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Content Strategy Explained

Posted by on Friday, July 26, 2013

Content Strategy sounds like something that’s reserved for the Fortune 500 companies. It scares many people because they’re not sure what it is or whether they can actually do it. However, the good news is that it’s an easy thing to do, and it can make a great opportunity for a small business to define what they’re trying to do with the digital medium. It also gives direction to what’s usually a chaotic attempt at Online Marketing. Even right here in Montgomery, Alabama, your business can still use Content Strategy to gain more clients and produce more revenue.

Content Strategy includes a few different areas, like design, development, marketing, SEO, and others. You probably aren’t an expert on all of these, so it’s better to get the right people in the room before you start writing this.

Why am I creating ‘Content’, anyway?

The stuff you’ll create is called ‘Content’, and it includes everything from writing articles to filming videos for YouTube. It’s all content, and it’s all valuable to your business in tons of ways. Your business probably won’t be able to create every type of content, so you’ll get better results concentrating on one or two types. If your website design allows you to have a blog, I would recommend you use it for this purpose.

A simple example would be a local coffee business. They don’t have a large budget, so YouTube videos and a Podcast about Coffee wouldn’t be feasible—but they could write about the newest flavors they produce and make a few videos about their process, which would provide results faster than just text. The video and articles would get traffic from Social Media, which means more customers.

How often are you creating your content?

If you’re filming video, chances are it’s a one-time deal. Most businesses can’t afford to produce monthly videos about their business—but that’s okay, since it isn’t worth it for most people.

I’d suggest you choose to write a few articles per month or per week. It takes effort to follow through with this, and consistency is key to writing. Only set a schedule that you’re willing to stick with in the long-term. One article every two weeks, or even one article per month is okay, as long as you’re consistently posting it on time. Make sure your website design is designed so that it features your content prominently!

I’m already too busy! Why should I add this?

It’s easy to talk about this stuff, but once it comes to taking responsibility, most people take the easy way-out: ‘That sounds great, but I’m too busy, already!’.

The truth is that you should make time for it. You’re leaving money on the table if you attempt anything online without truly setting goals and responsibilities. You’re risking confusion and loss of income that could be coming from new customers. In the long-term, it’s worth it to make some time to sit down and work this stuff out. You’ll be glad you did in six months’ time.

Who is responsible for this stuff?

It’s important to clearly define who is responsible for creating your content, and what they should be creating.

If your secretary is responsible for updating the blog—well, what should she be writing about? Her vacation? She needs relevant topics to your business, and guidelines on what is and isn’t okay for her to write about. This prevents confusion and hurt feelings down the road.

Tell the person responsible how often they should be creating your content, and where they should post it. Give them access to Social Media for your business so they can promote the articles.

Next Week: Define Your Goals

Next week we'll continue this series by talking about Defining Your Goals, and how you can get the most benefit out of your site without having to spend hours working on it.

Stop by and talk with us about how your business can benefit from Content Strategy! We're available anytime during business hours at 334-356-3561, or come by if you're in Montgomery, Alabama!


SiteTips: A New Website Series from ProductiveIT

Posted by on Friday, July 05, 2013

What is SiteTips?

SiteTips is a series that we'll be creating weekly that concentrates on some of the common features that clients can use to make their business better. It'll usually be a short video (<3 minutes), but will occasionally include an article.

The Inaugural Video: Editing a Page

We've gotten numerous calls about this feature, and it's one of the most common things that you'll be doing in Online Business Suite. So, we want to show you the easiest ways to do this. The video walks you through each step, and explains what it is.

SiteTips: Edit a Page in OBS from Taylor Daughtry with ProductiveIT on Vimeo.

The plan right now is to publish these occasionally on some of the most common questions and features that we work with for most clients. Got a suggestion that we should cover? Email us and we might cover it for you!


5 Tips to Make Twitter More Effective for Your Business

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2013

Twitter is one of the largest social media networks today, and it’s quite possible that many of the people you know at least have an account on Twitter. If you’re like most small businesses, then you might have an account just for your business. Maybe you even post a few times per month.

However, simply having an account isn’t enough to build your business, there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to get the most out of your effort, and make Twitter start working for you, and build your business’s brand:

Make your Twitter name easy to say and remember.

This matters. When you’re talking with someone, make sure your Twitter Handle (your account’s name) is easy to say and understand, as well as remember. SuperCompanyDesign is much easier than SuprDesgnCompanyLLC1. Avoid numbers, abbreviations, or other excessive variations (EX: 5Up3RD351GN instead of SUPERDESIGN) unless they’re an integral part of your business name.

If your company’s name isn’t available, get in touch with the account holder and see if they’re interested in selling the name. (NOTE: this is technically against Twitter’s Terms of Service, so it should used as a last resort. Your mileage may vary!)

If your name isn’t available, try variations. For example, SuperDesign probably isn’t available, but perhaps SuperCompanyDesign is. ExtremeSports isn’t available, but maybe ExtremeAlabama, or ExtremeSportsAlabama is.

Be sure to keep it as short as possible. You want your handle to be short enough to tell someone as they’re hanging up the phone, or as they’re walking away, and still be understood.

Like this:

...Okay, we’ll confirm that meeting tomorrow, but If you need to speak to us quickly, just send us a Tweet at SuperDesign. Have a nice day!

instead of:

... Okay, we’ll continue talking about it tomorrow, but if you need to talk with someone again before then, just send us a tweet at ‘S’ 1 (the number 1), ‘U’, ‘P’, 3 (the number 3),...

It flows much easier in conversation—which is a good thing!

Tweet Often, and Consistently.

If you’re not willing to tweet at least once per week, then it’s not worth the effort to create an account. People generally aren’t willing to follow an account that only posts a few times per month, unless you have some really engaging content. You better be giving away stuff like it’s 1999.

You should at least be posting once per week, but once or twice a day is average, and usually returns good results. The best time to post your best tweets (giveaways, sales, or other things that you think will generate mentions) is usually around 1:00 - 3:00 PM for your target audience. If you’re looking to gain followers that work in the Night guard industry, you might consider varying your post times. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to sometime in the early afternoon.

Talk about Relevant and Interesting Content in Your Industry.

Don’t talk about your cat unless you’re in the pet business. Don’t talk about your car unless that’s relevant to your business. (You’re a mechanic, car salesman, or the like.) This keeps your tweets targeted to a specific audience, and your account will be more likely to gain followers faster. Nobody wants to follow a business account that just talks about personal stuff. Generally, there’s no value there, it’s simply polluting their feed.

However, that isn’t to say that people don’t like any sort of interaction in the human form at all. People tend to favor accounts that have a human quality to them, so occasionally commenting on relevant events in your areas is acceptable and encouraged!

Interaction on Twitter is the Key to Success.

While simply consistently tweeting is a great start to building your brand, It’s when you start interacting with other people that it really becomes a valuable way to spend your time. When someone mentions your brand, make sure you respond to answer their question(s) if they have any, or add something to the conversation they’re having with someone else. The more you talk with others, the more your followers will be engaged with your brand.

Be careful about Who you Allow to Tweet for Your Business.

There are numerous articles written about the disasters that have befallen businesses that don’t follow this suggestion. All it takes is for one person managing your Twitter feed, and suddenly everyone knows about the inner workings of the business, and what’s happening internally. Make sure to place someone responsible and qualified in charge of Social Media, or it could mean disaster later on!

If you’ll follow these few tips on making Twitter more effective for your business, you’re much more likely to see results quicker than simply having an account. Just be consistent, and make sure to respond to people that ask you questions, and you’ll have a fantastic experience!


Blogging: Twitter on Steroids

Posted by on Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Whether you’re searching for an easy 30-minute meal for your family or tips on the latest and greatest social network released by Google, someone somewhere has blogged about it. In fact, there are hundreds of blogs out there just waiting to be discovered. The truth is…I love it! Some might even say I’m a little obsessed. But what about a blog, not only draws you in, but keeps you coming back?

First, let’s get real. We are constantly searching for ways to save time and money in just about every aspect of our daily lives. There are several blogs that I search on a daily basis for simple recipes that even I can master. I love stopping by Oh Joy! to see what new sweet and salty treats Joy has discovered throughout the week. As an added bonus, she is also obsessed with design and fashion, just like yours truly. Next, Orangette is a great place to discover step by step healthy recipes. Both of these sites have such a simple design, but the information and delicious pictures have these two at the top of my list.

"...these are the things that make a blog so effective: informative, relevant, time-saving, easy to navigate and brand specific."

Second, let’s get creative. DIY projects and weddings are my all-time favorite type of blogs. If you’re looking for wedding décor and inspiration, 100LayerCake is the ultimate blog. Real wedding photos are posted every week, as well as comments from the bride herself with helpful do’s and dont's for any type of wedding. From vintage to glitz and glam, 100LayerCake has great tips for traditional and modern brides all over. Design*Sponge is a great blog with thousands of design and home décor ideas, many which you can create yourself! The idea of having blogs that inspire and encourage using your own creativity and talents is pure genius and extremely rewarding.

Finally, let’s get fancy. When I’m searching for the newest styles in fashion, I always start with the wacky but gorgeous blog,
A Beautiful Mess. I could search through these crazy, handmade outfits all day. Day Dream Lily is an incredible vintage blog that uses creative photography and simple locations to outline style throughout many different cultures. I adore the layouts as well as the design team that creates both of these blogs. Taking simple, ordinary objects and materials to create such a beautiful style is so refreshing.

So what exactly do these blogs have in common? First of all of they each share an easy to follow basic design that successfully conveys their brand while focusing on content that is regularly being updated. The frequency of updates can vary from blog to blog, but typically at least once or twice a week is normal (some even make updates daily). The content of each blog is always full of great information and inspiration with pictures that grab your attention often before even reading the title of the article. And really these are the things that make a blog so effective: informative, relevant, time-saving, easy to navigate and brand specific.

Of course, these are the blogs that stand out the most to a real, creative, fancy girl like me. What blogs keep you coming back?


What is the “Power of Pull?”

Posted by on Monday, March 28, 2011

Power of Pull

Although it can be said that “new media” (what some refer to as interactive media) is no longer new, there is still a sense that we all have much to learn about the tools it consists of and the lexicon it has created. For example, I only recently encountered the term “power of pull” thanks to an article I read called 7 Blogging Mistakes the Small Businesses Make. Authors John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davidson probably captured the concept best in their book The Power of Pull: Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion.

Pull allows each of us to find and access people and resources when we need them, while attracting to us the people and resources that are relevant and valuable, even if we were not even aware before that they existed.”

In relation to the article I mentioned previously, the power of pull is a rather new way of viewing the business/client relationship—one in which providing your customers with valuable, interesting content (information) takes precedence over a 30 sec sales pitch or advertisement. In a larger sense, pull allows us as individuals and as businesses to “harness and unleash the forces of attraction, influence, and serendipity” in such a way that both entities achieve their potential.

The more value you provide, the stronger your pull.

While it may sound like metaphysics to some, the power of pull has always existed in some form or another since the beginning of advertising. Big picture: it refers to the promise of enhancing one’s sense of self-worth and (on a larger level society) by utilizing the tools/content you provide... only slightly less deceitful. Ever notice how much happier people seem on those car commercials you see on TV? The difference between that and pull is you’re not offering to sell the solution (not outright at least)—instead you’re establishing yourself as a source of value, giving people the tools and knowledge they need to make their own decision.


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