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Content Marketing – The Big Question. Answered.

Posted By, Monday 13 July 2015
Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
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Content marketing is one of the great buzz phrases around at the minute. It’s all ‘video’ this, ‘cooperative content’ that and ‘Vine it, Periscope it or Meerkat it’ the other. There’s a lot to it, loads of ways to do it and a WHOLE lot of companies completely lost with it.

Here in Ireland, content marketing started to gain traction in early 2014. This year, content marketing is everywhere you turn and you’re going to have to pay attention to it, whether you want to or not. Your client will bring it up in a meeting – ‘Shouldn’t we be doing content?’ – or your boss will simply tell you to just go ‘create some content.’

There are now Irish agencies that just do content marketing. These are not digital agencies who have added content to what they have to offer. They are agencies such as 256Media, who bill themselves as ‘Ireland’s First Content Marketing Agency’ – that are already producing award-winning work, such as this work for EBS.

As we all come to understand that content marketing is a real marketing channel that can return real results for clients and ourselves, we’ll come under more and more pressure to produce content that does just that.

The big question is, where do we start?


When you’re looking at producing content you need to produce something that your customers and potential customers will see value in.

The easiest way to ensure they’ll see value in it is to answer their questions.

A great example is digital marketing agency,, who practice what they preach. They offer content marketing as a service to clients and are producing really good content themselves. They produced this great infographic entitled The Content Marketing Revolution, which answers questions their clients and marketers like us have.  They’ve also won awards for their own content marketing efforts too.

My business, Cuckoo Events, recently won a Social Media Award for ‘Best Use of Social Media by an SME (Micro)’ at this year’s Social Media Awards (Sockies) largely off the back of our own content marketing efforts. We blog regularly, we produce infographics, we produce regular email newsletters for a range of targeted subscriber lists and it’s all part of a content marketing strategy we put time and effort into.

We are a small business and we spend very little money on our content marketing but it’s still highly effective. Content marketing isn’t about money. It’s about answering questions.


As marketers, we need to go find out what your customers or client’s customers want to know.

If you have frontline staff, get them to engage with customers and track the most commonly asked questions. Once you know what your customers are asking, then produce content to answer their questions.

If you have an engaged online community then start asking them questions. Find out what they find confusing or troublesome and then produce content to make things easier for them.

If you know your business really well, then go ahead and produce some content you know will be well-received. This one can be risky, but, for me, you should know your business well enough to do it.

Answering questions is the answer to crafting your content marketing.

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The MII and Alternatives 2015 Salary Survey

Posted By The Marketing Institute, Friday 10 July 2015
Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016
Our 2015 Salary Survey is now open (1)

We are delighted to be able to announce that the 2015 Market Watch Salary & Employee Sentiment Survey is being staged by the Marketing Institute of Ireland in partnership with Alternatives Group.

The survey shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to complete, and we will be happy to share our findings with you when we publish the results in September.

The survey is open to anyone working in a marketing related role.

Simply click on the link HERE to take the survey and please remember to leave an email address so that we may enter your name into our draw to win an iPad Mini!

We appreciate your participation as a marketing professional in this important survey.

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The Self-deprecating Corporation & Use of Social Media & Advertising

Posted By, Friday 10 July 2015
Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2016
How Corporates are Utilising social (3)

In June of last year the CIA issued its first tweet. The tone was refreshingly informal and playful for what you might consider to be the epitome of the serious corporation: ‘We can neither deny nor confirm that this is our first tweet.’ The fact that this simple statement was re-tweeted almost 300, 000 times suggests that it struck a chord with the wider public.

This type of corporate informality is surprisingly difficult to deliver in the corporate world. Brands on social media can deploy humour, satire and indulge in playful banter with their followers, but corporations – constrained by compliance experts, communications advisors and a fear of making an inappropriate comment – have tended to stick to safe and bland ‘press release speak.’

There are signs, however that the innate caution of corporations is beginning to shift. The Future Foundation has recently pronounced the emergence of the self-ironising or self-deprecating organization, describing the growing use of ‘gentler, more informal, more lighthearted language’ and the increased desire of institutions to ‘appear modest, humble and well rounded.’

This isn’t simply a social media phenomenon. The Future Foundation points to the example of Newcastle Brown – which has become a phenomenal advertising success in the USA through the power of self-deprecation – and a self-critical ad by Microsoft mocking its own Internet Explorer as ‘the browser you love to hate.’ Microsoft has something of a track record of doing this: a film produced by Microsoft insiders illustrating what would have happened had ‘Microsoft designed the iPod’ has received over a million views.

We tend to admire humility and self-deprecation in people and distrust braggadocious behavour. Boris Johnson has turned self-deprecation into an art-form, admitting in an Independent newspaper article that that his bumbling self-deprecatory persona is a “cunning device” he uses to get people to trust him.‘  Sir Richard Branson has deployed a similarly artful, understated style, masking a huge ego behind a slightly shambling demeanour.

Self-deprecation and self-mockery also works for corporations. We admire those that are humble enough to admit that they don’t always get everything right or have the answer to every problem. This doesn’t mean descending to the level of self-criticism that Gerald Ratner reached when describing the products sold by his eponymous jewellery business as ‘crap’. But equally the type of self-aggrandisement adopted by many of our financial institutions and energy companies is one of the key reasons why these organisations continue to struggle to earn the trust of the wider public. They may be serious businesses but it doesn’t mean that should take themselves too seriously.

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