracy rate that people are willing to deal with). Once the capabilities reach acceptable levels, we’ll likely see a resurgence of chat bots.

I also anticipate seeing a shift in the marketing mindset surrounding fortified content strategies, striking the balance between making content obtainable for voice search and yet not allowing Google to completely “steal your thunder.”

 

Daniel Kempe

Co-Founder & CEO at Quuu.co 
@DanielKempe

1. Content Diversification

At Quuu, we are excited to see how content marketing is diversifying, extending beyond articles or blog posts to include video, podcasting, infographics and more.

Companies will really need to adapt to this trend to stay in the game. We’ll see larger companies hiring video producers and graphic designers to collaborate with their marketing teams.

But where it gets really exciting is if you work for a startup; let’s say you’re a one or two-person marketing department, then you’re going to have to learn those skills yourselves.

2. Up-Coming Digital Marketing Tools

Luckily, there are tonnes of cool tools out there to help you create different types of content – without having to enroll in film school! Lumen5 was a big hit with content marketers last year (use it to repurpose your blog posts into short videos for social).
In 2018 I’m looking forward to exploring Anchor. Not only does it allow you to quickly and easily record podcasts from your phone, but it’s also a growing social platform in its own right.

What I’m most excited about are our own new tools, the Quuu Scheduler and Content Recycling tools. We are pushing these out shortly and even more exciting for our users, the price will stay the same.

We just want to make our users even more successful on social media by providing a suite of tools to facilitate, alongside our hand-curated content suggestions.

 

 Stephen Panico

Chief Growth Officer at BuzzStream

1. Google Gets Even More Intelligent

Digital marketing, particularly related to link building, is in an interesting place right now. Despite the penalties that sites have encountered by Google in the past, it seems like there is a lot of information going around right now that suggests that technical SEO and on-page optimization coupled with frankly shady tactics like link-buying are beneficial.

The reality is there is probably a grain of truth to that. Right now anyway.

Unfortunately, while there is some evidence that Google is being a little lax right now when it comes to enforcement of penalties, that can (read: eventually will) change at a moments notice.

The really messed up thing is that the opportunistic SEOs that take advantage of this fact won’t be the ones who are hurt, it will be their clients that get slammed with penalties.

So ultimately, teams that target their promotional efforts toward high authority publications with relevant content are going to outperform their peers, now and particularly as Google continues to get more intelligent (and everyone who has ever bet against that happening has lost big time). 

2. Rise in Uncovering the True Value of a Link

As far as tools, there are some interesting new thoughts on authority metrics that are getting tossed around right now. Effectively, we’re seeing more tools attempt to diagnose the true value of a link, which is certainly one of the most challenging aspects of link building, particularly when dealing with clients.

For example, Ahrefs Backlink Checker attempts to do this by providing a well-rounded dashboard giving full visibility into various aspects of link value, whereas some new metrics such as Verve’s Linkscore offer a proprietary algorithm based on blended on and off site metrics to deduce value. 

 

Devin Kostrzewski

Founder & CEO at Authority Builders 
@Dmak_11

1. Back to Basics

I still always come back to the phrase “back to basics.” Despite the ever-changing world of digital marketing, the same basic formula still applies. Create a well-organized website, keep it up to date, and create the best content you can. The results will follow.

There are always new methods, tricks, software and ideologies that build off those principles but without the basic principles, nothing works. Even in my world of off-page SEO and link building, if the domain I am earning links for has improper coding, tags or descriptions then all my effort is for nothing!

If you hire some fancy social media agency who is able to push interaction and traffic to your site but your e-commerce store is not set up properly you likely aren’t going to covert much, adding to your wasted costs/efforts.

2. Digital Marketing Tools Continue to Evolve

As far as tools I need software for tracking SEO metrics and evaluating the quality of links for my clients, I always rely on Moz, Majestic and SEMRush. Ahrefs gets an honorable mention. They are always evolving and provide the best insights for my line of work.

Bryan Traficante

Founder & CEO at TrafMarketing
@BTraficante

1. Social Media Improving the Impact of Smaller Brands

For social media posting and advertising, I see the biggest opportunities for smaller brands to make an impact if they focus on the user’s mindset and intent of the channel. Social media (especially Facebook and Instagram) is a form of escapism and educational discovery, keep that in mind when developing ads and engaging with your community.

2. Emotional Connections for Increased Customer Engagement

Organic posts (things you share on your wall/feed) should 100% be value first. An example of this would be post videos explaining topics you’re an expert in to educate your followers and documenting the ins and outs of your business and things you’re doing.

Organic posting (and comment responding!) is an opportunity to add human and relate-able elements to your company that people can develop an emotional connection to. Many of whom you’ll come to see as regular consumers of your content and even advocates for your company.

This organic connection then also provides your company leverage for selling in the future because that connection you’ve built produces trust and rapport.

3. Social Media: Advertising

For advertising, there are numerous strategies to deploy especially in the Facebook/Instagram/Audience Network space – which is where I see a lot of awareness and consideration marketing funnel growth for companies. I see good strategy trends moving more toward behavioral targeting.

Here’s a simplistic example: Say you’re a brewery and you have a blog post about stouts. You can target all people who have visited that blog post in the last X amount of days and deliver an ad to them on Facebook/Instagram/Audience Network. These people are obviously more aware of your company and have some form of interest in stouts.

Knowing that, you can custom tailor an ad targeting those people, ensure high relevance by recognizing that interest and then more easily suggest a business action. “Love Stouts? Same here! They’re creamy and delicious! We just tapped our new Coffee Nitro Milk Stout! Swing by our brewery and grab a pint!”

 

Bonus Expert Opinion:

Jimmy Rodriguez

Co-founder & COO at 3dcart
@Jimmy3dcart

1. The Future is More Personal

One trend that’s been getting better since the dawn of the internet is personalization. When the web first started, you would see things that were new to you. You had the ability to discover something outside the scope of what you’re looking for, or in most cases, you would see things completely irrelevant to you.

However, as platforms and marketing tools improved, what you saw on the internet became more of what you’ve been looking at or looking for.

In the future, marketing will be built specifically around your tastes and preferences, down to your name to where the last few places you’ve frequented. Algorithms are only going to get better at predicting your behavior and personality. Advertisers will then be using all the data that is the internet to deliver a message to you that is perfect for you and only you.

 

If you have any insights on the future of digital marketing, feel free to share them in the comment section below. Also, if you’d like to join this list, email tyler@circaedu.com with your submission. 

The post Future of Digital Marketing: 8 Experts Share Their Predictions appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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Webinar: How Artificial Intelligence Will Change the Way Universities Engage and Enroll Students: August 7th, 11AM PST.
It’s no secret that competition among higher education institutions is at an all-time high. Even though prospective students are always on their phones, they rarely answer them. What used to be a good strategy for reaching prospects doesn’t work as well anymore for colleges. This generation of students expects instant responses and personalized experiences. With higher education institutions struggling to fund, staff, and scale these kinds of marketing services, reaching students is becoming harder than ever. With this in mind, how can colleges and universities leverage technology that will help them more effectively reach their prospects?
Well, it is now time to implement Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot technology into your marketing strategy. You’ll more effectively reach students while simultaneously relieving your overburdened staff and better utilizing your already-tight budget. With students today being used to getting information instantaneously at all hours of the day or night, they expect to have easy access to institutions in the same way that they have easy access to their friends on social media. By giving a Chatbot the task of quickly and easily interacting with prospects, students get the personalized and instant experience they’re looking for. You’re also ensuring that your school stands out in their minds during the school selection process. Chatbots can become a crucial part of your story telling, and you can use this technology to bring top level prospective students to your virtual doorstep.

Here’s how:

On Tuesday, August 7th at 11AM PST, join Circa Interactive’s Joseph Lapin and Clayton Dean, and Jason VanLue from Zaengle, to learn how your institution should implement Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot technology to improve enrollment efforts and enable you to share your unique story with the highest quality students.
Registration: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_k-dYNgm-TeqB8023vXEjHQ

What You’ll Learn:
  • Understand the current and future opportunity of Artificial Intelligence and its place in higher education.
  • Learn why chatbots and AI-driven platforms are going to change the way we engage with prospective students.
  • See how you can scale your team with the help of intelligent engagement.
  • Understand the cost savings associated with leveraging this technology.
  • Learn how AI can help connect with students on an emotional level.

“By 2020, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse.” –Gartner.
Register now to learn how to grow your institution with innovative AI technology!
Circa Interactive is the premier digital marketing agency in higher education. Since opening in 2011, Circa Interactive has helped more than 60 degree programs increase lead flow, build brand awareness,and generate more students. To find out how our services could help your institution, please email clayton@circaedu.com.
 

The post Using AI to Reach Students and Increase Enrollments appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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Happy World Emoji Day! Today is the day to celebrate the small, expressive images that the world uses to communicate every single day. Whether we want to communicate that we want a fast food lunch, ? ? ?, or to remind your friend not to cry over spilled milk, ? ? ? ?, emojis are a simple and fun way to get your point across.
On Facebook alone, over 700 million emojis are used every day in Facebook posts. If you think that emojis are only exclusive to a few countries, think again. There’s a reason that today is World Emoji Day. In fact, in honor of World Emoji Day, Facebook has revealed the top emojis broken down by country.

(I personally love that all of these top emojis are positive. They’re either laughing, celebrating, or sending some love.)

Emojis were first invented in 1999, but not widely adopted until 2011, in part due to the increase in social media use. Emojis are so commonly used that linguistics experts in the United Kingdom claim that Emoji is now the fastest growing language in the UK!

When is World Emoji Day?

World Emoji Day is celebrated annually on July 17 because this is the day displayed on the calendar emoji: ?
July 17 is used for the calendar emoji because that is the day that iCal premiered at the MacWorld conference in 2002, and  Emoji Day has been celebrated on July 17 since 2014.
Since then, big names like Facebook, TIME Magazine, and even the Empire State Building have joined in on the fun and celebrated World Emoji Day.

Source: Facebook.com, Facebook.com/EmpireStateBuilding, Time.com

According to Brandwatch’s recent report, The Emoji Report, the volume of tweets containing a brand name and an emoji has grown by 49% since September 2015. The biggest brands in the world have recognized that 95% of humans online have used emojis and implemented the language into their marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at some examples of these emoji campaigns and how you can use emojis in your digital marketing efforts to help appeal to the next generation of consumers.

Using Emojis to Appeal to Generation Z

Generation Z is the next generation of consumers and higher education students. Compared to Millennials, Generation Z has an even keener eye for advertising strategies that are trying a bit too hard to relate. Keep in mind here that Generation Z is projected to make up 40% of all consumers by 2020.  That’s right, almost half of consumers will be made up of people born between 1995 and 2010. So how can you use emojis correctly to connect with this large chunk of the market?

? Video

Video is definitely the king of content. Pair video with the use of emojis (or Memojis in this case) to help get your point across and you may have a wildly successful piece of content. One of my favorite examples of using emojis in an entertaining and attention-grabbing way comes from Snoop Dogg and Hims.

Snoop Dogg is a top influencer himself, but his Memoji is even more attention-grabbing. Emojis are even used throughout the video when he refers to ‘playas’, ‘cribs’, and talking about how much money you’ll save.
Next time you create video content, especially for social media, consider how emojis might play a role. What topic can you use emojis to explain? They can be used as a modern version of the audience cue card to let your viewers know when to laugh ?, cry ?, or even ponder ? a topic you are discussing.

? Emails and Press Releases

While emojis are the most popular form of social media communication, they should be used wisely. One example of going overboard with emojis comes from a 2015 Chevrolet press release:
“Words alone can’t describe the new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, so to celebrate its upcoming reveal, the media advisory is being issued in emoji, the small emotionally expressive digital images and icons in electronic communication. Try and decode this news or watch for the decoder at 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday. #ChevyGoesEmoji”

Source: Chevrolet

Did you read the press release? Did you understand it?
The major takeaway from this PR blunder is that emojis, while they are used by almost everyone, should be used sparingly – especially when communicating your brand’s important messages.
Emails and press releases remain the more formal forms of  today’s communication. That being said, emojis can positively impact your email marketing campaigns. According to The AppBoy Emoji Study, open rates for emails containing emojis in their subject line have increased 15% year-over-year.
As I’ve said, emails are a professional form of communication – meaning that less is more. Using an emoji can help your subject line and body copy cut through the dullness of an inbox. For example, using a in the subject line of a Valentine’s Day campaign will help your email stand out from the rest.
It can be extremely easy to go overboard with emojis in the body copy of an email. Instead, pick one or two emojis to help highlight key points throughout your copy or drive attention to your call-to-action.
For example, Circa’s upcoming webinar email campaign could look like this:

What You’ll Learn:

 Understand the current and future opportunity of Artificial Intelligence and its place in higher education

 Learn why chatbots and AI-driven platforms are going to change the way we engage with prospective students

 See how you can scale your team with the help of intelligent engagement

 Understand the cost savings associated with leveraging this technology

Learn how AI can help connect with students on an emotional level

? Social Media

Social media was in fact the catalyst for the immense popularity of emojis. That being said, brands must be more creative than ever when using emojis in order to appeal to the largest audience possible.
One innovative use of emojis that I’ve witnessed is in Facebook and Instagram ads – especially in higher education. What better way to appeal to the next generation of students than by using emojis that inspire them to take the next step in furthering their education? ?‍? ?‍? ? ?

When Circa’s PPC and creative teams worked together to created a new paid social campaign for Tulane University’s Master of Social Work program, they wanted to implement a fresh and standout tactic: Emojis. In this case, they’ve followed the rule of less is more. By adding the ? emoji the ad not only catches their audience’s eye, but effectively emphasizes the feeling of empowerment and resilience – the exact emotions they are looking to coerce from their audience to inspire them to continue their education in social work.
When using emojis in social media ads it is important to follow the same rules as emails. Use emojis sparingly to highlight keywords and phrases or call-to-actions.
There are more than 2,800 emojis at your fingertips. What will you say? ? Share your emoji marketing ideas with me in the comments below! I’d love to hear how you or your agency is using this new form of communication to spice up commonplace marketing tactics.

Source: Apple

Audrey is an account manager and Social Media Lead at Circa Interactive. She currently manages multiple high profile social media accounts, including Circa Interactive’s own social media presence. As a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and a past president of their Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter, her passion for innovation and connecting like-minded individuals is driving Circa’s social media strategy into the future. Connect with Audrey on Twitter: @audgepauge93

The post World Emoji Day: 3 Innovative Ways to Use Emojis In Digital Marketing appeared first on Circa Interactive.

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