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.
Business owners talk to their customers all the time, right? Well…not always.
I am continually surprised by how many large companies do not respond to their customer or potential customers on social media. WHY? If a customer walked into your store or called you on the phone, would you ignore them? I would hope not! If you are not going to engage with your audience on social media, then maybe that is not the right channel for you to communicate.
Don’t be like those big companies. You are in a unique situation as a small business to engage with your customers at a personal level.
Here are some common queries that customers ask and how to respond to them:
Logistical questions: What time are you open? Do you carry a certain product?
Response: Always, always answer these type of questions. As quickly as possible. If you use Facebook, you can even set up standard responses. Or develop a list of answers to common questions so you can easily respond to your customers. These are no-brainers.
Compliments: They love your products, had a great experience with an associate or want to share your generosity.
Response: Some businesses think they don’t need to respond to these type of messages. But that is wrong. By responding (particularly to a public comment), you elevate these brand-boosting messages. If it is a really good comment, you might even think about asking the person who made it if you could use their comment (or image) in your marketing. This is called UCG, user generated content.
Complaints: They had a bad experience with you, your staff or your products.
Response: It may not be comfortable, but you need to acknowledge complaints. Do not just leave them hanging out there without responding. Show empathy. Make it right (if you can). There is no excuse for not responding to a complaint, particularly when it is public. Responding shows everyone else that you are paying attention and make things right if there is a problem.
Does it matter if the messages are direct to you or public comments? In most cases, no. If you don’t respond to public comments and questions, everyone will see that you are not engaged with your customers. If you don’t respond to direct messages, you are ignoring customers who are actively seeking you out. They took the time to find you online to ask a question. You should take the time to respond.
Have more questions about engaging with your customers, contact me for a free 30-minute get acquainted call.