Author: Gerry Moran

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

It’s All Social Media Fun and Games Until You Get a Call from HR

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. Or, in reality, a client, an analyst’s support, or your credibility from getting your social media account hacked. And then, HR calls you about your social media governance.

Many brands govern their social media program with documented strategy and policy. And, there are many more brands who don’t govern at all. They write passwords on stickies. They don’t write down their content marketing plan. They make their CEOs and HR execs cringe with their poor writing skills.

Since clients, analysts, and the press use social media to check in on the pulse of the company, unprofessional and unskilled social media management will hurt a brand, beyond belief. All of a sudden, that ‘free’ marketing channel costs you a lot. Your well-intended missteps cannot be taken back or untweeted.

3 Social Media Governance Statistics That Are a Dangerous Combination for Your Brand

  • Ad Week reports 47% of employees will use social networks at some point to connect with customers—which sets up a slew of problems if their skill set does not match their passion.
  • Pew Research Center reports 73% of companies don’t have an official social media policy—which is an operating manual to address unapproved social media channels, interacting with the press, and developing brand-approved messaging. 
  • A MARTECH Advisor post cites a lack of knowledge and training is the #1 challenge keeping marketers from achieving their customer engagement goals—indicating that many digital marketers are undereducated with using social media.

How do you avoid losing your focus on the right things to do with your content marketing and social media? Focus on what happens when you lack the skill or understanding of running a social media program. Then hire a professional to develop an end-to-end governance and content marketing strategy. Here are just a few things that can happen to any Fortune 500 brand or small business with no social media policy.

17 Ways To Poke Your Eye Out With Social Media 

  1. No one retweets or shares your post, suggesting your brand is not engaging.
  2. You go viral for the wrong reason, and you become ensconced in a PR debacle.
  3. You get hacked and don’t have a plan to remedy the off-color posts from your channel.
  4. No one clicks on your post and your social media is not driving business impact. 
  5. You begin to lose followers, while all of your competitors are gaining followers.
  6. You forgot your social media channel password and need to take down a post at midnight.
  7. You can explain your ROI to leadership and your program funding gets cut.
  8. You don’t have enough content to use on your channels and all you do is send promotional messaging that falls on deaf ears.
  9. You use copyrighted material and you get sued.
  10. Your post has a typo and you sell content services. 
  11. A customer clicks a post that links to a 404 page and you are in the business of selling customer experience.
  12. An employee mistakenly shares a personal post and it’s a little too personal.
  13. You don’t know what you’re measuring. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, right? 
  14. An analyst calls out your company for amateurish posts and your stock price drops.
  15. A $500k potential client question posted on your channel goes unanswered and you get blamed for not responding. 
  16. Someone responds to your post with a bad comment and you don’t know what to do.
  17. You share customer-sensitive content and you lose your client.

Do you have a few more instances that you can share about your personal experience? If so, please share below. Or, please email me at moran.gerry@gmail.com. I want to include your quote in this blog post.

Remember, creating and executing a content marketing and social media strategy is not fun and games—especially when you get your metaphoric eye poked out.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Transparent Marketing is Risky Business

This blog post will help you understand how to use customer-centric content marketing to make a quicker sale and build a better relationship with your client.

Customer-Centric Messaging


While wearing see-through clothing is sometimes risqué, doing see-through marketing is always risky.

Clients don’t want to see through messaging that is truly a sales or marketing message—especially when they are initially looking for help. You know, the upper-funnel kind. They want information that will start an authentic conversation to help solve their problem or act on an opportunity.


By clouding up the selling and marketing approach, you are obfuscating the customer’s buying journey and delaying your selling process. So, it’s time to introduce a little clarity into your messaging strategy—delivering the right message at the right time on the right channel.

Three Statistics Supporting Your Customer’s Need For Customer-Centric Content

  • 65 percent of senior executives feel that preparing to make a purchase decision is “hard,” “awful,” “painful,” “frustrating,” and “minefield,” as reported in the Harvard Business Review—indicating less pitching and more up-front education might lessen their pain.  (Source: CEB)
  • 86 percent of B2B decision-makers say proactive, prescriptive approach that guides them through decision making increases the likeliness of purchase ease and decreases the likeliness of purchase regret—suggesting the role of the providing the right content at the right time.
  • A Content Marketing Report (CMI) report shows that 68 percent of tech content marketers say creating content appealing to multiple customer roles is their top challenge. 

So, what’s the answer? Take a look at these ways to sell better with content and messaging.

13 Ways To Win Your Client’s Heart with Transparent and Buyer-centric Marketing Messaging 

Consider the following comparisons the next time you work on your sales and marketing message. Whether you deliver your ideas via email, thought leadership content, or social media, it has to be helpful and authentic. This list will help you determine the most effective approach to provide customer clarity and close the sale with content.

  1. Selling vs. solving 
  2. Advertising vs. advice
  3. Commercials vs. thought leadership
  4. Pitches vs. questions 
  5. “I think” vs. “I know” 
  6. Proposals vs. discovery
  7. Audience vs. community
  8. Always-on messaging vs. one-off sales campaigns
  9. You-centric vs. customer-centric
  10. One-off posts vs. conversations 
  11. Entertaining vs. being smart
  12. Talking to vs. talking with
  13. Listening vs. hearing

Well, it’s about time to strip down your sales and marketing messaging to be a bit more helpful—especially early in their buying journey. Or, you’ll find it’s risky business out there.

I’d love to know how you use content marketing to break through to your clients. So, please comment below or reach out to me at moran.gerry@gmail.com.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Paradise by the Social Media Dashboard Light

“Let me sleep on it, I’ll give you an answer in the morning.” This song lyric might be your response if asked for performance data and you don’t have a social media dashboard.

However, it’s not the right answer in today’s competitive B2B landscape. This assertion is especially true if your CEO needs quick insight into your program budget.

Two Key Social Media Measurement Stats Open Up Your Eyes to a Big Surprise

  1. A study by Adobe reports 88% of marketing experts do not accurately measure their social media initiatives effectiveness. 
  2. A Content Marketing Institute study identifies that only 24% of B2B brands are highly proficient at measuring content marketing impact.

Now, these are two reasons to make it easier to measure your social media activity.

So, with the odds stacked against you to show a return on marketing investment, what do you do? Run like a bat of hell? No!

Marketing Dashboards Turn Metrics Into Understandable Stories

A social media dashboard is your best way to provide a management feedback loop. It will help show what’s going to provide insight to make quick and actionable recommendations.

Recommended read: How to Measure the Success of Your Blog

The simple recipe for a dashboard is like an excellent basic meatloaf recipe — quickly fills the void, so people are satisfied. However, you have to go beyond the numbers with your dashboard. You have to tell a story so management ‘gets it.’ 

Social Media ROI
Instead of talking about followers, likes, and web referrals as key social media metrics tell the story about building and reaching a relevant community, starting conversations, and driving brand consideration!

For example, there is another way of explaining social media results might include followers, engagement, and web referrals. Executives will get the bigger story around your reporting if the metrics are wrapped in a community, conversation, and consideration storyline.

I’d like to know about your marketing reporting success stories or answer your questions. Please leave a comment below or reach out to me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com.

Stop right there, I gotta know right now if you are going tell a social media story with a dashboard.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

36 Calls For Content Marketing Help

content marketing super powers

Do you have the super powers to hear and to answer the calls for content marketing help?

Lack of a clear and strategic content marketing plan can hurt your brand — be it a small business, big company or personal reputation. Hone your listening skills to help you help others and to save them from ineffective social media marketing.

Many corporate marketers and Main Street local business owners make more ‘I think’ vs. ‘I know’ social media and content decisions. Ignoring the nuances of proven user experience, content consumption, and native-behavior can lead to fewer buyers walking through your front door — whether virtual or brick and mortar.

4 Facts About Content That Make You Go Hmmmm.

21% of businesses can’t map their social media and content results to an ROI, suggesting they don’t know what is or is not working. Source: Content Marketing Institute

60% of brands are challenged with creating engaging content, indicating there is a lot of mediocre and boring content under-delivering on business goals. Source: Content Marketing Institute

Only 30% of B2B marketers — a 21% decline from 2015 — say their companies are effective at content marketing, implying there is more ineffective content being used every day. Source: Content Marketing Institute

32% of marketers are find their social media teams lack the skills to develop decent content setting up the need for others to influence how to posts, graphics, and videos are created — many times mistakenly. Source: Content Marketing Institute

How do you even know if you are stuck in the content conundrum? Well, here are some quips and quotes I have picked up and pondered over the last ten years of my digital marketing engagement … with clients, customers, and coworkers.

36 Indicators Suggesting Your Company Is Stuck In A Content Conundrum

If you have used or heard these phrases, think about calling in a content marketing expert to help you create your foundational strategy. Then you can begin to build on your marketing success.

  1. This is the hashtag my boss wants.
  2. This is the video title my business leader wants.
  3. We didn’t want to use facts into the messaging,
  4. We need to fit the entire quote no matter if it fits (into the viewable window.)
  5. We want to start to use a (organic, not paid) hashtag, so our readers know it’s our message.
  6. We are going to use social media to drive registration, leads, AND sales.
  7. My agency had a good idea that we want to run with — and here’s the final copy and creative.
  8. My event’s tomorrow and I need my messaging to go out on social media.
  9. We don’t know what hashtag or keywords we should be using — so can you tell us?
  10. Can you just create the social media content about my (niche) topic (even though you’re not the expert?)
  11. We need just need to do social.
  12. We don’ have to measure social media, do we?
  13. We don’t know where to send people after they read our posts.
  14. We want to increase our awareness AND drive leads with social media.
  15. We want to use all 140 characters for Twitter.
  16. What do you mean I should use a visual with my social media posts — where do I get that?
  17. I don’t care about my video’s tagging, description and playlist development — I just need to get this video up on YouTube.
  18. Why isn’t my (10-minute) video getting any views?
  19. I don’t have time to do social media (or social selling.)
  20. Why aren’t people sharing my social media posts?
  21. Our team doesn’t know how to do social media, but we need to get this message out on social media about our event.
  22. I don’t do Twitter, so YOU will have to get my message out on social media.
  23. Oh, I didn’t know hashtags, format, character count, tone, and messaging was important on social media.
  24. We need to target only the decision maker — and don’t need to consider their buying team of SVPs, VPs, Senior Directors, and Directors.
  25. Here’s the one tweet we want to use to support our marketing campaign. Let me know when it’s up, so I can tell my boss.
  26. Let’s just use the same messaging on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ — it’s easier.
  27. Will you manage my social media profile for me?
  28. Someone said something negative about us on social media — what should we do?
  29. We don’t want our employees to participate on social media unless we sign off on it.
  30. I didn’t realize our Facebook followers don’t see our message unless we pay for it.
  31. I have $200 to spend on a very targeted social media campaign on LinkedIn, what should I do?
  32. I haven’t logged into LinkedIn for months.
  33. LinkedIn’s only for job seekers.
  34. Get this message out in the LinkedIn groups that map to our business — so, what are those groups.
  35. Can you tell me who are our influencers are in our space?
  36. Let’s do social media, because it’s free.

Do you have another quip you’ve heard calls out for attention or fixing? If so, please share it below. Or, reach out to me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com, MarketingThink.com or on Twitter @GerryMoran.

These phrases do not suggest the lack of flexibility or openness to change by others. These phrases are calls for help! When you hear them, break out your content marketing super powers to save the world from sub-par social media and content. Then you’ll start to deliver improved marketing results.

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

4 Simple Plays To Jump Start Your Social Selling Game Plan

Social selling has clearly taken hold in the B2B world. Everyone is talking about it — especially your competition. Perhaps you still struggle with evolving into modern selling?

Sure, plenty of companies and sales professionals have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social sites. However, that disparate presence is a far cry for most sales teams to integrate social media and content marketing into their sales strategy. The question is — how can you begin to activate social media and content best practices into a powerful sales tool for your business? An even more significant qusetion is —  is the payoff worth the effort?

The Rewards of Social Selling

Much research supports these questions with a solid “yes.” The growing body of evidence demonstrates social selling delivers results — and organizations with an effective social strategy are reaping significant benefits. For example, an Aberdeen study reports social sellers significantly outstripped sellers who do not use social selling based on multiple sales effectiveness KPIs — including total team attainment of sales quotas, customer renewal rates, sales forecast accuracy and percent of sales reps achieving quota. Social Centered Selling reports that 72.6 percent of salespeople using social media as part of their sales process outperformed sales peers and exceeded quota 23 percent more often. And the list goes on.

With benefits like these, why don’t more companies embrace social selling? Uncertainty of the right approach ranks high for this lack of embrace. If that uncertainty holds you back, the following four strategies—used successfully to implement social selling at many organizations —offer a good place to start.

4 Easy Sales Plays to Start Your Social Selling Strategy

Creating a social sales strategy can be compared to making a birthday cake: just add the extra social media ingredient to each layer of your existing sales process.

Social Selling Is A Piece Of Cake

You can also think of it as adding new moves to the plays already in your sales playbook. The power of social selling will up your advantage at each stage of the game. Viewed this way, social becomes less intimidating and more fun. Here’s how it might look.

Social Selling Play 1: Integrate social into prospecting and preparation.

Why do it: At recent leading technology event, many enterprise software sales executives told me how tough it’s getting to break through the noisy sales clutter. In fact, InsideView reports that 90 percent of CEOs don’t answer cold emails and cold calls anymore, a trend also occurring with sales decision influencers. So what’s filling the gap? You guessed it—social media. For example, IBM reports that 75 percent of B2B decision makers use social media to inform their decisions, and blogs play a burgeoning role as well. The takeaway: layering social media onto the sales process helps you connect with the “unconnectable,” providing crucial access to prospects and targets you might otherwise never reach.

Social Selling Anatomy Of A B2B Decision-Maker

How to do it: Before you talk, it’s important to listen. What are your prospects tweeting, posting, or blogging about? What do they praise or decry? This information will help you know how to enter conversations later on.

  • Start by creating private social media lists of your prospects, then follow them using a social management site like HootSuite or Google Alerts. Learn which social influencers your targets follow, and follow their reports and influencers yourself.
  • Make it a daily habit to read industry publications and news your prospects wish they had time to read. Curate relevant content to develop diverse sources to draw on, and follow the hashtags your prospects associate with most.
  • You can also Google your prospects’ names with the word “blog” to see where they’re blogging, then set up ongoing searches through tools like Feedly or Flipboard to stay on top of their talk.
  • Search for their questions and answers on LinkedIn, and conduct keyword searches to find comments, discussions, and questions circulating in LinkedIn Groups.

Social Selling Play 2: Use social to make the first contact.

Why do it: With fewer people responding to calls or emails—and buying organizations typically completing 65 to 90 percent of the sales cycle before approaching a supplier — social media may well be your best bet for connecting with prospects. Customer-centric social media provides a comfortable, convenient way to learn your qualifications and credibility — in an unbiased environment on their terms. This opportunity makes the case for your brand in a less direct, yet far more effective way than traditional sales approaches.

Hitch A Ride | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

How to do it: A simple three-part strategy can streamline your path to successful social connection:

  • Don’t jump the gun. Before reaching out on social, get your ‘ducks in a row.’ Identify the network(s) where your prospects are most active, and establish your presence there with a polished, complete profile. Then use the engagement strategy most suited to each location. For example:
  • On LinkedIn, “get introduced,” engage in a group they belong to or ask them a direct question relevant to a group discussion or their area of expertise.
  • On Facebook, like, comment on, or share a prospect’s post.
  • On Twitter, retweet, reply to, or “favorite” a prospect’s tweet; mention the prospect in a tweet; tweet a question to your prospect, or list them.
  • On your prospect’s blog, comment or reply to a comment; on your blog, you can ask a question or request recommendations, leverage LinkedIn or Twitter, or mention your prospect’s blog.
  • Play nice. Remember, how you say things conveys as much about you as what you say — so be helpful and honest, friendly and polite, professional and relevant. And as your mother always told you, etiquette counts. Follow group or site rules, never send spam, don’t ask to add people you don’t know, and keep your exchanges focused on others (no one wants to listen when it’s all about you). Finally, pay attention to your spelling and grammar; careless or sloppy language suggests that you might be, too.
  • Stay in the game. The way you follow up on initial connections can determine whether you launch a conversation or nip it in the bud. If your prospect responds, be sure to reply within 24 hours. If not, wait five days before initiating another contact (just like in dating, overeager pestering can kill interest faster than a dad with a shotgun). Once a conversation gets going, establish yourself as an available resource by maintaining contact … with your contact by setting up alerts on your prospect’s activity to ensure you don’t miss any of their input.

Social Selling Play 3: Nurture warm prospects through social.

Why do it: Social media not only offers an excellent way to make non-intrusive contact, it also lets you differentiate yourself while your prospects are still in the early stages of information-gathering. Think of social as your online golf course: on the surface you’re just pleasantly chatting while you bat around some balls, but at a deeper level you’re building relationships that can pay off over the long haul.

10 Social Selling Touch Points

How to do it: The key to effective nurturing is simple: add value. When you join groups and conversations, enter with your hands full. Contribute relevant, non-sales-oriented insights to blogs, groups, and sites that customers frequent. Offering knowledge or subject matter expertise that addresses their pain points and concerns is more likely to cement connections than pitching your products or services, so listen for the major issues through Google Alerts and similar sites. If your prospect tweets about a problem, tweet back with solution-oriented YouTube videos, links to white papers or blog posts, or other helpful content relevant to their issue. And don’t forget to share the love. Retweet and like your prospects’ posts and tweets, and mention them in your tweets; monitor their social media accounts to discern follow-up, blog, and comment points plus content to pass along.

Social Selling Play 4: Make your brand easy to find through social.

Why do it: When prospects start their purchasing cycle, having an established, highly visible social presence ups your chances of being in the right place at the right time—when they’re ready to buy. That accessibility also goes a long way to ensuring you’ll make their short list when decision time arrives. What’s more, it’s an excellent way to extend your reach and build your brand without heavy legwork, since a valuable social identity represents a one-to-many resource that can engage prospects 24/7 without your constant, direct presence.

LinkedIn Profile | MarketingThink.com | @GerryMoran

How to do it: There are myriad ways to strengthen your social visibility. Don’t neglect the obvious ones, like including links to your social accounts in your email signature, updating your social profiles regularly, and staying engaged in the major prospect forums. Adopt these strategies as well:

  • On your blog, use SEO keywords and include links, and be sure to comment on other blogs as well. Focus on discussions that interest your prospects and targets.
  • On LinkedIn, perfect your profile, use keywords, and list multiple contact touchpoints to make yourself easy to reach. Include a custom URL to make your digital identity more memorable.
  • On Twitter, use your full name in your handle, include your location, and incorporate keywords and links in your bio. Make sure to tweet and retweet frequently and at the right volume.

Do you have a quick-start social selling tip to share? If so, please add below. Or, contact me directly at gerry.moran@marketingthink.com, Twitter or LinkedIn.

5 Other Interesting Social Selling Posts

Sometimes you just need a few simple suggestions to understand how you can activate a strategy, like social selling. You can start using each of thse four plays today — and start seeing results in no time!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

10 Rocking Social Media and Content Marketing Insights

At the end of the day, our marketing strategy depends on connecting with the reader with the best content to incite action. Like buying from you — right?

Here are ten social media, content marketing and customer experience facts and insights to help you put the ‘I know’ behind the ‘I think’ as you develop and activate your marketing plan this week.

10 Social Media & Content Marketing Lessons

 

10 Rolling Stones Songs To Inspire Your Social Media Strategy

Just because you are a B2B marketer does not mean you cannot create inspiration from the most unusual places. Including — the most famous rock and roll band in the world! Source: MarketingThink.com

10 Top Job Skills You’ll Need In 2020

You can’t create content or a customer experience for tomorrow if you don’t develop and hire for tomorrow’s skills, right? There’s no mention of content, social or connection in this skill list. But, those listed are critical to being successful in your plans. Source: World Economic Forum

It Takes 8 Cold Calls To Make A Connection

Sales and marketing need to integrate communication and content marketing programs — so cold calls can become ‘warm calls’ to get your brand in the door sooner. Source: TelNet and Ovation Sales Group

30% Generate More Sales With A Better Customer Experience

Create a shorter and more buyer-centric journey with your content marketing and you will make it easier for people to buy more ‘stuff’ from you. Source: Cognizant

51% of Marketers Expect An ROI From Content Marketing

More brands are creating more content, and more customers have more content to choose from to educate themselves. It’s time to have a social media plan to repurpose your content to develop a profitable buyer relationship. Source: Blue Fountain Media

40% of Buyers Complain Promotions Are Not Relevant

More brands are creating more content, and more customers have more content to choose from to educate themselves. It’s time to have a plan to repurpose your content to develop a profitable buyer relationship. Source: Blue Fountain Media

65% of Decision Makers Say A Brand’s Content Sealed the Deal

Better messaging cuts through the content clutter. Teach your readers about your value proposition and you will be ‘sealing those deals’ in no time. Source: The Knowledge Tree

 

46% Say Photography Is Critical To Current Marketing Plans

If you use stock photography, then you might be confusing or losing your readers. Think about how custom images can help your customers picture themselves using your products or services. Source: HubSpot

92% of Buyers Want To Engage With Someone Who Adds Value

Arm your sales and marketing teams with educational and value-add content and you’ll be cashing in on that 1-1 relationship. Source: The Knowledge Tree

78% of Viewers Will Watch Super Bowl 50 For The Commercials

78% of Viewers Will Watch Super Bowl 50 For The Commercials. Fish where the fish are, and you’ll catch more sales. Just make sure you create custom content for the event so you won’t disappoint or confuse people. Source: Forbes and Statistica

Do you have any additional insights from this week’s facts? If so, please share below or reach out to me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com

Thinking the facts are one thing. Developing actional insights is another. Here’s to making your marketing strategy more effective this week!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Connecting The Digital Dots Of The Customer Experience

Does your content marketing connect the digital dots with your customer experience?

My great grandmother, Michaelena, used to give me connect-the-dots books to keep me busy when I was a toddler. Many times the dots I created did not match the intention of the books’ authors. My ‘masterpieces’ often resulted with my grandmother just shaking her head!

Connecting the digital dots - Gerry Moran

If you are not thinking about the client’s experience and how data, digital and content impact, then you will likely not connect those dots either.

Here are a few data points to consider the effects of content and the buyer experience on your business success.

10 Customer Experience And Content Marketing Insights

65% of CIOs have changed their strategies to enhance customer experience — suggesting a trend in delighting the audience with digital and customized content! Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience — indicating buyers and shoppers want to finalize their purchase in the quickest, easiest and most personalized way! Source: Christine Crandell

80% of retail transactions will use social technology by 2020 — so retailers and other businesses need to embrace social to cash in on sales. Source: IBM

Over 40% of banks didn’t collect demographic information about their customers in 2014 — urging us to think about how to turn readily available information into a customized experience  Source: Oxford Economics

Only 14% of CIOs focus on customer experience — which should make us all wonder what the other 86% are thinking about … saving money? Source: Cognizant Center For The Future Of Work and Oxford Economics

97% of brands feel they can enhance their buyer experience. However, hope is not a strategy when it comes to customer connnection — digital and content marketing strategy is. Source: Cognizant Center For The Future Of Work and Oxford Economics

84% of brands already use native advertising to drive buyer awareness — furthering the strategy of providing the right message at the right time to the right customer on the right channel. Source: eMarketer

99.9% of digital display ads go unclicked — confirming the need to customize content to deliver a better ROI! Source: Google

5,500 ads bombard the average US customer every quarter — confirming clutter is the biggest barrier to the content connection! Source: Cognizant

Brands receive 60 monthly messages per 1000 Twitter followers — an encouraging response to how content can be used to connect with the customer. Source: Sprout

Do you have additional insights from these ten powerful statistics? If so, please share them below. Or reach out to me directly at moran.gerry@gmail.com or on Twitter or LinkedIn.

100 Facts & Insights You Need To Ask About Your Digital Business

There are many other digital business facts you might want to consider. Take a look at ninety more:

100 Questions To Ask About Your DIGITAL BUSINESS from Cognizant

If You Enjoyed This Customer Experience and Content Marketing Post …

Here are a few other customer experience-related posts you might find interesting

A collection of unconnected digital dots can create a random picture — sometimes scary and other times profitable. Data, metrics, and insight are an excellent way to get started on a positive return on customer experience! If anything, you’ll make my great grandmother Michaelena proud! — by connecting those dots the right way!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

10 Simple Ways To Think About Content Marketing

Content marketing is not as complex and complicated as we make it be.  You don’t have to be an Einstein to be successful. Einstein himself said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

So, let’s talk about a simple content marketing strategy!

Many marketers and sales professionals still struggle with the concept of modern marketing. They struggle with social media profiles, improving their reputation currency, and using content to develop an audience – so the by-product of all of these actions is more sales and higher value sales.

Do We Agree On The Definition of Content Marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute states “Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” My experience in marketing leadership roles with IKEA, SAP, Cognizant and many award-winning agencies validates CMI’s definition is spot on!

Research Backs Up The Impact Of A Content Marketing Strategy

Much research suggests that a robust content marketing strategy leads to more business.

  • More Sales Quotas Reached. Social media pros, using relevant content, are 6x more likely to make quota than those who do not use social media. This research suggests all sales organizations need to use content and social selling immediately! Source: KiteDesk, The Ultimate Sales Guide To Crushing Your Quota

6X Reach Quota - Gerry Moran

  • Content Helps You Break Through To Decision Makers. 90% of B2B decision makers never answer a cold call. This statistic indicates content is the key to opening the relationship door! Source: LinkedIn, How Leading Sales Pros Use LinkedIn For Social Selling

90% Don't Answer Phone Calls - Gerry Moran

  • Content Influences Decisions. 65% of buyers (and an overwhelming 82% of senior executives) say the winning vendor’s content had a significant impact on their purchase decision. So, if I am a sales leader I would focus on an efficient content strategy for a competitive edge. Source: The Knowledge Tree

65% Say Content Sealed Deal - Gerry Moran

All of this research indicates that a messaging strategy will help create the competitive edge for your organization – and deliver sales!

10 Ways To Simplify Your Content Marketing

 

1. Build Your Content Marketing Foundation – so you have a sustainable platform from which to amplify your story. Start your content plan by writing down your strategy. 68% of marketers do not have a written plan, reports the Content Marketing Institute. Develop a foundational approach to your content creation and distribution to inspire your audience to do what you want them to do. Most of all, build a foundation by adding value. Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2016 Content Trends

68% Don't Have A Written Content Plan - Gerry Moran

2. Model Your Target Audience After Your Current Audience – to focus your efforts on ‘look-alikes’ vs. ‘look-aways.’ Develop target audience profiles – i.e., personas – with public-facing information from LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. This digital due diligence enables modeling your content after your current readers and customers. This approach will help deepen more relationships and close more sales. When it comes to what you audience wants, 97% want you to improve the quality of your content by including benchmarking data. Source: Demand Gen Report

97% Want Benchmarking Data - Gerry Moran

3. Build A Content Supply Chain – to efficiently create custom messaging and deliver valuable knowledge to your readers. Architect your content to be easy-to-read, real-time and relevant to today’s conversation. Focusing on this step-by-step plan creates a well-oiled supply chain. This production approach to your storytelling ensures clear thinking create the right message – enabling connection with the right audience on the right channel at the right time. With 32% of companies reporting they do not have the talent to pull off an effective content marketing strategy you may have to invest in a new infrastructure or a hire a consultant. Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2015 Content Trends

32% Don't Have The Talent

4. Be A Storyteller – to help your audience remember your value proposition. Chip and Dan Heath say 5% of an audience remembers a presentation based on statistics – while 63% remember the storytelling. We are all trying to sell something or convince someone. Developing analogies and telling stories helps to make your point! Source: Chip & Dan Heath, 23 Facts about Buyers and Purchasing

63% Remember Your Story — Gerry Moran

5. Properly Position Your Value Proposition – to help guide your readers to know what they should do and why they should do it after reading your messaging. Developing awareness, association and consideration of your expertise and offer takes time. Presenting a call to action is not always about the direct response like selling Miracle Mops on QVC. Plan to develop 7-10 different ways to communicate your story on several different channels and always provide a way to get to the next stop on the customer’s buying journey.

6. You Ought To Be In Pictures – since your readers are visual content consumers. A picture tells a thousand words. There is no better way to tell your story than by using custom-made graphics to support your relevant point. KissMetrics reports appropriate visuals drive 94% more views than content without visuals. So, make sure to use pictures, graphics, and videos in each of your go-to-market social media channels. Source: KissMetrics,  6 Types of Visual Content You Need To Use In Your Marketing Campaigns

94% More Views - Gerry Moran

7. Embrace Your Influencers – since they have the attention of your target audience. 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth, while 47% use blogs to influence their decisions. Marketers also report there is a 3-to-1 ROI for using influencers. So, it appears that investing in influencer outreach will pay out handsomely for you! Source: AdWeek, Why Influencer Marketing Is The New Content King

92% Rely on WOM - Gerry Moran

8.  Focus On Your Form Factor – since Google and native reader behavior requires it. Article titles, keywords, hashtags, subtitles, tags and other form factors help readers find you. If no one can find your content  – did you ever write it? No! Looking for proof? Tweets with hashtags get 16% more retweets than those without. Source: Kim Garst, 20 Quick & Easy Ways To Get More Twitter Retweets

47% Turn To Blogs - Gerry Moran

9. Stay In Touch With Your Touch Points – since it’s easier to be where your customers are vs. getting them to come to you. Think through how to connect with the right audience on the right channel at the right time with the right message. With B2B marketers using an average of 13 ways to communicate with content, you have to use the best mix of touch points to tell the best story to tell on the best channel. Source: Content Marketing Institute, 2016 B2B Content Trends

10. Plan To Make A Measurable Difference – to help you understand if you are successful with your content marketing strategy. You can’t succeed unless you measure it – so set measurable goals and then measure how you performed against those objectives. Once you determine how you performed, optimize your plan and do more of the right ‘stuff’ and less of the ‘stuff’ that doesn’t work.

Do you have a few more simple tips to plan and activate your content? If so, please share below. Or, reach out to me on MarketingThink!

5 More Content Marketing Posts You Might Enjoy

Einstein also said if you can’t explain it simply then you don’t know it well enough. By creating a simple content marketing strategy, you can begin to simply explain your value proposition to your customers – Ka-Ching!

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Is Your Social Media Strategy Fully Baked?

If your content marketing strategy is like baking a cake, then are your customers coming back for seconds?

Think of your content as delicious cake and your social media channels as the in which you deliver it to your customers. How are you serving up your messaging to your clients?

Sam

We’ve all seen it.  The lines of customers – on Sunday mornings –  lining up at our favorite bakery, donut or pastry shop. What is it that keeps customers coming back for more cake? Well, it’s a fully baked strategy!

Do You Measure The Right Ingredients For Your Marketing Plan?

  • Today’s Top Social Media & Content Marketing Challenges. Hootsuite indicates the top three challenges organizations face are creating a strategy, reporting on its performance and optimizing the results – suggesting many need a better plan to bake their strategy!
  • Many Brands Do Not Have The Right Cooks In The Kitchen. Hootsuite reports 59% of organizations have the challenge of improving the social media skills of their coworkers – indicating there are bakers in the bakery that might not be creating tasty cakes!
  • B2B Customers Consume Many Pieces Of Content. Google’s Zero Moment of Truth’s research reports the average customer checks 10.4 pieces of content before buying. And, Forrester reports B2B buyers find three pieces of content about your brand for each piece of content you’ve created – indicating your audience finds your content via social media sources, influencers and general audience sharing – so make it great!

Social Media Strategy

The Big Takeaway From This Social & Content Research

The three questions every brand, entrepreneur or socially aware thought leader should ask themselves is “Am I thinking through my social media and content marketing strategy like it’s a recipe? Will my readers and my network come back for more after I serve my first slice of insights, ideas and subject matter expertise? Or, will they look at the presentation and say … ugh, I think I will try something else.

9 Ingredients To Bake Your Social Media & Content Marketing Strategy

1. Ensure social media and content marketing strategy is added at the right time in the planning process – and that’s not at the end.  You have to add sugar to your cake at the right time to make your cake taste great – otherwise it just won’t work. Just like sprinkling sugar on your cake at the end of the baking process, you cannot add social media at the end of your marketing planning process.

2. Let internal stakeholders customize and adapt the foundational social media and content strategy – and don’t let them create it from scratch. Bake the cake for everyone – then give them the option to ice it … or put whatever else on it to make it theirs. In some organizations, it is best to create the foundational social and content strategy and let other very competent team member adjust it for their geography or industry. This way your core plan will be executed.

3. Use only the best ingredients for your content – video, graphics, and storytelling copy.  The best baking ingredients make the best results – so, make sure to use only the best content elements – factual text, videos, factoids, infographics, etc. to cook your communication.

4. Create content that ‘tastes good’ for your variety of customers. Some people like chocolate cake instead of vanilla – so you have to figure how to bake cakes for all dessert lovers. Your job as a content and social media marketer is to develop the solution for each audience or persona to drive your business results. You have to be able to deliver the right message to the right audience on the right channel at the right time, right?

5. Create content in smaller and snackableformats, so your prospects can sample – and then commit. Sometimes you can only get people to eat your cake after they sample your cupcakes. So plan to use a portion of your batter before you use it all to bake your cake. You may think handing out slices of cake for samples might be a solution, but all of the sudden they are not so convenient when you take your cake outside the store. The convenience, snackability and ease of consumption applies to content as much as cakes – Vine videos, Instagram post, factoid graphics … and cupcakes.

6. Think of your social media & content strategy as a baking production line – everyone has a role. Many great bakers and pastry chefs do not create cakes by themselves from start to finish. Instead, they treat their cake baking like a supply chain – with every point in the process assigned to a different person. When mixing your social media strategy, think of the discrete steps needed – from writing to scheduling – to ensure things get done the right way.

7. Make sure to have the right resources to create your social strategy, measure it and optimize your operation. I’ve often tried to bake a cake from great-great grandmother’s Michaelena’s recipe and it never quite tastes the same. And, most cannot bake a cake the same way Buddy Valastro (a.k.a. The Cake Boss) does from the same recipe. Having the recipe is one thing … being able to execute instructions and handle the bumps in the road – like having margarine vs. butter – is another. Just because a millennial is a digital native, does not mean they can pull off creating and executing a plan – so make sure you hire the right type of person to bake your strategy.

8. Sometimes when you want to make your point. It’s all about the presentation. You may have the most delicious cake in the world, but if icing is uneven, and the sprinkles are falling off, then many might move on to the next cake. The same goes with planning content and social media amplification. Make sure your profiles are professional, and your blog posts are built format to engage further your audience.

9. Make it easy for audiences to find you – and deepen their relationship with you. If people like your cake, then they will want more – so make it easy to find your kitchen, store or bakery to you become their go-to cakery. Make sure your content is linked to the right blog post, white paper, video, etc. – so it’s a natural progression in the relationship.

Do you have a different baking tip for your social media or content strategy? If so, then please share below. Or, reach out to me on MarketingThink.com, on Twitter @GerryMoran or on LinkedIn.

Other Tasty Blog Posts To Help You Bake Your Marketing Strategy

Unlike the insightful idiom, ‘you can’t have your cake and eat it, too’, with good planning you can have your cake and eat it, too, when it comes to social media and content marketing strategy. You can serve up slices of virtual cake – or cupcakes – that keep on getting consumed and passed along to others!

 

by Gerry Moran Gerry Moran No Comments

Make Your Content Marketing More Newsworthy!

Many of us started our content marketing careers delivering newspapers in our local communities. What a great lesson in sales, customer service, marketing, and being social!

In the days before social media, social selling and content marketing,  people consumed content via newspapers. And, some of that native behavior still exists! However, your self-promotional use of Twitter is likely missing the mark because it is just not newsworthy.

Content marketing

Brands need to activate their content and awareness messaging – to make it more like a newsfeed and less like a promotional feed. By making your content more newsworthy, your customers will increase their likelihood to read it, count on it, and act on it – especially those who do not have a long relationship with you. Think less about the features and benefits of your products services and more about the news. Show that you understand your audience’s industry, category and company challenges. This approach will help you win their trust.

Remember you have to show your ability to deliver the news before they pay for the newspaper.

Reading The News Is A Native Behavior. Reading The Ads Is Not.

My paper route customers had a news reading ritual:

  • Delivery. Expect delivery of the paper every day.
  • Headline Scan. Scan the paper for meaningful headlines to learn something without having to read any further.
  • Read What Was Relevant and Interesting. Dive deeper into the content to get to the heart of the story – expanded from headline.

These are content consumption behaviors today’s consumers still practice – only now they do it with Twitter.

5 Reasons To Make Your Marketing Messaging More Newsworthy

I am not sure to whom we can attribute the phrase, “The news and nothing but the news” – however, it appears to have been foreshadowing for what your consumers want on Twitter.

  • It’s All About The Headline. 80% get their news by scrolling through their timelines – while 67% by browsing the timelines of others. This native scrolling behavior indicates the need to break through the clutter. (Source: American Press Institute, Twitter, and DB5)
  • More News Consumption. 60% of Twitter users say they get more news now than before they joined the service – indicating our audience is using Twitter for news content. (Source: American Press Institute, Twitter, and DB5)
  • Easier News Consumption. 79% of Twitter users say staying on top of the news was easier compared to 62% of non-Twitter users – indicating your audience consumes news on Twitter to consume and probably does not engage as much as you think. (Source: American Press Institute, Twitter, and DB5)
  • Active News Consumption. 86% of Twitter users use the service for the news – 75% using it daily – suggesting the need to be relevant and active with your content creation (Source: American Press Institute, Twitter, and DB5)
  • Taking The Relationship To The Next Level. 92% click through, at least sometimes, to read the news – showing you that great newsworthy headlines will help you advance your customer relationship (Source: American Press Institute, Twitter, and DB5)

The Big Question You Should Ask About Twitter, Consumption And Content Marketing

“Should I be using Twitter as a way to position my awareness messaging as a news feed?” Well, the above research provides one very clear takeaway for your content marketing strategy – make sure your messaging is more newsworthy …  and distribute it on Twitter!

How To Make Your Brand’s Twitter Feed More Newsworthy

Even though your company is not a collection of journalists or a news publication, you can take a page out of their playbook with these simple tips:

1.  Headlines.  Write your tweets in 70- to 100-character capitalized headlines to capture your readers’ attention.

2. Facts And Lists. Feature facts and lists to convey your understanding of your audience’s business. You need to make your readers’ life a little better because you got them to think about things a little differently – or you taught them something. Have an informative approach to your messaging and you’ll be building your relationship in no time!

3. Pictures. The old saying, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ also applies to content marketing and Twitter. Try to include a custom-made and newsworthy graphic in 75% of your messaging to help break through the clutter and capture the hearts, minds, and most importantly the eyes of your readers.

4. Call To Action (CTA) Connected To The ‘Story’. You need to deliver the news. However, you also need to give your audience a clear next step to ‘learn more’. Accomplish this ‘click’ with a ‘Read More:’, [WHITE PAPER] or similar CTA.

5. User Experience. Make sure to link your tweet to an informative landing page or blog post that naturally ‘fits’ the headline in your tweet. Think of this experience as a story supporting the newspaper headline.

Do you have another tip or idea to create more newsworthy messaging in your tweets? If so, please comment below or contact me at moran.gerry@gmail.com, at MarketingThink.com, on Twitter @GerryMoran or on LinkedIn at in/GerryMoran.

A Few More Posts To Help You Deliver Newsworthy Messages

So, how can your brand use content or content marketing to secure the attention of your readers? Give your audience the news and nothing but the news and they will start to pay for it with their social and relationship currency.

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