Learn 2 Things for Successful Sales Leadership

The secret to learn and become successful sales leaders involves a few capital basics, that only smart learners can perceive quickly and use for own advantage. Thus the purpose of learning universally is growth as we all know; unfortunately people experience it at different levels.

This contribution does not only focus on the worse, but revealing that other’s worse can be an opportunity for another to discover the secret of professional success.

The point is, salesmen have been taught all sorts of things and told stories during their training sessions and profession. We all had experienced different types of leadership, and had accepted all those instructions at 100%. This is actually according to my personal experience and the things I went through.

Failure and mistakes are naturally human characteristics, and these things are normal to be found within you. But one obvious thing is that, sales coaches, trainers or mangers are also human beings like you. Mistakes are normal to be identified in them, and they are great leaders today simply because they were able to correct past mistakes for better. Still the process of perfection is a never ending journey, reason why until now they never reach full perfection.

Moreover the process of sales training, coaching, development etc… have two side effects that you and I should not ignore. That is why when you find yourself in a position as sales trainee, realize that the learning process has double side effects: because not only you learn from a positive side but from the negative side too.

Use the failures and mistakes of your sales leaders for your perfection. The sums of slip-ups sales leaders do are always invisible, but a good observer and analytical salesperson can identify them. Make sure to apply the following exercise to learn from the negative side of your sales coach; Assess back all the instructions and recommendations your sales leaders experiment on you.

On the other hand, apply the bright sides of your sales leaders with full commitment to make a better you. Sales training developments are created for taking salesmen to move from the failing level to good, better and finally become a great sales leader. Becoming the best salesman ultimately means surpassing the level of your sales coach or trainer.

However, give yourself sometime for self-examination and acknowledge your own mistakes and failures. Complaining and blaming over dissatisfaction will take you to nowhere but into stagnation. Instead focus on finding the damage and fix it for own advantage.

Weaknesses are the tiniest behavior that we hardly see from our leaders, also partly known and unknown to them. Nonetheless, the main focus of salesmen should be to learn as much as what sales trainers provide for them. But learning from both sources of knowledge is a turning point to make a difference.

To end, I just want to encourage all trainees salesmen to not only look at their own weaknesses. Make an alt as well, watch also your sales leaders’ feebleness, learn from them and use them as tools promoting your professional sales success.

The Power of Positive Sales Habits

While habits are often seen in a negative light, as those bad habits you want to break, successful sales professionals have learned how to create effective, positive habits that help them to be very good at what they do.

These habits are easy to incorporate into your daily sales routine. Since they focus in on what you should be doing and what you do well, building on these habits is creating a strong sales plan that is proven to drive sales and boost your qualified leads.

Positivity By Design

Positivity also creates confidence and easy to recognize attitude that properly sets the tone for the business meeting. This positivity comes from being prepared, knowing your buyer and having confidence in yourself and the products you are promoting.

Some of the most positive and proactive sales habits to cultivate and develop include:

  • Planning – plan how you want the meeting to occur. This includes everything from your greeting to your choice of clothing and the specific sales approach you want to use. Top sales reps also have a Plan B, a backup if you like to deal with possible challenges you see as possible out of the meeting.
  • Build personal relationships – networking and checking in on connections either through social media sites such as LinkedIn or through personal interaction is a very positive habit to develop. Not only does this build connections for qualified leads but it also allows you to become a trusted source of information.
  • Scheduling – a very positive habit to cultivate is the ability to structure and schedule your day. Schedule in cold calls, follow up calls, time to spend networking and time to update records and make notes on meetings. While new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) makes this easier, it still has to be completed on a daily basis.
  • Incorporate healthy lifestyle choices – getting 8 hours of sleep, eating healthy and balanced meals and managing to get in some physical activity every day is another positive habit to embrace.

By feeling healthy and creating a work-life balance, you will be more motivated, more creative and better prepared for the demanding job of being a successful sales professional. Healthy habits start out one day at a time and are tough to develop, but once your actions turn into habits, they can take you to places you have never been before!

Positivity and successful sales habits go hand in hand.

How To Present Your Sales Proposal Like a Professional

Learn how to present your sales proposal like a pro. Here are 9 tactics that the best sales professionals in the world commonly use while presenting their sales proposals.

Know Your Audience
Your presentation should speak specifically to the industry, company and personal needs and interests of your client. Research your prospect before you present. Remember what makes them unique, learn their mission statement and values. Learn their products and services and how your solution helps them specifically.

Personalize Your Presentation
Recognize your audience by their first name. It personalizes the meeting which with all else equal, will improve your chances of winning the business. Learn about their positions in the company and who you are talking to. Always make eye contact throughout your presentation.

Set the Pace
People have a limited attention span. You must set the pace and keep your audience intrigued by presenting the critical information they are seeking. If you must present other information that is not critical, try creating a video or a PowerPoint to make it more interesting. This can help to hold your audience’s attention until you transition to your next critical key point.

State the Objective
Clearly state what the objective of your proposal is at the beginning of your presentation. Review the objective in the middle of your presentation after key points to reinforce the purpose of your key points. Finally, review your objective while concluding your presentation. Tell them, tell them what you told them and then remind them again.

Elicit Participation
It is a good idea to get people involved when they are deciding whether or not they are going to invest with you. This can help them learn more about your product, service, and company, which will build trust and confidence behind the decision to move forward with your proposal.

  • Ask questions
  • Invite them to ask their own questions
  • Ask them to relate to a scenario
  • Ask them to recall something
  • Ask their opinion
  • Ask their approval

Present Value
When people see value in a product, they are likely to purchase. Do not assume your audience sees the value, they don’t! Your proposal and presentation should show the client why this is important for them, what they will gain, what advantage this gives them and/or how revenue will increase or costs will decrease. A statement of value should be placed carefully throughout your presentation, at the beginning, before or after every key point and at the end.

Be Real
A genuinely caring attitude is the most important thing you can bring to a presentation. You must care about and pay attention to the people you are presenting to. Always be honest. A prospect will respect your honesty and feel more comfortable doing business with you even if the a piece of information you give them is not in their best interest. If you have prepared properly, you will have plenty of information that is in their best interest and disclosing information that is not will build the trust that is key to cultivating a relationship and making a sale.

Thank You!
Do not forget to thank your audience for their time, participation and consideration. You should thank them at the beginning of your presentation and at the end of your presentation.

Follow Up
Ask them when an appropriate time is for you to follow up. By doing this, you can take the guess work out of it. When you know they answer, you will know you are following up at the right time. You will not have to worry if you are following up too soon and being seen as pushy or anxious or too late and perhaps losing the business to someone else.

7 Effective Strategies on Marketing Your Business Locally

When I was studying for my business degree and before my company was formed, I was in need of an outlet to be around other like-minded women. Years previous I was a member of the local Valley Women’s Network so revisited their luncheons.

Even though funds were very tight at the time, it was important for me to have some human interaction – even if only once a month.

Little did I know, going to these meetings ended up being the catalyst for our birth.

During this time I connected with women entrepreneurs who were either eager to start a new business or take their business to the next level. Being the former webmaster for the Vancouver Sun and Province, it was a natural thing for them to ask me questions about branding and websites. I was more than happy to share my knowledge.

Eventually conversations evolved into them hiring me so they could get the help they wanted with their marketing presence.

The next thing I knew I was in business as a web developer!

That was over 12 years ago and I’m proud to say a handful of those women are still clients today.

I have to smile when I think about it because I really had no intention of starting my own business. I was going back to school with the idea of landing a CIO position somewhere.

Turns out my calling was much more important than that – helping business owners realize their dream.

The Many Benefits of Attending Local Live Events

Fast forward to present day, I still value the connections made when attending networking and other similar events.

Recently I was in Vernon attending the WOW-Woman of Worth Conference where I had an opportunity to get to know many incredible women I would never have met otherwise. (I was inspired to write these networking tips while there.)

I am also a member of the Business Professional Women’s Group and attend meetings in Langley and Abbotsford.

The connections found at events like these have been invaluable – not only professionally but also personally.

Social Media and Online Marketing is Not the Only Way to Generate New Business

Sometimes with Social Media and online marketing being so prevalent we forget about our own back yard and the opportunities available to us. All we have to do is simply step away from the computer and check them out.

My business was literally created by connecting with people locally.

And just because Social Media has taken over the online networking landscape, doesn’t mean there’s any less value in building your business at that grass-roots level.

Do you market your business in your hometown?

If hiding behind your computer has become the norm for you, I encourage you to explore local opportunities to get better known in your home town.

Here’s seven tips, ideas and suggestions on how you can take advantage of generating business through local efforts:

1. Network where your target market is hanging out. First be clear on WHO that target market is and then do some research on where they gather.

This is an easy one if you are a B2B business like mine; there’s plenty of networking groups available tailored for that crowd.

But you might have to look at other shared interests. For instance, if your target market is very health conscious, join a popular yoga group and get to know those people who attend.

2. Volunteer at community groups. Volunteering in community groups are a great way to boost your visibility. Not only are they a great way to give back to your community but also an excellent way for you to showcase your skills and expertise.

Do a search for groups that could use your skillset. A great example is if you are a bookkeeper or accountant – volunteer to be the bookkeeper for the group.

3. Create your own Meet-up. Setting up local, more casual events on a subject you know would be of interest to your target market is a great way to build your brand visibility.

These types of gatherings can be very beneficial to the attendees where you can offer something of value to them and showcase your expertise at the same time.

4. Set up a trade show booth. Many trade shows have thousands of visitors. They are a great way to build your brand visibility and bring more awareness to your business offerings with the local crowd.

Set up a professional display and strike up conversations with those showing interest in what you are offering.

Be sure to have a way for them to get onto your mailing list by offering a draw or free giveaway. Just be sure they check off a box giving permission to receive your regular newsletters.

5. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Even if your target market is not business owners, there are still plenty of great reasons for you to get to know other business owners in your area by joining your local chamber.

Not only can they be a great referral source for you, but they are still people who could be interested in what you have to offer at a personal level.

6. Nominate others for awards. We had the honour of being nominated for, and won the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence award in 2016 in the home based business category.

I was also nominated for a WOW – Woman of Worth award in the Business & Prosperity category. The amount of free publicity and exposure we received for each of these awards was priceless.

I encourage you to nominate someone for similar awards. Not only is it very gratifying to make someone else’s day, you also gain a lot of exposure from being the person who nominated them. Another option is to be an award sponsor, again bringing you great satisfaction and business exposure.

7. Don’t forget your business card! While some may poo-poo this, I’m still a believer in the value of business cards.

Get professional cards designed and printed. Use them wisely – always ask the other person you’re talking with for their card first and reciprocation will ensue.

Your business card is a first touch-point that person will see your visual brand so ensure you give off the right first impression with a professionally designed one.

Aside from getting out there and getting involved in local community activities, you could also take advantage of various paid advertising opportunities. Newspaper advertorials, radio ad spots, sponsorships and even billboards can all be taken advantage of at a local level.

Don’t Forget About Your Website

No matter what kind of activities we are doing when trying to drum up new business, don’t forget the importance of your website.

With every potential customer you meet, assume they will be heading to your website to check out you and your services. They might even do it right there so ensure your website is mobile friendly and shares the right brand messaging that will compel them into action and hire or buy from you.

Always be seeking opportunities where you can build your business expos

Susan Friesen is the founder of eVision Media, a boutique web development and Digital Marketing firm of over 15 years that specializes in designing, building and marketing professional, unique websites for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations.

Four Tips for Success in Legal Marketing

Until ten years ago, I never would have never given myself the title “marketer” in addition to being a lawyer. I always did what it took to keep those phones ringing and e-mail inquiries coming in, but I didn’t label it as marketing, and I certainly didn’t have a marketing plan.

Like my lawyer father before me, I always had natural sources of business. Dad and I sent out our annual holiday cards, met our lawyer friends for lunch and attended bar association meetings and events.

Over the past decade, I have slowly become more and more enmeshed in the world of legal marketing.

It’s a very interesting world. It’s a profession unto itself.

Most of the large law firms have marketing departments with different positions, including business development specialists, marketing directors, directors of communications and event planners.

The smaller and mid-size firms might have one or two marketers who handle all the marketing for the firm and are considered generalists. Many firms hire interns to assist with marketing tasks or marketing consultants to keep them on task.

Individual attorneys hire their own marketing coaches or even sales coaches to teach them how to turn a potential new client (PNC) into an actual client. Some lawyers I know hire coaches to teach them how to package themselves, including how to dress, how to develop “elevator speeches” and how to network.

Over the years, I’ve picked up several tips:

Stay within your comfort zone. There are many methods and opportunities to market yourself. Unless your sole job is rainmaker, there is definitely limited time for legal marketing.

Make sure to use your time wisely and pick the one or two methods that feel the most comfortable to you. For example, if you are on the quieter side and don’t do well networking in large groups, use your marketing time in other ways. Invite a potential referral source to lunch, join a committee in a volunteer organization or find a smaller networking group that feels more intimate.

Brand yourself within your firm. If you work in a firm of 40 lawyers who all do the same type of work as you do, you must find a way to differentiate yourself.

Find your passion and try to incorporate that into the work that you do.

In the divorce world, there are attorneys who concentrate on working exclusively with men, the LGBT community, athletes, etc.

Just because you have your own brand doesn’t mean you aren’t a firm team player. In fact, by representing your firm in a niche area, you are bringing extra visibility to the firm.

Get online. More than ever, the Internet is an additional marketing tool. If you or your firm doesn’t have a website, now is the time to create one.

If your firm has its own website, make sure that your credentials stand out by continually updating your bio and qualifications. Also, make sure your website or blog can be read easily on mobile devices.

Find the time to market. Like any busy service business, clients come first. I will be the first to admit that some weeks or months, my marketing takes a backseat to all the client emergencies that arise. Schedule in your marketing time as you would any other important appointment.

Especially on the Internet, you have to stay on top of everything. It takes time to move into a good position on search results and only little time to drop down.

I have many titles and roles. I’m a lawyer, husband, father, friend, uncle and a marketer.

Marketing Lesson From Ian McTavish: 7th Generation Scottish Bagpipe Maker

On a trip to Scotland in the 1980s, from my rented car on a road outside of Glasgow, I spotted a crude hand-painted sign nailed to a tree that read, “Ian McTavish Bagpipe Maker.” I slammed on the brakes and took a sharp left turn up a narrow, dirt road. I had long wanted to play the bagpipes, and in a heartbeat decided that bringing home an authentic set of Scottish bagpipes might help to cross that item off my bucket list.

At the end of the dirt road there were two simple stucco structures, each one about the size of a detached two-car garage. One structure appeared to be a home, with a front door sandwiched between two small windows, and a raised porch. Although it had no signage, the other building had a single, large dirty window, and appeared more likely to be the bagpipe maker’s showroom. There was no vehicle, no barking dog, or any sign of human life. But the showroom door was wide open.

I knocked on the open door and called out as I stepped into the main room, which contained a workbench, some tools hanging from hooks, and a pile of wood scraps. I had imagined a display of bagpipes in various stages of completion, but saw nothing resembling the instrument, in whole or part. Just a dirty room with no apparent purpose. I spent a minute looking at the tools and wondering if I had turned down the wrong road, and just as I decided to leave, a gruff voice from a back room barked, “Whadya want?”

As I jumped to attention, a large, bearded man appeared in the interior doorway, wearing a kilt, black tee shirt and work boots. His boots, knees and hands were covered with mud. He repeated his question, much louder. Flustered, and still unsure I was in the right place, I asked politely, “Are you the bagpipe maker?”

“Whadya want?” he asked again, providing some comfort that I had a reason to be standing uninvited inside this cranky Scotsman’s workshop.

Finally answering his question, I stammered: “I’m interested in buying a set of bagpipes. Do you have any that I can look at?”

“No,” he said.

After a long pause, he added, “I make pipes to order. There’s none to show ye here.”

“OK then,” I said, straining to create a conversation, “How long does it take you to make a set of pipes?”

“It depends… ” he growled, growing impatient with my questions.

I persistent, “What does it depend on?”

“It depends on the weather,” he snapped.

Attempting to decipher his answer and to carry the conversation, I asked, “Does the weather affect the aging of the wood that you use for the pipes?”

He gave me a look of disgust and said, “No. If the weather is nice, I’ll be in me garden, and I won’t be in here makin pipes.”

At this point, having groveled sufficiently, I prepared for my exit with one last shot. “My ancestors are from Scotland, Mr. McTavish, and I’m here visiting some of the places where they lived. I’ve always wanted to learn to play the bagpipes, and was hoping you might be able to help me. But I can see that I’ve disturbed you and I apologize for wasting your time. So good day.”

As I turned toward the door, his said, “Hold on, young lad.” His voice softened a bit and he took a step toward me.

“I’m the 7th generation of bagpipe makers in me clan, and I make the best pipes in Scotland. You Americans come over here and try to buy me bagpipes so that they can hang em as a decoration over their hearth. But I only make me pipes to be played.”

When he paused, I said, “I’m not going to hang them on the wall. I’m going to learn how to play them.”

He moved even closer, and poked me in the chest, “OK then, lad. Here’s what I’ll do fer ye. Go back to America, find yerself a tutor, and learn to play the practice chanter.”

“I can do that,” I said.

“Good,” he continued. “Then when ye learn how to play the chanter, make a tape of yerself so I can hear what ye sound like. Then, if I think ye play the chanter good enough… ye tell me how much money ye want to spend, and I’ll make ye the best set of bagpipes that yer money can buy anywhere.”

“OK,” I agreed. “I’ll do that.”

He scrawled his address on a piece of paper, and handed it to me. We shook hands and I drove off.

Over the years, life got in the way, and I never got around to sending Ian McTavish an audio tape of my skills on the practice chanter, and as a result, I never had the privilege of owning a set of his bagpipes.

But Ian McTavish, the 7th generation Scottish bagpipe maker, in that brief encounter, taught me an important marketing lesson I’ve never forgotten:

If you create a product or service of high quality, then you’re entitled to set the bar as high as you like, with respect to those seeking to buy it. It’s difficult to be selective about who your customers are… but this “less is more” discipline makes for happier, longer-term relationships between buyers and sellers…

… and it never hurts to step away from your business to spend time tending your garden.

The 6 Step Marketing Campaign

Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs are urged to periodically launch marketing campaigns designed to promote the products and services sold and the brand. The purpose of marketing is to drive sales and generate revenues and profits, the life -blood of every business. In support of that suggestion, presented here is a review of the core components of a successful marketing campaign.

Step 1: Identify your target audience

Understand who you want your campaign to reach and influence. List the industry categories (e.g., for-profit, not-for-profit, social services, IT, hospitals, banking, etc.) and the job titles of your most frequent clients and most promising prospective clients. Members of the target market groups must have the motive and money to use your products or services.

Step 2: Know the competition

As you create your primary and secondary marketing campaign messages, keep your direct competitors in mind. The marketing message should promote the expertise, experience, judgment and attributes that make you superior to others with whom clients and prospects might do business. Your message should be designed to overcome current or potential objections to you and persuade those with motive and money to choose you, because hiring you will make them look good.

Step 3: Identify the primary and secondary marketing messages

What do you need to make known to current and potential clients that will help them to develop the trust and confidence required to do business with you? Refer to your knowledge of your target market groups and the competition, remembering also to reference client priorities and concerns and their objectives when using your products or services.

In the marketing messages, find ways to enhance your brand, that is, your reputation. Clients do business with those they know and like; they do even more business with those they trust and respect. Building up your image, or (tactfully) bragging about your already noteworthy brand will become the central elements of your marketing message.

Step 4: Select the media platforms

Decide which media platforms you will use to reach current and prospective clients. Marketing campaigns are most effective when they utilize more than one platform to broadcast the message to target markets. Comprehensive marketing campaigns will include a mix of online and print media platforms that feature text, visual and audio options, based on what the target audiences follow and trust.

Sponsorship of local charity events is yet another potentially effective marketing platform. When charity event sponsorships are part of your campaign, send a press release to local media outlets to request inclusion in additional media platforms. Newspaper items or radio announcements are always trusted more than paid advertisements, because news items are perceived as unbiased.

There is also an indirect and ongoing brand promotion campaign that marketing specialists are advised to conduct. Providers of B2B services are recommended to periodically schedule appearances as a host or visiting expert on webinars; serve as a panelist or moderator in programs that address topics the target audience will find relevant; speak at conferences the target audience would attend; or teach related courses or workshops as a way to enhance the value of the intangible resources that you sell, meaning, your expertise and judgment.

Step 5: Create a budget

Once you have your version of the ideal marketing plan in draft form, calculate its expected costs and the roll-out timeline. Make sure that the campaign ROI makes sense for your marketing goals. Align your marketing efforts to projected gross sales and don’t squander resources on fruitless initiatives.

Step 6: Track the campaign performance

Establishing goals and objectives for your marketing campaign are worthwhile activities. The process will guide you toward making decisions that positively impact the campaign design and furthermore, will help you understand what kind of influence you can wield through marketing activities. Decide what you want your marketing campaign to achieve and confirm the metrics that will measure and acknowledge its success or shortcomings.

5 Cost Effective Marketing Strategies To Grow Your Brand

When marketing your brand, you may want to reduce your costs while getting the best results. This is important especially if your brand is new and you are trying to grow it. Actually, the goal is to get the highest return on your investment dollars. And this can be achieved through the implementation of effective strategies. Of course, the goal is to spend the least amount of money. Given below is a description of 5 cost effective strategies for marketing your new brand. Read on.

1. Blogging

Having a blog is one of the most effective methods of getting a lot of visitors. Actually, the powerful algorithms of Google favor blogs and sites that are updated on a regular basis with high quality and relevant content.

2. Mailing lists

Irrespective of the type of customers you get, you must put them on a regularly updated mailing list. This will help you build your contacts. Nowadays, email lists don’t have a good reputation. However, if they are used properly, they can prove a really useful tool. Actually, what you need to do is avoid sending your product emails to strangers. What you need to do is develop an email list of buyers that may have an interest in your products or services.

3. Online companies

For marketing your company, we suggest that you use websites. Based on the type of business you own, you can choose from a number of websites to reach new customers via networking and search results. For instance, a Yelp profile may help you get a lot of potential customers. Aside from this, it will give you another great opportunity in order to spur on loyal customers or clients to post positive reviews about your products or services. As a result, your reputation will improve.

4. Call to action

If you want to grow your business, you should find out how your target audience looks for your services or products. Once you have found this out, you should get the most out of your efforts with a strong but relevant call to action. Many sites make the mistake of not including a powerful call to action. So, what you need to do is include a call to action in each of your blog post or article.

5. Press releases

Through press releases, you can let the people know about the important updates. For instance, you can put together press releases in order to make announcement about new products, accolades or awards that you have received recently.

Here, it is important to keep in mind that you may need some time in order to develop press contacts to get the message across. You will have great results if you be patient and work on the press releases.

Long story short, these are 5 strategies that you can use in order to develop your business on a budget. What you need to do is try these strategies one by one and stick to the ones that get you the best results.

Have you been looking for a great marketing strategy? If so, we suggest that you check out Big Business Events. You will find a lot of useful information on the site.

How to Avoid Last Minute Marketing and Get Better Results

Ever arrive at your computer, bleary-eyed, to write a blog or social media post that just has to go out that day?

Go ahead, raise your hand if that’s you.

I’m raising my hand right along with you! This is one area that took me a long time to master. And all it took to send me well on my way to mastery is a tool called an editorial calendar.

Simply put, an editorial calendar is a tool to schedule your content marketing.

An editorial calendar means you create a plan, a schedule for your content, like blog posts and social media posts, ahead of time. You have time to think about how your content fits into the big picture: your overall business and marketing strategy. You have room to improve the quality of the content to its best level.

It took me a long time to give up winging it every week. I was worried it would stifle my creativity, or that I wouldn’t be able to react to what was going on in the moment. I was concerned that it would all look stale and rehearsed.

What an editorial calendar lacks in spontaneity, it more than makes up for in clarity, ease, alignment with your branding, and building your credibility as an expert.

It builds confidence and trust in your audience if you post regularly (that means at least once a week for your blog, daily in social media). They know they can rely on you to show up and provide them with great information. An editorial calendar makes it much easier to be consistent.

It reduces your stress. Instead of being constantly under the gun, you can book a time with yourself to work on your content marketing. You can explore new and effective ways to present your business.

As you look at your editorial calendar, you’ll be able to schedule in blog posts or social media posts to take advantage of those times when your audience is most receptive. Analyze when you’ve gotten the most engagement so you can spot patterns.

Another reason to use an editorial calendar is that it reeks of professionalism. When you map out your content in advance, you have a much better eye for brand alignment and integration with any campaigns you’re doing. You not only know what you’re doing. You make that clear to your audience too! That will improve your marketing results.

One more big reason to use an editorial calendar: it encourages you to effectively re-purpose your content. Nobody out there is creating new stuff every single time. And nobody in your audience sees everything you share (sorry). So, you can use the same content again, perhaps in a different format, e.g., blog post becomes an audio. When you have an editorial calendar, you’ll be able to see much more clearly how you can space out re-purposed content for maximum effectiveness.

Now that you know all the pluses of having an editorial calendar, let’s get to work on putting one into place for your content marketing. Here are 5 ways to set yourself up for an editorial calendar that works wonders for your business:

1. Be clear about the goals for each of your content marketing outlets. It’s so much easier to create content when you know what you’re going for. And it all helps your marketing to hang together in a cohesive way when you have your goal in mind.

What blog or social media content would help you achieve your goal? Is it tips/strategies, research, or success stories? Goal clarity makes your content effective and laser focused on your ideal audience.

2. Keep it simple. Have just one editorial calendar. Avoid creating separate calendars for blogging and social media, for example. When you consolidate them into one, the habit of using a calendar will kick in faster and its benefits will be more apparent.

You can use a no-cost or low-cost app that helps you to create an editorial calendar. CoSchedule and Trello are two. WordPress also has an editorial calendar plug-in. Or you can keep it simple with a Google spreadsheet or even a Word document.

The key here is to avoid making the process of calendar creation and updates an obstacle. Choose a tool that is easy for you to use. Avoid ones with a substantial learning curve, so that you’re not spending your time playing with a new toy over creating new content.

3. Make it a daily habit to check your editorial calendar. You should be releasing content daily in some form, so this will help. At the start, put a reminder in your phone or scheduler to check your editorial calendar. New habits take some time to become reflex, so reinforce your new habit with a reward. Celebrate that you’re using this new tool!

4. Create a running list. As you think of blog post or social media post ideas and topics, add them to your calendar. You can assign dates later and reorder as needed.

That’s the advantage of an easy approach: you don’t have to schedule new ideas in right away. You can devote a chunk of time to scheduling in an order that aligns with other aspects of your marketing.

5. Analyze and revise as you go. Modify your editorial calendar based on what posts are getting the most traction. Learn what your audience most wants to read, and adjust your editorial calendar accordingly.

Since each social media platform has its own optimal frequency of posting, analyze each platform’s results. For example, on Twitter it’s best to tweet multiple days in a row, whereas on Facebook, you may wait a week to for a reminder post. Play with what works and make the appropriate changes to your editorial calendar.

Freely offered content is a cornerstone of your marketing. If it isn’t already, it needs to be!

Take this aspect of your marketing seriously. Devote time to it. Plan ahead. Make it the best and most effective it can be. Your editorial calendar will be a huge help in doing all of that.

You’ll never have to arrive at your screen again with a big question of what to write and little time to do it.

When Marketing, Stories Simply Sell Better

The human brain is hard-wired to love stories. That’s why using them can add power to your marketing communications efforts. To learn more about why that’s the case, let me share a story with you…

He was a successful engineer with a nagging problem. It haunted him during his commute, in the shower, and when his golden retriever woke him up at 3:00 a.m. for a quick trip outside. Never was it far from his thoughts.

It involved a process that he knew could be improved. He had a hunch about what was involved, but just couldn’t pin it down. It gnawed at him until that Saturday afternoon. As he was mowing his lawn, the solution flashed through his brain. In what looked like a trance, he left the mower in the middle of the yard and raced inside, where he began to sketch out the idea.

What was it? I don’t have a clue. The solution is completely fictional. The engineer, his lawn, his problem, and his lawnmower don’t exist.

But you were captivated, weren’t you? The opening sentences drew you in, and the description of the process stoked your curiosity. Each line whetted your attention for the next step, and you couldn’t wait for the twist that would be revealed in the resolution. Right now, I suspect that you’re more than a little annoyed with me for failing to deliver that resolution.

Sorry about that, but I wanted to illustrate something in a compelling way. That something is the power and value of presenting information in the form of a story. All too often companies and organizations that want to share something with prospects and other stakeholders think the best way to do that is to present the facts in a straightforward manner. “Our customers are busy,” they insist. “We can’t afford to waste their time!”

Ah, but you’re wrong. You see, the human brain absolutely loves stories. We’re hardwired to respond to them, thanks to centuries of evolution. Long before someone came up with the idea for written language, our ancestors shared what they knew by telling stories. Keep in mind that printing has been part of our culture for less than six centuries, and widespread literacy for only about half that time.

When we were kids, a good story was one of the few things that could get us to focus for any length of time. As adults, stories still capture our attention. We may call them by names like “gossip” and “conversation,” but as soon as someone begins to recount what happened last weekend when they went to paint the living room or teed up on that par-four 14th, we’re hooked.

Stories are always more compelling than raw facts. Sure, you could list the reasons your product is better or why your service is superior. Your audience may even commit a point or two to memory. But when you cast that information in the form of a story, you connect with them on an entirely different level and dramatically increase the likelihood that they’ll remember what’s really important. When you share a story, you’re entertaining your audience as you inform them.

There are two forms of stories that are particularly effective in sales and marketing situations. The first is the case study, in which you share a real-life example of how someone used your company’s product or service to solve a problem or improve a process. Case studies are effective for two reasons. First, they make it easier for the reader to understand what makes your offering better and to apply the benefits to their own situation and challenges. Second, when a respected or well-known company appears in your case study, you benefit from their implicit endorsement. (If Amalgamated Industries trusts your product, my company can buy it with confidence.)

The second form is what I did in this article: creating a story around a fictional example that represents the typical customer or user of what you offer. There’s nothing unethical about doing that, as long as you own up to the fact that it’s a fictional representation (or as long as you don’t create misleading quotes from imaginary customers). Even though the reader understands that your customer is fictional, she’ll still be able to relate to the story and the message you’re conveying.

The next time you try to share a message with a prospect or other stakeholder, don’t think in terms of making it sound like an ad or a sales pitch. Tell them a story, and you’ll capture their attention and quietly convince them as they enjoy what you’re sharing. The fact that you’ve read this far proves it works with you.