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Social Influencer Series | Keynote Speaker & Content Marketing Strategist, Melanie Deziel

Social Influencer Series | Keynote Speaker & Content Marketing Strategist, Melanie Deziel

When you think about the epicenter of modern marketing, you think of Google. In 2001, Google helped us reorganize the world's information and made it available in an instant.

Companies now needed a strategy to get found.

In 2004 Facebook gave us a network of friends to share that information and our experiences with and in 2007, Apple gave us the iPhone - making all of that information and connectivity available in the palms of our hands.

Content Marketing has become mission critical for brands who want to found; who want to be heard; who want to breakthrough the clutter - reaching the right people, with the right messages at the right time.

Melanie Deziel has been recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on native advertising and a leading influencer in Content Marketing. Her mission is to educate as many people as possible about the power of brand storytelling through writingspeakingworkshops, consulting, startup advising and through the native ad industry newsletter, The Overlap League.

Melanie travels the world giving keynotes, presentations and workshops that teach marketers, publishers, creators and companies how to create the best possible brand storytelling. She also shares what she’s learned in a column for Inc, on podcasts, in guest posts across the web, and as a member of the advisory board for the Native Ad Institute.

I caught up with Melanie during the holidays. Here is what she had to say:

It is brave, new "connected" world. 2.8 billion people connected across 24 social channels and the world powered by mobile - How do you help brands navigate that new world order? 

The key is to acknowledge that there is a place for you (or maybe multiple) in this new world order, and you have to find it. So many brands feel like they have to be everywhere, and it's simply not true. Your brand may not have an organic place in certain social environments, and there's no need to waste time and effort forcing it. Why push a 0 to a 2, when you can spend that time and effort turning a few 6 and 7s into 10s? It's best to invest your time and resources where it will be most beneficial to your brand and your bottom line. Take the time to think about the audience on all the various platforms you're considering, and the typical mode of communication there (photos, text, links, videos, etc.) Decide which is more authentic for your brand to communicate in, and make strategic choices based on that. Once you find the few places where your brand can really thrive, focus your time and effort there, and focus on super-serving that audience with the type of content that fits on the platform, best conveys your message, and brings your audience the most value.

There is concern about brands getting lost in a virtual ocean of "content". How can a brand stand out and be heard (or seen)? 

Some of this comes back to recognizing which platforms are best for your brand message and mode of communication, but a lot of it is value-driven. As individuals, we consume the things that are relevant and useful to us. The same reason we might unfriend someone we haven't spoken to in 10 years or someone who posts offensive things, we will just as likely block out or ignore those brands who provide content that's irrelevant to us or mismatched to our interests. If brands want to rise above the noise, and have their content be seen and engaged with, then it really needs to be worthy of engaging with. Like the best journalism or posts from our valued friends, it needs to meet a few requirements: 

  1. It must be timely or teaching us something we don't already know
  2. It needs to be trustworthy or from a reputable source
  3. It needs to be unique in some way, something we haven't seen before. it should be new, first, special or otherwise different. 
  4. It needs to be something we can care about - something with stakes, risks, debate or opinion
  5. It needs to be relatable, something with a human connection

How are the smartest brands using native advertising? 

So many brands are great at producing content, and they may think they don't need a publisher partner to help, but it's not just the storytelling abilities that publishers can offer. Smart brands realized that a publisher partner can provide other value for a content campaign too. First, publishers have access to a targeted and engaged audience that a brand may not have been able to amass themselves, or to reach otherwise. Second, publishers have an incredible amount of data about that audience and experience in communicating with them, which can help them optimize content and the ads that drive traffic to it in a way that an outsider might not be able to. Third, smart brands know that the same content carries more weight when it's distributed by a publisher we know, like and trust; By partnering with a publisher their audience knows and trusts, a brand can ensure that their quality content is going to reach and be well received by their target audience. 

How important is data to effective content marketing? 

Data is absolutely vital to content marketing, as it is to any other type of marketing. The best content strategies don't see content as a "one-and-done" experiment, but part of an ongoing campaign that will require reflection, analysis and optimization with each new content piece, distribution tactic or phase of the campaign. If you're not clear on your KPIs from the beginning, and measuring for the right indicators of success, you won't be able to measure the impact of your content campaigns, or to make any necessary adjustments to ensure continued and increased success moving forward. 

What are the top trends you see in 2018? 

It's always hard to predict what's coming next, especially when there are so many developments in formats, social and technology, and when brands are at varying degrees of adoption of those. But when it comes to content, and native brand integrations, I'm excited to see how brands are organically integrated into new apps, chat/messenger experiences and VR. 

Speed Round: 

Celebratory Cocktail? I don't drink, but I love a good coffee for almost any occasion!

Proudest Accomplishment? The "Women Inmates" piece I wrote for Netflix and Orange Is The New Black at NYT was among the top 2% of content published on nytimes.com in 2014. 

The brand to watch for great content marketing? I think Starbucks does a pretty stellar job across platforms.

Go to social channel? Twitter for news (@mdeziel), and Instagram for fun (@meldeziel)

Inspirational #Hashtag? #ButFirstCoffee on instagram gives me serious coffee envy

Melanie Deziel is brand storytelling speaker and native ad consultant. She is an @INC columnist. She is an FDU Professor and founder of the @overlapleague newsletter.

Brand Storytelling Speaker & Native Ad Consultant. @INC columnist, FDU professor & founder of @overlapleaguenewsletter. Former Editor of Branded Content @ NYT. You can find her here on Twitter.

About the interviewer:

Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With almost 25 years in traditional media and wild ride in the world of tech start-up/social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX and strategy through his consultancy OTL Local Marketing. Brand Globally. Market Locally. 

e: markkeaney8@gmail.com or m: (617) 513-2668 or t: @markkeaney2pt0

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