Tag Archives: Content Marketing for public affairs advisors

Essentials of Content Marketing #3: An editorial calendar

While many business have turned to content marketing as a means to attract new clients or customers — some have not adopted one of the most essential elements of these efforts — an editorial calendar.

As Sydney Rayl of Turn the Page Online Marketing explains — successful content marketing “means building a loyal following that trusts your brand for quality content and provides you with repeat business”.  Vitally, as Rayl also explains, “the key to achieving a successful content marketing strategy is to consistently [produce] high-quality content that is focused on what you’re audiences wants to see”.  And the best way to do this, Rayl notes, is by adopting and committing to utilize an editorial calendar.  Garrett Moon of CoSchedule Blog puts it a bit differently:  He explains that “the number on way to get traffic to [a] blog is through the very habits than an editorial calendar [helps] develop:  organization.

A consistent, well-planned strategy is required for content marketing success

As Garrett Moon explains in more depth — content marketing “requires a lot of strategy to be successful”.  While understanding your audience is central to strategy — an editorial calendar is just as important from an implementation standpoint.  Without it — you won’t be producing consistent, thoughtful content that attracts a growing audience.   In addition to helping you plan out consistent posts — and editorial calendar permits you to more easily alternate between topics, track writing and editing assignments, new ideas and deadlines.

As Moon argues, a written editorial calendar also helps to keep a content marketing team accountable — helping to make “each individual more likely to deliver high-quality, relevant content consistently over time.”  That consistency, Moon explains, is vital to building a larger following.

The basic components of an editorial calendar

Creme Blog contains an excellent example of an editorial calendar.  Writing for Creme, Tabita explains how to create an editorial calendar.  Here’s what Creme details:

  • Make a list of topics that will be of interest to your readers.
  • Set the number of articles you’d like to publish on a weekly basis.
  • Determine what type of content you’d like to publish — whether it’s written articles, videos, podcasts, pictures, graphics or others.
  • Set dates certain for producing and publishing each piece of content.
  • Determine which channels you’ll utilize to promote the content: Facebook? Twitter?, etc.
  • Utilize a digital, shareable calendar for dispersed teams and easier collaboration.

Discipline will yield better results

Among the greatest challenges to producing regular, high-quality content that address the needs of your key audiences — is consistency.  An editorial calendar will go a long way to creating a disciplined and hence more successful — content marketing strategy.

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8 reasons why your business should outsource digital marketing

Many business would benefit a great deal from outsourcing some or all of their digital marketing efforts — as these efforts are complicated and require specialized expertise.  A recent series of articles provides some of the best reasons why business should outsource digital marketing.  In preparing this post – I’ve drawn upon the insights of Freya Jones, Irene Sun and Sheldon Payne to create a list of 8 reasons why your business should outsource digital marketing.  Here they are:

  1. You’re hiring experts —  The best digital marketers can identify custom strategies for your business and their unique role within that strategy.  Some digital marketers maintain a successful focus on one or a small number of industries — and will have the track record to prove it.
  2. You’ll receive a valuable outside perspective on your business —  An outside perspective from a digital marketing expert will provide you with a wholly unique and informed perspective on what might best benefit your marketing strategy.   
  3. You’ll receive a continually optimized strategy — A digital marketing expert will be committed to the ongoing, informed optimization of your strategy to achieve best results.  
  4. Less risk —  Digital marketing involves a number of areas of expertise, including strategy,  content marketing, social media engagement, analytics and more.  When you outsource these tasks you won’t be wasting your own time attempting to hire one person who is capable of performing all of these roles capably.
  5. You’ll achieve better results — A digital marketing expert will have the experience of previous successful efforts and be in a position to help guide your strategy and implementation to faster results. 
  6. Your marketing efforts will be seamless — By hiring a digital marketing expert, you’ll ensure your own staff won’t need to worry about this often labor-intensive work. Your digital marketer will have much experience in juggling a wide variety of tasks at all times.
  7. You get to do more with less — As digital marketing utilizes many channels and a variety of areas of expertise – by hiring the right professional for each task — you can turn over large portions of your marketing function to the copywriters, designers, SEO specialists and others integral to creating a fully functioning, sophisticated digital marketing effort.
  8. You get access to the latest technology — Digital marketing utilizes technologies that often change and adapt in the fast-paced digital economy.  An expert in digital marketing will know about these changes and be adapting your marketing efforts to be as up-to-date as possible.

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Essentials of Content Marketing Part #2: Research

This post is the second in a series dedicated to examining the components of content marketing.  In the first post in the series, strategy was examined.  This post discusses the importance of research and identifies some important elements of content marketing research.

As Demian Farnworth has detailed in copyblogger, good research is essential to securing and keeping your audience’s attention.  He identifies 6 key areas you ought to be focused on when researching for content marketing efforts.  Farnworth focused on content marketing as applied to B2C content marketing.  Here I’ll apply Farnworth’s concepts to B2B content marketing — and more specifically — to the marketing of professional and consulting services.

Research Clients

Farnworth explains that research “should begin and end” with the client at the forefront.  It’s very important here to understand that your content research is focused on the needs and desires of your client.  Not your firm.  

Research Competitors

Farnworth explains the importance of researching both direct and indirect competitors.  Direct competitors are other firms competing for the same clients with the same services.  Indirect competitors are firms that compete for the same clients with different services (or products).  They can be more difficult to find.  Wherever your ultimate client might have options where another provider might supplant you – learn about these indirect competitors and seek to create a content strategy that distinguishes your firm as the better choice.

Research your firm and its’ services

It’s vital to know as much about your firm and what services it offers.  To do so Farnworth advises speaking with a variety of professionals within your firm.  In the case of professional services or consulting: Speak with marketing, management, practice group leaders and others key to the development, administration and cultivation of new business.   This will give you a much clearer understanding of firm value propositions and how they might be effectively articulated to existing and prospective clients.

Research how clients learn about your firms’ services

How do clients find your services?  How many different “channels” do clients utilize? Are there new channels you might use?  Or existing channels you might make better use of?  It’s also important to understand how existing clients are communicating with the firm about new and emerging needs.

Research industry trends

It’s important to understand what is happening in your industry before seeking to conduct a content marketing initiative.  Both short and long-term trends should be examined.  Look for the opinions of thought leaders, news reports and social media feeds relevant to the industry.  Subscribe to trade journals, magazines and blogs which discuss topics relevant to your industry.  By being proactive you can develop leading content marketing initiatives which keep you up to date with or ahead of your competitors.

Research international markets and events

Make sure to keep abreast of what is happening in your firm’s international markets.  Are there any current or emerging events which might impact the firm?  This permits the firm to both capitalize on opportunities as well as manage challenges which arise as a result of a changing international commercial environment.  To do so follow major publications – both print, broadcast and new media – which cover your markets in ways relevant to your firm and your clients.

Research will help you stand out among potential clients

Good research affords professional services and consulting firms an opportunity to develop a content marketing initiative that will truly distinguish it in the marketplace.  And this, ultimately, will lead to more long-term client relationships and firm revenue.

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Companies that publish are growing at “breakneck speed”

Companies that publish are growing at “breakneck speed”, according to Neil Patel, in a recent article in Inc.  

As Patel detailed: “Companies that defy expectations, disrupt industries, and forge an indelible presence” are achieving that growth.  These companies, he added, are also solving big problems, doing good — and doing content marketing better.

Patel cited Buzzfeed and BufferApp — which have both grown enormous online audiences as a result of producing and publishing useful information tailored to the interests of their readers. Another standout in online news — Business Insider — was purchased last year for $442 Million dollars – $200 Million more than what the Washington Post sold for in 2013.  

Content marketing – A modern marketing must-have

“Content marketing is a modern marketing must-have” Patel explains —  but for companies to do it right – they must “create value (in content form) for the right people to see”.  As [customers and potential clients]…engage with this content, it brings them closer to a conversion”.  And these conversations lead to more client engagements.

While your company may not be able to achieve the success of Buzzfeed, Business Insider or BufferApp,  you can – as Patel explains, “grow your content, improve your traffic, and deliver the information that your audience wants.”

Social Media Engagement is key to maximizing content marketing efforts

While content marketing has become a must-have for businesses.  Publishing on a company blog or on LinkedIn — isn’t enough in today’s modern social-media driven environment.  Social media promotion of that content is also essential.  A case in point is the Washington Post,  which recently surpassed the New York Times in online traffic via a strategy that includes increased social media engagement.  Notably, Neal Schaffer has detailed 11 ways to use social media to promote content.

While successful online content and social publishing may seem a daunting challenge to emulate – keep in mind they are examples whose best use is to serve as a constant source of inspiration for your own — albeit less extensive efforts —  to generate a larger client base in your unique niche.

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New report: 9 EU nations “embracing the digital economy”

According to a recent study by the Boston Consulting Group — EU member states Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden — have “warmly embraced the digital revolution”.  Details of the report were outlined in a recent article in the EUObserver by Paul Hofheinz, president and co-founder of the Lisbon Council, a Brussels based think tank and Fredrik Lind, senior partner and managing director of the Boston Consulting Group.

Digital Economy reported to be increasing economic activity

The authors detail how these relatively smaller EU nations – in contrast to some of the EU’s larger member states — are “investing heavily in broadband, ensuring digital skills are taught in schools, even moving much of their public administration over to hyper-user-friendly digital formats”.  They refer to these countries as “digital frontrunners”.  The result has been a marked increase in “not only cross-border commerce and real-time communication, but in the actual economic activity undertaken by those that have embraced the new technology most fully.”

A “fully functioning digital single market”, the report detailed, “could in the frontrunner countries result in a GDP growth rate almost twice that of today” — “translat[ing] to a net gain (after the effects of automation) of between 1.6 to 2.3 million jobs by 2020 in these nations.”

Individuals, governments — faced with the need to adapt

In another report, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has detailed the challenges both individuals as well as governments face in adapting to the changing economic and workforce landscape the digital economy is creating.  In particular, the European Commission has detailed how “47% of [the] EU population is not properly digitally skilled, yet in the near future, 90% of jobs will require some level of digital skills.”

There are a range of options — both formal and informal — for those wishing to develop the skills necessary to thrive in a digital economy.  For example — on the formal side: “The Skills for the Digital Economy programme [in Wales] develops and delivers flexible, industry-led training..for.. creative media employers and freelancers working.”  More informally, the digital economy has also produced what are referred to as “Digital Nomads”: Remote workers who are also often “location independent”.  Many blog about their experiences and the development of their digital skills.  The Making it Anywhere blog, for example, details the skills which are helpful to thriving as a digital nomad.

Asia adapting quickly to digital – Europe can, too

Some of Asia’s economies — Singapore, Taiwan and China in particular — “are on a digital rise, undergoing rapid change with ambitious plans for the future”.  These countries are seeing digital being fueled by investment and friendly regulatory environments — complimented by an explicit desire to lead in the field.  Europe on the other hand faces disagreements on a range of issues related to the full adoption of a digital single market.  Some European tech bodies have recently made the case for a full adoption of the original Digital Single Market plan.

With the track record of economic benefit digital innovation is bringing to Europe’s “digital frontrunners” — it would, as Hofheinz and Lind argue – be ideal to more quickly resolve the disputes surrounding it and accelerate the transformation.  Those seeking to adapt to the digital economy — can also actively work to develop or retain the skills required to thrive in it.

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How blog posts play a unique role in business development

Providing a prospective client with a blogpost that has been written with them or more generally their industry sector in mind can go a long well in helping to secure a follow-up discussion with that client and ultimately, their custom.

Katelyn Weber, writing in imarc blog, explains how when “salespeople are… in charge of managing dozens or even hundreds of leads at a time [an excellent] way to stay engaged with them is through relevant, meaningful blog posts.”

Utilize content throughout the sales process

Weber suggest how after a “first conversation with a prospect, send them blog posts that pertain to your conversation to help build thought leadership for your company; send them a blog post in a few months that related to their problem and why they reached out to you in the first place; send them a blog post when they win an award, show up in the news, open one of your emails — blog posts that provide value and build a client or prospect’s confidence up in their buying decision will only help to further position you for success and build their trust in you.”

Content should relate to unique needs of a prospective client

In a nutshell, as Weber explains “Reach out at different times in your buyer’s journey, with content that relates to their unique needs”.

With this advice in mind, your company or organization can seek to anticipate as well as react to client needs, create content around those needs, and utilize that content on a regular basis to help the client before and after they’ve engaged your services.

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