Inspiration, entertainment and utility are the cornerstones of great content says Mashable’s CMO Stacy Martinet, keynote speaker at The Content Council’s annual spring conference earlier this week. Martinet notes that investment in time and talent is what makes brands truly innovative. She believes in giving her team space to experiment, letting them throw things at the wall “to see what sticks.” An advocate of the power of social, Martinet predicts that within five years social media will be ubiquitous and synonymous with media. Here she talks to Content Magazine about earned media, how to predict whether a piece of content will go viral and keeping up with tech innovations.
Content marketing is equal parts editorial & creative + data & analysis: can you give me an example of how this formula works for Mashable’s content strategy?
At Mashable, we are about community first. We focus on what will provide value in the long term, which translates to inspiration, entertainment and useful content. Of course we use tools like Mashable Velocity and a variety of metrics and data to measure our content and help make some strategic decisions; we balance that with being adaptable and on top of trends, which requires real human talent to achieve.
For example, we were one of the first brands to bring on a team member whose role was to specialize on Snapchat, without any real metrics to track. Two years later, brands are seeking major engagement on Snapchat's platform. Investment in time and talent is essential in order to be truly innovative.
Every content marketing campaign should start with the question, ‘will this drive any earned media?’. How does Mashable implement this strategy in practice?
The content that consistently performs well for Mashable, both editorially and on social, is content that provides our audience with utility, inspiration and strong visuals. When we deliver what’s true to our voice and provide our audience with what they have come to expect from us, we can rely on that content performing well.
Millions of people all over the world come to Mashable to get their news, whether that's the latest meme trending online, a travel piece on the best destinations for your next trip or a Mashable Explains video on the new emoji. If it affects your life, Mashable will have a smart, easy-to-understand article that makes sense. That is the content we look to amplify on social: something that will resonate with our audience on multiple levels and engage them with a great visual.
Mashable uses a propriety tool called Velocity that is able to predict if a piece of content will go viral before it does; can you give an example of this working in practice?
Mashable’s proprietary viral prediction technology, Velocity, crawls the web to see the trends and stories that are about to go viral on the web. The algorithm can determine the individual lifespan of each story and judge it independently. So it’s a prediction that’s customized solely based on each individual story. It could be that a story has minutes left, hours or even days.
Mashable’s Velocity platform is an essential tool for our editors and social team to be able to see into the future of what the audience will be talking about on the social Web. We utilize this technology in order to embrace new storytelling tools that fuel creativity rather than constrain it.
Digital landscapes change roughly every six months with the introduction of new apps or algorithm changes. How does your marketing team at Mashable keep up with these innovations?
At Mashable we encourage experimentation, and collaboration is at the core of what we do. It is so important to give the team space to experiment with social because of the rapid rate of change in the industry. What we were doing on Facebook two years ago is no longer relevant today, and what we are doing today on Snapchat didn’t even exist two years ago. At Mashable we are always on the cutting edge of trends, and some of that means throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. We are not afraid to try new things and see what works.
Which are the top performing content types on Mashable, and why are they popular?
Something that always performs well across the board is a strong visual, and I think that is for a few reasons. Visuals are the global language of the internet. In order for something to go truly viral, it must be accessible to all languages and cultures. Nowadays we are constantly connected—the average person checks their phone 43x a day. A strong visual is mobile, it is fast and it is easy to consume on the go.
What is the future of digital marketing? How will this differ from marketing today/in the past?
We are in one of the most exciting times in the industry. There is always something new, exciting and let’s face it, a bit terrifying, in the next great idea. In five years social media will be ubiquitous and social media will be synonymous with media. On one hand everyone everywhere is participating, on the other hand new platforms and communities will pop up that are more personalized, community focused and niche.