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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Delving into the world of social media marketing can be pretty overwhelming. There are apps to research, and even a certain type of etiquette to learn. When just starting out, it’s best to break it down into smaller pieces. We’ve helped you get a good start with these 10 Quick Social Media Marketing Tips and Tricks you can implement into your plan today.
1. Be Organized
The first and easiest step is to create a social media marketing plan. This should include what you want to say, and where you want to say it. Create a schedule for when you’re going to write a blog post or tweet certain events. This content calendar should always be near where you’re working, either posted on your physical wall in your cubicle or on your desktop. Following this schedule is essential because the last thing you want to do is miss out on covering a big sale or holiday (like Cyber Monday).
2. Pay Attention
The social media world changes in the blink of an eye, so you need to be prepared to switch gears if need be. You don’t want to piggyback on an inappropriate hashtag or post when the rest of the world is focused on something major happening in the world. Even if done innocently, it could be seen as really distasteful. Before using a trending hashtag, understand why the hashtag is trending and if it would be appropriate for you to use in your post. Because….
3. Remember: There is a Human on the Other Side
Sometimes you can get so caught up in what you want to achieve that you forget that there is a living, breathing human reading your posts and tweets. And that human being may become a customer, so act accordingly! Always practice honesty, kindness, and be interesting if you want to win over those readers and turn them into customers. If you make a mistake, apologize immediately, just as you would do IRL (In Real Life). Remember, your social media community can quickly forgive, but the internet never forgets. That being said…
4. Be Brave
You’ve written, what you think, is the best blog post ever, but your finger still hovers over that PUBLISH button. Sending out your first few interactions can be scary. Did you do your research? Is it interesting enough? Did you proofread it thoroughly? Is the link going where it should? Take a deep breath and relax. If you’ve done your best, then send away. The thing with social media is that it definitely gets easier the more you engage. By tweet 50 you’ll wonder how you were ever intimidated.
5. Explore Different Ways to Engage
Having conversations and sending out information are the typical ways to engage with your community, but try out other methods of interacting as well. Next time, try out a poll, or hold a contest. You may even attract new followers.
6. Don’t try to sell all the time
Obviously you want your social media efforts to evolve into sales, but that shouldn’t be your whole intent. People don’t like their social media feeds to be bombarded with sales all the time, so offer up some valuable information and insight as well. Build trust and the customers will appear!
7. Use images & video
Posts with images and video elements get more traction than simple text. Here are a few thoughts on using images and video:
- Pick an image you can use across all social media pages for your background & profile pictures for unity (either a picture of you or the brand logo work well)
- Find the right dimensions for each social media space & adhere to them for a clean & professional look
- If design or photography are not your forte, don’t be afraid to hire a professional graphic designer or photographer (it will be worth it)
Using video puts a face to your company which bolsters respect and trust as a certified contender in the market. They don’t have to be long videos, even 2 or 3 minutes at first is fine. For more on video production check out Milgrom Marketing’s blog post 7 Things All Marketers Need to Know About Video Production.
Make sure your social media strategy is working the way you want it to by measuring your efforts vs. sales. It can be tricky in some respects to clearly see the ROI, but using a tool like Google Analytics lets you see where and when people are engaging with your brand. As with the point above, sometimes hiring someone who knows what their looking at can help you interpret what’s really happening.
9. Don’t Forget Linkedin
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest may be the cool kids in your circle, but let’s not forget respectable and responsible LinkedIn to add a bit of professionalism to your social media strategy. Largely not thought of in regards to actual sales, but it helps with trust and how the online community views your business.
10. Always have a clear call to action
Saving the most important for last! Even in social media you have to tell your customers how to get what they want. Always send your audience somewhere that houses all the information needed to make a transaction. A few ideas to start:
- Call us!
- Buy it here!
- Visit us at…!
- Get it for less by…!
Creating landing pages on your website are an excellent idea, as they can be changed to suit a sale or event, and are pretty easy to measure when doing analytics. When posting on Facebook or tweeting about a sale remember to link to that landing page!
Doing business in today’s world means having to take on social media whether you like it or not. It may take a bit of commitment at first to get a handle on the different properties, but the reward for your time can be extraordinary for your sales.
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing strategy by contacting Milgrom Marketing for your free consultation.
It seems like everyone these days has a blog. There are Mommy blogs, Travel blogs, blogs about pets and cars. And of course, many companies have a blog. Even though it MAY seem like a bit of overkill, starting a blog is an excellent way to connect with your customers, relay important company information, and begin to position yourself as an expert and leader in your field. These essential blog tips will give you a firm foundation to create a successful blog for your business.
Before you launch your blog into the online world, take some time to make a strategy about what you want to say and how you’re going to say it. Is your tone going to be very professional, or conversational? Will your blog have specific topics? An excellent first step is to create a content calendar. Start generically with annual sales or holidays, so you don’t miss the big opportunities. Then go through the month and decide on a few topics to write about.
Remember: Best practice is to try and post at the same times every week, so your readers know to expect an update. The idea of anticipation can be a strong tool!
Another good idea to consider is a soft launch. Write a few articles without any advertising. That way, by the time you have your grand launch, readers will be able to spend more time looking around the blog and get a better feel for what it’s all about.
To really wow your audience and keep them engaged with your posts, it’s important to mix things up a bit! Now is the time to really get creative and explore different ways to present your ideas and thoughts. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling:
- Use appropriate images in your posts, whether ones you take yourself or from stock sites like iStock
- Try your hand at making a video post
- Switch up the tone a little by asking someone to guest post
- Engage your readers with a poll, quiz or contest (who doesn’t like winning stuff?)
- Add a simple & fun infographic
You’ve finally fine-tuned your blog. It’s engaging, has a clear purpose and looks fabulous. Now what? How do you get all those smart readers to find your blog? The first way to attract readers is to cross-promote. Use your other social media accounts to advertise that you now have blog up and running and they should check it out. Whenever you post on your blog, remember to announce it on both Facebook and Twitter. Don’t be afraid to promote it more than once over a few days, especially if you’re only posting once or twice a week.
Another successful way to make sure readers aren’t missing your blog is to have an excellent SEO strategy. By following a few white hat search rules, your blog can show up on the first page when potential readers are searching on Google. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
- Choose a few keywords your readers would be searching for & place them throughout the posts
- Always have the writing be first & make sure the keywords sound natural in the content
- Make your blog mobile-friendly
- The longer people stay on your site the better, so make sure your content shines & the design is user-friendly
- Get readers to engage with you on your posts (more on that in the next section)
Most importantly, get to know and be a part of your online community. Find out where your audience is and make a plan as to how you’re going to become known on the scene.
The whole idea behind blogging is to be a part of, and grow, an online community of likeminded people – people interested in what you have to say. Don’t just throw a bunch of words out into the world, but actually try to start conversations. Break down that barrier between writer and reader by asking questions at the end of the post. Ask them their own opinions, what their experiences have been like, and don’t forget to flat out ask them to leave a comment. When appropriate, of course. Also remember to reply to all comments as often as possible, and be cordial, even when they may not be. What you say on your blog definitely reflects your business.
Know Your Technical Limits
There are plenty of options when it comes to setting up your blog. It can be as straight up and simple, or as advanced and technical as you want it. Since there is such variance on what a blog can look like and how it can function, it’s important to know your limits, both skill-wise and financially. If you’re just starting and stretched financially, consider starting a blog for free at WordPress.com. It costs nothing and is VERY user-friendly. You’ll be up and blogging in no time!
Know Your Limits as a Writer
Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is a writer. It takes years of writing experience to understand how to write to a specific audience, capture proper tone, and present information in a way that’s easy to understand and interesting. One of the most important blog tips is to know your writing capabilities. If you’re not an experienced writer, keep your posts around 500 words. That being said, longer blog posts over 1000 words have a better chance of ranking higher in the search engines. When your ideas don’t match your skill level, it’s time to call in the professionals. A marketing team, like Milgrom Marketing, can bring your grandiose ideas to fruition – or at least send you on the best path possible to attain your marketing goals.
The main thing to remember about being a beginner blogger is to give your project a chance. If it’s not an instant success, that’s okay. Don’t throw out all your hard work at the first bump in the road. Blogs can actually be a slow burn, but, if given a chance, in the end may be the brightest star in your marketing tool box.
Generational Marketing: Marketing to Millennials
Marketing to millennials is all about speaking to a potential customer in a way they can relate to, and in an environment you can connect with them in. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to assume that marketing to Baby Boomers is way different than Millennials Marketing. As Millennials become the prime target for companies, marketers are beginning to explore just exactly who this generation is and how to reach them successfully. Everyone seems to have a view on the topic, but one thing is for sure: It’s not easy. In fact, marketing to this group is such a discussed and debated topic that there is an entire two day conference devoted to marketing to Millennials in Australia.
It’s definitely tricky business, but we’re sure you’re up for the challenge.
1. Who Are They?
Unfortunately, Millennials are getting a bit of a bad rap. They’re frequently seen as needy, soft, self-absorbed, and lack the ability to have meaningful relationships outside of their social media pages. But who are they really?
Millennials are considered to be the generation born around the beginning of the 1980s to beginning 2000s, although this is one of those topics in heated dispute. Millennials are smart, savvy, they have little patience, appreciate substance over simple flash, and they deeply care about their causes and community. Think of your Millennial not as hiding in a basement hunched over their phone, but rather as the one out protesting for what they believe in, and climbing the ranks quickly in their company (the no patience part). That’s the Millennial companies need to engage with, rather than the old stereotype.
2. They Are Smart
Millennials are a savvy bunch. So, when you’re marketing to Millennials you better remember that you need to be straight up with them. Flashy pitches with little substance just don’t go over as well as a campaign with emotional ties. Millennials want to feel emotionally connected to the brands they choose, either as an extended statement of themselves, or as a cause they align closely with. Loyalty and trust are the winners here.
Remember that Millennials are not just “kids, either. The Millennial generation technically includes those over the age of 30 as well, so any marketing plan should consider all segments of the generation.
3. They Have Low Patience
Saying Millennials have very low patience may sound like a bad thing at first, but it simply means they’re not going to sit around waiting for services and products on the company’s timeline. The business has to adapt to suit their needs. Remember, this is the internet generation, where information is at their fingertips instantly, and their favourite brands have a team managing their social media accounts almost 24 hours a day. No wonder they don’t like to wait.
Here are a few points to consider in regards to a solid Millennials marketing strategy:
- In regards to your online strategy, make sure everything is mobile-friendly & fast (speed counts)
- They’ll want your service or product when they want it, even out and about, so you better be ready to offer it on whatever platform they’re using
- Make sure your website/blog is as fast as possible, so they don’t leave the site
- They hate being ignored, so respond promptly when they engage with you
- They have no patience for mistakes, so make sure your campaign is air tight (you don’t want your hard work to go viral for the wrong reasons)
4. They’re Unique
Millennials love exploring their own uniqueness and are not afraid of showing it off. They take pride in who they are, and they’re looking for products and services that understand and appreciate the idea of individualism. With individualism comes creativity, so when finding your Millennial audience, think more along the lines of Instagram and Pinterest rather than Facebook. Traditional marketing avenues don’t cut it when it comes to grabbing a Millennial’s attention, either. Here are a few ideas to implement in your strategy:
- Use videos & pictures for that creative edge (also quicker to absorb when browsing feeds)
- Get to know who the “influencers” are on Twitter & consider creating a partnership
- Become an authority in your space to build trust in your brand
- Tell stories rather than simple sell lines to connect emotionally
As much as they share certain traits, Millennials make up everyone from students just getting out of college to CEOs of big business. They’re artists, tech gurus, and business owners, parents, married and single. Basically, your marketing campaigns need to be as unique as your audience. It’s best to segment your marketing plans into separate groups rather than trying to hit them all with one message. It probably won’t be successful.
5. They Care
Perhaps the most important aspect of marketing to Millennials is to truly understand how passionate they are; not only about how they live their own lives, but about how they care for their friends and the world around them. The brands that grab the attention of this generation are the ones committed to making the world better. Think experiences vs. stuff. This is the generation of the tiny house movement, after all.
Millennials want to engage and be a part of a strong community, so social media is the best way to go. It also helps if your brand is associated in any way with a cause. If you’re not currently helping out a charity or other great cause, it’s a good excuse to start. Why not help your business and your community?
Hopefully we’ve helped you figure out how to find your Millennials audience, and given you some tips on how to approach them. The Millennial generation is going to expect the world from your brand, so you better be prepared with a solid reason why they should choose you.
Keep reading the Milgrom Marketing blog for the next chapter in our Generational Marketing series: Marketing to Baby Boomers. And for help with your own social media marketing to Millennials strategy, contact Milgrom Marketing today to get your free consultation.