How to Create a Content Calendar and Why You Should

  How many social networks is your business active on? How often do you post to a blog? How do the topics you cover on both relate to your newsletters and email campaigns? Wait. What? While that sounds like a lot, those are the basics of marketing in 2016. (I even left out a host of other forms of marketing and focused only on digital.) If you want to stay competitive and remain on your customers’ minds in between their purchases you must find a way to engage with them. Doing so with content and sharing resources is free, outside of the time it takes to curate, compile, and/or create it. Why Your Business Needs a Content Calendar Because there are so many moving parts in an effective content strategy, you need a content calendar to be able to see the larger picture and know what’s working and what isn’t. But that’s just the beginning. Last year I learned to throw a football properly. Before learning the technique, I thought it was as simple as merely launching it into the air and hoping it went a respectable distance, preferably into the arms of the person you wanted to catch it. Turns out there’s a whole method behind your grip, when you launch it, where your hand is upon release, how you step into the throw, getting the perfect spiral, and a lot more. All of these techniques come together to ensure you get the most power behind your throw. Without these things, your throw doesn’t really go anywhere and take it from me, hoping (it will go where you want) isn’t enough. The same can be said for your content calendar and strategy. You can do it on your own without correlating any of your social media platform posts, your blog content, your email campaigns, or your newsletter content but you will get a much more powerful and effective marketing presence if it’s all coordinated. A content calendar also helps you analyze the effectiveness of individual posts, recognize hot topics for your audience, and what content doesn’t interest them. Without insights into what you are doing, it is hard to recognize success. How Do I Create a Content Calendar? A content calendar and strategy go hand-in-hand. You can create a very basic calendar that you use for tracking posting, or use something more in-depth where you track types of content and the objective of each. All content, regardless of type, should either entertain, inspire, or educate. These kinds of content are the most often shared and interacted with. You don’t have to accomplish all three in one post but you should have a goal of one. Tips for a...

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4 Alternative Types of Content

Content is essential to your business becoming (or remaining) an industry leader. It’s fast becoming a differentiator as more and more customers do their research online and make purchasing decisions long before they speak with one of your sales people. If you hate to write, but don’t want to pay someone else to do it for you, you don’t have to give up on content. You shouldn’t. There are other forms of content production that are as effective in helping you become a resource for your customers as the written word is. If you’re not a great writer, chances are these other forms of media will also be a lot more compelling and engaging for your audience. Video There are a lot of options in this category from webcam or cellphone production to slick agency creations. What you use depends on what you sell and who you’re selling it to. But even a high-end luxury brand can create a campy, low-budget production hit if it resonates with the target audience. Generally, you’ll want to keep all videos under 3 minutes unless it’s very meaty subject matter. Ideas for videos include telling your story, client testimonials, product explanations, and things people who are in the market for your product or service need to know. Don’t forget to check out the live-streaming video options with Periscope, Meerkat, and Blab. Businesses can also do interesting things on the six-second looping Vine. Podcasts The old joke, “You have a face for radio”, is no longer applicable with the increase in interest in podcasts. Thousands of mainstream marketers have embraced this successful medium because people are listening to podcasts with the same zeal families gathered around the radio to hear the latest installments of their serial programs back in the 1940s. Just ask NPR. Podcasts can be anywhere from a few minutes to thirty minutes long. A computer, headset, decent mic, and some editing software is really all you need to get started. You can create a tips series or cover topics of interest to your audience. If you run a gym, a podcast on good nutrition might be a nice fit. Interview Series While this is a type of video or podcast it deserved its own mention. Lining up subject matter experts each week or month is a lot of work but a video series of this caliber provides an exponential return on your time investment. It becomes a valuable resource for your audience and establishes you as an industry expert because you are surrounded by top minds. Also because you are selecting the guest line-up, you can choose experts who can help you further your message. Now you’re not the only one...

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Meet Torell Flickinger

Meet Torell Flickinger

My friends call me a fashionista but I say PASSIONista. People, that’s my passion. When I was growing up, the golden rule didn’t always apply in our household. My parents continually said treat people the best you can because you can, not because they deserve it or because you want something from them. These words really resonated with me and have been instrumental in building relationships and serving people through my work as a property manager, a middle school administrative financial secretary, and a wedding coordinator to name a few. I moved to Emporia in July and am already in love with this community. I’m excited to get plugged in and do my part as the Administrative Sales & Services Coordinator for the Convention & Visitors Bureau to continue to cultivate business and show the world why Emporia is the place to be! Please like &...

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Gaining Control of a Social Media Disaster

  Unless you’ve been unplugged from electronics and the news recently, you’ve undoubtedly seen the unfolding of the corporate PR nightmare involving Subway’s success story, and former poster boy, Jared Fogle. Even if your businesses doesn’t have the ad budget of Subway, you can still run into issues on social media that require some delicate handling. Assuming the issue you are handling doesn’t involve jail time, here are some suggestions in weathering a social media storm. Assess the Seriousness of the Issue and Act Accordingly Humor is never the answer in serious social media firestorms, but if it’s a lesser debacle than something illegal, ethical issues, highly emotional topics, or environmental ones, try a little humor to defray the fallout. The American Red Cross’ social media person mistook its Twitter account for a personal one (on Hootsuite, it’s easy to do) and posted: Instead of a barrage of apologies or a silent deletion, Red Cross was quick to use humor in its defense with:   Address Bad Reviews Publicly and Privately We’ve all seen bad reviews answered by managers with a chip on their shoulder. It doesn’t paint a good view of the business, even if they’re in the right. If someone gives your business a less than stellar review, apologize publicly for not exceeding their expectations than offer to take the conversation offline. This way you are seen publicly as addressing their concerns, and listening, but you’re not throwing mud at one another on a public site. Keep in mind the customer is always right and keying it into a social media post, blog post, or email is the same as writing a letter. You’re one copy and paste away from seeing your commentary in print. Choose words wisely. Respond Quickly Generally the larger the company is, the longer it takes to respond because of the sign-offs involved. Social media happens 24/7 at the speed of light. If you don’t address a concern within a few hours, things escalate quickly. If you’re looking into it, respond with that. At least the poster (and anyone else interested) knows you are aware of the concern. “Looking into it” provides you a few more hours of time, not days, unless it is a VERY complex issue. Stay in contact online, and post updates. While you’re doing so you may want to stop your auto posts, otherwise you may make a very important issue seem trivial. Do Not Delete While this is a point of contention among social media strategists, I’m in camp do not delete. Getting back to the Red Cross example that happened nearly half a decade ago, the post was only up for about an hour and then deleted....

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Johnny the Bagger: A Customer Service Story

  Several years ago when I was with Walmart I attended one of our conventions. A motivational speaker at the convention shared the story of “Johnny the Bagger.” The presenter was hired by a large supermarket chain to lead a customer service program, and she shared that experience with us. In her presentation to the employees of this supermarket she said, “Every one of you can make a difference,” and she challenged them to do something to make their customers feel special–create a memory that would make the customers come back. A month later she received a phone call from a 19-year-old grocery bagger named Johnny. He proudly informed her that he had Down syndrome and told his story. “I liked what you talked about,” he said, “but at first I didn’t think I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I’m just a bagger.” Then he told her of his idea. Every night after he came home from work, he would find a thought for the day. If he couldn’t find one, he made one up. His dad helped him set it up on the computer and print copies. Johnny would cut out the copies and sign his name on the back. Then he’d bring them to the store the next day. When he finished bagging someone’s groceries, he would put his thought for the day in the bag and say, “Thanks for shopping with us!” Johnny was providing a very unique experience for his customers. The Power of the Difference A month later the store manager called the speaker and said, “You won’t believe what has happened! Today I found a crowd of customers in the line where Johnny bags, and it was three times longer than anyone else’s.” The manager said he tried to get people into other lines and they replied, “No, it’s okay–we want to be in Johnny’s lane–we want his ‘Thought for the Day’.” The store manager was overwhelmed by watching Johnny make his customers happy. One of Johnny’s customers said, “I used to shop in your store once a week, but now I come in every time I go by to get Johnny’s ‘Thought for the Day’.” Difference Inspires Difference A few months later, the store manager called our speaker again, saying, “Johnny has transformed our store. When the floral department has a broken flower or unused corsage, they find an elderly customer or a little girl and pin it on them. Everyone is having fun creating memories!” “Surprising” and “delighting” the customer have become marketing buzz words but for businesses that are finding real ways to do this, they’re seeing some amazing results and creating raving fan customers. Examples...

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EASCAR Night

EASCAR Night Gentlemen start your engines!! Attention all NASCAR fans 21 and over!!! Join the fun of EASCAR night . . . that’s Emporia Area Stock Car Auto Racing.  It’s a community watch party of the Saturday night Charlotte NASCAR race, October 10, 2015 from 5:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the newly remodeled Anderson Building on the Lyon County Fairgrounds. Watch the action live on the big screens and cheer on your favorite driver on to victory.  Tickets are just $40.00 per person and include dinner, snacks, 3 drink tickets, 1 driver pick, a commemorative ticket with lanyard and the opportunity to win prizes all throughout the evening!  EASCAR tickets can be purchased on-line through the Community Calendar at emporiakschamber.org or by calling 620-342-1600. Tickets are limited, so don’t delay, when they’re gone they’re gone. What will happen at EASCAR Night? You can come watch the race live on the big screens.  Everyone attending will randomly pick a driver and have the opportunity to win some great prizes throughout the race. Don’t worry, about not winning, your chances will be great, no matter which driver you choose.  Prizes will be given to the driver who is out of the race first, crashes first, leads the most laps, and more. There will be something for everyone! So start your Engines, and mark your calendars for Saturday, October 10th; EASCAR Community Watch Party will be the place to be!   Please like &...

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