Is your Content Marketing Plan Failing your Business, Editorial Calendar 2019, #nationalholidays #businessevents2019

This blog breaks down the difference between a Content Marketing Strategy and a Content Plan. It then dives into National Observances that your team should consider integrating into its content or editorial calendar.

As we’ve worked with hundreds of businesses as they work with digital marketing to reach their business goals, we’ve found that more often than not there is a disconnect between what they are trying to accomplish and what actually gets done.

The reason?

A lack of planning for how to implement the content strategy causes content to be created in a vacuum. The content is not written to achieve a specific goal.

Originally I was going to write this blog to only focus on the difference between a Content Marketing Strategy and a Content Marketing Plan, but keeping your sights on external and national events is critical to participating as a relevant source of information in the digital world.

Let’s start by diving into a Content Marketing Strategy.

What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

A content marketing strategy is the Why behind the content you are creating. It includes identifying why your team is creating content, it is the vision you have for future content that is to be created.

This strategy should also identify who you are marking content for. Are some pieces of content designed specifically for prospects, referral partners, or clients? How can you differentiate between them? What are the goals of them? How will you position and use them online?

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

To start creating your Content Marketing Strategy, set your goals.

We recommend thinking first about the issues you may be facing as an organization and then set the goals as a way to solve these.

For example, we’ve worked with clients in the past who wished to use digital marketing to fill their schedule. After diving deeper, we recognized that they weren’t remarketing to or rebooking current clients as effectively as they could. As a way to capture low-hanging fruit, rather than creating content to educate and gain interest from folks whom had never heard of the client, we redesigned the content marketing strategy to focus on engaging with current and past clients.

Common goals of a Content Marketing Strategy include:

  • Increasing Revenue
  • Attracting leads
  • Lower costs
  • Better customers
  • Build an audience
  • Educate

Once you have identified a need in the organization and set a goal, it is easier to recognize alternative solutions to reach the goal.

Another aspect of the Content Strategy is identifying what tone you wish to take. For small businesses with only one or two content creators this can be easy. Do you speak in the first person, do you use past or present tense, are there branded keywords you should incorporate?

The last part of the content strategy is identifying which digital marketing networks to pursue and who to target on each network.

What is a Content Marketing Plan?

A content marketing plan is tactical – these are the actual steps you will take to implement the marketing strategy. In general, we never recommend creating a digital marketing content plan without first creating the strategy.

Why? You may realize after 6 months that the content you are creating has nothing to do with the goals you are trying to achieve!

We see this often with teams.

The director states that each week a blog needs to be written and at least 3 social media posts need to be published each week. However, the marketing experts creating the content don’t clearly understand how their piece fits in with the larger marketing strategy. What is the end goal of the content?

Key aspects to a Content Marketing Plan

The content marketing plan should include topics to cover, calls to action to include, specific promotions, who is responsible to creating various pieces of content, and how content will be published.

In our work, specifically the Roadmap to Digital Marketing, we recommend formatting the bulk of a content marketing plan like an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar for digital marketing allows your team to easily see how content fits together and what topics should be talked about at certain times during the year (hence my inclusion of the National Observances list below).

Content Strategy and Content Marketing Working Together

As described above, a Content Strategy always comes first and the Content Marketing Plan is built based on the goals identified in the strategy.

One of my favorite examples of how a strategy and a plan work together is if an issue within an organization is that the close rate for new sales is lower than the industry average. The goal here may be to increase the close rate, boosting the bottom line.

After researching and  surveying clients and prospects that decided to pursue another option, it becomes clear that the alternative tends to be a business with more name recognition.

How can content marketing help to shift the perspective and gain more trust? Here the strategy is to increase brand recognition and trust. The plan could be to create more videos with leadership and to incorporate blog posts that dive into company values.

This brings us to using relevant topics as a part of your marketing plan.

Being Relevant with your Content Marketing Increases the Effectiveness of your Digital Marketing Plan

If you are like 98% of our clients, one of the key goals identified in your content marketing strategy is to increase brand recognition and position your organization as an industry influencer.

Incorporating National Observances into your Marketing Plan is a key tactical decision your company can make to achieve this. Of course it is up to you and your team to decide which ones to highlight and how to incorporate them (podcasts, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, promotions and sales, etc).

Some, such as New Years, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas may all seem like obvious choices, but are they actually identified in a calendar?

Does someone on your team know that they are responsible for creating content 3-6 months in advance of these dates?

Then there are industry-specific days, weeks, and months. For example, if you are a health center and realize in February that it is American Heart Month, you are already late to the game.

You’ve missed the opportunity to reach new audiences by being a guest on a Podcast or having a guest blog post published in an industry journal.

Yes, you can still publish a last-minute blog to share on social media, but think of the opportunities you may have missed by not planning ahead.

National Observances to Consider for your Business

Here I’ve identified the top 3-5 National Observances for you to consider integrating into your marketing plan each month. The ones I’ve identified here are important, though some are a bit random. Our complete list of National Observances includes events for any type of business or industry.

Please enter your name and email for access to our full list of National Observances for 2019.

Download 2019 National Observances

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January Observances:

January 1: New Years Day
January 5: National Keto Day
January 24: National Compliment Day
3rd week in January: National Mocktail Week
National Blood Donor Month

February Observances:

February 4: National Hemp Day
February 14: Valentine’s Day
February 22: National Margarita Day
American Heart Month
Black History Month

March Observances:

National Employee Appreciation Day – First Friday in March
March 14: National Pi Day
March 26: National Spinach Day
Endometriosis Awareness Week – (First full week – Monday through Sunday)
National Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Women’s History Month

April Observances:

April 1: April Fools Day
April 8: National Zoo Lovers Day
April 21: Easter
National Child Abuse Awareness Month
National Parkinson’s Awareness Month

May Observances:

May 12: Mother’s Day
May 18: National HIV Vaccine Awareness Day
May 27: Memorial Day
Small Business Week – First Week in May
Celiac Disease Awareness Month
Melanoma Awareness Month

June Observances:

June 1: National Go Barefoot Day
June 12: National Peanut Butter Cookie Day
June 16: Father’s Day
LGBTQIA Pride Month
Men’s Health Month

July Observances:

July 4: Independence Day
July 12: National Simplicity Day
July 31: National Avocado Day
National Grilling Month
National Ice Cream Month

August Observances:

August 1: Respect for Parents Day
August 3: International Beer Day
August 19: National Soft Ice Cream Day
Simplify Your Life Week – First Week
Family Fun Month

September Observances:

September 2: Labor Day
September 8: National Suicide Prevention Month
September 13: National Kids Take over the Kitchen Day
September 30: National Chewing Gum Day
National Chewing Gum Day
National Suicide Prevention Month

October Observances:

October 28: National Chocolate Day
October 31: Halloween
Adopt A Shelter Dog Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
National Chiropractic Month

November Observances:

November 11: Veterans Day
November 22: Thanksgiving
November 24: Small Business Saturday
November 26: Cyber Monday
Adopt A Senior Pet Month
Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month
National Alzheimer’s Disease Month

December Observances:

December 2: Chanukah
December 4: National Cookie Day
December 21: Winter Solstice
December 25: Christmas
National Human Rights Month
National Tie Month

As you build out your Digital Marketing Plan, we recommend downloading our complete list of National Observances. Start by deleting any cells or events that don’t apply to your business. Be sure, however, to think outside of the box.

Could you celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie day with the office?

Does anyone on your team support organizations that rely on the exposure of these National Observances?

Once observances have been identified for your business to highlight in the Content Plan, be sure to assign the observance to an individual. Make sure they consider the goals of creating content for the observance, specific promotions related to the day, partners to approach for joint marketing efforts, etc.

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And of course, if this has been helpful for you, or if you’ve considered outside the box ideas to incorporate National Observances into your content plan, leave a comment below!

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Is your Content Marketing Plan Failing your Business, Editorial Calendar 2019, #nationalholidays #businessevents2019

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Gabrielle Crumley - Rielle Social Media

In this interview with Gabrielle, she had her heart and mind set on one direction in college, and little did she know after taking one marketing class, how her world would change. Sometimes you have to just trust your gut and take the leap of faith. Gabrielle has created a life around something she has found a passion for, allowing her to create the freedom and flexibility she was looking for. While still having a passion for animals her path has taken her in a different direction. Listen and see how.

More about Rielle Social Media

Gabrielle Crumley is the social media expert and digital marketing strategist behind Rielle Social Media.

I am passionate about helping business owners overcome their branding and social media challenges to see real success online.

Do you stress about what to post, or spending way too much money on ads that don’t convert? Whatever your specific business goals may be, I can help you achieve them. Learn more about her and her services at https://www.riellesocialmedia.com/

Like her on Facebook
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Connect with her on LinkedIn

How to create a killer LinkedIn profile and company page

LinkedIn is, what I think one of the most overlooked social media platforms out there. A lot of business owners have a LinkedIn profile that they set up when they were back at their corporate job and maybe have updated it once or twice. Well, I am here to tell you WAKE UP and make sure you have updated your LinkedIn profile! In this blog we will be covering:

  • What you should include in your personal profile
  • How to create a company page
  • How you can add connections and build your network.

What Do I Need To Supply For A Linkedin Profile Page?

Top 9 things that you NEED to have in your profile

1. YOUR Picture

  • Do NOT use an avatar or cheesy image of yourself, people want to see YOU
  • You can use a current up-to-date headshot, or an image of yourself with a natural background, not a party or fuzzy image or a selfie. Take your time on this photo! 

2. Headline and Header

  • Think of this as the first impression, this is what people are going to see with your name and picture.
  • Have your headline be intriguing, eye-grabbing, relevant and clear.
  • Include your company name and then your title or what you do. 
  • You can now have a customized banner (1400×425), which you can create in Canva. This header should be relevant to who you are and what you do. Have fun with it. 

3. Summary (Good for SEO)

  • Tell your story, what’s your WHY. Keep your summary in the first person.
  • Personalize your summary.
  • Your summary should be engaging, relevant and conversational.
  • In this area, it is great to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field/industry. Add media (Videos, PowerPoints, Presentations, PDFs. etc.)
  • Remember SEO when you are writing your summary. It is important to include your keywords in this section along with long-tail keyword phrases to have a higher rank within LinkedIn searches but also Google searches. Here are two pieces we did on finding your keywords so you know what you should be writing about. Finding Keywords and How to Use KWFinder.com 
  • As I mentioned before add media to your summary! There is not a limit, I mean you don’t want to add your WHOLE YouTube Channel, but I would say between 2-5 videos, or maybe big presentations you have done, recorded webinars, things that give your audience value. Something they can learn from looking at your LinkedIn profile! AND this helps you stand out from everyone else. 🙂
  • We have spoken about what’s your WHY, creating that personal brand, your core values, brand message, you want to make sure those come through in your profile. People should be able to read your summary and understand who you are and WHY you do what you do.
  • Talk to your target market, at the end of your summary have a call-to-action

4. Experience

  • Start with the most recent position or company and give us details! What is your role, responsibilities, etc.
  • List the experiences you have had with each position or company
  • List our accomplishments and challenges you have encountered, what was the outcome?
  • Remember your target market and speak to them when you are adding your services and details.
  • You don’t need to list EVERY job you have had from the time you turned 15! Stay relevant list that last few with great detail.

5. Education

  • Where did you go to school? You can list high school and college
  • Remember to list your degrees, diplomas, certifications etc.
  • It’s important to also include dates and locations.

6. Volunteering & Causes

  • People LOVE to see that you are involved in your community or a certain cause. Cause marketing is HUGE!
  • List the non-profits you have helped, maybe sit on the board or have organized events for.
  • What causes do you donate your time, money and energy too?

7. Skills & Endorsements

  • We get asked this question a lot, should we include the skills and endorsements in our profiles? The answer is YES!
  • People have recognized you for a skill that you have, acknowledge it.
  • LinkedIn will have those endorsements show up by the ones people have selected the most. You can always go in and edit or delete these as you find needed.
  • Think of your keywords when adding your skills, you will notice in the image below, the last skill on the bottom right corner says DOGS, um, I do social media and digital marketing, BUT in my past experience I was a Vet Tech at an Animal Emergency Center, so I may think of deleting that one just because it is not relevant with what I am doing now. 

8. Recommendation & Awards

  • We always encourage our clients to have people give them recommendations on LinkedIn and include them in your profile.
  • List any awards you have won through work, community, networking.

9. Interests and Groups

  • As a bonus to your profile included interests you have
  • Also, include groups you are apart of on LinkedIn

Now, that we have your personal profile taken care of it is time to move into business. You can still post business related topics to your personal profile, but there are so many perks to having a business page on LinkedIn. In the video below I show you how to create that company page, so if you don’t have a company already take a minute to create one and then we will talk about “WHY” you need to have one and all the benefits!

LinkedIn Business Page

You want to make sure you optimize your company page to build brand recognition. We spoke last week about being consistent across the board with your social media and that remains the same with your company page. You want to make sure you have the right size header, logo, etc. Here are the sizes you need to have on your company page:

 

  • Company logo – 300 x 300
  • Cover image – 1536 x 768
  • Overview tab image – 360 x 120
  • Hero image – 1128 x 376

Here is an example of H&R Block’s company page, it is consistent with their brand, brand colors, logo, header, overview image, about us and more!

About Us Section

This is the MOST important piece of your company page, you have 2000 characters to use up. Think of your story, WHY your business does what it does, who do you help, speak to your target audience and use your keyword phrases. This is where your audience gets to really know WHO the company is. They are taking a peek inside and understand more of the foundation of your business. What makes your company stand out from the others, how did your company come to fruition, what is your business’s mission and vision, etc? More details the better.  You want this section to be eye-grabbing and you want your audience to fall in love with your business, your brand, you want them to want to find out more. . .  you want them walking away liking you, building that trust. You do not want them walking away feeling like they were being “sold” or not understanding what your business does.

Also remember in this section you want to add your website, your main office –  with this piece most of our clients, including us work from our homes and do not want our address out to the world, I love coffee dates but don’t want people knocking on my door 🙂 You still need to enter your full address, but on the public page it will just say headquarters in CITY, ST not your address. In the video above I show how this process works! Also, you will enter the number of employees you have, the year you were founded, company type and BONUS – Specialties! You can use keywords in this area of specialties or a very clear short statement of what you do.

If you have LinkedIn upgrade package you can also add jobs and life section, we won’t really go into those today, just because most of our readers just use the free version of LinkedIn, just like us! The next thing we want to add as an extension of your company page is:

Add Showcase Pages

Creating a showcase page is adding to your company page, it is an extension. You can highlight a specific product or service your business offers. This allows your brand to come to life a little bit more. Before LinkedIn had a services/products tab, but they do not have that anymore. They now offer the showcase page/ It is an independent page with its own “About Us” section, logo, cover, website, etc. It also will have its own followers and you can post your own updates to this showcase page to show that service or products own personality. These updates you post would only be about this service or product.  You can also monitor its own analytics, so you can see how that showcase page is doing.

We created a showcase page just for our small group online coaching: As you can see this is just for our small group coaching and its website url is to that page on our website, then to the right you see that is says “This is a Showcase page by: Social Speak Network” which links back to our company page. This is a great way to talk about your key services or products. I would like 3-5, it adds so much value to your company page.
social speak showcase LinkedIn page

This is so freaking cool right?!?! Yes, it is! Now that you built your awesome Showcase pages I am sure you are wondering where does it show up and how do people see the connection between your company page and Showcase pages??? Well, it is pretty simple your Showcase pages show up right under (Well after the ads) the About Us section. This is just such a cool way to promote those key services or products. Think of these Showcase pages as website pages, they are meant to stay on your company page and be updated as needed. These are NOT pages to create events or short-term marketing offers or campaigns. These Showcase pages are going to help build trust and relationships with your audience. This is what is looks like:

Great job on getting your personal profile set up, your company page and showcase pages created, now it’s time to feed them! What I mean by this is CONTENT!

Start Posting Valuable Content:

Content stills remains a key component of these pages. If you took the time to create these pages, and make sure they look pretty and match your brans, why wouldn’t you want to do more with them? They need to be thought of the same as you think about your Instagram Business profiles or Facebook Page, you post to those daily or weekly correct? Your LinkedIn profile, Company Page, and Showcase pages should be thought of the same way! WOW, we just added a lot more to your list! Don’t worry you can add your company page and showcase pages to Buffer or Hootsuite, so you can schedule your posts to go out through one of these tools to help save time, but also to be consistent. You may need to upgrade your package with these two tools if you have already used the 3 free social profiles. Each of these is free to post through up to 3 profiles, so you may already have Facebook, Twitter, and your personal LinkedIn profile, you will need to increase your account so you can add more.

What are things you should talk about on each of these pages? I think we need to split these up into three different sections, each area such as your personal profile, company page, and showcase page will have their own personality. You need to treat them as their own entity. Each page audience will be different, they may be similar or you will have people that you are connected with on LinkedIn and YOU and then they follow your company page and maybe one of your showcase pages as well. So, they will NOT want to see the same content on each page. Let’s start with your personal profile first, this is what most people will see, because like all the social media algorithms you will get more engagement with your personal profile than your company pages.

Personal Profile Tips:

  • Post valuable content, NO political or religious posts
  • Post Daily
  • Share your businesses blog posts with clear call-to-action
  • Share your personal story
  • Stay away from posts you would put on your personal FB – LinkedIn is a little more professional
  • Share tips, techniques, tools, videos that align with your business
  • Talk about your role in your business, your journey, who you have helped, your WHY

Company Page Tips:

  • Post focused, clean, relevant, and valuable content
  • Share your blog posts
  • Talk about your content upgrades with call-to-action
  • Share your YouTube videos
  • Curated content – articles, videos, images from other companies that align with your business.
  • Feature an employee or a person that works with you
  • Behind the scenes – stories, pictures, videos
  • Test your audience – post an appropriate funny video or image and see the response, mix up your content to see what your audience is engaging with the most.
  • Branded images via Canva that have a quote or stat
  • Events – talk about local events that are going on or events you will be attending
  • Local – if you are a local business share local news
  • Speak to your target audience – ask them questions and get feedback

Showcase Page Tips:

  • This is about that one service or product
  • Stay focused on the topic at hand
  • Post maybe 3 times per week – people tht follow your company page or personal profile will already see what your business is doing so posts on your showcase page need to be specific to that service or product. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience.
  • Videos you have done on that service or product
  • Client testimonials
  • Share stories of your struggle, your journey or clients journey and how this service or product has helped them.
  • Share stats and success stories

As you can see these are all similar but different at the same time.

How to Grow your Profile and Company Page

One of the features I like most about LinkedIn is you can add connections to grow your online community. Before, people would just add anyone and everyone so they built quantity connections, rather than quality. Yeah, it’s great to have a large number of connections but we want to focus on adding the quality connections. A key piece to adding quality connections is to have a little note, an intro when you ask somebody to connect with you if you don’ already know them.  You may see LION next to peoples names, this stands for LinkedIn Open Networker, meaning they are open to connecting with everyone, I don’t see this being used too much anymore, which I like. You will get asked to connect with people you don’t know and that is OK, check them out, look at their profile and see who they are. I like to think of LinkedIn is an online networking group.

In this image below you will see that someone asked me to connect with him, I do not know him personally, but he did send a message along with the connection. LinkedIn will also show you “People you may know” similar to Facebook. These people show up based on your profile and mutual connections.

Here are a few ways to be able to connect or invite people to connect with people on LinkedIn:

  • If you know a specific name of the person you want to connect with, you can search for them and find their profile and then click connect.
  • You can also upload your email list or contacts from Gmail, yahoo, outlook, etc.
  • Then as I mentioned above looking at the “People You May Know” section and asking people to connect through there.
    NOTE: If people have asked to connect with you and you have pending invites they will appear on the top bar on your LinkedIn account next to “Network”

Again, we highly recommend before you go connection crazy that you craft together a short, simple to the point message of why you want to connect with that person and send it along when you ask to connect, let me show you:

What’s Next?

It is such a great feeling when you have your LinkedIn profile updated to 100% and then when you create your company page, Showcase pages and have started to add connections, but what will make people want to connect with you? CONTENT! Be sure to be consistent as we have spoken about. In our next blog, we will be talking about groups, article and how to prospect on LinkedIn to take your profile to the next level!

If you need some help setting up or company page or creating the right size graphic, please let us know!

Interested in learning more? Take a look at these articles:

Creating a Newsletter with MailChimp

How to Set up your WordPress Website on Bluehost [Ultimate Guide for 2018]

Instagram: An Introduction to Instagram for your Business (Plus Download)

 

tools for entrepreneurs blog image

As an entrepreneur, it is important to find tools to help us stay organized, creative and on top of our social media. In this video, we will go over 10 tools to help you save time, work smarter, not harder.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at the following videos:

Creating the Right Mindset as an Entrepreneur

Setting your Social Media Goals

Core Values, Why They Are Important To Your Business