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What You Need to Know Before You Build Your 2017 Content Plan | Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials

Written by Zachary Chastain  ()
on January 5, 2017 ·

Here are some of the key takeaways from our content this week, along with actionable steps that you can use right away to help you build your social team's digital strategy and improve your digital marketing results.

Whether you're the Director of Digital Marketing, a Social Media Manager, or the Marketing Manager of an SMB, you'll find something helpful that you can apply to your business right now in our Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials!


Digital Strategy

Enhance Your Digital Content Strategy with More Effective Micro-Content

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Buzzfeed's "Tasty" video campaign features eye-catching food prep videos of delectable recipes being prepared.

Thanks to some movie magic the short videos make the process look quick and simple. This encourages viewers to try the recipes for themselves, and of course to share their favorites with their friends.

The campaign has been a viral success and has maintained an output of 60 new videos per month, thanks to a dedicated team of 75 people working exclusively on new Tasty videos. While you probably won't be able to keep up with that pace, there are some lessons you can take away from this campaign and apply to your own content strategy, at a more attainable scale.

  1. It doesn't have to be long to be enjoyable - It's not uncommon to want to pack as much value as you can into every piece of content you create, and to let that urge drive you to create longer and larger pieces of content. Bigger isn't always better though, sometimes simplifying your content down to a short, basic form is more interesting, engaging, and shareable. 
  2. Your content is cumulative - In addition to that last thought, just because you didn't pack everything you had to offer into that last piece of content doesn't mean you missed your opportunity to provide more value. Buzzfeed's campaign hasn't been a success on the back of any one video that carried the campaign. It was the sum total of all of those hundreds of videos that helped them reach a huge audience and create content that people loved to watch and share. Getting content that is "good enough" out there consistently is more important than trying to make everything your team creates a perfect masterpiece. 
  3. Analysis is the most important step - Buzzfeed hasn't just been throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, they've carefully analyzed the results of each video, even spotting trends like "recipes that swap vegetables for starches had soared in views." They have logically moved beyond just looking at each piece of standalone content, and have also collectively analyzed their large portfolio of video content to figure out what is working and why, and then act on those trends to produce more content that their viewers will want to share. It's easy to fall into the trap of dedicating all of your time and effort to creating content without taking the time to analyze at every step of the way, but that's a great way to waste your time and resources. Prioritize that consistent analysis, because that is what is going to inform your content decisions and drive your success.

The message here isn't quantity over quality, you still want to produce high quality content (just as Buzzfeed has done in this campaign), but rather the point is that high quality doesn't always mean packed to the brim with information, CTAs, and extra information. Sometimes short, sweet, and simple is best.

 


Social media Management

Start 2017 Out Right By Planning Your Annual Content Calendar

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Planning ahead is important for managing the content you will create, and understanding when and where you will promote it. 

You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you don't have a plan and are just aimlessly creating and promoting content without a real goal that you're working towards. The answer to this problem is to create an annual content calendar. Social Media Examiner has a great walk through on how to create your own annual content calendar, but we've got some additional recommendations to help you out as you build out your content plan for 2017. 

 

  1. Review last year's content - Before jumping into planning out your themes and topics, take some time to review what your top pieces of content from the previous year were. Look at what types of content were well received consistently throughout the year, and identify any recent trends in how your audience has been interacting with your posts. This will help you to understand what they're likely to want to see more of in the coming year.
  2. Be flexible - It's important to have a plan, but it's equally important to be able to roll with the punches and adjust to new circumstances. Whether it's an unplanned campaign that came up on short notice or a topic that isn't resonating, there will be situations where plans change. Be ready to move or even remove topics and themes from your calendar.
  3. Don't pack your calendar with fluff - Some guides, including this one from Social Media Examiner, recommend adding lots of random holidays that you can post about. The novelty of this wore off years ago, I wouldn't add holidays that aren't interesting and relevant to my audience just to pack your calendar with something to post about. Make sure it is either interesting or useful to your audience, if not, it's not worth your time, because it's not worth theirs.

Now you're all set to build your content calendar for 2017!  

 


Small Business

Don't be the Aggressive Twitter Sales SMB, Do This Instead

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Post Planner's "6 Advanced Strategies to Get More Leads on Twitter" is full of great tips, and while I don't agree that all of these recommendations are "advanced strategies" at least one of them addresses a common annoyance that I've run into more and more frequently.

What is that problem? Overly pushy salespeople on Twitter watering at the mouth to convert you into a lead or a customer. You wouldn't think this would still be a problem, but I see it all the time, with SMBs sending me links to downloads, discount offers, and more in auto-DMs after I've followed them. This isn't how you sell successfully on Twitter.

What should you be doing instead?

  1. Use auto-DMs as an introduction, not a sales pitch - You wouldn't introduce yourself to someone at a networking event as "Hi, I'm Bob, and right now I'm offering 20% off of my new ebook." Just because I've followed you on Twitter doesn't mean I'm a lead, I'm still several steps from being a lead. Following someone on Twitter is an introduction, so treat it like one. Tell me about who you are, what you do, what your interests are, what you tweet about, etc, but don't try to sell me a product just because I followed you. It's an instant turn off.
  2. Include offers in your content mix - While not every follower is a lead, you do have an opportunity to convert interested followers into leads. It's a great idea to include gated content offers in your Twitter content mix, just make sure you don't overdo it. An 80/20 rule, with 80% of your content focused on providing value to your followers and 20% focused on converting them (while still offering something of value) is a good rule of thumb to avoid hammering your followers with too many offers.
  3. Take advantage of social outreach - One of Twitter's most powerful features is its openness to social outreach. There is a lower barrier to social outreach on Twitter, which encourages exploration, meeting new people, and having conversations with followers and strangers, that you won't find on more insular platforms like Facebook. Twitter is where most people are likely to be most open to being contacted by someone they don't know, and Twitter makes it easy for you with relevant hashtags that allow you to find people who share your interests and the common interests of your typical leads. Just remember that when you first reach out, just like with your auto-DMs, you're making an introduction, not a sale.

 

If you follow these recommendations then new followers and potential future leads will be excited to hear from you, rather than cringing at the latest unopened sales copy in their inbox.

What do you think of our new Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials series? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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