strategic content

Trying to Envision the Right Content Strategy? Try These Content Lenses

You've got a website. You update it from time to time. You write blogs and post on social media. But guess what – when it comes to content, that's not enough anymore. To get your messages and information to the people you need to reach, you've got to have a content strategy. That is, you need a strategic combination of rich content that will help you engage with your audiences (including prospects, customers, influencers and even employees).

When you think of the different types of content you can provide to each audience, it helps to consider them through these three lenses:

  • Lens #1: Your Sales Funnel: Different types of content will be helpful to the people you want to reach at each stage of their journey. In the early “Awareness” stage, you want to help them feel like they’re discovering you, even as you are reaching out to them. As they progress to the “Consideration” stage, you aim to support their evaluation process. Finally, as prospects become ready to make their decisions in the “Buy” stage, it’s time to reinforce their confidence, helping them feel secure that in choosing you, they’ve chosen wisely and well.
  • Lens #2: Their Preferred Platform: Where do your audiences want to get different kinds of communications - at work, at home, or in transit? On their laptops, tablets or phones? Through a browser or a dedicated app? In some tangible, analog form like paper? When is it appropriate to reach out to them directly? And when should you streamline their ability to find you via a combination of search engine and social media optimization, as well as well-placed and timely advertising, articles, sponsorships, etc.
  • Lens #3: Their Experience: Many of us like to believe that our buying decisions are based solely on objective information and logic. But the truth is that our subjective emotions factor significantly into all of our decisions. Your audience’s overall experience reflects both essential information and emotional connection – and the right content strategy meets them at multiple points along that objective-to-subjective continuum.

 

These are just a few components of a comprehensive content strategy. You can - and should - examine many types of content through these lenses as you build yours.

 

Look through all three lenses together, and you will see how the right strategic combination of content will help you reach all of your audiences:

  • At every point in their journey
  • Where and how they want
  • In ways that touch them both objectively and emotionally.

In short, you’ll have a fully visualized content strategy to help you both connect with and guide everyone your business wants to influence and engage.


website development

Building a Website? Pay Attention to These 3 Things

Website development once meant little more than making an extended, online version of the company’s business card and brochure. Understatement: today's websites aren’t that shallow anymore. Your website must be a sophisticated communications tool that will show up in the right Google searches, reflect the digital experience you want for your site visitors, and communicate your brand strategy, offerings and advantages. In other words, building a website requires concepting, engineering and continual adjustment and maintenance. Let’s take a look at all three:

Concepting and Setup

Regardless of whether you’re updating an existing website or starting fresh, treat it as a new project.  If you haven’t already, choose a domain name that can improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking in Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. You can use a do-it-yourself site builder like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace. Or you can build a more tailored site with a hosting service that can handle the traffic that you expect as you grow. If you choose a hosting service, you’ll also want a Content Management System (CMS) such as WordPress(great for information), Magento (great for e-commerce), Drupal (useful for higher security).

Think strategically about your audience and their needs to present your brand and core values with a clear, concise and consistent message.  Now ask yourself: What content will support this strategy? Create a site map and hone it to lead people to the most critical aspects of your core business. Design wireframes that reflect your ideal customer’s journey, including the information and images that will appear on each page and where they will link.

Pro tips for better SEO: Include a minimum of 150 words on each page with links to outside sources and pages within your site.  Keep your primary message as consistent as possible. And do so while avoiding clear duplication of content within your website.

Design

Making your website look good should be part of your design mission – but more than that, your site design should make the customer journey easy to follow. Draw attention to the path that visitors should take when moving from general information to more specific content. Start with one of the many templates available in most do-it-yourself platforms and CMS systems.  Choose a design concept that reflects your brand image and is mobile-friendly, since these days, most people view the web on their phones or tablets. Of course, hiring a web designer can help you better customize your site.

Integrate social media channels with your site and use social media to reach out to your followers. Create a blog to share thought leadership, valuable industry information, announce products and promote events.  And remember to test every link to save visitors from the frustration of being sent to a 404 page.

Maintenance

Keep your website alive and growing as a reflection of your business as you optimize site performance.  A small snippet of code allows Google Analytics to track who is visiting your site, how long they spend on pages and even where they live. The Google Search Console can give you even more detailed information.  Bing Webmaster Tools also can help you understand what’s working and what isn’t on your web site. Using information gleaned from these tools, you may find that your customers are not spending time on something you consider vital. Are they uninterested, or is the path to that information not as clear as it could be? Armed with this information, you can adjust your website, giving it regular tune-ups and updating your content regularly to align with your customers’ evolving interests.

Use these basic principles to guide your efforts, whether you’re building a new website or updating an existing one. However you proceed, move forward with intention to design your site as a "must-have" business presence that produces strategic results, as well.


How to Set Your 2020 Marketing Goals

A 5-step process for leaders of corporate, product and employer brands

Fall always seems like the right time for new beginnings. For some of us, it goes back to the “fresh start” of a still-new school year. Maybe it’s the feeling of crisp cool breezes and brightly colored leaves, or the smell of all those “pumpkin spices” at the coffee shop. And, it’s definitely the time to set your 2020 marketing goals and plan for the coming year. Which sounds great in concept, but doing it is another matter. Is there a best way to set marketing goals? How should you even get started?

Here at Relish Marketing, we’ve got your back, with a proven, five-step process for setting marketing goals that connect to measurable results.

1. Align with Strategic Objectives

It’s likely that your corporate leadership has given you a head start with strategic business objectives. They probably have been asking questions having to do with historical performance and necessary next steps for the future. And, that’s the right place to start when you’re developing the coming year’s marketing goals. Look carefully at those objectives and determine how marketing can best support them.

 2. Define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs measure how – and how well – you achieve your objectives. So, if the objective is to improve sales by 50 percent, look at your past lead generation and conversion stats. Consider what your top competitors have been doing and follow industry research aggregators, so you can see how you compare to the rest of your industry.  To what extent should you seek to improve the number of leads you generate and convert? And to what extent will you aim to improve the rates at which those leads are generated and converted? Likewise, if your goal is to strengthen your workforce, define KPIs around the number of qualified applicants you attract in each job category, the rate at which applicants become hires, and the cost of hiring. Either way, define those metrics.

3. Identify Tactics and Deliverables (plus what you’ll need to complete them)

For each KPI, determine what marketing tactics will best accomplish the desired results. Ask yourself: Who are the audiences for each one of your marketing efforts – and what channels will best reach them? What deliverables will you need to support each tactic? And what resources will be required to activate each one? Consider costs – both in the context of what you can afford to do and in terms of likely returns on investment (AKA what you can’t afford not to do). What should your team tackle in house, and what may make more sense to do with an outside partner? This part of the process is what turns specific goals into tangible ways to achieve them.

 4. Prioritize Activation

It would be great if prioritization were simply a matter of organizing your tactics and deliverables according to high, medium and low business priorities. And make no mistake, that scale is important. But you should also sort that same list according to other criteria. Determine what must get done immediately, within the next six months, and by the end of the year. Then sort it yet again on a continuum of ease. That is, which activities are "low hanging fruit" that you can address quickly and easily? And which ones will require more time and effort? Finally, consider dependencies – what projects must be completed before other projects can begin? Look at your tactics and deliverables through all of these lenses. That perspective will help you position your goals to generate as much success as possible.

5. Put it All Together

Armed with all this information, you should be able to set your 2020 marketing goals, including strategies, tactics, deliverables, audiences, responsibilities for your internal and external teams, and budgeting for each. It almost doesn't matter whether you use a detailed time management program or just a simple spreadsheet. Having everything delineated and scheduled for all partners to see makes it easier to get buy-in, track progress and ensure accountability.

Does it still feel a bit daunting? If so, you’re probably doing it right. But you don’t have to do it alone. Full disclosure: This is the process we at Relish Marketing follow to help our clients develop their corporate, product and employer brand marketing plans. But even if you’re tackling this process internally, we’re genuinely happy to help you do it. Email us as you work through thoughts, ideas and concerns. For instance, are you seeing prices for strategic, creative and production work that seem unusually high or low? We deal with these numbers every day. Go ahead and ask us if they're on target. We can tell you if they are – and if they're not, we can help you determine what questions you should be asking about them.

Either way, the time is now to set your marketing goals for 2020. So, grab yourself a coffee (pumpkin spice optional) and get started.

 


Thought Leadership: What it Is, Why it Matters, How to Achieve it.

What is Thought Leadership?

You recognize it when you see it. Sometimes, it’s a codified approach to your business that goes beyond “the way things have always been done.”  Other times, it connects the dots of experience, information, trends and statistics in ways that demonstrate fresh perspectives. Almost always, thought leadership asks and explores important questions like, “Why?” and “What if?” And, it provides answers that are accessible, attractive and compelling.

Thought leadership matters to your audiences – whether they’re customers, prospects, job candidates, employees, colleagues or partners. That’s because thought leaders provide insights into their business and brands that can help them succeed. They clarify perspectives and help them make smart decisions. Likewise, when you are the source of that thought leadership, you have taken a giant step toward reinforcing your credibility as a trusted resource and authority.

Content Marketing is the Key

If a great idea is published and nobody reads it, it’s not really thought leadership. So, yes, you have to create great content. You also have to develop a compelling strategy for distributing that content where and how your audiences want it. Search engine optimization is part of the process. So is placement. Find the sites that your customers and potential customers frequent – and find ways to get mentioned there. Maybe you can work out a reciprocal blog arrangement. If your audiences spend time on key online user groups, you should be there, too.

Your distribution approach should also include ways to leverage your thought leadership across multiple media. Its first appearance may be in a whitepaper. But it could also be reframed as an entertaining infographic, video or interactive eBook. If you're interviewed for a podcast or article, those compelling concepts and insights should show up there, too. Put it all together, and you will inform, inspire and even entertain your audiences. You also will reinforce your position as a trusted authority and move toward achieving trust, buy-in and advocacy.

Could You Be a Thought Leader?

It’s a heady question. Think about your areas of expertise, passion and focus. Consider the big questions that your audiences are asking: Where is this industry going, and why? What are the internal and external forces behind critical changes? What conventional approaches no longer work – and what new ones do? Ask yourself what kinds of issues worry your customers – and how you can codify insights that help them.

Then, look at the different ways in which you should be sharing your perspectives. The best thought leadership resonates with people in different ways, from the rational to the emotional. And all of those ways are important as you help take people through multiple levels of awareness and enthusiasm.

Finally, remember that any new, innovative ideas will have to withstand challenges., consider the degree to which you’re willing and able to defend your ideas. Achieving the respect and authority that comes with recognized thought leadership doesn’t happen overnight. But the journey through developing and championing powerful approaches and innovative insights will be worth the effort.


Our Brand Promise

When we work with clients, we talk about the importance of their brand promise – but what does that mean? It’s not necessarily a tagline or headline (although it can be). Nor is it a description of features and benefits (although that can inform it). Your brand promise is what customers can expect to get – both functionally and emotionally – when they engage with the brand. And it’s important because that’s the metric against which your customers will measure their experiences. So, it not only has to sound attractive and compelling; it also has to reflect reality.

This year, as Relish Marketing looks forward to celebrating its 10thanniversary, we’ve taken on ourselves as a client. Which means we’ve been taking a fresh look at our communications and exploring our own brand promise.

To that end, we spoke with many of our clients, representing large enterprises and growing businesses in sectors ranging from consumer goods to professional services. And we learned that the Relish brand promise is driven in equal parts by three key components:

  • Strategy + Creative
    For us, the combination of strategy and creative is so important …. Relish is excellent in both areas – and that’s so much of what makes great work. – Carol Galbreath, Senior Director of PR and Communications, Georgia Dental Association
    [At] some agencies, they start with a creative idea they try to retrofit strategy around… Relish understood what we were looking for… and integrated the creative into that approach. –Chris McCarthy, Marketing Director, Sargento Foods
  • Integrity + Attention
    The work has always been high integrity. You do what you say when you say you will do it.– David Asbury, Chief Executive Officer, Northwestern Benefit
    Even though I know Relish works with other law firms, I never worry that you’ll pitch something I’d see at another firm.– Karen Wilcox, President, Marketing Speaks; Marketing Consultant, Taylor English Duma LLP
  • Trusted Relationships
    You take the time to learn our company and come up with your best work. Over time a strong mutual trust develops that delivers better, honest feedback and improves the work on both sides. – Frans Mahieu, Global Director of Marketing HR, Kimberly-Clark
    It seems to me that Relish has thrived because of repeat business. That’s relationships. – Gareth Clarke, CEO (retired), Irrimax Corporation
    With Relish, I don’t feel like I’m calling on a vendor. I’m calling my team who’s in it with me and knows what we need to do. It’s not transactional, it’s relational.  – Rochelle Valsaint, Manager, Brand and Communications, Lenbrook Senior Living

Most importantly, our clients told us that while each of these components is valuable, the Relish experience happens in the dynamic created by all three together. And that’s our brand promise: The fusion of strategy and creative, driven by a commitment to integrity and attention, sustained by trusted relationships.

Our founder and President, Pam Willoughby, says that these very components are what inspired her to start Relish Marketing in the first place. “I’d seen too many marketing efforts executed in spite of creative that wasn’t strategic, a lack of integrity, and a distance between the agency and its clients. I knew there had to be a better way. And I wondered – if we focused on that fusion of strategy and creative, integrity and trusted relationships, how much better could it be?”

According to our clients, it can be “Powerful,” “Professional,” “Genuine,” and “A lot of fun.” And if we look at our brand promise as the starting point for the next ten years, well, we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about what’s ahead.


Life at Relish: Travel Bucket List

With a hint of spring in the air, our thoughts are starting to turn to travel and adventure. The team here at Relish Marketing has a long list of destinations on our bucket list. Here are the places that we want to go for renewal and inspiration.

Alan

One destination on my (and my wife’s) bucket list is definitely Italy.  More accurately, Venice and the Tuscan region.  It’s a place I have always admired for its beauty and more importantly, its wonderful food.  Being from New York, I have always loved going to Little Italy, and I really want to try the “real thing.”

CJ

When our children were growing up, we entered an au pair program (interestingly, on the advice of our friend, Pam Willoughby!). We’ve since dreamed of a big trip to visit them all in Turkey, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, England, Norway, and Poland (although our Polish au pair now lives in the U.S.).

Jasmine

I love to travel, so there are many places on my list. The places I absolutely have to go to are: Egypt to see the pyramids and the temples. Bora Bora to be on an island far, far away and experience total relaxation in an overwater bungalow. Italy to indulge in pasta and wine while touring the cities and countryside. South Africa/Madagascar to soak up the culture and beautiful beaches.

Jennifer

Like many, my travel bucket list is very long. But, between the descriptions by a favorite author (Orhan Pamuk), memories of a dearly beloved Nancy Drew mystery (The Mysterious Mannequin), and the lure of the Bosporus Strait, Istanbul holds a place at the top of my list.

Kat

Ireland - I want to sketch inside as many castles as I can. Japan - Cherry blossoms in the spring. Please! South Africa - Kruger National Park. Singapore - Marina Bay Sands Hotel... look it up. Morocco - Sahara Desert meets Casablanca.

Mia

My bucket list is way too long to list, so I will share my next big international trip. My goal is to visit several locations in Thailand at the end of this year and several locations in Africa next year. Both are two big bucket list items.

Michael

My #1 travel destination is Palermo, Sicily (and the entire island in general). My grandfather immigrated to America from there when he was a boy in the 1890’s and I’ve always wanted to see where he and my family came from.

Pam

I have a very long bucket list for travel. First up is Budapest and Dubrovnik. I have had a thing for Scotland (kilts!) since I was a teenager, so I definitely want to travel there and possibly Ireland. I am also in conversation with a good friend about a trip to Bali or Thailand for a meditation/yoga retreat. The world is such a big place and I have seen so little of it.

Paul

There are 2 places that I’d love to visit. For 30 years, I’ve wanted to visit Thailand for its architectural and historic beauty, and for authentic Thai food. It also helps that, from what I hear, there are beautiful beaches! The other place is Paris, because it’s, well... Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Life at Relish: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! The transition to 2019 has had all of us at Relish Marketing thinking not so much about resolutions as about what we’d just as soon leave behind with the old year – and what new things we hope to grow for ourselves going forward:

Pam
Don’t want in 2019 – Procrastination. Do want in 2019 – To enhance business development for Relish and more yoga for me personally!

Jennifer
I want to leave that propensity to reflect (obsess?) on my to-do list and that nagging feeling that something is undone behind. Good riddance. And in 2019, I want to grow my ability to live and take in the now and enjoy the experience that I am in at any given moment.

CJ
I want to get rid of self-doubt and inertia, my two greatest nemeses. And I’m hoping to grow creative expression across all my favorite media – and time to revel with family and friends.

Paul
What I hope won’t follow me into 2019: My compulsion to save/store old things that I haven’t used in years. And to grow in the new year? Design and technical skills in video editing/production.

Michael
Less division. More compromise.

Mia
Something from 2018 that I hope won’t follow me into 2019? My social media addiction. And what I hope will grow for me in the new year?  Money and opportunities :)

Alan
Something I do not want is to come close and lose in my fantasy football league AGAIN. One thing I really do want is to travel somewhere I have never been to.

Jasmine
I don’t want to be on social media more than 3 hours total per week unless it’s work-related. I do want to travel more and experience different cultures.

What are YOU looking forward to this year? We’d love to hear about it.

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client workWork with us! Contact here.

 


Links We Savor: Brain Boosting Apps, Facebook Ad Strategies, Using Data to Influence Consumers & more

4 Ways Data Can Influence Consumers

At Relish, we believe that great creative becomes more powerful when it’s backed up by compelling research. But just as data can (and should) come from multiple sources, the real power of research is in the way it is used. And this AdAge story offers some great ways to use data to your advantage as you influence and acquire new customers.

5 Apps to Boost Your Brain Power

What are our phones doing to our brains? If time with your top apps sometimes leaves you fuzzy-headed, you might share our fascination with these five apps designed to boost brain power and maybe even make us smarter.

3 Strategies that Will Make Your Facebook Ads More Successful

Social media marketing can be a great way to reach your audience. And Facebook ads have even more potential since it’s the platform with the most active users – if you use it right. Learn how these three strategies that can help your Facebook ads be more successful.

8 Ways to Use Content to Skyrocket User Engagement

Content may be king, but the real prize is user engagement – when people enjoy the experience of connecting with your business online and keep coming back for more. Especially in a world where consumers are constantly bombarded by content, you’ll want to see these ways to turn great content into great relationships.

Burger King Takes on the Pink Tax

Did you know that products specified “for women” are priced an average of 13% higher than the same product marketed to the general population – and sometimes even higher? It’s known as  “The Pink Tax” and we love how Burger King raised awareness about it with their “Chick Fries” stunt campaign. Take a look.


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us!


3 Rules for Great Videos

It’s easy to see the many ways in which video can support your marketing and grow business. After all, more than 73% of consumer internet traffic is video – and that number is growing. Likewise, video in an email can double – or even triple – click-through rates. But is all video alike? Of course not. Videos can run the gamut from documentary-style storytelling and broadcast television style to a talk-show format, “live illustration” explainer video, or even short, animated GIFs. But we’ve identified three essential rules that can help you make the right video for your business:

    1. Know your audience. Who needs to see this video? Why do they need to see it? And what biases and preconceptions are they bringing with them? Also, how are they likely to be viewing it – in the office? In a theater-style presentation? Or on their mobile phones? The answers to these key questions will tell you a lot about the kind of video you’ll need to produce.
    2. Know your message. As in any other media, a clear focus is essential. Even a highly engaging video will be a waste of resources if you don’t begin with a solid understanding of what it needs to communicate. So, always start by asking yourself this: If people walk away from the video knowing, learning and/or feeling one thing, what must that be?
    3. Know your limits, specifically, in these important areas:
      • Budget – Unless you have the technology and expertise you’ll need to create the results you want on your own, you’re going to need to invest in videography – and this is definitely an area in which you get what you pay for. A brilliant videographer can get great results using little more than an iPhone and smart lighting, but poor-quality DIY video – and make no mistake, that’s most self-made video – can actually do more harm than good. That said, you don’t necessarily need to have a broadcast-TV production budget to achieve results. A well-written, smartly produced video can be highly effective – and surprisingly affordable if you’re willing to use stock videography, simple animation and/or no voiceover.
      • Expertise and Experience – A quality video requires quality visual design, storyboarding, writing and production. And keep in mind that you may be good at writing whitepapers, but if you don’t have scriptwriting experience, that skill may not automatically transfer to a video about the same subject.
      • Talent – In video, talent typically refers to the people seen and heard on-screen or heard in the voiceover. Those faces and voices can make the difference in how credible your video comes across to audiences. That said, you may know your technology backward and forward, but that knowledge may not translate to a compelling video presence.

Armed with the essential knowledge these three rules will give you, you’ll be able to best identify, evaluate and get the best ROI from any investment you make in video. Whether you’re aiming for an Emmy Award or you want to support sales and promote learning opportunities, the right resources will help you leverage your team’s skills and knowledge and produce a video that delivers results.


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us!