Blogs and insight related to content marketing in the digital world.

organizing content with a pad of paper and pen on top of a keyboard

Organizing Web Content

Here at Paramount: we’ve built a lot of websites for almost every kind of company. Without fail, organizing web content is the most challenging part of the process for even our most organized and dedicated clients. With often varying pages of content and more and more elements that are easily forgotten – almost inevitably – there is either too much content or not nearly enough! We’ve created this guide to give you some tips on organizing your website content into a meaningful and productive process. But sorry, you still have to write the content yourself.

Locate Your Assets

The first step in organizing your content is to make sure you take an inventory of everything that is both existing contributions to the new site & those needing to be sourced.

For Example

  • Your Current Website: It can be your best friend. Sometimes all you need to develop NEW content is to refresh what’s already there.
  • Your Search Engine Metrics: At Paramount, before we redesign a client’s website, we have our software “crawl” your site like a search engine would and return a list of all pages, what they stand out for (good or bad) as well as specific on-page SEO Elements. Your current digital footprint shows you where your new content can, or should be the most impactful.
  • Marketing Assets: Look through any and every piece of marketing you’ve ever put out. What messages were most successful and how were they presented? What messaging is your personal or marketing team’s favorite? What presents itself as tired or non-experiential? Combine elements that align with your online and company goals, and ensure those that don’t aren’t anywhere near your content.
  • Images: To show up well on today’s MANY different devices, digital images need to large, high resolution files. Look through old marketing, ask employees, and if you just know finding images is going to be a struggle, there are many places online – paid and free – to find high quality imaging for almost any industry.
  • Inspiration: When starting a new project of any kind, inspiration is truly an asset. In content creation – inspiration is crucial. Look at your competition, go back and read other websites or Facebook pages you’ve connected with or web offers that made you want to buy.

If you’re a new company, with little in terms of marketing materials, or branding statements – don’t be ashamed in looking to your competition, or even other companies you respect for inspiration. You’ll often find you have more at your disposal than you think.

Lay It Out

In whatever way makes the most sense to you, outline your pages into a list. Don’t worry about categorizing yet, just list every Page. If you can only think of subjects right now, that’s fine. Actual titles will come to you. Once you get this list – get that many blank pieces of paper and write your page titles or subject on the top. Use these individual pages for brief descriptions. Organize each page consistently. Think: Title? Check. Image(s)? Check. Copy? Check.

If you’re writing All New Content….

The Power of a Pad & Pencil  (yes, pencil):

Even though we’re a digital agency, you’ll find many of us prefer toting around our pads and pens over a laptop or tablet. Though this may seem counter intuitive to an efficient content writing process – there is something about handwriting that slows our minds down enough to actually think. We don’t get as ahead of ourselves and have more time to stay with our current thought. When you make a mistake (which is reason to use a pencil), use the time it takes you to erase it, to think about what you’re going to write in its place. Slowing your writing process down to a handwriting speed will craft you richer, more relevant content – as well as speed up the creative process in the long run.

If you’re NOT writing all new content….

The Power of your Customers and Colleagues:

Make a notecard for every page you listed. With all of your (even handwritten) cards, go to your colleagues and ask them to organize each card into groups and make notes about what pages are typically grouped together. You’ll quickly start to see that 1) most people group things in similar piles and 2) a few cards always switch between groups, depending on who is grouping them. Once a person has made their groups, have them name each group something they think fits. Maybe after you doctor up the pages a bit, try this with your customers too.

What you’re doing here is trying to understand how different people think of your content. Obviously colleagues may be more biased with how things should be organized based on department, etc. But why did they group “about us” with “history”? If there are cards that people struggle to group together, you may want to consider removing those pages from the site completely. Alternatively, you might want to take the content on those pages and combine it with another page.

If you don’t have the type of customers or colleagues to do this with you, take a look at your current website’s visitor flow. It will show you amazing things about how people get to your site, and where they travel within it once they’re there. You’ll quickly see eliminable pages in addition to content you may not want to change a bit.

Sort it out

After you have your groups named and you know the pages inside each group, you just have to put together the content doc. We just use a spreadsheet to document it all, which allows us to add some on-page elements to each page. It’s a nice way to keep everyone on the same page. When you get to this stage, let us know.

In Summary

Planning your site architecture can be a challenging task – especially when you’re converting legacy content! But, if you begin by taking an inventory and then enlisting the help of your colleagues and customers, you can pretty quickly decide what content should stay and where it should live inside the site.

guide to creating the perfect social media post for your business

Craft the PERFECT social media post, for ANY Platform.

Courtesy of www.mycleveragency.com

Courtesy of www.mycleveragency.com

When it comes to social media, there can be quite a bit that goes into that “perfect” post. Especially when you’re tailoring each post to multiple platforms, there are unique posting techniques to consider for maximum performance. This is based on research – and not platform preference – so its user minded. Use it to help your company take the next step in social media marketing. Or call us  if you have any questions! We love this stuff.

 

 

blocks stacked in a pyramid with social media logos displayed

10 Reasons Why Your Company NEEDS a Strong Social Media Presence

Social media isn’t just vital for your business, it’s actually a lot of fun.

Trust us, we know the world of social media may seem overwhelming! That’s why  it’s so important to choose the correct social media platform for your business and utilize social media correctly. We still get the question regularly: “Is social media worth it?” Here’s why its not only worth it but why its vital to your business.

10 Reasons Why Your Company NEEDS a Strong Social Media Presence

  1. Limitless Potential – Extends your customer reach to an audience that might have never known about you. The potential for new customers is limitless. On the other side of that same coin, company’s can now get extremely focused with who they target on social media eliminating wasted marketing spend.
  2. Branding – Think of your social pages or profiles as an additional storefront.  Make sure when potential customers are coming to your online storefront, that they are seeing your company’s brand identity.
  3. Connecting to Potential Customers = Increase in sales.  You don’t necessarily need to take it from us – just look at Major brands across every industry. They are using social media to raise awareness of their new products and services to generate leads and new business. That’s because it works. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a huge brand, or a small family owned company….if social media is done right, it will increase your sales.
  4. Social Media is the new Search – Yes people use Google and Bing still to search but they are also staying on their social media channels and searching for the answer as well as SOCIAL PROOF through reviews, etc.
  5. It’s Free!  Setting up your pages is free. Maintaining them is another story because it does take time and resources.  Hopefully after reading this list you see how important a strong social media presence is.
  6. Share Your Strengths and Insights– This is the new way to advertise your company’s value proposition!   Social Media has transformed business marketing into a forum that has trackable engagement and interactivity.  By sharing your strengths on social media, you position your company as the experts in your industry.
  7. Building Relationships with Direct Access – Customers, friends, fans, supporters have direct access to you which is something they have never had before. This can mean a lot of additional feedback, but also a built in engine to help manage it. The new age of customer service is here.
  8. Social Media Influences Search Engine Rankings– Search Engines incorporate social media into their algorithm when calculating results, so having a strong presence in Social Media carries over into SEO
  9. Competition – If your competitors are already using social media this should be a “no brainer.”  However, if they are not, you are a step above them. Companies that invest in Social Media now are connecting with their customers in a way other companies are not. Don’t just stand out in a a crowd, Rise ABOVE the crowd.
  10. Social Media is not going away!  It is not a fad, in fact it’s growing substantially, and staying for the foreseeable future.!   Time is increasing for the average person visiting social media websites, which means the time of reading newspapers, watching TV, and listening to radio is decreasing.

To get the conversation going about YOUR social media presence, reach out to us @ hello@paramountgr.com

 

Retail price tags with social media logos on them.

Leading Sales Teams in the Social Selling Era

Managing a sales team today is not really much different from managing one before the social media era. For some reason, many sales managers have been slow to embrace social selling as a viable and necessary sales channel. In contrast to the pre-social media era, you now have a high tech new resource to exploit and generate leads.  There is no denying that “social selling” is really just great selling empowered by the reach and direct engagement that social media platforms provide. Nevertheless, there are some important ways in which your sales team can modify behavior to distinguish themselves and your organization to win in the new world dictated by social media.

Considering those behavior patterns successful sales professionals are already using, it becomes clear that those who lead and coach salespeople need to modify their behavior, as well.  Here are seven simple rules for leading sales teams in the social selling era.

1. Encourage salespeople to contribute thoughtful content in relevant groups and forums.  

Buyers will engage with content that offers thoughtful commentary, will share genuine content, and pose direct questions to the contributor when the subject matter relates to the buyer’s business issues and opportunities.  Consider where your company’s prospective buyers might go to seek out information and encourage your sales people to genuinely engage in the various channels.

2. Help salespeople see the value of establishing a “Personal Brand”.  

If you haven’t heard the term before, a personal brand is meant to help others understand who you are semi-personally — and what you want to be known for professionally. Sellers who want to be seen as brokers of valuable resources need to put some effort into their online profiles and the messaging within them to ensure that their “personal brand” message is clear.

Once salespeople see the value of establishing or improving their personal brand online, their managers can help them to consider ways to strengthen and clarify their message.

3. Ensure buyer focus in all that they post.  

Buyers are no more forgiving of sellers that push their own agenda online than they are of sellers who do so offline.  In fact, online, buyers have the power to literally block and ignore salespeople who appear to be too focused on themselves, their products, and selling. Ensure your salespeople are asking themselves “How would potential AND current customers respond to this?”

4. Always guide their social engagement toward lead generation.

Your salesperson getting ‘Likes’ and ‘Shares’ obviously don’t pay the bills. Sales do. A sales manager in the social selling era must be instrumental in helping a salesperson convert social engagement into buyer commitment. Consider creating a “social engagement meeting” where you, the sales manager and your sales team focus some time and effort on even the earliest stages of engagement with potential clients or buyers. Simple guided discussions like …

“Tell me about John Doe. It looks like you have a productive exchange going with him in a LinkedIn group. What exactly does he do?  Have you asked him if he’d see any value in possibly having a phone conversation with you about the topic / reading our article about that topic / recommending anyone else who might also find value in discussing that topic?”

… can be really effective. The point is: salespeople should be encouraged to think about questions they can propose to those with whom they are engaged over social media.

5. Take an “investment” view on social selling. Make sure you stick with it long enough to see returns.  

Social selling tends to be a long sales cycle. Connections and contacts on social media must sometimes be nurtured before your salespeople will even get a shot at the ball. It must be treated as a supplemental sales program, though the best social sellers have made it a priority. Because of the nature of social interaction, salespeople must stick with social selling.  Sales managers should play a role in ensuring that they do.

6. Measure the impact of their efforts. 

As with any other sales effort – your team needs metrics for their social selling. A sales manager should encourage some discipline by helping salespeople to track their online efforts.

The frequency of a salesperson converting social media contacts into real, live customers or at least viable opportunities in a given time period will be good to know. Try giving each salesperson a target for social contact conversion, and revisit their progress periodically.

7. The world of buying and selling has changed. Old methods are becoming less effective. Help your team stay ahead of the curve.

If salespeople don’t pay attention to the way potential buyers want to interact online, then eventually, they’ll have no one with whom to interact!  The sales manager’s task is to help salespeople see the risk of not changing their methods and the potential payoff of engaging with buyers via social interaction.

Do you have examples, good or bad, of how sales managers or salespeople have adapted to the social selling era? Do you have questions about effective sales leadership in the new era of selling?  We’d love to hear them, so please offer your comments now.

Web developer sitting at desk in front of keyboard.

Creative Marketing

In a lot of ways, the phrase “creative marketing” is redundant. I mean if you can’t be creative in your marketing efforts then what’s the point, right? But then you look around and see the mediocre all around you, being utilized by even your competition, and you begin to understand the need for a distinction that will stand out, a campaign that can segregate the superior from the ordinary. We have a saying in marketing: ordinary becomes as good as suicide.

Does that mean creative marketing is only about avant garde ideas that will stun the audience and get an award? Not exactly. A colleague of mine once said, “Creativity is not the monopoly of the extraordinary; rather it is the art of creating the unforgettable out of the ordinary.” It has nothing to do with big budgets and extravagant comprehensive campaigns to advertise a brand. It is about finding the pulse which will reverberate in the minds of every audience, or at least the the audience to whom you’re most relevant. Know your audience, study them well so that you can find what will connect with them most. Anyone can sell a diaper to a young mother, but the one who sells healthy and rash free skin has more chances of winning.

A marketing strategy will only be effective when it takes into consideration all aspects of business and not just the end result. This is why marketing teams have to work in tandem with manufacturing teams and customer service to understand the nuances of the business and target market. A step by step approach through the 5 P’s is crucial at every stage.

 THE 5 P’S OF CREATIVE MARKETING:

• Product – Don’t sell blindly. Get time to know your product. Don’t depend on others to tell you the distinctions but get deeper into the making and the effects to know what the core benefit of the product is. Convince yourself, only then can you create a convincing campaign.

• Price – Everyone’s out to make profits so there’s nothing new there. What is important is how will you price your product and make it stand out in the competition. Mark it too cheap and your quality will be questioned. Make it too expensive and you will be branded as the ‘not worth it’ product. The idea is to offer same or almost same price as your rivals but offer optimum value for money. Market the value of your product – never the price – and you are ahead.

• Planning – When you have the price and product in place, its time to plan your strategies. The best campaigns don’t sell a dream, instead they offer the cushion of comfort. Try and understand the psychology of your audience and be the support for their greatest weakness. Everyone sells happy times, don’t be afraid to be the bulwark for the bad times as well.

• Promotion – How you promote the product is crucial to your success. There are of course the usual mediums of advertising and below the line promotions that can reach out to the masses. The best laid strategies of today’s marketing firms focus on organic promotion so that the product reaches out without fanfare, almost naturally.

• Place – Placing the product in the right place and the right time is important. If you’re putting out a new product, the last two stages should be completely in sync so that there is no gap between the promotion and availability of the product. If it’s not there the buyer WILL move on no matter how “unique” your product is. Be there.