In order to have significance in the online world, you have to post relevant and timely content that means something to you and your audience. However, the process of finding great content to share, as well as deciding when or how to share it can be challenging and time-consuming. Here are a few tools to help you get the ball rolling:
Feedly and Scoop.it
Feedly is one of the most popular tools for content curation, and personally – it’s a great tool. You add the URL’s of the pages or blogs you follow and when they are posted they show up in a magical stream of great content that you can share. Essentially you subscribe to these blogs through Feedly and each time you open your account the latest blog posts are available. Another helpful tool to use is Scoop.it which is similar to Feedly except you use keywords instead of web addresses and you store the information you want to share on categorized boards. These are really good resources used to generate content that is specific to your industry. The best part of these tools is they are completely tailored to fit your content curating needs.
Google+ Communities are advantageous because you can use them to not only distribute content but gather content as well. For example, if you are looking for “Marketing” content in Google+ Communities you can simply search marketing in the ‘Communities’ field, where you will find prime resources for information. The first three communities that come up under “Marketing” are “Social Media Marketing,” “Content Marketing and Social Media,” and “Social Media Marketing for Business Owners.” All of these communities and plenty of other communities are full of good information to take a look at.
Like many social media platforms, Twitter is valuable for content in general, whether it’s from participating in chats to using Twitter for directly searching for content either with hashtags or keywords. However, Twitter provides one tool that is a useful way to get your hands on some relevant content – Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists are fantastic because they are similar to Feedly and Scoop.it because they provide a completely customized list of the information you want to read, but instead of just looking at websites and articles on the web, you’re looking at tweets from specific people or companies. The best way to use Twitter lists is not only for influential people, but for those who inspire you, motivate you, or even people who just make you laugh. It’s a simple and easy to use tool.
HootSuite is simply the bee’s knees when it comes to content curation. You can use this tool with multiple social media platforms to make it easier to share the content you find and can schedule it accordingly. You compose your awesome information into a message and it can disperse your posts to various social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, or even WordPress – that’s all there is to it. Hootsuite doesn’t only help you share content, it also helps you find great content. Within Hootsuite you can search for information by searching hashtags that are relevant to your accounts such as #businesstips or #marketing. You can also keep an eye on your feeds on various platforms, all in one place. Now let’s talk scheduling. With Hootsuite there are two options: Auto schedule, which is when Hootsuite estimates is the best time for that message to be posted, or when you choose – and then Hootsuite provides a calendar for you to schedule a time for the post.
Now that you have tools to find content and a dashboard where you can share your content, it’s time to find a tool to layout the content you find so you can schedule it accordingly. Although Hootsuite is a beneficial tool and has a scheduling calendar built in it, it’s a good idea to also have a separate calendar to not only make your content curation more effective and efficient, but to help you keep your head on straight. You can always use an editorial calendar, however, the most important part of keeping track of your content and when it’s being published is when and how it’s comfortable to you. If you struggle to understand or simply don’t like the layout of some of the calendar tools out there you should always look around. Evernote has a great calendar, or you can connect your calendars with others with a resource like CoSchedule. Another option is to keep it simple with Google calendar or the handy little iCal. Look around for what is comfortable for you!
Remember, each piece of content you share should have a purpose:
- To inform
- To instruct
- To inspire
- To entertain
- To start a conversation
- To express an opinion
- To share industry knowledge or resources
If your content doesn’t have one of these purposes, then it shouldn’t be shared with your audience.
Photo Credit: *s@lly*
We have a running joke here at Shout Out that EVERY time we have a meeting somebody suggests a new internet tool that I haven’t heard about yet. There are so many tools out there that it will make your head spin. For instance, the following list of marketing tools can hardly even be considered the tip of the iceberg. *Note please scroll through to the end for the Top 5
For social media there is:
For Website Analysis there is:
*Click through to see more tools and the top 5.
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Einstein
The technical term of value is the benefits a customer receives from buying your good or service. Here’s the hard part, folks: Value is in the eye of the beholder… so one person could hold your company value to a different standard than others. The question you should ask is who should value your value:
You have to establish a great value within yourself and what you do well. Without true value marketers can’t communicate benefits to the customer very well – at least, we hope not. A huge challenge to a marketer is to connect that true value to the customer.
One important thing to remember when you are marketing your value is to market with consumers – not to them. See the problem is marketers have to make sure that your consumer appreciates the value of your product/service. Marketers who understand that know that their company value will be more successful if they build relationships between the product/service and the consumer.
How do you go about creating a valued advantage over your competitors? Like we said, you first have to find the value in what you do really well. Second, you have to find value in what your competitors don’t have value in… say what?? Basically, you have to hold what you do to a standard that your consumers will acknowledge and therefore create brand equity in their minds – that is the value you hold over your competition.
Photo Credit: Unhindered by Talent
With a number of marketing automation tools out there many companies are asking, is marketing automation right for my business? It’s a valid question. There could be a ton of benefit. There could also be a ton of cost with little return if you’re not ready.
To really understand when the time is right to implement marketing automation help it’s good to be clear about the real goals and the real purpose of using one, and that is to help you close business. If you haven’t had the time to get familiar with programs like Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, Optify and the like it may be easy to hear “marketing automation” and picture a glorified scheduler. “I can schedule my tweets, and my blog posts, and my email newsletters, and whatever right from one system!”
And, if you were to think that, read more
Companies have become obsessed with content creation and many firms are completely flummoxed (yeah I love that word) by this concept, but go with what you know and you’ll do great.
Every company in the world has a level of expertise in its core business. Think about it. How many times has someone shared a client story about how you were able to help on a first project. Ask your customer service people about conversations with current or prospective clients. What kind of questions do they get and what type of answers do they give?
The trick is to create a simple system to capture and retell these stories for the other people who want to know the same things but haven’t asked yet.
We have a new client in the printing industry (more to come about that) and during our initial conversations about content creation for their website, we went through this “capture” process with them. One of the stories they shared is how they advise clients during their design process to wind up with some really great images. This is gold. They know the story and they are experts in sharing it one-on-one every day. The only difference is that they now have to capture it and share it with a larger audience.
This is where a lot of companies freeze in their tracks. read more
Anyone who stalks Shout Out Studio on Twitter or Facebook quickly understands that we work from coffee shops on a very, very regular basis. We meet at a coffee shop a few times a week. When we’re not working together at a coffee shop, there is usually one of our team members working individually with a coffee by our side.
Luckily we work out of Columbus, OH. Recently Columbus has received lots of love for our expanding coffee shop scene.
Coffee shops aren’t just about cool spaces and tasty grinds, it’s also about being productive. In that spirit, here are keys to helping you get work done while sipping that macchiato.
Nothing Beats a Good To-Do List
Personally I write down two or three of the most important thing I need to accomplish before read more
Getting your business’ message to the right audience is difficult enough. So many marketing pros end up spending a lot of their effort on increasing the audience SIZE rather than crafting the perfect message to deliver to that audience.
Be sure to infuse these three ingredients into your advertising and you’ll be smooth sailing.
A Quick Introduction from Aristotle
Aristotle Introduced the three modes of persuasion in Rhetoric (written in 350 BCE). In Rhetoric, Aristotle writes that persuasion is the counterpart to dialect. Where “dialect” signifies discourse and discussion, “persuasion” suggests an intent to seducing an audience to your position.
Ethos, Pathos, and Logos are all modes of persuasion capable of shifting an audience in their thinking. Some will be more susceptible to one mode, but the combination of all three into your messaging will hook your audience in a deep way. read more
The line between sales and marketing is now barely visible for companies approaching it correctly. For the rest lingering, out of date sales and marketing habits put their prospective clients at arm’s length and threaten nearly irreparable damage to the brand. Relationship building, though always important in business development, has been amplified by a shift to relationship marketing and from deceptive, quick turn, marketing practices.
Every day we see a number of companies using new technologies with old methodologies. From tactical to philosophical, here are 6 sales and marketing bad habits everyone should work to break. read more
Content Marketing Tips for Small Business
Finding time to produce marketing content can be challenging for small businesses. But if you’re running any sort of blog or keeping up any sort of legit social media platform you must feed the beast somehow and it can’t all be leftovers (curated content). The reward for that time spent can be worthwhile with a little planning. Here are some content marketing tips and considerations to get you going.
Start by understanding the right content mix
Based on your product/service, your audience and your brand the right content mix could vary and include any or all of the following:
Looking for an internet marketing partner can be a long, tedious task. Making the wrong decision will be a waste of money, time & brand equity.
Here are eight key characteristics you should be looking for in your marketing partner.
Clearly Defined Process
A marketing partner is more about the process than about product. Every service and every method isn’t going to be equally effective for each client. Beware of marketing firms that plug you into their systems and do the same activities for each client. Just because their service works for one client doesn’t mean it will work for your unique business or your specific audience. read more
Mobile Internet and The Death of Desktop
Statistics are showing that if mobile internet usage continues to grow at its current rate it will overtake desktop internet usage by 2015 and possibly even before. This shouldn’t come as a tremendous surprise what with the improvements in smartphone capabilities, the spread of network coverage and skyrocketing sales of mobile devices.
Unfortunately for some businesses, it must be a surprise as we see too many websites not ready for mobile and too many businesses not communicating with their audience on social platforms – which already accounts for nearly half of all mobile use. read more
We often come across companies that know they want to market themselves but they don’t know what to say or how to say it. More than that, they don’t know whom to say it to and they often resort to grabbing a bullhorn and yelling to everyone. Target marketing helps you to be engaging to your audience and helps you to more easily see where you resources are best placed. To begin to develop a targeted marketing strategy you must first be laser focused as to who you are and what you want to get across in a message.
Sure, having a market large enough to support your business is important and should be a major part of your analysis when considering even starting one in the first place. But even though you may consider yourself that well rounded, perfect for everyone solution – not everyone will see you that way. You shouldn’t want them to.
The truth is there can be side effects with that approach.
Marketers can live in a precarious position. Often existing somewhere between the legal department, HR, accountants & the C-suite; marketers can be pulled in every different direction. The result is often mediocre, watered-down messaging.
“Don’t say that, we might offend somebody.”
“We don’t want our competition to know our secrets.”
“Show me something more … um … corporate looking.”
These are the kiss of death to marketing success. Roy H. Williams in his classic book, “The Wizard of Ads” gives 9 key words that will determine the success of your marketing efforts:
“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.”
If you’re going to seduce the perfect customers and clients, then you’re going to have to risk insulting those who are outside of that group.
Photo Credit: Stuart Caie