Is It Time To Hire a Dedicated Content Manager

by: Charles Gaiennie on

OK. So you've made the leap fully into the world of social media. You are well positioned on all of the social media channels that are relevant to your industry - Facebook (of course), Pinterest, maybe even LinkedIn and Instagram.  You've also committed to writing an at least monthly blog on your website and to sending out emails to your prospects and clients.  And oh, you've also bought into the idea that pictures and videos are an important part of your content strategy. 

Exhausted yet?  Overwhelmed?  Questioning how in the world you are ever going to manage all of this?  If so, maybe it's time to hire or outsource content to a dedicated person.  Here are our recommendations of the type of person you might want to look for.

 They must be independent.  The first characteristic we look for in our content managers is the ability to work independently with a great deal of autonomy and drive.  No, they do not have the authority to post just anything they like, everything still needs to be vetted for accuracy and relevance, but they do need to be able to bird dog stories and ideas and then go out and get them.  Someone who waits to be told what to do is never going to make it in the content development field.

They must be creative. A good content manager "sees" the relevance of things that may not be so apparent to others.  A picture, an event, a happening in the community - these occur non-stop and not all are relevant. A good content manager will be able to constantly screen for information then synthesize it into something meaningful and relevant for your particular situation.

 They must be fast. While it is not always necessary or appropriate to post content hour by hour, a content manager must be able to handle a large volume of raw information and quickly and accurately synthesize that information on a non-stop basis.  This is not a college term paper - this is information flow that must be managed on an aggressive schedule. To do this job you must be fast.

Whether you have this function internally or outsource it is a function of time and money and volume.  We can recommend which is best for you if you'd care to give us a call.  We can be reached at 985-262-4364.

All the best and let us know how we can help.

 

From Nine to Known (Part 1): Nine Nine-Minute Tips For Building Your Brand

by: Charles Gaiennie on

WILLIAM ARRUDA

As a marketer, you know that visibility is important. You likely spend a lot of time thinking about visibility of banner ads, or how to make packaging that pops off the shelf, or where to showcase your company brand so it reaches the ideal demographic.

But how much time do you spend each day increasing your own visibility?

Being visible and available is critical to building your brand. It's something you must do every day so you can attract ideal opportunities and advance your career.

I have been exploring the importance of continuous career management for the past few years. Along this journey, I've sought to determine how much time you really need to spend building your brand so you can maintain forward momentum and reach your goals.

The answer, I found, sits at the intersection of how much time you can focus on one topic and how much time you can realistically devote to things other than your huge volume of email, meetings, and teleconferences.

Educators and psychologists remind us that focusing one's attention on a single task is crucial for achieving goals. And many agree that 10 minutes is about the amount of time you can focus before your mind starts to wander.

But today, for the post-MTV generation, even 10 minutes seems like a lot of time. So I did research and became convinced that nine minutes is the ideal amount of time to devote to your brand every day. (You can learn about the number nine, and how I arrived at nine minutes a day, in this this brief video.)

The Importance of Continuous Career Management

The pace of change is accelerating. Accordingly, continuous career management is more important than ever. Decreased job tenure, increased fluidity in the job market, and drastically altered jobs and ways of working are the new norm.

Regardless of your level or your situation, actively building your brand will help you stay ahead of the competition.

Nine minutes is a short window of time that can easily be slotted into your busy day. Making your nine minutes a habit and part of your daily routine—like brushing your teeth—will add neither pressure to your schedule onr extensive additions to your "Do List." Nine minutes gives you complete focus—a time away from the daily grind to concentrate on the brand called you.

Nine Nine-Minute Activities

Here are nine activities you can easily slot into your nine minutes to help you stand out, get noticed, and achieve your goals:

  1. Build your network. Building and maintaining relationships is essential for a successful career. Identify one person in your professional LinkedIn groups and reach out to that person.
  2. Bolster relationships. Recommend and congratulate others in their careers; everyone enjoys being recognized, after all. Go through your network connections and identify someone you want to acknowledge. Nine minutes is all it takes to write a great recommendation, endorse that person, or send a congratulatory email.
  3. Get a seal of approval. Request recommendations from your network members for credibility. Go back to former colleagues and coworkers and send them a request for a recommendation, testimonial, or endorsement. If you're a marketing consultant, do this after every project.
  4. Record it. To stay current and relevant, document achievements and wins. Once a week, spend nine minutes documenting the previous week's major accomplishments. Then, when you have your annual review, you'll have a comprehensive list of all the great things you did.
  5. Be current. Update your LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter status every day and make sure your profile and photos are current. People won't want to get to know you if you don't have a picture or if your profile looks out of date.
  6. Expand on your thought leadership. Lead a forum or group; publish an article (write it in nine-minute increments); write a blog or comment on one.
  7. Be real in the virtual world. Use the power of video: Create a video bio of yourself and publish it to YouTube. This is one week's worth of nine-minute activities. Day 1: Write a draft of what you want to say. Day 2: Get feedback, refine, and finalize. Day 3: Rehearse. Day 4: Record your three-minute video bio. Day 5: upload it to YouTube and promote it.
  8. Build a home on the Web. Link the different places you reside on the Web into one place, with sites like about.me, flavors.me, or vizify.com. Using these tools, you can actually set a site up in nine minutes! Then you can use your subsequent days' nine minutes refining and enhancing it.
  9. Research. Make an effort to get to know more about your clients or partners, colleagues, and competitors. LinkedIn is a great place to do some sleuthing. And Google Alerts (alerts.google.com) can help you stay on top of what key network members are doing.

Bonus Activity: Join the LinkedIn "9-Minutes a Day" group to get and share ideas for the most powerful brand-building tasks you can complete in nine or fewer minutes a day.
And remember to introduce yourself—it's good for increasing your visibility!

In Part Two of this article, I will share with you ways to make the most of your nine minutes of personal branding.

William Arruda, dubbed "the personal branding guru" by Entrepreneur, is founder of Reach Personal Branding, author of Ditch. Dare. Do! 3D Personal Branding for Executives, and curator at Personal Branding TV. Reach him at www.williamarruda.com.

The Marketing Essentials Toolkit

by: Charles Gaiennie on

If you build or repair anything, you know the value of having just the right tool. And while having a fancy specialty tool is cool, there is simply no replacement for the requisite hammer, saw and wrench. It's the same with marketing. We love the cool tools but there are some things that no company can do without.

Have a look ...

1. A logo. Whether it is basic text such as in Sears, Home Depot or Microsoft, or designed symbol such as in Nike, Starbucks or Volkswagen, you simply must have a logo. In creating the logo, please - for our sake and the sake of the world at large - make it high contrast, easy-to-read in two seconds or less and reasonably uncomplicated. Once you've created it, leave it alone for a very long time so the market can actually begin to associate the logo with you and what you do. Finally, use it consistently and persistently in everything you do.

2. A website. Whether it's a single page or whether it allows the world to know everything there is to know about you, you simply must have a website. And while we understand that a website is a very techie-feeling thing, please do not seek out an IT person or company to build or maintain it. With apologies to our technical friends, a website should be open and easy for you to manage. After all, the user could care less about Java script or CSS. They really just want to hear from and about you. Content is what they care about, not technology.

3. Email. You simply have to have one. And please use your web address (called a domain) rather than yourname@msn.com or yourname@yahoo.com. Sure they work, but they just aren't as professional as using your own name. By not communicating using your own domain, you give up the opportunity to keep your name in front of people. Keep in mind, however, that a domain and a website, while related, are two separate processes.

4. Business cards.  Once you have your logo, your website and your email using your own domain, get some business cards. And avoid cheesy at all cost. As with any design, less is more. Don't cram the card with every possible bit of information. Make your logo dominant, add your name, possibly your title, definitely your office phone number and even your cell phone number, your email address and your website address. Unless it's critical information, you can often leave off the address and the fax number. Get at least 100 cards and give them away at every opportunity.

5. A basic brochure. Avoid writing a book. Give enough information for the reader to understand what you do but set it up so they call you or go to your website to get the details. Make it visually strong with great images and minimal text. Please stay away from tri-folds. They are so ordinary and boring and are easily hidden in the average stack of mail. We love oversize pieces, custom cuts or custom folds.  Even a double-sided, non-folding brochure can be effective. Give it a try.

Converting marketing into emergency communications

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Convert marketing tools into emergency response tools.

Website - if you have one of our content management based websites, use the News/Announcement tool to post updates on whether you are open, services you may have relating to the emergency, etc.  

If you have a secure section of one of our sites, use it to post employee advisories, whether to report to work, special assignments, etc

If you use Constant Contact, use it to post advisories and updates and be sure to re post to your web and to Facebook. 

Call us if you need help on any of these techniques

Don't be afraid to ask

by: Charles Gaiennie on

If you were to visit us at our offices and ask to see me, I would - unless I were in the middle of something I could not break away from - get up, greet you warmly, offer you coffee or water and invite you to sit down.  I would then open with the question, "What can we do for you today?"  I'd mean it, too, and would answer whatever you asked me as thoroughly and completely as I could.  There would be no expectation of anything in return, just honest and (hopefully) helpful advice.

This week it occurred to me that there is no reason to act differently online than we do in person. So here's an offer.

Ask us anything and we will answer you, publicly and as completely as possible. That's it. Just ask.

Just do the following:

  1. Go to our Facebook page.
  2. Like Us to make sure you receive all of our posts.
  3. Post your questions on our Facebook page and watch for our response. We'll answer all questions within a day or less.
Thanks



Charles

Dare to be un-hip - send a postcard.

by: Charles Gaiennie on

The political season is coming around again, and with it a resurgence of the old-fashioned direct mail piece. Or, as I like to think of it, the red-headed stepchild of the advertising world.


Billboards are big and flashy. Television ads get your face on the tube, where your momma and her bridge group can see it. And anything related to the Internet or social media is obviously hip (or so they say). But the postcard, with its snail-mail delivery and lack of sound or movement, is considered by many to be too old-fashioned for today's technology-driven world.


But I think they're wrong. How many other forms of advertising do you pick up every day and carry into your home with you? You may pass by a billboard every day, but it never makes it through your front door. Magazines are nice, but pretty pricey.


A 6" x 9" postcard, however, gets carried in with my mail. And it always gets noticed, even if it's just because the danged thing is too big to fit in my small hand, so I have to grab my mail with two hands to get it out of the box and into the house. An oversized card has plenty of room for your message and sticks out among the stack of envelopes not-so-cleverly designed to make you think they're important checks instead of ads informing you you've won a cruise to the Bahamas only if you call in today. You don't even have to stop to open a postcard, which is a bonus when dealing with people who have little time to bother with opening "junk" mail. With a vibrant, attractive design printed right on the card, you've got a real shot at capturing your audience's attention.


And it's hard to beat the cost of a postcard when compared with the exposure you get. A new U.S. Postal Service program called Every Door Direct Mail means you can blanket an entire zip code for just 14.2 cents per piece in postage. No buying a mailing list, no fooling with databases, no stuffing, sealing and stamping. You only have to get a designer (like me!) and a printer (I have one of those!).


Now might be the time for you to try the retro approach. Sometimes old tactics reap new rewards.

From zero to hero in three days or less

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Lafourche Parish has a new brand to support tourism recovery. It's called "Dig In! Lafourche" and invites locals and tourists alike to share how they Dig In! to Lafourche Parish. View it now at www.diginlafourche.com. Not only is the brand fun and engaging, it's also a magnet for some really cool content.

In three days content like this garnered more than 120 likes on Facebook, 3,500 post views and 180 unique website views.


This is a view of website traffic and unique visits for www.diginlafourche.com. Analytics such as these help us track the effectiveness of a campaign.

No matter how pretty a site is or how cool the graphics and art are, the reason people visit a website or a social media site is for interesting content. For a parish like Lafourche, finding interesting things is easy. That the weeks surrounding the brand launch had some exceptional activities going on didn't hurt either.

Three fishing rodeos including the return of the Golden Meadow Tarpon Rodeo, the first ever Oilman's Rodeo, the return of the Manning Passing Academy with its star-studded celebs and the brand launch event itself made it easy to produce great content. The results are clearly seen in the spike in interest in a very short time period.

Sure you may not have Archie Manning (check out his Dig In! spot here) or Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph as ready sources of content, but you certainly have something that is of unique interest to the people who are waiting to hear from you. All you have to do is dig in to find it.

Linking cookies to the subconscious: rediscovering memorable branding

by: Charles Gaiennie on

A brand is how a company identifies itself and interacts with consumers. Whether a memorable slogan like "Got milk?" or a strong logo like Coca-Cola's, an effective brand is memorable and consistent across various media. From radio and television spots to billboards, magazine ads and beyond, a brand is what connects different media and creates a unified voice for a company's marketing strategy.

While I appreciate consistent branding, I have always been a huge fan of interesting brand applications. Some of my favorites include Coca-Cola's version of The Hollywood Sign in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (Pepsi and Coca-Cola logos are also painted on the sides of hundreds of buildings across Central America), a tube of a hygiene product by Combe Incorporated that will remain unnamed which was actually a highlighter and the urinal cakes with Rob Huebel's face mentioned in "I Love You, Man." Odd? Yes. Memorable? Definitely. And that's the key to effective branding.

Delta Air Lines joined my list yesterday as I enjoyed the in-flight snack and beverage service on the way home from Nassau. The drink cup and pretzel bag bore their logo — two small, but smart uses of a brand. I then opened up the cookies, whose packaging indicated they were made by Biscoff. Before I popped the crunchy snack into my mouth, however, I realized Delta had put their logo on the cookies. They branded their cookies. Now that is sweet.

Start noticing where you encounter logos. Sure, they're on business cards and billboards, but they're also on the notepads and pens in your junk drawer and the stress balls, golf tees and coffee mugs lying around your office. I don't know if there's a subconscious register of brands that we encounter day to day, but I've finally realized that corporate branding is so ubiquitous, it's even on the food we eat.

Teletubbies and chalkboards: Tips for advertising with little or no budget

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Marketing and advertising obviously takes a lot of creativity and outside-the-box thinking, but this holds especially true with a limited budget, if there is one at all. Having coordinated the publicity for every organization I've been involved with in high school and college, I have definitely had my share of interesting ideas thanks to small budgets. Aside from chalking on sidewalks and handing out food, I've disobeyed school poster-posting policies by taping posters to toilets and windows, stood on tables in cafeterias and even dressed up like a Teletubby.

Silly as some of these things may seem, they are pretty effective for niche markets like student bodies, but for companies looking to establish themselves or maintain their reputation, dressing up like a Teletubby may not fall in line with their branding or company image. Then again, it may. The bottom line is understanding who your target market is and how you can stand out to them in an appealing manner.

To accompany our new advertising promotion which was made with a chalkboard and a camera, we'd like to offer just a few ways you can advertise your business or organization with little or no budget. An original or out-there idea can garner a lot of buzz, but keep in mind your company's style and always include a logo for consistent branding.

Word of mouth: This is a tried-and-true and very effective way to market your business. Whether it's via an exchange of business cards, a chat about your services at a party or having your family and friends spread word to their friends and colleagues, word of mouth and networking are the easiest ways to spread your business' name. People trust people they know, especially when it comes to recommendations. Remember the time your Aunt Beatrice told you about the poor food quality at that new restaurant? You were probably reluctant to dine there. Well, the same concept works in reverse. Generating new business and spreading your company's name is as easy as telling someone all the good things about it.

Press releases: How is your business different from the others in the industry? What have you done to separate yourself from the rest? Find something unique or useful about your businesses and send out a press release to local magazines and newspapers like Point of Vue, Gumbo and The Courier. Good press in a publication with a large or faithful readership is a huge marketing win. If you have a relationship with a journalist or publisher, try writing an article or column about your field. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field will generate lots of credibility for your company. Remember, however, to provide advice that's relevant to the local readership.

Sponsor events: Offer some sort of service to the organization or company hosting the event in exchange for logo placement on the t-shirt, banner or brochure. Lending a tent, generator or PA system or providing drinks or other services for the day will do you good in the long run. I know lots of people who still wear old Tunnel Run and fishing rodeo shirts. All it takes is a glance at the sponsors to generate business for you down the road. 

Guerilla marketing: This is where it gets fun. Chalk downtown, put stickers on gas pumps and bathroom stalls or cover telephone poles in fliers. Give hats and t-shirts with your logo to everyone you know. Try a cold call or two. Set up a food tasting outside Walmart or any other highly-trafficked area. Go to the library or Books-A-Million to put business cards in books similar to your industry. Try to think of any way to get your name out there without a billboard, magazine ad or radio spot. These techniques might reach fewer people, but they're usually more memorable. And a whole lot cheaper.

How to become famous and make millions by buying a pair of socks

by: Charles Gaiennie on


Ever thought you could become famous and make millions just from buying a pair of socks? Well, you probably can't. Sorry to get your hopes up, but you'll only get 15 seconds of fame from your sock purchase. You can make millions, however, if you own shares of American Eagle Outfitters (AE).


Here's the catch.


In November 2009 AE installed 25-story digital displays on the exterior of its flagship store in Times Square. With almost 3.3 million pixels in the 15,000 square foot LED display, the digital signage is essentially the world's largest picture frame and one of the cleverest advertising tools I've ever heard of.


After a purchase (here's where the socks come in) customers are invited to a photo booth. Their pictures are then displayed on the exterior digital displays along with a 20-character "personal message to the world." It's that simple. Fifteen seconds of fame just from buying a pair of socks (at $6.50 they were the cheapest item in the store in 2009).


AE's digital display is a perfect example of how small incentives can go a long way. By requiring a purchase before broadcasting the photo message, the popular clothing retailer makes big bucks just because someone wants to see their name in lights in Times Square without all the auditions and vocal training. Talk about marketing driving sales. A dream-come-true for some and an appeal to vanity for others, the digital display is simple, but effective. Very effective.


And they're good for more than just bringing in sales. Think about all the people who update their Facebook statuses and tweet their pictures on the display, quickly spreading American Eagle's name to millions of people online. Since most of AE's customers are young technologically-savvy social media purveyors, they hit the mark on brand recognition and viral marketing.


Broadcasting promotions and customer photos 18 hours a day, AE's larger-than-life digital displays are a brilliant campaign.

© Copyright The W.L. Gaiennie Company 2016