Category Archives: content marketing

Why Good Visuals Are Vital

Why Good Visuals are Vital

By | content marketing | No Comments

Images and content go together like ice cream and cake. They should be the visual makeup of our copy and it should compliment the written word not overpower it. We all come with something called a visual cortex, it’s this little guy in the back of our brain and he sure packs a punch, processing visual information faster that the rest of the brain can process words. So why exactly are good visuals vital? That’s a great question, we’re unmasking a few things you may or may not have thought about. Read on to find out.

Images Boost Retention

Sometimes when we read copy in bulk with no visual break up the messaging can become misconstrued and let’s be honest here, it’s boring. This isn’t your afternoon Mass Marketing class, this is real life and Mark the marketer isn’t going to finish reading that stellar post you took hours researching and crafting if it reads like a term paper. Images can not only help prevent this, but will also boost the retention level. The memory isn’t only logged with words, but also with images, so use em’!


Pictures Need to Have a Point

Nothing is worse than clicking through to a post you assumed addressed one topic because of the image, only to find out there is no correlation at all. Make sure your visuals make sense, don’t just throw something up there because it looks cool or is funny. The point of images are to make your story more relatable. Yes, we all love absurdity, but in small doses, please. A good image paired with copy will give your readers small breaks between text, but a great image will go a step further and help tell your story. This again aids in vetting our claim that pictures should have a point.


We all remember show and tell growing up, infographics are like grown up version of show and tell. They keep the reader engaged and you as a marketer have the ability to lead their eye around the graphic, allowing your readers to absorb the information in the exact order you intended. This is also just a brilliant way to incorporate copy with a good visual.

Good visuals come as infographics



Today we consume so much content through our smartphones, images play a big role in keeping readers engaged. Think about it, we’re use to scrolling for long periods of time… cough… FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest… cough… but the best images, are ones that can get us to stop scrolling, pause and take a moment to digest what this image is actually linked to. So make sure you’re choosing wisely.


It’s really no news to us that we’re living in a digital world, we’ve known this for quite some time. Moving forward, marketers are going to have to constantly think outside of the illuminated screen. Follow along as Digital Operative continues to think beyond the digital box and build better relationships with companies and their consumers. Contact us for more information on our services today!  

Recycle. Reuse. Repurposing Content During the Busiest Time of Year

Recycle. Reuse. Repurposing Content During the Busiest Time of Year

By | content marketing | No Comments

It happens every year, summer fades into the background, the holidays are right around the corner and it’s suddenly crunch time in the world of digital marketing; Halloween has officially come and gone. Girls, you’ve managed to repurpose that same flapper dress for the third time now and guys, the flannel lumberjack look may finally need to be hung up for good. The point is you gave it one last go. This same technique can be applied when working through your editorial calendar during the holiday season, we don’t always have time to keep up with internal efforts this time of year, so we’ve put together several tricks to help you repurpose some of that awesome content the same way you repurposed those Halloween costumes.

Oldies but Goodies

Crowdsource. Take a look at what’s performed well over the last year and pull your best pieces for a repost. A light revamp is most likely in order, try changing the title and updating the headers, but the beauty of this particular recycle trick is that the content has got to be evergreen- meaning that the bulk of the information is staying the same. Sure there may be a few updates here and there, but this is a surefire way to knock out content when you’re short on time.

Caterpillar to Butterfly

Turn static content into interactive experiences. While we love practical, we still need to keep in mind the world moves at an extremely fast pace. Repurposing content and giving it a little edge or interactive component is going to get two emoji thumbs up! Check out one of our favorites- Thinglink, it’s an awesome platform that allows you to insert interactive hotspots onto static images. You can also start turning those lengthier content pieces into infographics. Since we know video is on the rise for content marketing, visually expand on concepts by taking an awesome blog post and turning it into a short clip. This time of year social campaigns are at an all time high, tap into that avenue and create festive social posts around existing content.

One on One

Readers love a good 3 to 5 step process for getting things accomplished, learning a new skill or discovering new developments and/or technology in their industry. If you have posts about new technology think about writing a follow up on the one that has gained the most traction this year. Round the post out by providing insights and predictions for the new year.

You’ve got mail

Hit the refresh button on great content with a good old fashioned email. There’s no doubt your weekly agency email is going to start gearing up for the holidays any week now. Be ready to incorporate some of those older pieces into your holiday newsletters. Give them a festive spin and breathe new life into internal blogs, articles or campaigns.

Make the most of your marketing efforts this season and repurpose some of that great content that made an appearance in 2015. Agencies across the world are gearing up for the busiest time of the year, make sure you stay on top of the pack this season. Drop us a line if you need any help with your content marketing… and really, the lumberjack has got to go.


The Rule Of Three as Applied To A Brand Ambassador Program

By | content marketing, digital campaigns, social influence, word of mouth | No Comments

“The rule of three” suggests that things that come in threes are inherently more satisfying and effective than any other number of things. Whether these “things” be good or bad, we decided to test the theory…and they are right.

Most e-commerce companies know the basics of marketing: content, social and email (see, another rule of three). But, many don’t use one of the most powerful marketing tools at their disposal — A Brand Ambassador Program.

We found that there are 3 main reasons why your company should have a Brand Ambassador Program and also discovered 3 outdoor companies that are already making big moves by having a successful brand ambassador program of their own.

Three Reasons why you should have a Brand Ambassador Program:


#1 Fans

No one will love your brand, like your consumer. They are your number one fan/cheerleader. They are unbiased and love your product for the product. They owe you nothing, so you get a real genuine view of how awesome your product really is.

More Content

Without a doubt this is the best way to get more content. They will help grow your brand SEO and bring in solid traffic, hopefully it will eventually drive revenue as well. They can flood all of your channels with content, whether it be a written piece on your blog or images for your social.


This is the best way to get feedback on all of your products — these ambassadors want to see you succeed. Think of this program as your own personal think tank or focus group. They are there to help you test out new products and help gain traction and excitement surrounding the release of these new products.


3 outdoor companies already using a brand ambassador program:



They have a full page on their site dedicated to their brand ambassadors. Our favorite part is that they have broken up their ambassadors by sport – Climbing, fly fishing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing and trail running. This makes it easy for other patagonia lovers to follow ambassadors with the same interests as them.

Patagonia Brand Ambassador



“Each brings a fresh perspective to their experiences on the trail” – Describes it all on the header of the brand ambassador page. Their brand ambassador program is comprised of those that love their brand and this is something you can tell just from their brand ambassador page.

Zoic Brand Ambassador Program

Teton Sports

Their ambassadors aren’t just for promoting their brand, but for giving back and promoting a charity of their choice. There’s also a specific promo code that is associated with each “Adventurer” tha t allows consumers to help fund the charities each ambassador is raising money for. #GiveBackEndeavor

.Teton Sports Brand Ambassador Program

A Brand Ambassador program is an easy win, so use the rule of three and get out there to find your ambassadors. Don’t know where to start? Drop us a line and we can help you kickstart your own brand ambassador program.

Outdoor brands on Instagram

Tag Me and Don’t Forget The Hashtag

By | content marketing, social media | No Comments

“A picture says a thousand words” and that’s why Instagram is the best social platform for visual content. One picture can say a lot about your brand in just the few seconds that a follower is scrolling through their feed. Since Instagram began in 2010 it has grown to over 300 million active users. Did you know that’s more active users than Twitter?

Since we just attended Outdoor Retailer Winter Market – it got us thinking…what are some of our favorite outdoor brands on Instagram? We’ve done some research and have put together a list of our top 5.


Their Tagline on Instagram is “We make stuff that makes your life in the mountains just a little easier.” And by looking at all of their pictures, it shows exactly what they are about. Our favorite part about Mountainsmith’s instagram is that they use consumer generated content. They are generating great Instagram posts and engaging with consumers by showing they care about people who are embracing their brand.

Mountainsmith Instagram

Mission Bicycle

Mission Bicycle is a custom built bike shop in San Francisco. Their Instagram account speaks to who they are in every picture. They are post after post of different custom built bikes. They stay true to who they are while promoting a great business. So for all the bike enthusiasts they show one beautifully built bike after another. And we love the consistency.

Mission Bicycle Instagram


One of our favorite brands on Instagram. They are everything Outdoors. If we’ve ever seen an instagram account that inspires you to hit the outdoors, it’s this one. Westcomb combines the beauty of the outdoors with consumer engagement — Showing off their consumers who are personally devoted to their own #humanpoweredadventures.

Westcomb Instagram


Patagonia does an amazing job at using consumer generated content by filling their Instagram with images from their tumblr account as well as images that are tagged by patagonia slinging outdoor enthusiasts. Besides using consumer generated content – they do a great job at promoting other social channels through their Instagram, including Tumblr and their Youtube channel.

Patagonia Instagram


Evolv is “Passionate about climbing and the climbing lifestyle.” In every single Instagram post you can tell what this brand is and what they stand for. Every image relates to climbing, and Evolv as a company. They as well show consumer generated content, but they take it to the next level and show their support for consumers who have hit a roadblock or two. And showing a genuine support of these consumers is why they are one of our favorites.

Evolv Instagram

Take note from some of our favorite outdoor brands on Instagram — whether you are a brand looking to create a bigger Instagram presence or looking for inspiration for your next outdoor adventure. Be sure to follow these brands and take note of their genuine messages and user generated content.

Drop us a line and let us know how we can help you create an online presence unparalleled to any other, our marketing team is ready to make you stand out!

What are some of your favorite outdoor brands?


5 Tips for Aspiring Content Marketers

By | content marketing, digital marketing | No Comments

That content marketing, so hot right now. Content marketing is all the rage in the digital space. It’s no surprise; long has great content been the key to creating engagement, building your brand and even generating revenue. With its buzzworthy status, articles on how to do content marketing right are definitely not in short supply. Everyone has an opinion on it but let’s get straight to the point of this post. Here are my tips for professional and aspiring content marketers everywhere.

Don’t get lost in the Internet wormhole

Content marketing often involves blogging and copywriting. Blogging and copywriting often involve research. However, if you’re like me, you want to read everything you can on a particular subject, learn everything you can about it before you hit your deadline. You read article after article, and sometimes end up on a different subject entirely. However, in order to stay on track, you need to remember that you don’t need to know EVERYTHING to write a well informed, accurate blog post or article; you just need to know enough. When you get to a place where you feel comfortable with the material, put the research on hold, and start writing.

Timing, timing, timing

One of the best ways to have your content succeed is to capitalize on trends and current events. For example, if you’re a sporting goods company, writing about the top running shoes right before a major marathon can help you drive interest and traffic to your site. Another example of great time was Oreo during the 2013 SuperBowl. The power went out and without missing a beat, Oreo posted this tweet that garnered much praise:

For social channels, check to see what hashtags are trending and see if there is a fit for you to join the conversation. Be warned though; if you’re participating in a trend or making a comment on a current event, make sure you have the facts! This especially the case with social media. You don’t want to be a DiGiorno.

Keep it real

While staying on top of trends is recommended, make sure to stay true to your brand. The Internet is all too ready to call BS on you and people are wise to the ways of marketing. Whatever content you produce, make sure you are being authentic. Is this in line with who you are as brand? Is this what your audience wants to see? Sometimes there is a fine balance you need to find between the two.

If you use Google Analytics for your website or blog, check out the Affinity Interests of your audience. The top choice is most likely related to what your brand does or is about, but beyond that, you might be surprised. This is a great way to find other topics to write about, keeping your content fresh while still appealing to your readers.

Provide value

When you’re considering what content to create, consider this: How does this provide value to your audience? Is it helpful information? Is it a heartwarming story that might brighten their day? I’m a firm believer in not just posting for the sake of posting. People are bombarded by articles on the Internet and this is one way to cut through the noise.

In addition to providing value, consider how your content is structured. List format has been proven to increase engagement. According to the Content Marketing Institute, list posts that contained odd numbers  had a 20% higher click-through rate than headlines with even numbers.

Consider all distribution channels

So you’ve created a great piece of content. Now, how do you share it? Consider all your distribution channels during the creation of your content. It save you time in the end. How will this look on a blog? How will with this look on social media? It’s OK to have variations in copy and images depending on the channel. You want that audience to engage with what you post.

I also recommend not linking social media accounts to each other. Yes, it does make posting across channels easier but you don’t have control over how your content is displayed. Also, direct upload of media content like photos and videos has a higher engagement than just links.

Above all else, be creative. We are content marketers because we love writing, engaging with people online, shooting photos and videos and coming up with new ideas. Push the boundaries in meaningful ways. Let the ideas flow! And if you need content marketing help – don’t hesitate to reach out and drop us a line.


The Content Quadrant

By | content marketing, DO Good, strategy and planning | No Comments

DO was recently invited to speak at Digital Summit Denver, describing our strategic approach and creative process around content creation for our clients.

The presentation gave us an opportunity to help visualize and, better yet, formalize how we approach content creation for large and small clients alike.

The content strategy for us begins with an assessment of resources and goals. This assessment is guided by what we’ve coined the ‘Content Quadrant,’ which we presented at the Summit. The content quadrant has two axes, one for resources, and one for goals.

Evaluating where a client might sit on the content quadrant would then help guide an array of tactics and themes we revisit throughout the period of engagement.

Once you’ve identified your constraints, you can properly build any of the following elements of your strategy be it personas, user stories, or content guidelines.

In future posts, we will discuss how certain strategies lend themselves to better performance for clients who identify with one of the quadrants.

And please, feel free to join the discussion and don’t hesitate to contact us.


Meet the team: Reena Leone

By | agency life, content marketing, Digital Operative, New Employee | No Comments

As we continue to expand, we continue to add to the team – Digital Operative would like to welcome Reena Leone into her new role as Content Marketer, based in the San Diego, CA. office.

Reena is a great addition to our growing practice around Content, Commerce and Community. Her experience creating campaigns with solid content foundations, social media triggers and measurable ROI made it a no-brainer for us. We’re excited to have her onboard and helping DO’s clients realize revenue from social media and content marketing.

– CEO BJ Cook

Meet Reena Leone:

I graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Science in Music Business but upon moving to San Diego, I made the switch to Digital Marketing. I got my start in 2008 as an Executive Assistant to the CEO of another San Diego digital agency, Digitaria and through his mentorship, moved on from admin and into marketing and social media. I spent the last 3 years as a Senior Social Media and Social Commerce Specialist for Sony Electronics. It was at Sony that I discovered my passion for writing and photography which lead me to move full time into content marketing.

Welcome to the Team Reena, we look forward to working along side of you and know that you are going to be a huge asset to our growing DO family!

If you would like to work for us at Digital Operative, check out our available jobs and apply to be part of the DO team!

Content Marketing: You’re Doing it Wrong

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Fact is, content marketing is all the rage nowadays, and even high-end SEO firms are changing their stripes to become full-blown content marketing agencies. From the days of backlinks and on-page optimization to servicing clients that now need design, social media or website content – search engine optimization just ain’t what it used to be.

So, generic naming aside, let’s talk about a few ways that you’re doing content marketing wrong.

You’re Optimizing Off-Page Without a Clear Understanding of On-Page

Off-page optimization is what takes sites to the next level, but should you really start building the roof before your foundation is laid? This is essentially what you’re doing by building back links, sending traffic to landing pages or your home page via ad or media buys, or taking the time to spread your content via social media.

As great as all these things are, you shouldn’t build on a shoddy foundation, and by marketing your content (or web page) before it’s ready to market, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

You’re Generating Leads Without a Strategy to Nurture Them

Slapping an opt-in form on your page to send people that free guide you created is a great idea. Where many marketers falter is in the execution of how they handle the leads they produce.

A great funnel is only the first step of the process. You need a system in place to gradually nurture those leads from “leads” to “customers.” If you don’t have a funnel strategy in place before you start building your list, don’t be surprised if a large portion of those emails you collected end up clicking the ‘unsubscribe’ button instead of becoming customers.

You Have No Clear Cut Way to Distribute Your Content

‘Content sells papers’, or was that headlines? Either way, you’re creating content with the intention of driving website traffic and ultimately converting those leads into customers. Or, at least that’s the idea. But, you’d be surprised to know that most businesses don’t even share all of their content with their own social media channels, better yet look for a wider distribution network to improve their visibility.

This is a major fail, and this way of thinking ultimately makes content production cost more in order to produce less. Places like All Top (and dozens of others) all help you to distribute your content, and for the unbelievable price of “free.” Even if you don’t submit to these sorts of directories, you’d be well-suited in sharing your own content on social networks, and sharing it more than once, when you do. Don’t spam, but there’s nothing wrong with sharing posts more than once (with several days/weeks between postings).

You’re Doing Your SEO Like It’s 2002

Blog commenting, directory submission, automated spam software, link exchanges, ridiculous keyword density, or even article marketing (using article directories like Ezine Articles) are still making their rounds in 2014.

Thing is, all of these are alarmingly ineffective, and some are just an invitation for a Google penalty.

Backlinks are as important as ever, you just need a link strategy that focuses on your content, and not ways to build spammy and untargeted links. Don’t stop link building but, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start shifting your focus to link earning.

I’d be surprised if content marketing wasn’t just as much of a buzzword in 2014 as it was in 2013 (probably moreso). I’d be even more amazed if most of these businesses that tout their content marketing expertise were still in business in 2015. Content marketing is an integrated inbound marketing approach, and SEO is just a tool in the toolbox.

John Bertino is the owner and founder of The Agency Guy, Inc (TAG). TAG represents a suite of agency productivity and growth solutions for both large and small agencies alike. John is also an instructor of SEO at the University of San Diego and the organizer of San Diego’s largest SEO meetup. If you have questions about TAG, The SEO Meetup, or Philadelphia Sports, John can be reached at Twitter @JohnBertino, LinkedIn and Google+

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