Monday, October 30, 2017

4 Marketing Content Demons That Could Be Haunting Your Halloween

Happy Halloween -- or is it? Even if you're enjoying the parties, decorations, and trick-or-treaters associated with this time of year, your marketing content may be turning your business into something more like a house of horrors. Here are four frightening turns in your marketing content that you'll want to exorcise ASAP.

1. Mummified Marketing

Hollywood has always gotten good scare value out of mummies, even though the real thing is nothing more than the preserved husk of a human being. But if your marketing content is similarly mummified, you may indeed have cause for concern. Websites, brochures, marketing videos and other marketing pieces that sport outdated content convey the impression that your business died a long time ago, or (at the very least) that it's stuck in a kind of suspended animation. Maybe it's time to sweep away the dust and create new, vital, relevant marketing that can take your brand into the future.

2. The Blog of the Undead

The Blog of the Undead is a close cousin to mummified marketing. Like a zombie, this blog is mostly dead but refuses to stay down, rising randomly in search of fresh brains (specifically, those of your audience). But just as one glance at a zombie will confirm that you're not really looking at a living being, viewing a blog with sporadic, erratic updates will paint a picture of a business that is unhealthy at best or may even have one foot in the grave. You need to post to your blog regularly if you want your brand to retain an image of glowing good health.

3. The Ghost in the Sales Funnel

Ghosts and haunted houses are an ever-popular Halloween theme. A typical haunted house story will feature a ghost that lurks in some particular corner of a house, springing out when it wants to scare interlopers away. If you think about your sales funnel as a complex structure that sends your prospects on a one-way journey to a desired outcome (calling you, signing up for a free gift etc.), then your marketing content should be acting as a beneficial force that guides the way from one landmark to another. If any of these landmarks is disfigured by content that asks for too much too early or simply fails to compel further action, then you might as well have a ghost in your marketing machine yelling "BOO" at the worst possible moment.

4. The Wrong Costume

You can't have Halloween without Halloween costumes, which enable you to transform yourself into a demon, witch, ghoul, or any other persona you wish. But is the face you're showing to your target audience the right one for the reaction you want to get? If you want to scare the daylights out of someone, you don't dress up as a happy bunny (unless, of course, you happen to know about that person's severe bunny phobia). By the same token, your brand is the face of your business, and your marketing content must support the persona that you want your brand to project. If your content's tone, style and vocabulary aren't supporting and reinforcing your image, then you might as well be topping off your devil costume with a happy bunny mask.

Take a hard, unflinching look at these marketing gremlins, and get whatever marketing content assistance you may need to help overcome them. It's a surefire path toward more treats and fewer tricks for your business this Halloween!

Monday, October 16, 2017

4 Signs That Your Blog Is Busted

You may have come to blogging for all kinds of reasons. Maybe your social media guru told you that you should be blogging, or maybe you decided to pursue blogging as a revenue stream. Maybe you just want to cement your authority as an expert in your industry. So you got the blog up and running, and now you feel like you might as well not have bothered. What are you doing wrong? Here are four possibilities to look for.

1. Your Posting Schedule Is All Over the Place

How regularly do you post your blog articles -- once a day, once a week, once a month, or whenever you feel like dealing with it? A haphazard posting schedule impairs your ability to develop a loyal readership. You have to train people to know when the newest article is likely to go up so they'll turn your attention in your direction on a regular basis. In the worst-case scenario, a neglected blog might cause your audience to give upon you altogether. Whatever schedule you set, stick to it.

2. Your Content Is All Over the Place

Even if you're posting like clockwork, your blog could still be coming across as a scattered mess of ideas, especially if every article is aimed at a different audience segment. Stop and ask yourself, "Who am I writing for? Who is my ideal reader?" Most likely, it's also your ideal customer. Focus on addressing that customer's needs, concerns and questions, and your blog will instantly come into sharper, clearer focus -- and make a more concentrated impact.

3. Your Sales Pitch Is Turning People Off

Whether you're trying to monetize your blog through affiliate links or you're simply trying to promote your own products and services, it's all too easy to accidentally turn your blog into something that feels like an infomercial. Sure, infomercials can and do work, but at the risk of conveying a sleaze factor you probably don't want associated with your brand. Many web users have already lost patience with hosted content and other sales pitches masquerading as serious content -- so if you do want to sell through your blog, be upfront about what you're doing.

4. No One Knows Your Blog Exists

Did you create your blog with an "If you build it, they will come" attitude? If you have a brilliant blog that only receives a few sporadic hits with each new post, the problem may lie with the fact that you're not promoting the thing. Sure, people searching for specific answers to their problems stumble onto helpful, compelling blog articles all the time, but you can't rely 100 percent on this passive approach to inbound marketing. Get the word out by announcing your latest magnum opus on your key social media channels, complete with links. Talk up your blog at networking events or in your other marketing endeavors. Hook up with other bloggers and share their posts with your audience; they just might return the favor.

If your blog is busted, don't write it off as a bust. See if you need to fix any of the above issues -- and then do it!

Monday, October 2, 2017

It's the Fourth Quarter for Preparing Your 2018 Marketing Content

Here in the middle of football season, you have have already seen your share of heart-stopping fourth quarters. Fans, players and coaches alike know the adrenaline rush that accompanies the knowledge that you've got one more quarter of play to do whatever must be done to walk off the field a winner. Well, the same holds true for many aspects of the business world at this time of year. You've got this one remaining quarter of the year to get your tax information in order, get those receivables into your coffers -- and prepare the next year's marketing content.

Isn't marketing a year-round activity? Yes, it should be. But you'd be surprised how many small business owners put their mindsets into "end-of-year"mode, concentrating solely on cleaning things up, shutting things down, and generally putting the year to bed. That's all well and good, but next year starts on January 1st -- and with it, a fresh push toward new goals. Will your marketing efforts be in position to support those efforts right from Day One, or will you waste the first part of the year slowly and painfully bringing your business back up to speed?

Marketing campaigns take time to conceptualize, plan and implement. You need to work out your marketing strategy, assign the content creation to your team (copywriter, graphic designer, social media coordinator, website provider etc.), and then allow these professionals the time they need to get the job done. You then need to approve the job and make sure your shiny new campaign is ready to roll out right at the beginning of an equally shiny new year.

Now is the time to get your marketing content in good shape for 2018. We're in the fourth quarter, and the clock is running out. Fortunately, you have access to a freelance copywriter who can help you generate much of that marketing content quickly, painlessly and professionally. Make the right calls, right now, so you can know you're ready for the next "big game" as soon as the final whistle blows on this one!