Visual Marketing in the Social Promotions Space :: A Match Made in Heaven

artistic-bright-color-colored-42226We all know that a healthy marketing mix must include a strong visual content component to round out and complement the rest of your brand’s strategic efforts. But what we at Votigo are particularly interested in are the ways that the power of visual content can be leveraged in the context of Online and Social Promotions. So today, we’re exploring 3 key ways in which the rules that apply to visual marketing can be used to further the success of your social marketing campaigns.


This means that there’s a huge opportunity to capitalize on the power of visual recall and use it to your advantage within a photo or video oriented promotion. Consider a call-to-action that invites your audience to share a photo, either directly or via #hashtag, that shows what your brand means to them. Research suggests that the visual conversation created by this kind of user experience will go a long way in creating the perfect setting for brand awareness and engagement. Screenshot 2017-01-31 09.51.46


More likely than any other kind of content. This is great news for your UGC (user-generated-content) campaigns. Pair this tendency to share with our built-in campaign functionality which promotes and even incentivizes social sharing, and you have the perfect formula for campaign success. We see this come to life in the context of a campaign in which people are encouraged to share their photo or video entry in order to solicit votes, to further increase their chances of winning. This visual content ‘share’ spreads across a user’s entire social network, only serving to further drive campaign and brand awareness. All good things for you!

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While the things we say about ourselves as a brand can certainly have a lot of impact on an audience’s likelihood to favor us, nothing works quite as well as user generated content in creating a sense of genuine authenticity. And as human beings, we are more inclined to trust the opinions of others over messaging from a brand that risks feeling ‘sales-y’ and insincere. This is why UGC promotions like contests, sweepstakes and evergreen galleries are so valuable for brand awareness and engagement. They allow people to participate in a brand’s conversation, showcasing their relationship to the brand and its importance to them. Untitled

It’s clear to see that there are a number of ways to harness the power of visual content and use it to your advantage in the context of a social marketing campaign. Create a visual conversation across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and more and watch how it increases your brand awareness and engagement.

Want to learn more about how Votigo’s solutions can go to work for your brand? Click here to chat with one of our Account Representatives.



Learn From The Pros Blog Series Installment #2: AccuWeather

A few weeks ago, we introduced Votigo’s latest blog series: Learn From the Pros. This series is designed to promote the sharing of information across our customer base so that we can all learn from each other as we navigate the various ways Social Marketing can be leveraged for brand success.

acculogosmallThis week we’re chatting with Jesse Ferrell from AccuWeather. We’ve been working with Jesse and his team since 2014 and are excited to share his thoughts on how contests & sweepstakes have helped him achieve AccuWeather’s brand objectives. Jesse brings over 20 years of experience to the table, so we hope you enjoy!

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Votigo: How long have you been with AccuWeather?

Jesse: 20 years! I’ve seen it all. :) It’s been interesting to see the changes in the company and the technology over two decades.

Votigo: What is your role there? How did you get started? What were you doing before that?

Jesse: I am currently the Social Media Manager of our Social Media team. I developed AccuWeather’s Social Media channels in the late 2000s, utilizing our unique news stories and videos about the weather to inform and engage. I’ve been doing Social Media since before it was called Social Media. I ran online communities of weather enthusiasts in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Votigo: What are your biggest goals & initiatives for AccuWeather in 2017?

Jesse: We would like to continue to increase our engagement, experiment more with live video, and revamp our analytics.

Votigo: How often do you run contests or sweepstakes currently? And what platforms do you run them on?

Jesse: Seasonally — 2-4 times per year. We run them predominantly on Facebook, but promote them through Twitter, our brand website, and mobile.

Votigo: Can you share your thoughts on these social platforms in regards to your business? Do you tend to engage with one more than the others?

Jesse: Facebook is our predominant platform for engagement, with Twitter being second. We were big on Facebook early and now, more of our dedicated fans are there.

Votigo: Is there a type of campaign that you would like to run but haven’t yet? Why not?

Jesse: Not yet but we’re always open to new ideas. Because we’re a publisher in constant contact with our users, we don’t run as many promotional campaigns as Social Media departments with product companies.

Votigo: What solution do you use for your contests & sweepstakes? Do you prefer a full-service offering or a self-service platform?

Jesse: We use Votigo in as full-service a capacity as possible. For example, we recognize that we’re not experts in prize fulfillment or legal contracts, so we’d rather farm that out.

Votigo: What piece of advice would you share with someone who is just starting out with social contests & sweepstakes?

Jesse: Keep it simple!

Votigo:  What are your favorite blogs or books on Marketing or your other interests?

Jesse: We watch the official blogs of the Social Media outlets and scan the tech and analytics company blogs (Shareablee is a favorite). I am a meteorologist by training, which obviously helps with the day-to-day duties here at AccuWeather. I am the resident “gadget guy” and enjoy weather photography and storm chasing.

Votigo:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Votigo blog audience?

Jesse: I would like to say that it’s a whole different world for publishers on Social Media. Most studies, whitepapers, stats and advice are for product companies… at AccuWeather, we are lucky enough to have an excuse (current weather news) to interact with our fans daily, even hourly. Because of that constant stream of content, we don’t have to do a lot of your typical promotional campaigns or in-depth editorial calendars. The challenge, however, is that we have to be flexible with what we plan to put out on Social Media each day… because the weather can change in a heartbeat.

Thanks for participating in “Learn From the Pros”, Jesse!

-The Votigo Team


Learning Series #1: How to Engage Fans and Curate Content With UGC Photo & Video Contests


Last week, we shared our new and improved Votigo Resource Center with you, as part of our ongoing effort to provide you with the tools and information to help you be as successful as possible with your Social Marketing programs.

Our Learning Series is one of the more noticeable additions to the updated Resource Center. This series will be comprised of a library of guides to help you better understand the benefits of the various promotion types that Votigo offers.

Today, we’re excited to showcase our UGC Contests Learning Series. This guide will show you how user-generated-content promotions such as photo or video contests can be used to engage your audience and collect meaningful and relevant brand content.

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You’ll learn the benefits that are specific to UGC Contests, and take a closer look into how they work to accomplish your brand objectives. And to help inspire you as you plan your next UGC campaign, we’ve also included a helpful case study as reference.

Interested in learning more about UGC Contests in particular, or any of our other campaign offerings? Click here to chat with one of our Account Representatives.


Engage Your Audience With a Valentine’s Day Promotion


Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! But don’t worry – there’s still time to launch an engaging social promotion to celebrate! And more importantly, a brand doesn’t have to be directly associated with Valentine’s Day in order to be able to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the Holiday. Chances are your audience already participates in Valentine’s Day anyway, so why not engage them by tapping into a behavior they’re already doing, for a chance to win something that IS relevant to your brand?

Let’s take a look at some examples to help inspire you as you start planning your Valentine’s Day campaign!

Screenshot 2017-01-24 11.06.03Last year, popular dog food brand Blue Buffalo ran a campaign that did a great job of activating their audience around the Valentine’s Day holiday. In this campaign, participants were able to create a custom Valentine’s Day card that featured their lovable pet. They were then encouraged to share the cards throughout their social media networks (hint: this is a great way to build brand and campaign awareness!) for a chance to win any number of a series of daily Blue Buffalo giveaways.

Screenshot 2017-01-24 11.11.35Another fun way to engage your audience is to run an Enter-To-Win Sweepstakes in which the prize is a romantic weekend away for two, courtesy of your brand. This gives you a great way into the Valentine’s Day conversation no matter what your brand is.

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Simple enter-to-win sweepstakes typically only require that the user complete a quick registration form in order to enter. When the barrier to entry is this low, we typically see that campaign engagement levels are rewardingly high. So, campaigns like the one Flyerland ran for Valentine’s Day a few years ago are great ways to generate emails for your marketing database while simultaneously engaging your audience around the Valentine’s Day holiday!

Ready to learn more about how we can bring a Valentine’s Day promotion to life for you? Click here to chat with one of our Account Representatives.


New Live Examples from Pfizer and Angie’s List

We love sharing live examples with you because we really believe they are the best way to understand Votigo’s services. They’re also a great way to get inspired as you strategize on YOUR next promotion!

This week, we’re happy to share two cool new promotions from Pfizer and Angie’s List. Take a look!

Pfizer: #TweetForHope Twitter Sweepstakes

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Pfizer launched this Twitter Sweepstakes as a way to allow people to engage in a meaningful conversation about living with hemophilia. It is a great way to drive brand awareness while also delivering on a positive brand experience. In order to participate, people are invited to Tweet a message about what or who inspires hope in their life. The Votigo system then aggregates all entries containing the specific promotional hashtag for the campaign – #Tweet4Hope – resulting in a branded conversation feed to serve as the digital hub for the campaign. Built by Votigo’s talented Full-Service Development Team, this promotion features an English/French language toggle, a custom Register-and-Tweet page and mobile responsive design.

Angie’s List: Laundry Room Refresh Voting Campaign

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Angie’s List just launched a fun and engaging Voting Campaign in which people can vote for their favorite before-and-after laundry room makeover. Voting campaigns are a great way to engage an audience and bring them into your larger brand conversation. And when you require that people register in order to vote, that’s a great way to build upon your email marketing database! This promotion was built on Votigo’s Enterprise Platform and features direct or Tweet-to-vote functionality, social sharing and mobile responsive design.

Votigo has all the tools you need to plan, create, launch and manage a successful promotion in no time. If you’re ready to get started, click here to schedule a live demo with an Account Representative.


Introducing Votigo’s Newest Blog Series: Learn From the Pros


To add to the list of information we share with you that’s designed to help inspire you as you plan your next promotion, we’re happy to announce Votigo’s latest blog series: Learn From the Pros. The series is designed to promote the sharing of information across our customer base so that we can all learn from each other as we navigate the various ways Social Marketing can be leveraged for brand success.

Today we’re chatting with Paulina Dudzinska and Katie Dance from Canadian insurance and investment company The Co-operators. We’ve been working with Paulina and Katie for over 2 years now and are excited to share their thoughts on how contests & sweepstakes have helped them achieve their brand objectives. We hope you enjoy!


Votigo: How long have you been with The Co-operators?

Paulina: 9 years this year! 8 years with MarCom and 4 years in Social Media.
Katie – I just hit my 6 years this past December. 4.5 years with Public Affairs and 1.5 years with Social Media.

Votigo: What are your roles there? How did you get started? What were you doing before that?

Paulina: Currently, I am the Manager of the Social Media department. My previous role was a Social Media Consultant for 2 years and prior to that was a subject matter expert in advertising with a focus on digital which catapulted my interest and passion for social media.
Katie –I am currently the Social Media Specialist on our small, but mighty, team.

Votigo: What are your biggest goals & initiatives for The Co-operators in 2017?

Paulina & Katie: Our team’s priorities are:

– Operationalize Social Customer Care and align it to our Omni-Channel approach and distribution model. Connect this service offering with our agencies, contact centres and web presence.

– Focus on long-term story arcs that discuss topics of mutual interest with our Canadian audiences like; climate change, community resiliency, Canada’s 150th anniversary etc.

– Integration, integration and more integration! Social is not a stand-alone channel and cannot be successful without strategic alignment and integration into all facets of the business.

– Crisis communication planning. We all know that emergencies or high-risk stories happen online more than on traditional channels. We need to be prepared with a well thought out plan.

– Robust tracking and analytics – our focus will be to truly understand the brand equity and ROI impact of our social media efforts.

– Equip our 500+ producers with adequate support on social media through content, lead signaling and ease of use.

And more…!

Votigo: How often do you run contests or sweepstakes currently? And what platforms do you run them on?

Paulina & Katie: When appropriate to the project or initiative. We don’t like to overdo it with this tactic by trying to entice our social communities only to engage with us because there’s a golden carrot dangling in from of them (a prize). Contests and sweepstakes are decided based on strategic alignment to the overarching goals and objectives and designed to be meaningful and valuable to our audiences. For example, last year we ran a voting contest to announce the launch of our new brand campaign. We gave Canadian audiences the opportunity to vote on character names, have a voice in our brand and help us continue developing ongoing story arcs to support the awareness of our new TV and digital commercials. This proved to be quite successful; we received over 1,000 votes and increased our YouTube video views to 600,000+!

Integration is key here as well but we often rely on tried and true platforms like Facebook (to embed apps) or microsites. Other channels act as supporting mechanisms for content distribution and driving traffic to the final destination for increased reach and participation. Social advertising is another key ingredient in the success of each campaign – it’s no longer a free lunch out there.

Votigo: Can you share your thoughts on these social platforms in regards to your business? Do you tend to engage with one more than the others?

Paulina & Katie: For the Financial Services industry, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram (new) seem to be the most successful for engagement. Our core audiences and key prospects (millennials) are most active on these platforms and respond well to a blend of content and campaigns provided the mix is authentic and valuable. We could try our hand at Snapchat or other hot-right-now channels but we apply a strategic mindset to where we believe we should be present based on research and brand alignment. We could be everywhere but that would only dilute our efforts and stretch us too thin to be successful in engaging with the right audiences.

We’ve seen the most success around topics on Distracted Driving, lifestyle content, Mental Health and our support for Kids Help Phone (BroTalk) and other hot button topics that are of mutual interest to our communities. It’s not always about Product. Test and optimize every chance you get to better understand your audience. The Co-operators uses Personas (client segmentations) to ensure we reach the right audience at the right time with the right message – it’s not a ‘spray and pray’ approach that leaves you hoping for the best!

Votigo: Is there a type of campaign that you would like to run but haven’t yet? Why not?

Paulina & Katie: Good question! We’ve tried many tactics like voting, Myth vs. Fact, sweepstakes and traditional contests to drive engagement and increase brand equity.

Right now, we’re planning to launch a campaign with Votigo to promote Canadian family pride and celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary with a photo modifying app. Think snapchat filters and user generated content! We’re pretty excited about this new initiative and the outcomes through 2017!


Votigo: What solution do you use for your contests & sweepstakes? Do you prefer a full-service offering or a self-service platform?

Paulina & Katie: A blend of both! Find a vendor that gives you and your brand the autonomy through self-serve options for cost efficiencies but also partners with you on high profile strategic initiatives through a full-service offering model. We love working with Votigo because of their flexibility, expertise and high degree of service and account management- we consider them a strategic partner and look forward to collaborating on many more initiatives in the future!

Votigo: What piece of advice would you share with someone who is just starting out with social contests & sweepstakes?

Paulina & Katie: No matter where your social promotion will be hosted, ask yourself these questions to ensure that you’re setting your team and brand up for success:

  • Do you have the time and resources to devote to the planning, management, and engagement that will be required?
  • Do you have the budget to give a prize to incentivize participation?
  • Is the contest part of a larger integrated marketing campaign?
  • Do you have clear goals for this contest?

Here’s a high-level framework that we follow at The Co-operators:

  • Set clear goals/objectives
  • Select the social network you will launch on and learn the rules of that site!
  • Define details (tactics)
  • Integrate between online and offline channels
  • Get legal and compliant not only with your internal processes but understand that each social network has its own nuances. Understand them before you start your campaign to avoid unpleasant setbacks.
  • Prepare to promote and converse
  • Launch!
  • Manage the campaign
  • Analyze the result
  • Continue to engage with your community afterwards

Votigo:  What are your favorite blogs or books on Marketing or your other interests?

Paulina: My go-to blogs & websites are: Mashable eMarketer Daily, Strategy Daily, CEB Global (Marketing edition), Social Media Examiner, LinkedIn Newsfeed (anything and everything is valuable), Marketing Profs, Forbes, Economist, Globe & Mail (anything business-related)
Katie – Marketing Blogs and Newsletters: Marketing Dive, CEB Global (Marketing edition), Harvard Business Review, SmartBrief, Mashable, Canadian Marketing Association Blog, LinkedIn Newsfeed and Pulse, UnMarketing. Marketing Books: Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Guy Kawasaki, Joe Pulizzi, Jay Baer. Non-marketing related my favourite blog is Kottke – a true delve into the beauty and amazingness of the internet and the stories and interesting things that can be found!

Votigo:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Votigo blog audience?

Paulina & Katie: Social is fast-moving, ever-changing and so much in real-time that it can be exhausting to keep up. Prioritize what your brand wants to achieve, align it to strategic objectives and set your plan. Be flexible and agile because you’ll be modifying as you go along, just don’t stray away from your vision too much.

Don’t forget that social is just like a conversation, except it’s happening online. Successful businesses listen first and sell second. Going out there guns a blazin’ with hard sales-focused content and campaigns won’t bode well. Use social to humanize your brand and your business. Oh, and grow some thick skin! Not every conversation is sugar and spice, everything nice. Have fun!


Thanks for participating in the first installment of our “Learn From the Pros” blog series, Paulina & Katie!

-The Votigo Team


11 Ways SEO is Changing in 2017 and Beyond

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is bigger now than it has ever been. It’s also a completely different beast than it was ten years ago. It evolves and changes with every shift in Google’s algorithm, and working in the industry requires a keen eye and the ability to keep track of everything happening in the world of search.

Today, we’re going to look at 11 ways SEO is changing as we kick off 2017. As always, these are just predictions, but they are based heavily in fact. Let’s take a look!

Search engines are constantly growing and changing, but at the heart of these changes are some basic trends that we can use to inform the future of our craft as SEO experts. Below, you’ll find 11 changes that are most certainly coming in 2017. These changes will affect SEO long into the future as well..


Mobile devices are now used to access the Internet more than desktops or laptops. They are the preferred method for using search engines and finding answers to questions. As a result, Google has taken notice.

Today, mobile responsive web design is a must if you want to rank well, but it also comes with another requirement: speed. Website performance is also extremely important, as Google notes a 7% reduction in conversions for every second delay.

So, what does this mean for you? It means your websites need to be fast and look great on mobile devices. Thankfully, today’s options are plentiful for both. This trend won’t be going anywhere, however, so it’s important to keep both of these things in check.


Machine learning is a type of artificial intelligence that is able to learn and grow on its own as an algorithm. Google’s RankBrain is a type of machine learning that, according to Google, is able to “see a word or phrase it isn’t familiar with and make a guess as to what words or phrases might have a similar meaning and filter the results accordingly, making it more effective at handling never-before-seen search queries.”

For SEO, this means that Google’s algorithm is becoming more and more human. Case in point: keywords won’t be enough going forward. That doesn’t mean keywords are dead, but it does mean that we should look beyond them.

Our keywords should inform the topics we choose and the approach we take. We need to identify search intent and understand why a person is searching for those particular keywords instead of just placing them in the text and calling it a day.


When it comes to trust, people would much rather deal with another human being that buy from a faceless corporation. A study done by DKNewMedia found that 32% of online consumers trust a stranger’s opinion on forums or blogs more than branded advertisements and marketing campaigns.

Trust is everything in business. Without it, not even the greatest SEO can convince someone to buy. Instead of focusing on your business as a whole, consider creating a network of personal brands. For example, when I’m marketing my new blog, I don’t start by shouting out the name from the rooftops. Instead, I market myself. I tell people who I am, a little about me, and why I’m in the business of blogging.

From an SEO standpoint, this type of personal branding is great for when you’re building links and raising your TrustRank.


Google’s in love with the user experience. As a service, they want to showcase websites that provide quality content and a pleasant experience overall. Like anything else involving SEO, if Google loves it, we love it.

Using metrics like bounce rates, CTR, and the average time on a page, we can see how satisfied users are with their time on a site. Tiny tweaks like improving your website’s speed and design functionality will go a long way towards SEO moving forward.

Techniques like this fall into UEO or user experience optimization. It’s important that you’re constantly monitoring the functionality and performance of your site, as these key metrics will have a huge effect on your user satisfaction.


To stand out from the crowd, many experienced SEO specialists recommend long form content with tons of words, and therefore, tons of information. While this is nice, things are changing to the point where quality now matters more than how many words you have.

The rise of long-form content has left us with guides that take forever to read and even longer to write. Today’s users want their answers fast. To accommodate this need, your content strategy should seek to focus on “dense content.” This is writing that has a lot of value per word.

Cut out all the filler and focus on the hard facts. If you can say it in 500 words instead of 5,000, then do that.


You may not use it now because you don’t think you need it, but rich snippets and markup are going to be extremely important going forward. Not only do these tags help Google better understand information on your site, but they also put you in the running for Google’s Quick Answers or Rich Card results.

Currently, rich snippets are used a lot for recipes, videos, local businesses, and reviews, but they’re going to expand to everything in 2017. Doing this now will also help Google’s RankBrain better interpret your site as well.


Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are versions of mobile websites that have been stripped down to their pure HTML. Since launching, these types of pages have seen speed improvements of up to 85%.

While these types of pages started out with a small focus, they are much more widespread. Even if you’re not using them, users will start to focus on speed even more after experiencing what this technology can do.

Since speed is indeed a ranking factor, using options like this can drastically improve otherwise slow-loading pages.


As of right now, voice search isn’t taking over the world, but it has the potential to do so in 2017. With the rise of virtual assistants like Siri and Cortana, more people are becoming accustomed to using their voice for search.

To prepare for this, you should start thinking about your keywords and your targeting methods in terms of “natural language.” These are defined as normal terms you would use while speaking. They are also something Google’s RankBrain is learning to interpret and falls into the aforementioned “vague queries” we discussed.

String your otherwise separate keywords together to create a phrase you would use while normally speaking. Say you’re targeting things like action movies. Instead of focusing on a keyword like “action movies” you could use phrases like “What are the best action movies of 2016?”

A great way to test your natural language choices are to say something out loud and see if it sounds right. If it comes across as forced, then you know you need to tweak it.


Most SEO specialists focus on ranking in organic search results, but many are neglecting the power that local SEO wields. If we recall the rise of mobile searches, then it makes sense that people are doing their searching on-the-go.

Google’s own research into the subject found that 50% of consumers who made local searches visited a store that same day. Another 34% did the same thing on a computer or tablet. As mobile searches grow, so too will the need for local SEO.

So long as your business has a physical location of any kind, you can start ranking in these results. Simply follow these quick steps to get started:

  • Complete your Google My Business page
  • Include your name, address, and phone number on every page of your site
  • Use local schema markups in your HTML
  • Focus on local keywords and search phrases


Long-tail keywords are the evolution of standard keywords and offer a lot more for your content than single terms. Any keyword phrase that’s at least three words can be considered a long-tail variation.

These types of keywords are usually detailed and defined. This means that you’ll be targeting a much more focused audience with them, and you’ll have less competition. These keywords also help you understand search intent much better than a single word.

For example, if someone is searching for “star wars”, you don’t know what aspect of the series they are searching for. It could be the video games, the movies, or collectibles. By expanding your target, you can better understand the search intent.


Video is predicted to account for 80 percent of all traffic on the Internet by 2019. If you look at the popularity of YouTube and things like Facebook Live, you can see it happening already. For SEO, it’s also a great way to spice up your site with some unique content.

When doing this, integrate videos into your written content and be sure to include a transcript as well for people who want to read. You can also tag your videos with keywords and create a video sitemap to help search engines find these easier.

This is really easy to do. Just host the video on YouTube and embed it in your site to avoid having to store your hefty video files on your own server. As video continues to grow and become more popular, starting now will ensure you can reap the SEO benefits later.


SEO is moving in a brave new direction, and we must go with it to ensure success in the future. Consider these trends and prepare for them now, so you’re ready when the future arrives. How do you prepare for the changes that are coming to SEO? Let us know in the comments!

This post was originally written by Trey Donaldson for the Heyo blog


New Sweepstakes Examples From Nutrisystem and Lifetime

Enter-to-Win Sweepstakes are a great way to grow your marketing lists and drive awareness of a new product or brand offering. This is because typically, the barrier to entry in a sweeps is low – which means the likelihood of getting of lot of entries is high. Add in a compelling prize or a sense of urgency with a fast-approaching entry deadline, and you’ve got the formula for campaign success!

But don’t take our word for it! Here are some new live examples from Nutrisystem and Lifetime  to inspire you as you plan YOUR next campaign!

Nutrisystem’s Lucky and Lean 13 $13,000 Giveaway

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In order to promote their latest weight loss program and package (The Lucky and Lean 13), Nutrisystem has kicked off 2017 with an Enter-to-Win Sweepstakes to generate leads and drive awareness of this exciting new offering. Since people only have to fill out a simple registration form in order to enter, the barrier to entry is low, which means registration numbers are likely to be high. Additionally, they are dangling a very compelling, high-value prize as an incentive, which is sure to bring in a lot of entries as well. And because they are doing a terrific job of promoting the campaign on their Facebook page, we can expect that engagement will be great for this campaign. The sweepstakes was built on Votigo’s Enterprise platform and features mobile responsive design and email database opt-in functionality.

Lifetime’s Beaches BFF Screening Sweepstakes

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Lifetime launched their sweepstakes in order to generate buzz and drive awareness of the upcoming premier of their new movie, a remake of the classic movie, Beaches. Participants have 3 days to enter for a chance to win a trip to New York or Los Angeles for themselves and their BFF to see a preview screening of the movie. This creates a strong sense of urgency for the brand, which results in incredibly high levels of buzz and engagement. This sweepstakes was built by Votigo’s talented full-service development team and features mobile responsive design and homepage video embed.

Ready to start planning your next campaign and kick off the New Year right? Click here to schedule a live demo with an Account Representative.


6 Strategies for Syncing Your PR, Social, Blog & Paid Editorial Calendars


Creating a content strategy for various channels can be extremely complicated, with dozens of moving pieces. From finding content to curate on social media, to managing guest bloggers, to coordinating freelance or in-house writers to working with designers and video editors to create visual assets – it’s a lot to coordinate and manage!

Creating cohesive strategies that allow you to maximize your content creation efforts is essential. And of course, your editorial calendar is the cornerstone of these efforts. It serves as the centerpiece for content ideas, theme explorations, buyer personas, buyer funnels, and a way to keep writers and editors on the same page.

Your editorial calendar will sync your PR, social media campaigns, blogs, and paid outreach, among many other aspects of your weekly, monthly, and yearly content schedule.

“One of the best tools that traditional journalism lends content marketing and brand journalism is the editorial calendar,” says Jayson DeMers, Founder and CEO of AudienceBloom and Forbes contributor.

Syncing your editorial calendar for multiple marketing initiatives is essential. Here are five stellar strategies to sync your editorial calendar for the upcoming year.


Exploring themes for the upcoming year will streamline your marketing efforts. And developing a yearly editorial calendar will put these efforts into motion.

The idea of a yearly editorial calendar may seem daunting, but approaching it from a yearly, monthly, and even weekly perspective has value for you and your team. The idea of a yearly editorial calendar is like climbing a mountain, since the way down is much easier.

“Reporting on the spot news via social media is one way to get the word out,” suggests Search Engine Watch. “But having an organized 12-month editorial calendar that slices up the year into monthly, weekly, and daily snapshots can take your content to new levels of success.”

National and domestic holidays, important industry events, advertising campaigns, product launches, blogs, email campaigns, videos, offers, promotions, and months dedicated to entire themes can all quickly fill up your yearly editorial calendar.

In fact, yearly editorial calendars are so important to organization and productivity, Forbes posts theirs online for all to see.

Look at overreaching content when developing your yearly editorial calendar, and themes that will serve as pieces to the puzzle at specific times.



Once you begin developing your editorial calendar, considering buyer personas is an excellent next step. Because buyer personas simply result in strong, cost effective marketing.

A Forbes post by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) compares the power of developing buyer personas with fishing. This may seem odd, but it truly emphasizes the need for buyer personas in your editorial calendar.

YEC points out that if you want to catch a fish, you wouldn’t just throw your line into any random waterhole and hope for the best.

You want to keep luck out of the equation. You want to determine what type of fish you want to catch and match that with a strategy that maximizes results. The same goes for buyer personas when it comes to your marketing strategy.

Buyer personas in your editorial calendar will allow you to know exactly who your target customer is. This keeps wasteful marketing efforts to a minimum, and also brings about helpful objections.

Gathering demographic details such as interests, gender, education, location, income, occupation, buying concerns, and buying motivation is a perfect place to start, according to Shopify. Finding out what your client wants and what they want to avoid is also buyer persona best practice.


After you have developed buyer personas for your editorial calendar, you can utilize buying funnels to mold potential customers into customers. You will map your content to each buyer persona, and at each stage of the buying cycle.

Matching buyer personas to buying funnels is one of the most compelling reasons to develop an editorial calendar.

Diversifying your marketing efforts to fit each client’s buyer persona is indeed important. However, the order in which you deliver your content is a key aspect, according to web design platform Lean Labs.

Buying funnels normally have at least three stages with a top to bottom approach. Awareness is at the top. Evaluation is your middle of the funnel (MOFU). And conversion is at the bottom, where you want to get potential customers to convert.

“The trick to designing a site that’s built to capture and convert visitors at all stages is a strategy that combines keyword-driven content with a technically-sound website,” according to Kissmetrics.

Match your buyer personas with premium content at the top of your buying funnel. This will peak interest at the awareness stage, thus leading them to evaluation, and then conversion.

A great example of this is Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime customers convert at 74 percent, compared to a 13 percent conversion rate for non-prime members, according to Internet Retailer, an e-commerce intelligence platform.



Exploring themes and assigning content types within your editorial calendar will get you closer to specifics. Develop in-depth content that will serve as your content strategy foundation.

This allows you to begin assigning content types, building supporting data for the future content in your marketing strategy.

These foundational pieces will be used for email campaigns, ebooks, blog posts, infographics, videos, and spread throughout all social media channels, according to Social Media Examiner.

Building these in-depth pieces involves a bit of research. However, you already have your buyer personas developed, and these will be invaluable for this stage in your editorial calendar.

Use your target audience information and begin keyword searches that would reflect your buyer personas. These will begin to add up fast, so have keyword buckets in place for your buyer personas and buying funnel stages.

Exploring themes and mapping them out in your editorial calendar will keep everything organized for maximum marketing efficiency. It will also serve as a source for your foundational content, a place to develop sub-themes and assigning content types, among other benefits.


Your editorial calendar will come in handy when it comes time to repurpose your content assets. Since a single piece can blanket multiple initiatives, you want to have an effective way of keeping your marketing vision on track.

Those foundational pieces you developed and targeted to buyer personas can be expanded to a variety of content assets.

An ebook is a prime example. An ebook is a theme, and each chapter is simply a sub-theme. These subt-hemes can be repurposed content assets like blogs, videos, and social media campaigns.

John Rampton, online marketing guru and Forbes contributor suggests that, “Content can play a major role here, as publishers have amassed significant amounts of data to help understand what is more effective in terms of driving engagement, what is less successful in terms of messaging and ads.”

An infographic is another stellar example. Infographics contain a lot of data and information from several supporting sources. You can repurpose infographics into a breadth of content assets across multiple client campaigns in the same industry.

Once you have repurposed content assets effectively in your editorial calendar, you can then switch gears to an amplification strategy. The goal is to simply get potential customers to visit and engage in your buying funnel.

An amplification strategy can help you achieve this. Influencer outreach, email marketing, retargeting, and using partner channels are all essential to your amplification efforts.


Once you’ve gotten to this stage, now you are ready to put it all together. Use your research into themes, seasonal events, newsjacking, etc to match your content and amplification initiatives. For example, can your Public Relations team pitch an infographic created for a specific campaign?   Can you use an article targeted at solving a pain point as a landing page for a Facebook ads sales funnel? What social media posts can be created to amplify a theme that you are exploring in your blog?

By adding all of these elements into your editorial calendar, you can guarantee that all of the different initiatives are best served from your content creation strategy. Accountability, commitment, accomplishment, planning, creativity, trends, and measurement, are all editorial calendar benefits. Once you adapt the content to each channel, you’ll have a wealth of content that can be used to guide visitors into every stage of your buying funnel

Buyer personas, buying funnels, and repurposing content assets are only a few ways to sync your PR, social media campaigns, blogs, and paid outreach. To increase your marketing efforts and ROI, employ an editorial calendar for powerful results in this upcoming year.

This article was originally written by Nick Rojas for the Heyo Blog