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On Thursday 2 November, we hosted our last Digital Bites of the year at the Everyman Cinema in Manchester with over 100 attendees. As it was our 8th Digital Bites, the team took a moment to reminisce about how it started in a tiny room at Banyan, Leeds, but has now developed into a series of marketing events that industry professionals from across the region want to attend! The event hosted eight 10-minute talks, with an interval in the middle and drinks at the end for networking

Thank you to our fantastic speakers and attendees

We always hope and plan for a great event, but it’s the attendees and the speakers who make it truly unforgettable. We want to thank everyone who showed up for the event, and the eight amazing speakers who took to the stage and owned their presentations. We know it can be daunting, especially if you’re a first-time speaker, but everyone smashed their talks!

The talks and recap

Kenny Metham – connective3

Storytelling for Performance: Balancing Brand with Emotion 

Walking onto the stage first was connective3’s Senior Influencer Marketing Manager, Kenny Metham. He covered the importance of creating emotional connections with your audience on social media.

He spoke about how industry professionals who work with social media need to build a story and intrigue around their brand. But, in the current climate, we’re losing storytelling and connections. Thankfully, Kenny explains that influencer marketing can help, and here’s how:

  1. You don’t need a linear story to build connections and understanding.
  2. You would want to have an emotional connection with your audience, as this has proven your audience is more likely to remember your brand.
  3. Personal experiences resonate with people, so make sure to utilise this in your strategy.
  4. Cramming ads into a story removes the storytelling element and makes it look like a pure advert.

Kenny continued to explain how, despite the cost-of-living crisis, brands need to remember to utilise storytelling over selling and focus on the top-of-the-funnel activity.

Think of your strategy as a claw machine. You must put money in to get something out of it, but if you’re so focused on winning, what will you do when the machine runs out of prizes? You need someone to be on the other side, feeding new prizes into the machine!

Interested in seeing more, check out Kenny’s slides.

Digital Bites Manchester stage 1

Lee Friend – Don’t Panic Projects

Prepare to be Award-Winning in 2024: A Guide to Creating an Award-Winning Case Study

Lee covered everything from what judges want to see in submissions, to how to stand out with your case study. Every work you do matters, and it’s great to show this in a case study that can go on to become award-winning in the future. But, how do you build an award-winning case study?

  1. Start at the end. Figure out the key message you want to leave with the person reading your case study. What data do you want to highlight?
  2. Planning is the heart of every award-winning case study.
  3. When presenting your goals, it’s important to have supporting data to back up your claim.
  4. Show evidence: When it comes to presenting data, use numbers over percentages. While percentages are useful for showing proportions, they can look misleading and small.
  5. Make sure to get sign-off from clients as well as team members.
  6. It’s all about the story. Your story goes beyond numbers and digits and helps you spotlight the culture and the heart of your business. Judges want to feel emotions from the case study. Pull at their heartstrings.
  7. Make sure that everyone that you think should read and proofread your work does so. You want your story to be immaculate!

Check out Lee’s slides here to see more.

Will Waldron – connective3

Journalist Relationships: How to Make the Most of Your PR Outreach

Journalists have very busy days, and with downgrading affecting 38% of journalists in the UK today, it can be hard for PRs to break through the slush pile and catch the eye of journalists. They can receive as many as 30+ if not more pitches per day, so your story must be perfected.

After interviewing two journalists, Will found out that:

  1. Irrelevancy is one of their pet peeves. Ensure the journalist you pitch to covers your topic.
  2. Lazy pitching will go straight in the bin. Your pitch needs to be as good as your story, if not better.
  3. Don’t overload the journalist with emails. Respect that they’ve got busy days and follow up once or twice, but don’t bombard them.

On what to consider when sending out press releases, Will said:

  1. Be selective in your outreach. Don’t outreach irrelevant journalists.
  2. Update your media list as you go. Journalists change professions and topics too. Lifestyle isn’t just lifestyle. It can be food, travel, pets, interior, and more.
  3. Ensure your formatting is of the highest quality. Include subject headers, address the journalist correctly, have the right spacing and always test send your emails.
  4. Include keywords where possible and jump on emerging trends.
  5. Utilise bespoke data and expert comments.

At the end, make sure to thank the journalist for covering your story, and ask them if you can support them with anything else. You may also ask for feedback to learn and grow from your outreach.

Take a look at Will’s slides to read more.

Erika Varangouli – SEMrush

How to Get Into Google’s Top 10

In her talk, Erika mentioned that the higher you rank on Google, the more traffic you will get. Much more, in fact. It was revealed that 1st ranking gets 10x+ the traffic of position #10, for a single keyword! She also mentioned that top-ranking content ranks for more keywords and can bring 10x-30x+ traffic!

The team at SEMrush conducted research into ranking, where they took 20,000 domains and monitored them for 13 months. Out of the 20,000, they ended up with a little over 2,000 that consistently ranked within the top 10.

  1. Websites that had longer content, targeted long-tail keywords, and built their backlink profile, maintained a better site health score across a large number of pages and attracted thousands of visitors ranked better.
  2. 73% of the domains appeared in the 10 at least once in 13 months. 27% never made it. However, only 4% maintained a first-page ranking throughout the year.
  3. Winners achieved a higher site health score for a larger number of pages. More than half of them that didn’t have any backlinks failed to make it to the top 10.
  4. Top-performing sites saw an increase in referring domains over time and ranked for longer keywords.

She came up with some recommendations to make your audience want to talk about your content:

  1. Headlines matter.
  2. Heading and subheadings are essential to rank.
  3. Use of videos and images.
  4. Make sure you capture the search intent.
  5. Look into the topics your target audience is already talking about – can you introduce a new angle?

Want to read more? Check out Erika’s slides here.

Andrew Mirzai – connective3

Why Focusing on Direct Response Can Kill Your Brand

In his talk, Andrew covered why brands should be paying attention to long-term advertisements rather than their short-term counterpart.

Out of the total consumers in your market, 99% of your audience is not in the market today. Long-term advertisement creates mental brand equity and influences future sales, brand reach and emotional promise. On the other hand, short-term advertisement is like sugar, Andrew said. Eventually, you’ll crash after a sugar rush.

With short-term ads: You end up in a vicious cycle. Prices increase and ROI declines, if your ROI declines, you get budget cuts, you’ll do fewer ads and the demand pool gets smaller, which leads to price increases.

For long-term ads: Your demand pool gets bigger, efficiency improves, ROI increases and you’ll get a budget increase, which leads to a bigger demand pool. It’s a virtuous cycle.

You want your content to be meaningful and memorable. When you think of your brand, what comes to mind first, what kind of feelings do you experience when you think of the brand? You can use social listening to monitor this, and check review ratings over a long period.

Check out Andrew’s slides here to read more.

Lauren Young – I Saw It First & Studio

How to Pick Influencers for Your Next Campaign

Lauren covered everything you need to think about when it comes to who you’re trying to target with your chosen influencers. When you pay an influencer, you’re paying for media. It’s the ultimate fundamental of your influencer campaign.

Influencers with a huge audience tend to have a variety of followers so it can be tricky to use these to reach the niche audience you want to target. Instead, use micro and macro influencers. They tend to be the top choice! She recommended using MODASH to find influencers, but also searching on Google, and using social media to find people through other influencers.

How much do you pay influencers in your campaigns?

  1. To understand what they’re charging you have to think like an influencer. There’s a wealth of information on social media on what people should be charging.
  2. Standard fee: Between 2% and 5% of the total following. If you have an influencer with 100,000 followers, they’ll normally take a fee between 2K and 5K.
  3. Influencer marketing and content are breaking beyond the world of social. You see them being used in paid social, brand organic social, website and PDP, email, and display.
  4. A hot take: If you want to work in influencer marketing, Lauren said you have to know that creating consistency drives value.

Check out Lauren’s slides here for more.

Sam I’Anson – Northern Trains

Making it Easy

Sam covered how Northern Trains uses different strategies and approaches to make customer journeys easier. She also covered how to listen to your customers to make them happier when interacting with your brand. Northern Trains uses different tools to improve and make a journey easier, some which other brands can also utilise:

  1. Feedback
  2. User testing
  3. Market research
  4. App store reviews
  5. Customer survey
  6. Focus groups
  7. Social listening

Once they have this, they start testing. Not everything you’ve captured will produce positive results, and sometimes tests will give unexpected results. She mentioned that in one scenario, customers struggled to find cheaper tickets, so Northern built a tool to show the cheapest results. It made the journey better and made for a happier customer.

At the end of her presentation, Sam recommended that you think small, too. It doesn’t have to be the big things. Sometimes you need to think about smaller-scale things, like accessibility. Listen to customers and learn from the experience.

Want to learn more about Northern Train’s strategy, check out Sam’s slides here.

Katie Thompson – Katie Lingo

Fact vs. Fake News: Keeping it Real in an AI World

Covering the topic of AI, Katie tested the audience’s understanding of what was fact and what was fiction in a series of images on the screen.

She mentioned that when Donald Trump became president in 2016, the term ‘fake news’ increased from 14 to 100 on Google Trends. In addition to this, Katie explained that the wide range of content channels, such as TikTok, IG, fake news channels, and more, makes the problem worse for many.

In addition to this, she talked us through where generations find answers to their search queries.

  1. 31% of Gen Zs find their information on social media
  2. 59% of millennials use search engines compared to 28% who use social media
  3. Both Gen Z and millennials use AI chatbots the same as a source of information (13%)

She also mentioned that 56% of us worry about what’s real news, and a whopping 57% believe that governing bodies, business leaders and journalists are spreading misinformation! At best, poor content erodes trust, at worst it can influence elections and impact people’s health and well-being. Fake information can prove a threat to our societies, as it can fuel wars.

But how can we prevent the spread of misinformation and fake news?

  1. Check if the author of the content has clear expertise. Do they have bios or any credentials from previous work you can check out?
  2. Consider whether or not they can be biased. Remember who’s writing the story and if they could have any reason to not be completely honest.
  3. Are external links going to relevant and trustworthy sites?
  4. Can you cross-reference your content?

To read more about Katie’s presentation, check out her slides here.

Digital Bites Manchester

It’s always nice to see so many educational talks and informative content presented by industry leaders. They make the events a million times better and help industry peers learn and broaden their knowledge.

If you want to attend any of our events, keep an eye out on our events page, or check out our LinkedIn for any updates.