Blogging | The Brainzooming Group - Part 3 – page 3
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(This is another in a week-long series on forming oneself as a Catholic business person.)

While social media and content marketing strategy ideas benefit from new thinking and approaches, you can also incorporate offline best practices that make sense, even if they may seem old.

For example, one client expressed challenges in refreshing and featuring seasonally-based story ideas year after year. In answer to this challenge related to content marketing strategy, I realized something from my spiritual life demonstrates a great lesson applicable to developing an editorial calendar to take advantage of recurring content opportunities.

An Offline Way to Plan Online Content Marketing Strategy

Lectionary

Attending mass on a daily basis has helped reveal the underlying calendar that plans which Bible passages are read at each Catholic mass. An approved lectionary (in essence, an editorial calendar) sets the direction. For weekdays, some readings are assigned to annual cycles and other to biennial ones. During special liturgical seasons, all daily readings are the same each year. For Sunday services, readings rotate every three years. Specific feasts and holidays during the year may cause the replacement of that day’s passages with other related Bible readings instead.

The end result, beyond emphasizing different messages with varied frequencies, is simple: over the course of the daily and Sunday calendars, approximately 95% of the Bible’s books are included through at least some passages.

If your organization has many stories to tell and needs to reinforce key messages at different times (with varying rates of repetition), adopting a comparable editorial calendar approach could make sense for you. Employing a similar strategy for content marketing strategy requires answering critical questions. These include:

  • What’s the full range of content we want to cover for the organization and target audiences?
  • What content priorities need more frequent reinforcement, and which can be addressed less regularly?
  • What are special events that need coverage and should rightfully interrupt the editorial calendar?
  • What options can be provided to content creators (either in topics, style, etc.) to allow creative flexibility?
  • What strategic links exist between content areas and associated SEO and keyword strategies?

The questions may seem daunting. There is incredible upside in the content marketing strategy opportunities generated from implementing a strategic editorial calendar that reflects both repetitive topics and new twists on old stories.

If the prospect of creating an editorial calendar and collaborative blogging plan seems overwhelming, let us know. We’d love to help streamline developing and implementing your social media and collaborative blogging strategies.

Has your organization done anything like this? Have you tried a similar approach for a smaller organization? How has it worked, and where, if anywhere, have you struggled?  – Mike Brown

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Spending the week at the Hubspot Inbound15 conference was intense – for various reasons. The experience could yield a month’s worth of Brainzooming posts filled with content marketing strategy ideas from Inbound.

Inbound15-ClubInbound

Nine Time-Saving Content Marketing Strategy Tips from Inbound15

As a start, here are nine time-saving tips for content marketing strategy I took away from Inbound15.

Some are credited to specific speakers; others were general takeaways from the conference.

  1. When you have older, evergreen content that has more mileage left in it, take the opportunity to refresh and optimize the posts. Then, republish the posts as new content for those readers that haven’t seen these posts previously. (Pamela Vaughn of Hubspot)
  2. Instead of launching a brand new LinkedIn Group, explore taking over a LinkedIn Group that is in your topic area that has gone dormant. Even though it might not be as active as it once was, you’ll be starting with a built-in audience that you can re-engage. (Viveka Von Rosen, Linked Into Business)
  3. When you create an eBook, think through all the other content bits and pieces you can pull out of it. These include blog posts, short-form status updates, infographics, presentations, etc. (Amanda Sibley, Hubspot)
  4. Do more curation and less creation. Save time by turning your reading and learning time into curated content posts for your blog. (Ginny Soskey, Hubspot)
  5. If you’ve written multiple posts on a related topic, combine them into one comprehensive, be all and end all post on that particular topic. (Ginny Soskey again)
  6. Use humor more, even in business content, to make your communication crisper and to help it communicate more efficiently. (Tim Washer)
  7. Instead of creating highly specific and custom slides for presentations, create fewer slides with more general messages and images. You can use these for multiple presentations, telling multiple and different stories over the top of these slides. (From a conversation with author and speaker, Pam Didner)
  8. Make sure to stay current on all the integration opportunities across social networks that allow you to seamlessly feature one piece of content in multiple places, i.e., LinkedIn and LinkedIn Slideshare integration. (Arpit Dhariwal and Taylor Greason of LinkedIn Slideshare)
  9. Incent attendees at events to share their notes and photos of presentations in order to build a content archive. (What Hubspot did with Inbound.org)

Some of these content marketing strategy tips are new, and others are simply good reminders of great ways to get more done with your content in much less time! – Mike Brown

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Solo-Social-Media-Cover2Speaking at content marketing and social media strategy conferences, I meet many individuals in social media specialist roles handling social and content marketing duties for their companies as one-person departments.

What amazes me is that these are not just people from smaller companies. Even many big brands place all the responsibility for their social and content marketing on a single social media specialist. One study reported, in fact, that 42% of individuals with full-time social media strategy and implementation responsibilities are flying solo.

When you ask a solo social media specialist about the job’s issues, they report a variety of challenges, including:

  • Trying to manage strategy and tactics
  • Being pulled between competing priorities
  • Creating social campaigns that produce business results
  • Lack of time
  • Producing enough content
  • Lack of budget

For a solo social media specialist to work effectively, it’s important to know ways to save time, increase focus, improve performance, boost efficiency, and create more productive content.

If your time, attention, and dollars are stretched thin carrying out your brand’s social media strategy by yourself, you need to download the new eBook from The Brainzooming Group, “3 Principles for a Thriving One-Person Social Team.”

Download Your FREE eBook! 3 Keys to Thriving as a Solo Social Media Professional

We’ve partnered with The Social Media Strategy Summit to make this FREE eBook available to all our Brainzooming readers. Within the eBook, you will learn actionable ideas to:

  • Use your company’s business strategy to better focus and streamline your content creation
  • Take advantage of “whole brain metrics” to more thoroughly document how your work contributes to success
  • Develop a simple, action-oriented content planner
  • Smart ways to produce and distribute more of the right content in less time
  • Extend your team to motivated, knowledgeable “volunteers” within your organization

If these sound like ideas that will let you do more with greater effectiveness and in much less time, we invite you to download our new eBook TODAY to boost your success and results as a solo social media professional! – Mike Brown

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Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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People have suggested over the years that we should take a break from the Brainzooming blog’s rigorous publishing schedule.

The advice was reiterated last Thursday by Stephen Lahey, the Smart Solo Business mastermind and self-described “number one Brainzooming fan.” The thing is through all the sharing and promotion Stephen does of Brainzooming content, his self-described title is completely true.

I updated Stephen on the upcoming Brainzooming presentations I am developing for later July, including:

Along with so much time focused on family matters the last couple of months, I told Stephen the next two weeks would be heavy with creating these presentations, let alone getting the blog written. He advised me to be realistic and take a Brainzooming blog vacation.

Blue-Sky-Clouds

Well, if the blog’s number one fan is okay with a blog vacay, maybe it is time to take a Brainzooming blog vacation.

And so, we will.

Look for the blog to return next week when I have had a chance to catch up, complete the presentations, and maybe even write a few unpublished blogs to build up my cushion of new content again. It is incredible to think, at one time, I was twenty blog posts ahead for Brainzooming at a time when I was also doing two other blogs!

How times change!

Enjoy the Brainzooming blog vacation as much as I plan to do, and we will see you back here next week! – Mike Brown

 

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Whenever readers or workshop audience members initiate conversations and ask questions, it is so much easier to write blog content.

I doubt that is a unique situation.

If you are looking to find more ideas for your content marketing strategy, have you tried mining your organization’s daily customer conversations?

Tap into open-ended customer conversations already taking place with sales, customer service, executives, technical staff, drivers, retail associates, e-commerce and social media staff, market researchers, and any other employees interacting with customers whether in-person or virtually.

Photo by: Seleneos | Source: Photocase.com

Photo by: Seleneos | Source: Photocase.com

Additionally, create new opportunities to capture customer conversations through listening posts you create. These are specific interactions you create to capture additional inputs from customers about your brand and its products and services. It could be as simple as actually capturing the feedback from questions you are already having your employees ask customers during routine interactions. It might extend, however, to doing something completely new to find out what customers are asking or saying about your brand.

4 Customer Conversations and Content Marketing Strategy Ideas

How do you turn these conversations into content marketing possibilities?

One way is to think about the conversations based on their nature (statements vs. questions) and tone (positive to negative). Categorizing customer conversations along these two dimensions is a first step toward turning them into content using the matrix below.

  • Positive statements can suggest ways to highlight brand value.
  • Positive questions turn into education opportunities
  • Negative comments are opportunities to anticipate objectives and challenges other customers are facing but not voicing.
  • Negative questions open the door to both process changes to address pain points and update opportunities for what your brand is doing in these areas.

Customer-Convo-Med

Effectively mining customer conversations sets you up to expand content you can be better assured is relevant to customers and prospects because THEY are generating the topics!  – Mike Brown

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Professor John Bennett responded to the recent Brainzooming long list blog post on 26 ways to leave a trail of genius. He wondered about why we write long list posts and how we expect readers will use them.

John’s question and the personal and student examples he shared deserved something more than a comment response, thus this blog.

Long-Lists

3 Reasons Why We Write Long List Posts

Before sharing how we expect readers might use long lists, it is worthwhile to highlight why we write them based on both reader AND writer preferences:

  • Readers gravitate toward list posts. Every year, the most-visited Brainzooming posts are invariably filled with long lists. We’ve hypothesized previously about how a long list of possibilities gives readers a chance to find SOMETHING they can embrace and do.
  • A mega list challenges me personally to see if a subject stands up to use. Is the underlying concept productive enough to generate many possibilities or does it fizzle out quickly after just a few ideas?
  • Long list posts are SOMETIMES easier to write. The long list prompting John’s question was a spur of the moment idea to take advantage of potential writing time while sitting around during my mother-in-law’s recent hospital stay.

There may be other reasons (because three reasons aren’t very many), but let’s leave it at that!

5 Ways Readers Might Use Mega List Posts

How do we recommend readers use mega list posts – at least ones on the Brainzooming blog?

Here are five ideas:

  • Readers can see if they are already doing some of the ideas. That can make them feel better about how smart / motivated / proactive they are.
  • If they aren’t doing much about the list’s subject, having many options provides plenty of possibilities to find one or two things to start doing.
  • Readers might discover the inspiration for new and even better ideas than the long list blog post contains.
  • They might realize the list’s core topic is one they should embrace as something important.
  • Readers could use a long list blog post as a checklist for changing things about themselves or what they do over time.

How Do You Use Long Lists in Blog Posts?

That’s what I think you might be doing with long list blog posts. Is that anywhere close to reality?

If not, then WHAT ARE you doing with them? John and I would like to know! – Mike Brown

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I’m delivering the closing keynote at the October 2015 Social Media Strategy Summit in Boston. It’s an exciting next step in the relationship that’s developed with the Global Strategic Management Institute (GSMI) over the past year delivering social media strategy workshops and presentations at a number of their events.

Bring on the 28 Social Media Strategy Super Models

This new keynote presentation will cover “Super Models – Strategic Ways to Plan, Sell-in, and Get More from Your Content.”

No, it’s not about Kate Upton, Gisele Bündchen, or even Cindy Crawford who caused a social media stir with the “who knows whether they are touched up good or touched up bad” photos.

The social media strategy keynote presentation I’ll be delivering will highlight strategic models we’ve developed for brands to expand their effectiveness in developing content marketing and social strategies. Each model provides a different perspective to think about various aspects of social and content strategy.

I started sketching out the keynote presentation while discussing the conference with Breanna Jacobs, Director, Conference Production at Global Strategic Management Institute. This prompted this compilation of twenty-eight social media and content marketing models we’ve included across these articles from the Brainzooming blog.

Online Brand Presence

Social Networks Are Like . . . Offline Situations Where You Understand What to Do

It’s a lot easier to explain social networks to people who don’t get it (and even develop robust strategies) when you have solid offline models to make strategic connections. Want an example? Twitter makes a lot more sense to many executives and sales people when you tell them it’s like a business networking function.

Network-Twitter

Your Website Is Like . . . Your Home

Most people don’t invite people over to their messy, run-down homes. They get their houses fixed up and ready, then the invites are extended to others. The same steps apply for your brand’s website and its audiences.

Activating Your Brand’s Online Is Like . . . TV Network Content and Promotion

TV and cable networks have been creating content, promoting it, and drawing audiences for a long time. That’s why we think they have something to teach brands.

Social Media Interaction

Social Engagement Is Like . . . Dating and Relationship Success

Lifelong personal relationships aren’t built on a series of one night stands. Neither are successful brand relationships with their audiences.

Mike-Cyndi

A Community Manager’s Job Is Like . . . Being a DJ at a Dance Club

Whether you are a community manager or a DJ, having lots of options, paying attention to what the crowd is enjoying, and making connections are all vital.

Reaching Out and Engaging Online with Frustrated Customers Is Like . . . Preventing a Brand Kidnapping

Just as you wouldn’t stand idly by if someone where threatening a family member, a brand has to reach out and manage engagement with frustrated customers to turn these situations into success.

Failing to Monitor Online Conversations without Social Listening Tools Is Like . . . Trying to Serve Soup without a Ladle

It’s frustrating to try to listen, learn, and analyze what’s going on relative to your brand on social media without good listening tools. They’re changing all the time, so you have to stay up on them.

Content Creation

Creating Audience-Oriented Content Is Like . . . Standing on the Outside of Your Brand and Looking In (But Mainly Looking Around)

A sure way to deliver ho-hum content to your audience is to stand “inside” your brand and simply report about yourself. Engaging brand content reflects an audience perspective that takes place outside your brand.

Outside-Looking-In

Being Able to Easily Generate Content Ideas Is Like . . . How George Costanza Thinks about TV Show Ideas

You have to be a Seinfeld fan for this model to work as well, but suffice it to say that ANYTHING can become a blog post!

Deciding How Aggressive Your Content Sells Online Is Like . . . Deciding If Your Brand Is a Fun Partier, a Pushy Salesperson, or Something in Between

There are multiple ways you can sell and pick your spots on the social sales continuum. You just need to decide what approaches best fit your brand.

Involved with Branding Strategy? Join us in San Francisco in May!

I’ll be conducting a workshop on “Strategic Brand Innovation – Mining Outside-In Opportunities to Bolster Your Brand” at the GSMI Brand Strategy Conference in May 2015. If you’re focused on branding and want to hear perspectives from a wide variety of great brands, we’d love to see you in San Francisco! – Mike Brown

 

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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