I am not a writer in the traditional sense of the word. But, with the ever-rising trend of social media, we’re all writers in some way. And yet, I had a hard time sitting down to write this blog post–my first official blog post as an Allee Creative team member. My background is in retail buying and events. I have those industries down! So when Melissa asked me to write this post-conference blog post around content marketing, spinning it in a way that made sense to me from a retail standpoint seemed more up my alley.
Last month as a team, we all headed to Cleveland for Content Marketing World (but I head up the events side of our business, so what the heck was I doing at Content Marketing World?)
I just really wanted to see Cleveland.
All joking aside, in actuality, I really wanted to gain more insight into the content world, and in the process, found a few aha moments. And with my retail twist, here are my key takeaways:
Content marketing is more than social media
It’s webinars, e-newsletters, marketing swag, commercials–the entirety of your whole marketing strategy. This is probably content marketing 101 to most, but such a great reminder as there are many times we think content = social media. Likewise, it’s important to realize that re-purposing content is okay and gives brands the ability to cross promote and spread messaging in multiple ways: blog posts turn into social media posts, which turn into webinars or conference presentations, etc.
Content audit = store inventory
I come from a background in retail and when you work in a store, there is always a need to do periodic inventories (“SKU check!”) so you are aware of the products you have in the store. For brands, content audits are equally important to keep up on what you have out there (not just on your website, but on social media, print, e-mail, swag, etc.). This gives you the opportunity to evaluate and refresh (or re-use). Marcia Riefer Johnston gives a nice overview of why content audits are important. During the conference, it was fascinating to see the similarity of a content audit layout vs. what I’m used to in way of a store inventory spreadsheet.
Pro tip: While conducting a content audit, do not be quick to hit the delete button on your content. Just because it isn’t working doesn’t mean it should be removed. It just need a bit of tweaking or could serve a better purpose on a different channel. Re-evaluate. Re-work. Don’t just delete.
Campaigns = store assortments
As a buyer, I was constantly working on “assortments” or the pieces that make a collection that you see when you shop in a store (think all the various figurines, houses, etc. that you can collect in a set, during the holidays, etc.).
Marketing campaigns are very similar. Think about it: You have an idea/trend and then think about all the content, channels and ideas that would come together to make that one idea a reality. It could be all of the pieces of a new brand roll-out, or all of the avenues needed to make a new promotion effective.
Competitive analysis = comp shopping
One of my favorite activities as a buyer was comp shopping. We would take a full day to go out to other stores and see what they were doing and how they were selling. As a brand, you need be aware of what your competition is doing, regardless of what industry you are in. Watching your competitors is a great way to figure out what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. Take notes into what these brands are doing right and what they are doing that you could do better. What can you glean from that information? Use channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to keep digital tabs on your competition. Set up Google Alerts. Visit them on-site. Follow their blogs. Sign up for their e-newsletters. Order their products. Better competitive analysis = more effective marketing campaigns and strategies. For more ideas, check out this blog post for 3 online tools to use to keep tabs on your competition online.
Marketing does not stop with your plan…
Or your sales team, or your content. Just because you have “completed” your marketing plan, your job is far from over. Content marketing is a concept that encompasses many parts of the business and requires an effective distribution strategy just as much as the planning and the people to execute said plan. And once you land those customers, what is your next step? What comes after the marketing campaign? Think of your content marketing strategies as a full-circle event; one that includes everyone on the team (and many times, in the company).
I came back from Content Marketing World on a high. My head is still spinning from everything that I learned about marketing, but in a good way. What can I take from this event and apply to our business, to our clients’ needs? And, in my role that focuses heavily in the event space, it was a week that also confirmed what I already knew: events and marketing go hand-in-hand. In order to have a great event, you must have great marketing tools behind it. For brands, whether you are planning an event, kicking off a product launch or moving into a new services offering, coordinating your content marketing efforts will all team members will make it that much more effective. Need help? Give me a shout…I know a girl 🙂