Editorial Calendars and Why You Need One Right Now

Social media is hard—you have to be on your game and post regularly to keep your audience interested. But who has time to post every day or even every week? What do you even post if you do have time? An editorial calendar can make this daunting task into a… not-so-daunting task.

There are plenty of calendar templates for Word or Excel, or you can use an online calendar like Google Calendar. Whichever method you choose, try to plan out your social media posts at least a few weeks in advance. This will take pressure off you when it comes time to actually do the posting, because you’ll have material already prepared that you can just copy and paste.

Creating the calendar will not only help build your brand, but it will also help build awareness about your business. It’s an easy and free advertising method that also gives your audience a platform where they can freely express their love for your business by liking your posts. And if they really really love the content, then they will share the post and advertise for you.

Here are some topics and suggestions for posts you can start planning in your editorial calendar right away.

Trending Trendy Trends

Most social media platforms have weekly “themes” that you can piggyback on. You’ve probably seen your Facebook friends post Throwback Thursday pictures, and there are plenty of other topics for specific days—Manic Monday, Tie Tuesday, and Fedora Friday are some of our favorites.

These themes provide easy material for social media posts. For Tie Tuesday, all you have to do is post a picture of people in your office wearing ties (the goofier the better). Just make sure to add a #tietuesday to the post.

Plan these themed posts so that you do a different day each week. Maybe one week is Wednesday Wisdom (an image with an inspirational quote), and the next week is #Caturday (everyone who matters loves funny pictures of cats on a Saturday… or any day really).

Remind Followers to Remember

Does your business have scheduled annual events or sales? Use social media to remind them and build up hype. Start weekly reminders for your upcoming fundraiser event at least a month before the event, and bump up those reminders to a couple of times a week as the event gets closer.

A coupon or special sale is very social-media-worthy. If your followers care about saving money (why would you want them to follow you if they don’t?), share your 25% off coupon and remind them that it expires soon. Or post about one of the cool items or services that are on special this month only.

Savings and specials can provide weeks of posts that will really engage your audience, so plan posting about them in advance.

Holidays, Celebrations, and Awareness Months

There are plenty of nationally recognized months, weeks, and days. Search through lists of these to see which ones align with your business. For example, August is about Water Conservation, so if you sell high-efficiency dishwashers or showerheads, you can plan sales and social media posts to feature those.

Holidays are also an easy source of posts. Most people will “like” a post with a cool graphic wishing them a Happy Fourth of July or a Merry Christmas.

 

Hopefully you now have some ideas for social media posts and can start planning your editorial calendar. Creating the calendar can be a bit of work upfront, but it will make your life much easier in the long run, and your social media will be more effective. Having a planned purpose makes you look fresh and timely to your audience, which is what social media is all about.

Standing Out

Do you really need to be super special? Well, dry cleaners, gas stations, and car washes don’t usually need signs the size of Godzilla to attract customers. But, let’s face it—most businesses need to make a real name for themselves, to be a head above the rest.

Blending in might as well be a death sentence. Ok, that’s a little extreme, but let’s not diminish the importance of standing out.

Ways to Stand Out

Be the first. Sure, this is easier said than done. But, anticipating needs and being the first to meet them speaks volumes and makes your business the “go to.” Take a good hard look at your target. If you think you’re hitting the mark pretty well, that’s great. Now take a good hard look just outside of your target and think of ways you might expand.

Get Really Good. This seems obvious, but making sure you’re the best at what you do is paramount. Train your staff, research current happenings in your market, and get serious about quality control. From stellar customer service to really knowing your stuff, putting some extra effort into your business is going to make you better and better. Customers notice these things.

Have a Great Brand. You can read this blog post about branding. Basically, we’re talking about your name, logo, colors, typeface, and signage. It’s got to be sharp. It’s got to say “you.” It has to be consistent. Think of the Nike swoosh. That’s what we mean. Establishing a strong brand is important because it personifies your business. Suddenly, your business is somebody. It’s recognizable. It speaks to your audience with its style. Consider your brand the stylish megaphone of your business. It announces your presence. Make sure your brand is saying what you want.

Go the Extra Mile. We’re talking about those extras that make your business memorable and make it a luxury. Look at what your competitors are doing and do more. This could be a fancy chocolate left with the check at your restaurant, or different interesting music in the bathroom. It might mean complimentary beverages at your boutique. How about offering better pictures and descriptions on your website? Once, I had my leftovers at a restaurant wrapped in tin foil that looked like a tall, sleek, devil-may-care cat. I mean, that’s pretty great. It doesn’t have to be very expensive, just think of small ways to make your business an experience.

Be Savvy with your Advertising Avenues

 You’ll need to market your business in a way that makes sense for reaching your target audience in order to stand out. So, if you have a super niche customer like say, seniors interested in clay classes, it’s not going to make sense to use a billboard to advertise. But, what if you’re a hotel? Go crazy with the billboards! What we mean is, be smart about how you spend your advertising dollars so that you can get your business right to the ear of your dream customers. Read more about that here.

For more pro tips, give us a call. Helping you stand out is our business.

 

Data and Tracking Results

Do you track results of your marketing efforts? One of the most important aspects of marketing is narrowing down what works and doesn’t work. Analyzing data and coming up with conclusions might seem difficult, but it’s extremely worthwhile.

Establish Baselines

Before you begin tracking results, you need to know what your baseline is. You should know who your customers are, which products or services sell the most, and which type of customers buy what. Without this data, you won’t know what’s working or not.

For example, let’s say your most popular product is a bedazzled leaf blower (the Leaf-Be-Gone Jewelicious), and it sells very well with women over 40. (We’ll assume you don’t know this fact because you haven’t established a baseline.) You might create a direct mail postcard with a sale on these snazzy leaf blowers and send this to women around town.

The results of the direct mail were great! You sold 10 leaf blowers in one weekend, all to a bunch of women! One older woman even bought two!

What you don’t know is that, on average, you sell nine leaf blowers every weekend. This means (and I’m sorry to tell you) you spent a decent chunk of money to sell one more leaf blower than you would normally have sold. If you knew what your baseline was, you wouldn’t have targeted women with the direct mail; see, women are already buying your bedazzled leaf blowers. You need to turn your focus to men to widen your target market because men would represent new customers, and more Leaf-Be-Gone Jewelicious sales!

Online Data

With all of the advertising tools available online, you can easily get overwhelmed by reports. Conversions are the most important data to track online. Getting clicks on your online ads is great; but if those clickers never spend money with you, the ads aren’t working.

You need to be very aware of what online ads you’re running and whom you’re targeting. Your ads for polkadot socks that target both men and women might only bring in female customers. If that’s the case, you can get much more value from your online budget by only targeting only women with those ads.

Listening to walk-in customers can also help direct your online advertising. Customers might tell you they didn’t know you sold a certain product or service. That’s a great clue to create online ads promoting that product or service.

The Tip of the Data Iceberg

There’s plenty more you can do with data, and coming up with creative solutions based on insights will make your business stand out from the competition. If you’re overwhelmed with data and reports, give Field Group a call.

Why Can’t We be (Mobile) Friends?

Is your website mobile-friendly? If you don’t know the answer to this question, you may be missing out on a lot of potential customers. Don’t worry, Google has a solution! Check out their mobile-friendly tool. All you have to do is paste in the URL of your website, and Google will take care of the rest.

Did you get a lot of big red X’s when you used the mobile-friendly tool? This can present problems for a lot of reasons. According to Google (and let’s face it, they know pretty much everything at this point), over half of all internet searches are done on mobile1. That means people are looking for products and services on their phones. If they go to your site and can’t use it easily, they will probably leave and never come back.

On the other hand, Google will favor you in their search algorithm if your website scores highly. That means is that you will show up higher in search results when people search for goods or services that relate to your business.

If your website didn’t score well on the mobile-friendly scale, don’t worry. Field Group can help turn your site and mobile into best friends forever.

mobile friends


1https://adwords.googleblog.com/2015/05/building-for-next-moment.html

How the World Sees Your Business

Your entire marketing budget could be going to waste if you don’t have proper signage at your business’ physical location. You might design an awe-inspiring website, newspaper ads, and direct mail, but if the logo on your sign doesn’t match the logo on all those other pieces, people will be confused when they try to find your store. They might even get lost and drive circles around you.

It’s super important to have good signage. This is your first real impression; this is the test where your customers see what your business is really all about (rather than just what those crazy marketing people tell them in ads).

According to a study by FedEx Office1 over half of the responders said they would not enter a business with a poorly made sign. This means you can spend a lot of money on newspaper, radio, and online ads, but if people show up to your physical location they might turn around and leave because your sign scares them.

So what makes a good sign you ask? Start with your logo, but only if it’s clear, easy to read, and tells what you do. If your logo won’t work, just include your business name in clear lettering. Unless you’re Apple Inc., your sign should also include what you do. Here’s an easy peasy example:

Field Group

Advertising and Marketing

This is a good sign

If you have a mascot character or something similar that you have used in other marketing (say, a banana that dances in all of your TV spots), you might add them to the sign (but consider switching out the dancing banana to something less… dancing banana-y). Only do this if the mascot has been used before and will continue to be used in the future. Think Geico gecko.

Don’t add flowers or other random graphics (unless you’re a flower shop) because those just take away from the meaning of the sign. Avoid handwritten signs on cheap material. It’s worth the investment to buy a quality sign that will last you for years to come.

If you’re paralyzed by sign options or don’t know how to start the design, give us a call. We’re happy to point you in the right direction.

Looking for a sign

Posted by Jonathan


1http://about.van.fedex.com/newsroom/global-english/fedex-office-survey-standout-signs-contribute-to-sales/

Celebrities and the Power of Branding

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Kim Kardashian completely gave up social media? Or if Oprah started endorsing cheesy potato chip snacks as the next super health food? Can you imagine Donald Trump changing his hairstyle?

No. You can’t. Because these celebrities have created brands for themselves, and they stick to them. People who follow celebrities know exactly what they’re like: how they act, things they enjoy, which products they use or endorse. If celebrities go outside their brand, people have a hard time adjusting, and longtime fans might not be fans any more.

Take Katy Perry for example. She used to be a Christian singer, so you can bet her fans at the time were not pleased when she kissed a girl and liked it. A similar situation happened when Taylor Swift switched from country to pop; it took quite a bit of convincing for pop fans to come around to the fact that this country girl was singing in their genre.

The reason these celebrities garner so much attention is because they know how to create a brand and stay faithful to it. If their brand weren’t consistent, they wouldn’t be able to get any traction with the public. Bands don’t release albums with 12 different songs in 12 wildly different genres—an album like that would not connect with very many people or sell very well.

Your business is kind of like a celebrity, and it needs to be branded consistently in the same manner. If you use a different logo on your building from what you use in your newspaper ads, people won’t know what to look for when they come see you. If your brand has been historically funny and quirky, it’s going to be hard to pull off a heart-felt commentary in your TV commercial that resonates with your core audience.

In order to get your business up to celebrity status, you’ve got to create a brand and stick to it. If you don’t want to get your hands all dirty and sticky, Field Group can help you out, so give us a call.

These aren't sticky notes. We just have really sticky hands at FG.
These aren’t sticky notes. We just have really sticky hands at FG.

Posted by Jonathan.

A small post with a large amount of information about every medium

Making decisions about where to spend your media budget can be a little overwhelming. Should you buy newspaper ads, billboards, TV commercials, direct mail, or online? There are so many choices, it can be paralyzing. You want everyone to know about your business, so you might think you need to puts ads in every single media that exists.

It certainly helps to clearly define your target audience, which includes the people who are most likely to become your customers, visit your business repeatedly, and tell their friends about you. Once you know your target audience, you can choose a specific set of media that will reach that audience.

Below is a brief overview of various media types with descriptions for the primary audience of those media.

  • Newspapers:
    • Broad audience with a variety of interests
    • Older, well-educated readers
    • Can target specific sections, such as sports, local, lifestyle
  • Radio:
    • Large, diverse audience
    • Each station has a specific niche depending on music type
    • Affordable ads means more repetition of your message
  • Television:
    • Most homes have at least one TV
    • Large audience
    • TV ads are more memorable than print or radio, since they combine both visual and audio
    • Expensive spots, and it’s costly to produce a quality commercial
  • Online:
    • Very popular with almost everyone, especially younger audiences
    • Easily track data on who is viewing and clicking on ads
    • Can target specifically to age, gender, language, location, hobbies, and interests
  • Billboards:
    • Usually not effective as a standalone ad, but work to reinforce message shown in other media
    • Only have about six seconds of viewers’ attention
    • Effective boards use a strong image with a small amount of text
  • Direct mail:
    • Great for promoting something specific like a sale or event
    • Can purchase mailing lists to target specific demographics
    • Needs to be designed well with a strong call-to-action in order to stand out from the clutter of junk mail

If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed by media, give us a call! We would be happy to help you develop a campaign and media schedule to make your business stand out.

The Power of #

First off, this blog’s title would be a lot cooler if we all still pronounced “#” as “pound.” But nooooo, Stowe Boyd had to go and rename it to “hashtag.” I personally would have preferred “poundtags,” but no one asked me.

Now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the vegan meat alternative of this matter: the # and why you should use it.

Think of the hashtag as the search engine of social media. When someone tags their post with a hashtag, anyone on social media can search for that tag and be able to see that post. By using hashtags appropriately, you can make your posts more visible to people who might be interested in your business. For example, if your business sells shoes, you can create a post about a new shoe design you just started selling and use #shoes. Someone might search for #shoes when they’re looking for a new outfit, and they see your post—now you’ve just gained a new customer and follower!

You’ve probably heard of “trending,” but what exactly does that mean? Trending is when a hashtag is used frequently in a short time in your local area. If everyone in Yakima is posting pictures of their dog using #dogsareawesome, that hashtag will be officially trending. You can start your own trends by creating hashtags that will be popular, or you can piggyback onto hashtags that are already trending. Just be careful to only use trending tags if they are actually applicable to your business. If you’re going to use #dogsareawesome from above, you should probably own a pet store.

Hashtags are also the master organizers of social media. Let’s say you have a big event coming up called “Dance Party Fundraiser.” You could create #dancingforacause and use it for all of your posts building up to the day of the event. Then, you can encourage people to use that hashtag to tag any photos they take while at the event. This will allow you to use a variation of the hashtag for next year’s event, like #dancingforgood—this way, everything will be nicely organized year to year. For an organization junkie like myself, this is totally my cup of tea. Or shall I say, my cup of hashtagulated filing system?

If you can master the use of the hashtag, you’ll be #ing it with the best of them.

#pound

Posted by Jonathan.

Target Audience

Your target audience probably doesn’t like the same things you like. In addition, an ad that you like might not necessarily be effective.

For example, let’s say you get up early and watch the morning news, and you want to run TV commercials during those programs. Well, if your target audience is people aged 20-30, most of them will never see your ad. That means you just wasted a lot of money producing a commercial that didn’t promote your brand or sell any products. This is why it’s so important to define your target audience and to know how they behave and how best to reach them.

What a wonderful ad! Said no target audience ever

That’s where we come in. We’ve spent tons of time researching media consumption habits of many different demographics, and we’ve worked with a lot of clients, which has given us the experience and knowledge to be able to reach the appropriate audiences for a variety of different types of businesses. For example, we know that young people don’t watch the morning news on TV, but rather get most of their news from social media that they view on mobile devices. We are then able to create a campaign that speaks specifically to that audience and reaches them in the place where they spend most of their time.

The kids love this stuff
The kids love this stuff

It’s essential to target the correct audience. If you don’t know who is most likely to purchase your product, you’re going to waste a lot of time, effort, and money throwing ads at people who probably don’t care. Once you do know who is in your target audience, you can carefully craft your marketing messages in order to reach them and get them to listen to you.

Posted by Jonathan.

What is marketing?

I would like to use this post to explain what it is we do here at Field Group, both to give a better understanding to our clients and to the general public. Let’s start off by explaining what exactly marketing is.

Marketing is different from advertising. Advertising means using media (whether it be in a newspaper, radio, or online) to promote a certain product, sale, or event. If you own a car dealership, you might place an ad in a newspaper for a particular vehicle at a set price. The ad might look really nice and include features and benefits of the car, but ultimately the goal of the ad is to sell the car.

Marketing does not equal advertising
Marketing does not equal advertising

Marketing isn’t about necessarily selling a specific product. Instead, it’s all about creating and selling a brand for your company. Your brand is defined by a lot of factors: logo, color scheme, font choice, photography style, the voice used in text, and many other elements all work together to give create a look and feel. When a brand is clearly defined and unique, it is almost instantly recognizable. Think of the McDonald’s golden arches with the red background—if every store used a different color palette, the brand wouldn’t be as powerful.

In Soviet Russia, McDonald's is still McDonald's
In Soviet Russia, McDonald’s is still McDonald’s

Creating a brand and using it consistently in everything that comes out of your company is the key to effective marketing. People associate your brand with whatever your company sells or offers. Going back to the McDonald’s example, when most people see their logo, their tummies probably start grumbling because we associate Mickey D’s with food.

Marketing is also about finding the right people to market to. These people are called your target audience—the group most likely to want to do business with your company. McDonald’s (this is the last time I’ll talk about them, I promise) should be marketing to hungry people, because stuffed people won’t want anything to do with them.

That guy looks hungry--he would definitely buy my stuff!
That guy looks hungry–he would definitely buy my stuff!

Posted by Jonathan.