Video production in Africa is changing fast. Leaps in video equipment and software technology have made the field more accessible to more people. High-quality video cameras are being built into mobile phones and excellent microphones are much more accessible at lower price points. Internet penetration statistics around the continent also indicate that more parts of Africa, whole regions, are coming online and the demand for video-specific content to these regions and demographics is surging.
In this article, we’ll explain the value of video for your business and highlight the complete video production process. Armed with this information, you will be better equipped to make decisions about whether or not to invest in video content, and what to expect when working with a video production company.
The 3-stage video production process
The pre-production phase of a video production process involves all the groundwork and planning necessary for the actual shoot. This could include research, scripting, casting, scouting the best location for the shoot, etc. It could also include
In production, the details of the video(s) are clear to everyone on the team, and it is also clear how to go about capturing the needed footage. In this phase, the main operation is shooting, but not before the technical setup, which involves lighting, background, green screens where necessary. Production involves the actual shoots, and then B-rolls, or filler video content.
Many video teams regard the post-production part of the process as the most important part because in video production, a great pre-production and production phase can be marred by poor post-production. The video producer and director go to work, reviewing all the captured footage and making the critical decisions for which parts are fit to be part of the final video. The skills of the director and producer really come to light in this editing process. At the end of it, the team delivers the final product to the client and the video production is complete.
Who needs video production services?
In today’s world video is an integral part of any business. Streaming video over the internet is not the hefty task it once was, and so because of this, users will engage much more with video content than they will with long-form text or static images. As a brand, investing in a video pipeline that sheds light on your work has become essential.
Pulse has created and developed teams in each market specifically for video production. The Pulse Studio video teams are experienced professionals bringing together their wealth of industry expertise to each project. We have earned authority status in video production in Africa and our large portfolio of high-quality, relatable and sometimes viral videos proves our market leadership.
Video production in Africa has grown by leaps and bounds, and as the continent’s top brands take advantage of video to ingrain their brand messages into the audience’s subconscious, you should consider a strong video strategy that helps you connect with more customers both in the short and long terms.
A guide to choosing a social media management agency in Africa
As a brand or a business, you cannot afford not to be active on at least one social media platform in 2021. These days, social media is how brands stay connected with their customers, keeping tabs on what their newest fascinations are and finding ways to enter their world and share in their conversations. Whether you manage your corporate social media accounts in-house or you engage a social media management agency, you need to understand what you’re paying for or what KPIs to measure, if you’re handling social media internally. In this post, we look at the scope of a social media management agency, and what should come with the package.
What is social media management?
Social media management involves creating, scheduling, publishing and analyzing content on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and/or more as well as engaging users on those platforms, generally with an objective to build a community around the brand or join the community of your target audience, win their trust and influence their purchasing decisions. A social media management contract usually starts with an articulated, tailored social media strategy, a document stating the target audience, agreed objectives, and initiatives to be implemented during the engagement.
What should a social media management agency do for your business?
An experienced social media management agency should be able to take on these roles regarding your social accounts:
- Creating or auditing your social media strategy
- Researching your target audience
- Choosing which social media platforms to major on, based on the two previous points.
- Designing a visual style for your social media
- Creating ad material
- Building a social media content calendar
- Responding to comments, messages and other engagements from the community
- Expanding your social media reach/community
- Monitoring social media performance
At first glance, social media management seems like a walk in the park. However, to see real results from your social media activity, you have to have a strategy-based approach, a strong visual style, the ability to quickly jump on trends and also to constantly engage your audience on all the relevant platforms. Pulse is a leading social media management agency in Africa because of our unique capabilities in this regard. We have an experienced, creative team of designers, strategists and managers that take social media management from a few colourful posts, to a strong tool in your marketing arsenal that achieves the specific objectives you have set, whether it be brand awareness, engagement or conversion.
What an SEO agency does for your brand
If you’re a young company looking to improve your online visibility, you must have had the term SEO thrown at you more than once, and often by a prospective media or marketing agency that does SEO. But you may also be coming away from those meetings not fully clear on what the SEO agency will do or how exactly SEO fits into your long-term marketing plan. It is easy to get confused. In this article, we’ll take a dive into SEO or Search Engine Optimization and take a look at how SEO agencies in Africa are helping businesses get found more easily by their desired demographic and more importantly, convert curious searchers to paying customers.
What is SEO?
Let’s start with a basic definition of the term. SEO or search engine optimization, is simply the process of making changes, additions and updates to your website design and content for the purpose of making it more attractive to search engines. When search engines find your site content and layout to be what searchers are looking for, your website will organically rise higher in search results when people search some specific terms that are closely related to your niche or the services you provide.
The better optimized your website is for ranking on search engines, the higher the chance that your website will be able to rank on the first page of search for your chosen search terms or keywords. The higher up on that first page of search your website is, the better for clicks from searchers directly to the information they need.
A big benefit of engaging one of the leading SEO agencies in Africa (like Pulse) is that they bring expertise and experience in reorganizing or realigning your website with the relevant keywords in your niche. An SEO agency brings its experience to bear in auditing the website, developing a bespoke SEO strategy and implementing the changes that will help the business reach its online visibility goals. As part of the audit, the agency will restructure the content on the website to make them SEO friendly, searchable and sprinkled with targeted keywords. An SEO strategy will also guide the direction of the agency’s SEO efforts and document them for a possible future handover. The implementation of these strategies is also the responsibility of the SEO agency. They are also often expected to provide regular updates and reports of the work done.
Search engine optimization is a big part of marketing, as it exposes brands to large chunks of their target audience, and also often brings in quality leads with strong buyer intent. Pulse is one of the most sought after S.E.O agencies in Africa. We have experienced specialists that can build an SEO plan, select the right keywords and rank brands highly for the keywords with the most searches, achieving greater online visibility in a relatively short period.
Why your campaign needs native advertising
Native advertising is making its mark on the advertising world, as the new way to connect with audiences without being too sales-y. The unique advantage of native advertising is that it matches the form, feel and style of the media format in which they appear. If native advertising is done right, it presents to the audience as a subtle suggestion, presenting the brand as superior to other competitors, and sharing some information that proves this in some way. In this post, we’ll see how native advertising can be a great addition to your campaigns.
What is native advertising?
Native advertising doesn’t really look like advertising. As we’ve already learned, it is designed to fit in perfectly with other content on the particular medium. For example, you could create an advertisement for an Instagram page that looks just like the other posts on the account. The audience consumes this as part of the feed and leaves with a small impression about the brand you are advertising. This impression could mean the deciding factor when the audience is making a purchasing decision. Native advertising is great for many reasons. It does not feel like a rude intrusion for the user, it sends its message subtly and is generally better received than big loud disruptive ads, a win for the user, the advertiser and the client.
But how effective is an ad form like this one, and why should you consider including it in your campaigns?
Why should you consider native advertising?
Here are some stats from Outbrain: Consumers look at native ads 53% more than display ads. Native ads create an 18% increase in purchase intent, and the visual engagement with native ads is the same, and even slightly higher than the original editorial content.
Apart from how effective native advertising is, it is also advantageous for a few more reasons. Native advertising fights ad fatigue, which is what happens when an audience is served too many ads and they subconsciously screen out any new ads, leading to very low ad engagement. Also, because native advertising is served in the same style and form of the medium in which it is displayed, it does not irk the consumer. Studies have shown that when consumers can tell a native ad from the regular content, they still engage with it the same as regular content.
If you have been convinced of the value and ROI of native advertising and you would like to add this to your future campaigns, it is a great place to mention that most agencies that provide native advertising have to work with owners of platforms and pay for these specialized types of ads, and this ultimately increases the budget for such deployments.
Pulse is among a very small group of advertising agencies in Africa who not only produce sterling work as an advertising agency but also are able to tap into their owned platforms and 3rd party networks to provide native advertising for clients, matching the form and function of the content to the platforms in which it appears and more importantly, removing the need and budget for a middleman agency. In most cases, the result is that the audience cannot tell advertising and content apart, allowing them to respond fully to such native advertising rather than just mentally blocking it. This is one of Pulse’s strongest unique advantages as an experienced native advertising agency.
What’s your influencer marketing strategy?
As the online marketing space for businesses, brands and companies evolves and gets more nuanced, marketers must develop strategies that de-emphasize loud branding and sales comms. The global audience is now desensitized to branded content. Put simply, people are more interested in conversations with people, and not with logos. Brands must then humanize themselves and their messages, to be able to sustain the connection to their target and keep them engaged more organically.
Marketers need to lean in on initiatives that are more human. People don’t like to be sold to. Instead of leading with brand-heavy media and promoting it to the target audience, brands need to be less direct, but more relatable. They can do this through influencers.
What is influencer marketing?
Simply put, influencer marketing is a process where individuals who have built a strong and engaged community on a social media platform recommend a brand to that hyper niche community. The common result is that the members of that community then engage with that brand and possibly purchase the brand’s products based on the referral of the individual. That individual is called an influencer. It is a form of word of mouth marketing, but with many more people being referred at once.
What’s the ROI?
A survey by MediaMix revealed that 89% of marketers voted that the ROI on influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing forms. This shows how valuable influencer marketing is to brands and why an influencer marketing strategy is indispensable.
Building an influencer marketing strategy
Like any strategy, you need to be clear, deliberate and intentional to be able to achieve the desired results.
– Do your research to choose a platform and an influencer marketing agency
Almost every marketing initiative needs to start with research to enable you to fully understand what is actually involved and the best way to go about it. You will need to go deep into the platform you have determined that your target audience is on, and find the influencers on that platform who create content that aligns with your niche. If you’re an investment or fintech company, for instance, your niche influencers would be people with very engaged communities who make content around personal finance, money management, global finance news breakdowns, and so forth. Decide if you will work with macro-influencers (influencers who have really huge communities) or micro-influencers (who have smaller but generally much more engaged communities). Identify as many of these as possible and draw up a list.
– Set a budget
Next, set a budget based on the allowances of your marketing spend. It is important to set this figure and a specific number of influencers you want to work with ahead of contacting them so that you can determine how much income is budgeted for each person ahead of the actual negotiations.
– Decide on goals and message
Every business wants growth, whether that be growth in the awareness it enjoys or growth in its conversions. But it helps your strategy if you distill what your business needs very specifically, rather than just aiming for more followers. When you set a specific goal (such as to reach out to a younger demographic with one of your products designed specifically for them), your decisions regarding which and what kind of influencers you work with will get much more specific. A very specific goal also means that you are able to clearly measure how much your campaign has moved the needle.
In terms of brand messaging, your work is not done just because you have contacted and engage the best influencers for your campaign. While you do not want to stifle their creativity and how they announce you to their audiences, you also want to work with them to carve a broad message that they can create within, so that they do not put out confusing or unclear messages about your brand. Your messaging will flow out of your goals.
– Influencer outreach: contacting influencers
For micro-influencers, you can send them a private message on the platform where they are most active, and ideally where you also want to collaborate with them. Larger influencers usually have a listing of contact information in their bio, which may include a phone number and an email address.
– Review & refine your strategy
Before a campaign starts (and also in the middle of an active campaign), check your target goals against how the campaign is doing, to be able to adapt and make changes and correct the direction toward the main goal. You need to do this regularly to be able to also determine whether the campaign is hitting the goal or is totally off course.
You should also regularly review the list of influencers you are working with and cross-check that with your goal and the demographic target you have. This review will help you to either identify new influencers to be added to your list and remove old influencers who are no longer relevant.
As marketers, regardless of the industry or niche, a good influencer marketing strategy is an investment that is valuable immediately and in the long run. Take the time and do the upfront work of setting up a strong strategy for this, or work with influencer marketing agencies and networks whose expertise you can draw on.
Over time, Pulse has built a strong and vast influencer marketing network in Africa through extensive collaborations on projects and our interest in engaging and strengthening the media landscape in our operative countries. This network has further increased our online marketing capabilities, allowing us to reach even more niche audiences for our partners, while almost exponentially increasing the strength of the Pulse amplification pipeline.
Should you hire a digital agency or a creative agency?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a solo entrepreneur, an eCommerce brand or an established corporation. At some point, you will consider the option of hiring an agency to manage some of your marketing and/or sales efforts. After choosing to hire an agency, the next question is what kind of agency suits my needs? Should I hire a digital agency or a creative agency? What’s the actual difference between them?
If you find one or all of these questions challenging and you need some guidance on what step to take next, then read on. We’ll break down the difference and show you what might work better for your needs.
What’s a Digital Agency?
A digital agency is a broad term that generally refers to outfits that specialize in digital marketing in different forms. This could include app design, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Management/Marketing, Content Creation, Online Lead Generation, Media Campaigns, Website Development, Email Marketing and more. A generalist digital agency has teams or experienced team members for each of these functions, allowing them to provide a broad range of services to companies and prospective clients, whose aim is to ultimately get more people to discover the client, engage with them online and make a purchase.
What’s a Creative agency?
While a digital agency is this umbrella team with capabilities in digital marketing, a creative agency is more specialized. It is generally considered to be a team whose primary function is the creation of all kinds of media assets and collateral that a client may need. These include logos, colour schemes, banners, newsletter design, videos, TV commercials and so on. A creative agency may specialise in a few of these at a time, but they are mainly focused on creating collateral.
Over time, these definitions have blurred. But what agency you should work with largely depends on what your goals are. If you have very specific goals (like brand identity design, or email newsletter marketing), it might be best to seek out an agency that specializes in this work.
As a full-service digital agency, our role transcends simply amplifying brand messages to the right audience. We are able to also deliver an end-to-end experience, from ideation to creation to execution and analytics for any campaign, regardless of scale. Pulse is an expert mix of creative teams and digital teams who work together to hit client goals.
The ultimate checklist for hiring a PR agency
As a company grows and increases its user base, it begins to enter into discussions either offline or online. Oftentimes, as part of growth also, the company realizes a need to put itself out there and make direct public statements that serve to inform people of its existence and more primarily, to let the public know the successes and feats it has achieved so far. Whether you’re a young company or an old one, shaping the narrative about your brand in the public eye is a crucial function that cannot be left in the hands of inexperienced people.
What is PR and why is it important to get a great agency?
The whole concept of controlling or shaping the narrative of your brand perception or how people feel about your brand is part of the business of a PR agency. What is PR? The Public Relations Society of America defines PR as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Between managing your clients and internal meetings and building relationships with vendors and marketing activities, it can get hard to make time for brand awareness and media management. This is where a PR agency can help.
Hiring a PR agency however is a task that must be done carefully. The job of PR is to manage your company’s relationship with the public, and for most organizations, this relationship with the public and the perception that people have of the business mostly determines how much people are willing to do business with the company. Because of its sensitive nature, therefore, this relationship with the public needs to be very well managed.
Here are some tips to note when shopping for a PR agency:
What are your goals?
The first thing to do after you have decided to hire a PR agency is to start thinking about your company’s goals. What do you want to achieve by working with a PR agency? How do you think a PR agency can help your company? These questions will lead you to establish an objective for working with a PR firm which you will need to communicate to them and align on.
What is your budget?
Next, your company has to decide what its budget is for the engagement. You might not have this information right away. Take a look at what the general or average engagement cost for a PR agency is, within your area. You might need to speak with other company reps or visit job/agency websites that give an insight into what a PR agency might charge. Armed with this information, you should be able to set a specific budget or a budget range before meeting with PR agencies.
Research research research
Check out PR agencies around you. You can do a simple search for the term “PR agency” or use your network to find out which ones are in your city and even which ones are within the budget you have set. Then screen this list down to a few agencies. Research your top agencies and find out whose work and clientele you think are a good match. After doing this, you will be able to create a shortlist to contact.
Engaging and Onboarding
By setting up meetings with representatives from the agencies you have contacted, and discussing the engagement in detail (including price, expertise level, previous clients and prior successes), you will be able to choose the PR agency that most suits your needs.
The final step is to onboard your chosen agency. Find out who your primary contact will be and agree on how regularly you will have meetings to touch base, how you will track results etc.
It is important to work with an experienced PR agency that has shown a capacity for quick and wide distribution of communications. One of such agencies is Pulse. Pulse owns native social and web platforms (as well as extensive 3rd party and influencer networks) across Africa that ensure that communications can be amplified quickly and achieve a much higher reach than a regular PR agency. We are one of the most sought after PR agencies in Africa because of our network, expertise and experience.
Hiring a PR agency is critical for any brand as it has the potential to catalyse growth and build brand affinity, but also to destroy the public reputation and cause substantial harm to revenue and the company’s bottom line. It is important to go through the discussed steps carefully and ask the right questions before engaging a PR agency.
Questions to ask before hiring a marketing agency
A marketing agency is a specialized team that offers marketing services to businesses and clients. Companies engage marketing agencies because of their experience and expertise in the market, and their capability to synthesize marketing strategies that are tailored to each client’s business, helping the client to achieve their marketing objectives at the end of the engagement.
Marketing agencies often act as the external marketing department of the companies that hire them, taking on the business’ marketing challenges and offering creative solutions and elaborate strategies. Marketing agencies are generally not a one-size-fits-all entity. Some agencies are more suited to the needs of certain industries, based on the agency’s experience and area of expertise.
As a client, there are a few questions to ask when hiring a marketing agency to help with your operations. These questions will help you pick the right agency whose expertise aligns with your business goals, giving you the best chance of success.
- Previous work
During meetings with prospective agencies for your business, it is important to see the work they have done for previous clients as this gives you an insight into how the agency interprets business needs and how they go about meeting those needs. If they have worked with other brands in your industry, you can also assess how well they know the industry and how much impact those specific campaigns have had on the target.
- Specialized capabilities
Asking questions about any specialized capabilities the marketing agency may have will show you if they are specifically equipped to solve the marketing problems that you have. This works better when you are clear on what you’re looking for when shopping for an agency.
- Terms of engagement & communication
Having gone through some of the agency’s work and determined that their expertise is suited to your needs, it is now time to clarify what kind of engagement you will have and what kind of working communication to expect between you and the contact person at the agency. You can specify how you would like to be carried along in the process or express what works for your company. This is usually a simple conversation and if there are differences in the communication and engagement expectations, a simple compromise can be reached.
The most important part of your engagement with a marketing agency is what the key performance indicators will be. The client and the agency have to agree clearly on how the agency’s performance will be measured, and what specific objectives can be expected to be met at agreed times throughout the engagement. This is to be documented in detail to avoid any ambiguity over what is expected from each party.
Marketing is critical to the growth of a business. If you find that your business is coming up short in this aspect, consider hiring an experienced marketing agency. Pulse provides digital marketing, video production and brand and web development services to large brands as well as smaller businesses across Africa, leading innovation through expert teams in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Senegal. If you would like to contact Pulse about a marketing engagement, please click here.
What does a media agency do?
Media agencies are an important part of the media ecosystem, be that the digital media space or the traditional media space. They play an important role in connecting brands to vast audiences. But there might be some ambiguity around what exactly a media agency does, for decision-makers on the client-side, and also for curious minds on the consumer side. Media agencies in Africa help a lot of brands clarify their marketing message, budget and campaigns, allowing them to communicate with the audience in their language, and building awareness and affinity, which are valuable in driving engagement and conversion.
This post will help to explain the functions of a media agency, clarify what a media agency is not, and provide some valuable guidance around engaging media agencies.
What is a media agency?
Media agencies help companies create, produce and run media campaigns, most of which are aimed at helping the company get seen by people who could potentially become its customers and also increase market share. Typically what the media agency offers companies is its wealth of experience and expertise on how to marshall a marketing budget, what platforms should be targeted, what kind of messages to share with the target audience, and how to measure the effectiveness and ROI of the spend per platform.
A media agency can be traditional, digital or integrated. A traditional media agency will focus its efforts on advertising for companies via older, non-digital platforms such as newspapers, television, print, billboards, etc. A digital media agency will try to reach its client’s target audience on digital platforms and spaces.
Traditional media agencies have been around for decades. However, as companies begin to focus more on digital platforms to share their messages, traditional agencies have begun evolving their services to provide digital offerings to their clients. Also, digital agencies have integrated some traditional platforms into their services which are still viable and still bring back strong returns on investment. The merging of traditional and digital media agencies has given birth to a new kind of media agency which we call the integrated media agency, a hybrid of both traditional and digital, offering clients a complete multi-platform reach for their media campaigns.
If you are looking to run media campaigns, it is important to research agencies and find out which ones have shown capabilities that align with your needs. An integrated media agency with strong expertise and experience across Africa is Pulse. We are one of the media agencies in Africa with a strong reputation and track record. We have built the largest digital community of young people in our operating markets. This means that as a media agency, not only are we able to design, ideate and amplify brand messages to the whole target audience, we also have a huge, active and engaged community of users waiting to consume and engage with the messages we amplify.
Performance Marketing: What you need to know
As digital marketing grows, more frontiers are opened for exploration within the field that was either not feasible or downright impossible in the past. With the growth of technology, we are finding new ways to apply this growth to digital marketing. These conditions are giving rise to new concepts and fields. One of these is performance marketing.
What is performance marketing?
Data transparency now enables marketers to optimize their campaigns in real-time, based on new data coming in, allowing them to perform better. Performance marketing is the term for digital marketing campaigns where the advertisers only pay marketers for specific results achieved.
How is it different?
Unlike traditional marketing, performance marketing is usually focused on driving a specific action or group of actions from the target, and success is usually measured strictly on the number of users who have performed the range of actions agreed upon. This type of marketing finds specific use cases among small organizations that cannot afford a million-dollar budget for branding or more generic awareness campaigns. Smaller advertisers need to focus on the bottom line to remain profitable. The advertiser can determine the action to market for, and pay when that action has been taken a number of times.
How is ROI measured?
Actions (such as clicks or conversions) are agreed and KPIs are pre-determined between the advertiser and the performance marketing agency before the campaign commences. With the launch, activity is measured against these predetermined KPIs, and payment is made based on the results.
Who offers this in Africa?
We offer performance marketing services, where our clients only pay for specific results achieved, such as clicks or conversions. We offer these performance marketing services because of the strong engagement index we have with our native digital communities and networks as well as the experience and expertise of our strategists, allowing us to confidently craft campaigns that guarantee the right response from our audiences.
As technology grows, and marketing leverages technology to optimize some of its activities, marketers can get closer and closer to the end-user, and are able to offer more personalized value both to the end-user and better ROI to advertisers.
To know more about our services and how you can reach us, visit our services page.
What is a media company?
These days, the term media company has become much more blurred than it was a few decades ago, based on the huge changes in technology and in the way, information is distributed across the world. A media company used to be solely defined by its ability to aggregate, produce and distribute content.
Now, anyone with a smartphone and internet access can consistently produce, curate and distribute content on the internet for almost free. This gave rise to a new capability for the media company, based largely on its ability to function as a strong content platform and on its reputation for wide content distribution. Media content also involves feedback from readers and the larger community. Published content can now receive feedback from the community almost immediately, in form of comments, shares, likes etc and media companies care about enabling that two-way interaction.
So what does a media company do?
Media companies either distribute their content solely via print, such as newspapers or magazines, or solely on the internet, or digitally (usually via a website and/or social media platforms) or both.
People expect media companies to share stories that are relevant and of interest to their target audience. An important part of the work that media companies do is painstakingly going through every piece of content to be published to check the accuracy and veracity of the information.
Media companies are trusted to report information that is true; in cases where a fraudulent story is published, it could have dire implications for the audience, which in some cases could lead to defamation of character, or even death. It is imperative therefore for media companies to check, re-check and double-check the information they distribute whether offline or online.
Part of a media company’s job is to report information to its audience in a timely manner. Timeliness is crucial to the relevance of a story. News may often break into many different versions, as it spreads from mouth to mouth. The timeliness of a media company is an effective tool in dispelling incorrect information and confirming what is true.
The role of media companies in shaping civic society is crucial. Civic conversations that have the potential to transform a society, cause political or other change within a nation or influence popular culture, all take place in the domain of media companies. Because of this solemn role, any media company of repute is required to maintain impartiality in the nature of the content it publishes, and also highlight issues within the niche or domain in which it operates, with a view to driving conversations around it.
While we are in an age of smartphones and blistering internet speed, the role of a media company isn’t to be lightly viewed because of the sensitive nature of information distribution. In Africa, Pulse has grown its digital communities of young people, slowly establishing its authority as the premier news and entertainment source for young Africans, evidenced by the size and growth of its audiences in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Uganda. With millions of people consuming content from our country’s websites each month, we maintain a clear leadership status in the market, guided by our framework for innovative content creation and community engagement.