To do content marketing successfully, you have to pump out a great deal of content. You have to become a ‘content creation machine,’ producing original, interesting, and relevant content that’s valuable to your readers on a steady basis. You can become a high-volume content producer with the right mindset, practice, and a bit of hard work.
Once you get into the flow, creating content is easy.
And remember, “We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” ~ Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson. (That’s a bit-sized quote that is packed with power and insight! I suggest you check out some other great content marketing quotes right here).
Daily Practice: Flex Those Content Marketing Muscles!
Creating content, especially writing, is something you should get into a daily habit of doing. When you set aside some time to write each day, it gets much easier and feels more natural.
A Content Creation Schedules Will Save Time and Headaches
Create a regular schedule for your content creation and publishing, and then put this into your daily routine. Decide how many posts, articles, videos, etc. you’ll make each week and then set aside the time on your calendar to do it.
Start an Idea Bank To Deposit and Withdraw Inspiration From
Create an idea bank. This is a list of ideas that you can refer to for inspiration. You can keep your idea bank on your PC, but it’s good to take a notepad with you wherever you go in case an idea strikes you (a mobile device can serve this purpose as well). Many content creators swear by Evernote, while others feel most comfortable recording their ideas in their Moleskine notebooks.
Start a Template Bank
You may not realize this, but most articles follow basic patterns. Writers use templates that they plug their ideas into to create articles. For example, one template is the ‘Wrong Way vs. Right Way’ template. This type of article discusses how people commonly do something wrong and then tells the reader how to do it right.
Using templates such as this, you can simply plug your ideas in and create content much more quickly. You can also use templates to repurpose content by taking the same ideas and plugging them into different templates to create totally original articles.
Try saving articles you’ve written or seen in a “templates” folder in your computer. You can do the same with videos or other content that follows a specific structure, such as infographics or email series. Any time you create or see a type of content you like, save it so that you can go back and find it again.
Mix up Your Content: Diversify!
Don’t limit yourself to creating just one kind of content. Rather than sticking to articles and blog posts only, try making images, producing videos, creating infographics, compiling resource guides, and so on. Your audience will enjoy the variety.
Seek Feedback & Evolve With It
Get friends, colleagues, and other content creators to review your work and offer advice. Especially with writing, it helps to have more experienced writers offer tips. Use this advice to sharpen your writing skills.
Check Out the Competition: Be More Clever
Take a look at other content in your niche. You can compare your content to others and find ways to make improvements. Checking out the competition can also give you ideas on how to set yourself apart from others.
Curate Content: Not Just Because You’re Short of Ideas!
Finally, you don’t have to create all of your content from scratch. You can curate content, which means sharing the content of others and offering your own ideas and opinions. For example, you might share a news story and then write your own summary and commentary. Curating content well makes you the go-to source of information in your niche for your readers.
The downfall of many is that there is never enough time in the day to do everything we’d like to do. Learning a new skill, like digital marketing, can be difficult when there’s already so much we have to do. We aren’t lucky enough to have access to Hermione’s Time Turner so we might as well make the best of the time we do have. How do we do that though? Read on to learn some tricks to help you find the time.
- Look at your schedule. What on the list of things you must do each day have to actually be done? What’s mandatory and what’s something you can schedule for another time? Do you say ‘yes’ to going out with friends 3 nights a week? Socializing is important, but that may be something you can cut back on. Maybe you’re eating up time hitting multiple grocery stores, each night so you have something to eat. Meal planning and prepping for the week on Sunday’s can help there. You need to be able to manage the time you do have, or you’ll never find the time to learn a new skill. Lifehacker has a zillion articles on managing your time, and a quick Google search can net you even more results; however, a great resource is from our friends at Switch, who give us 12 time management tips for that time in between clients.
- Day Off. You don’t think about the importance of needing a day off until you’ve scheduled yourself 7 days a week and you’re burning out. You don’t even have to pick a weekend, just pick a day where you don’t learn. Go to work and then go to Taco Tuesday and relax. Give your brain time to relax. You’ll retain the information and feel sharper when you pick your book (or tablet) back up.
- Use a Planner or Planner App. You’ve cut back your schedule and you’re only focusing on the things you must do each day. You’ve given yourself a day off. Now put it on paper so you stick with it. I live by my, wait for it, archaic paper planner. I live my life out of it and if it’s not in the planner, there’s a great chance it won’t happen. Have to share your life with someone else? Use a digital calendar and you can share it with others. Both Google and Apple’s native calendars are sharable. Now that you know what you have to do, what day off you have, put into the planner a block of time to learn. Maybe you have an hour a night, maybe 4, block out that time and stick to the schedule.
- Learn to say No. Carl Sandburg the poet, is famous for saying that “…time is your most valuable coin… don’t let others tell you how to spend it.” He’s right, once you lose time you can’t get it back so don’t waste it. Do not do anything that doesn’t bring you happiness or help you further a goal. Don’t take on more than you can handle, or let things distract you. If you need help saying no, Leo Babauta has a great guide; The Gentle Art of Saying No, you may find helpful.
- Prioritize. Only you know what’s important to you. It falls on you to prioritize what is important end of day. You need to be serious about finding time to further your goals. If your not, you’ll find yourself scheduling over the time when you should be learning.
Finding the time to further your goals can be difficult. You just have to make the decision to stick with it. Hopefully these tips will help you carve out the time to learn a new skill. Do you struggle with time management? Are you great at carving out time for yourself? Share your tips in the comments below!
What is Social Proof?
Ever asked your friends their opinion on a product, store or restaurant before you went out and bought, visited or ate there? You’ve used social proof to determine your behavior. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where individuals use the feedback of others to determine the correct course of action in a given situation. Social proof can be helpful in a variety of different mediums, but can be especially powerful when used in your marketing strategy.
What’s the point of Social Proof?
Don’t think that it isn’t important to have social proof, especially in today’s sales climate.
- Nearly 70% of people look at a product review before making a purchase.
- 83% of people look to recommendations from friends and family before purchasing.
Social proof can help or hinder your ability to market your business. Negative social proof can hurt your reputation and make it so people don’t want to do business with you. It can also be very hard to correct. The point of social proof is simply that having confirmation that your service is exemplary will make it easier for prospective clients to become paying clients. People generally follow the herd, so make it easy for them.
How do I get Social Proof?
Ask! Ask for testimonials from your current clients, all they can say is no, and anything positive they do say will only help you in the long run. Offer them an incentive to fill out a review on your Facebook page or to give you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Create case studies showcasing how you helped Chiken Coop Inc solve their marketing problems. You build your social proof, have collateral to help you educate prospects and you make Chiken Coop Inc. feel special. Get out there and start asking now!
How do I use it?
Depending on what particular form of social proof you have depends on how you use it. Testimonials, either written or recorded can be used on your website and in marketing campaigns. Videos can be used on all social media platforms and help engagement. Building collateral like case studies can again be used in marketing campaigns, as deliverables on your site and in person. The sky really is the limit for how you use the social proof you’ve collected.
How do you go about collecting social proof for your company? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Professional development is always a great idea; mainly because without it, your business and/or your professional growth can become stagnant. Many people become entrenched in ideas or beliefs and they stop striving to be the best version of themselves.
One fantastic way to remain in control of your career and at the top of your game is to read books. Not what you were expecting right? Don’t worry about the stress of walking into the library (yes, they still exist) and trying to find a book to read.
We’ve compiled 5 of the best business development books for you. Order them directly from Amazon, never leave your house and start flexing your development muscles!
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen Covey: First published in 1989, the book has been translated into 40 languages and sold over 25 million copies worldwide. The audiobook version has sold over 1.5 million copies and the book regardless of format continues to be one of the best selling business books of all time. If that doesn’t make you interested in getting your hands on a copy of the book, we’re not sure what will. Covey believes that by aligning yourself with the 7 habits he covers in the book, you will learn how to effectively attain your goals.
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie: Another oldie but goodie, this book is considered one of the most influential books of all time (Time even included it on their most influential list!). First written in 1936 and updated over the years, the book aims to teach you a number of things. First the books lays out what exactly you’ll learn from reading it, and then offers up a number of fundamental techniques in handling people. You’ll learn how to make people like you, how to change others minds to your way of thinking, and finally how to be a good leader. The book’s most recent update was in 2011 when it was revised for the “digital age”. Pick up a copy and let us know if it works!
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg: Charles Duhigg, a New York Times Reporter, published this book in 2012 and watched it explode on the best seller lists. The book explores the science behind habits and offers up a guide on how to correct or “reform” your existing habits to be better. You can learn how to exercise regularly, eat better, and attain your goals if you understand how you build habits – bad or not and then you can reform them. Once you’ve reformed the habit, you’ll be able to move forward on the right path to success. It’s an interesting premise and one we hope you’ll try out.
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Senek: Simon Senek is a popular motivational speaker (check out his TED talk), author and marketing consultant and Start with Why is his first of 4 books. In the book Senek looks to leaders such as Martin Luther King JR. and Steve Jobs releasing that while they have little in common, they both sought to inspire others. This sets the groundwork for him to to elaborate on how leaders inspire people, and that this do this by asking why? Once Senek lands on what makes leaders different (inspiration vs manipulation), Senek then offers readers up how to inspire in their everyday lives.
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, Mark Manson: With a bit of a different spin than the rest of the books on the list, Mark Manson, a blogger took the world by storm in 2016. Rather than offer up platitudes of optimism and the attitude that you can be anything if you just work hard, Manson believes that you have to be realistic; life sucks. Sometimes it sucks more, sometimes it doesn’t but the greatest strength you can have is to accept the struggle instead of sugar coating it. He argues that you’ll be most successful when you accept that life has ups and downs and you must power through them, because then, you have nothing left to fear. Millions agree with him because his book is #4 best selling book on Amazon and is found on many best seller lists.
Hopefully one of these books piqued your interest and you’ve already marched down to your local bookstore and ordered a copy. If not, get on it! What’s your favorite business development book? Tell us the title and what you learned from it in the comments!
We’d like to introduce Christina Green the executive assistant for Digital Marketing Training Group for our employee highlight this month. We’d be lost without Christina.
- Tell us a little bit about you:
- I like baking cupcakes – I am a cupcake extraordinaire and dogs. I also live for stationary and dogs. I’m really organized. I also really like dogs.
- What do you do at DMTG?
- I coordinate and help onboard all of the students and classes. I make sure everything runs smoothly and I take care of all the students who come through our door.
- How long have you been with the company?
- It will be 2 years this month.
- Most challenging aspect of the job?
- Prioritizing tasks and people’s needs.
- Favorite aspect of the job?
- Seeing our students come through and being successful in their careers.
- What is one thing you wish people knew about your job?
- I make it look easy, but it’s not. With a smile 🙂
At this point we’re all aware that we need content to build out a marketing strategy behind. Besides, without content, what good is the Internet? If you’re confused or unsure of how to create and develop content, don’t be. We have a quick rundown of the basics of content marketing that you can run with and find new successes with.
First of All, What is Content Marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is the creation and distribution of content that is consistent, relevant, and valuable to your target audience. There are many different types of content that you can create such as:
- Blog Posts: a piece of writing posted on a blog
- Case Studies: a record of research detailing the development of an individual, group, or situation
- Infographics: a visual, such as a chart or diagram, used to represent information or data
- Videos: a recording of visual images
- eBooks: an electronic version of a book that can be read on a computer
- Podcasts: a digital audio file that is downloaded to a computer or mobile device
- Webinars: a seminar conducted over the internet
Content marketing has a focus on the long-term opposed to the short-term. The objective of creating engaging content is to inform and gradually pull in clientele not to push them to purchasing a product or service immediately.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
As the unsung hero of your marketing campaign, content marketing works as a means to not only portray your company’s message but to inform and educate your target audience.
In today’s digital age, content marketing is outperforming outbound marketing in terms of lead generation as well as cost. The statistics don’t lie:
- 70% of customers prefer to get information about a company from content rather than ads.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing.
- Clicks from shared content are 5x more likely to result in a purchase.
- 72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine.
How to Develop an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
There are many ways to develop an effective content marketing strategy. We’ve compiled our favorite strategy in a quick and easy breakdown for you below!
- Define your Objective. In order to become an authoritative voice within your industry you must first analyze your competitors and play to the competitive advantages that your business offers. At this stage, you must also develop your brand’s values, your voice, and tone in order to develop your brand.
- Identify Your Target Audience. The core focus of any content marketing campaign is offering a benefit to a targeted clientele. Your key focus is to drive clicks, increase retention, and ultimately lead to conversions; the way to do this is by building a brand and educating prospective clientele with free, high-quality content.
- Content Creation: You can’t have a content marketing campaign without content! At this point, it’s time to develop content that is informative to your audience – a key to content creation is choosing which type(s) of content will resonate best with you demographic.
- Content Distribution: Now it’s time to execute. Distribute your content to social media platforms, your company blog page, and any relevant publications that would benefit by sharing your content. This stage in the process is where clicks will increase, engagement will ramp up, and conversions will begin to trickle in.
- Analyze the Metrics: After sticking to a consistent campaign, make sure to analyze the data regarding your content: distinguish what worked best and what underperformed and adjust your campaign to perform even better over time.
Do you have any tips or tricks for pulling together a killer content marketing strategy? Leave it below in the comments. Interested in learning how Digital Marketing Training Group can help you become your own boss? Give us a call at 518-694-4044.
You’ve made your first sale and it’s time to get paid. That means it’s time to invoice the client. What exactly does that mean? You know you need to send your client something, but you’re a little unsure of what you need to include on your invoice. We’ve covered invoicing software in the past, and today we’re going to spell out exactly what you need to include on your invoice.
What exactly is an invoice though? An invoice is physical or electronic document identifying the price for services. This lets your client know how much they need to pay you and what they are paying you for. It’s important to remember that an invoice can be seen from two perspectives, you as the seller, and them as the purchaser. You see the invoice as your sales invoice, and to the purchaser this is the product invoice. You also set terms on the invoices for the payment, it can be due on a certain day in the future, it can be due on receipt (meaning right now).
Clarity Is Key
It’s important to be clear on the differences between an invoice and a receipt. An invoice is not a receipt, nor a receipt of payment. As defined above, the invoice is just the seller-prepared document informing the buyer of the service they are requesting and the price. A receipt is what the seller prepares after the invoice has been paid. In the case of the invoice being for a tangible good (rather than a service) the receipt typically shows proof of ownership, and of course that the item is paid in full.
The Characteristics of an Effective Invoice
Now that you know what an invoice is, it’s time to lock down what you cannot forget to include on your invoice. Make sure your invoice has:
- Your company name and information (If you’ve included your logo even better!)
- The buyer’s name and contact info
- Invoice number (make sure you can keep track!)
- Invoice Date (What day you sent the invoice to the seller)
- Description of the product(s) or service(s)
- Cost of product(s) or service(s)
- Terms of payment (how long, when, what payment forms taken)
- An order total
- Tax (if applicable)
- Due Date for Payment
- Notes (throw in a comment thanking them for their business, that’s a nice touch!)
Seems like a lot to include, right? Many invoicing software programs allow you to create a template once that you can then populate with new information each time you use it, saving you time and energy each time.
Have any tips for putting together invoices? Maybe you have a favorite software you use for building out your invoices? Share them in the comments!
Building your business can be hard work and we all no success is no accident. You need to consider early on is how you will not only invoice clients, but how you’ll maintain those records for bookkeeping and tax purposes. You’ll also need to make sure you understand the lingo.
An invoice is nothing more than a document identifying the goods or services with the price, you deliver to your client after you’ve performed the service or given the good. This lets them know that they need to pay you, and this invoice is seen two ways; as the seller this is your sales invoice and to the purchaser this is the product invoice. It is not a receipt, nor a receipt of payment. An invoice can be delivered physically or electronically and there are many software options for you to choose from.
Not to worry though, we’ve compiled a list below of our favorite invoicing software for small businesses.
- Wave: At the top of the list is Wave. It’s a favorite of the small business and freelance world because of its ease of use, and the fact that the software is free. Wave makes its money off the processing fees. Wave allows you to set up recurring billing (great for those monthly fees!), payment reminders and to customize the invoice. You’ve got accounting, credit card and bank processing all in one place. Plus, when your business grows you can also use Wave to pay your future employees!
- Freshbooks: Merges project management software and accounting software into one. Freshbooks offers a 30-day free trial before you’re asked to pick one of 3 pay models, all of which are reasonably priced. Regardless of the plan you choose, you’ll be able to customize your invoices, send estimates, accept credit cards and be able to track time and import expenses directly into the software. Because of the project management side of things you’ll be able to program project budgets to keep the team on track, have dashboards (which can be customized) and gain insight into your business because of the reports. You can also add team members as needed, for a per user/per month fee.
- Zoho: Another web-based service, Zoho works well if you have clients internationally as there are multiple languages and currencies available for invoicing. Use as just your accounting software, or as a CRM, App Creator, Email client and help desk. A significantly scaled down free version exists from their 2 paid options’ but even the free version is great. Zoho really bills itself as the all-in-one for every small businesses needs. Take a 15-day trial run and find out for yourself.
These are by no means all of the software options available out there for small business use. We didn’t cover using a local bookkeeper and instead we chose to highlight the DIY route to cut expenses.
Is there a software you think we should have highlighted? Leave us a comment with what software and why you like it!