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Digital Marketing Download: Taco Bell Blocks Social Media to Promotion New Mobile App Launch

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From blackouts to pop stars who cyber-stalk, there are plenty things that sound creepy (but are actually awesome) going on in digital marketing this week. What digital marketing stories should you know about now? Check out our special Halloween edition of  the digital marketing download:

Taco Bell blacks out social media sites to promote launch of new mobile app
Earlier this week, Taco Bell “blacked out” all its social media channels–including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter–to help promote the launch of its new mobile-ordering and payment app. According Adweek’s week’s article about Taco Bell’s social media blackout, “Taco Bell says its stunt to shut down social media has some initial success.” In a somewhat ironic twist, Taco Bell has also now started amplifying its blackout post with Promoted Tweets and other social ads.


After six months of testing, Instagram’s video ads will start appearing and roll out over the coming weeks. 15-second auto spots will first come from Disney, Activision, Lancome, Banana Republic and CW.

Taylor Swift stalks fans on social media & calls it #Taylurking
Pop stars, they’re just like us! As MTV UK put it, “Taylor Swift Stalks You Just as Much as You Stalk Her.” On Monday the pop star tweeted pictures of her fans who had purchased (or where in the process of shopping for) her new album–complete with Polaroid pictures. Taylor’s personal approach to social media, interacting with fans on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr has her on track to sell 1 million records this week.


Honorable mention goes to the scary-good partnership between IBM and Twitter, announced this week, that will allow IBM to help businesses use Twitter data to better understand customers, businesses and trends. Not only will Twitter data be integrated into IBM’s big data analytics tools, but IBM will also be developing new apps for the enterprise that make use of Twitter data and training consultants to write customer enterprise apps that use Twitter data.

Don’t let social media and other digital marketing tactics scare you–contact Lindsey Gropper to find out how BLASTmedia can help elevate your brand.  

5 Key Takeaways from the MarketingProfs Content Marketing Crash Course

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In the last year, content marketing has exploded as a brand awareness strategy. Considering 80% of business decisions makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement, while 61% of consumers are more like likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content, we think it’s safe to say that content marketing is here to stay.

When done correctly, content marketing can be highly effective for brands to stay engaged and top of mind, but when done poorly, a brand can quickly become a cautionary tale of what not to do. To ensure our content marketing approach is on point, I’ve enrolled in a MarketingProfs content marketing crash course and compiled the 5 key takeaways learned thus far.

  1. Understand your audience: This may seem obvious, but when a content marketing strategy fails, there’s a high chance it’s because the target audience is wrong. When developing a content strategy, it’s suggested to think as your readers like dinner guests – you want them to leave satisfied. If you already know your audience, great. If not dedicate your efforts to discovering who your audience is by listening, and paying attention to consumption metrics. If needed, use brief, open-ended surveys to find out the age, occupation and interests that your audience have.
  2. Don’t create just for the sake of creating: Or as I see it… set measurable goals. A brand that sets out to create content for the sake of hoping on a trend, will see little success. Instead, set goals with numbers in mind. One you have goals in place, your brand can work to create a content marketing strategy that will help you reach said goals. Be certain to take the time needed for the creation phase, and please… know your brand’s values and mission ahead of time. If you don’t know your brand’s message, how will your audience?
  3. Reinvent content that’s not working: Pulling in the earlier analogy, stale food is one easy to leave your dinner guests unsatisfied and with a bad taste in their mouth. Applying that to content marketing, stale content will have the same effect on your audience. If a piece of content, or an entire strategy for that matter, isn’t resonating with your targets (i.e. not reaching the goals you set) it’s time to reinvent. MarketingProfs suggests diving into website traffic to pinpoint where your audience is dropping off. From there, carefully evaluate your brand’s content and make changes based on the information you pulled. First, don’t be afraid to change up current material before totally scrapping an idea, and if that’s still not working, then work with your team to create a new strategy with your goals and audience in mind.
  4. Figure out what format and platform works best: Similar to understanding who your audience is, no content marketing strategy will be successful if its on the wrong platform. Once you know your target audience, research what platform they prefer to get information from and what format is best suited to your brand’s needs. Should you focus on a native ad or a sharable video? Is a lengthy LinkedIn post or slideshow best for your campaign? Choosing your format early on is key producing to content that showcases your brand in the right light. There are a number of formats at your disposable, like online video, interactive tools and thought leadership. Once you’ve decided on a format, make sure to select the appropriate platform for delivering your message.
  5. Develop your brand’s voice: Having a clear, authentic voice is vital to any content marketing campaign. The voice of a brand is essentially its personality – and that determines what kind of audience you will attract. If you don’t already know your brand’s voice, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
    • Voice isn’t a veneer. A brand’s voice cannot be created or imposed – people will know immediately if your voice is not authentic, and as a result you will lose the attention of your target audience.
    • Be specific with your attributes. Is your brand doing something different than anyone else?  Something original? Try using the term ‘groundbreaking’ instead. Be specific with what your brand is saying, and shy away from general words or phrases that make your brand sound like every other one.
    • Build in a range. Human voices have a huge range, and you need your brand’s voice to do the same. Make sure your message isn’t flat and always the same – like a robot – that will also make your audience classify your brand as unauthentic.

Interested in learning how BLASTmedia executes successful content marketing campaigns? Get in touch with Lindsey Groepper to learn how content marketing can help increase awareness of your brand.


Fall brings cool weather and hot coverage

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Fall is officially here. Temperatures are cooling down, jack-o-lanterns are appearing on porches, and pumpkin-spiced goodies are showing up on menus and store shelves.

But BLASTmedia’s clients aren’t raking fallen leaves this autumn – they’re raking in hot coverage from traditional and social media. Why? Because our strategic, campaign-based outreach consistently connects our clients with their targets – whether they’re top-tier tech editors, crowd funding backers or end consumers.

Here are a few of our favorite client highlights from this fall:

Want to set the stage for successes like these in 2015? Contact Lindsey Groepper, and find out how BLASTmedia can help.


Digital Marketing Download: Twitter Introduces Fabric for Mobile App Development, and More

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Question: What does it take to get noticed in digital marketing?

A) A special toolset for developers
B) A special partner program
C) A bunch of little girls spouting off curse words

Check out our latest digital marketing download to find out what digital marketing stories grabbed our attention this week:

Twitter introduces Fabric, a toolset for easier mobile app development
This week during Flight, Twitter’s first mobile developer conference, CEO Dick Costolo announced Fabric. This new toolset aims to make it easier for mobile developers to build applications on Twitter and make money from those applications.

Hootsuite announces global agency partner program
Hootsuite is looking to nurture relationships with agencies. The social media tool’s new Global Agency Partner Program, announced on Wednesday, includes resources that “help agencies education account teams and stay on the leading edge of social media though tailored workshops, access to industry leaders and enhances support…and client delivery model of large agencies” according to Yahoo! Finance.

FCKH8′s ‘F-Bombs for Feminism’ ad pulled from YouTube
After being pulled from YouTube for violating terms of service on Wednesday, latest campaign from t-shirt company FCKH8 has been reinstated. The f-bomb filled video was also briefly pulled from Vimeo.

Interested in using social media to get your brand noticed? Email Lindsey Gropper to find out how BLASTmedia can help. 

Apple Pay News

Apple Pay Changes the World of E-Commerce

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When you think of Apple, e-commerce and payments probably aren’t the first thing to come to mind. But now, with Apple’s recent announcement of Apple Pay during their unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is taking the e-commerce world by storm. Apple could be changing the scene on how businesses accept payments in the not-so-distant future. In fact, Apple Pay is now accepted at major retailers such as McDonalds, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s, and using the system is simple and quick, taking only mere seconds.

Businesses and the media are still working to navigate the adoption of Apple Pay, but everyone seems to agree that we are witnessing the next step in e-commerce - a world where no wallet is necessary. While adding a new payment system might seem like quite a feat, client Stitch Labs believes that if anyone can make the adoption happen, it’s Apple.

“Smaller retailers will be reluctant to add the technology because of the low adoption and the fact that the systems needing to be installed cost between $300 and $500 dollars per device to install,” said Jake Gasaway of Stitch Labs. “The technology only exists on the newest Apple devices, so the pool of users will be rather small. With all that said, Apple has a history of taking existing technology and making it more relevant in ways that others couldn’t.”

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and utilizing a new payment structure will take years to mold for each consumer. Small businesses might also be slower than major retailers to respond with proper technology, but Apple is banking that with new regulations that would require United States-based credit cards to contain a special chip, making them more secure. Sooner or later, we believe there will wide adoption.

At BLASTmedia, we’re inclined to think Gasaway is right, even if the news currently indicates that consumers have been generally slow to respond. But hey, it’s only been a day!

Curious about how you can set up Apple Pay? Check out this handy article from Yahoo! Tech.

anti-facebook ello

The Anti-Facebook: 4 Things You Should Know About Ello’s Ad-Free Social Network

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Ello has been covered by just about everyone from PR Daily to Gizmodo over the last month or so. Some are even calling the invitation-only social network the “anti-Facebook” and with good reason: Ello takes aim at Facebook, and their use of ads, by name in the website’s FAQs.

So if Ello is a social network, but isn’t Facebook, what is it? Taken from its extensive FAQ, here are four things you should know about Ello:

  1. Instead of ads, Ello plans to introduce features you, as the user, can pay for. Ello’s big differentiator is that the platform will remain ad free. So how are they planning to make money? The social network has plans to begin offering optional paid features later this year. Ello’s founders imagine the “Ello Feature Store” as similar to Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
  2.  You can still find ads on Ello. Ello doesn’t control what people post, so long as they follow the social network’s imposed rules, and will soon support embedded content from YouTube. As a result, YouTube in-stream ads may play on Ello as a result of videos being shared by users.
  3. Companies can join Ello. Although Ello is currently invitation-only—you can request an invite though the Ello homepage or someone who is a current member can invite you. And, according to Ello’s FAQs, companies are welcome to join.
  4. Ello doesn’t have an app. Unlike recently introduced social networks like Snapchat, Ello doesn’t have a mobile app. The site can be accessed and managed by desktop or  mobile browser.

Ello’s ad-free model has a lot of doubters, especially as the site stands in comparison to Facebook—maybe a lesson learned from the last social network thought to be a “Facebook Killer,” 2011’s Google+—but how the website will evolve is yet to be seen.

What do you think the future looks like for Ello? Is this the next big social media site? Tweet us @BLASTmedia and let us know your thoughts. 

Digital Marketing Download: Facebook’s Safety Check, New Digital Subscription Services, and Google+ Polls

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When will Facebook use it’s location services for good? Why can’t I get HBO Go without cable? What is Google+ actually good for? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, this week’s digital marketing download is for you:

  • Facebook’s new “Safety Check” lets friends know you’re okay after a major disaster. Unveiled this week in Japan, Facebook’s latest new feature, Safety Check, uses the city listed in your profile, your last location if you’d opted in to Nearby Friends, and the city where you’re using the Internet to determine your location when a disaster strikes. If you are thought to be in the area of the disaster, the feature then sends a push notification asking if you are okay. According to Facebook, “If you’re safe, you can select “I’m Safe” and a notification and News Feed story will be generated with your update.”
  • CBS and HBO announce digital subscription services. This week, HBO announced that in 2015 the premium cable channel with offer a digital service without a cable subscription. Only a day later, CBS announced the launch of “CBS All Access,” a digital subscription service that will feature both live streaming and on demand content. As more content becomes available outside of the traditional TV viewing experience, we’ll be on the lookout for more changes in the online video advertising space.


Get the latest Digital Marketing Download every week, follow BLASTmedia on Instagram

3 Ways to Leverage User-Generated Content

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user-generated content

Agencies and brands across the world are quickly learning that the most compelling (and cost efficient) way to collect content is straight from the source. That’s why user-generated content – stories, photos, and videos produced by end-users and consumers – has become immensely popular among brand managers, social media executives, and content marketers alike. But once it’s procured, what do you do with UGC? We’ve got three ideas that will get your wheels turning.

  • Populate your product pages. In an effort to fill website product pages with keyword-rich copy, it can be easy to overlook the inclusion of one of the most valuable pieces of UGC there is: the product review. Whether good, bad, or ugly (that’s another conversation), the incorporation of unique, detailed product reviews on your website is invaluable when it comes to consumer education, but especially search engine optimization. Because comments on a website are indeed content, search engines like Google will evaluate them for long and short-tail keywords, which will in-turn increase the ranking of your website for certain searches. Furthermore, first-hand product reviews allow potential purchasers to better understand the product’s functionality versus jargon-packed verbiage. The end result? Higher conversion rates at a lower cost.

UGC STAT:  51% of millennials say consumer opinions found on a company’s website have a greater impact on purchase decisions than recommendations from family and friends.

  • Create compelling ad copy. Seeing is believing when it comes to customer buy in, which is exactly why lots of brands are beginning to incorporate consumer quotes and peer photography directly into their advertisements across the digital space. As Social Media Today put it, adding user-generated content into your ad efforts helps to provide “social proof” for consumers. Basically, it helps them realize that “if someone else uses this product and likes it, then I will probably like it too.” Over time, this will eliminate the need for a second opinion prior to product purchase – a win-win for both consumers and marketers.

UGC STAT: Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising with 70% of global consumers surveyed online indicating they trust this platform.

  • Increase engagement on social media. For social media managers that want to create an engaging community online, interactive and genuine material is a must. It encourages product use, empowers buyers to share, and allows consumers to feel like their stories are being heard – all of which add up to create a successful social media campaign. Take for example T-Mobile’s Breakup Letter campaign, which asked users to write a custom break up letter to their carrier and share it via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. When all was said and done, over 80,000 T-Mobile branded breakup letters were posted to social media – a smashing success.

UGC STAT: On YouTube, user-generated content get 10 times more views than brand-owned content.

Want advice on wrangling your customer base to share compelling stories via social media? Contact Lindsey Groepper and ask how an integrated marketing campaign can change your brand for good. 

Chart-Topping Client Successes

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We live up to our promise of tackling and executing targeted, campaign-based strategies and tactics. As a result, our clients have seen huge successes across all marketing platforms, from digital advertising and social media, to public relations. Intrigued? Check out our recent “chart-topping” client successes:

Interested in taking your company or product to gold, or even platinum? Client successes come in all forms. Email Lindsey Groepper to find out how BLASTmedia can provide you with measurable results!

Digital Marketing Download: Facebook’s Local Awareness Ads, Twitter Sues the Government and Google Primer

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A new survey by Piper Jaffray showing the increasing popularity of Instagram and decreasing use of Facebook among teenagers might have been a popular topic among major news outlets, but it wasn’t the most surprising thing happing in digital marketing this week. Have 15 seconds? Here are three things happening in digital marketing right now that you might not have seen coming.


This week in #DigitalMarketing: New #Facebook ad targeting, Twitter vs. the U.S. government, and #Google’s new #app for startups.

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This week Facebook introduced a new local awareness ads feature, designed to drive local business awareness. According to Facebook, “with local awareness ads, businesses can quickly and easily find new customers by showing ads to groups of people who are near that business’s neighborhood.”

On Tuesday, Twitter took legal action with the goal of providing more transparency for users. The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. government’s regulations of what Twitter can and can’t publish about national security related surveillance violates its First Amendment rights. 
Google introduced an iPhone app this called Primer. The app, which according to TechCrunch is “aimed at teaching startups the fundamentals of marketing – with a Google spin, of course” is free to download on iTunes.


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