Posts Tagged "content"

What is Content Marketing?

By on Nov 2, 2015 in News | 0 comments

There is no denying that content marketing has taken over. More and more companies of all sizes and budgets are caring more about what they say, how they say it and to whom they say it. But what is content marketing really? Many of my clients come to me and know they need to put out content but most aren’t really sure where to start. Some still need to be convinced. There are many definitions about what content marketing is but simplified it’s a frame of reference shift from selling to informing and educating. It’s about creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to your audience. The goal is to drive consumer choices, educate and inform, and compel your audience to action. Instead of a focusing on selling and pitching your products and services, you’re helping to make your audience more intelligent and more informed, and in turn, your audience rewards you with their business and brand loyalty. You end up becoming a trusted go-to source for information and the by-product of that is selling your products and services. Many of my small business clients come to me lamenting the fact that they don’t have great stories to tell. Granted, nonprofit organizations have a wealth of readily available stories and content, often more so than businesses but the stories are still there. Often it’s just a matter of brainstorming ideas and having a solid strategy. Developing a solid content strategy is the first-step. From a simple starting strategy to something more complex, the below gives you the basics. Audience-Focused – Remember your content is about your audience and not about you. Think about relationship building. If all you did was talk about yourself, how far would you get in developing good relationships? Not very far usually. Define who your audience segments are and what they need to know about your industry or even information that effects their decision making. Your brand story – Most people don’t know your industry like you do. Whether you know it or not, you have many stories to tell. This phase of your strategy will help you determine what stories to tell. What kinds of information help to educate your audience about your industry...

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Write with Purpose

By on Nov 5, 2014 in News | 0 comments

This is a short little post today but its importance is paramount to your content marketing. Sometimes as we write content for our blog, email marketing and other content we forget the real reason we are doing it. It should be to develop and maintain a relationship with our clients and future clients. That is really at the center of most successful content marketing strategies. Sure there are other goals like showing we are experts, making a sales pitch and so forth but really even at the heart of those the end goal is connecting with our audience. And connecting is about relationship building. I’ve had many clients come to me and ask why their content is not working for them. During an audit, I’ll review and make suggestions. What I see most frequently is content that doesn’t have a purpose and isn’t written with the end goal and audience in mind. You should write your content and ask – how does this relate back to my audience and my business? If there isn’t a connection, you need to rewrite and find one. Often writing comes last on the list of work demands for small business leaders. It’s an afterthought. That blog/ news post that needs to be written or social media content becomes something that just needs to get done so we slap together anything that will work with little rhyme or reason why we are saying what we are saying. You’d be better off not putting up anything than to have something with no strategy behind it. Write with purpose. Whatever topic you choose make sure it relates to your audience and your business. You have to give your audience a tie in to why it connects to what you do. Don’t make them make the leap – connect the dots for...

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Run Out of Blog Content? Never.

By on Oct 29, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Through my work, I help my business clients develop their editorial calendars for their blog posts. Inevitably everyone hits the wall and runs out of ideas at one time or another. Here are just some quick ideas on how to generate new content for your blog. Remember though, it’s important that your content has a purpose. That it in some way connects back to your business and reinforces your brand. Not every blog post should be written as a sales piece – that’s probably one of the quickest ways to turn off your readership. However, it should at least educate and inform on your industry or connect why your business matters. Interviews with Staff – Give your staff people a voice. Help your readers to know the names, faces and personalities of those who help support your clients and grow your business. Include why they work for you and what impact they have for your clients. Client Stories – Let’s hear from your clients. Don’t just provide us a great quote. That’s important but tell us about the project or what the client does and the overall impact you had for them. Response to Latest News – This is two-fold. It requires you to pay attention to news from your industry and gives you a platform on how it connects to your business specifically. Do you agree or disagree with a written piece? Do you have additional information or a local angle to a national story? Share it. Inform & Educate – What’s a question most people in your field won’t answer? What should your clients know most about your industry? Forget about making a sale and become the go-to resource in your industry. Give us a little history – Don’t be boring but tell us something really interesting about your business success. Did something unexpected happen where you learned a great business lesson? Let us know. Bottom line, most people love to learn from others from their triumphs and their lessons...

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Creating Effective Mission, Vision and Value Statements

By on Oct 22, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Just about every business and nonprofit has a mission, vision and/or value statements. But ensuring these statements are effective remains elusive for many. Often these statements are too long, cumbersome and full of jargon. While they should be used primarily for internal communication with staff, management, board of directors and other stakeholders, they should still be easy to read, recite and understand. What’s the difference between mission, vision and value statements? A mission statement is your reason for being; it is what the organization does and sometimes how it does it. It is the overarching statement of purpose. It should not be a list of services or too broad in nature. You need to strike the right balance in summing up the organization’s reason for being without limiting the organization to a detailed list of services. A vision statement is what the world looks like if you achieved your mission. For most organizations, it is an almost unreachable goal and describes the end result that can be accomplished. Many nonprofits have vision statements where for-profit businesses have value statements. Value statements describe top priorities and core beliefs and often focus on business culture. Timing of reviewing and revising There is no set standard for reviewing and revising these statements. However, a good standard to live by is every time you do a new strategic plan. If your organization has not done a strategic plan, you should engage in strategic planning every three to five years. That is usually the perfect time to see if these statements continue to reflect the direction and purpose of the organization. Creation If you are a new business or nonprofit or need to revise consider the following first. Have a serious conversation about these statements with your key management, board of directors, staff and other stakeholders. See if they resonate still. Do they make sense to stakeholders? Do stakeholders understand them? This simple exercise can yield a lot of valuable information about their effectiveness and what changes might need to take place. Consider the following questions when creating language for your mission statement: What is the purpose of the organization, and what does it hope to accomplish? How does it go about accomplishing its...

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Becoming Business Minded

By on Oct 1, 2014 in News | 0 comments

This is a continuation of the presentation I gave for aspiring freelance writers. Let’s be real. Sometimes in the very beginning you have to take lower paying jobs to build your portfolio but some freelance writers stay at this beginner place and never ask for more money. It’s okay to be paid what you are worth. Any freelance writer who makes their living as a writer will tell you that. You have to make sure though you are worth what you ask – consider your experience, your performance and your ability to be a business professional. Here are some tips that I have stuck with as I developed my own thriving business. Limited Subcontractor Jobs – The reality is we as writers will always be in competition with bidding sites and large content conglomerations who pay writers pennies to the dollar or outsource to other countries. Trust me, I’ve had clients use those places only to come back to me later because their content was not written by someone who had a command of the English language. For a short period of time starting out, I also worked for one of the large content companies that hire freelancers. I was top-rated and not only did I provide client work, I also wrote for the company itself. But I realized over time the quality of my own worked suffered because of their process. These companies, although they say are focused on quality, really aren’t or they would pay writers a real wage. They are all about quantity and so are the customers that seek their services. I left when I added up the time I was spending including bidding or accepting assignments, sorting out what needed to be written, actually doing the writing and then any revisions. What I was being paid many times was less than minimum wage. I stopped and started working smarter not harder. These sites only exist because writers are willing to work for almost nothing. I don’t worry about them. My focus is on relationship building with business professionals that care about quality. That has and always will be my focus. No Free Work – There are places that I check each day for potential...

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