Become a Content Marketing Productivity Master: 21 Tips from the #CMWorld Community

  • 1. Become a Content Marketing PRODUCTIVITY MASTER: 21 TIPS FROM THE #CMWORLD COMMUNITY
  • 2. We can’t stop time. But we can learn to use it more effectively. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Tired of never getting through your to–do list? If so… you’re in the same boat as practically every content marketer we talk to. Fundamentally, the secret to feeling more productive is to have a plan for what you need to accomplish and stick to it. It’s easier said than done, for sure; but by implementing efficiency techniques, streamlining certain processes, and taking advantage of a few time-tested tricks, content marketers can increase their output while reducing the frustration, stress, and misdirected efforts that can often take them off track. Take a look at 21 of the most helpful tips the #CMWorld community had to offer during our recent Twitter chat on productivity. 2

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  • 3. 33 It’s counterproductive to waste time on content that isn’t going to help your business achieve its goals. To maximize productivity, start with a strategic analysis of how relevant and valuable the effort is likely to be for both your brand and your audience. Mike Myers says he uses a simple flow chart to determine where content marketing will be helpful (and where it won’t) because, like with dessert, it can be hard to know when to say no.  I start by asking: “How relevant is the project to my market — i.e., clients and prospects?” —Roger C. Parker  Make strategic decisions. Know when something requested won’t add enough value. Prioritize, and suggest alternatives when possible. —Danalynne Wheeler LEAD WITH YOUR STRENGTHS — AND YOUR STRATEGY1
  • 4. 4 FOLLOW YOUR STRATEGY WITH A PROACTIVE PLAN2 Every strategic idea needs a plan to bring it to life. With advanced preparation, you can take some of the guesswork out of the content creation process, making it easier to stay focused and productive.  Successful content marketers choose topics in advance. They identify themes they can create content on in the upcoming months. Planning is key. —Roger C. Parker  Plan what to say & how. Create a title optimized to catch readers & search engines. —Joanie Eppinga
  • 5. 55 Content creation is as much an art as a science. Though you should definitely have a plan, it’s also helpful to be flexible and leave room in your process to take advantage of inspiration when it strikes.  Make notes all the time. They’re the seeds of content to come. You can’t harvest tomorrow unless you plant today. —George Stenitzer  Balance sticking with strategy (and saying no to what doesn’t fit) with the potential to explore new possibilities. Always keep the “learning mindset.” —Anne Janzer LEAVE ROOM FOR THE SPARK OF CREATIVITY3

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  • 6. 6 FOCUS ON AUDIENCE NEEDS4 Content is created to spur an audience to action, so your productivity ultimately depends on how well your efforts are is suited to meeting that goal. Keep this in mind and you will never waste valuable time on efforts that miss the mark.  First, you have to understand your market and their needs. This provides focus. —Roger C. Parker  It’s all about knowing your audience. Knowing whom to talk to directs your decisions about what you do and don’t need to say. —Adam P. Newton  Outsider, a New York agency, suggests that content creators ask questions like, “Does this provide value to my audience?” “Would they share it?” Viewing your content from the audience’s perspective will help you figure out which projects may not work — even if they seemed like a good idea to you at first.
  • 7. 77 It’s hard to be productive if our minds are being pulled in a million different directions. Even small side projects can wind up derailing productivity in a major way, so it’s helpful to determine right from the outset what’s worth your immediate attention, what can be put on the back burner for a while, and what can be indefinitely postponed.  Roger C. Parker recommends starting out by asking, “How urgently do my customers or prospects need the information?” Then ask, “Is the project practical for me at the present time?” After that, if a client asks me to do a different task, I ask: “Which of our current tasks do you want me to put aside?”  Ronda Bowen says that looking at past performance of content helps, too. If you know a certain topic tanks in terms of page views, there’s no reason to continue to create content on that topic. SET PRIORITIES, AND DON’T GET SIDETRACKED5
  • 8. 8 BUDGET YOUR TIME… AND USE IT EFFECTIVELY6 Effective time management means devoting adequate attention to your content without allowing your efforts to take over your entire working life.  Successful content marketers run marathons, not races. Time management is essential. Manage your time as carefully as you would manage your money. —Roger C. Parker  Set aside blocks of time to draft your content without being interrupted by meetings or chats. —Sarah A. Parker  While planning is important, Mael Roth advises that sometimes you need to set yourself on “get it done” mode: “At some point it’s ‘learn by doing.’”333
  • 9. 99 Just as deadlines can create a sense of urgency for specific content projects, keeping a calendar of those projects can help you mentally plan and prioritize your day-to-day efforts — and hold yourself accountable for their completion.  Scheduling is key for productivity. —Cara Shannon  Lisa Masiello recommends being methodical and keeping a calendar, as she feels it’s easy to become distracted without a schedule.  Social media analytics vendor Union Metrics suggests drawing up a quarterly content calendar and working backwards from the deadlines you set in order to ensure time for drafts/your approval process. KEEP A CONTENT CALENDAR7
  • 10. 10 KNOW WHEN TO SAY NO8 No one likes to have to turn down a content request from a client or supervisor, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil in order to make good progress on current priorities, continually deliver on your content’s promises, and maintain your sanity.  Strategy is key. If a project doesn’t align, it’s not worth your time. —Angela Hursh  I cringe when clients try to pump out as much content as possible and skimp on quality. A content effort should be more than a checklist item. —Brandon Seymour  Many times marketing should say no to change. Don’t let your boredom of a tagline/ topic divert the oil tanker. —Nick Kellet  If there isn’t a compelling story [in a particular content idea], I find the exit. —Kip Meacham
  • 11. 1111 One of the easiest ways to become more productive is to get rid of repetitive or unnecessarily time-consuming tasks that are bogging down your efforts and replace them with more efficient techniques. Even if it takes some extra time to implement and adjust to the change, streamlining your processes often pays dividends in terms of productivity over the long-term.  I implemented a written request form for content projects. [This] creates accountability & saves me from 20 [rounds of] revisions. —Danielle Poupore  I use Mindjet’s MindManager to organize ideas, keep track of projects, and easily track influencers and ideas. And every content marketer needs a graphics program to create images for blog posts and social media. —Roger C. Parker  We use a lot of distraction-free writing tools to encourage the process, as well as an editorial calendar to plan it all out. —ClearVoice  Erika Heald asserts that collaboration tools like RedboothHQ, Kapost, Evernote, and Google Drive are key to her daily productivity. CREATE EFFICIENCIES WITH NEW TOOLS AND STREAMLINED PRODUCTION PROCESSES 9
  • 12. 12 FREE YOUR MIND10 Productivity isn’t always about going “heads down” into a project. Instead, experiment to discover what ideas and processes work best for you.  Stay curious and open to new innovations and marketing concepts. Set aside time to ‘study’ those who are doing it right. —Crowd Content  A large part of marketing productivity comes from understanding the machine of the internet and the psychology of people —Nick Kellet  We write down all of our ideas before dismissing any. —Kitterman Marketing
  • 13. 1313 Good writing is just as much “nurture” as it is “nature.” Set good habits right from the start of your content creation efforts and you’re practically guaranteed to become more productive as you progress.  Cultivate the habit of short, frequent working sessions rather than long, tiring sessions. —Roger C. Parker  Our best productivity tips are early mornings, strong coffee, and a separate window for social media, to avoid distraction. —Outsider (a NYC agency)  Try working at times when there will be fewer distractions. For example, @SparkerWorks has considered getting started earlier in the day: “Nobody bothers you in the early morning!” —Sarah A. Parker CULTIVATE EFFICIENT WORKING AND WRITING HABITS11CMS (444
  • 14. 14 HOLD YOURSELF TO DEADLINES12 Deadlines help you set clear parameters for your content efforts, and can create a sense of urgency that keeps you focused and on-task during the content creation process.  Deadlines definitely help with productivity! Sometimes it’s hard to get started if there is no goal in sight. —Wyzowl  Consider creating mini-deadlines for the various tasks required for each project. This can help you create a sense of urgency and pace your progress. —Roger C. Parker
  • 15. 1515 Content creation takes dedication. If you want to earn the loyalty of your audience, you must hold yourself accountable for delivering on what you promise — even when the process gets challenging or you run into a stumbling block.  To be a productive writer, make yourself write. Good ideas often come after you’ve gotten started. —Anne Janzer  Every successful content marketer I know reads and writes daily. —Patrick Hayslett PRACTICE SELF-DISCIPLINE13
  • 16. 16 AVOID BEATING YOURSELF UP OR GETTING FRUSTRATED14 It’s not easy for writers to create something that’s “just right,” so it’s natural to stumble with phrasing or get stuck on an idea once in a while. When the words just aren’t flowing, don’t be afraid to take your time and clear your mind — and know that you can always make changes down the line.  Give yourself permission for that bad first draft. Don’t edit as you write — it will only slow you down. —Ronda Bowen  If something’s really not working, give yourself permission to step away. Come back to it tomorrow. Work on something else. —Sarah A. Parker
  • 17. 1717 A trick some writers use to structure a content effort is to write the ending first, then craft the rest of the story so that it leads to the intended conclusion. Starting each project with your desired results in mind can reduce the need for time consuming revisions and rewrites throughout the process.  Develop your positioning first so that the content will communicate the desired marketing messages. —Samuel J. Scott  I’ve begun asking project requesters to tell me how they plan to use content. No sense making something to sit in a drawer. —Danielle Poupore START WITH YOUR DESIRED RESULTS AND PURPOSE AND WORK BACKWARDS15
  • 18. 18 MAKE CONTENT CREATION PART OF YOUR ROUTINE16 Just like good habits make good writers, regular routines can help those writers mentally prepare for creating quality content—and for staying the course, even when other priorities start to compete for their time and attention.  Show up. Turning up at your computer consistently is the best way to be successful. —Ronda Bowen  Brainstorm, outline, write, write, write, proof, have someone else proof, edit, & promote! If you get stuck, take a break, and then go back. —Aya Fawzy  I look for easy parts of the post to write — such as lists or easy topics — to build momentum. —Roger C. Parker555
  • 19. 1919 If you find yourself working on a complex topic with a lot of ground to cover, or are struggling to find the right flow for your discussion, try creating a simple outline first. Organizing your thoughts in this way can help you see which points are essential and which ones can be left out, as well as how to structure the conversation in the most logical way.  Map the journey. Know where you’re starting, ending and [where] you’ll stop at along the way. —Jeremy Bednarski  First, I take notes by hand & organize a rough structure. Last thing is proofreading. Then proofreading again. —Danielle Poupore  Start your writing with an outline. Then write everything down as quickly as you can. Lastly, edit, edit, edit. —Heidi Cohen  After outlining what you are going to write and why, just get words on paper/screen. Don’t edit, just do a “brain dump.” —Traci Browne NOT SURE WHAT TO WRITE? TRY CREATING AN OUTLINE17
  • 20. 20 USE THEMES TO BUILD A SERIES OF RELATED CONTENT18 Another way to handle complex topics is to break them up into small, manageable bites. Start by coming up with a list of relevant themes, and then create a series of related content pieces that you can that you can distribute on a regular basis.  Series are about brevity. Series turn complex ideas into snacks. Series also multiply the SEO value of one big idea. —Nick Kellet  A series can be a great way to get started. It gives you a theme and a goal to build off of. Feels less daunting every week. —Kitterman Marketing  A blog series can help with productivity in that (hopefully) you can map it all out ahead of time. —Jeremy Bednarski  In terms of productivity, having an established series is really helpful to me. It’s great for when I’m stumped on topics. —Christina Grieves666
  • 21. 2121 Content doesn’t always have to be original to be powerful. At times, it’s more productive to use the content you’ve painstakingly created and focus your time on ways to repackage it in a new way, or for a new platform.  @crestodina writes, “You need to view content as atoms you can recycle & rearrange in different ways.” —Roger C. Parker  It’s just so easy to do. So many resources and potential for data and info overload. Curate, collate, focus. —Jacob Henenberg  Break up mega-topics into edible chunks. Use customer questions to guide series topics. —George Stenitzer REPURPOSE THE WHEEL, DON’T REINVENT IT19
  • 22. 22 KNOW WHAT TO SPIN OFF OR RECYCLE, RATHER THAN REJECT20 If an idea starts to lead you in a different direction, don’t switch gears right away. Instead, tuck it away it somewhere safe, and then come back to it after you’ve finished the content effort you are currently working on. If the new concept still seems valid when you revisit it, you now have a ready-made topic on hand for your next content effort.  I’m a narrow-minded content creator. If anything remotely veers from my main idea, it goes in queue to become its own piece. —Patrick Hayslett
  • 23. 2323 When all else fails… you are probably working too hard. Sometimes it’s best to just step away and take some time to clear your mind before returning to your content creation. You may even come up with a new idea or two when you give yourself a break, rather than trying to force creativity when you just aren’t “feeling it.”  When I’m finished, I put the post aside overnight. I need to proof it from a fresh perspective. —Roger C. Parker  Even a 5-minute break can help. Ever do find-a-word puzzles? Great for improving visual acuity. —Joanie Eppinga  Step away & do something physical that you’ll see immediate results from: Clean a coffee cup, wipe down a counter, stretch. —Sarah A. Parker TAKE BREAKS TO AVOID MENTAL FATIGUE21
  • 24. 24 THANKS FOR READING! Want more ways to increase your productivity without losing sight of your priorities? Download our collection of useful templates and checklists to make the content marketing process easier. And don’t forget to join our #CMWorld Twitter chats every Tuesday at 12 Eastern to learn from our fabulous content marketing community and share your own tips for success. Content Marketing Institute (CMI) is the leading global content marketing education and training organization. CMI teaches enterprise brands how to attract and retain customers through compelling, multi-channel storytelling. CMI’s Content Marketing World event, the largest content marketing-focused event, is held every September, and Content Marketing World Sydney, every March. CMI also produces the quarterly magazine Chief Content Officer, and provides strategic consulting and content marketing research for some of the best-known brands in the world. CMI is a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Inc. 500 company. Learn how to create a documented content marketing strategy, a key component for improving overall content marketing effectiveness.
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How To Conduct A Content Audit

You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you are — and columnist Rebecca Lieb’s process for performing a content audit will help you determine just that!

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A content audit is the cornerstone of content strategy, which governs content marketing. The aim is to perform a qualitative analysis of all the content on a website (or in some cases, a network of sites and/or social media presences — any content for which your organization is responsible).

Why perform a content audit, which admittedly is a painstaking and exacting exercise? Lots of reasons.

First and foremost, an audit helps determine if digital content is relevant, both to customer needs and to the goals of the organization. It can help answer important questions: Is content accurate and consistent? Does it speak in the voice of the organization? Is it optimized for search? Are tools and software, such as the content management system (CMS) up to the task of handling it?

Essentially, an audit helps assess needs, shape content governance, and help determine the feasibility of future projects.

Create A Content Inventory First

Start by recording all the content on the site into a spreadsheet or a text document by page title or by URL. Organize this information in outline form, i.e. section heading, followed by sub-sections and pages.

If it’s an e-commerce site, these headings and sub-headings might be something like: Shoes > Womens Shoes > Casual Shoes > Sandals > Dr. Scholl’s. An informational company website’s headings might look more like: X Corporation > About Us > Management > John Doe.

Content strategist Kristina Halvorson recommends assigning a unique number to each section, sub-section and page (e.g., 1.0, 1.1, 1.1.1, etc.). This can help tremendously in assigning particular pieces of content to the appropriate site section. Some content strategists also color-code different sections on spreadsheets. It gets down to a matter of personal preference, as well as the size and scale of the audit in question.

It’s also highly recommended that each section, sub-section or page contain an annotation regarding who owns each piece of content, as well as the type of content: text, image, video, PDF, press release, product page, etc. Is it created in-house? If so, by whom? Is it outsourced (third-party content, RSS feeds, blog entries, articles from periodicals)? Who’s responsible for creating, approving and publishing each piece?

The resulting document is a content inventory.

Conducting The Content Audit

Once you’ve created a content inventory, it’s time to perform the content audit. This will essentially involve digging into the quality of the content.

As you go through the audit, it’s helpful to assign a grade or ranking to every page – e.g., a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “pretty crappy” and 5 being “rockstar fantastic.”

Following are the questions you should be asking about each piece of content:

1. What’s It About?

What subjects and topics does content address? Are page and section titles, headlines and sub-heads promising what’s actually delivered in the on-page copy? Is there are good balance of content addressing products, services, customer service, and “about us” information?

2. Is It Accurate & Up-To-Date?

In other words, is the content topical? Are there outdated products, hyperlinks, or outdated and/or inaccurate information lurking in nooks and crannies of the site? As mentioned above, localities, employees, pricing, industry data and statistics and other information change over time. In addition to checking for factual accuracy, content that is outdated should be identified as “update/revise” or “remove.”

3. Does It Support Both User And Business Goals?

Many stakeholders feed into a company’s digital presence: senior management, sales, marketing, PR and customer service (to name but a few).

Different divisions may be trying to achieve varying goals in “their” section of a site or blog, but fundamentally all content must very gracefully serve two masters: the needs of the business and the needs of the customer.

This means, for example, that calls-to-action must be clear, but not so overwhelming that they get in the way of the user experience. The content audit grades content on its ability to achieve both of these goals while staying in balance.

4. Are People Finding And Using The Content?

This is where web analytics comes into play. What types of content — and what pages in particular — are the most and least popular on the site in question? Where do users spend time, and where do they go when they leave? Are they taking desired actions on a page? What search keywords and phrases bring them to the site?

It’s not enough that content is simply there. The data can reveal what’s working (and what’s not) and help inform a strategy that supports more of the types of content users prefer.

5. Is It Clean And Professional?

Is page copy consistent in tone? Are spelling, punctuation and grammar consistent and correct? Are abbreviations and acronyms standard? If the site has a style guide, is it being followed? Are images captioned in a consistent manner, and properly placed/oriented on the page? Do hyperlinks follow any predesignated rules (e.g., open a new page in a separate browser window)?

6. Is Content Logically Organized?

Does the site contain tacked-on pages that don’t follow navigational structure? Does the overall navigation make sense? Are there redundancies, such as a site that includes a “Personal Finance” section in the top-level navigation, then again lists that section in a sub-menu under the heading “Money & Careers”?

7. Does The Content Have A Consistent Voice?

Every brand or business has a distinct voice that expresses its personality. Serious, irreverent, scholarly, authoritative – all are valid, but the tone, language and mode of expression must be a fit and must be consistent with the brand. This step evaluates the content’s tendency to spill into multiple personality disorder.

8. Are Basic SEO Elements In Place? 

Review the page’s title, keywords, metadata, headings and image tags.

Are target keywords and phrases used on the page? Are page descriptions and metadata employed appropriately? Are images and multimedia files captioned, and is metadata employed to make them search-engine friendly? Are headlines optimized for search?

Search engine optimization begins and ends with content, so evaluating to what extent content conforms to best practices in search is an essential part of an audit.

9. What Content Is Missing?

Conducting a content audit focuses so much attention on what’s there that it’s often too easy to overlook what’s not there. An essential step in any audit is therefore to identify weaknesses, gaps and content needs.

A site may be rich in information on how to order, for example; but, are issues surrounding shipping and order fulfillment adequately addressed? Is the press/media section strong on press releases, but weak on photos and video offerings? Does the company blog address company issues heavily, but general industry trends not at all?

What’s missing speaks volumes about the forward direction of a content strategy.

Use Your Findings To Identify Needed Changes/Actions

This is where the rubber hits the road. It’s not enough to produce a giant spreadsheet. The goal is to define gaps and problems, as well as to identify strengths, and develop specific recommendations for improvement.

http://marketingland.com/conduct-content-audit-117781

Χρήσιμα online εργαλεία για Infographics

Είναι αδιαμφισβήτητο γεγονός, ότι τα infographics αποτελούν τη νέα τάση στον έντυπο και ψηφιακό τύπο, καθώς μετατρέπουν πολύπλοκα δεδομένα σε μία εύκολα κατανοητή εικόνα.

Η δυνατότητα του εγκεφάλου να επεξεργάζεται σε πολύ πιο γρήγορους ρυθμούς την εικόνα σε αντίθεση με το κείμενο, είναι ίσως και ο λόγος που τα infographics είναι πλέον διάσημα στα ψηφιακά μέσα.

Παρόλα αυτά, κάτι που ίσως και να φαίνεται εύκολο στη δημιουργία μπορεί και να μην είναι, αφού εργαλεία όπως το Photoshop δεν είναι εύχρηστα για όλους, όσον αφορά τη χρήση τους αλλά και τον απαιτούμενο χρόνο.

Με βάση τα παραπάνω, παρουσιάζεται στη συνέχεια μία λίστα με online εργαλεία για την κατασκευή infographics, τα οποία είναι γρήγορα και δωρεάν.

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Google Developers

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GetAbout.Me

Motivating Employees, Brand Advocates and Social Business!

In a recent discussion with young entrepreneurs I mentioned that social media adoption in companies in Germany still is far behind other countries like the US. Someone replied: „That is because in Germany the people actually work in their working hours.“

This remark took me slightly off guard and I had to ask Jonathan if I got that comment right? Surely I must have misunderstood? But my ears did not deceive me.

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Sorry to be so drastic: This guy simply does not get social. He does not understand social business. And he has no clue how to utilize social media for business.

When I was still working as a consultant, sometimes I used client’s computers for working. And some of our clients had multiple websites including Facebook and some major news-sites blocked from Internet access for their employees. Apart from the fact that I think this is totally useless – If your employees do not want to work for you, they will find ways to pass their time anyway – in case of social media, some serious rethinking should be done.

I am not sure how German corporations (or companies in other countries) treat internet access for their employees today. My mentioned experience was some years ago. But people like this young entrepreneur I met recently are probably totally in line with blocking Facebook and other web diversions to make sure employees “actually work”.

Holy shit – is he missing out!

Let me give you an example: This year saw some major security breaks in open source code. I cannot give details, as I am no developer. Internet companies had to react to this issue, to make sure their client’s data was still safe with them. A developer and friend of ours posted on Facebook about how his company treated this issue: He was totally proud to be part of the fast and customer friendly way his company solved the problem. And all his Facebook friends (including me) saw not only a proud developer but were also reminded of the interesting service his company offers. (We are actually discussing using the service in the near future right now.)

So instead of blocking the access to Facebook for some unsatisfied employees, this company has happy employees talking on Facebook about how great the company is they work for. And how great they solve problems that arise.

Can you see the difference this makes? One company has unsatisfied employees talking about the stupid treatment of Internet access by their employer – the other has their employees bragging on Facebook about the great service, the great developer team and how proud they are to work for this company.

(Also – news like the one about this massiv security leak travel much faster around through the use of social media. Wouldn’t you like to be the first to know?)

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People will talk anyway

If you are afraid of your employees talking bad about you on social media sites you have a serious problem. People talk. It is part of our nature that we talk about something with which we spend such a great portion of our lives. And we especially talk about things that are going wrong. And Social Media takes some part of this talking public. Just as with customer service: Trying to hide something that is going wrong, is getting harder – and often fires back. The better way to solve this is to solve the real problem (unhappy employees or customers).

Some would argue that there is no worse publicity than no publicity – and social media is a media channel. Like every media channel there are good and bad stories. And there are companies that don’t exist at all.

You will not really lose working time – and you will gain recognition

I am not a great fan of counting every minute people spend working as long as the work gets done and people are involved and motivated. I also think a short chat over coffee often brings the best ideas and solutions. A glance to the left and right is seldom wrong.

I recently read a post about productivity. For each hour of work, I should spend 50 min concentrating on some hard work and 10 min letting my thoughts wander, reading some easy to swallow information or simply chat with colleagues.

Trying to keep your employees from spending these 10 min. relaxing, will not make you gain productivity. It will lose you a lot of motivation and willingness for hard work. At the same time your employees could be spending these relaxing 10 min. on social media mentioning your great company once in a while and the great work they just completed. Increasing employee moral AND positive talk about your company! Just saying…

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Social business is something bigger

Turning employees into brand advocates and your business into a social business is something bigger: It is about company culture and work ethics, about educating and guiding your employees.

If you consider your employees as “slaves” between nine and five you will have a hard time to have them head up your praise in social media. And there is certainly more to social business than opening up the Internet.

But: Simply telling your employees to be active in social media does not make you a social business. Most of your employees do not know what they should or should not do on behalf of your company, some do not even know how most social networks really work. You need to invest in your employees to turn them into brand advocates and let them take your business to social.

Allowing the use of social media is only the first step. There are many more to take – yet this is out of the scope of this post. This is about opening a door, for you and your company.

Your brand will gain from your investment

Taking the time and making the effort to educate your employees and set up a strategy for your social business gives you the unique chance of multiple brand advocates spreading the word about your great company and build your brand in social media. Do not only think about the time you could lose, think about the recognition and publicity you can gain.

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More
http://blog.thesocialms.com/motivating-employees-brand-advocates-and-social-business/

FB@work incoming!!!

“FB@Work.” Now that product is officially coming to light: today the company is launching new iOS and Android apps called “Facebook At Work,” along with a version of Facebook at Work accessible via its main website, which will let businesses create their own social networks amongst their employees that are built to look and act like Facebook itself.

(Facebook At Work is now available for download on iOS, and we’ll update with a links to the Andrid version once it’s live, though both are usable via a limited pilot to start with. Check out Josh’s follow-up story for more screenshots, details on privacy, and analysis.)

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Employers can create separate log-ins for employees to use with their Work accounts, or users can link these up with their other profiles to access everything in one place.

The product puts Facebook head-to-head with the likes of Microsoft’s Yammer, Slack, Convo, Socialcast, and a huge number of others who are trying to tackle the “enterprise social network” space. Even LinkedIn conveniently let drop last night that it too was looking atbuilding a product for coworkers to communicate and share content (but not chat, as a LinkedIn spokesperson tells me). Not all of these have been a hit: Lars Rasmussen, the engineering director at Facebook who is heading up the project, had in his past once headed up one of the failed efforts at an enterprise social network, Google Wave.

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Facebook is positioning today’s debut as a bold first step. “We’re putting the app into the app stores so that we can begin testing the product,” Rasmussen said in an interview.

In fact, Facebook has already been running tests of the service with “a very small set” of external businesses around the world, Rasmussen says; this is the next step in that process. The aim initially will be companies with 100 or more employees. (In fact, the existing Facebook Groups product is already used by smaller organisations.)

Because of the early nature of the product, there are a lot of questions in the air. The company has yet to work out, for example, how it might price the app, whether it will monetise the service through ads, or how third-party apps will work. For now, Facebook Platform has been disabled on the Work product, meaning no ads or apps.

That may not always be the case (“It could be paid,” he says).

This beta state of affairs is in some ways ironic. Rasmussen says that Facebook has effectively been working on Work for the last 10 years, because it is based on what Facebook’s own employees have been using to communicate with each other, pass on news, plan meetings and share documents. That long-time use and Facebook’s familiarity to all of us are part of what makes Facebook confident that it can carve a place for itself in a market that already is very crowded.

“Facebook at Work’s strength is that we’ve spent ten years and incorporated feedback from 1 billion active users,” he says. “All of that is embedded now in the same product but adapted for different use cases.”

SWEDEN-FACEBOOK-DATA-CENTER-SERVERS

And it’s actually used by staff. “When Mark [Zuckerberg, the CEO] makes an announcement he just posts it on Facebook at Work,” Rasmussen says.

In fact, Facebook’s own popularity could be Facebook at Work’s biggest advantage. A lot of efforts in offices to get employees to collaborate more with each other have been stymied because employees don’t want to use the software. It’s yet another new thing to learn and doesn’t feel essential.

A lot of messaging apps (Microsoft’s Yammer being one of the notably early movers) have tried to tap into “consumerization” — or getting enterprise apps to look and feel more like consumer apps — to encourage usage. In that vein, Facebook at Work, built essentially on Facebook itself, will be arguably the closest of all to an authentic “consumer” social experience.

Here’s a run-down of some of the key points about the service, as told to me by Rasmussen:

Pricing. As noted above, no firm details on this yet but consider that most of the other apps offer tiers of pricing. By making this free, Facebook could potentially drive a lot more users to its wider network.

The fact that Rasmussen would not rule out advertising as an option down the road to me suggests that Facebook could consider tiers of its own where some businesses may pay for the product and have it ad-free, while others might take it free and get ads. Again, most enterprise apps are based on a paid model so it’s probably more likely to remain the case here too. Plus this would give Facebook another revenue stream beyond ads and app-related payments.

How it will work. Facebook wouldn’t show me a demo ahead of the launch but this is how Rasmussen describes it: “When an employer adopts Facebook at Work, they can construct it with a set of new accounts. Users can then link their work and personal accounts together so that they are logged into both at the same time.”

This would work much like Groups and public profiles do today. On mobile, you would have two mobile apps running at the same time, he adds. “Even if the employee chooses to link there is no crossover. The content stays entirely within your personal or work Facebook.”

What’s not there/integrations. You can share documents today but for now there will be no in-app editing “currently.”

Again, that leaves this open as something that will come down the line. “The set of features are identitcal to personal Facebook, but just to get it out sooner we’ve disabled the Platform so the APIs that third parties work with are not there, but we are keen to turn it back on. Hopefully in the future other enterprise tools will integrate with Facebook at Work.”

Backstory on development. Back in June I’d deduced that Facebook at Work was connected with Rasmussen’s work in London, but what I found out from sources after that report was that this was more than casual: this was his baby.

Rasmussen is not shy to bring this up himself (which I have to admit is refreshing to hear, because people do like to posture a lot in tech, don’t they).

“I can say that the challenges of making work more efficient is something that has been on my mind for a long time, and I come to it with a lot of passion and the knowledge of a failure of doing this at a different company,” he says, referring of course to Google Wave.

“I thought that maybe Facebook’s experience was what was needed. When I worked on search here it was always at the back of my mind, so later I picked back up on that idea, joined in on the conversation.”

The caveat to all this, however, is one that Facebook will have to continue to grapple with, all the more so as it continues to grow.

Canvassing opinion on a Facebook at Work product, I heard not only once people shy away from the idea, concerned with the thought of Facebook “owning” your data and the potential lack of confidentiality resulting from it.

That can be frustrating when related to pictures of you too drunk when you were in college, or frankly scary looking when you were in high school, but potentially very costly and illegal if proprietary work information is involved.

Content Marketing Trends 2015

Recommendations on the top tips, techniques and tools to reach content marketing excellence in 2015

2014 has certainly been a busy year for content marketing and something that wasn’t a surprise given the research and buzz evident at the start of the year which showed that content marketing was the highest rated marketing priority for marketers. The more recent 2015 marketing trends poll on Smart Insights showed that content marketing is still the top marketing priority for 2015.

But as the year has gone on, what have we really learnt about content marketing and the lessons we need to follow in order to execute this particular area of digital marketing effectively?

In this post I’ve grouped together some key content marketing themes from 2014 and links to recommended best practice articles and resources from Smart Insights and other sites.

Key areas of focus

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Understanding content marketing

Before embarking on content marketing for your business, it’s worth really exploring what content marketing really entails and the benefits it can drive. As with any type of marketing activity, there will be an opportunity cost between one approach and another.

Neil Patel’s Advanced Guide to Content Marketing is a detailed, in-depth yet easy to follow tutorial covering content marketing across ten chapters, ranging from building a strong foundation to advice on how to plan and execute content marketing effectively.

Read: The Quicksprout guide to Advanced Content Marketing

Content strategy

Everything should start with a clear vision and strategy. Content plays a key role in nearly all digital marketing activity – paid, owned and earned media and so a well-defined content strategy will give you the platform and framework from which you can begin to create and distribute content.

Read: Smart Insights on Content Marketing Strategy

Altimeter content capability

Organising for content marketing

Once you have an idea about how you’ll ideally be using content marketing for business, the next step is to consider the key elements that lead to successful content marketing. An understanding of how format, platform, content type and metrics come together will help you with the content strategy and planning processes.

Econsultancy’s Periodic Table of Content Marketing provides a simple yet effective visualisation of the many constituent parts that make for successful content marketing:

econsultancy the_perdiodic_table_of_content_marketing-blog-full

Content planning

Once a strategy has been devised, the next step is the plan. Developing a plan is crucial to the future success of your content marketing efforts. Research suggests that the majority of businesses don’t have a content marketing plan so it’s therefore more important than ever to gain an advantage by developing one of your own by following a clear process:

  • Review current use of content marketing
  • Define content marketing objectives and KPIs
  • Conduct a content Gap analysis
  • Create a content plan timeline

Competitor analysis

Part of the content marketing planning process will involve the benchmarking of your efforts against those of your key competitors.

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This is an important part of the process as it enables you to not only evaluate the performance of your competitors’ efforts but also build a picture of the type of content activity, strategies and tactics that are working for others in your industry.

Read: Comparing content marketing competitor tools

Content creation

The content creation process is where the real fun begins – although it’s by no means a simple process. To create truly compelling, ‘killer’ content, you need to blend art with science and become a storyteller to hook your audience.
Storyboarding is a great way to set out a structure for content that can be used individually or as part of a series.

Some of the key ingredients to help you storyboard ideas include:

  • 1. Discover your ideal audience
  • 2. Inform your hunch
  • 3. Compile
  • 4. Create a narrative
  • 5. Find the hook

Read: Copyblogger Master Story Telling

Tools and techniques

There is a plethora of tools and techniques available to manage your content marketing efforts. The key is to choose and select the tool (or range of tools) that you’ll really need based on what you’ll be measuring and tracking (which should be outlined upfront in your digital marketing/ content strategy).

In September, Dave Chaffey outlined ten key digital marketing technologies to use in 2015, including those that will assist with:

  • Content distribution
  • Content curation
  • Integrating SEO, social media and content
  • Ecommerce and digital channel sales optimisation
  • Analytics

Read: Digital Marketing Technologies for 2015

Content distribution/promotion

There are a multitude of different paid, owned and earned media opportunities to promote and/or distribute content.

Smart Insights’ new Content Distribution Matrix helps marketers to review the best options for promoting content by identifying the most effective means of distributing their content in generating site visits, leads or sales compared to the level of investment.

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To use The Content Distribution Matrix, there are three steps to follow:

  • Step 1. Mark up the current or past use of media for content distribution
  • Step 2. Review promotion gap against competitor or sector use of content distribution techniques
  • Step 3. Select and prioritise new methods of content promotion

Read: Content Marketing Promotion Matrix

Integrating content with SEO

Content marketing and SEO are very closely entwined, so much so that some would even argue that a large part of SEO and content marketing overlap. Nevertheless, content marketing and SEO are often managed separately and as a result you should consider the organic search benefits great content can bring if executed correctly.

As search engines have continued to refine their algorithms and methodologies, the practice of SEO has also changed. There are a lot of out-dated techniques and myths that should be considered when optimising your content for search engines. Be aware of these to ensure you make the most of what you have from an SEO perspective.

Read: Smart Insights integrating SEO and content marketing and Hubspot’s excellent 17 SEO myths to leave behind in 2015.

Analysis

As outlined in the strategy and planning sections above, the goals and objectives behind your content marketing activity should be stated early on in the process as knowing upfront why and how you’ll be using content marketing will give you focus.

In his post from January this year, Danyl Bosomworth provided a table that breaks content marketing KPIs into three clear groups:

danylpostmanagereachactonvertengageDanyl also provided five questions to help set, manage and review your content marketing effectiveness and to ensure that you use actionable metrics:

  • Q1. Which keyphrases related to content are most effective at driving visits and outcomes?
  • Q2. Which referring partner sites or social networks have helped with link generation and measurement (for SEO) and the driving of traffic, referenced above as a part of SMO
  • Q3. How does content viewed on click-paths or journeys affect marketing outcomes
  • Q4. Are we increasing the % of engaged users?
  • Q5. What are the satisfaction ratings for our content?

Read: Smart Insights Measuring content marketing and Content Marketing ROI guide