Looking for a Social Media Monitoring tool? First, read this post…

As a digital / social media / new age marketer and blogger, I am also looking for ways to track and monitor social media buzz. Over the years, I’ve realized that it is important to track and monitor social media across 2 parameters

1) Social Media Buzz for your brand – , i.e., What is being said / not being said about your brand

2) Social Media Buzz for your competitors brands – , i.e., What is being said / not being said about your competitor’s brand

Social Media Monitoring is critical because it can provide important insights to what the end consumer / users likes / dislikes, values and . This is an invaluable input for any business in defining / refining your strategy / service / solution portfolio.

A while back I was involved in an exercise to evaluate different social media monitoring tools and was impressed by the number of solutions available in the marketplace. I came across several articles which helped me in my analysis. In this post, I am sharing a round-up of some of the most useful articles. If you are planning to invest in tools for social media monitoring / listening, this post should help!

6 Social Media Monitoring Tools to Track Your Brand

Top 8 Social Listening Tools that do way more than listen

5 Social Media Listening Tools that every business should be using

Social Media Monitoring Tools

10 Sentiment Analysis Tools to track Social Marketing Success

Best Social Media Monitoring Software

Top 10 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools

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Columnist / Byline In : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo | Finextra | Inc42 |  Business2Community |ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom |  SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Social Media De-Addiction Anyone?

Let me start with a confession. I was a social media addict. I’m reformed today.

Why do I describe myself as a “social media addict”? For me, it started off with Blogs. At first, it was reading blogs. Then it was writing blogs. Then I moved to FaceBook. And then to Twitter. Briefly, Pinterest caught my fancy. At one time, infographics, videos and visuals were my muse. Because there have been times when I spent 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 hours on social media – all at a stretch and all in a day, and sometimes for days at length. I have no clue what I exactly did during those hours. But it felt good at the end! I have missed basic human needs – like food, sleep! I have missed paying bills (not taxes, Thankfully!), social appointments, pressing personal requests, urgent phone calls, work deadlines – All because I was hooked on social media. When I started using social media several years back, it was out of sheer curiosity. What started off as “Let me see what this beast is” quickly became “The beast controlled my priorities, my time, my life”.

But not anymore! And I’m thankful for that…  It took me a while to get here… But I succeeded..

Social media can be an addiction – like TV, or sports, or music, or dance, or alcohol, or art, or video games, or reading, or whatever else keeps you hooked.. It can slowly and steadily control your life, time and priorities..

But first? Why and how do people form addictions?  That is a interesting  topic in itself. I think there are plenty of reasons. From having lots of time, to lack of a purpose, to  lots of money, to lack of confidence, to a quest for doing nothing, to dealing with stress, crisis, emotional ups and downs, the good bad and ugly that life throws at you…. But most importantly, addictions are really about HABIT FORMATION.

Habits formed by repetition are hardest to change” BY Charles Duhigg [Book: The Power of Habit]

And I fully agree with the quote above. So, how did I go about my process of social media de-addiction? I have share a high level snapshot of what worked for me below. It took me about 6 months to get there, but totally worth it!  My greatest high was when I stayed away from social media for 5 days in a row! Trust me, it is possible and you will survive,and the world goes on (both the real-world and social media world).  And the good part was that I found time to revive several other old interests along the way – from running, to reading to creative art! So it’s all good now!

I hope it helps you or anyone else you know who is keen on embarking on this journey.

Social media de-addiction (4)

 

 

 

 

What ‘maketh’ a great salesperson?

A true salesperson is one who can sell anything.. anytime.. and to anyone. I speak from experience here. They can sell products, services, platforms, technology, ideas, hypothesis, theory, hopes, dreams, a better tomorrow, a brighter future, success, love, an exciting career, relationships.. You think it, you name it.. A salesperson would have sold it a zillion times before…

What maketh a salesperson?” I wonder many times. What are some of the unique behaviors which make some individuals able to sell so successfully?

1) They are great storytellers

Almost all successful salespeople are great storytellers. They can spin a yarn which makes a personal connection with you, and of course in line with what they want to sell. And even before you’ve realized it, you’ve fallen for the story

2) They make an attempt to know YOU

Almost every good salesperson I know makes a genuine attempt to understand whom they are talking to, what is their DNA, what motivates them, what makes them tick. They articulate what they have to sell in your language

 3) They genuinely “listen” to you 

They listen first, speak second. When they start speaking, you rarely can interrupt.

 4) They are always well-groomed

Again, almost all salespeople are almost always well groomed, and have a unique personal style statement. Simply put, their physical appearance is almost always impeccable

 5) They are number-driven

Their world resolves around numbers – sales numbers. Everything they think, do and say have numbers at the start, middle and at the end. Numbers drive them – It is core to their DNA.

 6) They can connect disconnected things

Another very interesting aspect of all good salespeople is their ability to connect disconnected things at real-time: both in their thoughts and in their words. That is a truly unique characteristic because it makes conversations and engagement with them interesting and fascinating. Almost all the good sales people I know can link history, arts, culture, economics, business, finance, politics with the weather! Some story they always have under their sleeve

 7) They understand human behaviors and emotions

Another very important characteristic of good sales people is that they can read and understand human behaviors and emotions – both what is said and what is unsaid. That is an art, and something which is truly unique. Because of this, many of them are highly perceptive of the environment, situation and people around them – which makes a huge difference in what they say / do – and what they don’t say / do

 8) They have de-constructed the process of selling

Last but not least, they have de-constructed the process of selling in their own context. They know what needs to happen – before, during and after the process of selling; and what exactly they need to do at every step of the way to increase the probability of a sale.

These are my views.. What do you think? Leave a comment to let me know

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Columnist / Byline In : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo | Finextra | Inc42 |  Business2Community |ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom |  SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Wiser after 4M’s – An MBA, Marriage, Motherhood and Medical Issues?

First published on WomenInspiringWednesdays

How does anyone summarize more than 3 decades of life experiences to capture the essence, lessons and spirit of all that it entailed?

How does anyone share multi-facets of the 4M madness (an MBA from IIMB, Marriage, Medical issues (of self and in the family) and Motherhood) – many of which are relevant to very many women?

How do anyone summarize the ~15 years of corporate work experiences which encompass diverse aspects of business, process, domain, technology, team-work, customers, partners, travel, culture, leadership, mentor-ship and everything that define your career trajectory and make you what you are?

How does one say all that is to be said, read, understood and feel inspired in one blog post?

Well, here’s an attempt… Read on..

I’m Nischala Murthy Kaushik, and like to describe myself as a working mother, marketer, digital artisan, content crafter and blogger / writer / columnist. The penchant for ‘new’ and ‘novel’ experiences has fueled my life and career taking me across diverse life-stories. Most of these stories had a good dose of action, drama, villainy, emotion, humor and romance – just that the supporting cast changed every time based on the context, but I continued to play my part – which was obviously the lead role! And I still continue to play the lead role. This is my story!

As I crafted this piece, I wondered what story I should share here? One which was simple, powerful and universal to the trajectory of any / every woman’s life and career. Going down memory lane, each of the 4M’s has been a defining moment in my life; and has been a great experience of self-discovery, learning, strength, resilience, growth with its share of highs and lows. I’d love to share some of the key lessons which stayed with me at every point in this journey – with the hope that it compels you to ponder, wonder or meander in your mind or heart!

M1 – MBA from IIMB

I gave myIIM MBA entrance exam with very little preparation, and was sure I’d not get through. But I cleared the written exam, and sailed through the interview process. I also almost didn’t enroll in to IIMB because I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. I had my reasons, or so I thought! Fortunately, my mother influenced my decision, and I did enroll into the MBA course. MBA from IIMB was defining for me because it exposed me to some of the best and brightest brains in India (both in terms of teaching faculty and student interaction) – Not to mention the learning was phenomenal.

What stayed with me?

  • As women, investing in formal (higher) professional education is always a worthwhile investment. If you get any opportunity to enhance your knowledge, skills or professional networks – don’t let it pass. If you are serious about a long term career, a portfolio of diverse formal degrees / qualifications always works in your favor
  • Mother’s always know what’s best for the kids. Listen to your mother with open ears and an open mind – especially after you turn 30.
  • Networks and bonds which you form with people as part of your education / learning journey are usually stronger and tend to stay for life. And these networks usually help you through many a rainy / stormy day – So invest in them, nurture them and treasure them.

M2 – MARRIAGE

Marriage is an important event in any woman’s life. It is defining because the man, themother-in-law and the maid become important influencers in your career / life choices after that!I’m no different. Also in my case, that also involved a move abroad.So finding my feet in a new environment took its time, but with a “can do” mind-set and a willingness to walk the extra-mile, things fell in place.

I was also clear that I would continue to pursue an active career. Fortunately for me, there was a job opportunity abroad which I gladly accepted. In addition, I also enrolled into a local university and earned study credits for subjects of interest, along with a foreign language (German).

What stayed with me?

  • As a woman, it is important to be clear on your personal career objectives and share it up-front before you get into matrimony. If you don’t say it out loud, chances are they’ll never know.
  • Marriage, as with any life relationship involves give and take. You have to be prepared to do both – in your marriage and career. The sooner you accept your reality, acknowledge your circumstances and unique constraints and find creative solutions to keep going, the better off for you are in the long run. The more time you keep looking at closed doors, the longer it will take for you to open new windows and possibilities.
  • As women, it is important to explore ways to expand your knowledge and skills – no matter where you are. This is especially true for many women who have to re-locate to a new city / country after marriage. Once you settle into marriage, explore ways to enhance your knowledge, skills and professional profile. Get a certification, organize an event, learn about a culture, hone your culinary skills – Key is to find ways to stay relevant for today and prepare for what tomorrow can bring your way

M3 – Medical issues (of self and in the family)

I’ve experienced up close and personal going through rough patches with my health, and going through medical crisis / emergency in the family for extended periods of time. Both are extremely trying – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, professionally and socially. Key is to be able to find ways to address current issues at hand, but also look into the future.

What stayed with me?

  • Health is wealth – There is only so far you can go – if health does not favor you or your loved ones. So make health a priority in life – when the going is good.
  • When you have good health, try to make as much wealth – Wealth can buy you (access to) good health – to some extent, and a lot of other things.
  • Life’s too short and unpredictable. So for the people who matter, spend time, say what you have to say and make it count while they’re around.

M4 – Motherhood (Not once, but twice)

Here’s the thing about becoming a mother – You’ll never be fully prepared for it. And no matter who you are / what you do, it will transform your life, thoughts, emotions, priorities, interests, lifestyle, actions, needs, … everything! No life experience can be as intense as that of being a mother, and the journey taught me a lot about myself, people and the world.

But looking back, I started writing during my maternity leave. It wouldn’t be wrong to say while I gave birth to my baby, she gave birth to the writer in me. Simply during those days when I was confined to the 4-walls of the house, I had to find creative ways to keep myself intellectually stimulated and relevant, and blogging gave me an excellent canvas to do it. There’s been no looking back after that.

What stayed with me?

  • Career choices after motherhood are very unique and personal to every woman. So accept your reality, get clarity on what you really want and slowly but steadily find ways to make it happen.
  • Work life balance or Work life integration or work life resonance or work is life or life is work – All mean different things to you and me, especially as women at work. So find your mantra for your context
  • Too many times, the biggest issue for working mothers is around (inflated) expectations and (continuous) judgment. Both are unnecessary – including self-judgment every day and unrealistic expectations every day! Accept that you are not a super-mom, and honestly I don’t even want to be one. I’m okay making reasonable choices and trade-offs – at work, at home and as a mother. As long as things are within boundaries, it’s all good!
  • Once you are a mother, there will be phases when you need to take career breaks / apply the career brake. That is true for most women. In my experience, what really makes a difference are a few things
    1. Being clear on whether you want to work or not
    2. If you want to get back to work, set a timeline for when. Plan the how?
    3. And while you are on a break (for whatever reason), find ways to stay relevant to your subject and connected to your industry / people who matter!
  • As mothers, we tend to be too accepting of everything. While acceptance is good, it can make your too comfortable – which is not good. Key is to push yourself out of the comfort zone by not accepting things.
  • Lastly, remember that focus on your priorities, flexibility in how you can operate and going with the flow are really what takes you to the destination – as a working mother. No short-cuts here!

As I sign off, I hope you find your way through the madness in your life..

 

Join in for a live tweetchat with me today – 18 Nov2015, 12 PM IST

Happy and excited to share that I am an invited guest by SheThePeople.TV for a live tweetchat at 12 PM IST today (18 Nov 2015). If you’ve ever had any questions for me on #MyDigitalStory – tune in and tweet on…

If you are wondering why you should join a tweetchat, I’d say top reasons are – learning, networking and fun! Not convinced still? Hop over to my post on Top reasons why you should participate in tweetchats

To view the Storify of the entire chat, click here

For those who don’t know 

* SheThePeople.TV is SheThePeople is a video story telling space that inspires women, strengthens their efforts, exchanges leadership ideas, fosters networking and reinforces their ability to contribute to growth.


* Shaili Chopra is the founder of SheThePeople.TV – As one of India’s top television editor-presenters, she has been at the forefront of achievers in journalism. In her earlier avatar, Shaili was earlier the Senior Editor and Lead Anchor at ET NOW, the Economic Times Business News Channel and earlier before that with NDTV.

MIB – Marketing In a Box???

Every new age marketer aspires to play a ‘strategic role’ to business. By strategic, I mean being able to consult, advice, guide and recommend businesses on “What to do and How?” – in terms of customer experience management, business / solution / service / product / pricing strategy, trend spotting / fore-casting, competitor intelligence, global branding and advocacy.

To play this role, a marketer should think strategic. For thinking, only one thing is required – “TIME”. And that is the only thing which almost every marketer I know falls short of. It is a ‘time-deficit’ economy, and for good reason – with some many priorities, people and processes vying for our time and attention

So where does the marketer’s time go? Below is a snapshot based on my own personal observations and interacting with fellow-marketer’s along with the state that every marketer desires..

So, what are possible solutions?

One could be to outsource the ‘day-to-day marketing operational’ activities; so marketer’s can focus a significant portion of their time and efforts on the analytical / strategic work. This can be enabled through a combination of outsourcing and the power of technology.

Broadly, I call this solution “MIB or Marketing-in-a-Box”. So what is inside the box? The people, processes, technology required to perform all the day-to-day operational activities in marketing. This includes knowledge, tools, frameworks, best practices, guidelines, know-how, etc. which take care of most of the “marketing operational” activities. As a consequence, marketer’s can mostly focus on strategic activities which deliver business impact.

Do you think such a solution will help marketers? Leave a comment to let me know..

Addendum : There might also be potential to offer sub-specialization “Boxed” services like “Content Marketing-In-a-Box”, “Digital Marketing-In-a-Box”, “Social Media Marketing-In-a-Box”.

First published on LinkedIn

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Columnist / Byline In : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost |  Wipro NewsCred Marketo | Finextra | Inc42 |  Business2Community |ProBlogger  | Famous Bloggers | TheNextWomen|Nasscom |  SheTheTVPeople | PaulWriter |  WomensWeb |  Sheroes PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com  | ParentousThe Change Blog | Women Inspiring Wednesdays
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

7 Digital Marketing FAQ’s from Entrepreneurs; Answered!

First published on INC42

Did you know that in the first quarter of 2015, Indian start-ups have raised $1.7 Bn from investors? Almost every other day a new start-up idea is funded. Click here to check the list of all funding and investments which happened in 2015. The sheer numbers, the ideas and innovations will blow your mind away! Interestingly, as I read through this list, I recognized that they were all pointed solutions to a specific customer need / problem area and as relevant to the Indian market. No dearth of problems, and no dearth of solutions!

The big question is who is investing in these ideas? Interestingly, I’ve read news of large Indian companies investing in start-ups. From Wipro which has ear-marked 100 Mn$ invest in start-ups to Infosys which has set aside 250Mn$ for start-up investments to Mr.Ratan Tata who is funding start-ups – It appears that Indian enterprises and business leaders are investing in start-ups. Whether it is purely a financial investment or a business decision to diversify the business portfolio or to be a part of the next big innovation – I can’t say for sure!

Not to mention, high net-worth individuals are also funding start-ups. From Bollywood celebrities (like Amitabh Bachchan’s investment in JustDial which grew 10K% times in value to Karisma Kapoor’s investment in BabyOyethere are umpteen examples of Bollywood stars who have invested in new start-ups. Even the premier management institutes like IIM’s (Indian Institute of Management) run contest to identify and fund new business ideas, and also provide mentorship and guidance for start-ups. Not to mention, that there are ample startup accelerators in India

See, here’s the thing | The Indian start-up community has never been more vibrant – with cool innovative ideas, big dreams, willingness to tread the uncharted waters and a thirst to be part the next BIG thing!

I can see flavors of this in my own personal and professional network. The number of entrepreneurs, mom-preneurs, ideapreneurs, intrapraneurs has increased significantly in the last 2-3 years. Since many of them know me personally, and know my experience / expertise in digital marketing – they ask me basic / complex questions. However if I look back – I see that 7 questions have been repeatedly asked by all of them – irrespective of age, business, industry, size / scale of operations.

In this post, I am answering those 7 questions for the benefit of any startup based on my experiences.

Question 1: Should I have a digital marketing strategy?

Answer : This depends completely on your overall marketing objectives, which should be directly linked to business objectives. Once you are convinced that digital marketing is indeed an important element of your overall marketing plan, spend time to understand how digital marketing works. This is the most important step for a fair chance of success. Go for formal (paid) learning programs or enroll for a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course). Attend webinars from experts on the topic.

Most importantly, be clear on how you will measure the ROI (Return on Investment) and success of your digital marketing initiatives.

Question 2 : What is the boundary between online, digital and social?

For ease of understanding, I have depicted it in the visual below:

OnlineOffline

Online Marketing examples include web-sites, blogs, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEM (Search Engine Marketing), online ads, e-mail marketing, blogs, twitter, online Press Release (PR), etc.

Social Media Marketing examples include leveraging social media platforms like Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn for your marketing and promotional activities

Offline Marketing examples include print ads, Press Release, Direct Mail, Telemarketing, etc.

Real-world Social Marketing refers to marketing through ‘real-world’ social interactions and conversations at events, word-of-mouth publicity, etc.

Question 3 : Digital / Social Media Marketing – What first and What second? Why?

Answer : It depends on your business, and your understanding of social and digital. I know of companies whose digital strategy drove their social media marketing strategies, and I know of companies whose social media strategy drove their digital initiatives. Suffice to say, the digital world and social world are closely coupled and if you do one, you (or / and the ecosystem you’re a part of – like partners, customers, community, suppliers) also make inroads into the other. In most cases, Social Media Marketing is typically a sub-set of Digital Marketing.

Question 4 : I hear a lot about ‘Content Marketing’. Should I even go there?

First, understand what is content, or more specifically what it ‘digital content’? It includes E-mail, digital notes, Website / Landing page, Presentations, Videos / Infomercials, Blogs, Whitepaper, Flyers, Infographics, Corporate Communication, Tweets, Case Studies / Testimonials, eBook, Books, Survey, Research Reports, Interviews / Q&A (Question and Answers), Press Release (PR), Status Updates (FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+), Audio content / Podcasts, etc.

Content Marketing is leveraging the power of content to achieve whatever marketing objectives you set out with. These objectives can range from Brand Awareness to Lead generation to User / Customer engagement to Sales to Lead Nurturing to Social Advocacy to Professional Networking.

If you believe that content marketing can help you achieve your overall marketing objectives, go for it. Else, you might consider putting that time and money into something else.

The most important thing to understand about content marketing is that it takes time and focused efforts to yield results, and that it is an evolving journey. As your business grows and evolves, so will your content marketing strategy. If you don’t have a long term commitment and plan, you are better off not doing content marketing.

Question 4: Which social channels should I use? FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, ?

Answer: The choice of which social channels to use depends completely on your social media objectives and where your customers are. First, define who your customers are and their ‘customer personas’; and use the power of tools and technology to gather data and insights around which social channels they frequent. Don’t do Social because everyone is doing social and because it is the new buzzword. Do it because you believe it will add value to your business and marketing; and enable you to achieve your business objectives.

Question 6 : How exactly does Social Media work?

Answer: Based on the Karmic ways of the universe and life. Simply put, you get back what you give

Question 7 : Can any marketer do digital marketing? What are the key skills for success in digital marketing?

Answer :

Yes and No. Yes because anyone can learn digital marketing, if you are already a marketing professional it is easier. However, No because assuming that anyone with knowledge / experience in traditional marketing will be able to effectively do ‘digital marketing’ is a myth.

Broadly, I’d think below skills are of paramount importance for digital marketing

  • Storytelling
  • Visual Design
  • Creativity
  • Sharing as part of your DNA
  • Excellent articulation skills (especially written)
  • Understanding and usage of tools and technology – for digital marketing
  • Thirst for learning
  • Genuine love for the written word
  • Balanced and controlled (in thoughts and emotions) – because what you say or do in social media can make or break your brand value

Digital Marketing is an evolving and exciting space; and will continue to evolve. Everyone is learning, so be open to learning, failing and course-correction. That is the only way to succeed. A conscious and consistent effort to be clued and glued into the latest and greatest is critical to succeed.

Did I miss any question? Leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to respond.

Suggested Readings

Marketing Cheat-sheet | Blue-print from OBJECTIVES to PLAN

Essential Skills for the new age marketer

[FREE] Blogging Topics to last your business for 1 year

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Aspire to craft content that converts? The 7 points which matter..

First published on Marketo

According to Gartner, Content Marketing is among the Top 5 trends in the space of Digital Marketing in 2015. The ability to “build a content marketing supply chain and determine how to create, curate and cultivate content” is critical. The importance of the rise of big content means that “content is the most important thing that marketers do

It is but obvious that every content marketer aspires to continuously and consistently publish “content that converts.”.

Your first thought might be “What exactly is content that converts?”. Well, simply put it is leveraging the power of content to achieve whatever content marketing objectives you set out with. These objectives can range from Brand Awareness to Lead generation to User / Customer engagement to Sales to Lead Nurturing to Social Advocacy to Professional Networking. The thing about objectives is that they are always specific to your context – whether you are an individual or a business.

As I look back at my own journey as a content marketer, I’m happy with the impact of B2B [Business to Business] content marketing initiatives. From global brand awareness and industry mind-share, to lead generation and social shares / engagement and advocacy, it has been a good innings.

What were the key factors which made a difference in the journey?” is what everyone wants to know. I can distinctly see seven key points. I also clearly recognize that first-hand experience have taught me these lessons – mostly because of a willingness to learn, an eagerness to try and an openness to fail. However, it would have been wonderful if someone had shared these insights with me at the onset.

In this post, I am highlighting the most important points which I wish I’d known at the start, with the hope that it helps content marketers at different stages of phases of their content journey

Define your content conversion metrics

“What gets measured, gets managed” BY Peter Drucker

This is true for almost everything in life, including content. Hence the most important step in any content journey in defining your content conversion metrics. Content Conversion metrics are unique to your industry, nature of business, customer base, organization phase of growth and marketing budgets. Hence the metrics defined need to be unique and relevant to your specific context. Once the conversion metrics are finalized, it should be communicated with all key stakeholders.

For e.g: Conversion metrics could be 100 downloads for a whitepaper, or 25 e-mail registrations for a service, or 1000+ social shares, or 5 leads. Most important in metrics definition is that they should be SMART (Simple, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound) and well communicated to all key stake-holders

Have a realistic Content Plan in place

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” BY Alan Lakein

 A content plan which covers all aspects of the content life cycle is the key stepping stone for a successful content plan. Content Life cycle includes all phases from content ideation, creation, publishing, promotion, discovery, engagement, management and reporting.

Key to success in any content plan is to know

  • Who is the reader of your content? The clearer you are in your description of the demographics of the content reader, the better. For e.g: Potential readers of this blog post could be digital marketers, CMO’s, content authors, editors, publishers, content strategists, social media managers, etc.
  • What kind of content formats are popular with the target reader For e.g: Does your reader typically like visual communication like Infographics or photos; or prefers to read text in the form of blogs, white-papers or research articles?
  • What channels / devices do they typically use to read content? For e.g: Does your potential reader prefer to read on smartphone, laptop, iPad? Or do they like to read print media?
  • What content topics are trending / of value to them? For e.g.: Are new age digital marketers keen to know the latest product features of a new content automation tool or would they prefer to read about case studies on what marketing strategies worked for other competing brands in the industry ecosystem
  • What are the key drivers to convert your reader to a potential buyer of your product / service / offering / solution. For e.g: Are they looking for an easy-to-use subscription based marketing automation solution, or would they prefer a comprehensive marketing technology suite for 3 years? Your content strategy and plan need to be aligned accordingly.

The content plan should include details on:

Content Creation

  • The date on which a content piece will be published
  • The content format (blog, video, infographic, etc.)
  • The content topics / themes
  • What needs to happen before it is published (in terms of the process for editing, reviews, approvals, SEO, etc.),

Content Publishing

  • Where will the content be published (corporate / personal site / blog / page) or a community / partner / analyst / media publishing forum?

Content Promotion

  • Which social channels will the content be promoted on? This should be based on your reader demographics
  • How frequently should the content be shared?
  • How to best articulate the social shares so it works for a specific social channel?
  • What tools need to be leveraged for social sharing?
  • Which individuals / enterprises need to be notified of the published content?

Execution makes the real difference

According to the “2015 Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends”, one of the key differentiating characteristic of great content marketers is that they follow a documented content marketing strategy on a consistent basis. So planning and execution are the two foundational pillars of effective content marketing. At the end of the day, how effective your content marketing is depends completely on what you actually do.

In my personal experience, to make content marketing happen – knowledge and skills are of paramount importance. Aspects of content around storytelling, creativity, design, visualization and articulation are what truly determine the impact of content initiatives.

Leverage the power of tools and technology

“Content and Technology are strange bed fellows. We are joined together. Sometimes we misunderstand each other. But isn’t that after all the definition of marriage?” BY Howard Stringer

The number of tools and technology available to make content marketing faster, easier, effective and simpler is amazing. From deciding what to write about to coming up with the most effective title for a content piece to determining who are the influencers for a particular topic – tools and technology are a powerful boon. The key is to know what technology and tools are relevant in your context, and to effectively use them.

Track and Report your Conversion Metrics

Constantly monitoring, tracking and reporting conversion metrics at regular intervals with all key stakeholders is the most important check-point in the content journey. With ample number of social media listening / analytics / monitoring tools, it becomes important to identify the right tools for your context, define a frequency for reporting and start using them. Key is to spend time analyzing the metrics to draw actionable insights.

As a case in point, your content metrics could read as below


Based on above metrics, you can identify that the time and effort required to create a blog is significantly lesser than an infographic/ blog. However, the infographics / videos might generate significantly more views. So as a content marketing team, you can decide on the content format mix for next month. This process is continuous, and based on how your content is being received by readers.

Review and Refine your content plan based on metrics

Based on the insights from your metrics, it is important to refine your content plan.

Simple rule of thumb is this | What is working, do more of it. What is not working | Do less of it.

Be patient ; Conversion based on content takes time

Conversion based on content takes time, and focused efforts. Patience, Persistence and a positive outlook yield results.

That’s my view. What do you think is the most important to create content that converts? Leave a comment to let me know…

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

Content Marketing lessons from crafting 3000+ content pieces

“Content is King, Social Media is Queen and together they rule the online and customer world

Here are your options as a content marketer:

1) Be the KING – By generating GREAT content!

2) Befriend the QUEEN – By understanding and leveraging the power of Social Media OR

3) Be prepared to let the KING and QUEEN rule your WORLD!

Which one will you pick?

 

Content Marketing has been a significant part of my marketing portfolio in the last 18 months. Looking back, the impact of digital content has brought exceptional results – in terms of external and internal branding, lead generation, partnership development, industry collaborations and social advocacy.

I wanted to share some best practices which I believe have been contributing factors to the success of our content marketing journey.

Launching Your Content Marketing Strategy

At the outset, answer these five questions.

Question 1: Who exactly is your content consumer? What is his or her persona? What is his or her buyer life cycle in context to your services, products, or offerings?

Question 2: What are your content objectives?

  • Is it for brand awareness?
  • Is it to build a customer database?
  • Are you looking for better social engagement?
  • Is the aim lead generation or new customer acquisition?
  • Is the focus on customer retention?
  • Is it to showcase your thought leadership?
  • Is it for social advocacy?
  • Should content to be the conduit for partnerships or collaborations?
  • Should content to be the conduit for thought leadership collaborations?

Question 3: What are the metrics to define your content objectives? How exactly will you capture the data to compute these metrics? For example: How will you measure social advocacy? Is it based on the number of customers, partners, or analysts who like, share, or comment on the content you shared? Is it based on the number of total number of likes, shares, or comments that your content received?

Question 4: How do these content objectives align to overall marketing objectives? How do the marketing objectives align to your business objectives? If this link is clear to your business, marketing and sales teams – half your battle is won.

Question 5: Do you have the right skills, team, or resources to start and navigate through your content journey?

Creating Your Content

Before you start creating content, it is important to have a content plan in place. The content plan should include

Duration ·         Start Date·         End Date

·         Duration

Content Frequency ·         Daily·         Weekly

·         Monthly

·         Quarterly

Content Format ·         Blog·         Tweets

·         Infographics

·         Videos

·         Podcasts / Audio

·         Images

·         Press-Release (PR)

·         Whitepaper

·         Book / eBook

·         Slides / presentation

·         Flyers

·         Case Studies

·         Blog comments

·         E-mail communication

·         CEO Communique

Content Theme ·         Single theme topic·         Content buckets
Content Monitoring ·         Frequency·         Tools used

·         Metrics Reported

Content Team ·         Content Author(s)·         Content Editor(s)

·         Content Analyst(s)

·         Community Manager

·         Visual designer

 

In the last five years, I have created, edited, or curated 3000+ content pieces by virtue of being a writer and marketer. I have easily read 30,000+ content pieces. From what I’ve observed, below are some of the key insights for content creation

  • Before you create content, answer the below questions
  • Who is going to read this?
  • What is the value for a reader? What is the key take-away?
  • How will your content reach them?
  • What content formats or channels do they prefer to consume content from?

 

A reader will remember your content only if:

  • They learn something
  • It compels them to think
  • It touches a deep emotional chord or
  • Does more than one of the above

So be clear in what you want a reader to take-away from your content piece.

  • Clarity is messaging and positioning is most important before you create content. Consistency of messaging across all content artifacts or formats is critical.
  • How to effectively optimize content for reading across any channel – like web, mobile, tablet, etc? This is especially important.
  • At the end of every content piece, cross-link to other content pieces (either authored by you or others) which are relevant and could be valuable to a reader.

 

Promoting Your Content

  • Determine the best platform for publishing based on your content objectives – could be your corporate blog, or a guest blog, or other blog platform. Ensure that the content is optimized for each.
  • Create a cross-channel distribution plan for sharing content. This should factor in the ‘content consumer platform preferences’ and ‘time when your target readers consume content.’
  • Synergize efforts between online and offline initiatives.

 

Ideas for Content Promotion on Facebook

  • Share as a FaceBook Status. As an option, you might consider tagging friends, family, advocates who might specifically find the content useful, interesting or insightful. Be judicious to avoid spamming.

 

Ideas for Content Promotion on LinkedIn

  • Update your LinkedIn Status.
  • Post on LinkedIn Pulse. You can cross-link to the actual post
  • Join the most popular LinkedIn groups in your focus area. Promote your content in LinkedIn groups for ‘relevant reach.’ Be judicious to avoid spamming.
  • Identify list of experts from the team who will be active on LinkedIn. Try to get them to comment or participate in group discussions.

Ideas for Content Promotion on Twitter

  • Use images and Hashtags to promote new content. Use Twitter cards, as appropriate. Determine the most popular hashtags related to the content topic and share with those.
  • Tag key Twitter influencers, experts, (potential) customers, brand loyalists and advocates in the space. Solicit opinion or feedback.
  • Ask leaders from your organization to share across social.
  • Generously share others content using hashtags, tagging the authors or publishers. If the topic is directly linked to any of your published content, cross-link and share
  • Reply, RT, and comment on tweets.
  • Use scheduling tools to ensure you have a consistent flow of tweets.

Ideas for Content Promotion with Email

  • Ensure you continuously build your e-mail database which includes names / e-mail of anyone who might find value in your content.
  • Create an e-mail subscription service for readers to subscribe based on interest.
  • Send an e-mail at regular frequency to your contact database. This can be customized and personalized based on the reader’s preferences or choices.
  • Create a strategy to cross-link your e-mail subscription with content promotion. For example, at the start or end of every content piece, give the reader an option to subscribe to your content through e-mail.

 

Finally, you must regularly and religiously track the content performance based on the metrics set at the outset.

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with two points. One, the same content marketing strategy will not work for every brand, but applying best practices always increase your chances of success in content marketing. Two, Content Marketing is an exciting and evolving space – so the only way to have a fair chance at success is by experimentation and constantly upgrading your knowledge.

And of course, enjoy the journey.

What did you learn from your content marketing journey? Leave a comment to let us know

First published on Newscred

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Business2Community | WomensWeb | Sheroes India | PeopleMatters | YoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Directory of Best Indian Blogs, Alltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Sheroes Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) , 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter(2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”

The Power of Content, and some Content Myths Busted!

I believe in the power of the written word.
I believe in the power of content.

In this infographic, I have shared my views on the “power of content”?, and some content myths busted based on my personal experiences!

Content Myths

Liked it? Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment to let me know

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Connect with me on Nischala’s Social World
Columnist / Byline in : Economic Times | Huffingtonpost | Wipro NewsCred | Marketo | Finextra |Inc42 Business2Community | ProBloggerFamous Bloggers | TheNextWomen | Nasscom |PaulWriter WomensWeb | Sheroes PeopleMattersYoWoTo | 12Most.com | Parentous | The Change Blog
Blog : Nischala’s Space, Thoughts, Expressions [Featured in Top Marketing Blogs in IndiaDirectory of Top Indian Blogs and Most Widely read Indian Bloggers,Directory of Best Indian BlogsAlltop]
Twitter : @nimu9 [Featured among Must Follow Indian Women on Twitter (2014) ,50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter (2012)]

Interviews and Media Mentions
Newspaper Interview | Twittering Heights (Deccan Chronicle, 2015)
Quoted in “Open Letter to Women looking for job
Quoted in “The Best Advice you’ll receive as young women starting your careers
Interview | My blogging journey – How it came to be?
Interview | A wise Blogger
Interview | Secrets to Successful Blogging
Quoted in “Are entrepreneurs born or made?”