Latvian Digital Guru Mednis: "Boosting bad content is a waste of money"

Interview with Arturs Mednis from New Black agency.

Some experts say that producing daily content should be integrated in the organization, meaning that the clients should produce the content by themselves. It’s difficult to outsource the content, because you need to be quick and agile. The model with agency is slower, needs more coordination, etc.

Yes, I agree that it should be done very quickly and it should be integrated, but that is also the reason why companies are working with us. We understand the clients very well, we’re working very fast and we’re integrating this content in the overall communication of the client. Most of our long term clients aren’t our clients for social media services only. They are our clients for PR and other digital services as well, so the relationship is very close. Sometimes I feel we are almost becoming clients marketing department, we just sit here, not in their office. We are working really close together, but at the same time we’re working a lot on our own, because clients trust us. Often we don’t even need to get the approval for the content. 

This is quite rare because in traditional agency world, there’s always a power battle between the client and agency.  

In our case, I think we have very good relationships with our clients and that’s also the reason why the results are good too - at this year’s Baltic PR Awards (where we won six prizes and became 2nd in the nomination “Agency of the year”) we won the first place in digital communication. It’s special because we won it for a client, whom we haven’t even ever met physically. We had 100% freedom to do almost whatever we want as long as it fits their strategy – and this brought great results. Of course, in other cases, we can be in contact with the client every single day, even every hour, if needed. But it’s important that, when we are working with a client, we try not to waste their time. If they have no time to communicate with us constantly, they just have to give us more freedom.  

What is your secret of success – how to you manage to develop such close relationship with your clients? 

I think it’s because we are not doing traditional advertising where you have to sell the idea, then this idea has to be converted into video clip which costs tens of thousands of euros together with media budget. In our case, the budgets are smaller and they are monthly-based fees, so we can do more things on daily basis, experiment and get measurable results quicker. And clients see that we are with their audience every single day, not just 4 times a year. It’s like 24/7 communication vs few campaigns per year. That’s why we also know and feel the audience a little bit better and we are constantly aware of what is happening right now. We are producing the content daily and also see the results almost instantly. And if the clients see that we are delivering the results for them and they are satisfied with them, of course they will believe in us and trust us more.  

Also, the good relationship with client doesn’t mean that I’m spending my days having lunch with them or going out for drinks with them. It’s quite the opposite – I’m spending my days brainstorming for them and sitting down with my team working for them.  

Brands are producing so much content these days but if we compare their results with successful bloggers or Youtubers, the numbers are still very small in most cases. Many brands are wondering why nobody’s interested in their content, despite their big budgets and professional production. 

In our case, one of the reasons we get good results, is that we’re working very closely with those digital influencers. As for Youtubers you are mentioning - fue of them are even working in-house for us. But about the content produced by brands, the thing is that if it’s a corporate video – a corporate bullshit – I’m not interested in seeing this. And the biggest mistake the companies are doing, is that when they realize that nobody wants to engage with their content, they boost it. And this is totally opposite of how we do it. If we post something that gets no likes or shares in first few hours, it means it’s bad and has to be left alone or even deleted.  

Basically, during the first hour, you will see if somebody is interested in your content. If you post a piece of content and from the first 100 people who saw this, nobody likes or shares it, it doesn’t matter how much money you will put in boosting it. If the content is bad, it is bad, and you are wasting your money on boosting it. It’s actually even worse – if the content is really bad, then you’re spending your money on showing how bad your content is.  

In content marketing, one the biggest issues is that the branding is usually quite week or subtle. If you look from the traditional advertising point of view, you would always want to make logo bigger or add some sales message. So it can be hard to convince the client about the possible ROI of content marketing. 

I think that actually there are two different schools of content marketing. One is more about the content and not so much about the branding. If you basically have to convince people to do something differently or change the behavior, then you don’t have to push the branding so much. The focus is more about explaining the things. On the other hand we have clients whose every single post is very branded. But the audience still likes the content, because the content is somehow useful or relevant for them. People are ok with the branding if the content is valuable for them. We are doing both sort of content marketing – with and without branding – depending on the client and the goal.

Arturs Mednis 

-  been in marketing for more than 15 years.

-  In 2000, started a company called Jaffa Riga, organizing lots of interesting events and happenings and doing stunts, producing the theatre show Caveman, etc..

-  In 2009 started agency Inspired Digital. In just few years it became the biggest social media agency in the Baltics.

-  In May 2016 started creative digital content marketing agency New Black

The birth of New Black 

Arturs Mednis: “Last May, within one day, all of Inspired Digital employees decided to leave the company due to several reasons, the subject of which I wouldn’t like to discuss in detail, let’s say I and other owners of the company had different opinions about the future plans. Employees encouraged me to start a new company, so within the next couple of week we came together to figure out the name for the new company and decided it will be called New Black. In the end of May 19 out of 20 employees left Inspired Digital and started working in New Black. Which was a surprise for me as well, because I only expected maybe a half of the team to come over, but in the end almost all of them decided to continue their professional growth in the new company. After I contacted clients, explaining the situation, almost all of them said - we highly value the team and your experience. And I’m happy to say that most of them decided to cooperate with the established new company. Just a little more than a year has passed since then, but New Black is growing rappidly, expanding our porfolio both in relation to the number of clients and services we provide them. Our team growths as well - today there are 30 industry professionals working in New Black.”  

 New Black

Focus is on digital marketing and content marketing but the company is also very strong in the digital and traditional PR, offering variety of different PR services, including one of the most important ones today - influencers management. The agency not only manages social media on daily basis, but also produces various content for online magazines, blogs, social media, including, production of videos, apps, websites, animations etc., thus ensuring the full scope of services for digital communication campaigns.

Current biggest clients: Rimi, Huawei, Knauf, Sportland, Tetra Pak, etc. New Black is working with both local companies and international enterprises not only on Latvian market, but also managing projects for the whole Baltic region.

 Hando Sinisalu, Maarja Pabut (Best Marketing International)