Posts

Why Your Business Will Die on Social Media

Social Media Marketing | Death of a Hunting and Fishing Business

By: Jeremy Flinn, Chief Marketing Officer

If you haven’t noticed a drop in organic activity on platforms like Facebook, then you likely didn’t have a very active business page to begin with. For those businesses who grew large followings on social media platforms and possibly even their bank accounts via incredible branding and product sales, the “heyday” is long gone. All of those who laughed when Facebook valued itself in the billions of dollars, yet was making no money, now have seen the grand plan unfold with even the smallest businesses “boosting” posts in hopes of reaching more customers. You can shake your head at it, but the over quarter TRILLION dollar valuation of the ZERO profit Amazon that you likely use regularly will likely pull a rabbit out of its hat soon as well in order to justify the number. Regardless, the bottom line is social media marketing is critical to every marketing strategy, but if used incorrectly it can cost businesses in the hunting and fishing sector more than just “fans.”

For years, hunting and fishing companies have built their businesses upon the rapidly growing social media platforms. The problem is even though it is “your page,” you control very little. From the content, you can post to the people you reach, the platform determines your success and failure. For instance, many companies have been scratching their heads over the massive drop in engagement and reach on Facebook. You see Facebook delivers content via specific algorithms. In many cases, great content still does great. However, great content is rare, and what is posted is lackluster advertisements and promotions. So, it becomes a “pay to play” model. How do you think the social media giant was ever going to live up to such an insanely high IPO? Surely wasn’t through adding me into Farmville. The fact is they control the algorithm, which controls your reach. As you became more and more dependent on the platform, they began to squeeze the reach of your posts. Now you are likely in a position where much of your business banks on these platforms whether for sales, sponsorship numbers, or both. What do you do?

social media marketingThe Harsh Reality Social Media Marketing

Well, I can say this. If you aren’t planning on dumping a lot of spend money onto the platform it won’t be getting any better. And for many, even if they have the money, it will do nothing for them. Why? Facebook’s strict Community Standards and Policies, will prevent anyone pushing firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows, knives, and many more items related to our sector from “promoting” posts through paid advertisements. Not only that, but many pages are finding organic posts to their fans that violate policies are now getting pulled, and pages are being threatened to be deleted! Can you imagine losing that following base? Well you need to, because if you do or show any of the above, it’s coming. At some point having a harvested whitetail buck in the photo with your bow beside you will be enough to unpublish your Facebook business page, and force you to audit your entire page and clean it up of related posts.

When that is your business, what do you do?

Now is the time to take control. You need to grow the assets you control which includes your website, content, and email list. If you are neglecting these now, you better get to work. These are the only assets at the end of the day that you can fully control and guide to success. No, your TV show is not something you control, nor is the magazine ad you placed. You directly influence via your actions with your website, content, and email list. And your current social media platforms can help you grow those, you just have to know how to use them wisely.

What does this look like? Take a look…

About the Author: Jeremy Flinn is Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Stone Road Media, an outdoor industry marketing company focused on brands in the hunting, fishing, shooting, and outdoors. For questions about your own content marketing, drop him an email at jeremy@stoneroadmedia.com.

Stone Road Media’s Marketing Media Kit

Outdoor Industry Marketing 101 | Capitalizing on Seasonal Content

Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content

Article By: Weston Schrank -Content Manager

Authors Note: In this blog, Outdoor Industry Marketing 101,  I hope to show content’s true value to not only brands and product-driven companies, but TV shows and personalities as well. This will be the explanation of content beyond simple posting on social, but how content can be used to meet goals of two entirely different clients. This will be eye opening to the industry no doubt, but more likely eye opening to our potential and current clients.

The word “November” brings the terms…big bucks, gun season, the orange army, big deer, cold days, and lasting memories to mind. That’s all fine and dandy and sounds great, but for those of us in the hunting and outdoor industry, it is unfortunately GO TIME! It’s not just November either, it seems the mad rush of the industry hits about 15 days before seasons open up…which is actually just about right when I think about it. Let’s just say our stress levels have been up since September 15th! This season is literally a madhouse as TV shows, web shows, brands, and marketers rush to get content, products, and episodes in front of hunters. If they succeed and capitalize on their tasks big returns are sure to follow. This should have you chomping at the bit since right after hunting seasons close, show season starts! ATA and SHOT plus a host of other slightly smaller shows are timed perfectly to trail the hunting seasons. If you fail, it goes down as another half-***ed year, and you get subsequently swept under the rug. If you succeed in extracting every single drop of life out of your show, brand, or products then you will be noticed and rewarded. This will be another lesson in Outdoor Industry Marketing 101, and today’s topic is none other than “How to Use Seasonal Content to Its Fullest Potential”!

While you may be thinking “yep I am totally capitalizing this November” you may want to reconsider and ponder the question:  what does “totally capitalizing” truly mean? It definitely goes beyond hitting an “acceptable” goal of views or selling out of the particular product over and over again. We here at Stone Road call it the “grind”.

Each and every November and the months that make up hunting season (the same can be said for the fishing industry in the summer) there is a giant opportunity to be had to grow your company, brand, or show. The reason for this opening (as it always has been) is that it centers on content. Content flows like the Niagara Falls (assuming that’s a lot, truthfully I have never been there) if you know where to look. Making yourself finally recognize the massive scale of this flow is discouraging…yes, that’s right discouraging! Why? Because most often, this flow has gone to waste each and every year to this point…and let me tell you that is painful to watch. Trust me, you won’t ever waste another piece after this read!

Literally, there is always content being produced from anywhere and anytime. It can always and should always be accessed. For example, I am writing this piece as I sit in a ground blind overlooking a stunning clover plot…and just so you know I am not seeing anything yet.

Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content The point is that content can and will be produced anywhere at any time. “Making the most of this deer season’s content” is hard to do, but the hard part isn’t the when or the what…it’s the HOW?!

 “Outdoor Industry Marketing 101 – Keeping it Fresh”

The biggest problem that I need to address before going any further is that there is a lack of uniqueness, freshness, and almost always relevancy….not to mention SEO, quality, call to actions, and so much more. Let’s just say there seems to be a lot of individuals in this industry that more or less piggyback the true “uniques”. That’s a story for another day, but I will likely keep circling back to this frustrating thought.

The first step of capitalizing each season is being able to produce, create, bring together, and/or optimize every piece of content that is available. This is no easy task, particularly with TV shows as they have a hard time bringing fresh unique content to the table each season. Its not that they don’t produce the required content, rather they are restricted (or so they think) on the newest content to save for the following year’s season. This year’s 2016 content will not be seen for another year, and what can be shown is giving away the true draw for the consumer to wait to watch. This is a dilemma that many hunting TV shows are starting to realize. This is especially true as the pressure builds to find a digital outlet as TV fades in the industry. Let’s face it, shows have become increasingly pressured as the digital front has slowly taken over the industry…we knew it was coming, and have been saying it all along. The real pressure is not coming from the competition, but rather from sponsors as they begin to see what the content can look like and what the returns can adjust to when investing in the digital front.

However, what the shows currently perceive as a problem is, in fact, a figment of the imagination. Yes, the actual episodes are not going to be released, at most we will see a picture and a teaser, but even that falls flat often. Many so-called “giants” of the industry have up to this point simply transitioned the past seasons and episodes of the TV shows to digital…but that obviously will and has fell flat so far. I also want to point out that I am not talking the same boring old 2-3-year-old blog that is resurfaced and re-posted. Instead, I am suggesting rather fresh, new, optimized and perfected content that consumers eat up every chance they see it. Again so many “self-proclaimed” megas of the industry blindly fail this simple tasks. It’s ok, we can go ahead and call them out. It’s the sites, brands, and content “powerhouses” that simple crank out tons of content that literally might as well set off and overheat the plagiarism checking machine. Not original by any means.

It is as simple as this, consumers want new content, and they want to see relevant content…it’s what keeps them coming back for more, and it is a fundamental concept for growing in this industry. The biggest question is how you bring new and relevant content? The same question can be asked for brands and company’s offering products and services. Whether you are a TV show, or a brand/company…you won’t like the answer.

What Is Useful Content?

What is useful content for your show, company, and brand? A stunning photo, a quality B-roll obsessive clip, and a full top-notch episode OR a pro-staff picture, how-to video, and/or a simple blog or story?
YES…

Absolutely all of it. That is all I need to say.

Content Case Studies:

In order to truly show you how we use every single content piece to its fullest for our clients, I wanted to run you through two case studies. The first is Muddy Outdoors. Muddy is a powerhouse for hunting products. The biggest products are of course tree stands, blinds, safety harnesses, and now trail cameras. This example will show you how giant product based brands and companies can make the most out of content during November. If you are more interested in how a TV show or personality can make the most out seasonal content you can skip ahead, but I urge you to go ahead and read on. Learning how a giant brand like Muddy uses content can spark the light bulb on what a giant brand might consider a valuable partnership. Without giving away too much, digital content, content marketing, and inbound marketing is changing the relationships between sponsors and TV shows. Do not get caught in the dark on this!

Let’s begin with Muddy.

Case Study 1:Brand/Company

 Muddy Outdoors

If you are in the hunting industry you have a great understanding of what Muddy is. Again an absolute powerhouse in hunting products. From tricked out box blinds, to the simplest tree stand accessory hook, Muddy supplies a hunter in almost every single need from a standpoint of what they use to reach their game. The full assortment of products is overwhelming for marketers to tackle, to say the least. But it is also entirely enjoyable to have a brand/company that is so relevant to literally EVERY aspect of the hunt.

This is why content is so easy to obtain and create, it is everywhere! From customers trail camera pictures, to a sponsored show’s episodes and review videos. Many brands/companies that are product driven like Muddy fail at this point. They have relevant products, the content, and even the time…but yet they hit a wall! Something beyond us happens from the point the content is received to how it is exposed and published. The result is a very lifeless and dull Facebook post, blog with little optimization and “juice”,  or better yet a YouTube video that is titled “tree stand company x | wall hanger stand” – with 0 (that’s Zero) description! As if this was not enough, the video, picture, or blog is barely visible from a standpoint of viewers reaching it. Again like mentioned above, it’s not so much the time it takes or lack of effort (complete shame if it is) rather a lack of knowledge on how it works.

The Medium: The Content

In this case study, the medium or the substance that is designed to support growth is a form of content such as a video, picture, or story. In the case of what you are being shown today, a basic YouTube video is the medium. However, this video goes further than 99% of outdoor industry videos ever go!

Here is the medium, the seed so to speak that we will build everything off of. Bill Winke, a whitetail authority has partnered with Muddy to bring fresh weekly content in the form of a web show. Every Monday consumers come back to watch the new episode of Bill Winke’s Whitetail 101 to see the latest info on where to hunt and what’s going on in the woods.

Phase 1: Optimizing

Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content Before anything is published, posted, shared, and used the medium of content must be optimized. You wouldn’t want to set off on a November hunt without your bow or gun, not to mention any clothes…therefore you have to supply the content with what it needs to become successful!

I now find myself thinking first of the consumer, then immediately of google, before I even figure out what to write. Those two thoughts alone will form my subject, title, and majority of the blog…it’s the sweet spot so to speak. Getting this right sets the foundation for your content’s success.

Phase 2: Hosting Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content

Where do these consumers go to watch the show? Weekly web show formats always have a site to land on such as MidwestWhitetail.com. Instead of realizing the potential to set up a “TV” format built around a brand, MuddyTV.com was born. It’s the host for Bill’s show, not to mention 3 other weekly web shows from always relevant and fresh content producers.Every single  week the new medium of content has a home where viewers can land and stay comfortably.

 

If it were a picture and a story instead of a video, the host would be the site’s blog. But since we started with a video, we can now double the content.

Phase 3: Doubling – Syndication

The next phase in using content fully is syndicating it. This is the process of getting it in multiple sites and third party sites. Basically pushing the Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content content everywhere possible. The simplest form for us, without giving too much away is using the content to form 2nd level content. With the video now hosted on Muddy TV, along with 4 other shows that are all relevant to what is happening real time for themselves and other hunters and viewers. In my vision of perfected content as far as what consumers want to see, is a clear and concise format to gather and provide the information the video would supply. Each and every week 4 weekly web shows supply 4 videos of hunting, tips, strategies, how to’s and much more. Alone they are great content, together they are outstanding! For the video used so far “Early Rut Hunting Strategies” we formed a rut hunting 101 blog that utilized the video, along with every other video on Muddy TV for that week.

 

This blog is exactly what consumers want to land on, I only could have dreamed to find a blog like this in my teenage years of hunting. Not only are you supplied with great reading material on rut hunting strategies, tips, and tactics, but 3 videos that cover hunting the rut, tree stand locations for the rut, and how to run trail cameras during the rut. The blog itself is a powerhouse and another location for the video. This essentially doubles the content’s value.

Phase 4: Blowing It Up

For most, letting the medium grow simply means publishing the video or blog, and posting it on Facebook and other social channels. Great content that is Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content optimized can and will go places, but blowing it up gets it there faster! Slapping the medium up anywhere and everywhere is syndication on a different level. It places the content constantly in front of the consumer. While we take our content’s syndication to a level far beyond where most of the outdoor industry dares not to go, it would be enough to say it needs to be done, without going into all the specifics…cannot give away just everything now can I?

Blowing it up in layman’s term is allowing it to reach its full potential organically through social media channels. If it is content with serious potential and capability then put dollars behind it, and other pieces of content such as live videos, supporting images, teasers, and whatever else gives it another look but supports the piece.

Phase 5: Sending It Out…And Letting The Content Do The Talking

Email is not dead, not by a long shot, especially when your show’s or brand’s e-blast looks like this.

BTW: really digging the urban dictionaries definition on this one…

Urban Dictionary: e-blast – A ridiculous non-word made up by marketing people who think the term “e-mail” is inadequate to describe the explosive excitement of their mass e-mails.

This is true to an extent, but not for what we are talking about here today…

Click on the picture to view the entire e-blast. Notice the structure, draw, and relevance to the consumer.

Outdoor Industry Marketing | Making the Most of Seasonal Content

This is a direct line with consumers and it is important to recognize one thing above all, this is not spam! To some, that’s what you instantly think when receiving any emails from businesses and companies and I would say a majority of the time you are right! The significant thing to remember with this direct line to the consumer is that it is fragile. You do not want to sever it, as it still holds a role in marketing. Instead of only focusing on products, let your available content do the talking for you! Each and every week one of these e-blasts is sent. Rather than blasting the consumers with the same products over and over again, we simply supply weekly, curated and relevant copy that offers an unbelievable amount of value and knowledge to the consumer. It’s not forcing the sale, it’s applying the medium to get the consumer in the right direction! It’s also building a relationship with the consumer as a desire to see the content develops over time.

At this moment in time, you should be thinking that you most certainly are not capitalizing with your seasonal content, and the seasonal opportunity…you may also be thinking at this point “Sure this looks great for brands/products but there is no way it could work with shows”. To that statement, I simply want to urge you to visit www.bonecollector.com

If you still come back with doubts then keep reading!

Case Study 2: TV Show/Personality

Bone Collector

How Outdoor TV Personalities and Shows Capitalize

Up to this point, this article has been either a revelation for you or simply a picture show. Based on how successful or not you were at delivering your seasonal content is how you have taken it. When it comes to brands and products, the content flow can go both ways, but most of the time it’s fairly simple to create, optimize, and syndicate great content around the products and related topics surrounding the product. TV shows and personalities are a little trickier.

It’s not that there is a lack of content, in fact, it is the exact opposite.TV shows, film crews, and personalities never stop creating content. They are constantly filming, editing and/or producing content. The problem lies with what content is up for grabs. With limited content to be shown on “TV only” the sudden flow of content is shut off. After this the only pieces of content left to pick from are broken and shattered video content, teasers, and some past photos.

While a personality or TV show may have loyal fans and viewers that follow with numbers that appeal to even the biggest sponsor names out there, there is a point where this becomes no longer valuable…and that point is, unfortunately, TV. Stepping away from this blog for a bit, I want to point out a paragraph from another blog I wrote. This will particularly make you ponder content on a different level.

Taken from – How to Show More “Digital Love” to your Sponsors

I do it, you do it, and your fans do it…there is constantly second screen usage while watching your show, especially in the newer “millennial” generation. In fact, 87% of consumers use more than one device at a time (Accenture 2015), and you guessed it, the smartphone is the most common device used. So what are they doing/looking for while on these devices? Well obviously their own social media sites, but more than half of consumers are inspired to seek out brand specific content during or after the show. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of consumers spend time reading about brands that interest them, and once found, 78% perceive a relationship between themselves and the brand after reading or watching digital content; 82% of which is positive feelings towards the brand – all of this by just giving them the content they seek (Demand Metric 2014). Honestly, think about the end goal of your hunting or fishing TV show, it probably/should involve a large viewer base and fans with brand/personality loyalty. They love your show and they can’t get enough of it…right? So giving them custom content, on a digital platform, can reach them through other channels or devices, and give you better results, views, and loyalty right? Correct! Companies with blogs, and custom content especially in the form of video, generate 67% more leads per month (Demand Metric 2014).
Content for hunting TV shows and outdoor industry TV personalities does not and should not stop at TV. It also should not be digitally introduced by simply slapping up past episodes and shows. Sure people like to watch the full episodes and frequently watch when available but you’re missing the boat. The key is as always time, relevance, and quality. Let’s run through a shining example of perfected content. This will be similar to the Muddy Outdoors example except for this time it shows the result of a much harder task.

Without going into every phase again here is the medium or the content that started it all. While Bone Collector’s “New” content or the next season will not air until next year, Michael created “fresh” relevant content for his fans to indulge in. This “extra” content that is relevant and new is the perfect medium to start with.

Then it starts the process of optimizing, hosting, syndicating, and sending It out…

Outdoor Industry Marketing 101 | Capitalizing on Seasonal Content Outdoor Industry Marketing 101 | Capitalizing on Seasonal Content Outdoor Industry Marketing 101 | Capitalizing on Seasonal Content

Besides the relevant, fresh, and outstanding content by a personality that, let’s face it, is on fire right now in the outdoor industry, the Michael Waddell’s  sponsors get more than their money’s worth. In fact, capitalizing on digital content, especially seasonal content is changing the game for the sponsor to TV show relationships. Sponsors are realizing their own potential for making the most of content, which allows them to take another look at the shows they support, and what they are getting in return.

Stone Road Media is literally on the brink of digital marketing, content marketing, and inbound marketing for the outdoor industry. We are continually raising the bar and as a result brands, companies, shows, and even personalities are taking another look at capitalizing their content.

How In the World Do You Capitalize?

Unfortunately this is not a one man operation. Even your team will have a hard time coping with the struggles and “grind” that is required to be spot on with every piece of content and to be effective all season long. It takes us at Stone Road Media a well-oiled machine to complete these tasks. If you want to maximize your marketing, content, reach, and strategy, and take interest towards how and why Muddy and Bone Collector are soaring through the season then simply contact us!

Just remember, if you succeed in extracting every single drop of life out of your show, brand, or products and the content that surrounds them, then you will be noticed and rewarded. If this blog and that last statement is not enough, then just place yourself in show season. Are you feeling good about where you stand?

For more segments in Outdoor Industry Marketing 101, visit Stone Road Media’s blog section. Here are three articles that you may want to read following this piece.

Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing | How to Acquire and Retain More Sponsors

Digital Content Marketing | A Unique and Different Digital Content Machine

The Content Sweet Spot | Hitting the Mark and Becoming Effective At Outdoor Industry Marketing

About

Article: Weston Schrank is Stone Road Media’s Digital Content Manager. He has turned the obsession of outdoors and hunting, expertise in wildlife and land management, and understanding of specialized content creation and SEO into an excelling and devoted career as a content manager and strategist, benefitting the company’s many outdoor industry partners, and outdoor freelance writers.

Finding the Content Sweet Spot for Your Outdoor Industry Marketing

The Content Sweet Spot | Hitting the Mark and Becoming Effective At Outdoor Industry Marketing

Graphics By: Deanna Riley – Web & Graphic Specialist
Article By: Weston Schrank -Content Marketing Manager

Having a strong content game is difficult. Any content manager, producer, and marketer will attest to this statement if they have been in the grind for a while. It is quite easy to hit a block, seem repetitive, and can at times feel like a struggle to think of, create, and manage effective and interesting content. Luckily for content creators, freelance writers, videographers or marketers in the outdoor industry, it’s addicting for us to do our jobs as it one of our deepest passions and obsessions in life. Our own team at Stone Road Media, lives and breathes the outdoors, we know, even better WE ARE the audience, the customers, and the consumers we target. However, even with this intense drive and understanding, it can be quite easy for content to come up short and miss the mark. The fundamentals of your content should have 3 goals in general, and understanding the goals and where to place the content should be key for any brand, marketer, content producer, or freelance writer in the outdoor industry.  Missing the mark is wasting time, resources, money, and more importantly valuable content. When it comes to outdoor industry marketing, hitting the content sweet spot is demanding, but particularly effective when done correctly.

So what is the content sweet spot? It is the point between the 3 general focuses and goals of content, balancing each goal perfectly to achieve maximum effectiveness. While this might sound a little bland and honestly un-informative, it all makes sense when you have a deep understanding of what the goals of your content should be. To start, do you even know? Sure one of your goals is to drive people to the website, create leads, be successful at conversion, and drive sales. But that is only one goal, and without focusing on the other two, you will never get there.

Honestly when I was forming the idea for this blog, I was trying to figure out the best way to explain how to structure content around these goals. I know this same principle has been taught or explained for content marketing before with this, and it really is quite simple…elementary school simple, but in my mind pretty effective. It’s a 2nd grade lesson for today, a Venn diagram!

Outdoor Industry MarketingThe 3 goals of your content with the content sweet spot being the intersection at the perfect balance. In other diagrams on the subject, it’s all about dialing into the sweet spot between the consumer and your expertise, but in this niche, the outdoor industry, fishing marketing, hunting marketing, shooting and tactical marketing, we know the general topics and direction of the content we produce. This is understanding where the sweet spot is between the customer, Google search, and your website. It’s easy to only concentrate and get carried away with only one aspect, but this makes the content miss the mark at achieving your goals…if you even know what they are?

 


Content Goal Number 1: The Customer

Outdoor Industry Marketing“Every day your target customers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of digital advertisements. Whether via website ad space, email marketing, social media ads, or AdWords, the irrelevant nature or broad generality have made that outdoor industry consumer nearly numb to the delivery.” – Customer Profiling For Greater Customer Engagement

When it comes down to finding your brand/company’s outdoor industry marketing content sweet spot, your first goal should, and always be the customer. When Stone Road Media’s Chief Marketing Officer Jeremy Flinn wrote the above quote, he meant it, and hit the nail right on the head. This kind of hits home doesn’t it? Our passion is and will always be the outdoors, whether that is hunting or fishing, the sad reality is that we have learned (rather have literally been forced) into being numb to the delivery of outdoor industry content. Some fans and consumers would even say it has ruined the industry. Season after season, any click would take us to bland, lifeless, uninformative product focused content.

Literally it has been forced down our throats, and it makes a lot of people sick. The moment really hit home when I was discussing SEO, Google, and outdoor industry marketing, with my father over lunch…literally taking a break from writing this very article. Now remember he (an old guy) is the generation that grew up on the good ole days of print and magazines. His words were, “even if I did get on the internet and look up something on hunting or fishing, I wouldn’t click on anything, at least not the first things to come up”. The second thing he mentioned was “if I do happen to click on something, it isn’t what I thought I was going to read and a lot of stuff pops up that I don’t want to see”. While he really doesn’t operate a phone that well, and never touches a computer, he knows a surprising amount, at least something important enough to put in a blog, about content marketing in the hunting and fishing industry!

What my father was basically saying is that the consumer has learned to avoid ads, really again been forced to avoid those first (paid for) results with the green ad box. When a SERP pops up in front of him, an advantage for those that can reach the consumer with content organically. But it has to be content for the consumer…VALUABLE content. This has forced your customer to only steer to the content that they want to see and are searching for. Real information not slandered in buy this and click this…but engaging, interesting, informative and consistent content.

In this reality, your number one goal for any content produced should not be a repeat, or a broad generality like so many other blogs, videos, and sites have produced over and over again. You have to strive for the content that the consumer is really searching for, what they want to see. So what? Honestly up to this point a whole bunch of smoke has been blown without some real numbers to show you why giving consumer’s content for them is worth it. I’ll admit it, it does need some numbers.

More than half of consumers are inspired to seek out brand specific content during or after the show. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of consumers spend time reading about brands that interest them, and once found, 78% perceive a relationship between themselves and the brand after reading or watching digital content; 82% of which is positive feelings towards the brand – all of this by just giving them the content they seek (Demand Metric 2014)….  giving them custom content, on a digital platform, can reach them through other channels or devices, and give you better results, views, and loyalty right? Correct! Companies with blogs, and custom content especially in the form of video, generate 67% more leads per month (Demand Metric 2014).”  – Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing | How to Show More Digital Love” To Your Sponsors

Content customized for your consumer is powerful, anything less than that minimum is wasting time, resources, and money. It should be specific and be given enough power to be the authority piece on that topic. If it is not then there is no use creating it. Ask yourself or your content creators and free-lance writers if it is something you or they would read, something informative that is interesting, that gives a return to the reader. This is your content’s first goal, capturing the audience, readers, viewers, and fans.

There is an endless amount of content for your brand to create that can achieve this goal. There is always another subject or detail to dive into, and there are an endless amount of ways and combinations to make it attractive to the consumer! Here are a few ways…


Content Goal Number 2: Google Search

Outdoor Content Marketing with Google SearchAfter you have thought of a very valuable piece of content for the customer, you need to relate it to your website. While the website is your first content goal it is your last…make sense? I know it doesn’t, it barely makes sense to me why I would even rank them like that, but at the same time it is correct. The fact is that you, me, bob, or whoever, it doesn’t matter, if they are reading this article they are looking into content marketing, and have a brand or they are a content creator for a brand. So? Well you or they are already in the mindset of driving people to your/their website. While the consumers and customers are set as your first goal for your content, the first thought it your head is and will always be your website. To be effective at digital, inbound, and content marketing, you have to put the website as the first initial unspoken goal, but the last overall concrete goal. Is that clear? I didn’t think so… hopefully this will clear it up.

The Google Search is your next content goal, it is your delivery system. “No social media is my delivery system” is what you probably thought. It is initially, for a short time, but google is long term, organic, continuous, domination type lead delivery!

“Your customer will unknowingly seek your brand, TV show, company, and product or service out online, so you need to give them exactly what they are searching for.” It is the premise behind the BE SEEN. BE FOUND. BE DIFFERENT of Stone Road Media. Customers will educate themselves before the buy, whether that buy is online or in the store. Those businesses and brands that give the information, detail, expert opinion, enjoyment, and influential piece on the subjects and topics related to their goals and objectives, and if they do it consistently will beat out the competition. How?

The fact is that custom content alone, no matter how attractive it actually is will not go anywhere without proper optimization for the google search. Optimization? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to be exact, and if that is new to you then read up!

More often than not, literally we see this all the time in this industry, a piece of content is slapped on YouTube, Vimeo, and/or the blog page of a website with no optimization.

A good piece of content for the consumer with no optimization is like showing up to a job fair, you have the experience, the skills, and the education, but have no name tag, no resume, and you are afraid to speak….you are basically non-existent to employers”

This about sums up the majority of outdoor industry sites and content posting.  They are non-existent to google and as a result the customer as well.  Literally hundreds of great pieces of content over trail cameras, tree stands, fishing rods, baits, guns, ammo, tips, tactics, and videos, you name it, it all has been posted for readers and viewers that never can find them. Why? They lack optimization. To start they have horrible titles, more artistic or dramatic  more often than not, or my personal favorite example of what not to post in the outdoor industry “BOB’s 180 inch 2010 buck” video on YouTube.

The title is just the start, getting that right is pretty basic and common sense. Title generally, your contents title should be exactly what your consumer is looking for! After this, sub headers, keywords, LSI keywords, density, hyperlinks, backlinks, multimedia use, content length, pictures, picture titles, and much more have to be considered and optimized. Getting that mastered takes work…I promise you.

That is the basic framework behind achieving the content goal of the “google search”, it is printing that resume, grabbing a name tag, and being vocal at your job fair…

After this syndication, advertising, and social media takes place, but other than that the content you have created is out of your hands and into the consumer’s hands. Google takes into account many things, I have no 100% idea of what it does, no one does and it is always changing, they keep marketers guessing. What we do know is that it listens to the consumer. Dwelling time or average time on page in Google Analytics, bounce rate, exit rate, all of these analytics google takes into account as should you as they are key performance indicators or KPI’s for your content.

Content Marketing KPI Goals With google lending an open ear to consumers and letting the indicators speak for themselves about the content you create, it only enforces that creating optimized content for the consumer will set the base for achieving the third goal, your website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Content Goal 3: Your Website

Your website Content marketing goals

Your final goal is bringing it all around. You have achieved your first goals. You have captured the consumer through a top ranking organic search, you have kept them engaged with the content, and they are reading and watching the whole piece, now what? How does it benefit your site, your brand, how do you get a return on your investment?

How do we consider “success” and achieve the goal of “Your Website” for our hard work and the content we are creating and delivering?

Here is a great excerpt from a past article, something SRM’s Chief Marketing Officer, Jeremy Flinn wrote:

“If the digital, inbound, and content marketing is not directly generating dollars in the account; how can we really say we are succeeding, let alone say there is a ROI, on the inbound marketing services implemented? You’re right, at the end of the day you aren’t paying the office rent/mortgage with page views, and last time I tried, my employees were not a big fan of direct deposit of visitor sessions. OK, maybe that was a horrible attempt at digital marketing comedy, but the fact is cash is king, right? It is, but all of those KPIs lead to money in the bank! In other words, all of the indexes (in the form of KPIs) that we are tracking and working so hard to improve are the means to an end. That “end” is a customer for our service or product. The more customer visits (sessions) to a website, the more they look at the brand, services, and products (page views), and longer they are impacted by our company content and products/services (time on site) the more likely they will become a customer! In the end, the stronger your digital KPIs are, the stronger revenue flow will be. It doesn’t matter if you make revenue via advertising, eCommerce, or at retail, the bottom line is nearly 70% consumers are starting the buying process online. This initial step may be a long (or short) way from the end (buying) depending on the purchase, but it very much is true about “the first impression is everything.” Those with little unique content to engage with, will lose customers on the brand, products, and services and fall short…” – Content and Digital Marketing Results

Again this is where you can get lost or become too focused, the first and last step is your website, traffic, sessions, and in the end a ROI for the content you produce. There is a fine line to forcing the issue, in other words slandering your content up with buy this, click this, and ads. Your end goal for the content, as far as your website goal, shouldn’t be to make that reader buy that product on the spot, it should be a lasting impression that slowly creates consumers and their trust for your brand, product, or service. Converting one reader or lead out of 100 is not as valuable as creating a base of addicted consumers, there addiction being your site and your content.

The world of hunting marketing, fishing marketing, and inbound marketing is unbelievable, if you know what you are doing. No matter the size of your company in the outdoor industry, you can be competitive if you are dialed into your content sweet spot. It’s so much more than who has the most ad presence, it’s about who is the authority in their niche with the content they create. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Focus on your consumers, optimize the content, and generate website traffic. As you dial into your content sweet spot, just remember and then record and analyze your digital marketing KPIs. Let the numbers do the talking, and lead you to greater revenue in the bank account.

About:

Graphic: Deanna Riley grew up in western PA with a love for the outdoors, which lead to her drive to capture the essence of what’s around us in her nature photography and design work. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design, and is excellent at web, logo, and print design as well as social media.

Article: Weston Schrank is Stone Road Media’s Digital Content Manager. He has turned the obsession of outdoors and hunting, expertise in wildlife and land management, and understanding of specialized content creation and SEO into an excelling and devoted career as a content manager and strategist, benefitting the company’s many outdoor industry partners, and outdoor freelance writers.

Outdoor Industry Jobs | Growing Opportunities for Outdoor Freelance Writers

The Growing Role of Outdoor Freelance Writers | Outdoor Industry Jobs

Graphic By: Deanna Riley – Web & Graphic Specialist
Article By: Weston Schrank – Content Strategist and Manager

Outdoor industry jobs in freelance writing, or hunting/fishing freelance writers are professionals of a dying art. Would you agree or disagree…really is it?

I would like to start off this article with an excerpt from one of our most recent blogs.

“Depending on your passion, you waited for that hunting and fishing magazine each and every month. You would reserve a spot in the calendar, even a chunk of time after dinner but before bed, a time for just you and the latest hunting and fishing articles…This pull and addiction was mastered by print writers, as we know to have been very successful at evoking emotional connection to the story and topic through detailed descriptions, delicate vocabulary, and well-formed article structure” – Hunting and Fishing Marketing | Appealing to Google and the Customer with Multimedia

I remember as a kid (I’m young so I know you remember) reading magazine article after magazine article, diving into adventures that I knew I may never come across in my life. However, that didn’t mean I didn’t experience it! Through the writers account, and flowing river of text, I was placed into that moment, whether it was a high elevation sheep hunt, salty deep sea fishing trip, or thrilling encounter with a grizzly while camping in the backcountry. The writer’s ability to pull and addict the reader to the content was undoubtedly an art form possessed by a handful of skilled outdoorsmen that secured their roles as a key in outdoor industry jobs.

There is no doubt that the world we live in today is going digital, nearly every piece on our blog has reiterated this old news. But will print, our coveted magazines, suffer? The bigger question for any readers diving into this topic and article is, regardless if print suffers, “what is the new role being developed into for outdoor industry freelance writers?” Now wait for it…the even larger question trumping your concerns is, “how the industry, and outdoor industry jobs will incorporate these hunting and fishing freelance writers moving in the current direction it is?”

The first and basic answer to any of these question is the general response. The direction of the outdoor industry, the hunting industry, and the fishing industry is and will continue to be content marketing. It always has been, from the magazines to the TV shows, but this movement is catching up to the outside world of digital content marketing. Again we have been repeating this over and over again in each one of our blogs, so whether you are a brand or company, or a content creator/freelance writer, it is time to take notice and learn what and how to change!

Opportunities for Outdoor Industry Freelance Writers

A popular question of the outdoor industry world of hunting and fishing, is how to get a job in the outdoor industry. While countless “regurgitated” articles and blogs will tell you to “start a hunting or fishing show” or “become a pro staff member” in order to obtain outdoor industry jobs, they are all missing the point of what the outdoor industry companies, brands, and potential employers need…real, authentic, authoritative content that doesn’t sell the product, just gives the reader and consumer what he/she wants!

Outdoor freelance writers again have mastered this, it is evident in any magazine article, and the problem however, is transitioning to the changing industry. If you are a skilled writer and an outdoorsmen with the passion and know how you are in luck! Now what I am about to reveal is key, this is why there is such a big opportunity present, and it is knocking on your door! The outdoor industry currently does not know how to value a freelance writer…do you know why that statement is true? Because the majority of the industry doesn’t know how to use the content they produce or currently hold.

“The world and this industry has gone digital, the most significant sentence of this article is this. “Your customer will seek you out online, so you need to give them exactly what they are searching for.” It is the premise behind the BE SEEN. BE FOUND. BE DIFFERENT of Stone Road Media. Customers will educate themselves before the buy, whether that buy is online or in the store. Those businesses and brands that give the information, detail, expert opinion, enjoyment, and influential piece on the subjects and topics related to their goals and objectives will beat out the competition… Newly created content will eventually create an authoritative content gap for a business that dives into and employs content creators. This will stack the content as the top results for every search a consumer types, related to your business.   Those top results will place your expert content in front of the competitions, causing a free fall for the competition.” – Outdoor Industry Content Marketing | The Authoritative Content Gap

In a nut shell, as the outdoor industry recognizes the need for custom, fresh, informative, interesting, but optimized content, they will turn to content creators, and the first ones targeted will be freelance writers! This will be a massive opening for outdoor industry jobs and a big opportunity for anyone looking into how to get a job in the outdoor industry. Knowing that freelance writers possess the skills to bring a story, a “how to”, a “tips and tactics” basically anything a reader would search for and desire, will make it easy for business and brands in the industry to snatch them up.

Now this is not all good news, in fact it’s the opposite. If you are already an established freelance writer for many magazines, and are currently or about to dive into online articles and blogs for hunting and fishing websites, then your career and opportunity at seizing any of these outdoor industry jobs could be at risk.
This literally might be the first time this information has been presented online for our industry, I’ll just go ahead and claim that it is in confidence…”hunting and fishing print/magazine articles and the freelance writers that create them are not online worthy alone.”…Now let’s just agree to wait for the dust to settle on that bomb. It just blew up the strategy behind many “authority” sites in this industry. It is the same principle behind why you just can’t upload TV videos and content online and expect them to be found and reach the customers.

The reason behind why a freelance writer or an article that has been created for print/magazine cannot just be slapped onto a site and expected to be effective is that it does not meet all the criteria to be so.  While a great opportunity is present and in front of both outdoor industry jobs, industry brands and outdoor industry freelance writers, it cannot be grasped without knowing the criteria for effective online content.

How to Develop Your Content and Yourself to Be Effective Online

The time is now to train and make yourself and your content into an effective asset for outdoor industry brands. If you are asking the question, “how to get a job in the outdoor industry”, this advice would be key to focus on. In doing this, a freelance writer in the hunting and fishing industry will have to recognize the differences between print content and digital content. Mastering this will concrete your ability to grasp these openings and these outdoor industry jobs.

Content Optimization

While the magazine brought your text and images to the readers, you will be responsible for attracting and engaging customers. Sure whatever company or brand in the industry has a wide and numerous audience and social media platform, but that only takes content so far. The other half of the battle in creating web content is optimizing it for organic growth and appeal to google! Now how is this different than print, well it starts with the title. While a print or magazine title would be dramatic, fun, or extremely clever, your online content title will need to be informative and to the point! Tell google and the consumer what it is. This is just the start of optimization. You will need to dive into more content marketing strategy and basics, but to put it lightly, you need to optimize your title, header, meta data, target a keyword, target search terms, insert relative and helpful links, write the correct length and density for all mentioned above and then, and only then write the content around those pieces. Sound confusing and hard? It is and isn’t, but once you get the hang of it you are very valuable to the Outdoor Industry!

Authoritative Content

One piece of print and magazine content creation that should stick with you is being an authority on the subject. If you can’t write an authoritative, top notch piece on a subject you have no business writing it or being featured in the magazine. Think of google as the magazine editor, they will know whether or not you are an authority by either what the content is composed of, or by the consumer or reader’s reaction. Knowing what you are talking about and presenting extremely valuable, informative, and interesting content is the first step before writing or optimizing. If your content is spot on, useful, and engaging and optimized well, you and the outdoor industry employer will be rewarded with a top rank and organic traffic.

How to Write for Outdoor Industry Companies and Businesses

The real trick of the trade for outdoor industry freelance writers to master and understand is generating valuable content. Sure you have to be pleasing to google and the customer, but that is something that should already be under an online writer’s belt. The real struggle for this growing prospect is producing something valuable to the business or company. What are your goals with each and every piece of content? Each piece should not only be interesting and informative, but it should drive people to the site and online “shop”, “store”, and ecommerce sites, be appealing to google for organic traffic, and be substantial enough to tell consumers to come often. While these goals might seem simple, it can be very easy for outdoor industry freelance writers to get lost along the way. There is a fine line between producing valuable content to google and the consumer, even the slightest lean to one of those goals skews the results negatively. Adding in the task to be valuable and impactful for the business or company creates a very small target. Writing a very well thought out and created piece of content that is optimized, interesting, well written, but valuable to the promotion and sale of a business in the outdoor industry is an art!

While it might seem outdoor industry freelance writers are employed in a dying career, it is the exact opposite. Unfortunately grasping the newly found opportunities when it comes to how to get a job in the outdoor industry, and outdoor industry jobs for writers, means adjusting and adapting the writing for online use. Once this difficult mission is harnessed however, the outdoor freelance writer becomes an indispensable tool. Outdoor content marketing will be, and is developing, as the future and focal point of the outdoor industry. If you are an outdoor freelance writer that possess the skills to produce unique, informative, but online worthy content and are looking for growing opportunities then consider Stone Road Media.

We are looking for these capable outdoor freelance writers that eat, sleep, and breathe hunting, fishing, and shooting/tactical to join our team at Stone Road Media. If you are interested in joining SRM’s front running digital media assistance and multi-faceted team that has harnessed content production, management, and marketing, contact us today, info@stoneroadmedia.com.

About:

Graphic: Deanna Riley grew up in western PA with a love for the outdoors, which lead to her drive to capture the essence of what’s around us in her nature photography and design work. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design, and is excellent at web, logo, and print design as well as social media.

Article: Weston Schrank is Stone Road Media’s Digital Content Manager. He has turned the obsession of outdoors and hunting, expertise in wildlife and land management, and understanding of specialized content creation and SEO into an excelling and devoted career as a content manager and strategist, benefitting the company’s many outdoor industry partners, and outdoor freelance writers.

 

Hunting and Fishing Digital Marketing | Customer Profiling

Hunting and Fishing Digital Marketing | Customer Profiling for Greater Customer Engagement

By Jeremy Flinn, Chief Marketing Officer

Every day your target customers are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of digital advertisements. Whether via website ad space, email marketing, social media ads, or AdWords, the irrelevant nature or broad generality have made that outdoor industry consumer nearly numb to the delivery. If you have run any ads like this you often scratch your head at the mass number of impressions and nearly pathetic click thru rates – usually way south of 1% (unless you’re talking about fat-fingered mobile ads). If you do get clicks, like with social media ads or AdWords, your analytics will often tell the story of high bounce rate and low time on site – meaning lack of quality visitors. With all the digital noise, you have to prepare your brand and product to stand out from the rest. The best way to do that is to present an ad of extreme relevance. Sure, the visual aesthetics and call-to-action (CTA) matter, but at the end of the day, if it’s not relevant, it’s not getting engagement. Delivering effective digital advertising is much more than buying run of site (ROS) display ads or throwing a “Don’t Miss Sale” email together. It takes an extremely strategic and refined plan of action to not only deliver the advertising, but get the engagement you are looking for whether that’s website visits, content delivery, contest entries, or direct sales. That’s where customer profiling becomes incredibly effective.

No, this isn’t the profiling of old where you get sold onto 50 different lists or receive 100 credit card applications in the mail because you are a managing member of one LLC. Actually, a major driver of our business is customer profiling not for the business, but for the consumer. Why? You do not want customers to waste precious seconds of the day engaging or searching aimlessly for something they need. By delivering hyper-targeted advertisements, you not only make advertising more effective for the business, but also the customer. For example, why would you send an ammunition ad to someone who is only a bow hunter or target archer? Those might be wasted ad dollars if you are on CPM impression-based model. Or why advertise your brand of “deer minerals” for someone to click, only for them to find out it contains molasses (a food) and is illegal in many states during some or all of the year? Customer profiling is a much more effective way to reach the right customer for your brand, product, or service. The days of bulk/mass targeting are over. It hemorrhaged budgets, and generated extremely poor results (if you forgot, look at a run of site click thru rate on display ads again). So how do you begin to customer profile?

It all starts with an email address. To me, and email address is their name. In fact, it’s also their location. With that one line that includes the @ symbol, I not only can know the person, but can deliver a message. The email address is the foundation of customer profiling and should be targeted long before you begin to build any information on that customer. Without the email address, the rest of the information is irrelevant. Why? How can you utilize the information gathered if the person is just a random visitor to the website? Retargeting code through Google AdWords is not going to separate them out very well. No, this requires special attention. The email will begin to build a database, in which you will grow the profile and begin to understand the consumer in much greater detail.

Once you have the email, acquired through any of several “moral” internet methods, you can begin to build the profile through questions and surveys. Why moral? The days of bulk buying email list will shut down your mass email account, like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp, so fast your head will spin. If you consistently get more than 1 spam report per thousand emails sent you can be subject to account suspension. If you bought a list, I can guarantee this will happen as those customers signed up for something that may be related, but is not specific to your brand or products. Building the profile will require a well thought out strategy in the email blast. This could be as easy as a contest, or as blended as great content and a survey or poll that lets a sportsman speak their voice. Either way, it is a great opportunity to target what is happening now. For example, you wouldn’t poll a deer hunter about what their favorite rut call is in the middle of turkey season. Odds are the response rate will be low as they aren’t thinking about that activity. You will often only get one chance to ask that question. Timing and presentation are everything so don’t throw out a 20 question survey unless you are offering one hell of a prize opportunity for those that complete it.

As you begin to collect customer profiling information, store it in a secure database that you can revisit, sort, and extract relevant contacts. That’s a lot of information to put into an email account management tool and sort through, so doing it in Excel and importing the target emails for a particular topic can be much easier. Once you have started to reach the targeted lists, study the analytics like open and click thru rate or even the sales derived from the eblast, as compared to those untargeted in the past. You should see significant increases in the KPIs you are most interested in. This is a great way for TV Shows looking to please sponsors, as they can show powerful and extreme targeted numbers for specific products. Again, why send the next best whitetail grunt call out to everyone when half your list lives mainly in western elk country? The choice is yours, but if you make a customer’s life more streamlined, your success will often follow the same suit.

Fishing With A Different Rod | Using Inbound Marketing for LOYAL Followers

Part 1 of 2: Attracting NEW Followers

In business, your brand lives or dies by the support of your follower. From “don’t miss” viewers of your show, to those who eat, sleep, and breathe your products, creating an army of loyal followers pump energy into your thriving business. As important as it will be to keep your current loyal followers engaged (Part 2 of this Series), it to create incredible compelling content that is supremely optimized for prospective brand followers.

Fishing With A Different Rod | Using Inbound Marketing for LOYAL Followers

The fact is that for many well-established outdoor brands, appealing to and obtaining new loyal followers requires being different. If you haven’t got someone to become part of your brand family in the last 5 years using traditional outbound marketing methods, then odds are it isn’t going to work over the next 5 years. Whether it’s because they just don’t feel like you offer what they want, or most likely they don’t know what you actually offer, they need to be tended to in a different manner.

This is why inbound marketing has been shown to have a huge return on investment (ROI) for business choosing to think outside the traditional marketing box. Whether increasing viewers of a show or eCommerce purchases, inbound marketing uses the approach of giving the consumer what they want and engaging them with your brand simultaneously. For instance, let’s say you own and operate www.largemouthlunkers.com (it’s a fictitious site), a premier bass fishing website for tips, tactics, and top bass lures. A particular bass fisherman may have no desire come to your site because they think it focuses too much on the size of the bass rather than the experience, even though your site is much more than that. Typical outbound marketing has built a loyal following, but there are millions of bass fishermen that are not following your brand. Using inbound marketing, you create a series of videos teaching kids how to use lures for catching largemouth bass. Using video transcribing, strategic keywords, and social media optimization, the fisherman above stumbles onto one of your videos when searching in Google “teaching grandkids to fish.” After viewing your videos, the fisherman is intrigued with what else you have to offer and begin to cruise the website finding much more relevant content than they thought. You have now created a NEW loyal follower.

Inbound marketing uses existing and new compelling content and puts it in places that NEW followers are coming too. It then strategically guides the visitor through your website, using techniques like funnels and squeeze pages, to get them to the “destination” you desire such as a subscribe list or eCommerce store. Think of it as a very effective and targeted soft sell. You already are giving them what they want (remember they found you!) and now you are giving them more, without irrelevant content or marketing schemes getting in the way.

Not only is it very effective because the content supplied is usually what they were looking for in the first place, because of excellent inbound marketing implementation you sat atop Google for that keyword phrase, but you are also able to measure the effectiveness of the content through analytics. This insight will help guide you as you develop more content for visitors in the same target niche.

Cost –effective, inbound marketing is changing the way businesses operate. The outdoor industry is no different. Ask yourself, are you giving the consumer what they are looking for?