2020, blog, blog post, blogpost, disney, disneyworld, myblog, Uncategorized

5 Lessons I Learned from Watching Disney's “The Imagineering Story”

Recently I watched “The Imagineering Story,” a new docuseries on Disney+ about the history of the Disney theme parks. I grew up going to Disney World every year with my mom and when I wasn’t at the park, I was reading about all things Disney and watching TV specials about the Behind the Scenes of the park. Even to this day, I watch YouTube videos of Disney cast members talking about their experiences. So, “The Imagineering Story” was right up my alley.

As I was watching it, a lot of the senior executives and Imagineers started to say familiar advice that I’ve seen in my career. I was surprised that Disney employees faced similar issues at work. I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the takeaways and lessons from “The Imagineering Story.”  

Encourage Failure and Bad Ideas

The Disney Imagineers, or WED Enterprises as they were formally referred to, were encouraged to take risks. I should stop to clarify that Imagineering is a term unique to Disney and is the combination of creative imagination and technical knowledge.  

In Episode 4, called “Hit Or Miss,” Imagineers recalled how in the 1990s there were dedicated teams focused on exploring new technologies, different attraction layouts, and new ride vehicles. 

“Succuss is about many many failures,” said Jon Snoddy, an Imagineer with Advanced Development. He goes on to talk about how they created a culture that doesn’t judge if things fail. In fact, they intend to fail! If over half of the projects succeed, then they aren’t trying hard enough. This experimentation helped them when it came time to create Tokyo Disney Sea. I love how much Disney prioritizes and values experimentation and risk. And moreover, how their team leaders support that innovation. That’s where the magic happens.   

But, Imagineers aren’t naive. One senior Imagineer, Joe Rohde (the guy with the incredible left ear piercing) acknowledges that Imagineering is very frustrating for business-minded people. There is a permanent tension between Imagineering and the business department. “Core components of creativity do not reconcile with efficiency-based business theory,” he said. How do you balance these two? 

This tension is not new. According to Disney folklore, Walt Disney was always asking his brother Roy for more money so he could do more creative ventures and Roy was skeptical and nervous. Roy was business-minded and Walt was creative and risk-taking. 

Design for the final level of the marketing funnel

In episode 3 “The Midas Touch” the Imagineers go into detail of how Euro Disneyland, later called Disneyland Paris, was built. They wanted to create the most beautiful Disney theme park and spared no expense. 

They returned to their history when building this new park, using tried and true principles. Walt Disney had four levels of detail that he preached to Imagineers. Design Imagineer Coulter Winn describes these principles as:

  • Detail Level One: You’re in the country, you see over the trees some tall buildings, maybe a church steeple 
  • Detail Level Two: You’ve walked into town, now you’re on Main Street
  • Detail Level Three: You’re looking closely at the colors and texture of the buildings  
  • Detail Level Four: You’ve gone up to the front door and you’re grabbing the handle, feeling the texture and temperature of the material 

All of these detail levels need to work together. Coulter says that at Disney they have to get to Detail Level Four to immerse guests in their story. This is where people fully buy-in and believe what you’re selling. 

These different levels of details reminded me of the Buyer’s Journey or Customer Funnel. First, you have the awareness stage when the buyer starts to hear of your brand in the distance, then they become interested and learn more about your brand, thirdly they are intent on buying your product and last they purchase what you’re selling. Just like with Disney’s design levels, your customer journey has to lead them to that purchase or Design Level Four.   

You don’t need to re-invent the wheel

With budgets as large as Disney’s it’s hard to think of them scrimping, saving and repurposing things. But, they are first and foremost a corporation focused on pleasing shareholders. I was surprised to learn in Episode 3 “The Midas Touch” that Disney Imagineers reused animatronics and set designs from an old 1974-1988 Disneyland attraction called “American Sings.” The happy singing birds, frogs, turtles, alligators, and rabbits found a new home at a more exciting ride called Splash Mountain. They fit right in next to the other Song of the South characters. Disney probably saved millions in time and money not having to design and build new characters for Splash Mountain. 

Take a look back at work you’ve previously made, whether it’s a template built that wasn’t used or a draft of a design. Could you repurpose that work? 

Don’t get siloed and stuck in your department 

When Imagineers were building Michael Eisner’s Disney’s California Adventures, they worked on a tighter budget than they had on Euro Disneyland. They were also divided between two projects. One team worked on California Adventures while the other worked on the new Tokyo’s Disney Sea, which had a much larger and looser budget. 

One Imagineer, Bruce, recalled the short-lived, much hated, ride Superstar Limo and how it was built by Imagineers who were in these tight pods, not consulting with anyone else. They had adopted the mindset of, “This is my attraction.” They stopped checking in with their peers to ask if this was good enough. They lost touch. Whereas, in previous Disney theme parks, rides were built more collaboratively. Superstar Limo only lasted one year and was later remodeled into a Monster’s Inc themed ride.

Take time to chat with or eat lunch with people in other departments at work so you can share what you’re working on and collaborate. 

Your work needs to make an impact 

One of the head Imagineers for Animal Kingdom, Joe Rhode, stated that he’s most proud of the projects that have a non-entertainment payback within them. He’s proud of the conservation station, a working research lab and a conservation fund that resulted from Animal Kingdom. 

Profits, entertainment, metrics aren’t enough to make a long-term meaningful impact. Richer rewards are needed. Who are you helping? How can your work give back to the community?  

As a kid at Disney, you don’t think much about how the theme park rides are built. They just kind of appear one day. As you get older, you realize that the project of building a theme park attraction isn’t all that different from working on a project at your work. Everyone has to collaborate, think creatively, first you build a mockup, you try to repurpose things, and you need to have a sense of purpose behind it all. 

I thought “The Imagineering Story” would be similar to the “One Day at Disney” movie that blatantly and blindly praised Disney CEO Bob Iger. But no, in “The Imagineering Story,” mistakes are acknowledged. A key takeaway from the docuseries is that when theme parks like Euro Disneyland, California Adventures and Hong Kong Disneyland were built for half the price, to please shareholders, the quality suffered, attendance shrank and guests were not happy. This modern cost-cutting mindset becomes more frustrating knowing it violates Walt Disney’s wishes. Walt is quoted as having said “Disneyland is a work of love. We didn’t go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.” I hope that in the future, Disney can continue to balance creativity with profitability, in order to continue its legacy and because many other businesses look up to Disney. 


This blog post was also published on my LinkedIn.

2019, blog, blog post, blogpost, marketing, myblog, Uncategorized

Digital Marketing Tips for Wedding Vendors, from a Future Bride

So, I’m recently engaged and have been researching reception venues and attending wedding shows to get ideas. With my digital marketing knowledge, I can’t help but think that some of the vendors I’ve interacted with aren’t doing the best marketing they could. I want to take a moment to reflect on what I observe wedding vendors doing and what I think, from a digital marketing perspective, they ought to be doing.

 

  • Adjust your CTA for your audience

What they do: At wedding shows, most vendors seem to all have the call-to-action of “Buy Now!” For example, photo booth vendors told me how they were offering a discounted price, but only if I booked today. I was at the bridal show just to browse and to get ideas. I even told the photo booth vendor that I didn’t have a date yet, no venue, but he still gave me his brochure advertising his today-only-deal and wanted me to book him right then. No way, dude!

What they should do: Meet your customers where they are at. At wedding shows especially, switch your CTA to match brides who are in the awareness stage. Make your CTA “Subscribe to my email newsletter for wedding planning tips” or “follow me on Instagram to enter for a chance to win something” so you’re adding value to the bride, and you’re staying top of mind for when she’s ready to book. Maybe some brides are ready to book the photo booth that day, but you need to talk to her first and assume that every bride is in the awareness, not the decision-making stage of the marketing funnel. Measure the success of a bridal show by new website visitors, Instagram followers, and email subscribers, not by the amount of revenue made that day.

  • Meet in person as soon as possible

What they do: A lot of wedding vendors have a Contact Us page on their website and when someone fills that out, they email the bride back with more information and it becomes this back and forth email chain until eventually, someone stops responding.

What they should do: Immediately offer to meet the bride for coffee. Try to schedule an in-person meeting as soon as your schedules will allow. Vendors who I met in person, I felt a strong connection to and was extremely more likely to book with them. I felt loyal to them, I knew them, I trusted them and wanted to work with them.

For example, When I was looking for a wedding planner, I sent out several emails asking different planners for more information about their services.  One of the planners emailed me back the next day asking to meet up for coffee, another planner asked to schedule a phone call, and the third asked me to fill out an online questionnaire. Guess which planner I ended up booking? The one I met in-person. You can’t underestimate the power of a face to face real conversation. I’m reading Sherry Turkle’s “Reclaiming Conversation” right now and her thesis is that young people are losing the ability to hold a conversation and that no amount of technology can replace the power of a face-to-face conversation. I may be young but hell no, I’m not going to sign on a contract with someone I haven’t met face-to-face. I need to meet you in person and feel a connection if I’m going to work with you on my wedding day.

  • No response from her means don’t send her any more emails

What they do: A bride requests information so the vendor emails the info to the bride. She asks a question, they respond over email. She doesn’t respond again. The vendor then sends her emails with additional pictures of the venue, additional information, additional dates, etc. These emails continue, once a week, if not more. Eventually, the bride marks the emails as spam, hurting the vendor’s email domain reputation.

What they should do: Listen to your customer. Respect their wishes if they don’t want to hear from you. If they don’t ask you any follow-up questions or request a tour, assume this means they are thinking about it. They’ll let you know if they have questions! You risk damaging your reputation and coming off as difficult to work with if you badger brides with continuous emails. It’s a delicate balance between one follow up email a week or two after your first email and then no follow up. I’d lean toward no follow-up, because from my perspective, no follow up will change my mind.

  • Don’t use scare tactics

What they do: At bridal shows, I hear vendors ask questions designed to spark fear and insecurity. “Do you know what you’re going to do for your first dance?” “When’s the big day?” “Where are you getting married?” “How will your guests remember your big day?” “Have you booked this yet? Time’s running out!” “Have you thought of what you’ll do with your wedding dress after your big day?” “Did you know fall is the busiest wedding season?” “Good luck choosing 10.10.2020!”  Ack!

What they should do: Ask questions to get to know the bride, not scary questions that will only stress her out even more. Build a relationship with her. Don’t just talk to her like she’s a clueless pile of cash. I wanted to hear more vendors ask general simple questions like “Where are you with your wedding planning?” “How’s the wedding planning going?” This question allows me to volunteer the information I feel comfortable sharing and my answer doesn’t make me feel bad.

  • Acknowledge how you got my email address

What they do: After I attended my first wedding show, I suddenly got all these emails from vendors I had never heard of. No introduction, no explanation of how they got my email, just a cold hard sales pitch.

What they should do: Acknowledge that you got my email from the wedding show and tell me you’re adding me to your email newsletter. Give me the option to unsubscribe, front and center. In this age of increased data privacy and customers trusting brands and businesses less and less, be transparent with your customers about how you obtain your marketing data.

Capture
A good example of how you should first email your leads. This DJ emailed me and acknowledged how he got my contact information.

 

wendys bridal
I got this email from Wendy’s Bridal and appreciated how they explicitly said how they got my email and gave me the option to unsubscribe. Way to respect your brides!

 

  • Follow up by email or phone

What they do: I talk to a vendor in person, we connect, I ask for a follow-up, they say they will, and then I never hear from them.

What they should do: Stay true to your word. Follow-up with a bride you connected with by email the next day. Remind her what you talked about, give her additional details, and thank her for her time. Do what you told her you were going to do and follow up by email when you say you will.

If you really want to knock it out of the park, try answering her email with a phone call. Depending on the bride, she could be impressed by your dedication and appreciate the ease of a phone call rather than a long email. I experienced this where I emailed a vendor with questions, he called me 15 minutes later to answer my questions and we ended up talking for 30 minutes and of course, I booked a tour.

 

One more note is that I’m always impressed by businesses in the wedding industry who treat their customers like human beings. I think the venue, The Henry Manor, did this best with their plain-text follow-up email to attendees of a bridal show. Note how in the second paragraph they state how they want to earn my business. That was so refreshing to read because it contrasted all the other wedding emails I’d received. I appreciated this down to earth email:

Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 9.12.45 PM
Down to earth follow up email to brides who attended a bridal show. Notice the casual tone of voice and how it’s just plain text, like a friend would write to you. 

 

I hope you found this informative and hey, if you know of any wedding vendors in Columbus, I’m in the market!

2019, Uncategorized, work

I Passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification exam

I renewed my certification in Google Analytics. I last took the test in 2017 so I was due for a refresher. I completed the Google Analytics Beginners course first then the Advanced course within Google’s Analytics Academy. I learned the most from using the demo account and being able to practice the concepts I was learning.

I’m excited to apply this knowledge to my organization’s Google Analytics.

 

Debbie Gillum Google Analytics Individual Qualification certificate

 


Google Analytics Advanced Certificate


Google Analytics for Beginners Certificate of Completion

2019, columbus, marketing, Uncategorized

Key takeaways from the Together Digital National Conference

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I attended the Together Digital national conference on Thursday and Friday. It was jam-packed with informative sessions, case studies, and panels. I got to hear from some of the most talented, motivated and compassionate women in the marketing industry. Part of what makes Together Digital so unique is that members commit to 12 Asks and 12 Gives each year. This can be anything from asking if anyone knows anyone at a company you want to work for all the way to giving members an audit of their LinkedIn profiles. When women ask for help and give support to one another, we can build each other up. The group has been instrumental in shaping my career.

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There were so many awesome sessions to choose from at the conference, I found myself wishing I had a time-turner like Hermoine’s from Harry Potter. I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the key takeaways I learned from the conference.

Kickstart Your Organic SEO Strategy by Caitlin Boroden, Director of SEO, Catchweight

– SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic. The three pillars of SEO: Technical SEO + Content + Digital PR (link building). I think of this as a pyramid with Technical SEO on the bottom.

– When you’re doing an SEO Audit it can feel overwhelming at the amount of stuff you need to fix. Conduct an Impact vs Effort analysis for when you have a laundry list of changes needed. This will help you map out what tasks are high impact- low effort, etc.

– Make sure to use smaller image sizes on the website so the page can load quickly.

– Be sure to fill in meta descriptions and alt text to help it be understood by Google. Each page should have H1 tags.

Creative ways to drive email conversions by Amanda Scarnechia Manager, CRM & Consumer Data of Scott’s Miracle-Gro

– If you don’t have the data, ask for it. Scott’s Miracle-Gro wanted to let their audience know about a new product they had for people with an irrigation system. They didn’t know who in their database had an irrigation system so they sent them a short one question survey in an email. Ask your audience a basic question.

–  Write at a fifth-grade reading level or below. Average American reading level is about seventh grade.

–  Apply the learnings from other departments. Maybe your paid social media team has already figured out what copy works for your audience and you could borrow that in your email campaign.

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Present like a Pro by Rachel Brewster of Unforgettable Leadership

–       Set the agenda. State here’s what we’re going to cover. Set the time for the topics. Email the agenda the day before.

–       Talk about the bigger picture first before diving deep. Start with the big picture. Don’t just start in the middle. Give context and orient them.

–       Help them make decisions. Using analogies to communicate complicated concepts in a way that’s commonly understood.

–       Repeat their vision back to them, helps them feel understood and heard. Then say we have two options, here are our recommendations.

–       Know your leader and how they want to be presented to.

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Social Marketing & Media Case Study

– You can create buyer personas for each social media platform like a Facebook persona or Instagram persona.

– 78% of users who follow a brand on social will visit their physical store.

– Provide social media training during the onboarding process to teach posting best practices. Have your social team teach the sales team how to use social selling correctly. Provide content the sales team can share, teach them about a complete LinkedIn profile, educate them on what a Facebook business page looks like. Do a yearly audit of sales reps social profiles.

– Make social-first content. Reframe social media to be a business driver. A/B test to learn what your customers really want.

– Facebook is the best place to reach Moms. Moms are online for support and community.

– Bad social media goal: Grow your social media following. (That’s not specific nor timely.)

– Good social media goal: Increase purchases on our website from Instagram by twenty percent by the end of the year.

– In your social media photos, have a clear focal point. Make your product pop. Show the product in action. Show how to use the product, explain what it is. Product demos. Real customer highlights.

And that’s a highlight of some of the things I learned from the Together Digital National Conference in Columbus, Ohio on September 19-20, 2019.

Learn more about future Together Digital Events

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2019, Uncategorized

Proving assumptions wrong and thinking about my priorities

I’m in Boston for Inbound19!

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It’s exciting to travel to such a huge conference in the marketing industry. I’d wanted to go to Inbound someday and am thankful MedVet gave me this opportunity. I’m going to take so many notes to bring back to the team.

The kick-off welcome session tonight was by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of that book and movie you’ve heard of: Eat, Pray, Love. I admit I haven’t read any of her books or seen the movie with Julia Roberts. I started both and couldn’t finish. So, I was hesitant that I would not enjoy nor get anything out of her session. I didn’t have much to base that assumption on, I just pessimistically had a negative assumption.

But, she really inspired me. She spoke from her heart about how writing has always been her passion. She moved to New York City to fulfill her dream of being a writer but was working so many odd jobs to pay rent that she didn’t have time to write. She told this to a mentor and the mentor looked at her and stated:

“What are you willing to give up to pursue the life you’re pretending you want?”

She then asked her more questions to prove her point: “What’s your favorite TV show? What are you reading? How was brunch with your friends this weekend? What’s your next vacation?” She was indicating that if Liz had time for those things, then she had free time to write. It was a matter of prioritizing. She needed to make her dream of being a writer her number one priority.

Then Elizabeth Gilbert talked about Relaxing. She said that this word is underused and undervalued. When you Google “relaxing” she noted that images of hot stone massages are mostly what appears. If you’re waiting to relax once you’re rich, sorry but rich people are stressed too.

She described a friend she met who whenever someone asked him how he was that day he would respond with “It’s gonna be alright.” He wasn’t answering their question (in fact, he was creating a new question) but there was something relaxing about his demeanor. He kept his shoulders lowered, didn’t get fired up easily, and took time to listen to others. I admired that guy and after her talk noticed myself trying to bring down my shoulders, take a deep breath and relax.

She said that in a herd of horses, the alpha is a strong mare who keeps the other horses calm. When she is calm, that behavior spreads. She remains calm because nobody messes with her. The other horses know they must ask permission from before approaching. her. She doesn’t need approval from any other horses nor does she let their fears or worries affect her. It was quite a relatable message from the animal kingdom.

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Photo from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook page

Going off of that, I loved most what she talked about when she said you need to figure out your priorities. Draw a circle around you and protect that.

She described a moment in her life when she found out her partner was terminally ill. She canceled speaking engagements, canceled appointments and flew home immediately. She looked in her email inbox and deleted all the nonimportant emails, even if they were unopen. She prioritized her partner.

Now, I’m not going to go that extreme, but it got me thinking about what my priorities are. My first thought was Nate, Emily, and my parents. The people I care most about in the world and who know me better than I know myself. Then I wanted to add in some non-human priorities like: Honesty, Writing, Humor, and Creativity.  I know I want to live a life where I can have Nate, Emily, and my parents with me. I want to live a life where I can be myself, tell the truth in my writing, be goofy sometimes and try new out of the box ideas. 

So not only did Elizabeth Gilbert totally prove wrong the assumption I had, she helped me think more about my priorities and what’s important to me right now. Thanks!

Uncategorized

My next chapter

I’m proud to announce that I’ve accepted a new position at MedVet as their Digital Marketing Specialist. I can’t wait to join their talented team and help lead the way in specialty healthcare for pets.

I don’t have a dog yet. But I’ve developed quite the dog shrine in my living room.

2019, columbus, marketing, Uncategorized

What I learned at interact19

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Yesterday, I went to a digital marketing conference in Columbus called interact19. I’ve been to several conferences before and I can honestly say this was one of the best I’ve attended. Every presentation and speaker was filled with actionable knowledge that I could take back and apply to my workplace. So many of the tips were practical and cost-effective, requiring just time and skill. 

I’m starting a new job later this month and in my interview, my future manager asked if I knew anything about Voice Search and I said I wasn’t that familiar with it and needed to do more research about it. Well at this conference, two of the speakers talked in-depth about the state of voice search, how to use it and where it’s going in the future. Now, I have practical information I can tell my new boss about how we should be using voice search. By attending, I learned something I can apply in my job and I can show that I’m staying up to date on marketing trends and best practices.

I definitely would recommend this conference and want to go back next year. I’m grateful to Volunteers of America for making it possible for me to attend. 

I want to share what I took away from each session at yesterday’s conference:

Opening + Morning Keynote: Be Mighty by John Fimiani

  • Unify around the brand promise
  • Best Buy was able to turn around their business by focusing on human relationships and creating human experiences
  • It’s more important to be human than it is to sell.
  • The University of Oregon was able to redefine themselves by investing in simple branding and aligning around a purpose. Now everyone knows that Oregon Football = Faster.

The 1% Content Strategy: Combining the top SEO and lead gen tactics to statistically beat 99% of content programs by Andy Crestodina

  • People link to helpful blog posts
  • When people link to your blog, that causes page authority and is link building
  1. Publish your mission
    • Our content is where [audience] gets [information] that offers [benefits]
      • Content mission formula :Where __ find ___ for ____
      • Our content is where moms get tips on how to save money
      • Marketers are more successful when they have a content mission statement.
    • Answer the webpage visitor’s question “Why am I here?”  Why is your visitor on your page?  Spell it out on your webpage. 
    • Your email sign up link should be
      • Prominent- big and on every page
      • Promising – what will they get when they sign up?
      • Proof- how many current subscribers are there?
      • CTA- Sign Me Up
    • Your social bio is your promise to your followers
  2. Find topics they’ll love
    • What does my audience want?
      • Data-driven empathy
      • Use Google autocomplete
        • “Audience” ______
      • Use keyword tool:  www.keywordtool.io to find relevant keywords and blog ideas
      • Use https://answerthepublic.com/ tool
      • Use https://www.quora.com/ tool
      • Make a list of topic ideas, sorted from least detailed to most detailed
        • High-level list posts
        • Overview of a specific topic
        • In-depth detailed posts
  3. Create Original Research
    • Well-researched and evidenced content
    • Original research gets linked to the most
      • It’s like a citation used in a bibliography
    • Observation: you’re contributing to the conversation
    • Survey: gather new data
    • What are the assumptions in your industry that are lacking data?
    • 10x effort = 100x results
    • Spend more time creating better quality blogs
    • Don’t take shortcuts. They take too long.
    • Most successful content creators:
      • Write 2,000+ word articles
      • Publish more than weekly
      • Spend 6+ hours per article
      • Write guest posts
      • Publish original research
      • Collaborate with influencers
      • Add videos to articles
  4. Write for your prospects
    • What questions is your audience asking?
    • Create content that answers their questions.
    • Talk to other people in your organization to find these FAQ
  5. Upgrade the visuals
    • Infographics, diagrams, graphs, memes
    • Let’s turn our top _____ into ______
      • Let’s turn our top blog post into a video
    • Testimonials using your keywords are gold
    • Test email subject lines on social
    • Update, repurpose high performing content
  6. Collaborate with influencers
    • Influencers who link to your website is gold
    • To find influencers search “your topic” + “blogger” “writer” “author”
    • Use https://followerwonk.com/ tool
    • Use https://buzzsumo.com/ tool
    • Work with influencers for
      • Deep dive interview
        • People love to be interviewed
        • They’ll be flattered
      • Use their quote in your blog
        • Include the influencer in your content
        • Single Point of View content is a thing of the past. Think of it, a news article would never use just one source. You should use multiple sources too.
        • Use a headshot with their quote
  7. Write for other websites
    • Guest blog, collaborate
    • Write an article for them, send it to them.
      • “Here I wrote this for you. Here you go.”
    • Pitch to podcast hosts
    • Repurpose How-To articles into How-Not-To articles to be published on other websites

Research who is linking to your site.  

Research how many links your competitors have.

If you make content that’s Mission Driven, Research Anchored, Influencer Powered, and PR Focused, you’ll be in the 1%

SearchSocial
Long form textCompelling visuals
Answers questionsTriggers emotion
Meets expectationsUnexpected
😬😐
Looking, huntingUnplanned, waiting
Expert quotesinfluencers

 

Growth by Content: Driving Massive Traffic Without a Big Budget by Nadya Khoja

  • Content marketing is easier and cheaper than buying social ads
  1. Goals
    • Set multiple specific goals, like high domain authority, more traffic, higher conversions
    • One piece of content will not meet all of these goals. You need to create content for each goal.
      • One content per goal, not one content all goals
      • You can’t just brainstorm fun ideas to write about.
    • Goal: Domain authority  (your site’s reputation and credibility)
      • Make viral, editorial content
    • Goal: Conversions
      • Make how-to content
    • Goal: Traffic
      • Make inspirational content that will rank for long tail keywords
      • One in-depth content piece for many keywords
      • Publish new information and data
  2. Research
    • You don’t have to write ALL the things
    • Start with keyword research
    • Make content that’s connected to your landing page (or pillar page) that meets your goals
    • Make a spreadsheet with
      • Search term categories  (Words) Your Pillar Term
      • Average monthly searches (#)
      • Difficulty (High, Medium, Low)
      • Keywords related to categories
      • Search terms  
  3. Authority
    • Get high-quality backlinks, focus on link building
    • Guest blogging can help you get backlinks and authority
    • Use https://ahrefs.com/  SEO tool
    • Use https://mailshake.com/ to send a pitch email to ask for links
      • “Hey, can I give you something if you link to us?”
      • Build relationships
      • Offer value in your outreach, give them something
      • Find content that already mentions the keyword you want to rank for. If they don’t have that keyword linked, email them and ask
      • Cold outreach has about a 3-5% success rate
      • Don’t sound like a robot in your cold emails, be yourself
      • Link building is a long term strategy
  4. Promotion
    • 80% time spent on promoting content and 20% of time spent creating

 

The Future of Voice and Its Impact on Content by Adam Deardurff

  • Alexa, Siri, Google Now, Cortana, Bixby
  • Most people use voice for Music, Weather, Fun Questions, Search, Alarms, News, Calls
  • Google serves up Position Zero aka Featured Snippet in voice searches
  • How to get a featured snippet
    • Research FAQ and common searches
    • Answer FAQs on your website
    • Use schema.org markup    
    • Follow baseline SEO best practices
      • Have a Google My Business page
  • Podcasts are growing, especially among ages 12-24 years
  • Consider hosting an internal podcast for employees
  • How to leverage podcasts
    • Understand your audience
    • Explore podcast advertising networks
    • Reach out directly to targeted podcasts
    • Start creating your own
    • Be a guest on a podcast
  • Start talking to your voice speaker. Learn about its capabilities
  • Get specific with your content. Be the Waldo.
  • Get your product audible
    • Podcast ads
    • Influencer marketing
  • Give your people a voice
    • Highlight top employees and corporate culture
  • Accessibility and security

Five Hot Digital Marketing Trends and How They Impact You by Pam Didner

  1. Voice search
    • Optimize text and voice search for how you talk
    • Longer inquiries, shorter answers
    • Use local search like Google My Business
    • Voice is another form of content
    • Explore questions that are likely to be asked
    • Put voice search and voice content in your annual marketing plan
    • Look into Alexa for Business and Google Home for Business
  2. Add intelligence to products
    • Voice controlled microwave
    • Smart plugs to make basic appliances smart
  3. Product Personalization
  4. AI
    • Using AI for lead gens, follow-ups and chatbots
  5. Marketing fundamentals haven’t changed

 

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How to Be Remarkable: The Unusual Yet Proven Path to Marketing Success by
Andrew & Pete

  • 90% of your effort should be on doing something remarkably well
  • 10% should be spent experimenting
  • Posting something is not better than nothing
    • A successful blogger, SEO pro only has 50 blog posts but generates 200,000 page views
    • He writes long pieces
    • He only makes a new blog when he’s happy with his current blog’s page rankings
  • People who spread themselves thin don’t win
    • You don’t need to be on every platform
    • You can’t do everything well
    • Do one thing remarkably well
  • Make relatable content
    • Lean into the reaction spikes you see.
    • Do more of what’s working
    • Listen to your audience and give them what they want.
  • Reallocate your efforts
    • Readjust your strategy based on where your audience is moving
    • A brand moved from Snapchat to Instagram Stories
    • It’s scary to drop a channel or stop doing something but data will guide your decision
  • Consistency
    • YouTubers promise new content weekly “new videos every Tuesday” giving their audience a reason to come back
  • Create fun content
    • Do you enjoy marketing?
    • Find the Fun
Uncategorized

Grand Opening of the Pickerington Thrift Store

I feel like since 2019 began, I’ve been spending the majority of my time focusing on our new Pickerington thrift store. I worked with our architecture firm and DaNite signs to map out where and what our branding and signage would look like inside the store. This involved helping to choose paint colors, designs and size of the signs, even to placement inside the store.

Now, we’ve announced that we’re opening our doors on March 29 and I’m overwhelmed by the response to our Facebook Event. I made the event and scheduled it to go live as soon as I finished our Instagram Live announcement.

Me leading our Instagram Live announcement

Nicole and I went to the store on March 12 to do Instagram Live at noon. With live videos, if something can go wrong, it will go wrong. You got to roll with it and recover. We realized our video hadn’t been recording for the 5-10 minutes I’d been walking around talking. Okay, take two. I held my phone, talked to the camera, and showed our followers around the thrift store. I always learn something when I do a live video, whether for Facebook or Instagram.

I ran an ad to promote event sign ups but didn’t expect it to take off like wildfire. I made the event ad on Friday and there were maybe 30 people interested. I check the event ad on Monday morning and there’s over 800 people Interested! Whoa. Now, on Wednesday (still 9 days from the opening) there’s 189 Going and 2.6K Interested!


This event went viral for us
I love reading the comments. People are tagging their friends and family members.
I’m taking this opportunity to Invite everyone to Like Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana. I’ve found this is a great way to increase your followers.
It’s important to me to answer user’s questions and concerns. It’s rewarding to hear how much our audience loves VOA.
Monitoring these posts to answer questions is so important.
I’m working to respond to everyone who asks a question in the Event page.