"Creating and keeping it to yourself is one thing. Actually getting it out there for somebody to give some sort of feedback to...that's the hard part."
In the final episode of Season 1, we talk about the process of creating and then sharing your artwork — your business story — with your world. Just like an artist steps into a studio and creates a piece, he or she eventually brings it out. Here, we talk about the who, what, when, where, why and how to do that with your business story in the most effective manner.
To help you organize and plan your content, we created the following editorial calendar. Get started putting your plan into action.
Joe: Hi, there. I’m Joe Dudeck, President and founder of Keyhole Marketing.
Shannon: And I’m Shannon Jirik. I work for Keyhole as the Assistant Brand Manager.
Joe: And this is Metaphorically Speaking, a podcast that explores the mysterious side of marketing.
Shannon: Welcome back to our final episode of season one.
Joe: Oh, man.
Shannon: It’s sad. We’ll have to do it again, though. Thank you for just walking through this season with us. We hope that you have taken away some really good things. We have loved just getting to be a part of that with you.
Today, we’re going to wrap up with talking about sharing your artwork with the world. We’re excited. We know you’ve worked through the process of really deep thinking and searching, and now it’s time to tell people about it. Much like an artist would create a piece and eventually show it, that’s what we want to do. That’s what we want to talk through today is just how to explain and show and communicate your business story that you’ve been working so hard on.
Joe: Before we step into the content, like we always do, have a little moment of reflection. I just watched a documentary that I thought really applied to this conversation about the sharing part of your heart. It’s the hardest part, I think, of creating and just keeping it to yourself is one thing. Now actually getting it out there for somebody to give some sort of feedback to, that could be silence, that could be raising a hand saying, “I want to buy this from you,” or something. It’s the hard part.
I was watching this documentary on HBO about the Avett brothers — two guys, folk band. I don’t even know if Shannon knows who these guys are.
Shannon: I’m sorry, I do not. I’ll do my homework later.
Joe: That’s fine. So they’re, I guess a folk band, might be the way to say it, from North Carolina. They have a song called No Hard Feelings. This documentary just outlines the process of creating their most recent album, and you’re watching them record. You’re watching them write. You’re watching them work through the process. Toward the end of the documentary, there’s a song that they record out in California, I believe, called No Hard Feelings.
Shannon: Joe is now going to sing it for you.
Joe: I will not sing it. I’ll read a couple of the lyrics. I’m not going to read the whole song, but I do think it helps us understand this is a tough song for them to write and a tough song for them to put out. I’ll read a quote by Scott Avett, one of the brothers, after they recorded it. Here’s some of the lyrics first.
When the sun hangs low in the west and the light in my chest won’t be held at bay any longer, when the jealousy fades away and it’s ash and dust for cash and lust and it’s just hallelujah, and love and thoughts and love in the words, love in the songs they sing in the church, and no hard feelings, Lord knows they haven’t done much good for anyone. Kept me afraid and cold with so much to have and hold.
Joe: There’s a part of their story, which they’re not telling, of what was the moment in time, what was that moment that led them to write this song? After they recorded it, Scott Avett says… they congratulate him after they record. They said, “Wow, that’s a great song. That’s a great song.” He’s like, “It’s so weird to be congratulated on mining of the soul. Congratulations, you’ve sacrificed the shit out yourself. You sacrificed deeply, and the evidence of that struggle came out in something beautiful.” It’s just the tension that he feels of… I know it’s necessary for me to share that story, but it is hard, and it’s weird being congratulated for such a hard thing that he went through that he’s not telling us about, but we just know it’s there. How he processes it enough to realize that, oh, the evidence of that struggle came out in something beautiful. I thought that was maybe a tie in to your own business story that you need to tell and a personal story that you’d want to tell. If you keep it to yourself, there’s just a missed opportunity there.
Joe: Now diving into the content of what we’re here to talk about today, the process of creating and sharing your story. Up to this point, you’ve done a lot of work. You have a better sense of your unique value. You know the target audiences you’re writing after. You’ve identified the plans or the goals that you want to run towards. You’ve also identified the right content pieces that you want to create, and now you can finally get to the place of creating and sharing those things.
In our world, that always leads to a conversation of editorial calendars. We work a lot with our clients to–once they’ve got to this part where they’re ready to start creating and sharing their story–we put a plan in place for them to be able to document, how are they going to put that into action? What dates are they committing to creating a content piece by this time, and then also sharing it on these ten dates thereafter. That’s really the way an editorial calendar works. It just gives them a guideline to follow, helps them also just make sure as they’re putting that together that there are some key dates that they might miss otherwise. If there’s a ten year anniversary coming up in October, then they can start thinking about that in February or January. Or, Superbowl’s coming up, so they want to do some promotion around that, so they’re not missing key dates in the world, or also just maybe key dates within their business.
It also allows them to really document the work that they’re planning and then celebrating what they’ve accomplished thereafter. They’re able to check off and see, go back in time, and go, “Wow. Look at all this stuff that we created in 2019.” It keeps them accountable to do the work, then also helps them to celebrate it thereafter. It also gives them a look as they put all this content on the calendar, they’re able to really pan back and see, “Are we really touching all of the audience personas that we need to in this content? Are we missing some opportunities?” Or, within this audience persona, should we be hitting them at different times of the buying cycle, and just pan back and say, “Here’s what we need to do with this content.”
Shannon: It really can look pretty simple. Again, it’s one of those, what’s going to work best for you and your team? It could be as simple as a Google Doc or an Excel spreadsheet. Maybe it’s a calendar. If you’ve got some kind of team sharing site or app, whatever it might be, it’s typically broken… at least what we do is we break it into two parts. One is the content library, which is essentially just where all of these pieces live. What do we know we want to either produce or write or whatever it might be for this year? Then the second tab is going to be, okay, now that we know what our content is, when and where are we going to be publishing that or posting that? Very specifically, what date is this particular blog post going to be released? When on social media is that blog post going to be promoted?
It’s an opportunity to just kind of promote your content and promote it multiple times, as well. It doesn’t just have to be that you published a blog and that’s the last people ever see of it. You hope somebody reads it. Get it in front of them a couple different times. That’s what that calendar really helps you do is to keep track of that content and just be able to specifically note where you want to see it and when it should be out there.
Joe: Right. Now that we’ve covered the what’s and the why’s of the editorial calendar, we want to talk a little bit now about the how’s of putting it together. For us, it starts with identifying three or four major themes that you want to cover in your content. These tend to come from things like the needs that your customers have. What are the problems that they have? Why might they be searching your business out? How would you touch that in your content?
They also come from any goals that you’ve developed in your content strategy and just helping you understand what are the things we need to say because of our customer’s needs, and what are the goals that we’re trying to accomplish? Knowing both of those things helps you create three or four major things that you want to cover in your content.
Shannon: Exactly. Then from there, you can kind of break it down into more specifics. If you break it down to 7-10 topics within each of those major themes or buckets. These topics can be found in things people or your audience is searching for or interested in. What problems do they have that they need a solution to that you can identify with? There are a lot of ways to go about finding this information. Maybe brainstorm with a team and you get people together that can help answer those kinds of questions. Google is great for this. You go to that search bar and it pops up some other things that people are searching for. That can be a really great indicator of some other content that you need to be producing, or a question you need to be answering.
There’s a site called Quora, which is basically just a place people go to ask random questions. Some of them might be applicable to you. Some of them are not, but there might be some great nuggets on there that people say, “I need to know the answer to this,” and you could be the person that answers that.
There are discussion boards. There might be an industry discussion board. Depending on your company, you might have your own discussion board. Thumb through those and again, look for some questions and topics there.
There are actually blog idea generators. If you go to one of those, just search one of those. It’ll pop out some things that maybe your audience is looking for.
Then we have referenced competitors as well. While we know that you’re going to be unique from your competitor, they’re there for a reason. You want to figure out what they’re saying and how can you say it better? How could you twist that conversation to be a little bit different so that it applies to you or your audience?
Joe: Once you’ve identified all those topic ideas, now you want to cross check those lists against the content types that we talked about in the last episode. These are things like blogs and web pages, or emails or video and photography. You want to make sure that, for this topic, what are the different pieces that need to be created to best tell that story? I think about a recent client that we have, they have an event coming up in another month. It’s on a certain date, but we want to make sure people are queued up between now and then. Actually it’s not a certain date, it’s an entire month. We want people to know, as they come into to the month, this is going to be happening. Throughout the month, they also need to be educated about the different things they need to know.
We’ve identified for that particular campaign, we need to write two or three blogs. We’re going to write a landing page on their website. We’re going to put four or five emails together and drip those out throughout the course of the month. We’ll also do a press release before the event, and we’ll do some video and photography throughout the time. We’ll also do some social media with linking with some other influencers. Those are all different pieces that we need to schedule out. We need to not only identify and say, “All these pieces are necessary.” We didn’t want to hold this event and do one blog and hope that everybody knows about it. We need to do it a lot of different ways and we need to do it at the right time so that we’re not starting this press release the day before it needs to be out there.
For us, once we’ve identified the topics, now we put the content types attached to the topics, now we’re actually putting them on the calendar and saying, “Okay, if this is the date, we need to backtrack here and put design here and so on and so forth.”
Shannon: Now that the content has kind of been built out or identified, it’s time to switch over to that other tab that’s actually talking about delivering them. For each piece of content, we would encourage you to deliver it in multiple different ways. Like Joe was saying, it’s not just a one and done. You might write a blog, say, and then after that, email your subscribers. You might schedule ten tweets. You might schedule five Facebook posts or three Instagram posts. That way, this piece of content that you have spent a lot of time and energy on and you know is applicable to your audience, they’re able to see that in multiple different ways, potentially multiple different times. You go from that content library where you’re building out what kind of pieces you’re going to be creating into that specific deliverability section in your calendar.
Joe: I know that’s a lot of information to take in. I think really one key takeaway I’d love for you to just remember from this is that it’s really important to put this thing together. You’re spending a lot of time and energy in creating a piece of content. You might be finding a writer or a designer to create this piece, and you want to make sure that it’s now going to be created at the right time and shared in the right ways and enough times. You want to have enough data through all of that to go, “Are we doing this thing right or what adjustments need to be made?” That’s really what the editorial calendar does. It just says, “You’re spending a lot of money on marketing. Time is money, so just make sure you get the most bang for your buck.”
Shannon: To kind of close this topic out with a sense of motion and where you can go from here, we would just encourage you to hold a brainstorming session with your team. It can just be brief. It can be light and fun, but as you’re working through what content pieces do I need to be creating, and where should they go? More than one brain in the room is always going to be a better idea for that.
Joe: Case and point right here. Thanks so much again for joining us for season one. We hope you found some information to help you as you try to get your story organized and then produced and shared with the world. I think back a little bit as we close this season up with that Seth Godin quote, of course.
Shannon: He had to come back at some point.
Joe: He said in that quote, “What matters, what makes it art is that the person who made it overcame the resistance, ignored the voice of doubt, and made something worth making.” Hopefully you’ll leave with that encouragement to go do the work, find the right people who could help support that process, and just put it out there. That’s ignoring the doubt that wants to come in and putting that aside and pushing back the resistance is the most important part. We do need to hear your story. We hope you share it with us. Thanks again, and we’ll be back with season two in a few months.