Creating an Effective Content Strategy

, , ,

So, what is a content strategy? It’s a detailed approach to the content you’re going to publish daily, weekly, and monthly. A content strategy takes several key marketing factors into consideration. Let’s take a look at those considerations so you can get started creating an effective content strategy to market and grow your business.

It’s Always About the Audience

Regardless of the goal, marketing channel, or content format, the very first thing that goes into an effective strategy is your audience. Your content needs to speak to them. It needs to grab their attention and inspire them to take some type of action with your business.

What’s the Goal?

Speaking of taking action, what do you want your content reader/viewer/listener to do once they’ve consumed your content? What do you want your content to achieve? Goals, of course, range from list building to sales.

Multipurpose

Your content doesn’t have one path. An article can be clipped and shared as social media posts. A video can be transcribed and reworked into a blog post. Decide what you can do with your content.

Test a Variety of Formats

Consider creating a variety of content and testing what your audience responds to. This includes memes, infographics, video content, webinars, articles and more.

Channels and Integration

We’ve already mentioned repurposing content for a variety of formats and channels. When you’re creating your content calendar, make sure to plan how you’re going to integrate your content into your other marketing initiatives. For example, maybe you’re launching a new product and holding an online webinar to promote the launch. Images from the webinar could be used on Instagram and Facebook. The webinar link can be shared on your blog, and so on.

Creating Your Strategy and Following Through

The key to creating an effective content strategy is to commit to re-evaluating your strategy on a monthly basis. Your content plans and calendar, as well as your audience response and analytics, will likely dictate changes or modifications to your strategy. Additionally, as your business changes and your marketing plan evolves, your content strategy needs to support you.

Create your strategy then create a schedule to follow up, reassess, and adjust as needed. A content strategy is a must for a competitive business. If you’re missing one, then you’re likely missing valuable opportunities to connect, engage, and sell.

Beauty/Skincare Brands with Great Influencer Marketing Strategies

, , ,

The beauty industry – like many other industries – comes with its own challenges. There’s tremendous competition. That means that beauty and skincare brands need extra leverage to capture the attention of their audience. The savvy brands have leveraged the power of influencer marketing. Let’s take a look at some of the notable influencer marketing strategies.

Estée Lauder

Estée Lauder is a big player in the beauty industry, and they can afford big name influencers. They partnered with Kendall Jenner for an Instagram collaboration of their spin-off brand, The Estée Edit. Kendall has 75.1 million followers and the majority of them are younger and in the market for beauty products. If Kendall says it’s good, they’re going to listen. Kendall, along with model and blogger Irene Kim, created content featuring the makeup and skincare products and shared them on their personal Instagram pages.

Glossier

Unlike Estee Lauder, Glossier has more recent beginnings and a smaller market share. They instead embraced micro-influencers and users to create content for their products. While they offer a referral program and have a horde of superfans who are thrilled to authentically promote their products, Glossier also takes a rather original approach to their social media content. It’s highly interactive and requires engagement. The posts ask questions, ask users to share their feedback and even more often to share images of themselves. It’s now, thanks to creative influencer marketing, a thriving beauty and makeup brand.

Becca

Becca partnered with YouTube Jaclyn Hill. She was prolific in sharing her love for Becca products on her channel and helped reach record single day sales for their Champagne Pop collection.

Lancôme

Lancôme, another established beauty company, chose a slightly different path for their 40 shades campaign. 40 shades refers to their 40 shades of foundation, to match skin color. They called it their 40 shades, 40 powers campaign and highlighted 40 inspirational women including director Gurinder Chadha and Olympic cyclist Laura Kenny.

As you can see from the examples, to create a great influencer marketing strategy for any industry, but especially for the beauty industry, you must not only think creatively – you also have to know your audience well. Know who they’ll respond to and give them content and value from influencers they know and trust.

Brands with Great Influencer Marketing Strategies

, ,

Some of the strongest brands in the world do a fantastic job of leveraging influencer marketing. By exploring what they’re doing, it may help you create a stronger influencer marketing strategy for your business brand. Let’s take a look at a few brands with great influencer marketing strategies.

H&M

H&M has one of the largest Instagram followings of any fashion brand on social media today, due in large part to its influencer campaign with women who reflect H&M’s style all by themselves.

Fashion blogger Julie Sariñana and model Ela Velden are two influencers with whom H&M partnered for its fall 2017 catalogue. Sariñana loved the clothing so much, she promoted it from her own Instagram account. “So excited to share the looks I shot with @whowhatwhere for @hm Studio collection launching 9/14” She goes on to include relevant hashtags and a CTA (call to action) to check the link in her bio.

Bigelow Tea

Bigelow tea might be one of the biggest and most recognizable tea companies, but their business was struggling a bit with the increase in coffee shops and craft coffee. They partnered with lifestyle influencers to create posts that appealed to the millennial audience. Ashley Thurman (of Cherished Bliss) promoted Bigelow by sharing recipes that used Bigelow Tea.

GOODFOODS

GOODFOODS is an all-natural and environmentally-friendly food producer known for its dips, salad dressings, guacamole, and beverages. To boost awareness, they partnered with 60 influencers from food, home, and lifestyle niches to post recipes using their product. They hit several different celebrations specifically. They included game day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas and Hanukkah. The posts linked to the GOODFOODS landing page where visitors were able to find local retailers.

The more than 2,000 pieces of content generated more than 70,000 engagements and had a 34.2% and 44.5% conversion depending on the platform. (Source: https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/influencer-marketing/#executive-summary)

Work with targeted influencers to craft custom campaigns. Each campaign should be focused on achieving a specific goal. It might be engagement or traffic or sales. To create a great influencer marketing strategy, begin with research. What do you want to achieve? How will you achieve it? Who are the best influencers to help you accomplish your goals?

How to Have Authentic Paid Partnerships

,

It may seem like a good idea to get as many influencers representing your brand as possible, but consumers are savvy. If your partnerships aren’t authentic, you can lose credibility and you can lose customers.

What is a Paid Partnership?

First, let’s talk about what a paid partnership is. It’s when you pay a social media influencer to mention your brand. Instagram, Facebook, and other mainstream social media sites offer this function. For the business owner and the influencer, it’s a win-win situation. You get the mention and they get compensation. They have, after all, worked really hard to create their loyal following.

So What Makes A Paid Partnership Authentic?

As you might imagine, some influencers are willing to mention anyone for a buck. The problem is that these people lose followers. They lose credibility over time and let’s face it, your customers and followers may notice that you’re being endorsed by someone who endorses anyone and everyone.

So an authentic paid partnership is one where the influencer has a relevant audience and they aren’t representing or endorsing your competition or a hundred other non-relevant brands.

What to Look for In a Paid Partnership

Okay, so you’re going to look for influencers to work with and pay them to endorse you on social media. Start by looking at the brands they promote and how they promote them. Are they relevant? For example, is a technology influencer endorsing a cooking blogger? Or are they representing a software product?

Is their content relevant and consistent, and does their audience engage with them? Is their focus in everything they do on social media on providing value and creating a quality experience? Keep in mind that when someone endorses you, they are also representing you. You want to choose an influencer who will connect with your audience and represent your brand and your message with authenticity.

Building the Relationship and the Partnership

Once you’ve identified a few people that you may want to pay to endorse your brand, the next step is to put together a proposal for them. This of course includes payment, and many influencers have that information on their website. You’ll also want to look at creating a brief that highlights who you are, what your message is, and the value that your brand, products or services offer your audience.

Celebrities vs. Influencers: Who Performs Better

, ,

You’re working on your social media marketing strategy and integrating Influencer Marketing to grow your business. You know that influencers help increase engagement reach, brand awareness, conversions, and they can help boost your press and PR. As you’re searching for the right people to connect with, who performs better, celebrities or influencers? Who makes a better spokesperson for your business? Whose endorsement produces a better ROI?

Influencer Marketing Benefits

Targeted Followers

When you choose an influencer to endorse your brand, you’re choosing someone who has a dedicated audience focused on a specific topic. For example, if you’re in the fitness industry, you might partner with someone who has a dedicated following focused on fitness in order to reach the right people.

Increased Engagement

One of the strengths or assets that an influencer brings to the table is a following of dedicated people. These people engage. They comment, share, and talk about information the influencer shares. If you leverage this power, you will also see increased engagement with your brand.

Sales

People trust their influencers. They buy products and services their influencers recommend. If your goal is to increase sales, this may be the path to take.

Celebrity Marketing Benefits

Media Attention

If your goal is to get media coverage, then you may want to choose a celebrity. They have media reps watching their every step. If they mention your company, it’ll get noticed by the media.

Sheer Numbers

While a celebrity doesn’t have a targeted audience – children and grandmothers alike often follow the same celebrities – they do have a large audience. If you’re looking to reach the maximum number of people, a celebrity could achieve that.

Won’t Deviate

When you work with a celebrity to gain an endorsement, they don’t generally deviate from the brand message you asked them to share. An influencer has their audience to consider and may communicate with them about your brand in a way that you didn’t expect.

So which is better, a celebrity or an influencer? It generally depends on your business goals. In the majority of cases influencers win. They are authentic, they have their followers’ trust, and their audience is relevant to yours. If you’re looking for sheer numbers, or you have a PR goal, then a celebrity may be the right path for you. Decide what you need first, and then search to find the best person to help you achieve your objective.

10 Up and Coming Influencers to Have Your Eye On in 2019

, , ,

There are different categories of influencers and each brings something to the table. There are the influencers who have hundreds of thousands of followers. Although some may be expensive, they’re fantastic because working with them gives your brand a tremendous reach.

There are also influencers who have smaller audiences (micro-influencers), but their audiences are passionate and dedicated, and working with them can cost you less money. Let’s take a look at 10 up and coming influencers to keep your eye on.

#1 Simply Quinoa

Alyssa Rimmer is an influencer in the food and cooking niche. She shows her audience how to eat well and stay healthy and represented several companies, including Blendtec.

#2 Olivia Jeanette

Olivia Jeanette is a fashion influencer and embraces the “fashion-forward” mom look. She shares beauty and lifestyle posts and has worked with brands like American Express and Lenscrafters.

#3 Chachi Gonzales

Chachi is a fashion and lifestyle influencer. She’s also a dancer turned actress with a lot of authenticity and credibility with her audience.  She has partnered with M&Ms, Almay, and Arctic Zero Ice Cream.

#4 Jacklyn Sweet

Fitness influencer, Jacklyn shares content on how to get your workout done, as well as content on her athleisure brand.

#5 Everything Technology

Up and coming technology influencer Victor Kamanga reviews speakers and smartphones and is a trusted resource for tech gear on a budget. He’s most noted for his tests on the sustainability of the product by creating fun experiments.

#6 Emkwan Reviews

Emkwan, winner of Esquire Magazine’s Digital Influencer Award, produces high-quality product reviews on tech products and high end lifestyle items. He’s reviewed items sent to him, including the iPhone X and the Huawei Mate smartphone.

#7 Family Fun Pack

This family and lifestyle influencer posts about fun with their family. Two parents and six kids post content on road trips, toys, food and more.

#8 SweetPotatoSoul

Jenne Claiborne shares quality lifestyle and food content. She offers vegan recipes and discusses topics like ethical fashion and natural beauty.

#9 Coding Blonde

Masha, a former Google employee from Denver, makes tech more accessible, empowers women, and teaches others how to code. She’s partnered with Netgear and eBay in the past.

#10 Canine Life

Three retrievers share content that feature their fun adventures. Among their daily activities, they go camping, to the beach, and to the dog park. They have partnered with Kurgo, Barkbox, and Target.

Tools to Help Market Your Business Effectively

,

Social media marketing can be a time-consuming chore if you try to do everything by yourself. A lot of small business owners do because they can’t afford to hire help. Fortunately, there are a range of tools that can give you an edge because they enable you to automate many of the typical tasks you do each day. They can also help you dig deeper into your niche, so you are able to offer exactly the kind of content that your target audience will love.

Hootsuite

There are free and paid editions of this service. It allows you to queue up content for future posting and cross-post to your various social media accounts. If you have a lot of accounts to manage, this program is worth its larger price tag.

Sprout Social

This is similar to HootSuite, with a higher price point and a more robust set of tools and detailed reporting. Schedule your posts and crossposts, and the platform will do the rest. It also has what is termed social listening, so you can learn more about your target audience and market to them more effectively. Although costly, a free 30-day trial can help you decide if it is worth it.

Buffer

Buffer offers a similar service to HootSuite and Sprout Social, but cheaper and easier to use. However, the service does not offer as many integrations as the former. Your reports about the results of the posts are easy to read and a great deal compared to the other two.

MeetEdgar

MeetEdgar is a social media scheduling tool that allows you to recycle old posts. This is useful because as your followers grow, they might be interested in seeing past posts they would have missed out on. Organize your posts by category, schedule your content by category, and the program will automatically go through and post your content from each category. Once it has published all of your newest scheduled posts, it will start recycling the older updates, so you always show something new at your social media pages. It works with a range of social networks, and more are being added. The pricing is 1 tier only, so you get all of their features for a relatively low price per month.

If This, Then That (IFTTT)

This is a useful integration and automation tool. When one thing happens, it triggers a response. For example, it might tweet every time you publish a new Facebook post. It has a library of automations, or you can try to create some yourself from scratch, to streamline your marketing as much as possible. Oh, did we forget to mention? Its free too.

BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a must if you want to see what is trending in your niche. It shows the most popular content across the networks. You can get ideas, find social media influencers working in your niche, and ride a hot trend if your products and services are a good fit.

Feedly

Feedly also helps you find what is hot, but it will do it automatically for you and send the content to you in one feed. Content aggregation saves you a lot of time and effort and you will certainly never run out of ideas for posts.

Tagboard

Tagboard is a social listening tool that will help you track a keyword, niche or hashtag so you can join in the conversation. You can monitor your own brand name and products. You can also get fresh post ideas any time.

Social Media Marketing

, ,

Social media marketing is an essential skill for any modern small business to master. With billions of people using the top social media sites in the world, it can be an ideal opportunity to extend the reach of any brand.

What are the top social media sites?

The top social media sites are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • YouTube

Each has their own “rules of the road” and types of followers. Depending on which niche or industry the business is related to, some will be better than others.

Facebook

Facebook is by far the most successful, with nearly 2 billion registered accounts and 1 billion regular users per month. It might have the reputation of being old-fashioned compared with Instagram and Snapchat, both very popular with the 18 to 30 market, but it is still very active and even the younger demographic will usually have an account to connect with family.

Facebook has a well-developed advertising program which allows users to create ads in different formats, such as for traffic, or for lead generation to get subscribers. Compared with Google Ads, it is easy to use, more affordable and very targeted. The ads are also native, looking like content, rather than an ad.

Twitter

Twitter has similar free and paid marketing opportunities. All you have to do is tweet up to 280 characters. It’s a good way to tell keep your followers updated in your business.

Google+

Google+ is popular with foodies, techies and photographers, so any business with a highly visual product line related to those niches could market well here.

Pinterest

Pinterest is completely image-driven, and dominated by women. These women are also shoppers, with more than 50% buying items they see there. Pinterest pins also last a great deal longer than other social media posts.

Instagram and Snapchat

Instagram and Snapchat are also image-driven. In this case, the image or video stays as a story for 24 hours after your follower sees it, unless you pin it to the top of your account. Instagram is owned by Facebook, and you can cross-post your ads in both systems, which can save time and money. Instagram and Snapchat allow companies to create stores right at the site, so if you sell things of interest to 18 to 30 year olds, you need to set up stores.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is following Facebook’s lead in many respects. The functionality is similar, but the audience is different. LinkedIn is the only major business to business social network, targeting professionals and allowing you to make connections with people in your current job, and past jobs and schools. You can also forge connections based on mutual interests, such as a niche or industry.

Tumblr

Tumblr is similar to Facebook in terms of the different kinds of posts you are allowed to publish, such as images and video. Thus far, it does not run ads. Around one-third of its users are international, so this is a good network to focus on if you want to connect with potential customers overseas.

YouTube

YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world, and a search engine in its own right. Starting a YouTube channel with useful content related to a specific niche can secure subscribers, sales, and connections with one’s target audience.

How to Grow Your Business Using Instagram Stories

, ,

Some people like to criticize Instagram Stories because they are a direct imitation of Snapchat, but for smart marketers, it is always going to be a case of, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Instagram Stories has led to phenomenal growth for marketers using them, so if you have not started yet, it’s time to get organized.

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are a little content area separate to your Instagram feed. The stories only last 24 hours unless you pin them to your account. They are a way to highlight interesting content, showcase new products, and give more information about who you are as a company and what you are all about.

As the name suggests, they are also perfect for storytelling marketing, which has become a hot new trend in the last 2 years or so. Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. As children, we love storybooks with pictures. We also love TV shows/videos. Instagram allows you to incorporate all of these elements as you tell your target audience more about how your business got started, or all your new product can do for them.

Instagram Stories are a more immersive experience than just a series of unrelated posts. They have changed the way many people use the Instagram app. Instead of swiping down to see their news feed first, many go to any new story in their interface first. The app will keep showing stories until the user clicks out, so your story can be highly visible compared to a single post on the feed.

1. Behind the scenes

The whole point of social media is to get to know your audience, and for them to feel they know you. Behind the scenes about your company or product creations shows who you are and what your values are.

2. Less formal and curated content

With most news feeds and grids, marketers aim for beauty, even perfection. With stories, the content can be more off the cuff and on the fly, showing a less formal side. You can make your content even more fun with Instagram stickers.

3. Create polls

Get to know your audience better and let them have fun by creating polls. They are not anonymous, so you won’t get a huge response, but it is worth a try so you can test your ideas for new products and more. Note that it will disappear within 24 hours, and Instagram does not save any report about it, so check back before the poll is ending to see your results and note them down in a spreadsheet or other convenient place. Re-use the best ones in the future, as you add more followers to your account.

4. Going live

Going live over the phone or via video can seem pretty daunting at first, but the more you do it, the more natural it starts to feel, and the better you become at it.

5. Sharing your best content from your camera roll

You can now save your images and combine them into a story.

6. Video content and recommendations

You can film people talking about your product, using it, or discussing the problem it solves. How-to videos are hugely popular on YouTube, making up about 75% of the content searched for. Create similar content and post it as stories.

7. Time-sensitive content

Have a time-sensitive announcement like a flash sale that has just started? The story will last for only 24 hours unless you pin it. The fact that it is so prominent on the page, though, will help all your followers see it quickly.

8. Announcements

Have you posted a new article at your blog? Launched a new product? Won an award? Stories are a great place to showcase your news and announcements.

Lifestyle Marketing

, ,

What is lifestyle marketing?

Lifestyle marketing isn’t just about selling people products, but about linking the products to a particular lifestyle. Disney is one good example. They aren’t just selling vacations, they are selling an entire experience when you go to one of their theme parks, stay at one of their resorts, or go on one of their cruises. It’s not just about buying things, or vacationing, but about what sort of lifestyle the family wishes to live.  Nike is another good example. It isn’t just for the sporty, but the stylish as well.

What is a lifestyle blog?

A lifestyle blog is all about a particular lifestyle, such as style, green living, the single life, or parenting. A lifestyle blog incorporates different niches that would be of interest to those living that life. Therefore, if you are looking to market on a lifestyle blog, your marketing content needs to be in line with the typical needs of that audience.

Lifestyle Blog Opportunities:

Guest Blogging

Offer free content about the lifestyle and about products similar to your own, and including your own, to the blog owners. It is tough to keep a blog fresh and up to date with new content. As long as the post you offer is high-quality and genuinely useful, rather than a pure promo piece, most blog owners would be thrilled to give you a spot.

At the end of each guest blog post, include a resource box. This is basically a mini-biography about yourself and a special URL where they can go to learn more. Using a special URL is a good idea so you can track the success of each guest blog post. It also prevents the frustration they may feel if you just send them to your home page and expect them to find their way through your site. It can also be a golden opportunity to grow your email marketing list if you offer them an incentive such as a free ebook and put a sign up form on the page.

A guest blog post establishes you as an authority in your niche, which can help increase your subscribers and sales.

A Regular Column

If you love to write and/or have a lot of content, and have built a name for yourself, you could get a regular column on a lifestyle blog. You could be the go to person on, for example, cheap and easy ways to go green as a family. Each article you publish will establish your reputation. Start with a guest blog post and see how well things go. Establish relationships with lifestyle blog owners and editors.

Advertising

Create a range of ads in different sizes, with different images and color schemes. See if there are any advertising opportunities at the lifestyle blogger’s site and/or in their email marketing. Their rate of pay should be reasonable, and will usually be on a per month basis.

Joint Ventures

If you have a website that could be considered a lifestyle one, consider a joint venture in which you swap content with each other to promote it to your email marketing lists. If you wish to promote a product, split the profits 50/50.