Category Archives: Content

Content Marketing Strategy is yours Missing Ingredients

Is-your-content-strategy-missing-ingredients

In today’s business world content marketing is what builds the trust and drives leads and ultimately sales. To understand content marketing, you need to understand how we do business has changed. All of us as consumers have digital access to all the information we need to make a buying decision.

Think about the last time you went out for dinner and you were looking for somewhere new to go. Chances are you either asked a friend for a recommendation or you got out your smart phone and did some searching. You may have looked up restaurants on Yelp or Google and scoured the reviews to see what people said before making your decision.

I bought a new car recently and before I ever set foot on a car lot I picked up Consumer Reports and accessed Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds on line to read reviews. Narrowing down the choices I went so far as renting a car on vacation from the rental company that had the make and model I was thinking about buying so I could try it out for a week. I then went to visit car dealers that had the make and model I was looking for in their inventory. I ultimately bought the car from a dealer who offered excellent customer service, who informed me about the details of the car I did not know about and who I felt would take care of me over the life of the car.

People buy from those they know, like and trust

In my car buying example, I bought from the dealer who had earned my trust.
Content marketing can help you build that trust. According to Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute “Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Why do your customers buy from you?

Rather than having a “Pitch and Pray” strategy which is making your generalized content fit everyone who might see it versus creating content that is more strategic and drives value to your ideal audience. If you are not sure what or why your customers do business with you I suggest you survey your clients and ask them specifically by writing down the exact words they use to answer your question. This will be helpful in future marketing and communication. For example if you write a blog and your customer told you they buy from you because you deliver solutions in easy to understand steps, you might write the headline to your net blog post that says “6 easy to understand step to XYZ”

Here are some questions you might want to ask your customers:
– Ask how did you solve their problem?
– What specific results have they gotten working or buying from you?
– What do you do better than the competition?
– Would they buy from you again?
– Would they refer you, if so ask how they would make the referral?

Develop your ideal customer persona

The questions you ask will help you create the ideal customer persona. It is a description of what your ideal client looks like.
Think of your ideal customer as someone with informational needs and your content should answer all their questions in all phases of the buying cycle. In other words, you want to be the ‘go to’ person they come to rely on for information.
By understanding exactly who your most ideal customer is you will now be able to attract with people that are more targeted, no more connecting with everyone hoping someone will be a good fit for you. The sooner we understand that ‘everyone is not our customer’ the more focused on the ones who are ideal become.

Where Are Your Ideal Connections

Once you have identified the idea customer persona, you want to find out where they are located. Are they on social media? Which platforms are they active on?
If you are doing B2B business you probably will be using LinkedIn in which case you can perform searches based on keywords, title, company name, industry and location.

Ingredients to a content marketing strategy

Step 1 is to decide what business goals your content is supporting.
– Increase sales
– Increase brand awareness
– Customer loyalty
– Build authority in your niche

A well-developed content strategy can drive sales, increase your brand awareness, build trust with customers and prospects alike and show you as a thought leader in your niche.
So now that you are clear on the persona of your ideal customer and you know what problems you solve and why people do business with you the next step is to stay top of mind by sharing great content that delivers on-going value to your audience.

What is your brand story?

How will you deliver content that differentiates you and lets the audience know your value proposition? This is defining what you are known for. Share your content in the tone of your brand. If your brand is humorous and you use lots of analogies and funny jargon than that’s how you want to continue to deliver your content. Do you have a tagline or slogan you are known for? Than you want to incorporate that theme into your content.

Why is it important?

Why is your content important to your ideal audience? Remember it is about them, not about you. If you target audience the President of a small business of under 5 million dollars and under 25 employees, what is important to them? Be specific with your answer and you will know what content they will want more of.

What types of content can you share on Social Media?
– Blog posts from your website
– Long form content you can share on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform
– Video
– Images with text
– Curated articles from other sources

Blog posts from your website

Sharing your blog posts in a status update and to your LinkedIn company page if you have one is an ideal place to start. In addition, if you have produced video content you can share that along with your personal reason for sharing it. In other words, let people know what they can expect by taking a moment to read or watch your content.
When posting a blog post from your website, by adding the URL from the website it pulls a thumb nail image from the article and places it in the left corner with a sentence or two from the beginning of the article.

Stand Out With Images

Blog posts are always more appealing with a good image that helps develop your article. With semantic search being at the forefront of SEO, you will want images in your blog post that are at least 699W x 315 H. Your height can be different but not the minimum requirement for the width. I like my images to be less high so it does not take up the entire page above the fold.

Curate Content

If your content strategy contains a mix of original content and content from other sources, you might make a list of resources that support your brand’s identity and brings credibility when you share it. You might also want to set-up a “Google alert” for your topic, this way Google will email you any new articles that are posted on the internet that you might consider sharing.
Don’t post on social media random thoughts or images, rather stay focused on what you want to be known for. There are all sorts of places to find content worth sharing – it could be industry publications, national publications that add credibility to you such as Forbes.

When you read good content I recommend if it is considered evergreen content versus something where timing is relevant than keep a spread sheet with these articles. Posting consistently on LinkedIn keeps you top of mind as a trusted resource.

Share content in a message to clients and prospects

Providing your clients and prospects with content of value via email or social is part of a content strategy. This is a great touch point for staying top of mind. You could send a simple message such as;

Hi John
I found some great insights in this article about XYZ and wanted to share it with you.
Sincerely,

Create a content calendar

To stay on track with your content strategy I recommend you create a calendar or spread sheet. You can use something as simple as a Google document, Excel spreadsheet or a calendar program. If you perform a search online for content calendars you will find many examples. If you have a team working with you you can share documents via Google drive or there are many management platforms online such as Asana. Ideally the best calendar is the one you will use!
Your content builds trust and drives leads when you have a well- defined strategy and are consistent with publishing and posting it.

For additional resources or to talk with me about a content strategy, I am happy to provide a complimentary consultation. Email: joanne@marketingdish.com Phone: 951-902-3263

5 Ways to be a Social Media Rockstar

I am a big advocate of professional development and I love to attend industry conferences.   I find value in numerous ways such as learning new and relevant information to enhance my business skills which has a direct reflection on how I serve my clients.  Networking with colleagues and speakers also offers opportunities to learn more.

I attended the Social Media RockStar event September 17th in Willmar, Minnesota.  In my opinion this is becoming a must attend yearly event.  The founder Sarah Kuglin and her team are bringing in top nationally recognized industry speakers such as Jason Falls, the SVP of Digital Strategy at Elasticity, Lee Odden, CEO of Top Rank Marketing, Adam Dince, Director of Earned Marketing at Deluxe Corp, Alex Houg and Dennis Yu of Blitz Metrics/Portage.   In addition there were many other great speakers from the Twin Cities digital marketing arena.

Photo from Sarah Kuglin, Founder Social Media Rock Star Event
Photo from Sarah Kuglin, Founder Social Media Rock Star Event

Here are my 5 big takeaways from the speakers:

1.  Opening the conference was a welcome video from Mari Smith, Nationally renown social media expert. Mari suggested we focus on the “metric of meaning” and produce engaging content and remember this is a people to people exchange rather than a B2B or B2C ideology.

2.  Jason Falls suggested there are no new answers to the same social media questions we keep asking. For digital marketing success he recommends the following blueprint:

  • Know your audience so you can then deliver relevant content
  • Search is still a priority – people are looking for a reason to buy from you, you need to rank in search
  • Social and PR converge to elevate search results. Relevant content is what is key, also getting good reviews on sites such as G+
  • Without content you do not exist, more content you have the better chance you have of being found
  • Measure metrics for the future not the past. You must measure toward your goals.
  • There is no “Easy” button – you know your audience better than anyone else, dig in and do the work

3.  Lee Odden shared his 7 Lessons that teach us blogging is still a great marketing tool.  I wrote a separate blog post about that juicy content you can find HERE.

4.  Adam Dince talked about the 5 social strategies that will rock your marketing

  • Build a relevant audience, no point in attracting people who have no use your your products or services
  • Nurture your audience – talk WITH not AT your people, read what your followers are posting
  • Create audience profiles – so are your social network connections similar to your customers? Are you sharing the right content?
  • Leverage competitor audiences – Use Facebook graph search to find your competitors, create custom audiences in Facebook and target ads
  • SEO matters – Google is personalizing search so whenever you sign in to your Gmail account for example and your search you will not be
    retargeted with ads based on your search, so this is how you can use it to your competitive advantage. Tip you can compete by ranking for images so be sure you have descriptions on all your images.

5.  Alex Houg and Dennis Yu talked about marketing on Facebook for a $1 a day!

 Big takeway is that your website must be working with your social media channels and in the case of Facebook you should focus totally on advertising to custom audiences. Start by uploading your segmented  emails lists to your ads platform in Facebook. This way you will target your exact audience with ads vs the spitting in the wind technique!  Thus is a somewhat confusing strategy until you understand how to do it.  There are are many tutorials on Facebook and well as other resources. The bottom line is to budget for a digital ad spend and start targeting your ideal audience.  It is totally doable!

Learn from experts, follow their blogs and social media sites.  These folks are such great givers I encourage you to connect and maybe next year add Social Media Rockstar event to you calendar!

What conferences have you attended this year?  Please share in the comments below your big takeaways-

7 Great Tools For Finding Relevant Content to Share

One of the biggest challenges with small business owners when developing a content strategy is they tell me they can’t create enough original content to share with their audience.  Content is important because it builds your credibility, shows your authority, expertise and drives leads. 

Content can be created via a blog, video, audio and podcasting and shared to your email list and your social media sites.  So how do you think of ideas for creating content, how often should you post and what are other ways of finding relevant content to share?  let me share some ideas for you to consider that have worked for me.

Ideas for creating your own content

  • Listen to your target markets biggest challenges, those pain points that they are looking for answers on and create content that answers those challenges.
  • Monitor your social sites and watch for people asking questions that you have answers to and create topics for your blog posts
  • Join LinkedIn groups that your target audience is also in and pay attention to the discussion questions – again an opportunity for you to respond and engage with solutions both int he group and creating an article, video or podcast around that question.
  • Poll your email list and ask what their top challenge is and then answer those challenges via your content
  • Do you network in person?  Great place to ask people for what challenges they might have which would again give you content for your next blog post!

How often should you create content?

Depends on a number of factors such as how much time you can make to create blogs, videos, audios or podcasts.  With that said, consistency is key so if you are willing to write a blog post weekly, stick to that and train your audience to expect it from you each week. Creating content often is overwhelming for small business owners who don’t have staff to take over this task so commit to what you think you will follow through on!  Another option is to outsource your article writing for example to companies that specialize in content creation.

Creating a marketing calendar for the year will help you focus for the year on one specific topic per month.  This actually will save you time and again keep you focused each month if you stick to the topic of the month.  Then everything you produce or share should be about your central topic of the month.

Share other people’s content

So often if we don’t have the staff to produce our own original content we can supplement by sharing other people’s content that is relevant to your audience based on what you already know they want to learn from you.  There are many tools to help make the process of content curation easy and efficient.  Here is a list of my favorites:

How to make curated content work for you!

Curated content should be more than just republishing other people’s stuff!  If you want to demonstrate your expertise than I recommend you add your comment along with the content to show WHY you think the article for example is worth their time to read, or highlight a tip you found most valuable or write a brief statement on why you would recommend some take the time to listen to a specific podcast. 

Want a copy of the curation tools resource list?
No problem, claim your copy here.

Hope you found this useful, please share any of your own curation tips in the comments below!

Tips That Make Your Content Sharable

Share contentHave you heard the statement “Content drives leads?”  Well, it is certainly true and assuming you have an online presence you should be creating content that is relevant to your business, drives your objectives and attracts the ideal audience.  Good content trumps all activities in my opinion because if you continue to put out content that people want you are bound to flourish.  People will want to read your blog, watch your video’s and consume the other forms of content you produce.  People flock to those who provide value and solutions to their problems.

 

What type of content can you be producing?

  • Blog posts
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Infographics
  • Book reviews
  • Product reviews
  • How To articles
  • Lists
  • Ebooks
  • Podcasts
  • Interviews

Is your content shareable?

Having your content shared by a third party is the goal, because the more your content is spread the more eyes you have on you.  It is a boost in SEO to drive people back to your sites where your content is saved.  According to a recent article by Search Engine Watch they best describe why shareable content is so important;

“The more people who share a piece of content, the more people are going to eventually see it, and the more people who see it, the more visitors you’re going to have. Think of your content as a single light in a dark forest, attracting people in the open. If you can get more people to turn on identical lights, the cumulative brightness will increase, and you’ll be able to attract more people from greater distances.”

So the goaI is to create good content that people will share. I always suggest you  add a call to action or a nudge to encourage people to share. Often it is that small reminder to “please share with a friend” that is enough to get people to do it.  In Twitter it is as simple as including a RT (re-tweet) at the end of your post, on Facebook and Google+ use the word “share” because there is a share button under the posts.  When you write a blog you can end the post by asking “If you enjoyed this post please share it.”

Tips on making content shareable

Get a feel for your audience and track the content they do share, this is the metric by which you create new content by.  In addition consider these tips from Search Engine Watch on things that make content more shareable;

  • A captivating title: One that stands out from other content and entices people to read more. Recent title trends include numeric lists like “The 10 Best…”, which draw people in with a promise of a concise, authoritative presentation, and teasing titles like “You’ll Never Guess What…”, which naturally pique human interest.
  • A unique value: Every article should be unique and valuable in some way.
  • Audience specificity: Shareable articles communicate to a specific audience, sometimes very specific (think, “middle-aged female cat owners with diabetes”). You may alienate a broader audience, but you’ll be dramatically increasing the interest of the narrow audience you retain.
  • Concise material: This content can be easily read and digested in a single session. Bulleted lists, numbered entries, step-by-step articles, and sectioned pieces are all very effective.
  • Accompanying images and media: Content that features an image, a series of gifs, or a video is far more likely to be shared than content that doesn’t.

 

Creating content consistently will not only give you content to share via your social channels it will also provide SEO benefits.  One last comment on consistency -often I get push back from clients when I encourage them to produce content weekly because they say they don’t have time, but let me say the long term benefits will pay off. And visually no one is impressed when they go to a blog and see the last post was six months ago – people will jump to conclusions and they usually aren’t positive.

You will notice I shared some great content from Search Engine Watch because I found their article to be spot on and if you want to read the rest of the article, you can find it by clicking HERE.

[Tweet “To Share or Not to Share-What makes your content shareable?”]

 

The Power In Storytelling

The most effective way to communicate with your audience is through story

In marketing, the message you communicate to your ideal audience must be compelling and relatable. You want to connect with your audience on a level that makes them say “Oh I resonate with her or her story.” Telling a story is the best way to make a human connection.

Storytelling is not only the easiest but often the most effective form of persuasion

If you are willing to share your story your are more likely to attract and retain targeted followers who connect with you.  You’ve all probably said at one time or another “You get me” – well that applies in all scenarios including business.  If someone believes that you have a shared experience and get where they are coming from the more likely you are to gain a customer.  Simple as that, so what’s holding you back from letting your story out?

The know, like, trust factor

What you have built through your story telling is the like and trust factor.  It is a fact that we all do business with people we know, like and trust which equates to this following formula I learned from copy writer, Kevin Rogers;

  • Know – is revealing yourself in a relatable way
  • Like – wins you respect through authenticity
  • Trust – by sharing your struggles & secrets as to how you overcame something, you gain trust

How will you tell your story?

Video is a great way to communicate your story. For example, create a welcome video for your website with these four components to the video

  1. Introduce yourself and what you do
  2. Briefly state a struggle you had that your current audience will relate to and communicate it
  3. Tell them what you discovered while you were overcoming your struggle
  4. and finally convey the result you got from the solution

Have you had success communicating your story to your audience?  Please leave me a comment below and share how you turned a struggle you once had into helping others.

P.S.  One of my favorite non-profit companies here in the US who is known for story telling is STORY CORPS. They believe in the power of story as a legacy and that stories should be shared.  Check them out when you have a little time to browse their site.

Content, Adding The Right Ingredients

By now you have heard the word CONTENT used often when it comes to your website and social media platforms – right? But writing and promoting the right content is important to your success.

Initially your content builds trust and likeability with your audience, it shows them you have an expertise in the topic that you are sharing. Just like in cooking, we mix the right ingredients together to create the result we want – this is no different in marketing.

We mix various forms of content together to share our topic, brand and product.

What types of content could you be creating?

  • Blogging
  • Video
  • Podcasts (video or audio)
  • White papers or reports
  • Email

Creating content for your audience

When creating any type of content it is important to remember to create it for the audience you want to attract, and a good question to ask yourself is “what result does this person want from me?”

Content drives leads

By providing really good content that helps your audience, they will become more interested in working with you and purchasing your products & services.

Consistency is the key

Consistency of your content builds your exposure and gains you more followers! Creating a content calendar is a great way to stay consistent and makes you accountable to getting it done! To get started challenge yourself to one blog post a week, one video every other week that you can include in a blog post or email you send out to your email list and post on your social media accounts.

Please share below, what type of content marketing is working for you?