4 Simple Swaps That Can Change Your Content Marketing
When I’m scouring the internet for the best articles to share in the Fiore Feed (our weekly compilation email newsletter), nothing quite catches my eye like a how-to blog post. (I blame Pinterest and my obsession with DIY projects.) One of these articles that recently caught my fancy but didn’t make the cut was 89 Simple Swaps That Could Change Your Life. (It’s worth a read if your New Year’s Resolutions focus on health and wellness.)
Laura Schwecherl’s post got my wheels turning: What are some simple changes that our clients can make that will help them grow as they seek to reach their audiences? So, in the style of Ms. Schwecherl, I present to you four simple swaps that can change your content marketing (no tofu or gym memberships required):
1. Swap all-automated posts for a mix of automated and real-time posting.
You’ve seen the horror stories: A news team posts a silly picture alongside a headline about a recent murder or a clothing brand tweets about its latest sale in the middle of a national tragedy. They have one thing in common: someone scheduled a post and didn’t follow up. While we try to (and should) plan ahead with content marketing, we simply can’t neglect our homepages and social feeds.
- When tragedy happens, it is a good practice to reschedule posts to a later date. (And please, oh please, don’t use someone else’s misfortune to promote yourself or your product.)
- Occasionally spot-check your scheduled posts after they’ve been delivered to your newsfeed to ensure they’ve been posted correctly and without typos.
- Turn on your notifications and check your email for messages about interactions. It’s easy to miss a retweet or a direct message if you do all scheduling through a third-party app. If you’re using HootSuite, be sure to add the relevant interaction streams (Like messages for Facebook).
- Schedule blog posts, but respond to new followers in real-time. When you interact with your audience instead of sending automatic one-size-fits-all messages, you’ll start cultivating relationships that will extend beyond Twitter.
2. Swap just posting for interacting and following.
Doing nothing but posting to social platforms is like repeatedly walking into a room, shouting and then leaving. You’re going to be ignored. Again, step away from your automation tool once in a while and actually visit your social profiles.
- Add to the conversation by commenting on your followers’ or potential followers’ posts.
- Join groups on LinkedIn and Google+ to get involved with others in your industry (and maybe find new talent).
- Unfollow irrelevant or spam accounts, and remove them from your list of followers to keep your audience focused and real.
- Follow new people who post things your customers would want to see (repin, retweet, share, repeat) and new leads you want to convert into customers.
3. Swap ignoring your email lists for cultivating them.
Everyone on your email list used to open your newsletter, but that number has been dwindling since you started. It’s time to give that list new life with these content marketing email swaps.
- Cut the fat. If your messages keep getting hard bounced when you send to certain email addresses, you need to cut those from your list. All they are doing is skewing your analytics and harming your sender reputation.
- If you are a smaller organization and personally know a lot of the people on your list, it should be easier to get updated contact information for users whose emails are hard bouncing or who have suddenly stopped opening emails. They could have changed internet providers, gotten a new job, etc., but still want to receive your emails. Reach out to a few contacts per week and update their information.
- Ask your clients what they want. If you send out several types of emails (monthly company updates, weekly workshop announcements, etc.) give your audience the option of picking what they get and how frequently they get it. Separate your master list into several different smaller lists and send accordingly. This will keep your readers happy and limit those who unsubscribe.
- Consider dumping those that just aren’t that into you. If someone hasn’t opened an email in two years, they’re not likely to open one now. But if you can’t cut them from your list, consider putting this category of contacts into a separate email list so they won’t negatively affect your analytics.
- Ask for new subscribers. Share an invitation to subscribe in a Facebook post, put a pop-up on your website or ask new connections for their email address so that you can sign them up. Whatever you do, make sure the emails you put on your list belong to people who’ve actually asked to receive email from you.
4. Swap sending and forgetting for analyzing and growing.
Imagine asking your team members to tackle a project and then never, ever talking about it again. Businesses don’t work this way because results and performance matter. So should the outcome of every single content marketing email you send.
- Track stats over time. While it’s good to compare your analytics to industry standards, a great metric is your own performance over time. Knowing your average delivery, open and click-through rates will allow you put the performance of every new email into perspective.
- Compare stats collected over similar time periods to get an accurate view of performance. We provide our clients with email overnight reports. They paint a picture of how their email has performed in approximately 12-24 hours. We might resend to bounces and update performance stats as requested, but we keep those overnight reports. This way they can be compared across email campaigns. For bigger projects, we also collect stats at the one-week and one-month marks.
- Use your analytics to shape content and delivery. After performing some tests, we discovered that our readers are more likely to open the Fiore Feed late on a Friday afternoon, when they have a little time to read business, writing and marketing articles. That is why you can expect a Feed in your inbox after 3:00 every Friday. Similarly, you can test send times, subject lines, design and content type to shape the way you build and deliver your emails.
Our mission is to help our clients reach their audiences so that they can tell their stories, and we use tools such as social media and email marketing to make it happen. While you’re busy setting financial goals for your business or association this year, don’t forget to set benchmarks for customer relationships and interaction via content marketing. Let us know which simple swaps worked for you.