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5 Great Reasons To Set Up An Editorial Content Calendar

Your organization, like ours, probably already has a marketing budget and a marketing strategy. Great to have, as that keeps your company on message and working within established parameters.

But you also need a way to coordinate the social media portion of your marketing efforts. The central idea of the editorial content calendar is to allow the creation of workflows for social content, plot them on a calendar, and manage all the writing, editing, publishing, and distribution in one place.

Here’s what an editorial content calendar can provide:

1) A guide to organize and manage your content
2) A plan to distribute this information across all your social marketing channels of communication
3) A way to hold individuals and/or departments accountable for their roles in content production and promotion
4) Verification that you’re producing content aligned with your overall strategy
5) A tool to assess resources and explore methods to fill gaps in your social media.

The format of your calendar will depend on your organization and how you access shared documents. A Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet can serve nicely.

At FocalPoint, we discovered that once we determined our marketing strategy, we had also laid the foundation for our editorial calendar. The goals aligned together nicely. For instance, we established several key core topics we want to “own” through SEO keywords. Then we mapped out various ways to enrich those keywords and phrases on social media to drive traffic and awareness. You could map this out by quarter, by season, or (depending on your business model) around new product introductions.

For example, if you’re gearing up to introduce a new gizmo, you (or your marketing department) may be creating articles to promote the introduction and drive audience interest. After the introduction, you will likely have post-event content (photos, new data, videos, testimonials) to share on social media. Using an editorial calendar, you can track where you shared what, and keep the key themes of your introduction in sight. This keeps all your printed content, blogs, facebook shares, Tweets, Snapchats, etc, aligned with your overall marketing objectives, and working toward a common goal.

Once you’ve mapped out your calendar, you can scheduled your social media and begin to see how to team what you post alongside your overall marketing program.

We’ve learned that you can’t plan for everything in advance, and really, you shouldn’t. The beauty of social media is how up-to-the-minute it is. In addition to having fixed marketing pieces, you can use the calendar to publish other content, as needed, to respond to breaking news, new data, updates, and anything else important that comes into focus. Your calendar should always feel like a work in progress.

We’ve found that an editorial calendar is among a content marketer’s most useful tools. It makes every part of marketing communication easier and more organized.

2 Million Searches a Minute?

Forget global warming. We are already drowning in an alarming tsunami of…. data.

Big data is exponentially expanding. And it’s overwhelming all of us. To put this in perspective, Google receives more than two million requests for search each and every minute. Let that sink in a minute.

What are we searching for? A lot of the searches are for stuff (including data) that’s new. In fact, Google reports that 90 percent of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone.

How do we get this much new information? The short answer is social media. The rise of social media to the web makes it possible for tons of new information to make its way across the internet all the time. New words are being created. New ideas being shared. Tweets about the ideas. Breaking news. Responses to breaking news. Counterpoints to breaking news. You get the idea.

The bottom line is that all this data is making it difficult for organizations to make sense of the data. And respond appropriately in a way that gets their news or product or info into view.

And that is really tough in a world that is trying to shift through tons of data.

How to push through the tsunami? Visuals work very well.

We humans respond to and process visual data better than any other type of data. In fact, the human brain is hardwired to process images 60,000 times faster than text. Visuals are immediately registered and understood because most (90 percent) of information transmitted to the brain is, in fact, visual.

Knowing all of us are visual by nature, leverage this information to enhance search to your site. The more complicated the data – or information — you offer, the more visuals you should have. The good news is that data is geospatial and can be presented in a variety of visual ways, including

• Videos
• Graphs
• Site locations
• Coupons
• Promotional side bars
• Interactive maps
• Drop down ads
• Banners
• Photos
• Sale graphics

Need more ammunition for presenting a ton of visual information in your next (fill in the blank: website, PowerPoint, email, blog, tweet, Facebook post, Instagram post)? Visual data also makes it easier to collaborate, link ideas together, and generate new ideas. And that impacts your team as well as who you are trying to reach.

The Purpose-Driven Brand

You can probably name a luxury brand. Tiffany comes to mind. Or an active brand, such as Nike or Patagonia. Or a traditional brand, such as General Motors. There are brands that own product names, such as Scotch (brand) tape or Band Aid bandages.

 

So what is a purpose-driven brand?

 

As the name implies, it’s a brand that is very consistent about it’s purpose and place in its marketplace. You know what you’re getting with the brand, and you like the brand’s purpose.

 

You should be able to tell a brand’s purpose by its tag line, for instance:

  • Disney – The happiest place on earth
  • Avis – We try harder
  • Nike – Just do it
  • Capital One – What’s in your wallet?
  • US Postal Service – We deliver
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken – Finger Lickin’ Good
  • Budweiser – The King of Beers

 

A new report from Kantar Consulting shows that purpose-driven brands consistently outperform brands perceived as without purpose. According to the study, brands with clearly defined purposes grew twice as fast as other brands, increasing their brand valuation by 175% in the past 12 years. Compare this to a 70% growth rate for “low sense of purpose” brands, and you can see why your organization could benefit immensely from having a brand associated with a strong and readily recognized purpose.

 

Another way to look at this is brand transparency. Adweek magazine recently stated that younger customers want to know what their favorite brands stand for.  According to Adweek, two-thirds of Gen Z and Millennials prefer a brand that stands for something and has a clear point of view.

 

But it’s not easy to establish

 

Consumers can tell when a brand is authentic and when it’s created for attention. The recent Pepsi “Kendall Jenner” commercial is a good example of a company trying to create a purpose-driven ad, but not getting it right because it didn’t feel authentic.

 

The good news is being purpose-driven doesn’t have to cost anything close to what Pepsi paid for its failed Jenner ad.

 

“As long as you have your customer in mind with everything you put out there on social media and advertising,” says Brien Richmond, CEO of FocalPoint, “you’re headed in the right direction.”

 

Your marketing team should be always be asking:

  • How does our customer “see” us?
  • How do our customers actually use our products?
  • What is s/he interested in?
  • What other activities are likely to interest them?
  • What are they watching, reading or doing day-to-day?”

 

“It doesn’t matter if your marketing budget is $10k or $500k, if your marketing efforts consistently support your client’s point of view,” says Richmond, “you are speaking their language. Your brand image is authentic and transparent, and ultimately, purpose-driven.”

Making Corporate Blogs Sing

You blog to inspire interest in what your company does. Hopefully, it will open the door to more web traffic, and with any luck, new business.

That’s the thought for most companies, anyway. But why stop there, when there’s so much more your blog can (and should) do?

What you really want your blog to do is provide remarkable, surprising insight into your industry. New discoveries. New ways to use products. New legislation. New technologies. What’s new in your field and about why it matters.

In other words, you want to make your business blog the “go-to” site for information that your target client wants to know about. You want your blog (ergo your company) to be perceived as the Subject Matter Expert.

Does your blog do that?

Probably not. Most don’t, in fact.

That’s because most corporate blogs are written by the wrong people. Most corporate bloggers are busy folks in your sales or marketing department that blog when they can. It’s often last on their to-do list.

The thing is, for your blogs to do what they should be doing, you’ve got to keep blog material relevant and informative. And well-written to surprise and delight your (busy, distracted) intended audience.

So here’s a good idea for your next blog to get you on the right path: Create an “expert post.” It’s actually pretty easy to do.  Here’s how:

• Reach out to experts in your field with a pertinent, industry-related question.
• Collect the content and organize the post.
• Only use the interesting quotes — new, useful information from these industry sources.
• Tell your readers why the information matters.
• Present the information in an easy to understand format.
• Then, include your own preferences and opinions about the information.
• Edit and polish.

When you’re ready to publish your post, be sure to include links to each of your experts’ websites. Then tag the authors on social media.

The result? A nice win-win. Your readers get great content and your experts get links to their sites, which they will undoubtedly share because it makes them look good. Of course, all those shares will also boost your SEO.

Boom! You have just taken a big step toward being seen as a Subject Matter Expert. Now, keep up the good work!

Updates In Logo Land

Have you noticed all the new logos recently? Logos are definitely evolving. They are getting less intricate, using very easy to read fonts, and any imagery or design is much simpler than earlier versions of the same logo.

Logo redesign isn’t new. Just about every organization revitalizes their logo every so often. But why – suddenly – are so many logos getting a make-over?

The answer is simple. Smaller screens.

Older logos full of visual information and hard to read fonts just don’t translate on cell phones’ smaller screens.

Another factor is that logos need to pop – getting easily recognized within seconds – no matter what else is going on around them. After all, logos don’t exist in a vacuum. They share space and compete with other information on pop up ads, newsfeeds, even on their own websites.

So what does that mean for your organization’s logo? If it’s been more than 5 years since you’ve taken a fresh look at your existing logo, it’s time.

Here’s how to begin a logo update:

• Get real about how your logo will most often be seen. That might mean on your store front and on your website, and mobile website, business cards, ads, possibly even on the items your company manufactures.
• Does your logo use a lot of space? Does it look similar to lots of other logos? Is it very horizontal or overly vertical? All of these issues will make it more difficult to use in a variety of applications.
• Pull out your phone and take a look at several different apps. Now look at your logo on this screen – perhaps from your website. It should be immediately identifiable.
• Does it tell people who you are and what you do in 3 seconds? Or does it need a tag line to make that clear?
• What’s in the background (behind the letters in your logo?) The more “stuff” cluttering your logo design, the less effective it is.

After you’ve taken a look at your company’s logo with fresh eyes, it’s time to look at logos that others use that you and your team like:

• Make a list of what you like and why.
• Notice things like colors, fonts, and size of letters.
• Note upper and lower case.
• Check out background colors.
• Register how warm or cool (and any other emotions) the logo suggests.

It’s always a good idea to look at your competitions’ logos. What do they do well, and what don’t they do as well? Be sure to notice dominant logo colors in your industry.

Once you have some pretty good ideas of what you like and don’t about your logo and others in your industry (as well as logos in general), talk to a marketer like us, one that consistently provides excellent professional logo design. Ask for samples of recent work. Have a conversation about timing and pricing.

After consultation and sometimes marketing research, a company generally receives several design “rounds” in which to fine-tune a new or redesigned logo. You have a hand in the design process.

Logo design isn’t rocket science, and there’s no single solution to your update. That said, it can be a lot of fun seeing your older logo evolve into a hipper, crisper, leaner looking version of itself. And – perhaps more interestingly — you’ll learn a lot about what is important to you and your company as a whole, during the process.

Romancing Social Media

Business relationships are actually quite similar to romantic ones. Both thrive on attention. The more positive, the better. The more consistent, the better… with an occasional unexpected perk.

 

Like, what?

Flowers for no reason would be the romantic metaphor. One printing company we enjoy working with would, for no discernable reason, occasionally give us a printing job for free. “Thanks for being one of our favorite customers,” was the stated reason.

 

Wow, we thought, how cool is that? Interestingly, that printing company only had to offer that perk once in a blue moon. Because it made a lasting impression. Obviously, we enjoyed the sentiment. And the perk. Of course, we wanted to keep being that favorite customer. So we gave them more of our business.

 

In social media, you can do something very similar.

And for lots less.

 

All it takes is time and intention. It all boils down the organization’s commitment to sustaining excellent relationships with clients and prospects. And the key to that?

Romancing the client:

  • Frequent reminders about how important they are to you
  • The occasional perk
  • Use client examples of great work on social media
  • Send those posts to your client – with feedback when appropriate

 

While FocalPoint knows it’s important to keep up traditional communication and PR, we also believe our clients should also be romancing their relationships through online forums

  • Website updates
  • Frequent blogs and vlogs
  • Use the NOTES application in Facebook to create a special, limited-time “friends and family” promotion, tag friends and clients and ask them to pass along your exclusive deal.
  • Tweet out contests, shout out to loyal customers and promote events. (And don’t forget to retweet loyal customer tweets.)
  • Name drop on LinkedIN shares

 

Interesting conversations are happening all the time, so why not participate in a very visible way that says to your clients, “I really like you and you are the heart of our business.”

 

LinkedIN romance

Join as many groups on LinkedIN as you can that are related to what you sell and post a question or a tip on a regular basis. Client name drop (it’s free and it works wonders!)

 

  • Mention a client If you have a blog or e-newsletter
  • Post a client announcement to your Linked-In groups with a link whenever you release a new issue or blog posting.
  • You’ll look great to lots of business people
  • …and so will your client.

 

Romance isn’t dead. It’s on line and doing fine!