Showing posts from January, 2014

Research to Develop your Content Strategy

Your content strategy wouldn't be complete without having a look at what others are doing. This is an important step because:
it will trigger new ideas for youit will help keep you current with others in your industryyou should know what your competitors are doing
Here are some activities you can engage in regularly, perhaps quarterly, to develop your content strategy and keep it current.

1. Get online and check out:
What are others in your industry doing?What are your competitors doing?Is what they're doing working for them? How can you tell?
2. Search keywords
3. Search for articles that have content ideas specific to your industry. For example, if you own a restaurant, search "content ideas for restaurants" or "newsletter ideas for restaurants". Make sure any new ideas you adopt are ultimately valuable to your subscribers and meet your goals.

4. Sign up for newsletters - pay attention to the experience, as well as what you…

Repurpose Articles into Infographics

I'm a big fan of repurposing content for two reasons:
It can save me time.People have different ways of learning. Different formats for the same material will ensure a broader reach.
Summing up a past article in a graphical format is a great way to appeal to a different audience. Pick an article that can be summed up into bullet points. Then turn those bullet points into a graphical format. With the proliferation of infographics, we now have lots of choices of apps to make it easy for us to create our own:
Here are a few examples of our own infographics:
Elements of eNewsletter Success (used Hubspot's templates)9 Ways to Personalize Your Newsletter (used Canva)4 Ways to Constantly Grow Your List (used Canva)
In her article Marketing with Infographics, Janet Slack suggested these other creative uses for infographics:
Share testimonialsShowcase your expertiseShare customer statisticsShare responses to customer questionsCountdown t…

What is Content?

The simple answer is that content is everything you put out into the world. Your content represents you, your business and your brand to everyone that encounters it, both current and potential customers.

Your content determines your online presence. It includes all the text and images on your website, your social media accounts and every email you send.

So, why do you need a content strategy?
to keep your message consistent across all platformsto ensure the clarity of your messageto provide the most value you can offer to current clientsto attract new clientsto save you time! Yes, a content strategy can accomplish all of these things. It is well worth the time to develop your strategy, commit the time, and follow through.

Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on January 22, 2014

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The Right Conditions for Success

You don’t leave on a road trip in the middle of a snow storm. And you don’t go on vacation to the Caribbean in August. You wait for the right conditions. In fact, you don’t really wait for the right conditions, you plan around them.

It’s easy to forget this in our excitement to launch new business initiatives.

One day I spent a couple of hours on the phone coaching someone about newsletters, including how important the timing is. I was still working late that night when I received her first newsletter at 1am. (1am is not a good time to send a newsletter - unless your subscribers are on the other side of the world.)

Set yourself up for success.

If you've spent a lot of time, effort and money working on a project, make sure you also place the same importance on the details of your launch. Plan to take advantage of the best conditions: timing, availability of resources and people, weather, geography, etc.

“Haste makes waste.” Someone I worked with used to say this and it has stuck wi…

No One is Immune from Mistakes

Mistakes will happen. I've seen obvious mistakes in emails sent out by marketing agencies and email service providers when promoting their own products. I've even made a few myself - but I won’t point them out. A recent article on the Vocus blog inspired me to weigh in on the issue because, of course, I don’t completely agree with all of their advice.

There is a point of no return. Once we hit send, we’re stuck living with the mistakes in our newsletters. Likely you won’t even notice the mistake until someone points it out or asks a question.

Sometimes they’re just small errors, like typos, a missing word or the wrong preposition. Other times they can be disastrous:
a big promotion to hype a new product and, oops, the link goes to the wrong product or an error pagean event invitation that asks you to register but the link takes you to an event that’s already gone bythe wrong phone number, especially when phoning you is your primary call to actionthe wrong address or date for an…

9 Ways to Personalize Your Newsletter [Infographic]


Yearly Content Planning Worksheet

Planning is an important process - even if you eventually change the plan. Planning:

forces you to think, to research, to consider, to brainstorm - to be creative (Tweet This)helps you get organizedincreases efficiency and productivitymotivates you and increases your confidenceidentifies riskshelps you make decisionsgives you a clearer vision
All of these things apply specifically to your content creation activities as well. Click here to download a content planning worksheet (Excel) to help you prepare for the year. (This is formatted for printing/handwriting as well.)

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