Right Content Marketing Agency

How To Choose The Right Content Marketing Agency

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

Some of the more common questions we’re asked during the sales process are “how do I know that I’m choosing the right content marketing agency?” or “what makes a good content marketing agency?”. Because the idea of content marketing is so new to businesses large and small, I wanted to create a follow up post to one created by Shannon this summer called 7 Elements of Choosing a Content Marketing Agency.

This post should act as a guide and a resource to develop better questions to ask as you go through the discovery and consideration stages of the decision making process.

Subject Matter Expertise

When looking to engage with a content marketing agency, one thing you need to be sure of is that they can write for your industry. Creating good content is hard enough without adding in a technical element that might be foreign to general writers. Keep in mind that it’s okay if your agency outsources content to subject matter experts who know your vertical; you just need to make sure that someone who knows your industry is producing your content from the very beginning.

Practice What They Preach

One of the biggest signs that you’re engaging with a winning agency is that they practice what they preach! Take a look at their blog. Do they provide consistent resources that actually provide value to their readers? What do they offer their audience in terms of premium content like eBooks, guides, white papers, and videos?

Provide Thought Leadership

Any content marketing agency worth their weight provides thought leadership in several different areas. First, they seek opportunities to provide their expertise to industry publications. Second, they are invited to speak and participate at different events and conferences. You shouldn’t worry too much about agencies getting published in Forbes, Huffington Post, Inc.com or any other national publication. Truth be told, anyone can pay a writer can get their content onto those websites. That’s our one, dirty little secret to share with you in this guide. Welcome to the new age of online PR. :) Instead, look for consistency in publishing content that speaks to their audience.

Provide Case Studies & Client References

Before deciding on an agency to go with, you need to make two specific requests. First, you need to request case studies. Some agencies don’t publish full case studies on their website (like us) due to agreements with current clients not to publicly share their data, but can share them privately.

Second, you need to request 2-3 introductions to clients who would be willing to talk with you on the phone to discuss their experience. It’s best if the clients are somewhat related to your vertical, but they don’t have to be.

Here are some questions you might consider asking:

  • Overall, how has your experience been?
  • Has the agency delivered on promises made during the sales process?
  • How is the quality of the content they are producing?
  • How is the quality of the customers they are generating?
  • How is their communication and reporting?
  • Do they treat you as a client or as a partner?
  • Do they work as though they are part of your internal team?
  • Do they think outside the box?
  • Do you believe they have your best interest in mind?
  • Would you recommend them to a friend, family member, or colleague?

Have Clearly Defined Roadmaps & Success Metrics

One area where agencies tend to really struggle is in identifying success metrics for your unique business needs and mapping a plan that will help you get from point A to point B. The content marketing agency you choose should have a very good idea, before you close the deal, of what your business does and how you generate revenue. They should be able to provide you with some KPIs that are unique to your business. You should also request some sample client roadmaps that they’ve created so you can see how they operate on a weekly and monthly basis.

Provide Thorough Reporting

Along the lines of roadmaps and success metrics, your agency should be providing thorough reporting to you on a regular basis. Reports should include what’s being worked on, what’s scheduled, and any road blocks that they need your help in overcoming. Reports should also include your unique success metrics and how far along they are to meeting/exceeding your goals. At minimum reports should be delivered once per month. A good agency will deliver twice per month and hold in-person meetings or calls on a regular basis.

Have A Strategy For Each Channel

A good content marketing agency knows that content should fuel all other channels and create demand for a product or service. When engaging in content marketing, your agency should know how to leverage their content to improve your SEO, create more effective PPC campaigns, and skyrocket your social media presence and engagement.

A good agency knows that different channels require a different approach; you cannot take the same content and submit it to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram and see success. Your audience is conditioned to use each channel differently and requires a unique strategy to reach and engage with them.

It’s also worthwhile to note that you don’t have to attack all channels at once. In fact, a good agency will pick a few channels and focus on getting them right before moving on to additional ones. 

Use Marketing Automation/Lead Nurturing To Convert More Prospects To Customers

Agencies that really understand content marketing know that not all leads coming through a website or any other channel, online or offline, are created equal. Every prospect is in a different part of the decision making process and require different touch points to move them through the funnel. When choosing a content marketing agency, make sure they understand and deploy a strategy for nurturing leads through a marketing automation platform. The platform used is irrelevant, but they should be able to make recommendations based on the stage your business is in.


Understand The Buyer Journey, The Sales Funnel, & How To Move Prospects Through It

If you can find an agency that understands how buyers make decisions, how they move through the sales funnel, and how to encourage prospects to take next steps, grab them and never let go. A lot of content marketing agencies just want to build and market content and don’t take the time to map the buyer journey and individual pieces of content to each step. Doing so will not only help you convert more prospects into customers, but also will help position you as an industry leader.

Build An Audience, Not Borrow One

Good content marketing agencies are interested in building you an audience, not borrowing one. If you think back to the days or MySpace, what happened when they shut down their services? Brands lost all that they invested in borrowing an audience on their platform. What happens if the four hundred thousand followers you have on Facebook disappear tomorrow? Smart marketers work to tap an audience, bring them to your “playground” and work to turn them into an owned audience that can be engaged with on your terms.

Sensitive To Your Brand

Every business is unique and every brand is unique as well. Agencies that understand this and know how to work with brand teams to make their lives easier is a huge win. You should look for an agency that has checklists and a process for creating content that’s in-line with your brand and can easily be reviewed by someone internally without sucking a lot of bandwidth.

Interested In Using/Repurposing Already Existing Content

Money is a sensitive topic, even in the business world. Many content marketing agencies want to get in and start producing content day one. Good agencies take a full inventory of all the content owned by a business and determine what can be reused/repurposed for other uses. This process can save businesses thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours that can be invested in other initiatives.

Make It Easy To Work With Them

Flexibility is huge when it comes to working with an agency. A good content marketing agency should be able to plug into your systems and processes without skipping a beat. Be wary of any agency forcing you to operate in a certain way in order to do business with them.

Ask For Data Up Front

You know the old adage — you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been? The same applies to any form of marketing. Unless your potential agency understands where you are currently at, they cannot effectively put together a plan of action, scope of work, or accurate pricing to deliver the results you are looking for. You should plan on providing access to, or at the least, providing PDF exports of your analytics data, webmaster tools data, and lead generation data. Be wary if your agency doesn’t ask for this fairly early in the process.

View You As A Partner, Not Just Another Client

Solid marketing agencies view and treat you like you’re a long-term partner, not just another client. Pay attention to the words they use in referring to your potential engagement. Do they refer to you as a client or a partner? Do they send contracts or agreements?

Integrate With In-House Teams

Along the same lines as above, you will want to find an agency that integrates with your in-house team. Some agencies want to come in and run the show. This usually ends poorly. Good agencies understand that there are always going to be strengths and weaknesses inside of organizations and if they can plug the holes and make weaknesses, strengths, they are likely a good agency to do business with.

They’re Not Cheap

Good marketing — online or offline — requires a significant investment. Creating valuable content that drives brand awareness and gets a prospect to take action is expensive. There’s no way around it. One of the first things you should ask agencies is what their minimum retainer is. If it’s under $3,000 – $4,000 per month for a minimum of 6-12 months, they are going to have a really hard time producing results for you.

If you have a smaller budget than that, ask the potential agency where they feel you would be best to invest it. Good agencies will provide answers like, “hire an intern to help with x, y, or z”, “invest in a redesign of the website”, invest in conversion optimization to turn more if your visitors into leads”, or “invest in a marketing automation solution to convert more of your leads into paying customers”. These are the agencies that really have your best interests in mind and don’t just want your money.

I hope this was helpful for you in your quest to find the perfect agency. In the next couple of weeks we will be turning this into a downloadable guide/worksheet, so make sure you check back. We will also send it out via email, so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter.

If you have any follow up questions please fill out the form on our contact us page and either I or a member of our team will be in touch.


Content Marketing Lessons from Oprah

3 Content Marketing Lessons From The Oprah Winfrey Show

By | Content Marketing | One Comment

The Oprah Winfrey Show went live for the first time on September 8, 1986 and became the highest-rated daytime talk show in history. The talk show host built an empire including a magazine, a radio show, a television network and a website that averages 43 million page views and 6.5 million unique users per month.

Oprah has figured out how to do what marketers only dream about—continuing to bring great content that builds and engages her audience. By the end of the 25-year run, she and her company knew what to do and have continued to build on the success of the show and her brand.

While The Oprah Winfrey Show has been off the air, the community is still there and still engaged with Oprah. These three lessons can help you to follow her and build a community that will outlast social media or the next big thing.

1. Become a Master Storyteller

Oprah did a lot of things well, but one is when she shared her own stories. She leveraged the power of storytelling to share and promote messages. It was in those moments when her audience was not only captivated, but they also empathized and embraced her. They connected to her and to the brand.

Think about your customers and consider what questions they have or what they want to know. That list will help you to start creating content for your blog and social channels, along with including a call-to-action.

Brainstorming is only the first part. Once you have those questions, start telling the story.

It can often be difficult to share stories through the written word. This is one of the reasons many businesses are relying on video to share the stories. Images and videos can share an entire story in what could take too many words. Consider all your possibilities for how to share your story, but make sure that the story is the most important part.

2. Endorse and Promote Others

While the show title was the name of the host, Oprah looked to giving others the spotlight. Her book club promoted obscure titles into best sellers. These books shared messages that were true to Oprah’s brand and messaging.

Another segment, “Oprah’s Favorite Things” exploded the sales volumes of small business, also known as the Oprah Effect. These were items that Oprah personally had tried and genuinely wanted to share with her community.

Think about your audience and what their interests are. Insights and analytics can give you a plethora of information about your users and what interests they have. It’s time to start looking at the bigger picture and seeing where your brand’s values overlap with another brand and when it is a great opportunity to partner and share. Marketers are often looking at competitors, but finding partners can expand your network.

When you start thinking this way, you’ll stop worrying about the 80/20 rule for your content and you’ll start appealing to the audience and sharing with them what’s important to the both of you.

3. Everyone Wins

One of the most epic moments of The Oprah Winfrey Show came in 2004, when she gave away cars to the entire audience attending her show.

People love to win. They feed on that impulsive high that says that they’ve accomplished something. With push notifications, users get immediate responses to our social media posts and achieve validation. Many users love the validation that comes from a brand sharing their post on their own social channels.

You want to get your buyer’s attention. Businesses focus on a sweepstakes or other giveaway event hoping to generate more likes on a page. While this is one way of doing it, you will find that once the contest is over, your engagement drops. To keep followers engaged is the next major step. This giveaway is one that people still talk about, but Oprah also was consistently giving away gifts to her audience. They may have come because she did giveaways, but they stayed for the content.

Content marketing focuses on the client and their needs. While it was on the air, The Oprah Winfrey Show consistently focused on the audience to provide them with a great experience and content that can help them. Your brand can do that to and build and strengthen your loyal community.

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Stryde Honored With UVEF’s Top 25 Under 5 Award

By | Awards | No Comments

Every year, the Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum honors 25 companies throughout Utah with its Top 25 Under 5 award. More than 200 individuals and companies have been recognized over the years. The UVEF selects the award’s winners based on revenue and job creation, and obviously only 5 years old or younger.

Stryde is honored to be this years #18!

Everyone at Stryde is over-the-moon about receiving this coveted honor. Our team works tirelessly every day to deliver the utmost value to our clients. That’s really why we’ve been so successful: we ensure each client receives the value not only that they anticipated, but the value they dreamt of.

The relationship is much more of a partnership, which is why our retention rates are so high. Our ability to retain and grow with our clients is the core of Stryde’s success.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Our team wants to extend heartfelt congratulations to each of the 24 other recipients of the Top 25 Under 5 award. We are in some pretty amazing company!

  1. Vision Solar
  2. TaskEasy
  3. Spark Innovation LLC
  4. SnapPower
  5. JANE.com
  6. Nokē
  7. Chatbooks, Inc.
  8. Domo
  9. MX
  10. NUVI
  11. Disruptive Advertising
  12. Needle, Inc.
  13. DemoChimp
  14. HEROIC
  15. Lucid Software Inc.
  16. DevMountain LLC
  17. Blackrock NeuroMed, LLC
  18. Stryde
  19. Signs.com
  20. SpinGo Solutions, Inc.
  21. HQ
  22. Omadi, Inc.
  23. Foxtail Marketing
  24. foreUP
  25. Weave

About the UVEF

The Utah Venture Entrepreneur Forum has served Utah entrepreneurs for over two decades. As a non-profit, the UVEF connects entrepreneurs to money, recognition and education. We are so honored to receive this distinction from such an amazing organization, thank you UVEF!

iOS 9 is going local

iOS 9 is Going Local: 6 Tips To Getting Optimized for iOS Search

By | Inbound Marketing, Mobile, News, Search Marketing | No Comments

“Location, location, location” is no longer a mantra for those in real-estate alone. Apple is turning marketers’ heads with its latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, to be released this fall; this time, having a stronger focus on local search. Just like with any major update (we might recall Google’s Mobilegeddon earlier this year) brands and businesses have a brief opportunity to implement changes in an effort to rise to search stardom, or they may sink between the cracks.  

For the first time, mobile app content will be integrated into search, providing an opportunity for users to connect with location-based content. Apple Maps, a local search platform for millions, will implement features to enhance location detail and provide local business search results, as well as detailed public transit information.

These changes could prove to be a great opportunity for local business to be brought to the forefront; having store locations and other important information displayed in Apple Maps though Siri, Spotlight, and Safari search.

Your site may already be marked, “mobile-friendly”, but there is a narrow window to get your site and apps optimized for iOS local search in time for the update. Here’s what to look for to be sure you’re up to speed:

1. Check your location data

Getting your business on Apple’s radar is just the beginning. Check to see that your location data is up to date and visible to its web and app crawler, Applebot. Keep your location data consistently visible and include a store locator feature for you app or website.

2. Provide rich results

Make your content richer by using images, reviews, actions, and adding metadata wherever possible. Keyword usage is an imperative practice as well but be careful not to “over-stuff” and to stay relevant to the content topic. Applebot will ideally recognize it and reward you for having ample, relevant information to scan.

3. Index your best

Improve your “engagement-to-shown” ratio by indexing your best content with a focus on local search. Always index positive user-generated content, as well as content that provides any information on location. Avoid duplicate content by using the same identifier for the same item across multiple APIs.

4. Use schema

Help iOS return more of your information results to users by making sure to markup your website with schema. Two actions are currently supported by iOS; calling a phone number, and getting directions to an address. There are plenty of resources available to help you implement schemas to build out your SERP real estate with more detail, as in this example:
schema-seo-rich-snippetsImage Source

5. Know that speed is a factor

Check the amount of time it takes from from tapping a search result to the content displaying in your app. Apple will be measuring it as well and using this information as a ranking factor.

6. Get user-generated content

Let your users speak for you. Incorporating ratings, reviews, and testimonials will help to give your content a more local focus. Allow users to engage in these actions via your app, website, and social media platforms, and your content will be more likely to show up in search results.

The new iOS 9 update provides the chance for local businesses to be seen in a new light. By taking the necessary actions to implement changes to your site or app, your local business or brand can stay ahead of the curve and gain a competitive advantage over the big players in search results.

What changes are you making to be ready for iOS 9 local search?

Share and comment below!


What We Learned From IMSLC

By | Content Marketing, How-To, IMSLC, Inbound Marketing, PPC, Uncategorized, Video | No Comments

We had a crazy-fun time last week, bringing you the first ever IMSLC event, hosted by Stryde! Things started off a little shaky with some technical issues, but our speakers’ on-the-fly skills pulled through to hopefully give you some new insights into this content marketing game.

Many thanks to everyone who kept it lively and held a good sense of humor throughout!


In case you missed it…

Or if would just like to revisit the presentations, here is a recap of the event. We want to keep you in the loop on where we are and where we’re going with IMSLC.

Bryan Brandenburg, CMO and Co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con shared his successes with video marketing and how investments in Facebook marketing have dominated referral traffic for SL Comic Con.

Tyler Whittingham and Michael Query, the brains behind Admind, illustrated the importance of PPC and covered everything from targeting and bid strategy, to optimization and reporting.

Emily Burkhart, our very own Marketing Manager at Stryde, drove home the value of proving content marketing ROI. With a content marketing budget increase across the board, and 79% of B2B firms not tracking ROI or feeling mediocre about their tracking abilities, it could be a perfect time to reassess where your efforts are leading you.


The Future of IMSLC

We get a lot of work done in front of a computer screen but that can never surmount the value of face-to-face communication. Offline events allow the marketing community to connect in a more personal learning environment. This was only our first rodeo, and we’re not hopping off yet! Here are some ideas we’ve brainstormed for coming events:

  • Smaller groups or conferences
  • Structured group networking session
  • Single centralized theme
  • Targeted based on audience experience level
  • Single keynote speaker
  • Panel discussion
  • Changeable location

As always, the direction of our next chapter depends on you! Please share with us your feedback from the last IMSLC in this short survey so that we can bring you an even better event!


The future of IMSLC may take a new name, structure and venue, but the goal will always remain the same; to bring valuable, actionable insights to our marketing community. We’d like to thank our sponsors once again. And thanks to you for your continued support! What would you like to see at the next free inbound marketing event?

STRYDE | Why Video Marketing & B2B are the Perfect Match 1

Why Video Marketing & B2B are the Perfect Match

By | Video | No Comments

A picture is worth a thousand words, but can you guess the worth of a one-minute video? It’s worth 1.8 million words.

That’s enough to write a few books and still have some left over!

People love video. Perhaps it’s because they can play an observer to someone else’s story. Video has been popular online since YouTube launched and other social networks have noticed. They offer marketers analytics to help understand the performance of videos. Many have added an auto-play feature to drive more views and keep people on pages longer. In social media feeds that are filled with text and pictures, a video that plays immediately is sure to catch an eye.

Video’s Wildfire-Like Growth

Some predict that by 2017, 74% of all Internet traffic will be video. If your business hasn’t already started incorporating video into your marketing plans, it’s not too late to get started.

For B2B marketers, hearing that video marketing is on the rise may cause them to shrug and say that they don’t need it. Others look at their meager budget and wonder how they can manage it. With 90% of all B2B purchase process happening before a sales rep is involved, getting the right information to buyers is critical for success.

Customer Journey with Video

Every marketer knows how important it is to keep the attention of a customer. With only a few seconds, it’s hard to explain the best features or benefits of your product in written format. Videos can be your chance to show off your product or service visually and keeping the viewer’s attention. If given the choice of watching a video or reading an article on the same topic, a majority will choose video. This doesn’t just apply to the regular consumer, but also to business executives. Over half of business executives will visit a vendor’s website after seeing a video.

Video’s Place in the Buying Cycle

Video is most effective when your potential customer is identifying the vendors and considering what they can offer. In one survey, 96% of all respondents said that videos were helpful when making purchase decisions. This is because videos are where solutions are provided. Buyers can see the product in action and begin to visual themselves using it.

Without ever leaving the comfort of their office, customers can get a great look at the product minus the pushy sales representative looking over their shoulder trying to sell them a product. They can spend their time considering each of their options.

Besides demonstrations, businesses can use video to share testimonials. Let one of your most loyal customers talk about how amazing your product, service, or business is and share what they like best. People rely on reviews to help them purchase everything from clothes to cars. A video helps your potential customers hear how others have success and relate to others’ experience. It can also benefit your clients and help their business gain visibility.

Online video platforms allow for clickable links. You can lead customers further into the sales cycle with clear calls-to-action that happen while you still have their attention. Every video should link to relevant content on your website not only to give your customers somewhere to go, but also to improve your SEO.

Resources Needed to Get Started with Video

While some may worry about the cost of creating videos, technology has helped make it easy and more cost-effective. Slowly build your business’ video library and spread the cost over time. You don’t need to start with thousands of videos. You just need a few. You can also use the analytics from past videos to help make new videos perform better for your audience.

Filming for video marketing

Videos don’t have to be created from scratch. Consider repurposing videos from other events, when a business executive speaks at a conference or events that your business participates. Make sure every video ties to your brand and your business.

Businesses are talking about video because social networks have recognized how important the messaging tool is to users. Investing in this partnership can only help you find more customers and connect them to your products and services now and in the future.

STRYDE | 7 Elements Of Choosing A Content Marketing Agency

7 Elements Of Choosing A Content Marketing Agency

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

When you’re looking for an agency to create content that will represent you and your brand, there’s no question that you want it done right. It should be your top priority to ensure you choose the right agency with the right writers, and that they understand you and your company’s needs.

All the self-proclaimed content marketing agencies out there can make it hard to narrow down your search. Do your research and look for these seven things, though, and you’ll have great content in your hands and a new business relationship in no time.

  1. Overall business strategy and content thought leadership

The agency you choose needs, above all, to understand your business goals and cater to your company. Content marketing can have many objectives, but the strategy should be altered depending on what your goals are and how best to reach them, whether it’s through lead generation, link building, or any number of other services.

  1. Quality content on their site

Click over to the agency-in-question’s blog and ask yourself if you like what you see. As their target market, do their posts strike a chord with you and make you want to buy? Check out their ranking, their fans and followers, and their consistency. If all of these pieces appear and work well together, it shows that they walk the walk. If not, it might not be the right choice.

  1. Social media promotion strategy

Along the same lines, take a look at how the agency promotes themselves and their clients on social media. Having a social media marketing plan is a vital piece of content strategy, and while it is only one piece, it’s an important one. Are their followers growing, and are their posts getting interaction and traffic? You can expect the same results for your business, should you decide to hire this agency.

  1. Past and current client success

If the agency has some case studies available for you to see, make sure you take them up on that. One of the best ways to decide whether they will be a good fit is to look at the work they’ve done for other clients that are similar to your business. Specifically, you should watch for subject matter expertise, quality of content, and voice.

  1. Their offers will work for your company

The agency might offer plenty of services, but if they don’t have the one you’re looking for, none of those other ones matter. You know what your company needs and the last thing you want to do is go with an agency that can’t provide it. However, if they don’t offer the exact service you want, don’t be immediately dissuaded. Try reaching out to them and asking if they could provide something additional.

  1. Deliverables and results

While it will be nice to pass off some or all of the content creation to a marketing agency, therefore freeing up your time, what you really want is results. Have they proven that their efforts have increased traffic and conversions, driven brand awareness, or improved search engine rankings? How soon will you see results for your company if you decide to hire them? Consider these questions and ask for examples from the agency.

  1. You get along with the agency

Perhaps the most important piece of hiring an agency is that you enjoy working with them. If you’re not seeing eye-to-eye or understanding each other on basic issues even before you hire them, chances are, things aren’t going to change. You want someone that will be a valued and trusted business partner now and in the future.

A content marketing agency can be a huge plus for your business. They can provide an outside perspective, bring a new piece to your company that you didn’t know you were missing, and take on some of your unending workload. That’s why it’s so important to find a compatible agency that can help you meet your goals. If you’re in the market for a great agency, make sure you check us out at Stryde.com.

STRYDE | Planning Your Back to School Social Push

Planning Your Back to School Social Push

By | Social Media | No Comments

It’s the end of the summer and parents are counting down the days until their kids are back in school. College students are packing bags and checking off their lists of items to get things done. Even if there aren’t any students in the house, people will take advantage of the lower prices of household items and still go out to shop the sales.

The back-to-school shopping season is the second-largest seasonal shopping period of the year, following winter holidays. With “back to school,” “school supplies,” and “back to school sales” being top search terms from 2013, this is not the time of year to overlook and skip out on the potential opportunities. If you haven’t even considered using social media to promote your back-to-school products, here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider before you’re sent to detention.

Social media has changed back to school shopping.

Peer reviews are more likely to resonate with users than expert reviews. When was the last time your friend used a social media post to ask for advice of what dentist to go to or what product to use? The networks make it easy to quickly poll and get the best information from a group of peers that you trust.

According to one survey, 64.1% of shoppers report that social media will influence their choices. Whether it’s the recognition of something they saw on a brand’s page or a post from their friend that highlighted an item, people trust their network to tell them about the best deals and the newest products.

With all of the competition, your store and brand should be leveraging your social channels to share information. Whether you give away coupons or share exclusive sales and content, you can get the word out quickly and directly to your followers.

Buy button adds a new dimension.

With the addition of the buy buttons on posts on social platforms, social networks are allowing users to bypass the regular routine of heading to a website to buy directly from the merchant on the social platform. Showcasing your products on social media can get you a sale with the user not ever leaving the platform. Use the best pictures you have of the product.

Some stores recognize that the styling of their Instagram accounts were getting people excited to make purchases, but without the buy button, they found that they couldn’t convert the sale. These stores created a microsite that shows the post and links users directly to the products. It’s a new way to shop!

Influencers can drive new leads.

The power of influencers is apparent. In a recent study, YouTube stars are up to five times more influential than other celebrities. If you want to influence buying choices of teens, look to the video social platform for you new partnerships.

Target is the latest store to use social media stars to promote their back-to-school fashions. Beginning in July 2015, six ads are being released that feature some well known “kid influencers.” Each ad will focus on a different trend and a specific promotion. The stars of these ads will use their own social accounts to promote the campaign as well.

It’s not just about using these online celebrities to sell a product, you’re also able to cast a wider net and find new customers through their followers. The goal when you partner should be that you both promote the content being created and tag each other.

Keep customer service in mind.

With the beginning of school, many people can get stressed out easily. Many are overwhelmed by the long list of items that are needed. With different requirements for different ages, parents may need help keeping everything straight.

Parents aren’t the only ones to be overwhelmed! For a new college student, it can be intimidating hearing the list of items they may need. From toasters to bedding, shopping for home is an entirely different experience.

Make sure that you look to provide support both in and outside the store and use social media to watch the conversation and recognized the pain points. Many places offer pre-populated shopping lists that customers can pick up in store to personalized lists that they can create and print from home, look for ways to help your customers get through this season with little pain.

Back-to-school shopping season is that rare time before the winter holidays when you can test out some new marketing plans and gauge interest from your community. To be successful, you need to come up with your content strategy so that you can maximize the shopping season.

STRYDE | 8 Things You Need Before Your Business' First Video

8 Things You Need Before Your Business’ First Video

By | Video | No Comments

We’re well into what’s been called “The Year of Video Marketing” and brands like Poupouri are seeing millions of Youtube hits in a number of days, or even hours. With that kind of brand awareness, it’s easy to imagine the amazing things happening from the sales side.

The reality of reaching virality, however, is that it’s an ambitious endeavor for most business, and if you’re just getting started in creating a video for yours, there are more important goals to first examine.

In this ever visual, ever more digital space, creating videos that represent your brand can do much more than generate instant sales and leads. Videos can provide a way to explain a product or service. They can also be used to problem-solve customer concerns.

Most importantly, videos have the power to showcase your company culture in a very inclusive way so that your audience can see, firsthand, what your brand is all about.

If your brand is part of the 76% not using online video, here are some steps to getting started:

1) Define your purpose.

Ask yourself the question, “what is the need for your video?” Are you looking to create a lead-gen machine? Are you wanting to showcase your company culture? Are you needing to establish a virtual form of customer service to provide instant, visual instruction and, as a side perk, cut back on labor costs? The answers to these questions will form a foundation for your first video and future videos to come.

2) Define your audience.

Who is it, exactly, are you trying to reach? If you’ve been in business for a while, you may have already developed buyer personas, or have a clear idea of the characteristics of your typical, ideal customer. identify your customers’ needs, goals, and any pain points they might have. Consider how you could be of value to them by creating a video that addresses some of these areas.

3) Determine your goal.

Now enters the part about “what’s in it for you?” Video creation can take an ample amount of time and energy and you want to make sure that your efforts are measurable and worthwhile. Pinpoint what you are looking to achieve long-term. Are you wanting to gain referral traffic? Leads? Direct Sales? Make sure you are taking the proper marketing approaches to amplify your video efforts.

4) Establish a platform.

While it’s been know that Youtube reigns supreme as a video platform, Facebook is now giving its contender a run for its money. The number of video posts per year has increased 94% in the U.S., according to Facebook, but Youtube is still strides ahead. Every social media platform has a culture, with a different audience. You will have to decide which platform is best suited for your brand.

5) Consider distribution channels.

After you’ve planned on where to publish your video, you’ll need to decide where and how it will be distributed. Are you planning to flesh out your Youtube channel and send all traffic that way? Are you wanting to embed videos into a “How-To” section of your blog, or will your video be going on your company’s front page as a high-quality display of your brand? Note that it might be best to save the latter option for a future, fine-tuned video.

6) Determine your style.

Consider the feel of your video. Would you rather have it action or candid-oriented, showing your employees at work or engaging in a group activity? Perhaps you’d like to use improv to give it a more natural feel. If you’re wanting to create an instructional video, a more formal, scripted approach might fit bet.

7) Use what you have have.

Whether you’re team iPhone or android, smartphones have the sophistication now to capture a quality brand video. The film, Tangerine, from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was shot entirely using an iPhone 5S. When it comes to the editing part of the project, there are some free tools to be used at your convenience. Youtube Editor  allows you to makes edits to your video and also optimize it for search. This can be most helpful when you’re using the Youtube platform already to publish videos.

8) Have fun with it.

You first video will not be perfect, and that’s ok! Be yourself, allow yourself to get creative, be mindful of your target customers, and they will appreciate you for doing so.

Creating your first video can prove to be a gateway to new leads, sales and traffic, and can also be key to accessing and engaging with an audience from an entirely new perspective!

How do you incorporate video into your marketing strategy and what steps do you take to prepare for video creation?

Share and comment below!

STRYDE | Can You Trust An Agency With Your Brand’s Content? 2

Can You Trust An Agency With Your Brand’s Content?

By | Content Marketing | No Comments

As an experienced business leader, you know your brand backwards and forwards. You’ve built this brand from the ground up, cultivating its every characteristic with devoted attention to detail. No one knows this brand better than you.

The responsibilities that come with building this brand are vast, and implementing content marketing is just the beginning.

But then you have to answer the age-old question: Do you manage your brand’s content strategy on your own or do you contract this process to an agency?

Content in-house

At first, you may feel it’s best to manage the content on your own. After all, no one knows better than you, the brand’s creator and developer. You’ve been this brand’s caretaker from step one; ensuring the brand experiences nothing but success. How could anyone else possibly deliver content that would come close to what you envision for your brand?

On the other hand, your time is valuable. You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months and maybe even years developing the brand and everything it stands for. It’s time you let someone else take the reigns, at least in one area of responsibility.

Contracting out your brand’s content means more time in your schedule for other aspects of the brand’s presence. Using an agency to curate brand content is a solid investment in your brand’s future. Customers want good content. In fact, a recent study found that customers were more likely to commit to a brand or business that provided targeted, insightful content.

Outsourcing content and focusing on what you know

Contracting an agency is a great option for your brand. But a main concern you’re probably having is wondering how you’ll know if the agency you choose can be trusted to curate content that truly reflects your brand’s mission, goals and endeavors.

In order to decipher whether an agency can be trusted to deliver quality content for your brand, it needs to be evident from the start. Below are a few ways to sift through the weeds and find an agency you can trust.

What To Look For In A Content Marketing Agency

Client Focused

A trustworthy agency is client focused. They’re more concerned with how your business experiences their services, rather than what goes into their bank accounts. A client-focused content agency works with you to create a bundle of services that fits your brand’s needs.

A client-focused agency is also able to anticipate what your brand may need in the future. Maybe at this point in time you’re only looking to contract with the agency for your brand’s blog content. In the future, the agency will be able to demonstrate how they can be effective through other avenues of digital media, i.e. social media, lead referrals, email copy, etc. The right agency is prepared to discuss viable options that fit your budget and improve your brand’s exposure.

Selective Approval

Agencies who select their clients carefully are more likely to be trustworthy content curators. Their goal isn’t to gain as many clients as possible; it’s to truly focus on clients whose goals and strategies align. An agency that’s selective is an agency that can be trusted to produce carefully curated content for your brand’s marketing strategy.

Case Studies and Content Samples

Look into what companies the agency has previously worked with. Are there content samples available that would demonstrate the agency’s ability to produce cohesive and impactful content? Have they worked with companies who have faced marketing hurdles similar to what your brand is experiencing? Can they show quantitative proof that their services have benefited these companies?

Ask the agency to provide content samples for other brands they have previously or are currently engaged with. Also, discuss the possibility of receiving a case study or two that demonstrates the measurable proof behind their methods of achieving success through content marketing. Gain cold, hard facts, not just verbal confirmation of success with other organizations.


A content marketing agency can have all the bells and whistles in the world, but if it doesn’t have the expertise, it’s a no-go. A reliable agency employs content curators who are as diverse as the day is long. Diversity allows for a greater range of knowledge within the agency’s content curation services and provides your brand with rich and consistent content.

Quality content agencies are fluent in multiple areas of expertise, and they continue to expand their knowledge base by keeping up with current marketing trends. Agencies worth working with aren’t static, but fluid with regards to knowledge base and industry expertise.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to source your brand’s content to an agency. Just remember as you’re deciding that reputable agencies will possess the following:

  • A broad knowledge base about a variety of subjects and industries
  • Content samples and case studies readily available upon request
  • A client-focused mission dedicated to provide excellent customer service
  • Selective approval based upon compatibility with potential clients and partners.

Be sure to keep these qualities in mind when choosing a content marketing agency to trust with your brand’s content.