For quite some time I’ve had the honor and privilege to work with both the Hospital Foundation and the Auxiliary to raise funds for this worthy cause. Read about the Auxiliary leadership team in the Catskills Chronicle, and learn about the goals set for the next two years. Visit margaretvillehospitalauxiliary.com for more details.
Content marketing is a critical component of digital marketing given its effectiveness in increasing brand awareness, engaging online communities, generating new leads, and increasing sales.
What makes content marketing effective is that people trust editorials more than they trust advertorials. In essence, content marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating, publishing and distributing creative content for a targeted audience to generate leads and sales while informing and entertaining. Traditional marketing focuses on pitching products and services, while content marketing focuses on publishing engaging content.
Although content marketing gained traction during the digital age, the practice is nothing new. In 1895 John Deere founded The Furrow, a magazine designed to educate farmers about the latest advancement in the field, and help them find solutions to their problems. The magazine continues to exist today, not just in print but in digital format as well; it has a large social media platform, and is published in several languages around the world. The magazine helped crystallize the John Deere brand, and grow its market.
Forms of content marketing include: how to guides, white papers, newsletters, presentations, blog posts, social media posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, product descriptions, reviews, testimonials, and others.
#GEInstaWalk is a clever example of content marketing which allows the company’s Instagram followers to take a peek into GE’s facilities where cutting-edge technology is being manufactured. Amazon’s Building Your Book for Kindle free e-book is another clever example designed as a free guide to creating and publishing e-books. This is a great tutorial during the consideration phase when aspiring authors are weighing in their options. An example you might be familiar with is the Phyllo Shells recipes on the back of the package – the recipe itself might be enticing enough to make one buy the product, or vice versa. This isn’t something unique to Phyllo Shells however; there are plenty of food brands that offer recipes on the back of their package. It’s an ingenious form of content marketing.
Two local examples that stand out are the Catskill Dream Team’s real estate blog, and The Roxbury Motel’s whimsical themed rooms as featured on social media. How to Buy a Home in One Year: A Step-by-Step Guide, for instance, educates prospective buyers, but it also builds expectations of a lifestyle, and that’s exactly what a real estate blog is about. The Roxbury Motel’s internationally renowned themed rooms also have stories to tell. Breakfast at Tiffany’s, for instance, designed as a tribute to Audrey Hepburn, has the walls stained to match Tiffany’s flagship store on 5th Avenue. The chandelier that hangs above the bed matches the mini chandelier in the Tiffany window at the opening of the movie when Audrey is eating a croissant and staring in the window. The owners of the motel confess that in their twenties they would go around Manhattan re-enacting scenes from the movie. The following Audrey/Truman Capote quote guided the design of the room: “Tiffany’s! Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there. If I could find a real-life place that’d make me feel like Tiffany’s, then – then I’d buy some furniture and give the cat a name.” These fun facts shared on social media are bold examples of clever content marketing.
Moz identified four phases of content marketing, which one of them carrying out distinctive goals and types of content to pursue:
I. DISCOVERY PHASE
Goals: educate, increase brand awareness, generate interest
Type of Content (educational): blog posts, webinars, guides, videos, newsletters, presentations, tours
II. CONSIDERATION PHASE
Goals: direct customer acquisition
Type of Content (solutions): case studies, how to guides, demo videos, product descriptions, data sheets, recipes
III. CONVERSION PHASE
Goals: customer transactions
Type of Content (unique value proposition): product descriptions, reviews, testimonials, comparison charts, direct sales pitch, streamlined sales process
IV. RETENTION PHASE
Goals: retention of existing customers
Type of Content (help, support, advocacy): customer support, help documentation, insider tutorials, special offers, follow-ups
Here are a few steps to help you design your content strategy:
- Clarify your vision (three – five year plan)
- Define your audience (i.e., demographics, media consumption preferences, channels, what are they looking for, who do they follow, what are their wants and needs, etc.)
- Audit existing content (inventory, metrics, patterns, etc.)
- Set goals (meaningful, measurable, reasonable)
- Align your content style, tone and voice with your brand’s personality (set up guidelines)
- Documentation (governance rules and workflow)
- Content ideation, creation, promotion and distribution (team, tools and infrastructure)
- Analytics (metrics to evaluate success)
Depending on the size of your project, building an adequate infrastructure will help carry out the tactics and the execution of your content strategy, both creation and distribution. Often enough the work is outsourced to content strategists, writers, editors, and coordinators equipped with tools to designing and implementing an effective strategy.
In sum, content marketing works because:
- It provides valuable information;
- It provides entertainment;
- It sparks conversations that bring people together;
- It forms communities;
- It converts potential customers into actual customers;
- It creates loyalty;
- It establishes authority.
GREATER ROXBURY BUSINESS ASSOCIATION (GRBA) ANNOUNCES ITS 2019 BUSINESS WORKSHOPS SCHEDULE SPONSORED BY MARGARETVILLE TELEPHONE COMPANY (MTC):
- Run Your Business Smarter Not Harder with Mercedes Gonzalez / January 29, 5:30 – 7 pm;
- Effective Website and SEO with Susan Aleksejczyk / February 26, 5:30 – 7 pm;
- How to Leverage Content Marketing to Boost Reputation and Sales with Simona David / March 26, 5:30 – 7 pm;
- Grant Writing with Peg Ellsworth / April 30, 5:30 – 7 pm;
- Social Media for Small Business with Becky Tyre / May 28, 5:30 – 7 pm;
All workshops are tailored to small business owners and entrepreneurs who seek to grow their businesses by learning new skills and gaining expertise from leading business professionals in our community.
I. Run Your Business Smarter Not Harder with Mercedes Gonzalez / January 29, 5:30 – 7 pm
You have a business now what? How do you scale, how do you grow and most importantly how can you balance life and work? One of the mantras Mercedes Gonzalez believes in is “how do you work as little as possible for the most amount of money.”
The hour plus workshop will help you put a plan of action together to help you work smarter and not harder.
Mercedes Gonzalez has been considered a retail industry leader for over 20 years – having founded her own strategy and brand developing agency, Global Purchasing Companies, in New York City in 1998. She has traveled to over 50 trade shows every year in eight countries since then, establishing plans and strategies for retailers and emerging designers across the globe. Her debut book, Chronicles of a Fashion Buyer, is currently the number ONE new release on Amazon for fashion and textiles, and it has already sold out four times in the few months since its release. Mercedes is a preferred speaker at a multitude of regional and international fashion events including Miami Fashion Week, Jamaica Fashion Week, Asia Fashion Summit, and the Istanbul Textile Conference thanks to her “no-nonsense” reputation. She owns Just Shop Boutique, a designer discount store located in Arkville, NY.
II. Effective Website and SEO with Susan Aleksejczyk / February 26, 5:30 – 7 pm
Susan Aleksejczyk, designer and content developer for Catskill Muse, will review the best search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve search engine results for both new or existing websites. Susan will discuss the best website design and hosting options as well as compatibility with top search engines to help you get high rankings based on relevant searches.
Susan Aleksejczyk has built her career in the advertising and marketing industry. She was previously employed at a NYC marketing firm whose clients included big brands. Susan is currently the Sales and Marketing Coordinator for MTC. Her vast experience in various industries has allowed her to provide her clients with a unique perspective on their marketing and website needs. As owner of Catskill Muse, she concentrates her business on website design best practices and the latest in SEO techniques.
III. How to Leverage Content Marketing to Boost Reputation and Sales with Simona David / March 26, 5:30 – 7 pm
This workshop will expose participants to the benefits of content marketing such as increasing brand awareness and name recognition, attracting new leads and prospects, increasing sales, and retaining and expanding customer base through a series of case studies and best examples from the industry. Rather than making a direct sales pitch, content marketing engages the audience through valuable creative content, and establishes an emotional connection with the followers, who, in the words of Seth Godin, will become your “tribe.” Examples of content marketing include: how to guides, white papers, newsletters, presentations, blog posts, social media posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, product descriptions, reviews, testimonials, and others.
Simona David is a media consultant with over a decade of experience in the publishing and marketing industry. Ms. David has worked with lobbyists, award-winning advertising executives, travel and tourism professionals, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations. Her website is simonadavid.com.
IV. Grant Writing with Peg Ellsworth / April 30, 5:30 – 7 pm
This workshop will help equip participants with the tools needed to search and solicit grants from State, Federal and Local sources. Peg Ellsworth will discuss the basic dos and don’ts in soliciting grants and best practices for developing successful applications. She will also cover resources available from NY State as part of the Consolidated Funding Application for both businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
Peg Ellsworth is the Executive Director of the MARK Project, whose mission is to provide resources and help build the capacity of individuals, organizations, businesses and municipalities in the towns of Andes, Bovina, Middletown, Roxbury and Shandaken, and the Villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville.
V. Social Media for Small Business with Becky Tyre / May 28, 5:30 – 7 pm
In this workshop Becky Tyre will explain the differences in each social media platform and show you some tips to make Facebook and Instagram work for your small business. Specifically, she will address Facebook Events, Page Layout, Hashtags, how frequently to post, how to reach a broader audience and gain more followers.
Becky Tyre is a writer, retail consultant @RetailDetails, contributing editor at Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine and a shop local advocate. She lives in Roxbury, NY.
All workshops will be held at the MTC Building, 61 Academy Street, Margaretville, NY. To register, go to https://www.visitroxbury.com/business-workshops. Class fee is $25 for GRBA’s members, and $35 for non-members. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater Roxbury Business Association (GRBA) for the Town of Roxbury, NY is a community / grassroots organization comprised of business owners and self-employed individuals working to increase awareness of existing businesses in the community, and to build a more cohesive and prosperous business environment, to serve the hamlets of Roxbury, Grand Gorge and Denver. The GRBA receives technical assistance from the MARK Project — a 501 ( c ) (3) not-for-profit community and economic development organization. For more information, visit roxburybusinessassociation.com.
A quick overview of what’s new and trending in the publishing and content marketing industries.
- First and foremost, news from Amazon: Amazon authors may have received news about changes in the European Union (EU) tax laws regarding the taxation of digital products (including e-books). The Value Added Tax (VAT) used to be applied based on the seller’s country, but beginning January 1st this year the VAT is being applied based on the buyer’s country. Kindle authors were asked to re-visit their pricing strategies, and make adjustments moving forward.
Also, Amazon had gradually expanded its Kindle Unlimited services to include countries like Spain and Italy (since November 2014), France and Brazil (since December), and Canada and Mexico (since February). Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service that allows customers to read as many book as they like and keep them as long as they want for a monthly subscription fee. This is different from being an Amazon Prime member: anyone can subscribe to Kindle Unlimited services for a $9.99 monthly fee.
Authors who have enrolled their e-books in KDP Select, and have made their titles available to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library ought to know that all titles enrolled in KDP Select are automatically enrolled in Kindle Unlimited as well. Authors do get paid royalties once a customer has downloaded and read at least 10 percent of their books. But there are concerns that authors actually earn less, as a result of fierce competition from other titles (Kindle Unlimited currently has a library of over 750,000 titles). You can read more opinions about Kindle Unlimited here. To learn more about authors’ royalties, visit https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3BQJE2QV37M1B.
- Mark Coker from Smashwords listed his predictions for 2015, which, as expected, include the increase in digital reading and independent publishing, but also some unexpected considerations. I find particularly interesting Coker’s prediction that independent authors will in fact face increased competition from traditional publishers in 2015, and also the fact that Coker expects many more indie authors to just give up. Coker also thinks that major publishers will begin experimenting with free products in 2015, a strategy that has been far too common among indies. At the same time, Coker warns that freebies aren’t what they used to be, because there are so many free books already on the market. We’ll see what 2015 bears for both traditional and independent publishers.
- Social media will continue to evolve and bring ever more changes to the way we’re doing business. The landscape is becoming so complex, that analysts recommend an increased specialization in this field. While integration across multiple platforms has been unavoidable for some time, 2015 is seen as the year brands can no longer avoid paying for ads on social media. Video sharing is rapidly spreading, and gaining more popularity. SlideShare is also becoming trendier, as it plans to introduce video sharing capabilities this year. As a novelty, Twitter and Facebook may introduce a “Buy” button so users can make purchases without leaving these platforms. According to trend analysts, in 2015 interactive brand personas will become ever more common. To read more about social media trends, visit http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-marketing-predictions-for-2015/.
Specifically, when looking at content marketing trends, having a well-documented content strategy, using catchy headlines, and making content easy to share are at the top of the list. More suggestions and recommendations can be found here. For more marketing trends, go to http://www.fastcocreate.com/3040028/how-marketing-will-change-in-2015-the-creative-forecast.
Have a great and productive year!
How often do you review your ideal client profile? Do you do it once a year? Twice? Quarterly?
I am used to reviewing my client profile at the beginning of each year, when I also update my resume and re-assess my best products and services. It’s a process that helps me set a new direction for my professional goals in the year that is about to start. It gives me a fresh perspective.
Hence, I look at:
1. Who Is My Client?
If I understand my client’s business and what makes it unique, I can better serve his / her goals.
2. What Is My Client Looking for?
Is my client looking for marketing plans, white papers or other media products (i.e., newsletters, books, blogs, or websites)? Is he / she in need of brand enhancement or development? Perhaps strategic planning? Fundraising?
3. Where Are My Clients?
Are my prospective clients in the Catskills / Hudson Valley area? Or, are they in New York City? How do I facilitate a meeting?
4. When Is My Ideal Client In the Market? What Is His / Her Purchasing Behavior?
When is my prospective client most likely to re-vamp a website, publish a newsletter or a handbook, look for market research, organize events, or engage in strategic planning? How do my services respond to these needs?
5. How Do Prospective Clients Find Me?
Most of my clients are repeat clients. Others find me through referrals, word of mouth, business meetings, or social media.
Also, to better understand my clients, I regularly conduct surveys and gather insights. It’s important to me to know how my clients find me, what they like about my services, and what else they’d like to be offered.
What is your advice? How do you go about reviewing your ideal client profile?
Have a productive new year!