5 Ways to Energize Content Marketing in 2015

2015 is a bright new year. Will this be the year that you make content marketing work for your business? If you feel that your strategies aren’t working as well as they should, let’s look at some ways you can energize your efforts.

1. Consider your readers: your ideal customers

Too many companies try to create “viral” content which goes nowhere. Or, even worse, becomes wildly successful… but your sales results are a big fat zero. To add insult to injury, your viral content increases the cost of your bandwidth.

Focus on your customers. Create a persona (an avatar if you like) who respresents your ideal customer. What are her likes and dislikes? What challenges does she have? Once you zero in on your ideal customer, not only does content creation become easier, it will also attract that customer.

2. Remember email: give it the attention it deserves

In the early days of the Web, email was all there was. Gradually, companies stopped paying attention to email. Consider this. It’s very easy to create a series of email messages. Add the messages to your autoresponder, and they go out to everyone who signs up for it.

Yes, it takes a little energy and creativity to create a series which is not only opened and read, but remembered — and which gets results. A successful series can keep working for you all through 2015.

3. Snap photos: use them everywhere

Politicians stroll around with a cameraman in tow, and there’s a good reason for that. Every company has more photo opportunities than they ever use. Unboxing videos are hugely popular on YouTube — they should be boring, but people love them. Make a list of photo opportunities and snap at least five photos every day. And use them.

4. Share and RESHARE your content

Share your content on social media more than once. People dip in and out of social media. No one sits and reads their Twitter feed. They dip in occasionally, and they glance at Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn when they have a moment.

Use a scheduler like Buffer, and share your content more than once.

5. Add calls to action to everything

If you pay attention to nothing else, pay attention to this. Add calls to action to your content. When I do a marketing audit for a company, one of the first things I check is that calls to action are happening. Usually they’re not. It may seem obvious that your customers know what to do, but they don’t.

Tell people what you want them to do: call you, subscribe to your mailing list, visit a page on your website… Every piece of content needs a call to action. Adding them is the simplest way to energize your content marketing in 2015.

 

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

LinkedIn Strategy: 5 Steps to Get Started

LinkedIn Strategy: 5 Steps to Get Started

Should you be using LinkedIn? That depends on what you want to achieve. I’ve been helping a couple of clients to develop a LinkedIn strategy, and in the process, have been creating my own. To date, I’ve spent less time on LinkedIn to focus on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. LinkedIn is perfect for professional networking, so I’ll be more active there going forward.

LinkedIn shines in that it’s a network for business connections, rather than a purely social networking site; you won’t find the animated GIFs and cat videos that you find on the other sites.

Let’s look at how you could develop your own LinkedIn strategy.

1. Set Up Your Personal Profile

If you’re new to LinkedIn, here’s a good way to get started if you’re active on Twitter. Larry Kim suggests treating LinkedIn more like Twitter:

“… there was a huge opportunity there to network in more meaningful ways with a far larger group of people than those I’ve already met and connected with.”

Here’s an excellent video on setting up your profile page.

2. Set Up Your Company Page

Once you’ve established your profile, and have made some connections, it’s time to set up your company page. To set up a page, choose Companies from the Interests menu. On the left, you’ll see recent updates to company pages, and on the right, a button to create your own.

LinkedIn has a useful best practices page for company pages.

3. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn has thousands of groups you can join, and allows you to join up to 50. If you don’t have time for even one group, let alone 50, consider that:

  • You can contact people directly in groups even if you’re not one of their connections; and
  • Groups help you to be found — if they’re open, you can be found on the Web too, so you might get a search rankings boost.

Groups can be members-only, or open. On an open group, you can share your updates to Twitter and Facebook. “Open” truly means open, because discussions can be viewed by anyone on the Web. This can benefit your search engine rankings.

4. Integrate LinkedIn With Your Marketing Activities

On LinkedIn, your options for marketing include:

  • Your profile page;
  • Your company page;
  • A blog (yes, you can blog on LinkedIn);
  • Groups.

Blogging on LinkedIn is simple. Go to your home feed, and click the pencil icon in the Share an Update field. You can add an image, and format your text as you can in any blog editor.

Tip: your LinkedIn blog is ideal for sharing and repurposing material you’ve posted on your own blog, or elsewhere.

Monitor LinkedIn Regularly

You can stay up to date with LinkedIn via the Pulse app, and can like and share content,  with your connections via LinkedIn Connected.

As with all social media networking you get out of it what you put into it.

So, is LinkedIn for you? If you’re a writer, certainly. the more contacts you have the better, and if you’re an author, ditto. LinkedIn offers many groups for self-publishers, so you can stay up to date with the latest news, and find connections for cover design, editing, and marketing your books.

Get started on LinkedIn, and check it out; you can form connections with past clients, and new ones.

Let’s connect on LinkedIn.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Content Creation Or Content Curation: Which Is Better?

Content Creation Or Content Curation: Which Is Better?

Everyone’s doing content now; companies are becoming publishers. This question comes up continually: content creation or content curation? Content curation is cheaper, the thinking goes, but which is better?

(BTW, thinking that content curation is cheaper is incorrect.)

Bottom line: it’s what your budget allows. It’s also what your marketing plan requires. Many companies are committed to traditional marketing, so content marketing needs supporters within the company.

Content Creation: Original, Compelling Content Is Ideal

Original content is always better. It gets you out there. You get the attention of customers you’d attract in no other way, because your traditional marketing channels never reach them.

Once you’ve got their attention, you can build on that. At a minimum, you create content for these personas:

  • People who’ve never heard of you;
  • People who are aware of you, and interested;
  • Current customers;
  • Past customers.

If you’re baulking at all this content, consider that you don’t need to create it all today. Or this week. Or this year. You create content over time, and your content lasts. It’s on your website. You can refresh the content as needed.

Content Curation: More of a Challenge

Wikipedia defines content curation as: “… the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.”

In an either/ or situation, content creation is always better. You’ve created it for your audience. With content curation, you’re promoting others’ content. This isn’t a bad thing in itself. However, it’s a challenge to mould that curated content so that it achieves your marketing goals.

Here’s why:

  • You’ve got to find good content which will help you to meet your goals. You’re promoting it, so what you choose says a lot about you. Finding this content takes time;
  • You’ve got to organize that content, and add your own insights to it. Analysis takes time. So does writing about the content you’ve found.

The Solution? Use Both

Why not not use both content creation, and curation? Content curation has benefits: your curated content may get links and shares from others. At the very least, you’ll get recognition, and you’ll show that you’re aware of what’s important to your audience.

I suggest to my clients that if they’re using both, they make sure that for each curated article, they post at least three pieces of original content.

The original content doesn’t need to be text. It can be images. It take seconds to snap a photo, and a few minutes to edit that photo, and provide a little commentary.

Get More From Your Original Content

Before you create content, or have it created for you, know where it fits into your content strategy. If the content is text, add an image (at least one), and a call to action. Make plans to get more from each piece of content before it’s written, too.

You can get lots of benefits from each piece of content. You use an an article as:

  • Social media shares:
  • A PDF for sharing;
  • An infographic for sharing;
  • A news release (rewrite it into the third person);
  • A section of a newsletter and/ or part of an email marketing campaign.

In summary, both content creation and content curation are valuable, and can form part of your publishing strategy.

If you need help with your content, get in touch.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Social Media Bravery With Negative Reviews

If you’ve published a book, started a business, or have put yourself out there in any way, social media can horrify you. Negative opinions hurt.

One way to handle negative reviews

Over the past month, a couple of my book marketing students have received negative reviews. While it’s fine for me to say: “DON’T read reviews if you think they’ll upset you — focus on writing your new book,” it’s not exactly helpful.

Then I found this article in SmartCompany about Zumbo, the celebrity pastry chef, who’s using his negative reviews as a marketing campaign:

“Overpriced, overrated and outrageous,” says one. “Definitely overhyped. My local bakery makes better macarons,” says another.

“Talk about overrated. We waited approximately 30 minutes only to be completely disappointed by the unimaginative and unimpressive desserts at Zumbo’s. We won’t return and I advise you not to bother,” says another reviewer.

 

Could you be not merely cavalier about negative reviews, but also embrace them?

It depends on how confident you are. From the article:

Zumbo said negative feedback also makes him work harder.

“It pushes you harder, even though you laugh at some of it you push yourself more,” Zumbo said.

Yes, negative reviews push you to improve, but they can also send you into a depression.

You can’t control what people think and say

You can only control what you do.

Here’s what I suggest to my students, if getting negtive reviews scares them:

  1. Use a pen name;
  2. Always be working on something new;
  3. If a negative review has a point (your formatting needs work, or you need an  editor), fix the problems. On the other hand, if someone says they hate your heroine, there’s not much you can do.
  4. Laugh about it.
  5. Forget about it. Stay busy. Ideally, you’re too busy promoting and working to even think about reviews, good or bad.

Can negative reviews wreck your sales?

That’s my students’ biggest worry. Yes, negative reviews can be bad business if you run a hotel, or a restaurant. With books? No one cares. All books receive a range of reviews. People are smart. They’ll figure out the real value of your reviews by reading them, and whether or not they want to read your book from the sample.

Publish your next book, and the next. Read the reviews, and if you can fix a problem, fix, if not, move on.

Social media can be a challenge, but you work hard. Don’t give unnecessary mind-space to someone else’s throwaway opinion. Keep working.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.