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How to Create an Amazing Webinar in 2022

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Creating and conducting webinars is one of the best ways to engage with potential customers in an increasingly remote world.

Since the rise of remote work, people rely on technology for education and social interaction more than ever. This means more Zoom meetings instead of in-person meetings, more walks to a home office instead of commutes to a high-rise, and more webinars instead of live events.

The B2B webinar platform BrightTalk reported a 76% increase in video, webinar, and virtual events uploaded to their platform from March to June 2020. From April 2019 to April 2020, ON24 saw a 167% increase in monthly usage of its webinar platform. If there was ever a time to create a webinar, it’s now.

Are webinars dead?

In a word: no. While webinars may seem outdated, they have proven to be invaluable during social distancing. Most companies are moving toward a telecommuting model, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down. The new “working from home economy” guarantees that webinars remain a cornerstone of companies’ marketing and sales strategies.

Because companies are turning to webinars to replace their live events, the market is experiencing an over-saturation. As a result, it’s even more challenging to make your virtual event stand out from the pack. Luckily, HubSpot and GoToWebinar teamed up to bring you the ultimate webinar planning kit that can help you create a compelling, effective webinar that will engage potential customers and drive lead generation.

1. Brainstorm webinar ideas.

Before you can start making your webinar, you’ll have to decide on the topic.

The topic you choose should answer questions that your audience typically asks and preferably be highly specific. For example, if you’re hosting a webinar on email marketing, you can choose to focus on subject lines in particular.

Overall, your webinar should provide value to your audience. Think about your company as a whole and your unique value proposition. What topics do you have expertise in and can provide value on? Consider choosing an educational topic, as this content performs well.

Align the topic with the goal of your sales team. A successful webinar hinges on sales and marketing alignment. If the marketing team creates content that isn’t helping their sales conversations, it won’t successfully drive high-quality leads to sales.

Luckily, you have experts at your disposal who can come up with content ideas that will complement and aid the sales conversation: the representatives themselves.

Ask your sales team what they might want a webinar’s focus to be. Get the representatives’ buy-in for a webinar before you plan it. Set up a meeting to discover new content ideas and find out what pain points they need to help solve. This will go a long way toward ensuring the sales’ follow-up with registrants is seamless once the webinar is over.

2. Choose a webinar format.

When considering how to structure your webinar, you have countless options. The four most common types are panel discussions, Q&A, single-speaker presentations, and interviews.

Panel Discussions

For panel discussions, you can invite industry experts to discuss a niche, current topic within your industry. They encourage roundtable conversations, focus on building a dialog around the topic, and offer various viewpoints. The experts’ differing perspectives can expand your attendees’ understanding of the topic in ways that wouldn’t be possible with one speaker’s input.

Because panelists will be speaking to each other rather than directly to the audience, panel discussions may encourage speakers who are camera shy to participate in your webinar.

When you organize a panel discussion webinar, it’s important to choose the best moderator for your topic. Your moderator is responsible for establishing the rules of the discussion, keeping track of time, and keeping the panel on topic.

Choosing the most engaging panelists to present your topic is also important. Panelists must be able to volunteer key points and concrete examples during discussions. Your panel needs to represent the demographic of your audience and offer different perspectives to encourage interesting discussion. At least one of your panelists should be an authority on the webinar topic who can establish credibility with the audience.

Q&As

For Q&As, you only need your team’s product experts to answer your customers’ questions. Q&A webinars allow attendees to participate in the webinar, help you to learn more about the attendees’ needs, and enable your team to showcase your knowledge about the topic.

Live Q&As can be unpredictable. Your attendees may be hesitant to ask questions or may ask questions your team is not prepared to answer, so it may be helpful to develop a list of potential questions. Rock Content recommends making a list of doubts and curiosities that your audience may have and using it as a guide for the Q&A.

Single-speaker Presentations

Single-speaker presentations involve one presenter delivering the webinar and answering attendees’ questions. We recommend holding a single-speaker presentation if you plan to have a small audience for your webinar.

Interviews

Interviews are also a great choice. You can either interview an industry expert or a current customer about their experience with your company. Interviewing someone who has a large following may encourage people to sign up for your webinar and help you reach a new audience.

Before your webinar, prepare a strong portfolio of interview questions to keep the conversation flowing and ensure that your interview runs smoothly.

3. Pick a webinar tool.

There are many webinar hosting platforms you can use to create your webinar. Popular platforms include ClickMeeting, GoToWebinar, and Zoom.

When you’re researching a tool to use, consider your objectives. For example, how many people do you think will attend? Do you need a tool that could allow over 1,000 attendees? How much does it cost? How easy is it to use? You should look into these questions when deciding what webinar tool to use.

Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the tool can handle the type of webinar you want to host — can it handle video chatting for panels or Q&A webinars? The right tool for you will depend on the overall objectives of your event.

4. Assign roles to your team members.

After choosing the platform, assign roles in your team. Typically, you’d need to choose four people:

The organizer handles all facets of planning, from ideation to content creation. They are usually the primary contact in the webinar platform.

The presenter is the subject matter expert, either on your team or in the industry, who will present on the topic you’ve chosen.

The moderator is required for panel discussions but not for single-speaker presentations. This person will help stimulate conversation among panel participants. You can also assign a moderator if you expect to receive a lot of questions from attendees.

Assistants are the team members at hand in case of emergencies. For example, if there’s no sound, an assistant can step in to resolve this problem. Like moderators, assistants can also manage the chat box during the event.

5. Produce the content.

Once you find a tool and know the topic you want to present, it’s time to create the content, depending on the type of webinar you want to host. For example, will it be a PowerPoint and talking head presentation? Or perhaps you want to do a live panel Q&A? Either way, you’ll have to produce the content and prepare for the big day.

For example, if you’re creating a PowerPoint, you’ll need to create your slide deck. Make sure that the slides emphasize your points, but don’t include a script. These slides should be visually appealing and include interesting graphics, such as images or GIFs.

If you’re hosting a discussion-style webinar, plan out your speakers, gather audience questions, and prepare any other questions you might have so you can prioritize your time during the webinar.

6. Choose the best time for the webinar.

To select a time and date for your webinar, you’ll want to consider where your audience lives. Use tools like Google Analytics to see where people are so that you can choose a convenient day and time zone.

ON24 reports that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to host webinars, with 11 a.m. being the best time. Another popular time is 10 a.m.. Both are great for a wide range of time zones and should avoid most commute times or work hours. Typically, these times prevent conflicts for the greatest number of people.

However, if your audience is solely in the United States, you won’t need to worry about global time zones. Instead, you can focus on planning a time when most people aren’t commuting. For example, early afternoon or after work hours are generally good times.

7. Create a contingency plan for your webinar presentation.

When hosting a live webinar, it’s crucial to have a contingency plan. Setting up a backup internet connection, prerecording content, and printing out a copy of your presentation can save your webinar in case of outages, interruptions, or other unforeseen circumstances.

If you lose your internet connection while hosting a webinar, a wired internet connection or wireless hotspot can be used as a backup.

Prerecording content for your webinar ensures that your attendees have something to watch while you troubleshoot technical issues that may arise.

You may not be able to view your notes on screen while presenting your webinar, so you should consider printing out a hard copy of your slides and notes. That allows you to continue presenting if your computer screen freezes or you lose your video connection.

Additionally, emailing your attendees a printout of your slides before the webinar can help them stay engaged if they have technical issues while viewing the presentation.

8. Practice your webinar before the event.

Practice is essential for a successful webinar, and it can help you get acquainted with the platform if you’ve never used it before.

We highly encourage creating a fake event on your webinar platform. Publish it, send a link to another one of your team members, and practice as if you were presenting a real webinar. Your team member would watch it as an attendee and should tell you what the presentation looks like on the other end.

9. Promote your webinar.

Now that you’ve done the backend work, it’s time to ensure you have people who want to attend.

To promote your webinar, you can create a landing page where people can sign up and then distribute and promote that link in several ways.

For example, consider running ads through social media and search engines. Additionally, you’ll want to use free promotion tactics — you can post on your accounts and website, and send an email to your subscribers. It’s important to use your follower base to get people interested.

Reminder emails are also helpful. Consider sending “Don’t Miss Out” or “Seats Are Filling Up” emails as the day gets closer.

When people do sign up, you’ll want to remind them leading up to the day of the webinar. You should send them the webinar link about an hour before, so it’s top of mind, and they don’t have to go looking for the link in their registration email.

10. Follow up with your audience.

Webinars are a great sales opportunity, and you don’t want people to leave your webinar and never think of you again.

That’s why you’ll want to send them a thank you email and gather feedback from attendees so you can plan better webinars in the future.

Remember that attendees generally like to have a recording. If you send them a link to the recording afterward, they don’t have to take vigorous notes during the webinar. This also means you can send it to registrants who weren’t able to attend.

Once you’ve come up with relevant content topics for your webinar and set up the event, it’s time to get that webinar in front of as many eyes as possible.

With webinars, it’s not just about generating initial excitement. You have to build excitement and encourage engagement once the webinar goes live.

1. Set up a landing page that is optimized for search engines.

The first step in your webinar promotion strategy is to create an optimized landing page that can organically jumpstart registrations.

According to Karthik Shetty, a field and performance marketing specialist, you have only seven seconds to convert a prospect who has visited your landing page, so you must strategically structure the landing page for your webinar.

Your landing page should have a target keyword in the title, a sign-up form, and optimized copy. Ideally, the form should integrate with your other marketing and sales tools, automatically turning registrants into contacts or prospects.

2. Promote your webinar to current subscribers and contacts via email.

Now that you have a landing page to direct users to, it’s time to target your first attendees: people who already know about your company and customers who have previously engaged with you.

After sending a personalized email to your contacts, take the following steps:

  • Create automated email reminders that will be sent to prospects who have been invited but not yet registered.
  • Create manual email templates reps can send in their one-on-one communication with prospects.
  • Set up an automated email to notify reps when one of their prospects has registered for your webinar. This will help them engage and close those prospects down the road.

3. Promote your webinar via LinkedIn and other social media platforms.

LinkedIn is an excellent platform to promote webinars. They’re usually created for other businesses, and LinkedIn is the ultimate B2B marketing platform.

LinkedIn now has an option for virtual events, which allows you to add the webinar access link. Registrants can also jumpstart discussions on the event page, giving you potential topics to address during the presentation or Q&A.

You can also advertise the webinar through display ads on Google, Instagram, and Facebook, though we encourage keeping the bulk of your investment on LinkedIn.

4. Send reminder emails to registrants.

Even though you’ve gotten registrants, that doesn’t mean they’ll show up. After all, if you promote a webinar one to two weeks in advance, some of your registrants are likely to forget when the live date comes around.

Remember to send out reminder emails the day before and the day of the live event to ensure a high live attendance rate.

Adding an “add to calendar” button to your emails will encourage registrants to block out time in their busy calendar, making them more likely to attend.

5. Offer a certificate of completion, professional development hours, or continuing education credits.

An easy way to entice registrations is to offer something in return. Certificates of completion, PDHs, and CEUs are credentials attendees will want to receive after the webinar. This also entices people to stay until the end.

Services like Certifier can be used to create certificates of completion for your webinar attendees. They can be offered to virtually any professional. Industries such as engineering, architecture, software engineering, and marketing require professionals to continue their training after starting their careers.

6. Consider co-marketing the webinar.

Try your hand at co-marketing. One of the best ways to get new expertise, generate interest for a piece of content, and expand the reach of a campaign is to run a co-marketed webinar.

Instead of running a webinar with speakers internally, try working with another company that’s going after a similar buyer persona and can bring their expertise into the conversation. Doing so creates more interesting content and gives you the opportunity to get your webinar in front of another company’s established audience.

7. Survey participants after the webinar.

The only way to get better is to know how you can improve. By sending an after-event survey, you can refine your next webinar. Hosting a better event can help you confidently market it to prospects.

You can schedule a survey in Zoom that will appear to attendees at the end of the webinar. This survey can include a link to the next webinar you’re hosting, driving registrations for that event.

8. Deliver necessary information to sales.

A considerable part of the pre-webinar and post-webinar process is ensuring the right information gets delivered to sales. That’s why GoToWebinar and HubSpot recommend creating one webinar hub that’s easily accessible by sales with the following information:

  • On-demand recordings of all webinars.
  • A calendar with past and future webinars.
  • Documentation that details the webinar’s goals, title, target persona, funnel stage, key points, speakers, and logistics.
  • Promotional and follow-up emails.
  • Collection of graphic and text CTAs sales reps can drop into their communications.
  • Mechanism to collect suggestions from sales reps for new topic suggestions and general feedback.

However, once the webinar has concluded, it’s time to ensure the sales reps are ready to close those leads. Send a follow-up email to your representatives and include the following information:

  • Leads who registered
  • Leads who attended
  • Leads who registered but didn’t attend
  • Leads who never registered
  • New SQL leads from post-webinar lead scores
  • Any other relevant webinar data
  • Send email templates sales can use to send to leads based on their webinar behavior. Include other relevant content they can use to continue to nurture leads in the coming weeks.

Putting the extra effort in will go a long way toward ensuring the webinar is a success from both a sales and marketing standpoint.

Webinar Examples

1. Western Forestry Conservation Association’s “Benefits and Drawbacks of Hot Planting, Summer Planting, and Fall Planting” Panel Discussion

Webinar Examples: The Western Forestry Conservation Association’s “Benefits and Drawbacks of Hot Planting, Summer Planting, and Fall Planting” panel discussion.

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In the Western Forestry Conservation Association’s “Benefits and Drawbacks of Hot Planting, Summer Planting, and Fall Planting” webinar, a tribal nursery specialist moderates a panel discussion among fellow nursery specialists. The panelists discuss the effects of hot planting, summer planting, and fall planting on nurseries and reforestation efforts.

Each panelist is given an equal amount of time to present their research and views on the discussion topic. This webinar handles a large audience well by enabling a setting that automatically mutes attendees’ microphones and turns off their cameras to limit distractions and interruptions. While the panelists give their presentations, the moderator answers the attendees’ questions via chat.

2. ActualTech Media’s “Mitigating Ransomware in 2021” Live Q&A Webinar

Webinar Examples: ActualTech Media’s “Mitigating Ransomware in 2021” live Q&A webinar.

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In ActualTech Media’s “Mitigating Ransomware in 2021” webinar, David M. Davis of ActualTech Media moderates a live Q&A with Roger Grimes, a security expert and data-driven defense evangelist from KnowBe4. The webinar focuses on the latest ransomware threats, the signs of a ransomware infection, and the best ways to prevent the spread of ransomware.

ActualTech Media designed a landing page where registrants could submit their questions in preparation for the webinar. Attendees were also encouraged to ask questions during the webinar.

It provided value to the attendees after the webinar concluded by offering them a handout and links to free ransomware mitigation tools.

3. Vanessa Van Edwards’ “2022 Goal Setting” webinar

Webinar Examples: Vanessa Van Edwards’ “2022 Goal Setting” webinar.

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In her “2022 Goal Setting” webinar, behavioral investigator and author Vanessa Van Edwards breaks down the science of goal setting and offers tips for setting and achieving goals in the new year.

At the end of the webinar, Van Edwards encourages attendees to enroll in a monthly workshop that expands on the webinar’s topics, allows attendees to practice the concepts, and includes a live Q&A session.

Useful Webinar Creation Tips

Not sure how to set your webinar apart from the rest? No worries.

Single-speaker presentations are admittedly overdone. In a time when webinars are commonplace, it’s even more important to use different tactics to engage your viewers.

Think about ways to mix up how the information in your webinar is presented. Here are some tips:

Try a discussion-style webinar.

We’ve found unscripted, discussion-style webinars effectively engage our audience. In many of our live events, we’ve foregone the slides completely and instead brought two speakers together and had a host ask live questions on air. It’s effective for encouraging Twitter participation via a hashtag and keeping the content conversational but informative.

Answer your customers’ questions throughout the event.

Try building a webinar around your prospects’ questions. Send a call for questions to be answered live on-air. This will help build engagement and excitement for what’s to come. Hopefully, the people asking questions will be more likely to show up on the day of the webinar.

Engage prospects beforehand by adding interactive features to the webinar sign-up page.

You can also use a landing page like this that includes a voting feature for people to upvote their top questions. This will also help you prioritize the material your audience is most interested in.

Webinar Statistics

According to ON24, 68% of marketers say webinars are one of the best ways to tie marketing activity to revenue. Webinars can also help generate quality leads. Why?

Webinar Engagement Statistics

According to GoToWebinar, the average webinar attendee viewing time is 57 minutes. However, the attention spans of webinar attendees differ depending on the webinar’s length and topic. For example, attendees view marketing webinars for 52 minutes and training webinars for 61 minutes on average.

They work across the entire customer journey.

From thought-leadership panel discussions to weekly live demos, webinars are a dynamic and effective way to move prospects down the funnel from awareness to closed deals and beyond.

Webinar Lead Generation Statistics

Webinars come with a ton of information about your prospects you can use to identify high-quality, sales-ready leads. With each webinar registrant, you can collect lead and engagement data that your sales team can use to initiate personalized outreach.

Webinar Consumption Statistics

Twenty-seven percent of consumers watch a webinar that teaches them more about a passion or a hobby, while 24% reported watching webinars for the entertainment value. Eighteen percent of consumers watch webinars to further their knowledge about their profession. Nearly a quarter reported watching webinars for all of the above.

Webinar Thought Leadership Statistics

Thirty percent of consumers report feeling more engaged when a webinar teaches them something new. And when it’s about your product, it’s safe to assume that they’re highly interested in converting.

Webinar Lead Conversion Statistics

According to ON24, a good registrant-to-attendee conversion rate falls between 35% and 45%. ON24 reported a 61% increase in registrant-to-attendee conversion in April 2020. In 2019, it was 55%. For events with over 100 attendees, the average conversion rate was 53% in 2020, up from 43% in 2019.

Featured Resource: Free Webinar Planning Kit

Webinar planning kit

Download Now

We know planning and promoting a webinar can be difficult if you’ve never done it before. So we’ve compiled a guide, template, and checklist for you to get your webinar off the ground — whether it’s your first or 40th. Click here to download the kit for free.

It’s All About Alignment

Webinars are seeing a timely resurgence. They’re not just an effective marketing tool. They’re also effective sales tools — but only if your sales team has the information, content, and tools to use them to move prospects down the funnel and close deals.

Creating the kind of alignment you need to make this all a success isn’t easy. So HubSpot and GotoWebinar made this ultimate guide for creating a successful webinar and included a checklist to guide you through pre-, ongoing, and post-webinar communications.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in February 2018 and was updated in January 2021 for comprehensiveness.

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What to Consider When Choosing a Brand Ambassador for Your Social Media Campaign

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What to Consider When Choosing a Brand Ambassador for Your Social Media Campaign

Want to maximize the potential of your social media campaign? Then you must ensure to choose the right brand ambassador for the job. Having a good ambassador will increase your social media reach and boost sales. But, selecting the best ambassador can be tricky.

This guide will show you the key steps to consider when selecting the perfect brand ambassador for your social media campaign. From assessing their influence to ensuring their content matches your brand’s mission. This guide will give you the insights you need to make the right decision.

Understanding the role of a brand ambassador

A brand ambassador acts as a company representative, promoting the brand’s products to a specific audience. They are selected for their influence and ability to communicate the brand’s message. Their primary goal is to increase brand awareness and engagement with the audience.

To achieve this, an ambassador shares the brand’s message and builds connections with the target audience. They help to establish trust and credibility for the brand by personally endorsing it through their own experiences. Also, they provide valuable feedback to the company, allowing for product improvements.

Tips for choosing the right ambassador for your social media campaign

1) Assess the credibility and influence of potential ambassadors.

One of the first steps is to ensure they have a very active social media presence. Make sure they have many followers and a high engagement rate. Check the number of followers they have and the type of posts they share. This will give you a good idea of the content they generate and let you know if they are a good fit for your campaign.

Make sure their posts are relevant and appropriate for your brand. If their content is not a good fit, you may want to reconsider hiring them for your campaign. This is important if your brand has a particular message you wish to convey to your audience. If their content is not in line with your brand’s values, it could have a negative effect on your brand’s image.

2) Analyze the compatibility between the ambassador’s content and your brand’s mission.

It’s common to think that a famous ambassador would be a good fit for your campaign. But if their content is not in line with your brand, they are not an option. You may want to go further and check the interaction between their posts and followers. If the interaction is very high and followers actively participate, this is a good indicator of the quality of the ambassador. This will show how much impact the ambassador has among their followers. The interaction of the followers with the ambassador’s posts is important, as it is a good way for them to get to know your brand better.

3) Make sure the ambassador is present on the right social networks.

If your brand uses more than one type of social media, you should ensure the ambassador is present on them. You can choose an ambassador who is active on most of the major social networks. But, you must ensure they have an appropriate presence on each platform.

For example, it may not be a good idea to select an ambassador who is primarily active on Instagram for a Facebook-centric campaign. Remember that followers on each platform are different, and it’s important to reach your desired audience. If the ambassador you choose is present on the right social media platform, it will be easier for them to reach your audience.

4) Set expectations and establish the terms of the partnership.

Once you have selected an ambassador and they have agreed to collaborate with your brand, set the terms of the collaboration. Set clear expectations and tell the ambassador precisely what you want them to do. This includes specifying the type of content that should be posted. It is also important to outline the kind of connection that should be fostered between their followers and your company.

Also, be sure to establish payment terms and any other essential partnership details. For example, if you want the ambassador to promote your brand at a specific event, let them know so they can prepare.

5) Consider brand ambassadors who have experience participating in events.

A brand ambassador with experience working at events and comfortable interacting with customers can be a valuable asset to your campaign. They will be able to promote your brand and products at events and help to build a positive image for your company.

Find a brand ambassador who is professional and comfortable in a high-energy environment. This will ensure they can effectively represent your brand and engage with customers at events. Hire an event staffing agency to ensure the event runs smoothly and let brand ambassadors focus on promoting the brand and connecting with the audience.

6) Complete the selection and onboarding process

Make sure you select an available ambassador with the right skills for your campaign. Verify that the ambassador’s availability matches your campaign schedule.

It’s a good idea to start interacting with the ambassador on social media. It will help you establish a strong relationship, making promoting your brand more accessible. Show the audience that they have rallied behind your brand and thank them for their support.

7) Follow-up and evaluation of the ambassador’s success

Once the campaign is over, follow up with the ambassador to test its success. Ask the ambassador if your promotion has been effective and get their feedback on the campaign. This is an excellent way to improve your campaign the next time you run it. It will also help you identify areas where you can improve your social media strategy.

You can test the success of your social media campaign by looking at three main factors: reach, engagement, and conversions. By considering these factors, you can determine the success of your social media campaign. Also, you can identify any areas that need improvement.

Conclusion

Brands use brand ambassadors to increase engagement and sales of their products. An ambassador has a large following and regularly interacts with your audience. When selecting an ambassador, consider factors such as their social media presence and the ability to communicate your brand’s message. Taking the time to choose the proper brand ambassador will ensure the success of your social media campaign.

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

More and more marketers of all ilk – inbound, outbound, social, digital, content, brand – are asked to add content operations to their list of responsibilities.

You must get your arms around:

  • Who is involved (and, I mean, every who) in content creation
  • How content is created
  • What content is created by whom
  • Where content is conceived, created, and stored
  • When and how long it takes for content to happen
  • Why content is created (the driving forces behind content creation)
  • What kinds of content does the audience want
  • How to build a framework to bring order and structure to all of this

The evolving expectations mean content marketers can no longer focus only on the output of their efforts. They must now also consider, construct, implement, and administer the framework for content operations within their organizations.

#Content marketers can no longer focus solely on the output. It’s time to add content ops to the mix, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

What exactly are content operations?

Content operations are the big-picture view of everything content-related within your organization, from strategy to creation, governance to effectiveness measurement, and ideation to content management. All too frequently at the companies – large and small – we consult with at The Content Advisory, content operations are left to evolve/happen in an organic fashion.

Teams say formal content operations aren’t necessary because “things are working just fine.”

Translation: Nobody wants the task of getting everyone aligned. No one wants to deal with multiple teams’ rationale for why the way they do things is the right/best/only way to do it. So, content teams just go on saying everything is fine.

News flash – it’s not.

It’s not just about who does what when with content.

Done right, content operations enable efficacy and efficiency of processes, people, technologies, and cost. Content ops are essential for strategic planning, creation, management, and analysis for all content types across all channels (paid, earned, owned) and across the enterprise from ideation to archive.

A formal, documented, enforced content operation framework powers and empowers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible customer experiences throughout the audiences’ journeys.

A documented, enforced #ContentOperations framework powers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible experiences, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

What holds many content, administrative, and marketing teams back from embracing a formal content operations strategy and framework is one of the biggest, most challenging questions for anything new: “Where do we start?”

Here’s some help in high-level, easy-to-follow steps.

1. Articulate the purpose of content

Purpose is why the team does what it does. It’s the raison d’etre and inspiration for everything that follows. In terms of content, it drives all content efforts and should be the first question asked every time content is created or updated. Think of it as the guiding star for all content efforts.

In Start With Why, author Simon Sinek says it succinctly: “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year, says @SimonSinek via @CathyMcKnight and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Define the content mission

Once the purpose of the teams’ content efforts is clear (and approved), it’s time to define your content mission. Is your content’s mission to attract recruits? Build brand advocacy? Deepen relationships with customers? Do you have buy-in from the organization, particularly the C-suite? This is not about identifying what assets will be created.

Can you talk about your mission with clarity? Have you created a unique voice or value proposition? Does it align with or directly support a higher, corporate-level objective and/or message? Hint: It should.

Answering all those questions solidifies your content mission.


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3. Set and monitor a few core objectives and key results

Once your content mission is in place, it is time to set out how to determine success.

Content assets are called assets for a reason; they possess real value and contribute to the profitability of your business. Accordingly, you need to measure their efficacy. One of the best ways is to set OKRs – objectives and key results. OKRs are an effective goal-setting and leadership tool for communicating objectives and milestones to achieve them.

OKRs typically identify the objective – an overall business goal to achieve – and three to five key quantifiable, objective, measurable outcomes. Finally, establish checkpoints to ensure the ultimate objective is reached.

Let’s say you set an objective to implement an enterprise content calendar and collaboration tool. Key results to track might include:

  • Documenting user and technical requirements
  • Researching, demonstrating, and selecting a tool
  • Implementing and rolling out the tool.

You would keep tabs on elements/initiatives, such as securing budget and approvals, defining requirements, working through procurement, and so on.

One more thing: Make sure OKRs are verifiable by defining the source and metric that will provide the quantifiable, measurable result.

Make sure objectives and key results are verifiable by defining source and metric, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

4. Organize your content operations team

With the OKRs set, you need people to get the work done. What does the structure look like? Who reports to whom?

Will you use a centralized command-and-control approach, a decentralized but-supported structure, or something in between? The team structure and organization must work within the construct and culture of the larger organization.

Here’s a sample organizational chart we at TCA developed for a Fortune 50 firm. At the top is the content function before it diverges into two paths – one for brand communications and one for a content center of excellence.

Under brand communications is each brand or line of business followed by these jointly connected teams: content – marcom, social/digital content development and management, center of excellence content – creative leader, center of excellence PR/media relations, customer relationship management, and social advertising.

Under the content center of excellence is the director of content strategy, manager of content traffic, projects, and planning, digital asset operations manager, audience manager, social channel and content specialist, creative manager, content performance and agility specialist, and program specialist.

Click to enlarge

5. Formalize a governance model

No matter how the operational framework is built, you need a governance model. Governance ensures your content operations follow agreed-upon goals, objectives, and standards.

Get a senior-management advocate – ideally someone from the C-suite – to preside over setting up your governance structure. That’s the only way to get recognition and budget.

To stay connected to the organization and its content needs, you should have an editorial advisory group – also called an editorial board, content committee, or keeper of the content keys. This group should include representatives from all the functional groups in the business that use the content as well as those intricately involved in delivering the content. The group should provide input and oversight and act as touchpoints to the rest of the organization.

Pointing to Simon Sinek again for wisdom here: “Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive, it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.”

6. Create efficient processes and workflows

Adherence to the governance model requires a line of sight into all content processes.

How is content generated from start to finish? You may find 27 ways of doing it today. Ideally, your goal would be to have the majority (70% or more) of your content – infographic, advertisement, speech for the CEO, etc. – created the same or in a similar way.

You may need to do some leg work to understand how many ways content is created and published today, including:

  • Who is involved (internal and external resources)
  • How progress is tracked
  • Who the doers and approvers are
  • What happens to the content after it’s completed

Once documented, you can streamline and align these processes into a core workflow, with allowances for outlier and ad-hoc content needs and requests.

This example of a simple approval process for social content (developed for a global, multi-brand CPG company) includes three tiers. The first tier covers the process for a social content request. Tier two shows the process for producing and scheduling the content, and tier three shows the storage and success measurement for that content:

Click to enlarge

7. Deploy the best-fit technology stack

How many tools are you using? Many organizations grow through acquisitions, so they inherit duplicate or overlapping functionality within their content stacks. There might be two or three content management systems (CMS) and several marketing automation platforms.

Do a technology audit, eliminate redundancies, and simplify where possible. Use the inherent capabilities within the content stack to automate where you can. For example, if you run a campaign on the first Monday of every month, deploy technology to automate that process.

The technology to support your content operations framework doesn’t have to be fancy. An Excel spreadsheet is an acceptable starting place and can be one of your most important tools.

The goal is to simplify how content happens. What that looks like can vary greatly between organizations or even between teams within an organization.

Adopting a robust content operations framework requires cultural, technological, and organizational changes. It requires sponsorship from the very top of the organization and adherence to corporate goals at all levels of the organization.

None of it is easy – but the payoff is more than worth it.

Updated from a November 2021 post.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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