Tagged content

5 Tips to Manage the Demands of Content Marketing

No time for content marketing? It might not be quite as demanding as you think.

5 tips to manage the demands of content marketing

Businesses of all sizes are jumping on content marketing with gusto, but unfortunately many are lacking a logical and sensible plan to manage the demands that it places on an organization. It’s extraordinarily common for brands to sprint right off the start and get as much content out there as fast as possible, and then burn out within months when they create a pace that they can’t possibly maintain.

Fortunately, there are many simple ways that brands can ease the pressure off their content marketing demands. Here are 5 things you can start to incorporate today to your content plan to make it more manageable, and more effective.

1) Break it down in to manageable pieces – One of the most daunting aspects of content marketing is the time it takes. Often, brands look to others who are doing well with content marketing and think “How do they do it?”. Well, the simple answer is that the savvy ones do it with a structured content schedule. They plan out how much content they are going to put out there according to a manageable timeline, factoring in what’s happening inside the company, out in the industry, and how they can spread out their content on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to get the most out of what they have, and not overreach their resources.

Simply Put: Plan out how much activity you can manage on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, and then actually throw it in to your calendar so you know what’s needed for each channel, and when.

2) Focus on the core platforms – Ah yes, the problem of trying to be everywhere. While it’s an admirable pursuit, it rarely works. Limited time and limited resources translate in to the need to pick the platforms and social networks that work best for your brand and your audience. Evaluate your social networks and content platforms based on the size of your audience (both existing and potential), where you’re achieving (or stand to achieve) the most engagement, and which ones are poised for the most significant growth.

Simply Put: Be where your audience is, and where you can deliver the most impact.

3) Curate from complementary sources – Competitors abound in the digital space, but so do allies. The fact that there IS so much content being produced by brands is often disheartening for those brands struggling to break through and gain traction, but it can also be a huge advantage if you approach it right. Look for complementary brands that are delivering great content. These are brands that aren’t competitors to your business, but are still relevant to your audience. These complementary brands are great sources of content that you can share, relieving some pressure off your resources to create original stuff, but still delivering solid value to your audiences.

Simply Put: Find smart companies that deliver solid content, and share it with your communities.

4) Revisit & Refresh – Struggling for blog post ideas? Go back to your archives. Look for those posts that talk about currently relevant topics, but are maybe a bit out of date. These can be the catalyst for new posts that highlight just how things have changed for your audience. Explaining why things are the way they are can be of great interest to engaged communities, and often can give insights in to where things are headed. Use past posts to talk about how much better things are now due to new tech, product features or services. How have concepts and ideas evolved over time? While these may not be of interest to your ENTIRE audience, don’t underestimate the power of delivering thoughtful retrospective posts to those that are interested.

Simply Put: Look back through your archives for content that can be updated and refreshed with a new perspective.

5) Get Help: You’re not alone. Every organization has hidden resources that can be unlocked to assist with the content marketing effort. Maybe they are part of the sales team, engineering, customer service, or the C-suite, but they are there, and they know stuff that matters to your audience. Engaging those resources to deliver the raw materials you can use to deliver new and valuable content to your audience can bolster your efforts in ways you didn’t see before. Also, don’t forget that guest bloggers are often used to great success. Put out a call to bloggers in your community, and start a discussion with them on what they might bring to the table. Set out some guidelines, and give it a try. User-generated content carries a lot of weight.

Simply Put: Content marketing doesn’t have to be isolated inside the marketing department. Recruit resources that deliver value.

So as you can see, these aren’t lofty or unrealistic options for most brands. It simply comes from a different way of looking at what you’re doing, where and when it is happening, and how you can get more impact and better results with whatever resources you’ve got. Content marketing is powerful, no doubt. But if you approach it with a plan, focus your efforts, and incorporate every advantage you can, it doesn’t have to be quite so demanding. Hope you find these tips useful!

What tips do you have for making content marketing more manageable and less demanding?

The Content War – Is your business poised for victory?

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by Jonathan Barrick

“Open war is upon you, whether you’d risk it or not.” – Aragorn to King Theoden, Lord of the Rings

I’m not going to tell you that a crucial shift is coming in business. I’m not going to tell you that, simply because it’s already happened. We’re already in the midst of the Content War, and if your business hasn’t taken steps to mobilize, you’re potentially losing ground to your competition already. Businesses of all kinds are producing content at an astonishing rate, and it’s making a difference for those who do it right. The good news? It’s not too late to take up arms.

I’m not going to get too in-depth on what qualifies as ‘content’, or more appropriately, ‘good content’. For the best resource on this, check out the awesome book “Content Rules” by C.C Chapman and Ann Handley. Suffice to say that whatever your content consists of, whether it be articles, images, videos, or a combination of all three, the overarching qualifier necessary to register as ‘good content’ is VALUE. Whatever you produce for your audience, it’s got to be valuable.

Nobody builds authority, expertise, or trust with garbage content. Delivering value to your audience is the only way to gain ground in the Content War.

Time to get deeper in to what factors impact the success of your team, and are necessary to actually deliver that value to your audience. How does one business gain an advantage over their competition in the Content War? By being superior across a variety of measures, none of which have anything to do with having the deepest pockets.

You’ll be the most effective in the Content War if you have:
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Superior Intel – Don’t confuse intelligence with data. Raw numbers are useless without context and interpretation. First, look where the action is happening and examine the types of content that are generating action and engagement. Understand what your audience craves for content, and then understand why they crave it. Ask yourself “What is it about that piece of content that delivers value for them?” Look, listen, and figure out what you can give that they want. This will give you a purpose for your content.
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Superior Supply Chain – How do you get the content from the idea stage to being in front of your audience in the best possible way? Who in your organization is the best person(s) to provide the raw materials you need to create your audience’s desired content? Who can take that raw material and turn it in to a usable product? Who is the best person to deliver the content in a timely manner in the right location? These all may be the same person, or all different people. Identify the best team to have in place to take content from concept to reality and deliver it.

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Superior Training – What tools will you use? What are the intricacies of navigating through the necessary networks to reach your audience? Squeezing the most from the tools you have available helps you maximize the impact of your content. Your team should be trained on the ins-and-outs of whatever platforms and tools you’re using to create, distribute, and monitor your content.

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Superior Tactics – You know what kinds of content to make. You know who the best people are to help make that content. And you know how and where to post it. The next question is WHEN to post it. The brilliant Gary Vaynerchuk once said that content is one thing, but CONTEXT is truly where the power comes from. Creating the greatest content the world has ever seen is all for naught if it has no context. This article might as well be called the “Relevance War”, because that’s really where we are headed. Posting the right stuff at the right time is how you become the most relevant. Be tactical about what you post, when you post it, and where.

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Superior Leadership – Leadership matters, not at just the level of the Generals and Admirals, but at the Squad Leader level. Bring everyone in the loop on what your objectives are in the Content War. Allow them to be flexible, to adapt to changing battle conditions. Never stop learning. Never stop pushing. Having superior leadership gives clarity of purpose across all levels.

Finally, be aware that involvement in the Content War is not optional. The magnificent quote at the beginning of this article sums it up quite nicely. “Open war is upon you, whether you’d risk it or not.” While a business may elect not to create, this does not exclude that business from being compared to all the others who do. In a world full of conquerors, as the world of business truly is, how long will a business last if they stand idly by? Good content is authority, expertise, trust, and visibility. Good content is value, not just for your customers, but for your business. Good content is relevance.

Time to take up arms, and join the battle.

Knowledge Hoarders – Does your business have a problem finding the ‘awesome’?

by Jonathan Barrickimage

Businesses reluctant to pursue activities in social media inevitably blame their lack of action on factors like ‘We don’t have time’, ‘Our customers aren’t there’ or the always popular ‘We don’t have anything interesting to say’.

I take issue with all of these, as they’ve all been proven wrong by the countless social media successes of businesses of all types. However, the one that makes me shake my head in frustration most is why so many businesses in all kinds of different industries firmly believe that they’ve got NOTHING to say in social media.

Really? In your entire organization there’s nothing going on that’s worth talking about with your customers? If this is true, then I fear for the future of your company because you’re stagnating.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the good stuff coming through in your business because you’re so accustomed to the day-in day-out operations that you become numb to what makes your company exceptional. But rest assured, there’s always SOMETHING there that’s timely and relevant to your community. There’s always SOMETHING that’s awesome.

Too many businesses treat knowledge the way those troubled people on “Hoarders” treat the objects that occupy every square inch of their homes. It accumulates gradually, a little bit at a time, nothing is ever actually done with it, and very seldom is it ever realized just how much there actually is. Well, the time has come to unleash the power of your knowledge hoard and share the piles of ‘awesome’ that your company has spent so much time accumulating over the years.

Here’s a few examples of how you might find treasure troves of knowledge you could unleash as great content:

  • Local/Regional Reps – These reps know the ins and outs of their territories. They’ve spent the time learning the intricacies of local markets, and what you need to get things done in specific regions, and as such are a perfect source for targeted blog posts, tweets, or even YouTube videos. For example, does climate affect your product or service? Do you sell in northern Canada as well as the southern US? Well these are the guys you can get insight from on how climate plays a role in their area.
  • Engineers – This group is overflowing with knowledge. Is your product engineered to comply with a certain set of standards or regulations? These tend to be overly complex and hard to understand, so why not use blog posts or short YouTube videos to explain them in terms that matter to your customers? Explaining why things are designed the way that they are goes a long way to building value in your products and trust in your company.
  • Customer Service – FAQ’s are incredibly valuable, and no group is better at compiling a list of this type than your customer service team. These can make great tweets, Facebook posts, and can become an ongoing series of blog posts. One additional thing I’d suggest is adding a bit of personal touch to the list by quoting and attributing the answers to individual reps. They’ll appreciate being presented as an expert, and the readers place more faith in the answer if it comes from an identifiable human. Creating great content should boost your brand not just outside your company, but inside it as well.

Finding the sources of knowledge in your business isn’t a chore. It’s FUN, and inevitably what you’ll find is that your company has a lot more to offer a social audience than you think it does. Great content isn’t your product specs, it’s not your latest pricing special, or your corporate tagline; it’s the awesome that is contained in the brains of your team. Find the awesome, and you’ll find great content that your customers will care about.

Happy hunting!

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com