Hannah Campbell
Hannah Campbell 8 October 2015

Programmatic, Curated & Cultivated Content, & SEO - Which Of These Do We Need To Invest In?

Consider audience type, cost, reach, etc, of different advertising spaces and then weigh up which are likely to have the best ROI.

If you approach digital advertising in the same way as you would print, you would consider audience type, cost, reach, etc, of different advertising spaces and weigh up which locations are likely to have the best ROI.

The latest buzzword in online advertising is ‘programmatic’ – which processes all of this ‘weighing up’ automatically, and on an impression by impression basis rather than by tarring all visitors to one website with the same brush (and assuming shared interests in a range of not necessarily connected areas).


‘Real Time Bidding’


(RTB) is the automated process used in programmatic advertising which allows media buyers to evaluate, bid on and purchase ad space based on a number of set parameters, weighing up each visitor’s unique ‘worth’.

The process is handled through an ad exchange, which negotiates in real time for every impression, on behalf of any number of brands which are competing for that user’s attention. The winner of the automatic bidding process will end up paying one pence higher than the second highest bidder, on every bid, and every successful impression where their ad is displayed.


The idea of programmatic advertising is that advertisers will no longer be paying to advertise to any users who were never going to be interested in their content – so every penny which is spent is on the brand’s target audience, and not a penny is ‘wasted’.


The process allows advertisers to share the right message, not only with the right person, but also at the best possible time.


One platform offering programmatic advertising management is Sizmek – view their introductory video to programmatic advertising by clicking here.


Top tip: the best part of digital advertising is that conversion can be just a click away - consider carefully the call to action, i.e. which landing page to link to, or whether subscription to social media accounts or e-newsletters is the best way to ‘capture’ potential customers.


What Is Curated Or Cultivated Content?


‘Content is king, content is king!’ a phrase we have all heard, and read, until we’re frankly bored of it!


Of course, this doesn’t make the statement any less true, or any more avoidable. Content needs to be genuinely interesting to followers, and it needs to be pushed out in a way which ensures more and more people see it.


Not only does ‘good’ content keep your readers and followers interested and engaged with you, which is great for when you need to subtly drop in a sales offer or communicate a new product to what is a primed and attentive audience. Really great content also gets shared, immediately giving the brand access to wider audiences.


Sharable content (what everyone should be aiming for) normally falls into one of the following categories:


- An emotional gift (bonding over awkward moments, inspiration for tough challenges, humour break to release stress during exams etc.)


- Speaking to someone’s identity (local people’s love of their accent; insider knowledge of an occupation; or shared local history)


- Providing information (the solution to this common problem, or enabling the ‘humble brag’ i.e. I can’t believe I scored 13 out of 15 on this test!)


However, agreeing that content is king is only the first part of the battle. Marketers still need to get their hands on this wonderful content, which can require not only inspiration and artistic skill, but time and tools too.


This is where curated and cultivated content come in – making up the Three C’s of Content alongside ‘created content’:


Curated Content – is just the term for collecting and sharing other people’s content. Of course, you mustn’t pass the content off as your own, you shouldn’t share content of competitors or brands which don’t share the brand values of your business or client, or which includes any imagery, activities or language your brand wouldn’t benefit from being associated with.


Local charities, inspirational figures, and brands which appeal to a similar market are good sources of curated content, as well as light hearted memes which are timed well to the brand’s audience, which may also all be a helpful way to engage with your audience without having to create your own content that day.


Cultivated Content – is possibly the most exciting way of getting hold of content for a brand which hasn’t been created by the brand itself. This can be done by incentivising current or new customers, or social followers, to contribute ‘content’ (i.e. imagery or video) which they have created themselves, as part of a competition to win something, or just as part of your engagement strategy.


Not only do social followers enjoy interacting with brands and often getting their ‘personal brand’ wider visibility, but the business also ends up with a bank of content, from photos of products, services and happy customers, to video tutorials or films showing creative use of products, all of which can be shared by the brand.


Where To Start With SEO?


Is your brand being found by search engines and displayed near the top of the first page of results for some of its most likely search terms?


If not, the business is missing out on a huge amount of potential custom, and some level of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) should be implemented. The options are to work with SEO specialists or to investigate Pay Per Click campaigns with Google (note that as soon as you stop paying for PPC rankings in search your results will suffer again).


There are some things you can do without taking on expert advice, such as creating a verified Google+ page for the business to ensure it is found by people searching locally for the services offered.


The art of SEO is in selecting the right keywords to optimise your site for – selecting those which describe the business, and which real people are actually using when searching for the services or products the business offers, but which aren’t so competitive that there is no chance of the business competing with the companies which are already taking up the positions on pages one, two, and three of the search results!


Top tip: a common solution is to optimise a website for the local market; you may never achieve number one ranking in the world for a carpet cleaning company, but you could have a good go at getting the company to the top of page one for carpet cleaning companies in Cambridge, for example.


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