5 Sources for Inspiring Marketing Content

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By Sue Brady

IdeasIt’s not news that engaging, informative and interesting content is key to gaining readership and attracting visitors to your website. Many business websites have blogs. In fact, the number of blogs from January 2015 to January 2016 has risen by 25% to 276 million (source: statista.com).

And there are plenty of stats about how blogging can help a business. Just these three stats alone from Business2community.com should be enough to convince you that you need a blog on your website. Sites with blogs that have continual postings:

  • Have 97% more links to their site
  • Generate 55% more site visits
  • Have pages indexed <by search engines> 434% more often.

So where do you get the content for those blog posts?

The Competition – What does your competition post about? Reading your competitors’ content can give you a good sense for how they are positioning themselves. And, it can give you some good ideas for your own content.

Customers – Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you were in the market for your product, what would you want to know about? You can even take the step of asking some of your customers what’s important to them. All great fodder for future posts! Plus, your customers post on social media, sometimes about your company. Stay vigilant in tracking those posts so that you can identify topics that are of interest.

Your Salespeople – Ask your salespeople what objections they hear most often when they are on sales calls. Use those objections as a way to formulate content that counters them. You wouldn’t want to say: “Our customers say our product easily breaks. But our studies show…” Instead you’d write a post about how you build your product using the top materials available in the industry.

Your Customer Service Staff – These people are on the front-lines. They talk to your customers every day and have great insight. They may be able to identify potential issues that may come up on their calls, and if you can tease them out, you can write a post that counters an issue before it becomes a real problem. And, they hear about other things, not just issues. All of that can be turned into compelling blog posts.

Other Bloggers – Identify bloggers who write about your industry and actively read those blogs. They will be a great source of information that you can write about too.

Write on!

 

5 Compelling Reasons to Take Marketing Risks

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By Sue Brady

Taking Risk

If you have financial investments, you know that deciding the level of risk you are comfortable with defines your strategy. A young adult will have a higher risk tolerance than someone approaching retirement for instance, because they have longer to recover from mistakes.

But how does that translate to the business world? Risk taking when you’re spending someone else’s money is decidedly different from when you are spending your own. A former boss once told me to spend the company money as if it were my own. His point was that it’s okay to take risk, but make sure it’s calculated and you understand how much is being risked.

The really successful marketers that I know have all been risk takers.

Take Jan Brandt for example. She was the person in charge of marketing at AOL when AOL was just starting out as a young brand. She was able to convince Steve Case that spending a bunch of money to mail the AOL software on CD roms was going to be the key to their success. She told the guy in charge of the network to get ready, the fire hose was about to open. He was skeptical…for about 5 days. And then the mail started to hit homes… and the rest is history.

There are plenty of other historical examples of how risk taking drove a company to success. And that’s the number one reason to take risk in your marketing:

  1. Taking risks can yield large returns. In the AOL example above, Jan knew that to use AOL, you needed the software. The Internet was new enough that only a small portion of the population was connected. She needed the software to be readily available so that when someone made the decision that it was time to connect, they had an AOL rom handy. So while she took a huge risk, it was a calculated one, and the payoff was huge.

2. Taking a risk can help you create compelling content that prospects want to read. How? By writing something that gets folks thinking. Maybe in your corporate blog you offer a suggestion for how the government should be (or shouldn’t be) regulating your industry. Or perhaps you ask your audience how they feel about a certain topic to get them talking. You can use that conversation to help drive your next action, and then tell your readers the outcome of your efforts.

3. Taking risks can create success in ways you haven’t thought of. I found an old article in Ad Age that talked about the Doritos campaign from 2007. Doritos launched a contest for consumers to create an ad for the Super Bowl that the public would vote on. The Super Bowl! The granddaddy of all advertising opportunities! No one had tried that before. And it worked for them, and still works to this day. It’s a great early example of using user-generated content to drive views (Youtube hits total in the millions for these ads) and certainly engagement and press coverage. Doritos took a risk with that campaign, and it certainly seems to have paid off.

4. Risk-taking helps you stand-out from the competition. Taking a unique approach that differentiates your brand from everyone else’s carries risk, but if it works, creates awareness and buzz. Doing the same thing rarely gets press attention, but stepping out of your comfort-zone does. K-mart ‘Ship my Pants’ is a great example of this. That new and edgy ad campaign has over 22 million YouTube views! It got people talking!

5. Risk-taking can create a successful product, even when consumers don’t realize they need it. Steve Jobs is the most well known person to take this approach. He famously said that ”a lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Most brands don’t have the stomach to trust their gut so fully and in the face of so little research, but for Apple, the approach paid off, at least eventually.

Think about risk when you are designing your next campaign. Hopefully your next bet will be the one that pays off. Fear not.

No Fear

Content Goldmines Part 2

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By Sue Brady

Most companies these days post on various social media, or keep a blog as a part of their website. Usually the most difficult part is trying to figure out what to write about. Last year I wrote a post about great places to find inspiration for your content. That article mentions sources like:Idea

  • Talking to your sales team
  • Talking to customer service
  • Talking to other employees in your company

But there are other places to seek inspiration and here are just a few:

Senior Management. Interview senior management at your company and find out if it would add value to write content about something they know will be of interest later in the month/quarter/year.

Press Releases. Check press releases from your company and from your competition to see if there’s anything that would make a good topic for some timely content.

Twitter. Start participating in Twitter chats. You can search by subject for scheduled chats here: http://tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/. You can actively participate in chats or you can anonymously read the chat as it’s taking place. And most make transcripts available after the chat. Twitter chats are a great way to learn about a particular topic and can also provide great ideas for content.

LinkedIn. LinkedIn groups are another great source for content ideas. By joining groups relevant to your business, you can read conversations taking place and gain insight into questions being asked.

Your competition. Do some web searching to see where your competition is turning up in the press. Perhaps they are participating in a ‘conversation’ where you also should be at the table. Or maybe they do something really well. By writing a post on that topic, you can start to position your own company as the subject matter expert in that area.

The key is to get creative and imagine where you might find inspiration. I’ve overheard conversations in airports that have lead to some interesting blog posts. You just never know where your next idea may come from.

 

 

Sue’s 2015 Marketing Predictions

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By Sue Brady

Fortune CookieAs you can see by my 2014 predictions post, My track record is just so-so, so take these with a grain of salt!

Social Media Scandals will Tank two Major Companies – No idea who or when, but it’ll happen. 2015 will be the year of uber transparency. Consumers demand it and I predict that at least two brands, in an effort to do this well, will crash and burn.

Explosion of the Chief Marketing Technologist Role – This hardly new role will become commonplace in 2015. The role will be actively recruited and become the perfect role for the IT leader who has become skilled in marketing, or visa versa. This person will be the go-to source for identifying and vetting marketing technologies such as CRMs, CMS’ and social media tracking systems. Modeling will also fall into this role.

The Customer will be King – Brands that don’t become obsessed with the customer will falter and be overtaken by those that do. CUSTOMER OBSESSION RULES.

Unified Customer Service Technologies – I really expected this to happen in 2014, particularly in relation to mobile tools, and it did somewhat, but not to the degree that I thought it would. By unified customer service technologies I mean that brands will make it easy for customers to contact them through a variety of methods: email, phone, chat, click to call.

Large Data Breaches will Continue – I fear that overseas hackers will cripple at least three major American companies (and I wrote this post before the recent Sony breach!), setting up a huge government initiative to not only prevent future attacks but to also identify and prosecute those behind them.

Content Marketing – This critical area will become even more critical because the public demands it. Added value content that’s available to everyone is not just the norm, but it’s how companies show their expertise. This continuing trend will create a new wave of key content marketing positions.

A New Social Media Platform will Emerge as #1. First it was MySpace, than Facebook, then SnapChat and Instagram making it to the top of the list of sites used by the younger crowd (over 90% of Instagram users are under 35; source=Business Insider). As soon as the ‘grown-ups’ adopt a platform that the ‘kids’ are on, the kids find a new one.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Happy New Year!

Sue’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

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By Sue Brady

I check my blog stats often to understand what’s resonating most with my readers.

Here’s the list of your faves from this year:

Happy reading!

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