How To Explain Why Your School Does Content Marketing

The concept of content marketing for schools has been around for years and according to research studies, since 2007 the strategy of doing so has gained immense popularity.

Interestingly, when I talk to marketing managers all over the country about content marketing for their schools, I find that either they’re just getting started or worse yet, they’re not even doing any sort of content marketing. Not on their websites. Not on their blogs. Not even offline in print. Many have even shared their frustrations about trying to explain the concept and huge benefits of content marketing to their higher-ups, usually citing that as one of the main reasons they’re haven’t yet started content marketing for their school (or why their school is doing so little in terms of content marketing).

All that said, if the above sounds remotely like your situation, this post is for you. Whether you’re new to the strategy, an old pro, or just need help explaining how content marketing can drastically boost your school’s reputation as the authority and increase enrollments, you’re sure to get a lot from this article so keep reading.

Content marketing for schools (explained so a 5-year-old could understand)

In my field, I meet lots of intelligent people… and intelligent people have a way of talking about things that make then even more complex than they are. For that reason I’ve gotten into the habit of telling people to “explain it like I’m 5”. You’d be surprised how great people are at communicating when they strip away all those posture words that do little more than make us appear smart – which rarely works and when it does its at the expense of being understood. Anyway, I’ll attempt here to explain content marketing in the same fashion by using a case study (actually a conversation that happened with someone who didn’t think content marketing was a good idea for their special needs school).

I know someone who has a child with special needs. When the child was younger, it was especially difficult for this person and their spouse. Many times, each felt neither their marriage nor their family could handle the weight of having a child with special needs. Over time things didn’t necessarily get better but they learned how to better deal with situations and even each other. Years later, their lives are a complete 180 from what they were just a short time ago. They credit much of this change to a little old website they found one day when they’ve absolutely had it with what life had given them and were about to call it quits… on everything.

They did a Google search on a particular issue they were trying to deal with. I either don’t remember at the moment or maybe they just didn’t tell me what it was – but that’s not important. What’s important is that they had a big and meaningful issue challenging them and they needed help. They searched for it. Quite literally. On Google. What they found was a blog post from a special needs school way across the country. They read one post. Then another. Then another. Soon they were sharing posts with each other and learned things about themselves and their situation. Over time they learned to see and do things differently and that it was okay to ask for help and even talk about their challenges. They got all this from a school blog that was freely sharing lifestyle tips for parents of special needs children (i.e., their target audience).

I don’t know if this school fully understood the great service they were providing, or how many lives they were affecting, but they were doing Content Marketing. In fact, they were a shining example of what content marketing is. The special needs school’s blog was:

  • Made specially for their audience.
  • Helpful, useful, and valuable.
  • Available to anyone who needed it (think public service).

In doing so, they came across as the leader in their field and made parents want to enroll their special needs children in their school.

Now wouldn’t you want to be that school with the website, or the blog, that reached out to parents in a way that says, “We feel your pain. We know your challenges and we have the answers.” That’s content marketing.

Content marketing for schools (explained so your marketing team doesn’t mess it up)

By now you know content marketing isn’t about blatantly promoting your school. It’s not about your school’s brand, or it’s products, or it’s services. It’s 1000% about the audience and what they care about and when you do this right, you become unlike all the other schools that you once thought of as competitors. By being an authoritative and credible resource on things that matter to your audience, your school is more likely to get discovered by the right people and to earn loyalty and trust which then leads to customer relationships and ultimately more enrollments and profitability.

Content marketing isn’t for all schools

While I like to believe that isn’t the case, sadly it is. Not every school is a great school. Not every school truly understands their audience (many schools don’t even know who their audience is). For these schools, content marketing will only magnify how out of touch they are.

If you find yourself in this situation, my best advice is to reevaluate what your school is doing and see where, as an organization, you’re truly helping others. Talk to your students. Find out what’s going on and what keeps them up at night. It’s eye-opening and can turn your school into everything it should be.

If you’d like more help with your school’s content marketing, give me a shout. I love helping great schools shine!

Confessions of an analog man in a digital world

I turned 56 last week. I’ve written for Digiday (the leading source for all things digital and tech in advertising, marketing and publishing) for a year and a half. This is my 100 percent truthful confessional: I don’t know if digital advertising is more or less of a scam than traditional advertising, and I know next to nothing about ad tech. Also, I don’t Snapchat or Instagram.

—Confessions of an analog man in a digital world

Dreams vs Reality

Ahh. Not having to go into the office everyday. Kicking back, living life on your terms, and never having to answer to anyone else… I wish.

It’s the end of August, the kids are back at school and I feel like I never got a chance to really disconnect and relax.

I’ve been in the office (which sometimes the dining room table, other times my garage work space, and at times Starbucks or some cafe with great ambiance and great decent wifi) for 8 to 10 hours a day or running around with my laptop figuring out how to get internet in the middle of the Grand Canyon (true story).

Why do I do this, you ask? The DREAM.

Surely you have an idea of what your dream job is. For many, that dream job isn’t even a job but a business. Your own business. Then you jump into the reality of your business and it hardly matches your dream.

My Dream

I love design. I also love efficiency, making things better, and helping people.

I really believe I missed my calling when I decided not to go to college to become a designer or an artist or a photographer. I can imagine myself making the world a more beautiful place by showing people what was possible through vision, perspective, and a little creativity.

So my dream “workday” would be writing a few emails, publishing a blog post, and sharing inspiration on my social media. Then I’d spend an hour or so improving on my business (i.e., making it more accessible, getting the word out, creating more value).

Finally, I’d spend another hour or two on coaching / strategy with my SWISSLOGIC clients.

Someone pinch me. Please.

The Reality

My reality barely resembles the above. It’s managed chaos.

I wake up early to try and get in a bit of exercise before I start the day. Client calls typically start at 10am and then there’s the fires that need putting out … and those don’t follow any schedule. Sometimes servers fail or people don’t do what’s expected despite so much research and planning.

If you know me really well, you may have noticed a few changes in the past few weeks. I’ve started dedicating myself to the dream part of my business.

I want to be able to focus more on creating and scaling.

Challenge

Here’s my challenge. For the next 8 weeks, focus on achieving your dream.

Whether it’s being able to run a 5K (there’s an app for that), complete 100 consecutive push-ups (great regimen here), or starting that business you’ve always dreamt about, I challenge you to dedicate the next 8 weeks to making it a reality.

  • Get a plan.
  • Take action.
  • Optimize your plan.
  • Keep your eye on the prize and stay on track.
  • Don’t make excuses (it’s only 8 weeks).

Setting goals is important but getting a plan and following it religiously is the difference between always wanting and actually having. You’d be surprised how much you could accomplish in only 8 weeks with a good plan and some discipline.

Set your goal and go for it. If you need help as you’re trying to reach your goal, tell me what you want or need
and I’ll do my best to help you get it (or tell you how to get it). FYI, I know quite a bit about branding, advertising / marketing, and doing business online.

All the best.

via: https://img1.steemit.com/0x0/http://thefishbowlnetwork.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Dream.jpg
via: https://img1.steemit.com/0x0/http://thefishbowlnetwork.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Dream.jpg

Workaholic’s Guide to Relaxing on Vacation [Infographic]

There’s a big difference between having a strong work ethic and being a workaholic.

When you have a strong work ethic, it means you have a strong sense of responsibility, you put in your best effort, and you care about the quality of your work — but you also cut yourself a break every once in a while to recharge. Workaholics, on the other time, have a hard time taking breaks, cutting themselves off from work, and relaxing.

But using your vacation time to relax and recharge is important for your physical and mental health and for your overall productivity at work. No one can operate on high all of the time without eventually burning out, and that’s neither good for you nor your team.

So if you find yourself having trouble relaxing and not working when you go on vacation, take a look at the infographic below from OnlineHealth. It’ll walk you through how to prepare for your vacation so leaving work won’t be as stressful, how to avoid the temptation to work when you’re supposed to be relaxing, and how to settle back into work again afterward without feeling guilty.

Follow this advice and I’ll bet you’ll feel happier and healthier in your personal life, and happier, more productive, and more creative at work.

See the infographic…

7 Experiential Marketing Campaigns That Worked

Work events are really hit or miss. Let’s be honest: How many times have you found yourself anxiously fidgeting with a paper napkin in the corner of a stuffy networking happy hour?

That’s why I was not only relieved, but also surprised and delighted, when I attended a holiday party that featured a live, interactive version of an arcade game. An entire room had been curated to look like a video game setting, and people were dressed up as characters from it. There was a giant, real-life scoreboard, boppy electronic music, and best of all, there was no tedious small talk.

It wasn’t just another tired work event … it was an experience. And in our line of work, that sort of thing has a name: Experiential marketing.

While a surprising number of people haven’t heard of the concept, it’s kind of a big deal — there’s an entire three-day summit dedicated to it, and 65% of brands that use it say that it positively correlates with sales.

But what is it, exactly? And how has it been used effectively? We found seven of the coolest experiential marketing campaigns that really break down how it works, and how those lessons can be applied to marketers everywhere.

Keep reading…

A Dollar More VS A Dollar Less

Consider a race to the top.

How can Lyft possibly compete with Uber? Scale is often the secret to a commodity business, and if Lyft races to be ever cheaper than Uber, the only possible outcome doesn’t look good. It’s a cutthroat corner-cutting race.

But what happens if Lyft (or your project) decides to race to the top instead?

What if they say, “we’re always a dollar more than Uber”?

And then they spend that dollar, all of it, on the drivers…

What kind of person buys the cheap ride, the ride with the stressed-out angry drivers?

So instead of drivers abandoning fares they accept (they’re under so much pressure to make ends meet, Uber drivers do this all the time–it happened to me four times in one weekend), you end up with drivers that were good enough to be able to charge an extra dollar…

Keep reading…

What Productivity Systems Will Not Solve

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the perfect productivity system. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.

The problem isn’t with the productivity system — the problem is that none of them can solve a few really important (and related) problems:

  1. Procrastination
  2. Fear of uncertainty
  3. Fear of discomfort

For example, at the top of my to-do list today is “write Zen Habits post” and “write intro to declutter course” … pretty simple, right? Two fairly straightforward tasks. But as I started this post, I went to check and respond to email, sent a message to my wife, checked on my finances, cleaned the kitchen a little. I’m super productive at the little things when I’m putting off the big tasks!

No matter how good the productivity system is, it falls apart when I start procrastinating.

When a task is uncomfortable, I procrastinate, just like most people. When I’m facing a lot of uncertainty with a task, I procrastinate. Like most of us.

Often, we’ll work on a new productivity system, try out a new to-do list app, start organizing, or start getting our email inbox to zero, or start reading about a new way to be productive (like you are now) … all as a way to procrastinate on uncertain or uncomfortable tasks.

And it’s so much easier to follow the path of distractions and little tasks, than to face a big important but scary task. It’s easy to go to your bank’s website to check your balance, check on your favorite blogs and news sites, pop open your favorite social media network, and so on. These have no barrier to entry, and always give you some reward, while difficult tasks give you negative feedback and have obstacles to getting started. Not a fair fight, huh?

So how do we deal with this? A few important methods:

Keep reading…

8 Most Important Paid Search Tips For Online Retail Businesses

With the share of digital ad spend at 29.9% in 2015 and expected to increase to 39.3% in 2019* the digital advertising marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive for ecommerce retailers.

With this in mind, optimising paid search should be a priority for all retail marketers in 2016. Let’s take a look at some of the most important pay-per-click tips for online retail:

1) Segment Campaigns

Google Shopping and AdWords allow you to bid at product or keyword level, however, this is a feature that many advertisers fail to adopt. It is particularly important in online retail to segment your Google Shopping campaigns to the finest level possible, because your inventory may be seasonal and individual items have different bidding values.

Let’s take ‘women’s clothes’ for example. You could easily just create a single ad group containing all women’s clothes ads; however, this could easily lead to poor performance. It would be a much better decision to segment your products into groups such as ‘blouses’ ‘jumpers’, ‘trousers’ ‘shorts’ etc.

Doing so will allow you to have much better control over bids and bid according to seasonality for example. However this could be taken a step further: it is actually possible to bid for each individual product, so if you know that yellow shorts sell better than the green ones, you can adapt your bids accordingly.

2) Focus on environmental factors

When reviewing your campaign performance, it is tempting to focus on the reasons why you are not making sales, but perhaps you should also be looking at when your campaigns are performing their best?

By looking at the reasons for “good performance,” you may find that your sales can be influenced by environmental factors such as the time of the day, the user’s device or the weather, to which you can also adapt your bidding strategy.

3) Use geographic bid modifiers

For both AdWords and Google Shopping campaigns, consider implementing geographic bid modifiers. Do you only deliver to a certain region? Restrict who can see your ads. Are there some areas that convert better than others? Bid up!

Keep reading…