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.

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others’ Content?

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others' Content?

Social media sharing can be a challenge, especially the ratios of the various kinds of content. Should you blast out your own material, or should you minimize your own input, and focus on sharing others’ content which you hope your audience will find valuable?

A couple of authors asked about social sharing ratios in reference to the article on book marketing in 30 minutes a week.

Kevan Lee of Buffer posted “6 popular ratios for sharing content on social media”, and you can certainly follow others’ formulas. However, it all comes down to your audience, your time, and the social media network.

To be honest, I don’t think about it too much. Of course, I don’t consider myself a social media expert. Apropos of social media experts, B.L. Ochman’s funny post: Twitter bios show epic growth – to 297,897 – of self-proclaimed social media gurus will make you smile. “Social media whores”? Who knew? :-)

As regards sharing, I’m with Buffer. Kevan Lee said:

Our social media updates are 90 percent our own content and 10 percent from others, and many days those numbers are even more lopsided.

Here’s why my sharing’s 90/10 too, pretty much. Two reasons:

  • It’s easier to target your audience with your own material – you know the audience you want to reach; and
  • Your audience isn’t served well if you consistently repost others’ material which they’ve already seen in their social stream many times before.

Consider that it’s YOUR social media account. This is why you need to…

Be Yourself When You Share.

Social media is social, but I’m not comfortable posting images of my lunch or my coffee shop snacks to social media, nor do I do post that sort of material for clients. Other people are comfortable with that, and that’s perfect for them. Be yourself. If people don’t like what you’re sharing, they’ll stop following you, as they should.

Curate Content on Social Media, if That’s Your “Added Value.”

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, and a few years ago, my entire @angee Twitter account was others’ content, which I curated. That seemed to work well at the time. However, the Web’s constantly changing. It wouldn’t work for my audience today, because too many others are doing that. Your account becomes just another “me too”, in that case.

However, if curating content on a social media account is your value-add to your audience, and ten other people aren’t doing it, go for it. You can devote a social media account purely to curated content, with just a smattering of your own content. It all depends on your audience, and on YOU.

So, in summary, do whatever you feel will work for your audience. Adjust as needed, and as the Web changes. Most importantly of all, have fun with it. Your social media accounts are yours, and as long as you’re creating and adding value, and entertaining, you’re doing it right.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Pages for Mac: What’s New and Useful?

Pages for Mac: What's New and Useful?

Are you a Mac user? If you are, you know that OS X Mavericks is here. Apple’s iWork suite has been updated too, so let’s look at what’s new and useful in Pages.

Here’s a pleasant surprise, not only is Mavericks free, but if you own Pages et al, those updates are free too. However, Apple’s new free update policy is confusing, to say the least:

If you want your free iWork and iLife apps—on OS X Mavericks or on iOS—you have to first visit the Mac App Store to do so. When you do, however, the “Buy” button for those apps will be replaced with “Download” or “Update” (or the iCloud icon on the iOS App Store).

So if you already own Pages, open the App Store and download your free update. :-)

Oh no, where’s the status bar?

With luck, an updated app offers speed enhancements as well as new features. Unfortunately, features you rely on tend to vanish when the user interface is “improved.” I hate that.

You’ll notice that Pages’ floating panels are now part of the workspace; accessed via the Toolbar. All well and good; the full screen view’s much improved, because the document thumbnails and formatting tools are within reach.

My sole quibble’s the status bar. I’ve dug around, but I can’t find it. Why remove the status bar? I’m used to checking the bar for the word count. Now the word counter floats at the bottom of the document. Not an improvement, for me anyway. You may love it.

OK, enough with the quibbling, here’s what I like.

Useful: instant updating on all devices, via iCloud

Initially, I missed File/ Save As, but I’ve gotten used to it. I opened an older document on my computer to test Pages, and saving it to iCloud was easy. You just click the dropdown list next to the document’s name in the title bar, and choose iCloud, as you can see in the image below.

iCloud sharing

Open Pages on another device, and keep working on your document. I opened my iPad, and there the document was. You’ll need to update to iOS 7 for this to work.

Useful: easy document sharing, anywhere you choose

Document sharing’s simplicity itself in Pages now. Just click the Share icon in the Toolbar, and share a link, or share a copy of the document. Sharing options: Mail, Messages, Twitter, or Facebook.

You can see when a document’s shared, and you can also stop sharing it. Here’s the Sharing dialog, in the image below.

a shared document

 

Brilliant! Collaborate on the Web with Pages for iCloud

Although this latest version of Pages makes document revisions easier, I’m thrilled with the new iWork for iCloud. You can work with anyone on a document, just share the link, and they can open it in any Web browser to make changes. (Click the Gear icon, and choose Share Document to get the link.)

iCloud collaboration

Pages for iCloud

If you’re as tired of juggling documents, people and document revisions as I am, Pages for iCloud will make you smile with delight.

So there you have it: a taste of what’s new and useful in Pages for Mac. Download and enjoy. :-)
, and on Twitter: @angee

They (Probably) Won’t Steal Your Secrets

Buffer values
The company Buffer values transparency: see the complete slide deck below

What’s your secret? Every business has secrets. These days however, rather than keeping them locked in the vault, you may want to share them.

TNW shared this:

“There are two rules to success:

Never tell everything you know.”

Roger H. Lincoln

Does that apply today?

Some companies are wary of sharing too much information, particularly with their writers. We could go trotting off to their competitors, runs the theory, and SELL their secrets.

Um… no. You’re giving us credit for an entrepreneurial spirit we don’t have. We don’t care about your secrets. We just want to do a good job of the piece of writing we’re creating for you. Pinky swear.

Writers are paranoid too. It’s a struggle to convince some of my writing students to blog, or to send detailed queries to magazines and websites. They think someone will steal their ideas.

What if you shared some of your secrets? What would happen?

Share more

I admire Buffer, a social media company which has a culture of transparency:

People don’t mind going public with their sleep habits?

No, and that might be because we’ve been unusually open in other ways. For example, something that was definitely very scary for us to do was make all salaries public within the company. We created a formula for how salaries are calculated and added it to our Wiki page for everyone on the team to see.

(See the slide deck on Buffer’s culture below.)

We share with our friends. So, if you share more, you’ll make more friends.