I try and teach them to be their own what I call a personal enterprise. That they've got to run their own business within the corporate. They've got to be seen as a leader and authority to stand out in that business. That person is the go-to person for something. Work out what is your own uniqueness, what you want to be known for. What are the outcomes that you deliver for the people in your own organisation, or for your clients and customers, if you're a business owner.
I love bringing sporting analogies, and you'll appreciate this one, is that once they're known for that, and they're delivering and exceeding the delivery, exceeding the values that they're providing for other people, they need to do it in two ways. They need to do it in their playing field, and that's with and for people that they're interacting on a daily basis. That's providing great service, and it's other people seeing that they're providing great service.
So that's down on the playing field, but what they also should be looking at is the perception from the stands. The people that may or may not be interacting, but potentially are going to be responsible for, or actually reporting to those responsible for that person getting a promotion, or getting up the corporate ladder.
That's the thing, it's not the fear of selling. If you're selling yourself, if you're a professional, it's the fear of personal rejection. The philosophy is sell the system, not yourself. When you take it away from selling yourself, and I get them to pictorialize their system in a way that it is a graphic blueprint.
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Because we absorb images, verbal is linear. My definition of sales, and I heard it from a mentor many, many years ago, was professionally servicing other people's needs for a mutually beneficial gain. The people that just jump in, and just solve a need, are going to be just solving those needs. They're just order takers, and they're going to make much less sales. So the real good salesmen, elite salespeople, really understand more than just what the problem is. What is that problem causing? What are the emotional effects that that problem is going to cause?
How can we solve all of those? They're the elite sales people. They take the time to understand more than just what they need to sell. The purpose is to take the viewer or the prospect along an emotional journey, where in the end, in their mind, they're making a logical decision to do whatever the next step is.
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If you've done it right, you've given them enough emotion. Tracking these metrics will show you whether each piece is contributing to its goal and where you have room for improvement. It's a bit of an art, and it takes practice. But eventually, you'll get a clear picture of the boundaries between each stage of the buyer's journey and which types of content are effective in moving prospects further. As you fill in your content gaps and optimize assets according to their place in your funnel, you'll begin to develop a content ecosystem with pieces appropriate for all of your needs.
As different prospects move through your buyer's journey, you'll always have a good piece of content there to nudge them along. In this way, you'll be able to help prospects along the entire journey , from beginning to end. The more robust this ecosystem becomes, the better your conversion rate will become. In turn, this will give you better insights into your buyer's journey and enable you to create even better content. This is how marketers sustainably fill their funnel, and this process is what makes content marketing effective.
Organization is paramount to a good content strategy. To be successful, you need to be able to see the big picture in terms of which content assets you've already created, which are upcoming, and what you're planning for the future. As we already discussed, part of this means determining which content assets align with the stages of the buyer's journey. In addition, a detailed timeline is an essential organizational tool. Creating a content calendar gives you oversight that lets you manage your time and expectations, and it gives the flexibility to add or remove content assets in whatever way best supports your overall business goals.
However, if you've previously sat down and tried to plot out a content calendar, you probably know that it can be a difficult and confusing process. Our aim in this section is to give you the tools you need to make this process painless and productive, including an excel template for your own content calendar. We'll talk shortly about what to consider when actually placing your content pieces into your calendar.
First, let's address how to set up the spreadsheet that will contain all your information. The calendar we use at Foleon has several columns, giving us oversight into everything we need to know about each piece of content. It defines what reaction we hope to achieve from whoever views this content.
When you begin filling in your spreadsheet with your planned content assets, prioritization and time management are your top concerns. Since content marketing is an ongoing effort and not a one-off project, you'll want to make sure that you set reasonable expectations about concurrent projects. Working on too many large pieces at once is a surefire way to miss your deadlines. This is an intuitive bit of knowledge, but without the organization provided by your content calendar, it's hard to act on.
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When filling in your calendar, make sure that you have larger projects spread out and only have smaller projects running concurrently. Luckily, it's fairly easy to pinpoint which projects will be more time and labor intensive. This usually correlates with word count and necessary research. Since you will generally have one large project and a few smaller ones running at once, a good idea is to have them all be around related topics. This way, you'll naturally see your marketing campaigns start to form.
Each campaign can have a big content piece, the real workhorse, supported by your shorter pieces. You can also work backward, with the idea for a campaign and the expected timeline. From there, you can define the larger and smaller content projects that will fit into that campaign. Every campaign should relate to an overarching business goal, with its own metrics for success. It should target one or a group of the buyer's journey stages and personas. Moreover, every piece of content within a campaign should have those same attributes.
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Obviously, that's a lot of information for every piece of content. Many marketers cut corners with this because it's too difficult to keep track of everything. But why do a worse job with content marketing, when you can make use of a content calendar as a tool to stay organized and easily track everything you need to track?
Have you ever watched a classic horror movie, like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho? They don't hit you over the head all at once. Rather, the dread builds over time and the movie's accomplishment is the feeling you're left with by the end. Content marketing is kind of like a slow burn horror movie.
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Rarely will a company have one piece that immediately goes viral and accomplishes all their business goals at once. If they do have a piece that gets that kind of attention early on, they likely don't have the infrastructure to fully capitalize on the success. More often, content marketing is a series of smaller creative and outreach efforts that assembles many small building blocks of success. Establishing quantitative goals ahead of time, and frequently revisiting and re-assessing them, is how you ensure that you are continuously building the necessary structure for your desired results.
Otherwise, you risk wasting time and effort. Your content calendar lets you visualize how your content efforts build over time and establish milestones that coincide with content events. Without your calendar, this kind of structure would be impossible to properly build and track. Content marketing is a series of smaller creative and outreach efforts that assembles many small building blocks of success.
As you track your progress, don't treat your calendar as if it's set in stone. Continually adjust it as needed. You may need to replace entire campaigns as you analyze your progress.
Start getting organized with this content calendar template we created for you. Ask a graphic designer about the importance of visual consistency across a company's public-facing assets. They'll likely point you toward guidelines governing hex codes, typefaces, logos, and more. Then they'll tell you not to deviate from those. Their reasoning is sound. Look at an ad from a company with strong, consistent branding, and you'll probably recognize who it is without ever having to see their name. That kind of familiarity is desirable. Developing and maintaining a unique voice is essential for any brand.
It helps them stand out and create rapport with their audience. Keeping that voice uniform across all of a company's communications makes them more memorable, recognizable, and trustworthy. The guidelines for brand voice and written assets are typically compiled in a company's style guide. Not all organizations use a style guide, but it's a tool that all should consider adopting. A good style guide can be accessed, understood, and utilized by anyone in any department. But how do you go about building a style guide?
It seems like quite the creative undertaking and something that a busy marketer doesn't have the time to tackle.