Content creation is like a baseball game. You can’t hit a homerun all the time. Sometimes you score by getting a single here or a double there. Sometimes you don’t get on base, but move the runners. However, after doing that is when the runs come in and it makes the sometimes painfully slow game pay off.
Good content takes a while to master. It’s not always an overnight success, and that’s one reason I think some companies are skeptical to commit to it. They fear that they won’t succeed, and often these companies don’t have a lot of wiggle room for error due to tight cash flow.
If you are a company that really is interested in creating good content, here are some things to help you get started:
Get the execs onboard
The best content creation companiest are those that have upper management sold on the idea. This won’t go anywhere if your CEO is questioning what you are doing all the time and wondering what it is worth. It will end quickly.
Hire a full-time person to lead the efforts
While this might be taking money out of my agency’s pocket, I do realize that having someone internally to lead the charge will make the process go smoothly. I’ve worked with companies that had us leading it and others that had someone else that directed it with our assistance. For me personally, it ran better when it was someone’s dedicated job was to do that.
Create a content calendar
What tends to happen with companies that I’ve worked with in the past that assign the receptionist to “handle” their content is that they are often bogged down with work and post something thoughtless and sloppy just to mark it off their to-do list. The idea behind a content calendar is to get people thinking not about just tomorrow, but 6-8 weeks down the road and how they might hijack stories that other media outlets are writing.
If you are interested in content creation, then really you need to cannonball into it. It’s more detrimental to start and stop than to not create content at all. We’ve all had that friend that says he or she is going to lose weight. They start and stop over and over, and the next time they bring it up you roll your eyes and think “not again.” The same goes for your audience when they see you do this with your content.
Google Fiber has committed to finishing the network build out of the existing iProvo fiber network to every home in Provo.
Currently there are 35,000 homes in Provo and only 9,000 are currently connected.
It costs $600 to $1,000 to connect each home.
To connect the additional 26,000 homes (figuring an average $700 per home) will be an $18 million infrastructure investment.
There will be a $30 activation fee, but basic Internet will be free for seven years. Additional services such as higher bandwidth, TV service etc. will have subscription fees.
The approximate investment Google Fiber will make in Provo is about $50 million.
- Professionals with fewer grammar errors in their profiles had achieved higher positions.The profiles of those who’d failed to achieve director-level positions within the first 10 years of their careers made 2.5 times as many grammar mistakes as their director-level colleagues.
- Fewer grammar errors correlate with more promotions. Professionals with 6-9 promotions made 45% fewer grammatical errors than those who’d been promoted 1-4 times.
- Aggressive – Quick to enter a trade, but may exit quickly when a loss appears
- Intuitive – Relies on emotional intuition to get in and out of trades
- Analytical – Analyzes every possible variable before taking action
- Methodical – Likely to trade on a system, not much regard to gains and losses
How do you reuse your content? Who has the most “extreme” example?
Before I decided to major in public relations in college I was studying history to one day become a professor. I’ve always been fascinated by the things we can learn when we look back on the mistakes and successes of our ancestors.
- Resolve to diversify your income. You can diversify your money by taking a small portion of your income and putting it to work for you in other investments. Doing so will put your money to work and give you additional forms of income in addition to your job earnings. Even $50 - $100 more per week in earned income can have a significant impact on your personal finance situation. It allows you to trade money for money instead of just time for money.
- Resolve to use leverage. Like any industry that uses tools, leverage is the tool of choice in the financial world. Using small amounts of collateral or money deposits to control larger amounts of investment gives your money a bigger bang for your buck. A lot of people don’t understand what leverage is or how to use it. If you resolve to learn how to use it properly, it can become a powerful tool to allow you to do things with your personal investments that you couldn’t do before.
- Resolve to diversify your risk. Risk diversification is key to financial success, but most people fail to diversify risk correctly by forgetting most of their assets are in U.S. dollars. Diversifying some of your assets in foreign denominated currency can add that last bit of safety you need in case of a deterioration of the U.S. dollar.
- Resolve to invest in yourself. You don’t need to eat the entire financial elephant in one sitting, instead commit to investing a small amount of time each week learning new financial strategies and concepts. In just a few short weeks, your new found knowledge can sharpen your financial skills and senses.
- Resolve to follow your personal investing style. Just as certain physical traits are more conducive to different sports or certain personality traits are helpful in different professions, each person has financial traits conducive to different styles of financial management – financial traits that are good for success. Learn what makes you tick and invest based on your personal financial trait.
- Resolve to always pre-calculate your risk of loss. Any time you put money to work, there is a risk of loss. Risk of loss should not be a problem if you correctly calculate the risk before you invest and are financially willing to accept some predicted loss. A good investment is one where the potential gain is greater than the pre-calculated loss.
- Resolve to mix-up your markets. There are more markets than just the stock market - or the mutual fund market. There are five separate and independent financial markets: stocks, bonds, derivatives, commodities, and currency. Not all markets move the same way at the same time. This opens up new opportunities for profit as well as protection. Learning what the other markets are and their structure and advantages can give you a leg up in your financial future.
This article originally appeared in my regular column at Forbes.com:
My company is booming. I’d like to say I’m one of the lucky ones – but thankfully, at least in the Salt Lake City region, I’m hearing the same from scores of other businesses too.
At just under six years old, our communications agency has closed a record November, a record December, and a record year in 2012.
Yes, we have put the recession behind us. But I attribute much of our recent success to progress we’ve made in helping to evolve the model of communications. The traditional models for public relations are not the factors that matter most any more (although they still do matter, and in my opinion, always will.)
SEO – Social SEO – and Social Media are giant factors in the new communications equation. So is content development. Content that “promotes” has little or no use to today’s impatient consumers. Efficient communications, and content that provides a high value-add is the name of the game. Broadcast is increasingly important. Infographics. Video. eBooks. Columns and authorship. Several of our strongest clients have published or are currently in the process of publishing books.
Our own business model is evolving as well. Generally speaking, the function of communications holds an increasingly vital role at the executive table. Organizations are realizing the role communications strategy and execution can play in their very success.
We are providing services that are more leveraged, with the help of new tools. Our hope is to make PR tools available to an entire generation of new consultants and to startup and growth companies who couldn’t afford traditional agency resources before.
We’re growing upward and outward at once.
Here’s my 2013 wish list:
- 75% growth—while adding just 25% to our company headcount. Software tools and contractor resources will help us accomplish this goal.
- Affordable healthcare. So far so good – amazingly, the insurance package our provider was able to offer has given us the option of traditional PPO policies again, at least for this year. Next year may be another question—but for now we are good.
- Workable tax rates. Like all business owners in America, we are holding our breath.
And my 2013 fears:
In honesty, we’ve designed our growth model around the need to hedge our bets on our fears. To achieve high growth, our model relies increasingly on software tools and contractor resources. We can’t risk the additional overhead of more space, more employees, and probable increases in business-unfriendly tax legislation. We’ve watched too many agencies be felled not by their inabilities, but by the leases they signed and the staffs they hired in advance of actual needs, putting them in positions they couldn’t successfully unwind. We will never make that mistake.
But what are my other fears?
- I’m concerned that some of the new functionality we offer may prove to be more difficult to obtain, to share and maintain than we think.
- I also worry that if we configure or price our tools incorrectly, it will cost us invaluable time.
- I fear the prospect of creating and enacting a pro forma for a company that includes a SaaS software component. While I know how to forecast and operate a service company like the back of my hand, modeling a hybrid company that provides both service and software is another story. I will need help. Thankfully, we have superb mentors, including several of our most accomplished client partners, Alan Hall and David K. Williams, who are available to help and advise in these tasks.
We live and work in volatile times. But for the most part, as I survey the year ahead of us, I am extremely excited. Our business has never been more ready to go.
I’m a big fan the Zeitgeist report and video that Google releases at the end of every year. It serves as an informative look back at notable events and people—things that defined the world’s conversations throughout the year. Although the report leads me to personally reflect on how my perspective has been impacted by events going on around me, it can also serve as a tool for marketing professionals.
It’s important to stay up to date on the things that matter. It seems like Americans’ attention spans are shorter than ever before, and what was cool yesterday can be irrelevant today. Stakeholders better receive a company’s messaging, outreach, and social media activities if they perceive the company has a good pulse on reality, a pulse on the things that matter to them.
Am I suggesting your news releases feature viral videos from the likes of Korean pop sensation PSY? Not exactly. But you should stay up to date about what’s hot using a site such as Google Trends and look for opportunities to correlate your news with what others are talking about.
So what did people search for in 2012? Here’s Google’s list of the top 10 searches worldwide:
4. iPad 3
5. Diablo 3
8. Amanda Todd
What will be big in 2013? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Six of the 10 PR disasters of 2012, according to a BusinessInsider article on Monday, started on Twitter. For example, a twitter campaign by McDonald’s backfired in January when people started using the #McDStories for negative stories instead of the positive ones the marketing team had anticipated. “Fingernail in my Big Mac” and “Hospitalized for food poisoning…” made its rounds on Twitter. #notthestoriestheywanted. Or remember the Tweeted photo of the Burger King employee standing in lettuce in July? #gross. Or more recently, when American Apparel (and several other big brands) exploited Hurricane Sandy as an excuse to offer sales to victims? (Are you bored during the storm?” the company tweeted. – #PRfail.) Burger King fired the lettuce-stomping employee, McDonalds pulled the hashtag as soon as it saw the campaign going south, and American Apparel chose not to do anything. All three brands suffered to varying degrees.
So how can you take advantage of the benefits of reaching thousands – even millions – of potential customers on social media without falling victim to social media gaffes that land your company on the front page for all the wrong reasons?
Put a social media policy in place. While this wouldn’t have mattered for the #hugeidiot that posted photos of himself in lettuce at Burger King, it should establish set guidelines that will help guide the majority of your employees to keep on topic with positive stories from your company.
Make sure your employees understand that while they are free to express their views, if they reference being an employee of your company in any posts or choose to discuss company happenings, they basically represent your company at all times, even off the clock.
In light of this, your social media policy should include at least some of the following:
1. Be Yourself: On your main social media page (whether Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or a personal blog), make it clear to your readers that the views you express are yours alone and that they do not necessarily reflect the views of your company.
2. Be Confidential: Avoid disclosing any information that is confidential or proprietary to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to your company.
3. Be Respectful: Since your Twitter or Facebook account - or blog - is a public space, be as respectful to the company, its employees, its customers, its partners and affiliates, and others (including competitors) as the company itself endeavors to be. If you start to get negative feedback, count to 10 before responding. Consult your company’s PR/marketing team to help determine the best way to continue the discussion, if at all.
4. Be Mindful: Know that as with any coverage, your company is watching for and tracking any mention. They will see your posts. Speaking of which, limit social media while at work to posts and comments related to work as part of an intelligent, strategically directed social media campaign. Even more important, if you have any doubt about whether to Tweet or post something on Facebook, have someone you trust look at it first!!
Am I missing anything? Do you have any stories to share of Tweets gone bad?