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3 Ways to Ruin even the Best Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing can be an invaluable way to raise awareness about your brand, build loyalty among your ideal demographic, and be part of important conversations surrounding your industry. The right content marketing can set you up as an authority figure, can cement and illustrate your company culture, can even launch you into the next phase of your business. Coordinating social media, blog posts and content calendars, landing pages, ad campaigns and everything else takes a lot of effort – so it is a good thing you can get so much out of it.

Unfortunately, with content marketing, the best intentions aren’t enough. Here are 3 ways businesses can completely ruin an otherwise great content marketing strategy:

Inconsistency

Content marketing is not a stop sign on a long journey of building a business. It is more like your fuel tank – it is a vital part of moving your business forward. One of the top ways businesses ruin their content management strategy is by being inconsistent either in the timing of information being released or in their messaging. Take something simple like social media – one tweet a month, or even a week, isn’t going to drive you forward as a thought-leader or expand your reach deeper into your demographic. Actually, the opposite may happen. New customers may see your lack of engagement and question your legitimacy as a business. Well designed websites, consistent messaging, social engagement and social clout are all part of business basics today.

Rigidity

The more you produce content, the more you learn about your customers, your business and your product or service. Let content marketing be an experience that helps you perfect your vision. Rigidity can completely crash a content marketing strategy. Instead, adapt based on what you learn through feedback and analytics, grow alongside the expansion of your reach and be willing to admit when something isn’t working. Changes in things like Facebook or Google algorithms will require some flexibility and ingenuity to benefit from the latest iteration. What worked last month might not be as effective this month and it is important to recognize that as soon as possible, be flexible and commit to riding the ebb and flow.

Disconnection

There are two ways to ruin a content marketing strategy with disconnection – the first is disconnection from your customer and the second is disconnection from your competition.

Things like inconsistent messaging, or not responding to customer inquiries can ruin your strategy when it comes to connecting with customers. If your customer doesn’t think you understand them, has an experience that indicates you don’t care, or feels ignored then your content strategy will lose clout.

The other form is disconnection is being disconnected from your competitors. One of the beauties of content marketing is that there are a lot of tools to help you identify what your competition is doing. If you are disconnected from your competition you could be stuck wondering why your efforts aren’t turning into conversions, or why your social media posts aren’t getting the reach you expected. Take a little bit of time to see what your competition is doing in order to really be in the game and, as mentioned above, adjust based on what you learn.

Want more insight on content marketing from people who are passionate about getting your business seen? Contact us at Tulip Strategies, today.

The Five Marketing Trends that will Dominate 2016
  • Content marketing has gone through its highs and lows since its rebirth as a way to execute online marketing strategies for the past three years. High volume content was considered the standard in grade A quality for a long stretch of time. Unfortunately for the people that are still new to content marketing, high volume content as the standard for quality hasn’t been seen as the standard since about 2012. In this day and age, marketers must analyze both subjective and objective scenarios in order to adequately adapt to the average consumer that dwells behind the walls of social media on a daily basis. It is imperative that as a brand strategist you are not only catering to your clients but simultaneously attracting new clients in the process as well. With that being said, there are the five content marketing strategies that are sure to make a big splash in 2016:

 

  • Algorithms will make life more challenging for freelancers: If today you were to read five articles from various websites on a multitude of different topics, chances are one of the articles you read was written by a journalistic engineering process that  formatted the piece in a way that makes it as easy as possible for the reader to engage with. The most complex topics will still require a human touch, but expect algorithms for aspects of technical writing to be making a huge surge in the coming year.

 

  • Social Media will roll out new options for publishing: ‘Instant Articles’ via Facebook are only the beginning. Google has now jumped aboard the train to establish a way publishers can get more viewership through social media avenues then from just their domain name. Expect Facebook, Google and Twitter to all have their hands in the content publishing cookie jar by the end of the year.

 

  • Written content will require more visual cues:  As wireless internet speed continues to increase, visual content that requires a high powered connection is quickly becoming the standard. Anything from interactive websites, to videos to live skype Q&A’s that demand a higher bit rate will increase exponentially by the spring and summer of next year.

 

  • Interactive content will explode: Custom newsfeeds, a voice activated search engine that makes Siri look clueless and a plethora of other elements rooted in virtual reality are about to impact how we interpret and engage with technology in a very big way.

 

  • Aggregated content will put feedback for marketing teams back in the hands of users: It’s pretty hard to debate that one of the most simplistic and effective ways of garnishing information for your business is through the usage of surveys. Tiny tidbits of information on a user’s facebook page will be compiled into a collection of data to better market products towards the users that are most likely to purchase the product or services based on the information they knowingly (or unknowingly) provided.
How Content Marketing Can be used to Outsmart the Competition

Every single new business is trying to gain an advantage over the competition. Seeing as new businesses rise and fall on the daily, there is no real guarantee of a future, which is why initiating a business plan is often times the most daunting area of entrepreneurship. If you’re reading this in an attempt to uncover some new tactic for business operation that will automatically place you in the fast lane than you’re probably going to be disappointed. Because the best way to outperform the competition hasn’t changed in the last few decades: have a great product or service, please your customers, and do it all while making a profit. Having said that, it helps immensely to know what your competition is up to. If you are completely in the dark on what other parties are doing, it leaves you prone to get caught off guard by their moves rather than beating them at their own game.

This is where content marketing comes into play.

The beauty of content marketing is simple: the things that work and don’t work are completely accessible to the public. Because of this, you are given the ability to chart your competition’s accomplishments and shortcomings and tweak their methodologies in favor of brand success for yourself. Here is just a short list of some of the things you can learn about other businesses from their content marketing campaigns:

-What type of articles they publish

-How active they are on social media

-Keywords they use for SEO

-Are they paying to boost their posts on Facebook

-How their homepage performces

-Who they are working in collaboration with

As you can see, there is numerous ways in which content marketing can be a godsend if you’re willing to be more tactful with your own strategies rather than just copying your competitors because you think it worked for them. Get to the bottom of things, establish whether or not a campaign one of your rivals ran was a raging success or if it costed them more money than it was worth in the long run. These are valuable pieces of information to know and can lead to a much more prosperous business of your own. Fix your competition’s problems and reap the benefits of your self-made solutions.

Choosing the Right Marketing Automation Platform
PR and Social Media: The Blurred Line Between the Two Mediums

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If you’re new to the world of marketing you’ll soon learn that buzzwords are king. The industry specific jargon you’ve seen referenced time and time again will inevitably become standard issue within a couple of weeks of working “in the industry”. Unfortunately, buzzwords are not entirely progressive forms of communication– and eventually certain terms lose their relevancy and are replaced by newer concepts that often times mean the same thing as the term it replaced with a few more facets/implications attached to the definition. A prime example of this is ‘earned media’ and ‘owned media’. Before continuing, let’s make sure the definition and differences between ‘earned’ and ‘owned’ media are clear.

 

‘Earned media’ can mostly be attributed to Public Relations, or simply ‘PR’. If you’re working in the field of PR you probably spend quite a bit of time focused specifically on marketing the brand. The breakthroughs come when stories or advertisements are placed in a major publication or news outlet on national television. This is the type of accomplishment that prompts people into checking out your website because they spotted your brand name on something that is accessed by millions of people on a daily basis. When this occurs, you can consider the work you’ve done a success. This is the truest definition of earned media.

 

‘Owned media’ is the area of focus where social media reigns supreme. Owned media places a focus on content that you control such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. The benefit of owned media is that you have complete control over the themes and messages that the brand you represent gives off to the general public. Though more risk is associated with owned media in comparison to earned media due to the owner taking full responsibility for what is being published about the brand he or she is trying to promote, the payoff can be valued at a much higher rate because it was self-generated and holds no obligations to other forms of media/outlets for its’ exposure. If owned media goes viral. The accomplishment is celebrated by only those within the company/brand. There is no need to thank or pay tribute to anyone outside of the immediate circle/union of developers/marketing team.

 

Though the differences between earned and owned media are apparent– the dividing line that separates these two forms of marketing has slowly begun to dissolve. The way in which the field of marketing has been developing so far in 2015 shows that no aspiring brand can reach the pinnacle of publicity without both earned and owned media. On top of that, good strategists must be able to differentiate what is working for their brand and what is not in a much more efficient manner than ever before. If even two hours a day are spent cultivating a network through a medium that has yet to produce any sustainable/profitable results, that medium must be severed from the brand’s overall marketing strategy so the time spent on that approach can be delegated to something that is proven to be more useful/efficient. While the overall goal of a marketing team is fairly cut and dry, the approach in which they take in order to achieve success is one with many twists and turns. The bottom line: adaptability is one of the most crucial traits in developing a successful team that can adequately market a budding idea. Otherwise, publicity will always be an uphill battle.

 

The Three Principles to Successful Business Blogging

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Whether you are the owner, operator or admin of a company or brand’s website, blog work is essential to successfully networking with neighboring sites and associates that could eventually help you grow your network. Here are a couple tried and true principles to routine blog posting that will not only help with consistency but also aid in SEO work as well.

  1. The lengthier the better. If an article is roughly 300-500 words the search term you associate with the post should be mentioned 3 to 7 times spread out through the length of the post in its’ entirety.
  2. Make your posts as SEO-friendly as possible. Keywords need to be used in the subheadings and a priority must be placed on making the main topic of the post as easy to identify as possible. Meaning the reader should know the subject of the post within the first one to three sentences. Images attached to each article along with a meta description are also crucial for reader accessibility and for search engines to prioritize your writing over other random websites that have no relevancy to the topic you’re trying to address.
  3. Content must be updated regularly. That doesn’t mean blow up the blog section of your company’s site with useless posts that have no merit or calculatable wealth. All posts published must serve a purpose. Whether that purpose is to provide advice on business ventures or to simply update and educate readers on the product or brand that you are determined to successfully market. There is no room or time for wasted language on a successful company’s site. Every amount of space must be used with the utmost efficiency– plain and simple.

 

Digital Content: How to Develop a Successful Strategy

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Digital content strategy– despite being nearly halfway through 2015 this remains a difficult term to define and confine to one specific or universal description. Best case scenario you can characterize digital content strategy as a collection of ventures directly associated with every single one of your digital channels. It is the only surefire approach to making sure that audiences are engaging and interacting with the content you provide on your website to the point where the viewer of the content feels compelled to share it with other people in his or her network to see.

There are a number of routes you can take in creating a digital content strategy. As a disclaimer, this is a challenging task, but one that will pay off in dividends if properly executed. Based off the collective knowledge gathered from a number of prominent PR specialists, here is a step by step guide on how to get this particular venture moving in the right direction as soon as you begin:

-Who are you trying to communicate with? The answer to this is simple: everyone. The larger a network you have through your marketing campaign the easier it will be to raise the rate in which your content is shared.

-What is the approach you are taking to engage with potential customers/clients? If a customer or client has an issue with the product or concept you are responsible for developing how fast will it take you to rectify the issue? Will you add more value to compensate for the problem at hand? This is where customer/client feedback is key. Without your target audience providing you with recommendations on how to better present your overall package it is very difficult to evolve past the first initial stage of your overall vision.

-What outcomes can you measure/keep track of? Where are you looking to do the most amount of development as a website? Audience size? Brand recognition? Focus on your primary goal and dedicate the majority of your time to tracking the initial measurements of growth in that one particular area.

-What content on your site performs the best?

Establish which articles or sub-categories on your site have gotten the most hits. Is there a trend in a particular topic you cover that gets more views than any other area? If so focus your attack on the most popular subjects and grow the rest of the site from there. It only takes one article, video or image to go viral for a site to become a hit overnight. Keep this in mind when trying to bring all areas of the site up to speed at once. Doing this will only slow down the progress on your most successful venture that’s currently receiving a lot of attention. Feed that source. The rest will follow

 

The 7 Traits of a Good PR Leader

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  • Speed Over Power: The pace of the world is always changing. And by changing I mean getting faster. Faster in making mistakes; faster in correcting them. You must lead the charge in almost every setting that resides in the office. Spin the globe as hard as you can and hold on for dear life.
  • Adaptability-- Make Yourself Malleable: Immediate gratification will be expected from your clients (See above). You must be able to flourish under constraint and unavoidable variables that will undoubtedly cause you and your team stress. Grit your teeth and press forward.
  • Be Bold, Supreme Confidence is Your Friend: Companies and Clients alike don’t care where a good idea comes from. It doesn’t matter to them if the next brilliant marketing campaign comes from the bottom of the totem pole. Entry level employees must have the courage to voice their visions when they feel as if they are truly onto something.

 

A Desire for Positive Change for Oneself: A recent study showed that the most successful people in the world don’t look at failures as things they did not benefit from. Failure is an integral part of developing as a professional and as a person. As long as your mind is in the right place positive change will occur regardless of if you succeed or fail initially. The failures will eventually get fewer and farther between and success will soon become the only thing you know.

Choosing the Right Email Newsletter Tool

With over 80% of consumers opening emails from companies and over 40% going on to purchase, email marketing continues to be a major mode of connection between businesses and consumers, according to Salesforce. Gain the advantage in branding, promoting, marketing or converting with an email newsletter tool that makes it easy to craft and send professional-looking emails to your subscriber list. These five email newsletter clients are easy to use, professional, and geared toward large and small businesses.

MailChimp

Since its founding in 2001, MailChimp has become a popular newsletter client and boasts over 5 million users. With free and paid plans, MailChip is easy to use, offers a range of free templates for HTML-formatted newsletters, and accepts your HTML code. MailChimp offers iPhone and Android apps that enable you to manage your email marketing on the go. It integrates with analytics and social media tools to extend your reach.

Constant Contact

When you’re trying to leverage social capital, use Constant Contact, which integrates with Facebook for social referrals. If you have a dedicated marketing budget, you might hire CC’s professional services team to jump-start your email newsletter campaign. Constant Contact doesn’t offer as fancy templates as other email newsletter tools, but it does have unparalleled reach. While plans begin at $20 per month, you can test out CC with a free trial. Additionally, it’s ideal for surveys, event registrations, and other communications. Note, some users find CC has a steep learning curve.

40Nuggets

40Nuggets aims to help you convert smarter by tailoring your marketing methods to unique visitors, giving you the analytics needed to take action, and helping you take next steps with ease. Target visitors based on behavior, location, or referral URL to ensure a seamless conversion with minimum disruption. 40Nuggets begins at $149 per month for businesses or $37 per month for solo marketers and personal brand mavens. Try 40Nuggets for yourself with a 14-day free trial.

iContact

Like Constant Contact, iContact has a steep learning curve and can be challenging for new users to set up. However, its premium features allow you to easily manage campaigns down to the individual level. When you’re looking to convert leads and tailor marketing messages to individuals, iContact’s incremental controls, call-to-action buttons, and auto-response tools help you achieve your purpose. Contact management tools and excellent customer support make it a good choice for small teams or startups that need to leverage email marketing to grow the business. While plans begin at $14 per month, iContact offers free trials.

Campaign Monitor

When you need analytics, social integration, and marketing tips, Campaign Monitor may be your dream newsletter client. Campaign Monitor allows you to customize two free templates for your needs and save your changes, for ease in sending out future mailings. However, you’ll need to download and import templates, which can be a bottleneck. The pricing structure allows you to pay a fee per month or per email campaign. With no free option, this may not be startup-friendly.

Strategic Brand Development

Branding is that part of your marketing plan that sets your business apart from others in your industry and lets your customers and potential customers know what’s unique about your company. Your branding can include every aspect of your business, including your logo, website design, how your employees answer the phone, your office decor, your social media pages and every public-facing aspect of your business.

Every business can benefit from branding, but small businesses especially need good branding to set them apart from their competitors. Entrepreneur magazine calls developing your brand a journey of self-discovery, and that’s a good way to look at it. To get the most from your branding efforts, you need to meet with key employees and define:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What makes your company unique?
  • What words and qualities do you want customers and potential customers to associate with your business?

The best brands answer those questions … and ask again and again as they grow.

Good strategic brand development

How does a small business with a limited budget get the most from branding? Below are a few strategies to consider:

1. Splurge on a dynamite logo. Your logo makes your business and all of your marketing materials distinct and unique. A great logo can impart your business philosophy, your company’s personality and your strengths all in one graphic. This is a must-have for any new business. If you’re bootstrapping your business, issue a call for submissions through a third-party freelance service like Odesk or Elancer.

2. Create a voice. Like a logo, the “voice” is the way you tell your company’s story, and it helps define your company’s personality. Progressive Insurance is an example of a company that uses a character – Flo – to represent the company’s voice. Other examples:

  • Coca-Cola is the voice of proud Americans
  • American Express’s voice is well-heeled, intelligent, sophisticated and worldly
  • Nike’s “Just Do It” speaks confidence
  • GoDaddy’s voice is a little rebellious, edgy and humorous

3. Tie it all together. For your branding to be successful, you need to have all aspects of your marketing plan interlinked. Your website should mention your print publications. Your print advertising and direct mail should mention your website, and so on.

4. Get the most for your branding dollars. Start-up companies, by definition, lack huge marketing budgets. To get the most from your branding dollars, invest first in the essentials—a great logo, a great website, business cards and someone to manage your social media and email marketing efforts. As you grow, you can add other components like point-of-purchase displays, direct mail marketing and logo items.

What are other examples of brand voices? Share your thoughts in our comments section.

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