Five Tips To Help You Develop An Effective Content Marketing Plan

4Social media, mobile technology, and word-of-mouth marketing have been serious game changers. People are getting their news and entertainment online, watching TV on mobile devices and subscribing to newspapers and magazines on tablets.

According to Entrepreneur.com, a Hilaire survey discovered that print, TV and radio advertising is being replaced with non-traditional means of content marketing.

So just what is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute reports:

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

The trends in content marketing tell us three things:

  • Traditional advertising, as we use to know it is dead
  • Content marketing has replaced traditional advertising
  • Having a winning content marketing strategy is the single most effective way to get leads and turn leads into business revenue

How do you use content marketing to engage prospects and customers?You do this via blog posts, social media sites, videos, and photos. Done correctly, this will generate leads, enhance your brand identity, and put your company’s expertise on display. But your blog, Facebook page, and Tweets are just a means to get your message out. The real value is in the content that you share. Where can you get started?

Here are five ways to develop a content marketing strategy:

  1. Have A Plan: No, really, have a plan. Far too often people forget that they must plan for the success they desire. Thinking they can wing it is the #1 mistake most folks make. Your plan should support your brand’s mission and goals. It will include the unique value you are looking to provide. It should also outline the obstacles and opportunities you may meet as you execute your plan. Preparation is the key.
  2. Start Writing: When readers find themselves consistently reading a brand’s content, they start to see that brand in a new light, not only in terms of credibility but also likability. You can start a blog, contribute as a co-contributor to someone else’s blog, or submit articles to your industry trade magazine. Not much of a writer? Do a video blog or an audio blog.
  3. Listen To Clients: Not sure what to write about? Start off by writing down the questions you repeatedly hear from your clients. I guarantee those questions will spur ideas for articles or blog posts that would be valuable to your audience and may even land you a few new customers.
  4. Identify Your Audience: Know the specific audiences for whom you will create content, what their needs are, and what your content engagement cycle will be. Will you post once a week across many social networking platforms or several times a week across only two social sites? Knowing your audience will decide your level of engagement.
  5. Schedule Your Posts: I don’t know about you, but I’m always busy. If you are as well, invest in a “Social Media Management Tool.” There are many to choose from, but one of the most inexpensive (there is a free version) and intuitive tools is Hootsuite. It will help you keep track and manage your many social network channels and free you up to do those other posts… which… by the way… can also be scheduled. Need help coming up with a social media plan? Read my blog on ten ways to develop a social media plan.

What content do you have to share that will help drive business to your company or advance your organization’s mission? Let me know if I can help you master just the right content marketing strategy for your business that will turn prospects and online community members into leads and clients. Fill out the contact form below so we can get started strategizing.

Content Marketing: The Art of Communication

Great content is a powerful marketing tool .  Why is it so powerful?  With the use of your content, you can build communities and tell a story about your organization, your company’s mission or your personal brand. 

Social media, mobile technology, and word-of-mouth marketing have been serious game changers. People today are getting their news online, watching TV from their mobile devices and subscribing to magazines via tablets.  This lends itself to three points:

  • Traditional advertising is dead
  • Content marketing is the new traditional advertising
  • Content is King

According to Entrepreneur.com, a survey by HiveFire, discovered that traditional marketing, such as print, TV and radio advertising is being replaced with more non-traditional means of content marketing.  What is content marketing?  The Content Marketing Institute reports:

“Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty”

This includes blog posts, social media sites, videos and photos used for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and putting the company’s ability on display.  But your blog, Facebook page and Tweets are just the means to get the message out.  The real value is in the content that you share.

To Blog or Not to Blog?

Beblogabadge

Blogging has come a long way, hasn’t it?  I had to pinch myself when I was given a White House press credential to blog about President Obama’s address to the National Urban League.  More and more we are being taken seriously as journalist and just about every brand recognizes that you want bloggers in your corner.  But when I started my first blog I really just wanted a place to express myself.  Because I’m so expressive (read slightly schizophrenic), here I am years later with several blogs I manage (no, I am NOT going to tell you how many) that cover everything from spirituality, women’s issues, and social media trends to technology and dating.  I’ve never started blogging to make money, although I’ve been hired to cover some really cool gigs and somehow landed myself as a lifestyle blogger.  The question I get asked most often from people who want to start blogging is “what should I write about?” Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Blogging Tips:

  • Write about what makes your heart sing 
  • Write about something that you are passionate about
  • Be your most authentic self
  • Find a voice you haven’t heard and express your point of view
  • Promote your blog across multiple social media network
  • Let your personality shine
  • Benchmark blogs you like

Don’t have a lot of time to Blog?

  • Use mixed media in your blogs so you don’t have to write as much
  • Phone it in, audio blogging is a great way to get a quick post up
  • Blog from your smartphone or tablet
  • Keep it simple – each post doesn’t have to be the next great America novel

Once you get your blog off the ground do the things that truth be told, I need to do more of:

  • Post basis
  • Partner with guest bloggers who can keep your blog fresh and up to date
  • Update your blog’s theme when necessary
  • Blog on the go
  • Comment on blogs you like and you will slowly build a community
  • Find someone to proof your blog before posting (FYI, I need this BADLY… any volunteers… please… anyone?)

Need more inspiration?  Join me at BLOGALICIOUS 2011 October 21-23, 2011. As an official blogging ambassador for BLOGALICIOUS 2011 I will be joining some of the most influential and talented female bloggers and social media savvy women from all across the country.  If you’ve ever thought about starting a blog, making a career out of blogging or wondered how to get more traffic to your blog, this is the conference for you!  If you’re a well established blogger, come out and meet your fellow colleagues IRL to network, support each other, share best practices, uplift each other and just have a good time having fun.  Be sure to register today, tickets are going fast.  

Founded in 2009, the Blogalicious Weekend conferences are aimed at celebrating the diversity of women of all ethnicities in social media. Over the course of 3 event-filled days, savvy, influential and talented women bloggers will ignite a sense of unity within the multicultural blogging community as well as educate marketers on the importance of our demographic in today’s marketplace, all while networking, building relationships, and promoting inspiration and success for each other.

 

2011: The Rise of a New Breed of Blogger

I am LOVING the term “Lifestyle Blogger”. Have I found my calling?

Dec 27, 2010Let’s face it: blogging is big business. I predict that in 2011, there will be a rise of Lifestyle Bloggers. This new breed of business-savvy blogger not only writes, but also handles business development and prioritizes having a fulfilling life NOW. Cash flow positive with a happy, small and flexible team, this type of blogger has a balanced, sustainable new business model.

As creating content gets easier, we are faced with more noise online than ever before and more data than people are willing or able to parse. Curation was the inevitable trend of 2010 — everyone from huge corporations to small businesses to college kids uses platforms like Tumblr and Twitter to distribute content and create influence. In 2011, we’ll need people to curate the curators to find a more refined signal.

This is where the Lifestyle Blogger comes in. Are you a Lifestyle Blogger? Do you want to be? If not, does your business know how to best work with and benefit from this rising group?

Read more at www247.americanexpress.com

 

Hello, Goodbye: Offsite Redirect Upgrade (via WordPress.com News)

I feel like it’s time for a WordPress upgrade. Luckily, WordPress has made it very easy for me to make the transition!

Hello, Goodbye: Offsite Redirect Upgrade "You say goodbye, I say hello." – The Beatles Needless to say, we hope you never want to leave WordPress.com. But, should the day arrive that you decide to strike out on your own and set up a self-hosted WordPress blog with the free, open source WordPress software available at WordPress.org, we've got you covered with our new Offsite Redirect upgrade. Imagine you've decided to make the move, have exported your content from your wordpress.com blog … Read More

via WordPress.com News

5 Lessons Every Blogger Can Learn From The AOL TechCrunch Acquisition

TechCrunch has inspired technology (and other) bloggers to establish themselves as legitimate sources of important news, even while mainstream media has often scoffed and dismissed us. There is no denying that bloggers are here to stay. To help us along the way, here are five things that SocialTimes.com says we should keep in mind as we move forward in this new media age.

Amplify’d from www.socialtimes.com

1) Patience

Michael Arrington started TechCrunch in 2005.  He was an aggressive early adopter who ensured that his site was constantly breaking news.  But he didn’t get his first break until a few years later, and he was patient with the site.  If you look at his earlier posts, you can see a ton of breaking news, but also more experimentation with smaller, less relevant news.  He took his time while experimenting to find his voice.

TechCrunchAlexa

An Alexa.com chart showing growth for TechCrunch in just the past year.

2) Passion

As Om Malik, founder of GigaOM and friend of Michael Arrington, puts it, “Michael took his doggedness and heart-on-sleeve passion for all things startup-related and turned it into TechCrunch.”  The key here was that he enjoyed the writing, and that’s what gave him the patience and perseverance necessary.  He has a background in law but clearly chased his passion when he made the jump to technology companies, and quickly found that there was no central place to hear all the news that he was hearing, and was so important to him.  That kind of passion is what gives you the perseverance to stay with an idea.

3) Sensationalism

Michael is notorious for ‘calling it as it is’, but sometimes that means coining terms like “Scamville”, which is viral, catchy and sensationalist.  He knew and knows that the world of media is in fact as much about personality and opinion as it is about fact, and he took seemingly personal vendettas against companies and products that disservice their customers.  He took Offerpal to task, accusing their CEO of being the Queen of Scams.  This kind of rhetoric goes a long way (unfortunately).

4) Breaking News

TechCrunch breaks tech news consistently.  They made their first break when they revealed Google buying YouTube, and that marked a huge shift for the blogging industry.  If CBS wanted to know about the video industry and keep abreast of what’s going on in tech to-the-second, how can they ignore TechCrunch?  By establishing itself (and himself) as axis upon which the technology world spins, TechCrunch became the place where people went to to break news.

5) Personality & Branding

TechCrunch is Michael Arrington.  Everytime you see one, you see the other.  That’s branding at its best.  I would even say that a verb should be created, where “to Arrington” something means to analyze, sensationalize and boost publicity (positive or negative) to a product or service.  For me, I hear the name Arrington at least a few times a day, from people who are attempting to legitimize their product because they got a review from Arrington, or a blog that wants to network to us because they know somebody who knows Arrington.  If you want to succeed in blogging, you have to be the kind of person who doesn’t mind saying your own name… a lot.

Read more at www.socialtimes.com