Content Planning: Using an Editorial Calendar

One question that plagues every social media manager is “What should we post next?” An editorial calendar is a tool you can add to your social media toolbox that will save you and your team time and frustration.

Just as it sounds, an editorial calendar is a lineup–by week, month, quarter, year, whichever you prefer–of topics you want to cover with posts on your social media platforms. There are some things you can add to the calendar without even thinking about them; holidays, for example, are pre-set. If you know your company always has a summer party July 4th weekend and a holiday party mid December, you can pencil those in, too.

Then, it takes a bit more effort. It’s important to consider your company’s goals for the upcoming period of time. Are you launching a new product or service? Is the main goal hiring more employees? Do you like to tie current news to your posts?

An editorial calendar is an important part of the content strategy process. By determining which topics you want to post about in advance (think quarterly or a six-month calendar), you can coordinate the content strategies for all your platforms. You can post blogs, for example, that match up with the topics you are posting about.

Need Help with Content Strategy or Your Editorial Calendar?

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An editorial calendar is pre-planned, so you know what the focus of your content should be for a month, a quarter and even a year. Many companies set up an annual editorial calendar and fill it in with the known dates worthy of a post. Holidays are a great example. You know you will want to always wish people a “happy” whatever.

Your calendar should also include the best times for your content to be published. This step requires some knowledge about your target audience, too. For example, if your business wants to attract young working professionals, your content might not do well when it is published at 8:30 a.m. People are commuting at this time or already in their first meeting of the day. This audience may respond better to a post during lunch hours because they are available to check their social media.

It’s not unusual to start off with general categories on your editorial calendar and add in specifics as you come up with them. For example, you can decide you are posting three times a week to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Make note of which days of the week you will be posting on each platform.

Don’t get overwhelmed! You can plan topics as far out as you wish; or plan for the week or month ahead. The idea is to use the calendar to make your life easier. It’s a road map to help you keep on track.

Having a calendar doesn’t mean sitting down and writing everything in advance. No one has time to create 20-30 posts at a sitting. But, with a calendar to guide you, you won’t usually have to create content on the fly.

It’s a good idea to remember that having a calendar doesn’t mean “never” having to bang out some content at the last minute. Things change and you may have a comment or new focus at some point in the future. Be flexible!

However, since keeping your social media platforms current requires you to be organized, an editorial or content calendar can help you by detailing what and when you will post–and when you will be posting it. Furthermore, when you and your team sit down to brainstorm topics for the calendar your creative energy will trigger each other to continually come up with better ideas.

More Reasons to Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar – And to Stick with It!

1. Editorial calendars can help you with consistency. Social media posting should be a regularly scheduled thing. You want to be constantly touching your readers to stay in the conversation and keep your company top of mind for clients and prospects.

2. Editorial calendars help you keep the conversation flowing. Posting consistently will increase engagement with your audience, provide you with feedback and give you valuable insight into your audience preferences. You can apply these insights to future content and create a valuable asset to your business.

3. Editorial calendars help you save time! Keeping a calendar will save you from scrambling at the last minute to get a post published. Once you have your strategy, you can establish the type of content that will help you meet your goals on all platforms and your blog.

Don’t let creating content stress you out. Manage your content as well as your time by using an editorial calendar. Or you can take a completely stress-free approach. Talk to Harmonia Media about managing your social media content. We will help deliver fresh and engaging content to your audience so you have more time to focus on your business.

High Quality Content Supports Sales Teams

If you dig up an old college business book, you would likely find plenty of information about “sales and marketing” teams–how they work hand-in-hand to advance company sales goals.

More recently, however, and certainly since the dawn of the Digital Age, the two groups have been a bit more segregated. One seems responsible for meeting bottom line goals and the other has the job of “getting the word out” and making sure branding sticks.

Need help with branding? You’re not alone! Many companies rely on the “hope” strategy (as in, let’s hope people find us online.) Hope doesn’t work.  Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and great content are the digital strategy you need to get your brand out there

Contact Harmonia Media
for a FREE Consultation!

While both sales and marketing teams do have many different methods of reaching goals, marketing–specifically content marketing – has the job of, let’s say, “leading the horse to water.” (It’s the sales team’s job to make them drink.)

That being said, high-quality digital content, important for both Google and User Experience (UX), has to veer into the sales lane quite a bit when it comes to actually convincing a website visitor to take action. That’s why all those “buy now,” “click here,” “download this” buttons are examples of what digital marketers refer to as “calls to action.”

Simply put, great content intrigues and offers information and insight into more than just the product but how the product solves the customer’s problem. Content also does more than simply inform; it has to connect with the prospective customer so they want to buy from this particular website, now…as opposed to continuing their research and possibly making the decision to buy on the competition’s website.

So, content helps get the customer to the transaction, sales closes the deal, but there’s one more part of the puzzle that is extremely important. And, funny enough, it circles back to great content once again. (They don’t say “Content is King” for nothing!)

Customer service and strong customer nurturing are both critical to keeping customers happy. According to Superoffice.com, “customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product. Instead, they stay loyal with companies due to the experience they receive. If you cannot keep up with their increasing demands, your customers will leave you.”

But, how does a company keep customers “happy” when everything is transactional? Long gone are the days of “face to face” sales for the most part–certainly as it relates to online shopping.

This is where the three pathways converge. The content marketing team and customer service can support the sales team, digitally and by phone/chat, respectively.

In the next segment of this multi-part blog series, we will focus on how nurturing emails keep your company and product top of mind for customers. Look out for it next week!

In the meantime, Harmonia Media is looking for companies, like yours, that want to improve their user experience online and nurture their prospects and customers so they not only remain loyal but they brag about you to their friends and family.

If you are willing to jump on a quick consultation call–FREE of Charge–to see if there are ways we can help you grow your business online, click here and fill out our convenient online contact form. 

Long Content? Short Content? Just Make It Great Content!

Anyone with a website knows great content is one of the most important keys to keeping Google happy and to engaging better with potential customers. Simply put, people search for information. If your website has the answer they need, you are golden. They’ll stay, read and hopefully call or click.

However, if they can’t find their answers on your site, they will be gone in a click! And if your content isn’t good enough to move the Google search needle, what’s the point?

This is true about content in your web pages,  your blog posts, your digital media platforms and your emails.

And, that high quality needs to be consistent! Don’t post a great piece one week and phone it in the next. There is very little loyalty when it comes to web customers. They are fickle and impatient.

Here’s the problem… it’s quite likely that you are not a content writer. Words may not come so easily and you don’t have the time to hone your writing chops. You probably have a job to do and need to rely on someone — a content writer? — to create high-quality work.

At Harmonia Media, we can help you with that.

But I digress…

Not all content needs to be book-length. In fact,  plenty of people don’t have time to read long-form blogs and articles. They want info now, and now and NOW. USA Today style, at a glance.

The problem with that is that quick content bursts won’t necessarily satisfy Google.

“Long-form content is crucial for improving search engine rankings and building credibility,” according to Shane Barker.

Longer articles – 2,000 to 5,000 words – help to position you as a thought leader. They help your website rank better on Google because they are well-conceived and well-written and they are more shareable.

Finally, if you produce and post high quality. info-rich, long-form content, people will come back for your next article. This means people will spend more time on your website, poking around and engaging with you.

That being said, long articles are exponentially more difficult to produce. Time, knowledge and resources can be present a real challenge.

Alas, again, concise and pithy are certain goals to strive for when you have to farm out your content writing and time constraints pose a problem.

Therefore, the key is to have a content strategy and calendar and stick to these documents. Consistency with great content is very important.

1. Go with shorter, easier to produce content on topics relevant to your audience and stick to a schedule people can count on.

OR

2. Hire a great company to make you shine when it comes to online content! Contact Harmonia Media for a consultation about your content, SEO or any other digital marketing needs today.

Repurposing Content: What’s Old is New Again

Effective web content isn’t easy to create. It takes a skilled writer, an understanding of the target audience and a talent for storytelling to compel reader, or customer, action.

One great way to get the most of your content is to repurpose it. Here are 10 great ways to get more mileage out of the content you already own.
  • Take old blog articles and turn them into How-To guides
  • Use web or blog content as a basis for a podcast
  • Focus on some research you’ve collected or written about and personalize it by creating a case study
  • Share small bits of content on Twitter and other social media platforms.
  • Rewrite old blog posts and update with new facts and details
  • Create an infographic out of an article on a research study or other company content
  • Create an eBook
  • Spin your current content and send to other web outlets for possible publication
  • Take your website FAQ and create “Did you know?” blurbs for social media or expand the topics into blog posts
  • Turn customer testimonials into long-form content
You don’t have to create brand new content from scratch all the time. There are many ways to turn various types of content into new and exciting ways to deliver information and drive traffic.

The Most Important NON-TECH Reason to Update Your Web Content

What’s the point of having great content on your website? There are actually at least three reasons to make sure your content marketing is extraordinary. (Two of them are Google-related; one is less tech-y.)

These are the same reasons why, no matter how good your current web content may have read the last time you did an update, it’s not good enough today.

Reasons 1 & 2: Google loves new, high-quality content and it rewards sites that offer it by frequently indexing those sites.

The more often search engines index your site, the more likely your chances of winning a higher ranking in search results.

The second reason is behind-the-scenes. Whenever you post new content, whether a new page, blog post or article, or you just refresh the words on your site so what’s old sounds new again, you have the chance to add more SEO-loving keywords.

Now, in no way are we saying you should be loading up on keywords for keyword sake. (That’s called keyword stuffing and it’s a no-no. Readers hate that!)

Strategic content updates wherein you add some important words, on the other hand, are very helpful.

So, when given the chance, I toss “digital marketing strategy” into a blog post– for good measure.

Relevant keywords come in very handy when your site is being indexed and for ranking purposes. The more high-quality content with regular keywords you add, the higher your ranking.

Translation: more would-be customers can find you online easier.

So, let’s get to it. What’s the most important, non-techy reason to update your content online?

Well, what’s the point of your website? It is to engage, inform and compel customers to stay, read, click and, hopefully, connect (and buy?)  Right? Exactly.

So, answer these questions:

– Has your company made any changes, improvements or enhancements?

– Have you added any new offerings?

– Upgraded your pricing?

– Do you have literally anything new to share with would-be customers?

If your answers are “no, no, no and no,” you may not need to refresh your web content.

However, I would love to know, are you making any money?

Companies, and their accompanying websites, are living, breathing entities. If you’re not growing, you’re stagnating. In today’s marketplace, stagnation is a death knoll.

Continually updating your web content provides customers with new existing information, more calls-to-action and more reasons to give your brand a chance.

Information, online, sells. In other words,  want to increase sales? Refresh your information, or content, online.

Need help? Meet Harmonia Media. When it comes to adding content or refreshing what you already have, we are a great place to start.

Contact us today for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Social Posting Writer’s Block? Here’s 8 Ways to Get Unstuck

You know you need to stay in constant communication with your customers and prospects via your social media platforms. However, easier said than done, right? After all, perhaps you are not a writer and marketing ideas don’t come easy to you.
(Gratuitous plug…. At Harmonia Media, being socially creative is one of our specialities! Contact us for a free consultation and you won’t have to follow any of the ideas posted in this article!)
There are several “low hanging fruit” ideas to post about. They all promote your company by bragging about your culture, sharing important information and offering ways for people to interact with you. (That’s the whole point of using social media for digital marketing!)

  • Post about your blog: If someone at your company is creating blog content, it’s critically important to SHARE IT. This is a no brainer! (What? No one is blog writing for you? May I direct you back to us?)
  • Show off your culture: I used to work at a place where we celebrated every holiday (real and made-up!) with a fun breakfast or lunch complete with hats and noisemakers. Those event photos made GREAT social posts. Not only do they show your community a more personal side of your team, but they also give potential employees some insight into what they are missing!)
  • The news they can use: Don’t hesitate to share information and articles (from credible sources) about studies, statistics and anything interesting about your industry.
  • Ask a question: Know what’s interesting about the one-sided conversation? Absolutely nothing. Post a question about something sure to catch your community’s “eye” and respond to the answers to encourage conversation.
  • Testimonials: When you get a positive review on Google or Yelp, or a customer sends you an email or Tweet telling you how your company or employee rocks, don’t keep the nice words a secret. SHARE THE NEWS in a social meeting post. Referrals rule!
  • Any Company Videos: Launching a new product? Opening a new location? Recognizing an employee who has done well? Attending a trade show? That’s video — and social posting — gold! Film it and share it!
  • Friday Funnies or Meme-y Mondays! Everyone loves a good laugh! And we sure know that gifs get shared.
  • Anything Interesting: You know this full well. You start surfing the ‘net and the next thing you know you are down a rabbit hole of articles — one leading to the next — that are sharing tidbits of info that holds your attention. If you share those kinds of smart, entertaining types of articles, photos, etc., people will come back for more.
(Bonus Tip!!! 9. Don’t forget to share posts for holiday greetings and seasonal celebrations, too! Everyone loves a good Happy 4th of July or “Bring on the Autumn!”
Once again, if you could use a hand with digital content — either web pages, blogs or social media posting — learn more about Harmonia Media. We’ve got you covered.

New Year, New Website Content!

If you are a business owner, you likely have one of three thoughts about your company’s website.

  • You LOVE it! You just spent a ton of dough to update it and it looks freakin’ awesome.
  • You HATE it! Maybe you never liked it or maybe it is old and worn out. It’s not working to drive new customers.
  • You don’t really care one way or another because you only have a website because someone told you that you need one. It doesn’t do anything anyway so why bother to care.

I have news for you. Regardless of how you feel about your website, if you aren’t paying attention to it — and I mean constant attention — it will never make you money. (Don’t have time to pay attention to your website? Skip to the end of this blog post NOW!)

It’s absolutely true that you need a properly optimized website that drives traffic to your brand. And, once they arrive on your digital doorstep, customers must be compelled to take action (calls to action.) The whole site needs to work properly and look appealing because if it doesn’t, you’ll quickly chase away any prospect who finds you in the first place. (You’ve got plenty of competition only a click or two away!)

So, that brings me to fresh content. Adding new content often to your site — new pages and an active blog — does several great things for your business.

  1. Google loves fresh content.

Every time you add new content or update what’s already there, Google takes notice. The search engine bots (or web crawlers) will stop by to check you out (on the back end, of course!) When you get attention from search engines, you have the chance to achieve higher rankings in organic search. This means that people can find you more quickly when they search for something you sell.

  1. Become (and remain!) an Authority Site

Google designates Authority Sites based on the quality of content offered and how often new content is added. If you are adding high-quality content that offers valuable information for people, your site has the potential to gain greater authority online. It stands to reason that the better the content is, posted often, the chances of becoming an authority site increase substantially.

  1. Engage Your Audience

This is the most simple of concepts to understand when it comes to why you need to keep your site fresh and exciting with new content (content, by the way, includes words, images, video, etc.)

Think about the last time you did a web search for a piece of information you needed or a product/service you were interested in purchasing. When you find a site that is out of date, do you stay and search for information or do you immediately think, “what else is out there?”

Admit it. You bounce — and quickly.

If the last blog post on a website is from months (or dare I say years ago), it’s a sure sign that the company is ignoring its customers online. They might as well hang up a “Closed for Business” sign and go home.

This is the year your company is going to SHINE! We want to help you do that by making sure that your website is everything you need to attract customers and compel them to make contact.

At Harmonia Media, we do things a bit differently than our competition. We are honest and straightforward. We have no interest in selling you something you don’t need. And, like you, we pride ourselves on customer service.

Talk to Harmonia about your digital marketing strategy and you’ll never have to worry about your website again. We are offering free initial phone consultations for new prospects. Contact us now to schedule your free consultation.

Use Great Web Content to SAVE Money

In the world of digital marketing, we know two things about content.

  1. Content has to be compelling, creative and high quality to get Google’s attention.
  2. Traffic-driving SEO is dependent on quality content.

As a longtime journalist-turned-digital-marketing-content-strategist, I’ve always focused on connecting with the reader. There are so many distractions that can easily get your reader’s attention. This is especially true on mobile because on-the-go web surfers tend to be doing five things at once anyway. Dare I suggest that when the light turns green, you’ve lost them?

In any case, most companies look at the need for content as an expense. You need it. You can’t write it yourself. You have to pay for it. Ugh. Right?

I’d like to invite you to consider a new way to view online content. Consider the fact that there’s the possibility of ROI –  Return on Investment – that comes from actually having to spend less money on certain areas of your business. How? Allow your great web content to do the work.

Consider how important your customer service operation is to your company. Whether or not you have actual reps who answer phones, conduct online chats or handle emails, someone is playing the role of customer service guru. Perhaps it’s you? Maybe it’s everyone at the company — whoever happens to answer the phone.

A website with clear, concise information would truly represent your brand, answer important questions and compel the visitor to take the next steps to buy. This allows your content to be working for you 24/7 and frees up some of your critical human resources to focus on other money-making tasks.

It’s a delicate balance, of course. You don’t want to give away all your information. You want prospects to fill out the contact form or make the call. If they don’t respond to the CTA (call to action) then the likelihood of them buying anything from you is slim.

However, people want and need the information to make decisions. Few will spend money before they know they are A) buying something that will solve a problem; B) getting a good deal, and C) comfortable with the quality of the product/service itself.

Great content can satisfy those three needs/wants without giving away the farm. It’s all about strategy. The key to this precarious puzzle we call digital marketing is to understand the offering, get a full, clear grasp on who the potential customers are, and to use the right words to connect the two online. That’s the “what.”

The “how” is a bit more difficult. And, quite frankly, I’m going to use some of my own advice here. I’ve gotten you this far. Want to know the “how?”

Contact us to learn more about the importance of content strategy and how Harmonia Media can take your content to a place where it’s making you money and saving it at the same time.

Stop Chasing Customers Away with Crappy Web Content

Let’s define “content,” for the purposes of this blog article, as editorial (words) that attracts customer attention, fosters connection and provides a clear space for effective communication.Simply put, when your website and other digital marketing assets are compelling enough to engage a would-be customer, it’s because your content is doing its job. (Content can also be defined as images, videos, infographics, etc.)

Much the same way we interact in person, online communications have to be interesting and thought-provoking. But you know what, the true key is being in the right place at the right time with the information someone needs.

Content marketing is important for a variety of reasons. Two are particularly important and worth your consideration.

  • Great content creates relationships.People buy from companies they know and trust. People ask friends and family for personal referrals. By creating relationships with current clients/customers, you are bound to attract those oh-so-important referrals.
  • Google loves great content. Moreover, not only does Google dig quality content — it demands it. Google algorithm changes made in the past couple of years have made set-it-and-forget-it copy obsolete. There was certainly a time when crappy content served as more than a placeholder on websites; it was the final copy! However, low-quality content doesn’t get read. It may even chase people away.

Now, you may be reading this and thinking you would rather go to the dentist than create website content. We hear from you. Lucky for you, we LOVE to write great content that drives leads and sells.

Give the Harmonia Media team a few moments of your time during a free phone consultation and we’ll explain how we can make your ordinary content extraordinary.

Why wait? Contact us now!

 

When is Comes to Content, More Isn’t Always Better

There’s a rumour out there in the world of digital marketing that has to go.

More content isn’t always better for search engine analytics. Do you know what’s better? Actually being better.

Google wants high-quality contentSome great content is much better than a constant flurry of poor content. In fact, a website with tons of pages full of lacklustre, boring content that no one wants to read can hurt your website standing far more than it can help it.

The truth is, Google and other search engines have evolved in the past few years. Yes, there was a time that more was definitely better. Today, it’s important to add content to your site but it needs to be useful, interesting content.

In fact, Google has a list of tips for content writers who want to create the highest quality blogs and pages to drive prospective customers.

Google’s Content Style Guide

First things first, write as though you are chatting with the reader. Using jargon won’t connect with anyone. Be friendly and purposeful. You may even want to create a specific “voice” that will help you entertain and inform anyone who finds your site or blog.

  • Be knowledgeable. People are interested in gathering information. Most people will find you because they searched for a particular topic. Provide the answer without a sales pitch.
  • Be accurate. Spelling and grammar count. A website filled with editorial mistakes will drive people away.
  • Avoid long and winding sentences. It’s important to provide information in a clear, concise fashion. Long, run-on sentences are confusing and will create more questions than answers.
  • At a glance, text works great. Bulleted and numbered lists allow readers to find something on the page that appeals to them quickly. (Don’t forget to bold words to attract attention appropriately!)
  • Piggybacking on the last bullet point, make sure you link important topics to other pages on your website where readers can get more information when they need it.

The bottom line: rather than posting content for content’s sake, find a writer who can do a bit of research and create compelling, creative copy that will influence readers and create a reason for them to contact you.

At Harmonia Media, content is our business. Give us a topic and we will provide you with high-quality articles, web pages and blogs that get noticed. Contact us today for a free consultation about your digital marketing strategy.

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