How to Create a Content Calendar

How to Create a Content Calendar

Diving into the year without a marketing plan is a setup for disaster. Arming yourself with a marketing strategy including a solid content calendar is not just good business – it’s imperative for success. A content calendar is one of the first steps in putting your overall plan into action. Don’t know how to get started? Start with what you already know.

Look Backwards

There’s an old saying: To see where you’re going, you have to look at where you’ve been. Before you start putting together the content calendar, do a content audit of past marketing projects and pay attention to the timing of successful elements. Did something not work? Strike it from the list. Also look at what themes were discussed (i.e. sales, product lines, customer awareness, links to interesting articles), and take this into account when putting together the current marketing/social media content calendar.

The other benefit to looking to the past is finding older content that can be refreshed or updated. If you decide to publish or post on weekends, these relatively low activity times are perfect for recycled content. But remember; there is a difference between refreshed and repetitive content. If you decide to add past published work to your calendar make sure it’s at least a few years old – not last month’s.

Stick to the Plan

Before putting together your content calendar, have your specific marketing goals in mind. Look back to your marketing plan and make sure the content reflects the goals outlined in that original strategy at all times. These goals should include how often you would like to post or the responses generated from each element. Also, something to keep top-of-mind is your target audience. All activities have to come back around to the target consumer.

Putting it all Together

Content calendars can be set up for any amount of time, but most are designed for one year.

A few elements to outline in your yearly calendar include:

  • Which days to post to all social media accounts
  • When blog posts will be published & basic theme of each post
  • When you plan to release any videos or podcasts
  • Important product or service launches as well as any lead up projects
  • Keywords to target
  • Authors if more than one is utilized
  • Any holidays or important company days (sales, launches, offices closed)

Below we’ve included a very simple content calendar example for those just beginning their marketing initiatives. As outlined, it doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, but rather give a basic road map of what the marketing team is working toward:

As always, track the success (or lack thereof), of each element, so adjustments can be made to the calendar as the year progresses.If by the time you put together the whole year you feel overwhelmed by the amount of posts and tweets, remember that your content doesn’t have to necessarily be original. There’s nothing wrong with retweeting something you think your audience would benefit from or writing a blog post about an interesting article. As long as you cite the source properly, these elements can add more dimension to your marketing strategy.

Holidays

Holidays are of utmost importance to your content calendar. Make sure you make note of all days that are important to your business including Cyber Monday, special sales or promotions, and any launches. Secondly, include all days that the office will be closed, so you know to work ahead and make special adaptions if any posts need to be scheduled at special times.

The Team

The content calendar is a great tool for bringing the entire marketing team together. Even if the marketing manager is the only one authorized to make changes to the master document, the rest of the team should have access to at least view it. That way everyone is working toward the same goal and knows exactly what is happening when.

Since the content calendar is a team effort, it doesn’t hurt to contact other departments that work closely with marketing, such as sales. They may be able to offer valuable insight as to what projects they’re working toward that cross into the marketing territory. If these are implemented into the content calendar at the beginning stages, there are fewer surprises and missed opportunities.

Tools

Using a simple spreadsheet (like in the example above), is a great beginning tool, but for more complicated strategies you’ll need something a little more functional. Hiring a company like Milgrom Marketing not only gets your plan started from a content perspective (SEO, social, media, video, etc.), but also can point you toward the right tools for your specific needs.

Going Forward

Just like a marketing plan, the content calendar is never static. Think of your content calendars as living, breathing entities; they can change at any point and need to be looked after to function properly. One best practice is to review your content calendar at the end of each week to see what’s coming up and what may need to be changed. This way you’ll know basically what to expect over the next week and the opportunity for missing any important dates or elements is greatly reduced. Quarterly content calendar team meetings are a good habit to get into as well.

Not only do content calendars give you a full view of all marketing strategies, but also keeps your entire team on the same page, and is a great tool for tracking and avoiding any repetition. Without a content calendar, you can’t see where you’ve been, what you’re doing or where you’re going. So, keep your eyes on the prize and your content calendar close by.

5 Steps for Better Press Coverage

5 Steps for Better Press Coverage

Of all the tools in the marketing and PR tool box, good press coverage may be the trickiest to utilize. It may take a while to get the hang of the right people to talk to and how to properly word a pitch letter, but once they are mastered these skills can take a business to the next level.

In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 steps you can start implementing in your PR/marketing strategy today that will get you started on the right path.

1. Have a Solid Press Kit Ready to Go

Don’t even think about approaching journalists or TV talk shows without having a professional, complete press kit ready to give out. You never know when someone will be asking for one, and it’s too important to be just tossed together.

A professional press kit needs to contain the following:

  • Bio(s) of the president/founder/partners with photos (if desired)
  • Company background information
  • Brochure or one pager with product or service details
  • Photos of the offices
  • Any promotional materials
  • Current press release
  • Past media coverage & press releases
  • Contact information

Press kits can either be traditional hard copy or electronic; but whichever you decide, think outside the box! This is the time to get creative. Brainstorm a fun way to deliver your message through eye-catching design or delivery method. Create a package that grabs their attention and don’t let them forget your company name.

2. Approach Journalists the Right Way

Grabbing the attention of a journalist isn’t a tough job – as long as you have something interesting and relevant to say! They’re always looking for the next big story, and are willing to give anyone a shot if that story is relevant to their audience. The important keys to remember when pitching a story to media is developing an angle without hard selling your story, choosing the right audience, and talking to the right person. For example, at a major TV or radio station it isn’t necessarily the hosts that book guests (although they may have some say), but usually the producers. Take the time to find out who exactly you need to talk to. If you can’t find it, pick up the phone and call. Don’t email – call. Create a good impression starting with whoever answers the phone.

Another great tool is to utilize services that connect journalists looking for stories to sources. Help a Reporter Out is a fine example, and a great way to get free press coverage.

3. Write a Professional & Engaging Press Release

A press release is a first impression. If a press release is poorly written, contains spelling errors or isn’t formatted correctly, it will end up in the trash – not in the papers. To make your press release stand out, include an attention grabbing headline, get a statement from the president or another VIP in the company associated to the news item, and make sure it’s news worthy. Don’t send out press releases for everything the company does or the really big items will get lost in the shuffle. Save your press releases for important events. Read over it with a new vision – would this item be interesting to you if it crossed your desk? If not, scrap it and find a new angle or wait for another big opportunity to present itself.

Once your press release is perfected and ready to send out, research a few free online press release directories to add to your list of media. Newswire.com and Babbler are both great places to start.

Finally, don’t forget to include all contact information. It may seem obvious, but when the creative juices are flowing, sometimes the mundane, yet important details get overlooked.

4. Form Relationships, Not Hard Sells

For a marketer or PR person making a transition from sales, it can be a hard lesson to learn that not everything is about the quick, hard sell. In public relations there’s something to be said about the long game. You may not get into a journalist’s good books the first, second or tenth time you reach out, but with a little patience, and a great newsworthy story, it will pay off eventually.

To really make a good impression, make sure to be a bit personal, and always be positive. When writing an email, avoid simple cut and paste tactics and include something that relates specifically to them, for example, why you chose to reach out to that particular journalist or outlet. If following a journalist on social media, comment on an item you liked and add to the discussion. For more tips on how to get more PR through social media, check out our blog post on 5 PR Tips that Seem Impossible (but Aren’t).

5. Follow Up & Stay Connected

Once you’re on their radar, you want to stay there. The key to being a “press darling” is all about cultivating relationships. Think of it as gardening. Once you plant the seed, it needs care; sun, water and even weeding. Journalists like calling on people they know, so don’t let them forget you. Reach out every 6 months to a year, and not only to pitch. Follow them on twitter or add them to LinkedIn and become part of their community. If you become a positive light in their circle, and gain trust that you can deliver professionally when they need a statement or an interview, it will be you they call. Not your competitor.

If you’re just starting to learn how to get press coverage and need a little more help, contact Milgrom Marketing for a turnkey marketing solution, including PR. Get your 30 minute free consultation today to see how Milgrom can take your marketing strategies to the next level.

5 PR Tips that Seem Impossible (but Aren’t)

5 PR Tips that Seem Impossible (but Aren’t)

When running a business, revenue is important. That doesn’t even really need to be said, right? What companies, especially new enterprises, tend to overlook is how critical reputation and positive branding are to the success of the business as a whole. Connecting with customers on an emotional level and creating positive feelings associated with your brand can seem like an impossible, daunting and expensive task, but there are a few strategies that can be easily implemented without blowing the budget. We’ve compiled 5 of the top PR tips and tricks that, if done correctly and with integrity, will give your brand a fresh new edge, and eventually turn into sales.

1. Position Yourself as an Expert in Your Field

One of the most important public relations tips and tricks is to establish trust with, and positive emotions attached to, your brand. This includes both the services and products your business offers, and the people and activities behind the brand. The best way to establish trust is to become an expert in your field. You know your business. Your family and friends know you know your business. Now it’s time for the rest of the world to recognize that knowledge. We’ll get more into detail later about methods, but good PR can be achieved through interviews and positive mentions in the media, getting more followers and “Likes” on social media and creating a strong community with your peers, rather than fighting against them. Remember to always be honest and use integrity in all your business and marketing strategies, and admit when you’re wrong. Mistakes can (and will) happen, but owning up to them can go a long way with your customer base.

2. Do Interviews

How exactly do those people who appear TV or on radio shows get there? They probably know someone, right? Well, yes, maybe they do. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to meet you. Producers and writers are always looking for fresh new ideas, services and products that are interesting to their audience. The real key is to find a newsworthy angle for your business. Look at what’s happening in your city and think about how your service relates. This is where integrity comes in. Make sure you’re always sincere and legit. Think “Trust” rather than “Sales”. Here are a few points to keep in mind when approaching the media:

  • Start by thinking locally – small media loves local content
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out the big guys – be confident
  • Spend time finding out who exactly to pitch your ideas to (hint: in a larger market it’s probably not the show hosts)

Another way to get mentions is to sign up as a source for a database like Help A Reporter Out (HARO). This service joins journalists with sources that can comment on stories they’re writing. It’s a great way to start connecting with the media and get your name out there!

3. Write For Someone Else’s Blog

Writing and keeping your blog up to date is a huge undertaking in itself, so why spend the time writing for someone else’s? Remember, relationships and trust is the key to a successful public relations plan. Read other blogs that interest you, has the same audience as you do, and would make sense if you were to partner up with them. Maybe follow them on Twitter and mention them in a tweet. Comment on their blog posts, and engage positively with them. Ask them to write a guest post for your blog. By writing a guest post on another blog, you’re reaching a new audience, and establishing more credibility by being “in the circle”. Also, don’t forget to ask them to link to your blog or website as it can help with the Search aspect of your marketing strategy! 

4. Engage in Social Media Platforms

For those just beginning in social media, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can seem like another world. A popular PR tip when it comes to these avenues is to think of it like a party. You wouldn’t just barge into the party yelling at everyone and talking about yourself. Sit back a bit, listen to what others have to say, and then engage in the conversation. The more active you are in the community and the more people notice you have something of value to add, the quicker your follower base and Facebook “Likes” numbers will grow. Remember: The key is VALUE. Not how loud you are or how often you engage, but if what you say is relevant and emotionally touches those you want to reach. For now, let’s focus on Twitter, since it’s very quick and easy to implement into your PR marketing campaign today:

  • Set up a content calendar to not miss any exciting & important events for your business/community
  • Don’t be afraid to tweet a few times a day, but don’t inundate your followers feeds with ads
  • As mentioned above, apologize immediately when you need to
  • ALWAYS play by the rules to avoid “Twitter Jail” (it’s a thing)

5. Invest Time

One thing is for certain: A good PR strategy takes TIME. Being in the forefront of the crowd means there’s no faking it. A business owner needs to be constantly in the loop, always learning about not only their craft, but about their customers; what they’re doing, where they are and how to reach them. It takes time to craft a perfect query letter to the top publications, and nurture the newly formed relationships with the media and fellow bloggers. If you haven’t got the time or personnel to handle your PR campaigns full time in-house, make sure to hire someone. A good PR plan may take time, but the rewards can be exceptional.

Are you ready to implement your public relations strategy, but need a little help? Milgrom Marketing offers a turnkey solution for all your marketing needs including search, content creation, social media, PR strategies and more. Contact us today to get your free consultation and take your marketing to the next level.

How We Increased Our Customer’s Google Ranking by Over 2000% in Less Than 6 Months

How We Increased Our Customer’s Google Ranking by Over 2000% in Less Than 6 Months

When a team starts putting together a successful strategic marketing plan, they know there are certain pillars that must be included or the whole thing will fall apart. Three of these important pieces are Social Media, Content Creation and SEO. They all work together to grow a company’s online presence. Of all these, the tactic most shrouded in mystery and that continues to baffle, is SEO. Search engine optimization is often overlooked because it can be confusing and takes time to learn, but without a proper SEO strategy and marketing plan, the content that has been so carefully created can get completely lost in the online world. This is why having a professional marketing strategy team is so important.

SEO Still a Mystery

SEO (search engine optimization) is always changing. To make online searching more user-friendly, Google is constantly updating its algorithm. This can mean small daily changes to giant overhauls that send businesses that have enjoyed the spotlight at the top spiralling down to the bottom. This is great for the average Google user as it allows for a better searching experience, but a nightmare for a business that has been trying to appear in the coveted 1st page ranking. Luckily, a team versed in Search, like Milgrom Marketing, can assist in making this high page ranking a reality, and help the company get in front of their customers in the online world.

Recently, Milgrom Marketing was able to increase a customer’s visibility on Google by over 2000%. This means a client that was getting lost in the Google shuffle was finally able to be seen more easily by those looking for the product/service in question.

Let’s take a closer look at how we at Milgrom Marketing were able to assist our client in increasing their visibility by such a high percentage.

Step 1: Keyword Research & Competitor Analysis

A keyword is a single word or phrase that people use in their Google Searches. Consider someone looking for “Pink Flower Hats”. Some keywords could be “Pink Flower Hats”, “Flower Hats Pink” or Pink Hats With Flowers”. There are ways to find out which phrases people are using most and which phrases are being utilized most by competitors. The key to a successful keyword for this client was to find keywords of value (those with a high search volume and low competition). We then planned our content and SEO marketing strategy based on these findings.

Step 2: Keyword Implementation into Content

The next step in our client marketing plan was to include those keywords throughout our customer’s content. One big mistake companies make is to use the keywords in just one aspect of the SEO strategy, most of the time just on the website, then forgets about them in other online properties. Milgrom Marketing used the keywords discovered in the research phase and made sure to include them throughout the website (on appropriate pages), AND on the blog, in directories, videos and other important client content. We even dedicated landing pages to target more competitive keywords.

Below is a graph that outlines the growth seen over the 6th months once the plan was implemented:

Chart-Graphic

Step 3: Staying on Top of Google Updates

As we discussed earlier in the post, Google is constantly performing updates to its search algorithm. We know that can affect our client’s search results drastically, so we had to make sure we were constantly in compliance with what Google deemed good search tactics to avoid penalization. Website updates, fixes and changes were made weekly to continue to stay in good standing.

Step 4: Implement a Touch of PR

PR is an important aspect of any marketing campaign. The company name needs to get out there somehow! Traditionally, a public relations plan includes radio and TV interviews, and newsprint mentions, but there are also elements to include from a Search perspective. If implemented correctly, the results can be magic, with high publicity in a fairly short amount of time. To increase our client’s website relevance we issued a series of online press releases, directory optimization (by submitting to various online sources), wrote guest posts for other relevant blogs and used several other similar SEO tactics.

Another very important aspect to note is that this was all following the rules set out by Google, otherwise known as White Hat SEO. There is something called Black Hat SEO, that manipulates and bends these rules. Sure, for a short while you’ll be at the top, but it’s a hard fall if Google’s next update doesn’t like what you’ve done. It can mean not getting found, or even getting booted from Google’s search completely. Playing by the rules can be just as easy, and way less stressful.

Conclusion

Once we implemented our SEO marketing strategy, we monitored the results. If a business doesn’t have the time or desire to track the daily changes and make adjustments, Milgrom Marketing offers a plan to be the watchdog ourselves. In this case, we stayed on top of everything outlined above, and it worked. Our customer went from ranking for 22 keywords to over 450 keywords in less than 6 months. We were happy we could help a client help grow their business, and our client was happy they were finally getting in front of their online audience. It was a win-win for all parties.

Not all businesses are alike. Milgrom Marketing specializes in assisting companies with their marketing plan, including content creation, strategy planning, implementation, video creation and improving search results. We put together a personalized plan that works for YOUR business.

It’s not just those new to marketing that need assistance. Sometimes a marketing department can be overworked and unable to not only create the content needed, but keep up with the day-to-day Google changes that may affect the business online ranking. If you need help with your SEO, book a free consultation today, and see how Milgrom Marketing can help you achieve your online goals!

7 Graphic Design Trends That Won’t Go Out of Style

7 Graphic Design Trends That Won’t Go Out of Style

In this fast-paced world that we all inhabit, graphic design trends are no different to other trends in the marketing sphere. Often, today’s hot new trend quickly becomes yesterday’s news.

But, even though graphic design trends are constantly updating and changing, there are some trends that never go out of style. (more…)

9 Easy Steps to Sell Your Products on Social Media

9 Easy Steps to Sell Your Products on Social Media

Numerous companies are using social media to sell their product or service.

This approach to selling provides companies with a direct connection to their customers or prospective buyers. Unfortunately, many companies do not use or do not know how to use social media to sell.

This shortcoming keeps many companies off of websites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And it’s their loss: using social media to sell is profitable.

Does this sound like you? With guidance and practice, you can use social media to successfully sell.

Follow these 9 easy steps to sell your products on social media. (more…)

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