Advertising

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2017

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2017
Advertising

Online vendors take note: Content is key to conversions!

Content marketing is the process of developing and distributing valuable content that establishes a strong brand identity,which ultimately leads to shopping cart conversions. Capturing leads and nurturing them are critical to creating a winning content marketing strategy in 2017.

What is content?

Content can take the form of articles, blogs, infographics, press releases, games, videos, whitepapers, and any other formats of communication that are meant to inform, entertain, or promote your business.

“You want to view the content on your website as a living, breathing entity; the more you feed it the more it will grow,” says Jenna Mollard, Director of Business Development at Rand Marketing. She has managed over 30 employees when handling website design, development, and digital marketing amplification.

Advertising

Your articles, blogs, and videos will need to stand out over larger, more entrenched competitors. Here’s how to start strong, right from the beginning.

Sparking a conversation in a noisy room

Take an honest look in the mirror. Ask yourself if you have the type of product, service, or knowledge that can spark a digital conversation. Are web users likely to engage with, comment on, or share your content among their peers? If you do not have the type of product or service that draws a large search volume look to your team and see if you have the resources necessary to change the conversation around what you want to talk about.

History is filled with companies that have made the mundane into the extraordinary. Create exclusivity like Gray Poupon did with their Facebook fans. Create games in order to let users access content, such as Scrabble did with WiFi stops in Europe. Have a sensitive product? Take example from Squatty Potty who managed to sell $3 million just three weeks after airing.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” -Don Draper

Share now!

When your article solves a real world problem that an individual is seeking relief from, that individual is likely to share their victory on social media, or send the article along to another friend going through the same issue. Keep in mind that every individual wants to be of value to their intimate social circle. Give them this power through content marketing and you will find that higher conversions are only a “Share” button away.

Soft sell > Hard sell

“Most visitors that go to your site are not ready to convert,” says Mollard. In fact, a 2016 DemandGen survey found that 47 percent of B2B buyers consume three to five pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson.

The soft sell will have to be used like a boxer uses the jab; it won’t do a lot of damage, but it is a reliable and consistent way to keep the fight going, while staying out of harm’s reach.

The number one mistake sales and marketing teams were making in 2016 was trying to close MQLs (marketing qualified leads) before they were ready. If it takes most buyers three to five visits to your website before they are ready to talk, the worst mistake is to go for the hard sell too soon. This alienates them from your brand, and instead of coming across as a potential partner, the message that you’ll send is that you’re heavy handed and just in it for yourself.

Advertising

“You can’t have sales staff immediately go for the jugular,” observes Mollard. You will have to wine and dine your readers through high-value content. By providing value first, then asking for the sale–almost as an afterthought–you are creating exclusivity by providing the reader with enough space. Give them room to roam, browse, and come back for seconds–only then do you go in for the sale.

You will find that slow and steady will win the content marketing race in 2017. Keep your eyes on your analytics, and try to obtain emails and point-of-contact information through a resource center.

Capture leads through a resource center

A resource center will provide your organization with the single most important key to success. A resource center keeps your most valuable content in a crystal vault: the only way inside is by the user providing his contact information. You can build this resource center as a separate webpage on a site, or smaller landing pages that link to exclusive, high-value content. The price of admission will be a name and an e-mail. If you’re feeling confident that your content merits more than this, feel free to ask for other metrics, including a user’s job title, company name, years in the business, and pain-points. Keep in mind that the more information you ask from a user, the higher the bounce rate on the page will be.

How do you create content for a resource center? Simple. Just do what you’re doing with your content creation but better.

Advertising

For example, rather than create another bland blog post, consider beefing it up with greater statistics, quotes from thought leaders, current statistics and calling it a white paper.

The difference between a blog post and a white paper is exclusivity. Readers will give out personal information in order to access the latter. This makes the difference between a captured lead and one that leaves your site for good. You want to be intelligent about how you distribute your materials; not all content should be given away for free.

Pro SEO Tip: This resource center should contain keywords your organization is hoping to rank for. Google and Bing’s search algorithms will crawl these sites, giving you prized SEO juice that will aid your other marketing campaigns.

Final thoughts

“Content really is key to conversions,” says Mollard, who is now leading efforts to create a Resource Center on her new clients’ pages. “You want to track your visitors and give them what they are looking for, but you never want to give all away for free. Always keep conversions in mind.”

Advertising

As you build out your content strategy for 2017, keep in mind this final piece of advice, straight from the lips of Claude C. Hopkins, the Father of Scientific Advertising:

“[Advertising] is not for general effect. It is not to keep your name before the people. It is not primarily to aid your other salesmen. Treat it as a salesman. Force it to justify itself. Compare it with other salesmen. Figure its cost and result. Accept no excuses which good salesmen do not make. Then you will not go far wrong” (Source).

More by this author

Alex Pop

Senior Content Writer

Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2017

Trending in Career Advice

1 The Lifehack Show: Standing Out in Today’s Job Market with Dr. Julia Ivy 2 Clueless On Your Career? Sabbatical vs. Career Break 3 10 Essential Career Change Questions To Ask Yourself This Year 4 10 Job Search Tools Every Jobseekers Need To Know About 5 If You Have This Key Behavior, You’ll Be More Successful Than 90% Of People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
Advertising

During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

Advertising

Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

Advertising

6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

Advertising

Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

Advertising

13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next