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Tuesday 24 August 2021

7 Social Media Calendars, Tools, & Templates to Plan Your Content

It's better to have a plan for what direction you're heading — especially when developing your social media content strategy. Most marketers recognize that social media plays an integral role in an effective inbound marketing strategy. And with so many social networks available to us, it's important to stay organized and have a plan for when and what you're going to share on these platforms.

1. Google Drive

Has several helpful features that make it easy for social media marketers to build out an effective content calendar. A team might use Google Calendar to track both their editorial and social media calendars to make sure they're aligning posts with new blog content. These calendars can be easily shared with multiple teams to avoid scheduling conflicts and ensure that campaigns are aligned.

Google has several products that can be used together to create quick, seamless workflows. Whether you're publishing dozens of posts per day across multiple platforms, or ramping up one channel for your freelance business, you'll find value in the Google Drive system.

2. Loomly

If you want more mileage out of your content calendar, you can turn to an all-in-one content planning and publishing platform such as Loomly.  Loomly offers tools beyond content scheduling and management. This tool goes further, providing inspiration and direction to help you create content. It also allows you to manage your content assets, schedule posts, view them as a list or a calendar, and analyze what posts are working vs which ones need work.  Loomly's most robust feature set includes a collaboration and approval environment so that teams can submit mockups, provide comments, see version logs, and flag for approval. This can help you streamline processes for efficiency when there are "too many cooks in the kitchen" on a particular project.

3. Trello

Looking for an organizational tool that's highly effective for team collaboration? Try Trello. This platform offers a full calendar view which makes it easy to visualize what content is going out, and when. You're not limited to just one structure, though. Users can customize boards according to their needs. For example, a team could create a board to organize social media posts for a given week, on a specific platform, or post ideas around a topic, such as a campaign or awareness day.

4. Sprout Social

Sprout Social’s social media calendar and publishing tool make it easy for teams or individuals to plan and schedule all of their social posts. You can schedule content to automatically post to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more.  You can also tag each social post and add notes to better track and report on your posting strategy and campaigns.

5. Hootsuite

Hootsuite offers a built-in Planner tool to help you create campaigns, identify publishing gaps, and collaborate with your content creation team. Its primary features are in social publishing so that you can release content to your networks in advance, but it also has rich features for collaboration and post approvals.  You can even curate content from other sources without logging into your account. Once your content is created, you can preview it with the Composer tool, which displays according to each social network's unique format.

6. Agorapulse

Similar to Hootsuite, Agorapulse offers social publishing tools and a content calendar so that you can manage your social media accounts with ease. This includes scheduling (or rescheduling), queuing, and bulk uploading posts, which is incredibly helpful for teams who use quarterly or monthly content plans.

7. StoryChief

If you want more from your content calendar than simply knowing when posts go live, StoryChief is the option for you. With StoryChief's smart calendar, you can better strategize and plan your content strategy across channels.  It displays much more than your timetable — it also allows you to assign collaborators to tasks and filter them by campaign.

Tuesday 17 August 2021

5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan

It's good practice to revisit your marketing strategy every year.

And the best way to do this is by putting together an annual marketing plan. This helps you set your marketing on the right course and make your company's business goals a reality.

An annual marketing plan is a high-level plan that guides the direction of your team's campaigns, goals, and growth.  Without one, things can get messy -- and it's nearly impossible to put a number on the budget you'll need to secure for the projects, hiring, and outsourcing you'll encounter over the course of a year if you don't have a plan.  

This also helps if there are variations to the marketing plan made. Whereby the plan is adjusted depending on your industry and the goals of your marketing team. To make your plan's creation easier, we've put together a list of what to include in your plan and a few different planning templates where you can easily fill in the blanks.

Step 1: Write the Business's Summary 

Include the summary of your organisation. Which includes the business name, location of the HQ, and its mission statement.

Step 2: Disclose the Business's Initiatives 

Segment the various goals of your department. Be careful not to include big-picture company initiatives, which you'd normally find in a business plan. This section of your marketing plan should outline the projects that are specific to marketing. You'll also describe the goals of those projects and how those goals will be measured.

Step 3: Conduct various Analysis on Your Segment

  • Customer Analysis - conduct some basic market research. If your company has already done a thorough market research study, this section of your marketing plan might be easier to put together.  Ultimately, this element of your marketing plan will help you describe the industry you're selling to and your buyer persona.
  • Competitor Analysis - consider your competition, what they do well, and where the gaps are that you can potentially fill. This can include positioning, market share, offerings and pricing.
  • SWOT Analysis - which stands for the business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Be patient with your business's SWOT analysis

Step 4: Determine Your Market Strategy

describe how your company should approach the market. What will your business offer your buyer personas that your competitors aren't already offering them?  In a full-length marketing plan, this section can contain the "seven Ps of marketing".

Step 5: Plan for Your Budget

  • Budget - Don't mistake the Budget element of your marketing plan with your product's price or other company financials. Your budget describes how much money the business has allotted the marketing team to pursue the initiatives and goals outlined in the elements above.  Depending on how many individual expenses you have, you should consider itemizing this budget by what specifically you'll spend your budget on. 
  • Marketing Channels - your marketing channels are where you'll publish the content that educates your buyers, generates leads, and spreads awareness of your brand.  If you publish (or intend to publish) on social media, this is the place to talk about it. Use the Marketing Channels section of your marketing plan to lay out which social networks you want to launch a business page on, what you'll use this social network for, and how you'll measure your success on this network. Part of this section's purpose is to prove to your superiors, both inside and outside the marketing department, that these channels will serve to grow the business.  Businesses with extensive social media presences might even consider elaborating on their social strategy in a separate social media plan template.
  • Financial Projections - Knowing the budget and doing analysis on the marketing channels you want to invest in, you should be able to come up with a plan for how much budget to invest in which tactics based on expected ROI. From there, you'll be able to come up with financial projections for the year. These won't be 100% accurate but can help with executive planning.

Thursday 12 August 2021

The Ultimate Guide to Content Creation in Malaysia

Where is the first place you turn to for an answer to your burning question? For the majority of the world, it would be Google (or any other search engine). This isn't surprising because Google alone answers over four billion search questions every day.  When you enter a question into its search bar, the links that appear in your search results represent answers which you may be looking for (which is also known as content). Regardless of whether you know it or not, you're actually consuming content on a daily basis. 

Content is a large part of your everyday life. It’s hard to avoid, but why would you want to? Content keeps us informed, answers our questions, entertains us, makes us smile, guides our decisions, and more.  Content helps you attract, engage, and delight prospects and customers, bring new visitors to your site, and ultimately, generate revenue for your company.  In other words, if you’re not creating content, then you’re behind the curve.

Why is Content Important?

Content creation represents an ultimate inbound marketing opportunity. When you create content, you’re providing useful information to your audience (at no cost) which in turn increases your chances of attracting potential customers to what you intend to offer. Also, great content also contributes to retaining existing customers by encouraging quality engagement.

What are some Content Examples?

  1. Blog Writing
  2. Podcasting
  3. Video Broadcasting
  4. Graphic Development
  5. Content Giveaways (such as Whitepapers, Research Notes, Templates, and more).

Start with a Content Audit

Even if you have been creating content for some time without any clear direction or you’ve been following a strategy all along, every conscious effort to create content can benefit from a content audit. Even if you did not start out with a clearly defined strategy doesn’t mean that the content you have created prior to this won’t fit into your new strategy.  A content audit simply means taking inventory of the work that you’ve already done, then organizing it to fit under your new plan.

The process might involve some re-writing, or it could reveal gaps that need to be filled with content that appeals to your persona and their journey stage.

Choosing the Correct Format

Always keep the person you're writing for at the forefront of everything you're creating content for. I can't stress enough that you’re creating content for them (not for the whole world). That means you should be crafting content in a format that is most easily and enjoyably consumed by them.

The format you choose might be a blog post, video, Slideshare, graphic, ebook, whitepaper, podcast, or whatever your creative mind can conceive. As long as it serves the person you are writing for, you’ll be in a good space.

What's more, is you don’t actually need to stick to only one format for the content that you create. You should be able to create content — in whatever format — on a consistent cadence. This means, even if a podcast series might be a great marketing tactic, but if you lack the resources (and patience) to stick to it, then a blog might be a better route.

Just to get this definition out of the way digital content creation just simply means that it is the process of choosing the format (usually digital), and then utilizing the right tools to publish and promote your content online. That's it. It's just content creation but done digitally.

The Most Important Part: Content Promotion

Everyone gets caught up in content creation, but forget that creating great content is useless if no one actually sees it. In a perfect world, herds of people would flock to your site every time you published a new post. In reality — especially when you’re just starting out — you’ll need to entice people to consume your content.  Hence why content promotion is just as important to your strategy as whatever content you create. 

Your promotion plan should be guided by who you are planning to create for and where do they spend their time. Is it online or offline? What time of day do they use a particular platform? How often do they want to see content from you? How do they like to consume content? What email subject lines get them to click? and more.

Conclusion: Start Creating

Content creation is an iterative process that pays off tremendously with your audience (if you have dedicated your content creation for the audience you intend to reach out to). Once you have the content creation process down, you’ll be able to generate creative work that not only delights your audience but also grows your business.  

Sunday 8 August 2021

How to Sell Without a Unique Selling Proposition Measure

It's important to know the business impact of what you sell. This goes without saying how much more a difference this will make. It shows how your prospective clients decide when choosing your products or services. However, many companies just don't quantify the true value proposition the business delivers through its products or services. And sometimes, quantifying it seems nearly impossible.

There's an argument, however, that if there aren't any metrics to measure the strength of a value proposition, your business is already losing out.

Everyone's been here. For years, many companies focus their resources on jumpstarting new product sales. And during this process, not many have ever quantified what's the value proposition on offer. They're often too busy with new strategies. Trying to find one that would work better than the one before.

But here's the gap. When the going got tough, good hard data was lacking. 

Although that may be the case, it didn't stop new clients and did not discourage new prospects to identify that a company was a good fit for their organisation.

We found that good hard data although important does not necessarily mean better sales prospects. And the common factor found was that there were commonalities in the strategies used by various companies to help prospects to feel more confident when engaging in a new product or service:

1. Talk the talk

Start by talking like a businessperson. Rather than giving exact figures or percentages, there's an emphasis in prospecting for new client conversations to go along these lines:

  1. Product launch vs achieving the projected sales result
  2. The critical need to shorten time-to-revenue
  3. High costs of sales rep downtime prepping for presentations and proposals
  4. Lost of opportunity
  5. The inconsistent message being delivered to channel partners and customers

These are value propositions which are extremely attractive to senior sales leaders and it has led to many profitable transactions. These show competency as you've just quoted business terminology to which they can relate.

2. Use industry stats

It isn't easy and sometimes nearly impossible to measure the value of your proposition. If there's a time when specific data is required, you can lean on and off industry statistics.

The idea and perspective of these "outside experts" give you more credibility. For example here are examples:

CSO Insights found that organisations with random or informal approaches to sales coaching had significantly lower quota attainment and win rates.

Consultants do this very often. This can be a great proof of sources for the need for your product or service in the market.

3. Engage Your Customers in the Measuring Process

Think about how you might demonstrate your value with your upcoming sales prospects. Don't just talk about how fun your engagement is, but focus on the client's business objectives for lead generation. You should jump in early on. Talk to buyers about what to measure and how your company can do it. Some examples of easy metrics for tracking include:

  1. Who received the product/service
  2. Does the seller have an appointment
  3. What happens when a new sale has been made
  4. What is the initial value of the sale
  5. What is the lifetime value of the client

This helps customers to know if their investment has been worthwhile. These will also lead to future success stories which you can leverage for future prospective sales engagement.

Start now because these efforts will have huge paybacks for you.

4. Collective Wisdom

The last way to clarify your value proposition is actually relatively easy and right where you least expect it to be. Brainstorm with your colleagues. The collective wisdom and experience of your peers will provide a broader view on the value you are offering to your customer.

It would be good to review marketing materials and think about what ways you can pique their interest and stoke excitement in their hearts.

  1. Here are some questions you can use during your discussion:
  2. What problems do you think we solve?
  3. Does any of these problems also affect other parts of the company?
  4. How does our solution impact our customer's bottom line?
  5. Is there a positive impact our solution has brought to our clients?


If you're struggling with the above and still remain stuck, consider setting you and your team's mindset in the following. Keep asking each other, "so what?".

  1. So what if it's inefficient
  2. So what if communication has been improved?
  3. So what if we reduced the turnaround time by 2 days?

Keep asking "so what?" over and over again. It'll only help you to get much closer to the real value of what you bring to your potential customers.

This is an internal analysis. But beware, it can be dangerous. Don't take it to the letter because no matter what outside validation always takes more precedence. Also, don't just think of your solution in isolation because you're much too close to it to discover what problems or values your company is offering without help.