Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category
Content, Content Everywhere, But Who Really Cares?
Do you ever feel that everyone is trying to get in the last word? We are living in a world that content flows from everywhere. Whether it’s your Facebook update, Twitter feed, blogs, or just texting to a friend or business professional. Look at me, read me, help me drive traffic to my website - CONTENT IS KING! Yet, there is a difference between content that spits out words vs. content that educates, elicits emotions, creates awareness and a community of followers to generate something truly engaging for the audience. There is something to be said about the ability for one to string words along as a chorus that creates a memorable melody. This type of content may just be a few words on a page or a couple paragraphs. Not everyone has the skills or the desire to create it, but only a select few have a special talent.
Everything takes time, dedication and creative inspiration before one can put the words on a page.
Madonna said it best in her song Express Yourself, and now everyone is craving regular content production in hopes a community will take notice and gravitate to their business. The search-engines love it too!
One can be recognized for their content and provide useful information to others. It’s about being a thought leader, standing up for your beliefs, offering value, or adding a new perspective to the ways in which we live our lives, as well as conduct business. Perhaps, it’s recounting an incident, or sharing an entertaining story that makes one feel good about his or herself. Be authentic in your approach when offering advice because the audience can see through someone’s dishonesty, disguise, as well as knowledge on a certain subject matter.
Are you at a loss for words? There are plenty of places to get inspired to start. Go to Google and start typing in keywords where an entire string of information will start to appear before your eyes with instant results. Also, try the Google Insights tool to gauge better what people are searching for across different categories, regions and more on the web. Watch current events and newsworthy stories that are creating buzz in the community, or could stir a bit of controversy with a new approach to a common issue. Review what others are writing and read what people are saying. It’s as important to express your thoughts, but more importantly to listen to others and take those insights to develop more compelling content. Still searching for the right thing to say or how to say it?
Content Rules, a book by Ann Handley (MarketingProfs.com editorial director and acquaintance of mine) and CC Chapman, wrote about some ways to get started to generate content for a variety of different channels. Take some of these recommendations from the book, as well as some best practices from myself to write your next blog post, or add content to your website:
- Set up interviews at an event and create written transcript, or video to be showcased online
- Write about your passion
- Do a how-to session to teach others your expertise
- Put a face behind your company with behind-the-scenes footage of your crew
- Make sure to design your blog in an easy-to-navigate and search-friendly manner to find articles archived
- Moderate your comments regularly and respond
- Write catchy headlines and use alliterations or words that rhyme together to catch one’s attention
- Provide a way for the audience to contact you and entice people to generate their own content, or respond to your questions.
Inspire. Wish. Dream. Hope.
It’s funny how the little things in life can make a world a difference. Whether it’s someone’s kind words spoken to you, a friend or family member there to listen, or just admire the beauty of mother nature that uplifts your spirits.
It’s funny how a little laughter and spending time with others that are meaningful can make all the difference in the world. The memories with others become vivid pictures in your mind recalling each moment as if it was yesterday. It’s nice to take a step back to think of those encounters remembering a time and place of great happiness. Sometimes you want to reach out and grab it! Yet, one has to look forward to creating new experiences. It’s when times are tough that reminiscing of those moments makes you stronger to deal with the present hardships.
It’s funny how the smallest words can be so powerful and make a big difference in one’s life.
One wonders if our life experiences and encounters are all by chance, or is there a purpose, reason, or something to be learned that gives us the will to move forward and reach for the stars!
Just think about it for a minute. What are the simple things in life that make a world of difference to you? Birds Chirping, Flowers, A Hug, A Kiss, Holding Hands, A Friendly Hello, A Smile, Family Caring, Dancing, Singing, Exploring A New Place, Sounds of Waves Crashing, Sand in Your Toes are just a few things that can be quite meaningful to many more.
The day and age of buy this, try this, and oh it’s on sale are not always convincing. People are more cautious today with many choices and some are being frugal. Despite the economy ups and downs, people will be evaluating their purchases decisions and retailers need to be inventive to generate new business. It’s those subtle niceties that attract consumers, being genuine and the reputation that one finds the value in his/her purchase. Whether it’s the accessibility and assortment of merchandise in the store, the personal relationship a customer has with a salesperson, even the cleanliness, or if you just enjoy the adventure to find the best bargains. All of this and more come into play that keep customers from coming in and out of the doors through the experience with a retailer.
Kevin Ertell, VP of Forsee Result’s retail strategy division, recently did a study that reported half of the top online retailers have a minimal to nonexistent Facebook presence. “The consumer/retailer relationship on social media is a chicken-and-egg phenomenon,” he said. “Our most loyal customers are likely to reach out to us on social media, but it’s how we interact with them once they get there that fosters greater loyalty and the likelihood to buy from us in the future.”
One thing to keep in mind is that some consumers don’t want others to let the secret out of the bag and participate in online communities to share their fashionable finds for fear they are uncovered by others. It can be a sport and very competitive hunting down an item before someone else. How will retailers re-act to that as well?
Retailers need to learn to drive visits to their stores by not only showcasing the hottest styles off the runway onto the racks, but some are now seeking to adopt new technology to engage and retain new business through social media tools, create informative and user-friendly websites, and use new mobile applications to improve upon their service.
What sets a great retailer a part from another is not only satisfying one’s need, but making it a great experience. More and more brands and retailers have had to assess their business practices to stay competitive and consider offering new experiences for their customers. It’s not just competing with other big box retailers or local stores but eCommerce continues to grow, people are seeking new ways of convenience, a connection, as well as a reason to take time from their busy schedules to go to stores.
It’s surprising to see how many retailers are lacking their use of social media tools to bring greater awareness of their products and service to their customers online. Regardless, people are creating their own groups on Facebook and they have resorted to online communities to spread their passion for specific retailers, fashion designers and brands.
Retailers need to rely on new technology and face-to-face encounters with their customers to learn more about their interests, demands and enhance the experiences for customers to feel proud of their purchases. Additionally, some retailers have been slow to adopt new methods of mobile communication to facilitate better transactions. In certain cases, the employees have done a great job listening to the demands of their customers by honoring coupons sent via email now displayed on one’s phone to offer a discount in person. Yet, many are lacking this convenience.
Below are just a few ideas to keep in mind to consider your customer’s interests, providing convenience and getting one to come back to your store:
- How about a mobile GPS locator to track the next fashionable store that offers your favorite designer?
- What about email or other alerts about new items arriving daily/weekly? Why not create buzz online in a fashion community about a new designer shipment and offer a coupon towards your next purchase to a select group?
- Recognize your customer’s interests, passions, talents and involvement in other online communities by creating a promotional program that aligns well with your brand and allows people to participate through user-generated content.
- How about a bi-weekly newsletter for people to subscibe and offer promotional updates?
- Partner with another brand, service, or seek an endorsement from a celebrity, or even better yet make your customer feel like a star creating a new promotion that rewards them.
- Promote an event through Facebook or email, where you drive traffic to the store and one can browse new merchandise, but also be entertained with a VIP reception.
- Collaborate with other local retailers and raffle off free make-over consultations, manicures, or other services.
- Let your customers share their own stories and become brand evangelists as fashion editors for your store writing about their wardrobe finds online. Allow the audience to vote for their favorites.
- Partner with companies such as CardStar to offer a mobile loyalty card service.
- Community involvement and charitable causes are important to people today. Why not partner with a non-profit and portions of your purchases go to certain organizations?
- Provide an online platform that is monitored internally for customers to speak-up about a poor incident in store to alert others and make good on that experience rectifying the situation.
- Hold contests online that drive traffic to the store and vice versa.
There are lots of things to consider, some are easier to execute than others, but it’s important for retailers to take action, listen and start to experiment to see what works best in their environments and how people respond.