Networking guru and author Kevin Willett recently featured Snowbird Creatives on his Friends of Kevin Radio Show. In the 15-minute segment, I define content marketing best practices, give social media best practices, talk about upcoming trends and answer the question, “Do I need a blog?”

Listen to the show now. Click on the play button below.

In addition, here are the main takeaways from the radio show plus supplementary information and helpful links.

What is content?

Any deliverable that provides value to the person experiencing it. Some examples are those that instruct, entertain or persuade. In marketing, content is coupled with many different types of calls to action that invite the person experiencing it to “Call now,” “Download,” and “Sign up,” etc.

What is content marketing?

It’s essentially about getting the right information (content) in front of the right person at the right time and in the right place. It must be relevant, useful and help solve a problem.

Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

People are more than halfway through a purchasing decision before they contact a sales rep. The reason why content is so important is because people are educating themselves with what they find on the internet. The trick is in providing relevant, valuable information that people will consume and come back to you when they’re ready to make a purchase.

 

Industry jargon

In the radio show, Kevin mentions “industry jargon.” In short, it’s a language used that only a niche group would understand which may be suitable for internal goings-on but not so much in outward marketing communications and content marketing efforts.

I recently attended an event for attorneys to support one of my clients. One of the guest speakers was a highly educated scientist at the forefront of the field in the topic the presentation was based on. After the presentation, I asked three attorneys their thoughts on it. All three attendees felt that the topic was interesting but hard to follow. They all indicated that it was “very complicated” and “over their heads.” A group of attorneys is also highly educated but not in industry-specific jargon outside of its industry. This is a perfect example of a missed opportunity to connect. In the words chosen during that presentation there was a misalignment. A presenter (or marketer or business owner) should choose the words and message carefully to make a connection with the audience. Identify your audience and speak to the individuals in that audience in a way that makes a connection; don’t leave them confused or feeling inadequate in any way.

“Here’s the rule: when you write, start with your buyers, not with your product.”

-David Meerman Scott

Along the lines of hard-to-understand vocabulary is another issue of poorly chosen words: buzzwords. These are generic and not specific to any one industry. Marketing and sales strategist, speaker and author David Meerman Scott calls it “gobbledygook.” He wrote The Gobbledygook Manifesto in 2007 and it has been a cornerstone for many marketing and PR firms to follow.

Grab a copy of The Gobbledygook Manifesto.

The Gobbledygook Manifesto by David Meerman Scott

The Gobbledygook Manifesto by David Meerman Scott

Another organization, Corporate Executive Board (CEB) developed a strategy for B2B selling success. In the book named after that model, The Challenger Sale, the authors provide a list of words that should not be used when companies talk about themselves. In a section entitled “Never Use These Ten Words in Your Pitch Deck” we see these gems:

  1. Leader
  2. Leading
  3. Best
  4. Top
  5. Unique
  6. Great
  7. Solution
  8. Largest
  9. Innovative
  10. Innovator

The problem with jargon and gobbledygook is that it waters down and convolutes the intended message. Of the communications analyzed in the CEB example, “leader” was mentioned 161,000. The reality is that there can only be one true leader. All others are followers. Sort of how there is a first-place winner, a second-place winner and so on. If everyone is “innovative” or the “best” how does one company differentiate from another? You don’t and that’s the point.

“At each stage of the sales process, well-written materials combined with effective marketing

programs will lead your buyers to understand how your company can help them.”

-David Meerman Scott

Which social media channel you should be on?

It varies. It depends on resources available. Start with defining your target audience and then go to where they are. Let this lead the way. Be aware of truly niche places that aren’t necessarily in the Big 3  (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). That stated, Facebook dominates in terms of usage and popularity. If you have a particularly visual product or service, you might lean toward Pinterest or Instagram depending on your audience. (Instagram has a younger audience.) Check out this post to help guide your decision.

Social media best practices

Have a strategy that outlines how you will get in front of your target that includes things like frequency of posts, best times to post and what types of content to post.

  • Be consistent
  • Don’t be selfish – Use a 3:1 ratio
  • It’s not just about the posting – Get people involved and engaged by sharing, liking, retweeting and commenting
  • Use an automation tool – Check out this post on how to use Buffer

Engagement is key

You may have heard about how great “storytelling” is and how you should be doing it. And yet there is something even more important; a conversation.

Telling a story is = one way

Having a conversation = two ways

Telling a story is great but you really want to have a conversation with your audience. Be sure to truly engage by commenting, sharing, posting, and retweeting, respectively. Don’t simply post to your own channels and walk way. You would be missing out on a great opportunity to connect with your audience.

Blogging

Blogs can help with SEO and more than that, what reason does someone have to visit your website other than a hard sale? Do you give website visitors a reason to visit and interact with you? Are you providing value? In most cases, I recommend having a blog but there are times when it doesn’t make sense as I explain on the radio show.

Trends

  •  Video marketing: Video marketing is hot and not dying down. Live videos are viewed three times more than recorded videos. Did you know that you can download a (recorded) Facebook Live video and place it on your website? Check out this tutorial on Facebook Live.
  •  Print: Because other channels are saturated, and the literal experience of touch is not possible electronically, print is still in the game. Can you imagine if you could sample a new perfume fragrance in an email? Not even the robots have figured this one out yet. Read about this and other trends in Five Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017.
  • Push notifications: These are quite literally popping up big time. Notifications appear on your phone via apps and on your desktop through various programs. Check out a site like PushCrew to install push notifications on your website.

Takeaway

In my 15 minutes of fame for Snowbird Creatives on the Friends of Kevin Radio Show, I share writing, blogging, social media and content marketing best practices and trends as well as practical suggestions for immediate use for companies of all sizes.

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