This post was origially written for social media club – see more here: http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf
This post was origially written for social media club – see more here: http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf
We all go through writers block. Sometimes we’re sitting tapping the keys on our keyboard but nothing is coming to mind. The well is running low and you’ve “run out of things to blog about”.. but is that really true? Maybe you’re just not looking in the right places.
There are some ways to prepare yourself in advance so the well doesn’t run dry. And there are things we can do to keep ourselves motivated for those times we are feeling a little less in the mood to blog for your fashion business.
To read about my 3 other tips including formats and curation, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!
I’ve been asked a multitude of times…”How do you find time to blog?” It took me a while to realize how I did find time. And then I realized the answer was quite simple: “I find time.” Blogging, like other marketing objectives, just needs to become a priority that you make time for. Whether it’s your personal blog, a brand you are starting, or a well-established brand that is trying to demonstrate it’s expertise in a particular vertical. We all know the general benefits of blogging – SEO, thought leadership, partnered content, awareness, engagement, etc. And the value to the blogger? Promotion of their personal brand, subject matter expert, social promotion, so on and so forth.
We all know that each week is different and new commitments come up all the time. But that’s no excuse. My way around that is planning ahead. I plan out the posts I need to do a month in advance. That allows me to see what is going on each week and each weekend and when is best to tackle the posts I have in my pipeline. Typically I have on average 8 posts a month. Sounds like a lot, and it can be if you aren’t managing your time. I usually block off one day a week where I can polish off 2 – 3 posts in a morning. Now I will admit, that I have it down to a science and usually have prepared what I’m going to write in advance (see divide and conquer below). And for when life gets in the way? Find a new day that works, but don’t push it to the next week unless absolutely necessary.
Yes it’s nice if you have a team to divide and conquer your posts, but even when you have a team, you still need to find time for yours. Rather than leaving the ideation, research, creation, and review all in one sitting – split it up! For example when I look at my week ahead on Sunday evening, I usually look to see what blog posts I have to tackle that week. Sometime between Mon – Thurs I tackle a quick topic ideation by surveying what’s popping in culture, any new social media trends that have risen to the top, and/or pain points that people are discussing. Then I find some quick sources that support my thinking and leave it be. I let that stew a little and when I get to the day I plan to write (normally Saturday or Sunday morning before/after the gym) I am primed to just hit the keyboard. Additionally, it helps if you’re not the only editor reviewing your post. And if you don’t have an editor ask a darling friend to take a glance over for any glaring issues that you may have missed.
This is probably the most important. The reason I am less stressed about writing posts each week or month, is because I’m typically passionate about it. Yes not every post is riveting, and I may procrastinate at times, or pour a glass of wine as I debate it. But at least 85% of the time I am excited to write (or will be when I finish) because it’s about something I’m proud to be writing about. I am proud to spread more knowledge into the digital marketing space as well as provide my inspirational rantings around style and confidence (my other blogging adventures). So, please, before you pick up that “pen” think if you’re actually excited about your blogging.
And speaking of that glass of wine…sometimes that helps write a little more creatively too!
Image source: Kikolani
This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks.
Do you have blog for your brand? I know, you’ve got a lot to do. But blogging is really important for reasons ranging from SEO to customers relationships. When it comes to choosing a a platform for your blog, you may want to go with WordPress, which definitely has it’s advantages. Or you may be considering tumblr.
If you said yes to even a couple of the above questions, then tumblr may be the blogging platform for your brand.
tumblr is not just a blog, but an online community of people who are creating, curating, consuming, and sharing content every minute of every day. Consumers are there for one reason – to find and consume content they are interested in. So why not be where your consumers already are?
tumblr is extremely effective for visual friendly brands such as those in the fashion industry. Brands like Nordstrom, Club Monaco and others have taken full advantage – including letting it be another path to purchase for their brand lovers. Furthermore, influencers in the fashion industry realize it’s another place that an audience will love to check out brand collaborations.
To read more on the benefits of tumblr and why the advantages could be right for your brand, check out my full post on Startup Fashion!
Image via Omarukai
Creating content is a beast. You heard right. A beast. It can take hours to plan, write, edit, and schedule accordingly. And truthfully most brands have a hard time doing it all themselves.
Some brands need to source out, curate, and/or co-create content in order to supplement the content they create themselves. One way to do this is working with guest bloggers. They can be a real asset as you create your content strategy and calendar
It feels like a lifetime ago when I considered transitioning from law to marketing – yes you heard right, law to marketing. I had been watching my roommate Julia Roy, venturing into the twittersphere and launching her personal brand as a digital strategist, and saw first-hand how much more fun she was having. And at the same time, I wanted to throw my law books out the window. Long story short, I followed suit soon after, and realized that digital marketing was a much better fit for me personally and professionally. But how did I start, and what got me here today? Here are a few tips I learned along the way…
1. Read, Read, and Read Some More
Sign up for regular email newsletters from blogs and websites you will enjoy perusing daily or weekly. It’s important to stay up to date on the latest and greatest when it comes to new social media channels, new mergers between platforms, updates to channels and how it will affect marketing to audiences, so on and so forth. For example, I subscribe to Mashable, Fast Company, Techcrunch and others that are similar. Aside from blogs that are specific to marketing, I like to subscribe to more tech related blogs, because technology is constantly affecting how we market and how we reach out audiences (ex. iBeacons).
Yes, it’s not always easy to read everyday, but it’s important to try to set aside some regular time to at least skim the headlines. My tip: follow your faves on Twitter and set up a Twitter list so you can see what’s new, in real time.
2. Learn by Doing
One thing I learned right away is that you can read about marketing and the best strategies, but you can’t truly understand, implement, and teach others until you do it yourself. Jump in and just try it out. For example, when I see a new channel that could be interesting for my clients and their audiences, I immediately sign up and try it out for myself. I view it as a customer to see what type of content I would want on there, how I would engage with it myself, and would I want to engage with brands on it. In turn, I figure out what are the tactical items to consider. For example, Snapchat is about instant consumption, while Vine and Instagram can be viewed multiple times and shared whenever and wherever you want. These are just a few examples that brands and marketers need to put into consideration when determining where to play, the content to produce and distribute, and which audiences matter to them and why.
3. Take yourself offline
Sometimes you just need to log off. Attend a networking event in your city and talk (not on Twitter, but face to face) to other marketers in your industry. It’s a great way to exchange ideas, find a mentor, and just enjoy being among like minds. I also recommend doing it at minimum – monthly – in order to stay on top of what is happening within your city’s marketing industry.
You’ll want to know the 2 other tips around blogging and my bonus tip! This post was originally written for Marketing on the Rocks, so check out my full post here!
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos; John Sutton
“Influencer Marketing” – the latest buzz phrase in the marketing sphere – but is your brand doing it right? There are multiple pitfalls, which are easy to miss even if they’re right in front of you. So instead of running towards the finish line, tread carefully and strategically for your brand’s benefit and ensure you have chosen the right influencer with the right tone, brand fit, and appropriate audience.
Avoid these pitfalls along the way:
1. Not understanding the definition of an Influencer
First and foremost, what is an influencer? The word means different things to different people and brands, and rightly so. There are different types of influencers, and your brand needs to decide which ones are right for their brand messaging, their target audience, and the unified effort. For example, celebrities are considered influencers due to their large following on social channels and otherwise. And then you have experts, journalists, personal branders, and topic authorities. So which one is right for your brand and your campaign – #2 should help with that.
2. Forgetting to put together an Influencer Strategy
An influencer strategy, like a social media strategy, channel strategy, and/or content strategy — is significant because it allows a brand to determine which influencers are right for the brand, how they will be reached out to, how they will be worked with, and what the goals and learnings will be from the program overall. Without this, you are just tweeting to random people and pulling at straws and may turn up with the short one. And no brand wants that.
3. Missing the brand fit
When you evaluate your list of influencers it’s important to ensure that the ones you’re considering are not opposed to the brand in any way. For example, it would be poor form to choose an influencer which may have spoken badly of the brand, a product of the brand, and/or some partnership/program that the brand was involved in. Additionally, it’s important that the influencer(s) fits the brand image in a way that isn’t too controversial (unless that’s what the brand is hoping for). For example, if the brand’s image is about being conservative, eco-friendly, and about local efforts, than it may help if the influencer has similarities in those areas or strengths that will help influence those areas as well.
4. Only using tools to find an influencer
This is a huge error that can cause the wrong influencer to be chosen. Although there are many tools out there that will help one get a list of influencers that may fit the brand/campaign, the human touch is still necessary. For example, 10 awesome influencers may be brought down from an initial list of 100 or more, which helps with efficiency and time to get down to the ones that mater and could have an impact for the brand. However, it’s important to look back into the person’s history (especially regarding #3 above), check to see the conversation that the person is having on their social channels, and ensure that the tool was accurate in its assessment. For instance, is the audience of that influencer one that matters to the brand? If not their influence is less likely to make an impact and bring awareness, engagement, and/or positive sentiment towards the brand as it had hoped.
5. Lack of authenticity
Since he or she is an influencer, they’re obviously authentic, right? Not, necessarily. For example, if an influencer is being poked by a brand a second, he or she may be writing sponsored content on a regular basis. Then where’s the original content, the content that matters to their audience. It’s important that the influencer has a balance of content that is still their own because without their own, personal, un-biased opinion, the authenticity is lost, and their influence is less valuable.
Looking for more input to ensure your influencer marketing starts off on the right foot? Reach out in the comments below!
This post was originally written for Socialnomics.
Starting and maintaing a blog for your brand is a a crucial step when it comes to publishing content for your audience to discover, consume and share.
However, before pumping out all that awesome content, your team needs to determine how that blog will “look and feel” — how it will ladder up to the brand’s image on other owned sites, how the tone and voice will take shape, and how the blog will look visually to the consumer.
This shouldn’t’ be daunting, but it does take time to consider, plan, and strategize appropriately so your blog is a part of your marketing strategy and brand’s arsenal of content publishing.
1. To Theme or Not to Theme
Many blogs, whether it’s WordPress or tumblr offer a variety of custom themes that allow you to work within a set template.
The template allows for color changes, a preferred way to display content whether it’s the new Pinterest pinboard layout, or the gallery look, or keeping it simple with having it article style.
Whatever you choose, you can then add on widgets to allow for further customization such as social feeds, pulling in content from other sites, and even promoting products and services for people to purchase or subscribe to. In the end the theme helps those brands that don’t want to start from scratch, but would rather work from an easier starting place for a “look and feel” that fits the brand.
2. To Brand
Even before choosing the theme and the domain, it’s important to determine whether or not the blog will have branding specific to the brand/product/service. For example, some brands have a blog to offer fun entertaining content that has little to no branding; while others completely brand the blog with their name, logo, and more in order to show they are the authority of the blog and/or thought leader on the subject matter they are offering.
There is no right way to go about this, it depends upon the purpose of the blog and the goals of the brand. Both can serve great purposes.
3. To Be Social
If your brand has a large social presence or is trying to build on, it helps to cross promote social content. For example a fashion brand may want to pull in an instagram feed, while another brand may want to pull in a hashtag stream on a campaign they’re running.
I recommend ensuring there are social share buttons for content – more eyeballs, more consumption, more awareness of one’s content and brand.
4. To Provide Tone & Voice
One’s tone and voice is a part of the visual feel of the blog as well.
The tone can be fun and vibrant which goes along with a casual blog visually. Voice may be more instructional which may go along with a more conservative looking blog. Just remember to keep in consideration all the elements of your blog before putting it together.
5. To Provide Imagery
Imagery is essential to getting people to consume the content and share it. For example if it has fun visuals like a short video, comic strip, infographic – people are more likely to move towards it and in turn share with people they think would find it fun or informative.
Note: This post was originally written for social media club and my original post can be found here.
Your brand is awesome, you have great content, and your blog is off to a great start. But before you started said blog, did your team consider editorial guidelines? The content is crucial but so is maintaining control over how the content is created.
In General: Audience, Topics, Edits/Reviews
It is important to establish specific guidelines for your bloggers to know your particular audience they are writing for. In addition giving them some initial ideas on topics is helpful so they know what is OK to write about and what is not advised. And of course letting them know how the editing and review process will work – for example if your team will review and edit or if the blogger will have to edit the piece until it is complete (or if there are certain amount of review rounds that are acceptable).
Formatting: Pictures, Videos, Bulleting, Headings
In order to make the process more streamlined and efficient it is more important to outline specific formatting procedures. For example how pictures are to be submitted (size, type), if videos can be used, how paragraphs should be written (headings, bullet points, sub headings). Some blogs even have rules on how soon you can have a heading in a blog post and how long paragraphs should be. Word count is also an important item to consider – 300 to 800 words is fairly standard.
To read more and find out my 3 other things to consider for editorial guidelines (plus my bonus item)…check out my full post on Startup Fashion.
Image via janefriedman.com
Publishing is no longer just in the hands of magazines and newspapers; brands have the opportunity (as many have realized) to provide the value of content to consumers through video, blogs, infographics, and much more.
Today the brand is the publisher. When brands start creating and curating content it is normally through a blog or landing page that consumers are directed through to other channels.
Does your brand have a blog? Is it ready to make the investment in writers and quality content to keep loyal fans and accrue new ones?
Your blog strategy is dependent on your marketing/business goals so it is important to ensure your content strategy for your blog is in line with those goals. Then, whether you have a 3 person team or a 500 person team you need to do a few things to put out valuable content:
To read my other 2 imperative tips for a blog content strategy, please check out my full post on Startup Fashion! Thanks!
The importance of starting a blog as an independent fashion designer is based around a solid way to tell your story, drive traffic to your website, and allow your brand to grow a loyal fan base while allowing for a deeper look into the brand.
Lets take a closer look on why your brand should have a blog…
Creating regular and consistent content and publishing out to your social channels can create awareness for your brand. The key is to have content that is valuable to your audience whether it be “how-to”, tips, expert advice, highlighting your products through lifestyle content, or a blend of content types.
That awareness will then lead to sharing of content on your fans’ channels for greater awareness, and in turn can drive traffic to your site for your products.
Your content, which will be engaging through multi-media such as photos and videos of your lines, can drive traffic through SEO (taking advantage of keywords and tags) as well as from referrals, influencers, and your loyal audience. Your blog can easily become the vehicle that leads traffic right to your products – whether it be your current or future fashion line.
To read the other 3 reasons why your brand should consider a blog, please read my full post on Startup Fashion. Thanks!
Your marketing team should be relying on data to see what’s working, what could use improvement, and what should be squashed as an approach. Data may seem intimidating, but it can also be a marketer’s best friend. How? Keep reading!
It’s important to monitor analytics in order to see which sites are the best referral sources for your website. Keep track of your top ten. For example, is your blog one of your best referral sites? Then maybe you should be beefing up your blog even more in order to improve its performance as a top referral source. Are some of these sites ones where you guest posted or advertised? Continue to do so, as these can be great avenues for your potential customers to find you, visit your site to lean more, and hopefully one day convert into actual leads and customers.
Furthermore, if your blog or another site isn’t in your top ten list and you were hoping it would be, you should figure out why it isn’t working and re-work that strategy. Or perhaps admit that it isn’t working for your target audience, and focus on the channels that are working to refer potential customers to you.
Keep readying about my 4 other ways you can kick ass in marketing with data — by clicking the link below for my full post on the Hubspot blog!
Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/27424/5-Ways-to-Instantly-Improve-Marketing-With-Data.aspx
Too much content to create, too little time? This is when having a blogger staff and an awesome editorial calendar are key. Not only are they key but vital. As a freelance blogger as well as a marketing communications manager I definitely have a few tips on the topic. Here I share a few of my most helpful tips on how to create an efficient and user-friendly editorial calendar for your every-day use!
In my opinion an Excel spreadsheet is easiest in order to be organized with a table/chart and to be able to alter/revise as needed. However, I also advise to use a Google Doc version (or upload to Google Docs) in order to share with bloggers and have the ability to easily revise and show revisions without having to constantly email out. Efficient and easy to use.
Up to your own Type A and/or OCD nature. However, I suggest columns which include the following:
3. Due date
5. Post date
6. Status (aka under revision, etc).
1. Ask them to pick a weekly or monthly due date (and be stern about deadlines)
2. Schedule out posts according to frequency of blog posts and category/topic type of said posts
3. Always have some extra content in case you encounter a “lull”
4. Don’t forget to schedule time to review/edit/revise
5. Make sure publish day/time is a good time for readers – aka 9am with coffee not 5pm on a Friday
1. Hard part: finding the right bloggers who can produce great valuable content that people actually want to read. Not only do you need awesome bloggers but you need to find out what your target market is searching for in regards to content in your category. What keywords they are using and what they’re reading. Inboundwriterallows you to do just that! How? Here are the perks:
2. Developing a content strategy which aligns with your business/marketing strategy. This takes more thought and should be planned out with your CMO and/or VP of marketing in order to be most effective.
3. Make a bank of blogging content ideas for bloggers to choose from and/or add to. This saves time and make bloggers excited about the topics they write about. Need help thinking of topics for the bank? Check out these awesome blog topic ideas for your brand! Remember, the more excited your bloggers are, more likely the better they write, and in turn your target market will see the value.
4. Tip: It’s not always easy to review, critique and revise blog posts of your blogging team, especially if they may technically be your superiors in your company. However, you must remember that in this area of the company, it is your job to critique and be honest. It’s ok if you “rip apart” their writing because it is for the benefit of the brand. In addition, it teaches your blogging team the best tactics, learning their voice in writing, and within time it’ll be like clockwork. Critiquing isn’t always easy, but it’s essential to creating valuable content for your target market.
5. Have a social media policy? Community guidelines? Why not have editorial guidelines to make things more unified and efficient too? For example, in your guidelines you should/could include criteria for hyperlinking to previous posts, pages of your website, images, embedding videos, word count, style such as headings and bullet lists, and whatever else suits your fancy.
6. Cool new tool: WordPress editorial calendar plugin! Although I suggested Excel and Google Docs above, there is a new tool available for you WordPress junkies! The new plugin is an editorial calendar, which “gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.” Awesome, right?
Experiment! You need to give it a shot, try out a calendar, and see what works for you and your organization. Adapt to what works best and create that awesome content!
Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot.
I love when I see friends and coworkers hopping onboard and starting to embrace social media as a regular part of their work or personal lives. But as many people are still learning, some insider tips are helpful and crucial to their effectiveness on their social media channels. So folks, here are some tips and a “cheat sheet” slideshare doc just for you below!
1. A Fan Page is for your company Facebook Page and a Profile Page is for your personal Page. Remember the difference or Facebook will shut your page down, and that would be a major “fail!”
2. Use the real estate available to you: Put up a great profile pic; have a bio; add links to your other sites!
3. Add pictures! Pictures allow people to see what your brand is about and realize it’s more than just a “logo.” Add pictures from events, conferences, demos, and just the regular everyday awesomeness in your office.
4. Be human! Don’t just post, post, post. No one wants to hear all about you, all the time. Ask questions, reply, and converse like you would in every day life.
5. Share other people’s posts. Engage and demonstrate you value content and opinions by others too!
6. Connect your platforms! Did you do a blog post? Have it automatically post on your Facebook page so others can have access to it easily and quickly.
7. Have contests or other exciting giveaways or events which encourage both online and offline participation with your brand via Facebook.
8. Update regularly and not just once in a blue moon. Fans get used to the regularity of posts and fall off your loyal fan wagon if you don’t keep up.
9. Use your Facebook Insights to monitor your success with your Fans and see why/when your Fans activity increases or decreases. It’s helpful for future campaigns and promotions.
10. Be relevant. Post content that provides value to your target audience, but at the same time add some fun stuff too. The 80/20 rule is a great way to start out.
As seen below, Laughing Cow Cheese is always a great example of engagement, being human, and providing great relevant content on a consistent basis.
1. Get a Twitter handle as simple and close to the name of you or your brand as possible. Refrain from names like Tommy93737434 because no one will remember it.
2. Use the real estate given to you! Have a relevant 140-character bio which catches the eye of your target audience; have a great picture (as with Facebook) for your profile, and because some people still use www.Twitter.com versus Hootsuite,Tweetdeck, etc — make sure your Twitter background is up to par as well!
3. Be polite! Don’t just Tweet Tweet Tweet! This party isn’t all about you and the sooner you learn that, the less Twitter mistakes you will make! It’s a place for all of us to share, listen, chat together, and engage with one another. And the words “please” and “thank you” are just as welcome in this space.
4. Listen First. Talk Second. Set up columns in apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite in order to listen to your target audience easier and better. For example, have a separate column for clients, prospects, competition, etc.
5. Use hashtags for events, conferences, products, etc in order to promote more, and listen better on what people are saying re: your brand/product/event/etc.
6. ReTweet other people’s Tweets. It’s not all about your own content and opinion.
7. Give credit where credit is due when curating other people’s content.
8. Use the link shortener, it’s there to help you say more in this 140 character world.
9. Share links, photos, videos and more. It’s not just about articles and blog posts.
10. Follow Back! Don’t be too cool to follow, because on Twitter, we’re all a little nerdy!
Lululemon is a great example of a brand who knows how to ReTweet, ask questions, engage, and truly show each follower they have that they care about each one and what they have to say.
1. Strategize on the content that you would like to blog about first. Focus on your marketing strategy and what value you would like to provide your target audience in order to avoid many of the common blogging mistakes.
2. Have an editorial calendar to keep track of topics, bloggers, and deadlines.
3. Have guest bloggers to add some spice to your regular content.
4. Post regularly, or people forget you have a blog.
5. Have share buttons easily visible so people can Tweet, Share and Like your posts.
6. Have subscribe buttons also easily visible so people can click and subscribe quickly and easily.
7. Allow people to comment on your posts. Monitor if you want to approve before they become public.
8. Having headings, subheadings, and list posts keep people’s attention more as they’re easier to read than prolific paragraph after paragraph.
9. Add visual stimulation with videos, embeds, pictures, graphs, and the like.
10. Have a voice that’s yours. Don’t be afraid to add a little pizzazz!
The Purse Blog is unique and quite visual with its pictures, and posts, which allow the reader to engage not only with the content they want of purses reviewed, but let them see first hand how awesome these purses truly are.
Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot.
Some blog to talk about their thoughts and feelings regarding things in their daily lives, others blog about their wedding plans, some about their cooking adventures/endeavors, many about their career focus, and others about their life passions and hobbies. Whatever the reason, I truly believe that the chance to express oneself is key for both individuals as well as brands.
It is a perfect “tool” for brands to “humanize” themselves and show their audience that there are “real people” behind their name, not robots clicking away.
1. Humanizing a brand is unbelievably important to show one’s audience a personal touch. For example give your brand’s audience a chance to get to know the team behind the name. Holland-Mark does a great job at this when they share cool facts about their interns, holiday party photos, and other things you wouldn’t normally know.
2. Engaging one’s audience after a post has been published is a crucial step. This way you can have an actual conversation after your blog has been tweeted out like BostInnovation does on a regular basis and build a loyal readership/consumer/fan.
So whether blogging for personal or brand reasons – take the time to go a little deeper and share a personal side and allow your audience to get to know the person(s) behind the name.