Content Marketing During the Holidays

Content Marketing During the Holidays

You may wonder how you can use content marketing – which is meant to be more informative than sales-focused – during the more sales-focused time of the year. In fact, the holidays are a great time to share content that helps people celebrate the season. And you don’t need to wait until December to start sharing holiday-themed informational content. People this time of year are stressed about getting ready for parties, buying gifts, being with family, the weather – all kinds of things. You can endear yourself to your audience by providing content that will help them ease their stress. This could include things such as:

    • Ways to organize a home get together
    • Lists of gift ideas
    • Techniques to create calm
    • Money saving tips
    • Ways to show gratitude 

Now that you have some ideas to start your planning, here are some tips for your strategy:

    • Start planning now! Decide what kind of content you want to create around the holidays (e.g., recipes, gift guides, DIY projects), then brainstorm ideas.
    • Create a calendar of events to help you plan your content strategy. Space your content out and make sure that your content formats are appropriate for the channel you are using and the preferences of your audiences on those channels.
    • Use social media to spread the word about your content. Share links to your posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. You don’t have to share every post on every channel. The content should be appropriate for the channel.
    • Don’t forget to add a call to action at the end of each post. What do you want people to do after reading or watching what you have posted? Visit your website? Tell a friend? Your calls to action should be determined when you set your goals.
    • Make sure your web content is optimized for search engines. With Google’s new Helpful Content Update, they are putting more emphasis on content that is helpful for the people visiting your site. Write for humans, not robots.
    • Include images in your web content. Images make your blog posts more visually appealing and engaging. And be sure to include Alt Text on your images for accessibility compliance.
    • Write compelling headlines. Headlines are the first thing visitors read when they land on your page. If your headline isn’t compelling enough, readers may leave your site without getting the information you want to share.  

What helpful content do you plan on sharing with your audience this holiday season? Leave a comment below or tag me on social media @hijinxmarketing with your answer.

*Note: the first draft of this article was created using Frase.io AI content generator. If you are interested in the new frontier of using AI for content generation, give it a try! 

That’s a Wrap on Content Marketing World 2022

That’s a Wrap on Content Marketing World 2022

This year’s Content Marketing World conference did not disappoint. Two years after going entirely virtual due to COVID, the conference was back in full force in 2022. With more than 100 sessions, there was something for everyone in the content marketing industry. Whether you focus on writing, SEO, strategy, content creation, or AI, experts from across the spectrum presented the latest information on a wide variety of topics designed to make us all better marketing professionals.

With this year’s theme of “Drive Forward,” we’re taking a look beyond the finish line with some thoughts on this year’s conference from several of the attendees. Buckle your seatbelt and read on to learn what several content marketing experts took from this year’s conference.

A Killer Sales Strategy That Won’t Kill Your YouTube Channel

There is no magic formula to sales on YouTube (darn!) but Tim Schmoyer’s 3 bucket strategy comes as close as you can get.

In Tim’s Content Marketing World session “Creating A Sales Strategy for YouTube That Doesn’t Kill Your Channel” he laid out three content buckets you should focus on creating videos for:

  • Discoverable
  • Community
  • Sales

Similar to how you might approach email marketing, Tim’s 3 bucket strategy helps nurture your audience into a sale through a series of videos.

Single-handedly the best slide he shared, Tim laid out what the goal of each content bucket is, the style the video should emulate and the CTA that should be used (thank you Tim!):

Seems easy enough but where do you start? Tim kindly gave guidance on where a business should begin depending on the current standing of your YouTube channel:

  • New channel gaining momentum → Create mostly discoverable content
  • Channel has grown and received views but the number of views is very low → Create more community content
  •  Brought people in, have a community, and now are looking to monetize → It’s time for sales content!

If you still need some guidance, consider checking out Tim’s latest blog article with CMI, “Try These 5 YouTube Video Tips and Watch Your Results Improve (or Not)”.

Now, go create!

Ashley Baker, Coastline Marketing LLC, (Twitter | Website)

Create for an Influential Audience

“Why does content marketing take soooooo loooooooong to work?” – Andrew Davis, CMW 2022

“Because you’re wasting your best creative energy answering frequently asked questions.” – also Andrew Davis, paraphrased from memory, CMW 2022

Instead, he says, consider answering RARELY ASKED QUESTIONS. 

Why?

Because instead of battling it out trying to get end user attention in a sea of same (publishing the same keyword-focused SEO articles that everyone and their grandma is creating) you could be creating content for the C-suite and executives who heavily influence buying decisions. He calls it a top-down approach (see influence pyramid).

As someone obsessed with creating truly meaningful content—and repulsed by unoriginal, undifferentiated fluff—it felt like Andrew was sharing a massive secret with me during his keynote. WHICH IS WHAT GOOD CONTENT MARKETING SHOULD FEEL LIKE, RIGHT? 

There’s so much pressure to create more content.

To fill in content calendars.

To publish, publish, publish. 

But a refreshing theme bubbled up at CMW 2022:

More content isn’t the answer.

More meaningful content is. 

Content that resonates specifically with decision influencers—like secrets revealed. 

Content that feels like it was written by a person / company with a strong POV and voice (thanks, Ann Handley). 

Content business leaders recognize as dramatically different and instrumental in helping them win in tomorrow’s conditions.

See ya later commodity content. You’re no longer relevant. 

Ashley Guttuso, Chief Strategy Officer, Simple Focus Software | Audience Ops (LinkedIn | Twitter | TikTok)

2 Big Podcasting Myths… Busted

Companies often shy away from starting podcasts. Rob Walch, from libsyn, spoke at CMW on podcast creation and promotion. I’ve done podcasts for companies before and I’m always curious about how the process can be improved. While I listened, it struck me that there are two big myths associated with podcasting that may be holding you back from starting a podcast.

Myth #1: The podcast “airwaves” are completely saturated. There’s no way to cut through all that noise.

Truth: Yes, there are a couple million podcasts out there, but over 616,000 of those only have one episode. And, of the ~ 1 million podcasts that have produced 10 or more episodes, less than 400,000 are active.

Realization: There isn’t as much competition as you think. It’s probably worth it to start a podcast and move through any initial intimidation.

Myth #2: It’s too much work to start and maintain a podcast.

Truth: Yes, podcasts take time and resources to create and maintain. But— there are parts of a podcast that you can easily outsource. Teaming up with an agency experienced in creating podcasts reduces the amount of time your team needs to spend, while positioning you as the expert and making sure you continue to produce way more than those first 10 episodes.

Realization: There will be work, but you can minimize your time and maximize the impact of the podcast by getting some help to launch and regularly produce episodes. That way, you’re set up from the start to become one of the podcasts that lasts.

Busting these two big myths is great, but I skipped something important:

Why start a podcast?

  • You’ll have a fantastic series of asset that highlights your brand and your voice
  • You can establish yourself as a credible thought leader in your space
  • There is so much repurposing you can do once you have the podcast created

Podcasts can feel like a lot of work for a “saturated” space. If you put those negative and inaccurate beliefs aside and consider how you can use a podcast to your advantage, you might be surprised by the impact.

Sara Robinson, Director of Operations, Audience Ops

Enough with men, let’s quote women in our content

“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” (Peter Drucker)

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” (John Wanamaker)

In articles and presentations, these two quotes are used all the time. There are similar quotes from Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates that we use frequently. Did you ever stop to wonder: what do all of these quotes have in common?

They’re all from men!

In a Content Marketing World talk titled “Quote a Woman: Adding Women’s Voices to Your Content Marketing,” Penny Gralewski called out this issue and urged us to do something about it. The Senior Director, Product and Portfolio Marketing at DataRobot, Penny covered the following in her talk:

  • Why women’s buying behaviors and engagement trends matter
  • What unconscious bias may be lurking in your content
  • How to find and validate women’s quotes and research
  • When to convince leadership or clients that it’s time to add women’s voices

Penny shared ideas for adding relevant women’s voices to our content to better engage, motivate, and convert our audience. I loved this slide from Penny that provides a list of women you can quote from:

Later in the conference, I attended a talk by Jacquie Chakirelis titled “Creating Content to Change the World” and one of her slides contained this quote:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.”

The quote is from Margaret Mead. Way to go, Jacquie! Perhaps Penny’s pleas are already making a difference.

Dennis Shiao, Founder, Attention Retention (Twitter | website)

When People Stop Being Polite and Start Getting Real – The Real World: Content Marketing World

The Teams and Culture and Career Skills tracks offered at Content Marketing World were chock full of honesty and #RadicalTransparency (shoutout Inbar Yagur for making this a weekly hashtag in my LinkedIn feed!).

As I sat in sessions about marketing burnout and imposter syndrome, I couldn’t help but nod my head and think “Me, too,” over and over again. I related greatly to the same challenges faced by Maureen Jann in her attempts to “balance” her work and home lives (is that even possible?!), and also to Divya Bisht who openly shared her experiences feeling like she didn’t belong in a new role.

While the struggle is real, there’s hope. Amy Higgins offered strategies and examples on how to build a happy and productive team. She recommends building “rules of engagement” for your team by having REAL conversations about how each teammate works best, accidental diminishers, and boundaries to help teams work better together – what a refreshing approach that is often ignored because it can be, well, uncomfortable. But we NEED to have these conversations to build trusted, safe environments for our teams.

My takeaway? We’re all human. Have those real conversations. Be open and honest with yourself and your leadership. Doing so will help you bring your best self to your work, and your life in general.

– Amy Fair, Content Marketing Manager, SpyCloud (Twitter | LinkedIn)

Why the Magic of Innovation Starts with Process

Processes… ugh. For some content marketers, it’s an ugly word. Maybe it feels inferior to the sparklier, shinier, more “creative” work that drew us into marketing.

But I can’t stop thinking about Robert Rose’s quote from his keynote: “Lack of process, ironically, locks us into ruts.”

If your content marketing team is looking to level up their innovation, or to “be more creative,” the answer lies in process. Innovation doesn’t just happen. It has to be baked into the content marketing operations and workflow, so that every innovation can actually go from creative brainstorm to flawless execution in a sustainable way.

Robert reinforced this idea with another humdinger: “Content itself can be copied. The competitive advantage is not the content: it’s creating a strategic, scalable comprehensive content operations function in your business.”

And I heard this idea reinforced through a plethora of other great sessions. Andi Robinson’s session on localizing global assets. Jenny Magic’s talk on getting team buy-in. Andrew Davis’s keynote on Rarely Asked Questions and the Influence Pyramid. And many more, all about the critical work of picking (or creating!) a process and then seeing it through to completion. 

The glitz and the glam (and the results) will come in time, but only after you’ve done the gritty work of establishing, documenting, and executing your content processes, from planning and creation all the way to operations and measurement. That right there is the real, roll-your-sleeves-up, hard work of content marketing. And then watch the magic of innovation happen!

– Ali Orlando Wert, Director of Content Strategy, Qlik (LinkedIn)

Community helps build trust

According to Jacquie Chakirelis, “Content can’t change the world, but community can.” Several sessions at this year’s conference focused on building communities to help support your content marketing efforts. Jacquie’s session focused on how we are moving to a system where not just one person holds the mic and speaks the loudest, but many people have a say in the conversation. Community builds advocates because they have “skin in the game” and a vested interest in the success of others in the community.

Kim Olson from Land O’Lakes was a keynote speaker and talked about their farmer co-op structure and how that builds a sense of community, particularly in rural areas of the United States. Her main point was about asking why you are doing what you something before you decide what you will do. One of their key initiatives is bridging the digital divide. It has nothing to do with making butter or selling pet food, which are what they are known for. But it created a sense of community among their co-op members and others in greater physical communities. It was something that was very important to their customers and garnered a sense of trust.

Building community not only helps the company that is leading the community-building efforts, but it benefits those individuals that participate by creating relationships that have value to them above-and-beyond what a brand can do.

Andi Robinson, Consultant, Hijinx Marketing (Twitter | Instagram)


We encourage you to follow #CMWorld on Twitter for more conference wrap-ups and information throughout the year. You can follow Content Marketing Institute on their website, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We look forward to seeing everyone for Content Marketing World 2023 in Washington, DC, September 26 – 29.

The Psychology of Fonts

The Psychology of Fonts

The fonts that you choose in your marketing can have an influence on how people connect with your content on an emotional level.

(In this post, am using the term “fonts” to describe fonts in general, including typefaces. However, technically typefaces are the letters, numbers, and symbols that share a certain design. Fonts are the different set of glyphs within a typeface. A typeface can have many font families within it.)

Why are fonts important? Think about the last ad that you saw. What caught your eye? Probably the colors, images, and words. But were the words easy to read? Were different fonts used in the same visual element? Did the font styles flow together, or did they contrast each other? You may not have consciously thought about these questions, but your subconscious mind was noticing. If you look at the history of font usage in marketing, you will notice a trend towards more simplistic, cleaner fonts. Gone are the days of complex, ornate fonts used in branding and visual content. Consider the difference between these three fonts:

Which of these is easiest for you to read? If you are like most of the general population, the first or second fonts are probably the easiest for your brain to understand. According to a study by MDG Advertising, decorative fonts are harder for people to read, particularly in large amounts. There is a reason that most word processing systems have Arial or Calibri as their default fonts. That does not mean that decorative fonts don’t have their place in marketing, but they should be used sparingly and not in large text areas.

How do you choose the right font for your purposes? You want to consider several factors when choosing the font (or fonts) to select for your creative:

  • Brand – refer to your brand guidelines and make sure you are incorporating your brand font appropriately. In most cases, you are not going to want to introduce many new fonts into your creative if you already have primary and secondary fonts as part of your brand guidelines.
  • Form – if you are creating an infographic, you may want the simplest font that is easier for the eye to read. If you are creating a website banner, you might want a bolder font that is in the same font family as your logo font.
  • Function – are you developing a creative piece that is meant for your audience to click on? You will want to make sure that font is large enough for people to read and click on with their mouse or finger (on mobile devices).
  • Intent – are you looking to make a splash with your creative? Perhaps an over-emphasized or unusual font style would be appropriate. (But do so sparingly.)
  • Channel – this is another area where accessibility standards are important. If you are creating a piece of content to be used on a digital platform such as your website, you will want to choose a font that can be interpreted correctly by most devices. If you are creating something for print, make sure that your fonts can withstand the print process without blurring or adjustments.
  • Environment – put together, different fonts can appear more or less cohesive. It is also important to pay attention to the other visual elements around the fonts.

It can take time to figure out the best font pairings for your marketing efforts. And it is another good reason why you should hire an experienced graphic designer. If your font pairings are not cohesive to the eye, it will interrupt the message getting through to the audience’s brains.

Content Inspiration – Quizzes

Content Inspiration – Quizzes

We tend to get stuck in the same routines, using the same tactics, formats, and channels. I am starting a series that will showcase examples of types of content that you might want to consider adding into your marketing mix.

This month, let’s focus on quizzes. They can be fun, educational, or functional. They also serve a dual purpose. Not only are they a good engagement tool, they provide you with information about your audience. Some examples of quizzes include:

  • Ask your audience to choose from a list of possible challenges to accomplishing a task.
  • Have your audience choose from 3 – 4 icons to identify their favorite item.
  • Take people through a personality quiz to determine which of your products would be best for them.
  • People love to show off their knowledge. Let them tell you how smart they are on a particular topic through a series of fun questions.

TIPS

  • Be clear that you are collecting their answers for marketing purposes.
  • Don’t have too many questions in your quiz. If it is too long, your audience will check out without completing it.
  • Make sure you have a call-to-action at the end of the quiz that takes your customer closer to a product purchase.
  • Provide people a way to share their results!

Check out these examples below 👇

Red Lobster created a quiz that encouraged users to discover their “Endless Shrimp flavor” and shared it on social media. This was visually appealing (and mouthwatering if you like shrimp) and fun for people to take.

People who are passionate about a topic usually want to show how much they know about that topic. The Chicago Bulls created a fun quiz where people could test their trivia knowledge about the team. The results were shared after answering each question and users could see if they were correct.

Beauty subscription brand Birchbox created a quiz where their audience could answer questions to find their makeup brand spirit animal. After the quiz was completed, Birchbox would recommend makeup for the user based on their answers.

Every data point is an opportunity

Every data point is an opportunity

As a marketer, you have a plethora of data at your fingertips. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is great because it helps you make better decisions. But it can also be overwhelming. Data from your website, from you social media posts, from your emails – what do you do with it all?

The first step: breathe.

The second step: make a plan.

Before you can understand what to do with the data, you need to know what data you have. Different distribution methods will produce different data. And not all data is created equal. Every metric tells a different story and will help you answer different questions. If you are looking for a way to collate all of that data, there are several ways you can do it. It could be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a platform like Datorama or Domo to connect all your data in one view.

If you are just beginning to work with your data, here are some common metrics and what story they tell:

CHANNELDATA POINTWHAT IT TELLS YOU
WebAcquisitionHow did the people who visit your website find it? Acquisition can tell you where those visitors were before the landed on your website? Did they click on a link in a paid ad? Did they come from a social media site? Or did they come from organic search?
WebBounce rateA high bounce rate indicates that a large number of people who found themselves on your website did not find what they were looking for and left your site quickly. This means your content was not what they were expecting to find or not appealing to them.
WebConversion rateDepending on what type of conversion you are measuring (web form completions, purchase, newsletter subscriptions, etc), this metric will tell you what percentage of people who land on your website complete that action.
Social mediaEngagementThis is an umbrella term that covers several different metrics. In general, engagement measured how involved your followers are with your content. It encompasses likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
Social mediaAwarenessImpressions and reach are both included in determining awareness. These both tell the story of how many people were shown your content, either in their feed or through someone sharing it, as well as the potential that their connections might also see it.
EmailOpen rateMust as it sounds, this is the number of people who actually open your email. This data point might indicate that your subject line is not enticing enough for a subscriber to want to read the contents.
Paid searchCPC (cost per click)The cost that you paid from your planned budget based on the number of times your ad was actually clicked. You generally want a lower CPC.
VariousCTR (click thru rate)This metric is measured on several different channels and will tell you how frequently or how many times people have clicked a link that you have provided. You can publish all the content you want, but if people don’t eventually take action, you are not going to move them down the funnel towards purchase.

Once you have mastered the basics of collecting, reviewing, and understanding your data, you can get into more advanced measurement that will give you even more insights into your audience, how they interact with your content, and how that leads to sales.

Learn more about data points that that are not based in numbers here.