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!
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:
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!
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
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 (shoutoutInbar 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 byMaureen Jann in her attempts to “balance” her work and home lives (is that even possible?!), and also toDivya 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.
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.
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.
Yes, there are such things as bad goals. How can that be? Take these two examples:
Goal 1: Increase sales of my widgets.
Goal 2: Increase sales of my widgets by 20% by the end of the year.
Can you tell which one is a good goal and which one is a bad goal? Of course, you can. The second goal is more specific and precise. It gives you something to measure your success by. This is because it uses components of a framework called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound ). Sometimes it is a little harder to tell a bad goal from a good goal. How about these examples:
Goal 1: Increase our email database by 500 recipients by the end of the month.
Goal 2: Increase our email database by 5,000 recipients by the end of the month.
These both have measurable goals – both in number and in timing. So, which one is good and which one is bad? It is a trick question. Either one of them could be good, depending on your business. If your business currently has 2,000 names in your email list, maybe 500 new recipients is a good number. However, if your business currently has 100,000 names, 500 is probably a bad goal. Why? Your goals need to be proportional to your current situation. The company with 100,000 names on their email list should set a more worthy goal of adding 5,000 recipients.
Another consideration is the potential audience pool. If you are in a very niche industry and your email list already contains 90% of the potential pool of possible targets, then perhaps a small goal number is warranted. You also need to match your goal with your potential resources. If you create goals that will require a $1 million marketing budget to achieve, but your budget is only $100,000, you aren’t going to meet those goals. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t match your goals with all of these factors.
This may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to understand in order to be effective at any type of marketing, let alone the specific niche of content marketing.
No matter what your small business sells, you have a lot of options for your marketing. But have you ever thought about Pinterest as a marketing channel?
Do you think that Pinterest is just for people to post recipes and crafts? Yes, it is used for a lot of that type of content. But that is not all that is pinned on that site. Did you know that the site is the 3rd largest social media platform globally with 322 million users?
You can take advantage of this large audience for your business marketing, particularly if your core audience is female with disposable income. You can use Pinterest for product marketing, but it is also ripe for your content marketing initiatives. Here are some ideas for you to try:
Pin links to each of your product pages
Create boards for each of your product categories
Create ‘how-to’ content on your website and pin those on Pinterest
Interact! Follow boards that are relevant to your business or influencers in your industry. Respond to comments on your pins.
Pin content from third-party sites that backlink to your site
If you are using Pinterest a lot, add your Pin code to printed marketing materials (brochures, business cards)
Add Pinterest save buttons to your website
There are a few things you will want to think about when using Pinterest:
Have a plan. Don’t just create an account without having an idea of what your content plan will be. Lay out your goals for your account just like you would any other channel.
Google does search Pinterest for content, so make sure you are aligning to your SEO goals and using keywords in your pin titles and descriptions
If you are linking to your website, make sure you are using ‘pin-worthy’ high quality images
Don’t forget to measure your results!
Do you use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy? Add your tips in the comments!
When it comes to customer loyalty programs, there are two schools of thought. The first is that providing enticements to customers should not be necessary and is a cost without great reward for the company. The second is that offering rewards to your customers is just good business and inspires, well….loyalty.
Over the past few years, rewards program companies have cropped up. Some are better than others. Some understand the nature of customer loyalty and some are just going through the motions. If you will be looking to start a customer loyalty, be sure to do your research before choosing a vendor. Once you start, you are stuck with what you purchased unless you want to give your customers whiplash and degrade customer loyalty.
So should you employ this type of customer engagement? That depends. You first need to ask yourself some questions:
Are you customers repeat customers? If you sell something that people don’t buy very often, having a customer loyalty program probably won’t change that.
What reward could you offer that will get your customers to come back? If you own a restaurant with a very high price point, getting a $5 credit after 5 visits is not most likely going to be a reason to come back.
Can you use a loyalty program to encourage customer referrals? These types of programs aren’t just to bring current customers back, but can be used to garner new customers as well.
Do you have a customer loyalty program? How is it going? Have you had growing pains? Let us know about in the comments or on social media!