Category: Communication


4 Essential Elements for Content Marketing

Successful content marketing is more than the words and images ultimately published somewhere. The best efforts are supported by systems, processes, and resources. Here are 4 essential elements you need to succeed.

Content Marketing Editorial Plan

Why do you create content? What are your goals? Define an editorial strategy that outlines what you want to accomplish and the content that will get you there. Writing this down will increase your ability to stay focused on your goals.

Build out your plan by defining your audience. Who are they? What do they care about? How do they think about the topics you want to cover?

Next define the channels you will use to share your content with your audience. What is needed to be effective on each channel? What types of text and images work best? Outline the elements needed for an optimized post on each platform.

Map out the calendar. How often will you post? On which days and times?

Generate Ideas

Ideas sometimes flow and other times can be a chore. Have a way to document ideas whenever they come. Also have resources that can help you generate ideas when the inspiration is lacking. Your idea generation engine can involve:

  • Monitoring what competitors are doing
  • Engaging with influencers
  • Webinars – related to your marketing channels of choice and to your industry
  • Online idea generators

Define Measures of Success

You can’t keep your content marketing focused if you don’t know what’s working. Define your measures of success and monitor them regularly.

There are a lot of metrics out there. Pick the ones that are meaningful for your organization and goals. You don’t need to monitor all the metrics, just the ones that offer insight.

Document the metrics you want to track, and track them regularly. Make sure to plan for time to analyze the numbers for insights that let you know what to continue and what to change.

Let Technology Help You

Use tools that help you accomplish your content marketing as efficiently as possible. This can include stock photo sites, image creation tools like Canva, and scheduling tools like Hootsuite. Use your energies for the big picture thinking and creation, and let tools (or a great admin support resource) handle the day-to-day details.

Play Is a Great Way to Engage Remote Teams. I’m Serious!

Guest post by Alexandra Suchman, Cofounder and CEO of Barometer XP

We’ve reached the point where it’s almost a cliche to talk about how hard it is to make meaningful connections with colleagues through Zoom boxes and Slack channels.

“Ugh, I’m so sick of Zoom” has become the new “I can’t believe this weather” as the small talk statement to foster some quick agreement at the start of a conversation.

Yes, connecting virtually, be it over phone, video, or written message, is way less satisfying than in person.

Yes, we are all sick of spending so much time staring at screens, and have found ways to keep meetings focused and short.

And yes, these remote ways of communicating force a more formal structure that doesn’t leave space (physical or metaphorical) for spontaneous, serendipitous interpersonal conversation.

But there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of simple, fun, and very effective ways to encourage great connection and engagement among remote teams. And you already know many of them.

Games!

Games are essentially a problem solving opportunity: the pursuit of a specific goal within a limited time, space, and set of rules. Every time we play a game, we bring our own unique skills, ideas, experience, communication style, approach to problem solving, etc. to the room, and it gives us a chance to examine how we (and others) show up in a situation.

Playing games with your work team not only will give you a chance to relax and have fun together, you’ll also gain valuable insights into how each other feels, thinks, and acts in different situations. Plus you’ll create some great memories, which are essential in building strong team identity.

Here are a few of my favorite games to play with remote teams that are not only fun, they help teams find creative ways to communicate with each other and practice thinking on their feet!

Codenames: This is a communication game with an espionage theme, where the goal is for a team to call all its agents back from the field using covert codenames. Teams compete to provide the most efficient and effective one-word clues without tipping off their opponents or accidentally alerting a hidden assassin!

Fishbowl: Another fun communication-based game, Fishbowl is a faster-paced game that combines Taboo, Password, and Charades as one person tries to help their team guess a secret word. Two teams compete to see who can guess more words before time runs out!

Need help picking the right game for your team? No problem, just email me at alex@barometerxp.com and I’ll give you some suggestions.

About the Author

Alex is CEO and Co-founder of Barometer XP, a company that uses games and play to catalyze insights and conversations about how team members can better communicate and work toward shared goals. Alex facilitates sessions that help teams learn about themselves and make meaningful, sustainable culture change.

Prior to Barometer XP, Alex founded AIS Collaborations, a consulting firm that helped small businesses with simple systems, stronger organizing techniques, and better planning. She has an MPP from The George Washington University, a BA in psychology from Colby College, and is certified as both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and DISC coach.

Why Do You Have a Website?

A business today needs a website. Right? Yes. But why do YOU have a website? Have you defined the goal of your website and does the structure and content support that goal?

I was evaluating a website the other day. There were pages of information, but two things were missing:

  1. The website did not tell me what the organization was all about.
  2. There was nothing on the site that engaged me with the organization, other than passively reading their content.

Your website needs to work hard for you! It should tell visitors about who you are and why your website helps them.

Positioning Text: State Your Value

Just about every website needs clear, up front positioning text. Who are you? What value do you bring? Why is your website worth visiting.

A great website positioning statement clearly tells your audience who you are and what you do. It uses the words they use (aka keywords) to speak to their needs and interests. It sets the tone for the engagement you want to create with your website.

Great positioning text is short, long-term and reflective of your products or actions as a business. Make sure to focus on the value that your products, services or blogs have for users.

Questions that Get You to the Right Positioning Text

Use these questions to create the right positioning text for your website:

  • What can people do with the products or information you’re offering?
  • What makes your products or business unique?
  • How can your products/services enhance your clients’ lives?
  • Why should people buy your products/services and not your (e.g. cheaper or better known) competitors’? Or why should people read your information and take your advice instead of information on another website?
  • What’s the reason you’re offering these products/services or information, besides making money?

Once you have these thoughts, combine them with keyword research. What questions does your audience ask search engines? What words to they use. These should rise to the top of your positioning.

State Your Position

Give your positioning statement front-and-center placement on your website. This is usually well placed on the home page. There may be other places that make sense as well. This is your chance to grade the visitor’s attention and tell them why they are in the right place.

Reinforce your positioning throughout the website. Every page should support your website goal. That’s how you build a connection that makes a visitor stay, and moves them from awareness to purchase.