Social Media Management Checklist

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM


So you’ve signed up for a bunch of social media accounts? Now, you can sit back and bask in your accomplishments, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. Signing up for social media accounts is only a small part of the battle. You need more than just a presence on well-known social media networks. You have to engage on them, and, well, be social. This means putting daily effort into developing your network and increasing your online visibility. How? By attending to housekeeping, monitoring, posting, and reaching out each day.

Here are must-do tasks to include on your social media checklist:


  • Log in and check your messages daily. It sounds like a no-brainer but it’s way too easy to let slide when you’re busy with other things. Don’t let out-of-sight, out-of-mind thinking derail you from this.
  • Respond thoughtfully. If your audience members reach out to you, the last thing you want to do is lose their interest by making them wait too long for your response. Don’t just hit the “like” button and think you’re done. Personal responses, thoughtful questions, and helpful advice will help you stand out from all the rest.
  • Commit to posting on each of your social media accounts at least once per day (more is better)–and make each post relevant and sharable. Keep in mind, however, that your posts don’t always have to be long and involved. They can be as simple as a link, quote, or photo, or as meaty as an informative video you created or an in-depth article (or link to one). Mix things up! Nobody likes boring.


  • Monitor your daily results. Check reviews and mentions of your business. This will help you stay on top of what people are saying about your business, so you can help keep the buzz going.
  • Note which posts saw lots of engagement and which tweets fell, well, flat. This allows you to make better choices by learning what works and what doesn’t.
  • Pay close attention to bad reviews and complaints. Of course you want to see positive mentions, but when bad reviews and complaints show up, your ongoing monitoring will pay off. You’ll be able to respond quickly to negativity and fix things or at least minimize the damage to your reputation.
  • Watch the competition. Sure, you’re different and your business is the best out there, but there’s still plenty you can learn from your competition, both what to do and what to never, ever do.
  • Find out who your friends are. Track increases and decreases in follower numbers and friends. Use the information you get to inform your marketing and social media efforts. Simply put, if it gets you a boost in numbers, keep doing it.

Reaching Out

  • Socialize! Well, duh. Why are we telling you this? The unfortunate truth is that business people have a crazy way of forgetting that social media is supposed to be social. Work on beginning, developing, and nurturing relationships every single day.
  • Set a goal. Connect with at least a few of your followers each day and initiate contact with the same number of new people. The attention you pay to others will boost their interest in your business, encourage sharing of your content, help you expand your network, build your reputation, and when all goes as planned, boost sales. Share content, like pages and posts, provide recommendations and endorsements, and even send good tidings on birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Shut up about yourself. No one likes people who talk too much about themselves. Ask questions. Ask lots of questions, and then show genuine interest in the answers.

Take the time to accomplish the above each day. And remember, if you lack time to get it all done, you can delegate the responsibility to an employee or a social media firm.

What’s on your social media checklist? Share with us!

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Topics: Social Media Marketing

The Power of the Ask - How to Encourage Social Sharing

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Apr 16, 2015 8:00:00 AM


Did you know that among the five most popular words on Twitter are the words please and retweet? That tells you something very important. If you want to encourage people to share your work on social media, sometimes all you have to do is ask. It's a call to action, social media style. Most people can't resist a heartfelt appeal mixed with a little politeness. That's why one of the things it's most important to master in your content marketing is the call to action.

1. Include Social Sharing Buttons ...

Social media is full of them. On Twitter they are pretty short (like "pls RT") because you only have 140 characters to play with. The Facebook "like" and "share" buttons have built in calls to action which it's hard to resist. In my opinion, that's much clearer than the Google "+1" button, because many people still don't know what that is. The point is, if you're trying to improve your social sharing rate, calls to action are a must. A typical blog post could include:

  • social sharing buttons at the top or bottom of the post
  • a floating sharing toolbar to the left
  • a written call to action within the text

2. … But Not Too Many

If you use a social sharing plugin, it's tempting to include as many buttons as possible. That's a mistake. Neil Patel found that when he added LinkedIn and Pinterest to his default of Twitter, Facebook and Google+, the number of shares fell by 29%. In other words, you're likely to get more shares if you give readers less choice. That's why it's important to focus mainly on the networks that are most important for building your business.

3. Include CTAs in Videos

Since online video is so huge, get people to share by including calls to action within the video. Some people never watch to the end so having a call to action about a minute in, plus another one at the end is a good strategy. If you use the right tools, you won't just get social shares from your video, but email signups too. And by the way, the multiple CTA technique works in written content, too! :)

4. Be Specific

The more specific your call to action is, the more likely it is that readers will do what you want. So if you just want shares, ask for shares; if you want comments and shares, ask for that. And if you want them to share their favorite part of the post (made easier with the SumoMe suite of tools), than ask for that. Here are some tips on improving social media calls to action from Social Media Examiner.

5. Keep Asking

Even if you've asked for the share before, you can ask again, says Canva:

Don’t make the mistake of putting your call to action out there and then moving on. Share that same call to action across each of your social networks multiple times and in many different ways.

What works best for you with social media calls to action?

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Topics: Social Media Marketing

Social Media Advertising: Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, Oh My!

Posted by Stephanie Schwab on Apr 15, 2015 6:42:00 AM


Ever wanted to know how to use social media advertising for your business, particularly your B2B business? Look no further - here's our guide to advertising on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. 

We cover general advertising tips, plus capabilities and use for each of the three major social ads platforms.

Feel free to download and share this eBook direct from Slideshare. (Hint: View the Notes for the presentation by clicking on the Notes tab next to comments and statistics.)

And of course, if we can assist with your social media advertising programs, please don't hesistate to contact us!


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Topics: social media, advertising

5 Ways to Use Google Analytics

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 9, 2015 8:00:00 AM


You’ve probably heard plenty about the importance of tracking and monitoring in your online business. And while there are many tools designed to help you collect and analyze data about your online audience, Google Analytics is one of the most well-known.

Here are 5 ways you can use it in your business:

1. Get Juicy Browser Details:

So you know (okay, hope) that people are checking out your content. But just how are they checking it out? You can use Google Analytics to discover which browsers they’re using as well as which operating systems and devices they use to check out all your cool stuff. For example, you can figure out the percentage of visitors who use Firefox versus Internet Explorer and how much of your audience is viewing your content on a mobile device.

Why on earth does this matter? Sometimes the best content will look 50 shades of crappy in a certain browser or on a mobile device. With this information to hand, you can ensure that your content is optimized for however the bulk of your audience views it, providing the best possible experience.

2. Get a Search Engine Marketing Report Card (sorta):

If you’ve listened at all to what we have to say, you have put time and effort into choosing well-targeted keywords. But what good is that if you have no idea whether your efforts are paying off. With Google Analytics, you can easily discover which keywords are sending traffic your way.  Did you hit the motherload of keywords or did your choices go splat, much like a sucky movie review on Rotten Tomatoes?

Why should you care? Content gets old, loses its luster, and eventually gets forgotten and ignored. Besides, you have other things to share, right? Knowing which keywords get you the customers means you can create the right new content to keep them coming. Totally bombed in the keyword department? It’s okay. It happens. Use these reports to switch gears.

3. Find out Who Is Helping You:

Thought it was only Google sending you traffic. Think again. If you have significant traffic, some of it likely comes from sites that link to yours. Google Analytics lets you know which sites are helping you get more visitors and how much referral traffic these sites are sending your way.

Does this really matter? Really? Of course it does. Let’s say you contribute to the big, beautiful Blog A as well as the smaller, less flashy Blog B. You probably thing Blog A is sending you tons of traffic. After all, bigger is always better, right? Silly you. You know better than that. Google Analytics may just reveal that Blog B is referring more traffic or that they’re both duds. You want to be where your audience is, and this information will help you decide where to go.

4. Discover Your Big Earners:

If you use Google Adsense to earn money, Google Analytics can help. You can use the report data to evaluate which pages of your site earn the most.

Why pay attention? If you’re all about the money, you’re going to want to watch which of your pages brings it in. Why spend all your time mashing up potatoes when it’s the salty deliciousness called French Fries that all the kids want? Use this feature to decide where to invest your time and effort, so when you say, “Show Me the Money!” it’s more likely Google will.

5. Track Online Sales:

The Goal Funnel feature helps you analyze e-commerce transactions and evaluate the level of success you’re experiencing. It may prove particularly helpful for figuring out why some people load up their shopping carts with your products and then bail out without buying anything.

Why does it matter? Duh! You want to stop your customers from window shopping on your site. Use this data to figure out how to turn more looks into buys.

Tips You Can Use:

  • Take a look at your bounce rate. This indicates the number of people who stop by and visit without bothering to look at your other pages. This information might spur you to develop content that grabs their attention and makes them stick around.
  • Filter out your own IP. Your numbers will go up if you visit your site multiple times per day and hit that handy dandy refresh button, but having your own visits included in your data won’t help you very much. Sorry.

Do you use Google Analytics for your business? What feature do you consider the most helpful? Share with us!

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Topics: Internet Marketing

3 Ways to Improve Your Connection with Customers

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Apr 7, 2015 7:00:00 AM


If you want your marketing to be effective, you have to make a connection with your customers. They have to know that you're interested, that you care and that you have something relevant to offer them. How do you build that connection? There are several tools that can help you.

1. CRM Your Inbox

Since I use Google Apps for email, one of the tools I've found most useful is Rapportive, which puts a mini-CRM tool right in my inbox. It's now owned by LinkedIn. When you install the browser extension, you can immediately see whether the person who has emailed you is connected to you on LinkedIn, a snapshot of recent roles and - if they also use Rapportive - any social media accounts they have connected to their profile.

Once you have that information, it's easy to visit those other sites and find out more about your prospect's online activity.  That means you can follow them on social media and have conversations on the topics that interest them. Sadly, the LinkedIn takeover killed off the facility to see social media updates within the email windows and the ability to add your own notes. If you need those features too, one of these alternatives might be a better bet.

2. Create Lists Wisely

If you want to go direct to the source, then use the features built into Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to connect with customers and prospects in a useful way.

If you want to keep your home stream uncluttered on Facebook, interest lists let you keep tabs on people and pages you like, without having to like them. Full instructions are on the "interest lists" page.

You can do something similar on Twitter, by setting up themed lists. In addition to setting up lists of customers and prospects, I suggest you set up lists of people tweeting about the topics that interest your customers and prospects. That gives you content to share with them and deepens the connection. For best results, keep your lists short. That also goes for Google+ where you can set up circles in the same way.

When you've set up your lists or circles, check in a couple of times a week to join the conversation and find items to share.

3. Use LinkedIn

Whatever business you are in, there's a fair chance that your customers, prospects and potential partners will be on LinkedIn. You should be too, because that's where they'll look for you. Take the time to fill out your profile properly. That means including a profile photo, a cover photo, your most recent jobs and some portfolio items. Then scope out relevant groups, but not too many, because you need time to participate in them. I've found this really works for getting the attention of prospective customers and it has definitely brought business my way. You'd be amazed how easy it is to build relationships through group discussions. Find some more ways to use LinkedIn in Stephanie's presentation on advanced LinkedIn concepts.

Use these tools and you will be more relevant to prospects, which is a first step in making them more aware of you so you can generate leads.

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Topics: marketing strategy

May the Force Be With You: Your Blog Editorial Calendar

Posted by Christina Strickland on Apr 2, 2015 7:30:00 AM


You are the social media Jedi, and your editorial calendar is The Force. Use The Force, my young Padawan. Use it well.

Making your blog or social media into an effective marketing tool is a challenge, and so many people get lost along the way. It’s harder than it sounds to not only post regularly but also post content that attracts the right type of traffic and keeps it coming back for more. Even harder is getting your audience to engage by commenting on your content and sharing it. When the going gets rough, though, you’re not at the mercy of fate. Here are three ways your blog or social media editorial calendar can make your job easier.

Mission #1

Post regular content. Regular content helps draw in traffic from the search engines and also gives your audience a reason to come back to your blog. They get used to reading your scintillating content on certain days and come back expecting more of the same. If your posting isn’t consistent, you will have a much harder time building a loyal audience.

The Force

Your blog editorial calendar will help you stay the course. You’ll have it right there in black and white—what you are supposed to post next and when. This makes it much harder to procrastinate and fall into the posting every now and then category.

Top Tip 

When you create your blog editorial calendar, make columns to help you stay organized, including those for the month and the day you will publish; the topics, categories, and keywords you will cover; the images you will add; and any notes that may help you with your post.

Mission #2

Create content of value for your audience. You could blab all day about the way your sofa swallows your remote control and the deals you got at the grocery store, but that’s only going to interest some audiences. You need to plan the right content for your unique audience.

The Force

Create a blog editorial calendar with various topic categories of interest to your audience (after you’ve done your research, of course). Then fill in post topics for each category. Use the calendar to ensure that you don’t focus too much on one topic or category and ignore the world of others you could cover.

Top Tip

So you get stuck for topic ideas? No worries. The rest of us are rowing along in the same boat with you. It’s always a good idea to spend time where your audience does and create content based on what they are discussing or asking. Don’t forget that you can, and probably should, turn those great questions and comments you receive via social media into blog posts as well.

Mission #3

Create content that marches in step with your other marketing efforts. Maybe you have a big promo coming up, an event, or a new product line coming out. Maybe you’re opening a new location or bringing some new, exciting talent on board. Shouldn’t your blog content reflect what you have going on in the present or coming up in the future? If it doesn’t, you’re missing out on an important chance to spread the word.

The Force

Use your editorial calendar to strategize around the release of blog content that works hand-in-hand with your other marketing efforts. Of course, many of your posts will be unrelated to your specific business activities, but when you have news, you want to share it. And when you aren’t posting specifically about your company’s going-ons, you may do well to share content that is somehow related. For example, if you are selling computers, posts about malware and anti-virus protection might fit the bill.

Top Tip

Guess what? If you’re cultivating an audience on social media, you need an editorial calendar for that as well. It’s a separate entity from your blog, and you’ll have different goals and rules of engagement. Here’s what you need to know about creating an editorial calendar for Facebook.

Become a social media Jedi, and tell us about how you're using an editorial calendar to wrangle your content. We'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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Topics: content & inbound marketing, Blog

How to Convince Your Boss Content Marketing is Worth It

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Mar 24, 2015 7:00:00 AM


"What's the point of content marketing, anyway?" It's a question many in-house marketers hear from those higher up the chain. It doesn't matter that YOU know it's worth it; the question is how to convince your C-level colleagues that this kind of marketing is worth their investment. My experience of doing this shows that there are four areas you need to cover to show what content marketing can achieve.

1. Paint a Picture

First of all, it's important to show the evidence that content marketing works from sources the executives will trust. That means bringing out the heavy hitters like Gartner, Forrester and Pew Internet to present statistics like:

  • In 2015, 12% of marketing budgets will be spent on content marketing (Gartner)

  • Businesses need to allocate dedicated resources to content marketing to achieve its potential (Forrester)

You can also show the benefits many businesses get such as traffic, engagement, leads, sales and more.

2. Create a Baseline

At the same time, create a baseline for where the company is now. Look at:

  • your social media profiles, paying attention to branding, activity and engagement

  • your web and social traffic

  • blog content publishing and related social sharing activity

  • other content publishing initiatives

Then see how all of these translate into leads and or sales. This tells you where you're starting from. Put these in a spreadsheet before you move on to the next step.

3. Set Realistic Expectations and Goals

This is where you create your plan, moving from what's achievable from your current position. In other words, if your Twitter account is dormant, it's not realistic to expect it to bring hundreds of people to your website. But you can set some goals for:

  • getting more of your customers to sign up for your email newsletter

  • increasing your social media mentions and conversations (the numbers will follow)

  • boosting the numbers of people who decide to download your free report

  • connecting with customers

  • expanding your digital footprint

All of this helps you to build trust with your customers, which takes time. It's like the difference between a first date and a one year anniversary date. Content marketing helps you bridge that gap.

4. Measure and Report

Once you know what your goals are, it's all about robust reporting. Luckily, there are plenty of tools to help with that.

  • Almost all social media sites have some form of analytics so you can track the raw numbers, and there are plenty of other social analytics tools that show how your content is doing across the spectrum.

  • Web analytics helps you figure out which content is doing best, and how your content affects search engine positioning, web traffic and social sharing.

  • Email marketing providers also have analytics on opens and clicks.

You could also track everything at once with an all in one dashboard like Cyfe or Hubspot, or simply enter updated figures in the spreadsheet you created in step 2.

Whichever method you choose, you will soon be able to see the impact of your content marketing efforts, so you can report on it to the people who are paying your salary.

And if you still need more, check out these compelling arguments for the ROI of content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute.

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Topics: content & inbound marketing

Social Media Lessons from The Walking Dead

Posted by Christina Strickland on Mar 19, 2015 7:00:00 AM


What You Can Learn About Social Media From The Walking Dead


You can learn a lot from watching The Walking Dead (TWD), and not just how to survive a zombie apocalypse (Hint: Always stay with Rick and Daryl). Believe it or not, TWD teaches lessons that are critical for social media. Here are 5 social media tips you can take from TWD.


Seek Alternative Routes 

The poor characters of TWD never have it easy. Just when they see light at the end of the tunnel, bam! Here comes something or someone nasty to ruin it all. How many times have we gasped because the road or route the group wants to take is blocked by walkers, fallen trees, disabled vehicles or dregs of humanity bent on having our heroes for supper. What do they do? Well, sometimes they have to plow ahead, but the results are usually much better (and less bloody) when they have an alternate route for reaching their destination.

The same can be said in social media, especially in light of the latest Facebook EdgeRank apocalypse. If you can’t reach your destiny (eg. Target audience) through Facebook, find a different route.

Remember, Facebook is just one of your options. Here are some of the other roads to take when a hungry zombie (eg. Facebook disaster) gets in your way.

Twitter has over 215 million active users, with the average user spending close to 3 hours there every day.

LinkedIn has more than 270 million users, so if your journey includes B2B, this is the place to go.

Google+ boasts over 250 million active users and offers cool tools for marketing and collaboration, such as Hangouts.

Pinterest has over 20 million active users, and yes this is less than the three above, but it's growing every day. Let's face it, people love to pin.

The point? Find out where your audience is and get yourself over there, even if it's not (or isn't only) Facebook.


Act Quickly 

You can’t wait to strike a walker. If you hesitate or spend too much time saying "I won't," when you really just kind of have to, chances are pretty good you're going to become someone's snack. The same can be said for customer service in social media. Don’t over-analyze the situation. Respond quickly. And always remember that it's not only important to act but also critical that you take the appropriate action. In TWD, it's not always smart to fire a gun at a stray walker. That could bring the whole horde on. Instead, act quickly, but do apply common sense (Use that ax, friend).

Forbes offers 7 Reasons You Need to Be Using Social Media as your Customer Service Portal. And don't make the mistake of thinking consumers aren't expecting to reach you this way. According to J.D. Power and Associates, almost 70 percent of consumers have headed to a business' social media page to get the help they need.


Zombies Come in Hordes

And so does negative chatter on social media. Walkers hear another walker chowing down, and they want to get in on all the action. They hear a scream or a few too many loud chews, and suddenly they're everywhere. People are essentially the same. They have noses that sniff out negativity online, even if only to find out which products or services they should avoid. And, sadly, it only takes one person to start a firestorm of negative sentiment.

What can you do?

Have a plan for monitoring chatter through a single dashboard (just makes your life easier).

Set up alerts to inform you right away if certain words or hashtags are used in relation to your company.

Respond quickly (see Point 2 above), keeping honesty and transparency priorities.


It’s Not a One-Man Show 

Sure, Rick is the group’s recognized leader but he often takes the advice of his fellow zombie-apocalypse survivors in determining the next move and strategy. Your social media strategy shouldn’t rely solely on one person either. Remember how things were with Rick after he lost Lori? Dude kind of shut down, and who could blame him? When it comes to your business, you don't want to be stuck scrambling because your social media genius is down and out. Focus on having a whole team of brilliant people who can (and consistently do) rock and roll at a moment’s notice.

Need some tips for assembling your TWD-worthy dream team? Check here.


Expect the Unexpected

Part of what makes TWD so exciting is the fact that you never know what's waiting around the corner. You just know that something is waiting. The same goes for social media. How so? Well, the thing to remember is that social media is a two-way street. You need to participate (engage, interact, rinse, repeat), but so do your fans. In many ways, you are putting your brand in the hands of your fans. Sometimes they will surprise you in delightful ways; sometimes the surprises will be far from pleasant. What you can count on is that they will surprise you. The takeaway from this? Just as our TWD heroes can't always prepare for the worst (that revolving door scene--poor Noah), you can’t always stay ahead of the game. But that doesn't mean you have to become walker food. Make a plan, do the best you can, and like Daryl, always be ready. Carol’s no slouch either. That chick is a survivor, come what may (well so far).


Consider yourself lucky there aren’t walkers waiting for you around every corner. Because, really, who has time for that while running a business? Still, it pays to be prepared and stay strong. Things do get dicey out there in social media land. The above TWD tips will see you through.

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Topics: Social Media Marketing

Building Relationships Via Social Media Platforms

Posted by Christina Strickland on Mar 12, 2015 9:13:01 AM




We know what you’re thinking: platforms like Facebook and Twitter are perfect for generating leads. And yes, you can use social media for lead generation. But if you focus on that alone, you really don’t get the gist of how this thing works. The be-all and end-all of social media for business is, wait for it, relationship building. Without it, you’re dead in the water.

Why Is Relationship Building Important?

Chances are there are many other businesses offering similar products or services, so why should anyone choose you? Having a good product or service is enough, right? Think again. Social media is work and you have to do the following to make it translate into dollars:

  • Grab your audience’s interest (yes, grab it)
  • Build trust
  • Increase exposure
  • Demonstrate the value in connecting with you
  • Keep your audience’s attention
  • Nurture your relationships

Over three-quarters of small businesses get customers through social media. Be a part of this.

How to Build Relationships Using Social Media Platforms

This is both easy and hard. It’s easy because, well, being social isn’t rocket science. It’s hard because it takes time and effort. Here’s what you have to do:

1. Identify your audience and discover what its members need. Forget about your products and services for a minute. Stop gasping in shock. It’s for a good cause. Now think. What does your audience need that you can provide through social media? Let’s say your audience needs ways to save time and money. Provide related hints and tips that make them look forward to your posts and share your content with others in need of the same advice.

2. Make sure everything you share is of value. A quick way to lose the interest and respect of your target audience is to post content just for the sake of posting. These types of posts are both obvious and irritating. No one has time to bother with them. If you post willy-nilly, low-value content, you will find yourself unfriended and unliked with surprising speed. Be all about the meaty information that truly helps your audience.

3. Get involved in conversations. Sure, you have a lot to say, but social media relationship building requires back-and-forth sharing. Respond to others’ posts, ask questions, offer answers, make suggestions, and always respond to comments directed at you. Show others that you are interesting and interested. But keep your responses genuine. Faking it is no longer acceptable.

Think setting and forgetting is the right way to go with social media? Be careful, auto-posting decreases engagement by a whopping 70 percent on Facebook. Expect poor results on other platforms as well.

4. Get personal. Building trust often means getting to know prospects personally. Many prefer to give their business to someone they know and like. In contrast, people are often turned off by out-of-nowhere sales pitches. Getting personal builds relationships that help you get your foot in the door.


How do you build relationships via social media? Please share with us!


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Topics: Social Media Marketing

4 Ways to Get Your Content Marketing Back on Track

Posted by Sharon Hurley Hall on Mar 5, 2015 7:00:00 AM


Do you ever feel like you've dropped the ball on content marketing? If you do, you're not alone. Even people who ought to know better sometimes lose their way, but luckily, it's not fatal. All you have to do is refocus to revitalize your content marketing plan. Here's how to do that.

1. Revisit Your Strategy

If you don't have a strategy, or haven't looked at yours in a while, now's the time. This means doing three things:

  • setting realistic goals

  • planning how to execute them

  • deciding how to measure them

Note that I said your goals have to be realistic. If your business plan has flaws, content marketing isn't the bandage, and there's no absolute guarantee of direct sales. What it can do is get more attention for your business and increase conversions, so that you can turn leads into sales.

Next, decide what types of content are best for your business. Most businesses include blog posts (a proven lead magnet) and social media posts, at minimum. They may also include ebooks, webinars, slideshows and infographics. Learn more about the benefits of these content types in our two part series on 7 Types of Content to Include in Your Strategy and Why.

2. Plan and Manage Your Content

People have to see your content several times before you become top-of-mind, so the next step in revitalizing your strategy is to fine tune the actual pieces of content you will produce and work out when they should appear. To do that, you need an editorial calendar and a content management system.

The editorial calendar tells you what's happening when on which platform and who is responsible for producing it. The content management system gets everything scheduled and ensures you have SEO information and images to go along with the content. Sometimes, both work together.

Two options you can use are Crackerjack Marketing's free editorial calendar template ( I've used a Google Docs to manage client content) or CoSchedule, an affordable paid option which integrates with WordPress. See my review of CoSchedule here.

3. Analyze Your Audience

Do you know who you are creating content for? That's a key aspect of your strategy. Use analytics tools to figure out who's already visiting your site and blog and what content they find most interesting. That will help you craft new content to attract them.

Many analytics tools also include demographic reports so you can get fine detail on your target audience. Add social analytics tools  and social listening tools to this and you will get a rounded picture of your customers and their interests.

4. Prepare to Share

According to Pew Internet, 74% of online adults use social networking sites, 58% of American adults have a smartphone and more than a third own tablets. Your strategy must include content optimized for social sharing from mobile devices. Consider:

  • creating a mobile first website and blog design to make sure all visitors can navigate content easily

  • switching your email newsletter to a mobile first design

  • increasing your activity on the key social sites where your potential customers hang out (this could be LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest or somewhere else depending on your industry).

Finally, revisit this process at intervals throughout the year to ensure that your content strategy stays focused to help you meet your goals.

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Topics: content & inbound marketing