The 10 Commandments of Content Marketing

Are you producing content for your website or blog? If so, you’re taking part in content marketing. You’re using well-crafted articles and graphics to educate consumers, raise brand awareness and drive sales.

As you sit at your laptop working on this content, there are a few things you should remember. The world of content marketing has a some rules. These rules are sacred; so sacred that they’re referred to as commandments.

Whether you’re creating a how-to article for your website or producing a killer infographic for your blog, thou shall heed the advice set forth in The 10 Commandments of Content Marketing.

4 Ways to REALLY Irritate A Freelancer and How to Avoid It

Content marketing is powerful. It’s an affordable way to engage customers and drive sales, but it’s a time-consuming task. To create content, it requires time to research, write articles, design infographics, produce videos, format content on the site, promote it on social – the list goes on and on.

To succeed, many companies hire freelance copywriters or designers to help ease the workload. I am one of those freelancers.

My husband and I run a content marketing company that helps businesses drive sales through amazing content. I love my job. I really do. I work with some amazing clients. But, there’s always a client or two that just doesn’t get it.

Everyone has a coworker (or three) that they just don’t work well with. I get that. But, when you’re working with a freelancer remotely, relationships are different. Sometimes, marketers don’t even know they’re irritating the crap out of me.

What are marketers doing that’s so frustrating? And, more importantly, how can you avoid it? Here’s a look at some of the ways you can irritate the crap out freelancers:

  1. Asking for 52 revisions

Unlike some freelancers, I’m not married to the words I write. I have no problem revising content – within reason. And that’s where some marketers get hung up.

When you review a piece of content, by all means, mark it up and ask for changes, if necessary. But, what you shouldn’t do is get a round of revisions back and then decide you want to add a section and rearrange a paragraph. And then, once those revisions are made, decide to add examples and swap statistics for another source.

Takeaway: When you review an article, do it once. Put all of your requests on paper and don’t hand it back to the writer until you’ve really reviewed the piece.

If you want more control, you could discuss the possibility of creating an outline before the piece is written. During the outline process, you can make suggestions so the final piece is exactly what you’re looking for.

  1. Asking for a rewrite after approving an outline

When I work with a client, I provide a list of content ideas, what format the content should take (like a blog post or infographic), SEO keywords that will be included in the piece, and a description of the article.

Nine times out of ten, this is all that’s needed. The list is tweaked, approved, and I get to work.

However, when I work with a client that has a tendency to ask for 52 revisions, I’ll suggest creating an outline, as I mentioned above.

The outline provides a very detailed picture of what the blog article will look like, and yet, I have had clients ask me to replace or add entire sections after approving the outline. So, why did I create the outline? Talk about frustrating.

Takeaway: Take time to review an outline and think about the finished product. If you want to make large-scale additions or changes, do so during the outline process.

  1. Keeping a writer in the dark

Freelancers usually work remotely. Since we’re not in the office with you, we don’t know what’s going on at your business internally.

If your company is going through a rebrand, tightening budgets, or downsizing your department, a freelancer is usually the last to know.

I had a client go radio silent once. We were creating content together for about a year. I was responsible for crafting blog articles and infographics monthly, and then, nothing. She disappeared.

As it turns out, the company was struggling. About 30% of employees were cut and marketing budgets were slashed. The marketer that I worked with lost her job.

But, she never said a word to me. I had to send an email to her boss to hear the news, and as it turns out, she knew about her position being eliminated five months in advance.

I’m sorry she lost her job, but why on earth wouldn’t you just send me an email to let me know?

Takeaway: Don’t keep freelancers in the dark. If you’re leaving your job, cutting back on content, or managing a problem that effects the freelancer you work with – SAY SOMETHING.

It’s hard to maintain a steady salary as a freelancer, so please, do us the courtesy of informing us of changes.

  1. Not paying in a timely fashion

Most employees get paid every two weeks. Freelancers typically aren’t awarded the same luxury. And, you know what? That’s ok. A lot of my clients have Net 30 payment terms and I’m fine with that.

But, under no circumstances should I have to hound you for payment. Ninety percent of my clients pay on time, every time. But, I’ve had a few clients that require reminders…and another…and another.

If you can’t pay a freelancer, don’t hire one. If I have trouble receiving payment, I cut ties. I don’t work for free.

Takeaway: Pay your freelancers. Period. When you begin a relationship, set payment terms. You should agree on a price for each piece of content, how frequently invoices will be sent, and when invoices will be paid. Once everything is agreed upon, stick to it.

Wrap up

With the surge in content marketing, hiring a freelancer is a great way to keep fresh content streaming in. The best way to maintain a healthy relationship with a freelancer is to provide clear direction, have realistic expectations, and keep him or her informed of changes. Do that, and you’ll have a great, long-term relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter Embraces a New Tool That Recognizes Tweetstorms

Have your heard a tweetstorm? They’re a series of connected tweets that help users say more than the 140-character limitation.

Twitter has recently announced that it’s testing out a feature that embraces “tweetstorms,” and gives users the ability to string tweets together with click of a button.

The new feature, which is called “threads,” is still in the testing phase but it’s something to watch.

First, more characters per tweet

The move comes on the heels of the platform doubling its character limit—from 140 to 280.

Part of the decision came from the results of Twitter’s research, which found that 9% of tweets were hitting the character limit. As Twitter’s blog explains, “This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even, at times, abandoning tweets before sending.”

With the extended longer character count, only 1% of tweets are maxing out.

Next, more tweets

The success of the longer character count led to the idea that users may want to “serialize a longer story or thought, or provide ongoing commentary on an event or thread,” according to Twitter’s blog.

Users have the option to tweet, hit the plus button and then repeat until their thread is complete, at which point they’d hit the “Tweet all” button. Users can also update previously posted threads by opening the tweet and tapping “add another tweet.”

Ways to use threads

All the fun options are still available to add to your thread—videos, photos, GIFS and emojis—to turn your short story into an illustrated piece. Just as they did with single tweets, users can still use polls, hashtags and @replies.

For businesses, tweeting in threads throughout the day can build excitement or suspense. Or you can use the new feature to piece together a fully crafted message that might otherwise lose meaning if condensed to only one tweet.

If the feature gets a green light, will you use it to promote content on your website or blog? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

5 Tips to Hire a Digital Marketing Company

To sell your product or service, you have to market it. It’s that simple. A lot of small business owners dabble in marketing, using a do-it-yourself approach in hopes of saving money.

Research shows 47% of small businesses manage their own marketing, according to a recent report from LeadPages.

But, there’s a lot to do. To market your business, you need a mobile-friendly website, a presence on social media, a regularly updated blog, email campaigns and graphic content to share like infographics and videos. If you don’t have time to create all of this content, it might be time to hire a digital marketing company.

Why hire a digital marketing company?

There are a lot of reasons to hire a digital marketing company. Here are the most common ones:

  • Focus on your business

By turning the marketing chores over to another company, you can focus on what you do best – running your business. Think about how many hours you spend creating an email campaign or updating your company LinkedIn page. It’s a lot of time, right? You’ll get all of that valuable time back when you hire a digital marketing company.

  • Save money

If you outsource your marketing, you don’t have to hire an employee to do. That means, you won’t have to worry about payroll taxes or healthcare benefits.

You can hire a marketing company to handle tasks as needed or create a monthly list of tasks that you’d like outsourced.

In addition, you’ll save money on subscription fees to services like MailChimp or Hootsuite because the marketing company handles all of those ancillary costs.

  • Get results

When you hire a digital marketing company, you’ll attract and retain more customers. With a dedicated team of professionals working to create and share content to customers, you can expect to see a return on investment that makes marketing a solid investment.

Tips to hire a digital marketing company

When you’re ready to find a digital marketing company, there are certain things you’ll want to look for. Here’s a list of tips to help:

  • Go with a small company

There are many companies to choose from, but working with a smaller marketing company has a lot of benefits. Small digital marketing companies offer unparalleled customer service. You’re not a number at a small firm, you’re a client with a promising product or service.

In addition, you’ll often find that rates are more affordable at small marketing companies.

  • Find a company you can grow with

Look for a digital marketing company that offers a variety of services and packages. You might start by asking the marketing company to manage your social channels, but in a few years you may want to add more services like blog management, graphic design or video production.

  • Ask for references

If you were hiring an employee for your store or salesperson for your software company, you’d call some of their references before offering him or her the job, right? The same rule applies when you hire a digital marketing company.

Ask the company to provide the names of two clients so you can reach out and learn more.

  • Discuss workflow

You need to know how the digital marketing company works. Will they pitch ideas and create content calendars? How will they deliver content? What’s the review process? Who is responsible for uploading content? How often is the marketing company checking in with the owner?

As you select services for a digital marketing company to handle, make sure you ask questions about the workflow.

  • Talk about metrics and reports

You’ll want to track your return on investment, so talk with the digital marketing company about how it tracks the success of campaigns. Most companies provide a monthly report that shows important metrics like click-throughs and conversions.

Wrap up

To hire the right digital marketing company requires research, but once you find a company that fits you’ll start to see results. You’ll have more time to invest in your business all while your product or service is marketed to new and existing customers on your behalf.

As you research digital marketing companies, please visit the McEwen’s Media website. As a small digital marketing company with 10+ of years of experience, we’d like to help your company grow its bottom line. Check out our services to learn more.

5 Signs That It’s Time to Outsource Your Marketing

thoughtful-businesswoman.jpg

On average, small business owners spend about 20 hours a week marketing their small business. Owners understand the importance of marketing, but they end up neglecting other aspects as they tend to a growing number of marketing channels.

Devoting time to marketing is essential. No question. But, trying to do it all yourself is a daunting and almost impossible task.

If you’re juggling social media posts, online ads, blog creation and video production on your own, it might be time to hire some help.

Here are five signs that it’s time to outsource your marketing:

5 Signs That It's Time to Outsource Your Marketing

Outsourcing doesn’t have to break the bank. If you find the right marketing company, you can outsource the tasks you want. Talk with McEwen’s Media [LINK] to learn more about their affordable marketing packages.

Facebook Fails: 6 Things That Drive Your Fans Nuts

Facebook

Facebook has its perks. You love checking in on old friends and seeing pictures of your buddies. And who hasn’t stalked an ex-boyfriend’s page to check out his new girl? While there are many benefits to this social media platform, odds are, you’ve got some fans that drive you nuts.

There are some unwritten Facebook rules that certain fans break. To make sure you’re not one of those fans, we’ve created a list of Facebook posts that you should be wary of. These kinds of posts will drive your fans nuts – guaranteed.

Food pictures

Unless you’re Emeril, stop posting food pictures. This might sound harsh, but no one cares what you’re eating for dinner. You don’t want to lose Facebook followers because you’re oversharing during mealtime.

Shameless work plugs

We all have a friend or two (or 12) who are forever promoting themselves. These “look at me” posts are driving your fans nuts. Of course, it’s all about moderation. If you tell folks that you’re giving a guest lecture once in a while, that’s fine. We all use social media as a promotional tool, but you should do so sparingly.

Constant complaints

If you’re a “life is always terrible” poster, your fans will block you. Whether you’re constantly complaining about your kids or can’t resist the urge to tell the world about your crappy boss, no one wants to hear daily updates about how bad your life is.

Constant sunshine

Of course, the exact opposite of the constant complainer is that fan that has the perfect life. I truly wish everyone’s life were as rosy as the Facebook posts exclaim, but it’s just not possible to be perfect all the time.

Non-stop pictures of your kids

You use Facebook so you can stay in touch with friends and family that you wouldn’t normally keep up with. Pictures are a big part of this equation. However, you don’t need to document your child’s every moment. A picture here and there is great – encouraged even. But your fans – and most importantly – your child will thank you for not posting potty training pictures on Facebook.

A daily blow-by-blow

Do you have a friend who updates his or her status three or four times a day with super mundane posts? You’re nodding aren’t you? Listen up Facebookers, getting the mail doesn’t warrant a post. Resist the urge to tell your fans about returning from work, sitting down to lunch, or waiting for a doctor’s appointment. We don’t need to hear about every nuance of your day, really we don’t.

So, what’s left to post about, you wonder? The takeaway message is to vary your posts. Keep your fans updated, not overwhelmed; informed, not bored. Facebook is a great communications tool, but you should think about your audience as you’re posting.

5 Things to Look for When Hiring a Content Writer

Writer

Content marketing has a lot of power. Companies are quickly realizing the importance of quality content. The right content can nurture current customers, attract new customers and showcase your brand’s authority in the filed.

Of course, you can only reach those goals with the right writer. If you’re looking to hire a content writer, here is a quick list of traits that you should look for:

Quick response to email

You don’t want a writer who responds to your email in 24 hours, you want a writer who responds within hours. Your business should be a priority, which should be reflected in quick response times. Plus, a lot of companies want to turn timely content. If a topic is trending today and your writer doesn’t get back to you until tomorrow, you’ve already missed your window.

Impressive credentials

It goes without saying that you want an experienced writer. A lot of brands are hiring former journalists because they know how to turn quality content on a deadline. These “brand journalists” put the reader first, and are always thinking about how to inform and entertain.

Whether you hire someone with a journalistic background or not, you should take time to vet a potential writer. Look through previous posts and get a feel for the writer’s style. Make sure the posts are recent too. Check references, preferably an editor that the writer works with. Ask about work ethic, quality of content and ability to meet deadlines.

Plus, you don’t want to do a lot of handholding. You’re busy enough as it is. You want someone who can start writing quality content on day one.

Ability to breakdown complex material

Let’s face it, not all businesses are cut and dry. A lot of businesses have complex systems, detailed processes and intricate products. You need someone who knows how to break it all down into to easy-to-digest content. A medical device company, for example, that wants to recap a recent medical trial needs a writer to break through the science-speak and explain what the results mean to the average person.

Jazz-it-up ability

Not all businesses are sexy. Whether your business makes widgets or washes floor mats, you want a writer who can jazz-it-up – someone who writes creatively to promote your business and your brand.

Social media presence

It’s a digital world and your writer should embrace it. You want a writer with a social media presence; someone who will share your content on their social media sites to promote the article to as many people as possible.

It will take some time to vet a writer, but it’s better to spend the time on the front end than it is to deal with a subpar writer. You have every right to by fussy when finding a writer, after all this person will represent your company. Making sure a writer meets all of the criteria listed above will help you find a writer that’s best for your company.