Do you want to eat carrots ALL of your life? Diversify your marketing plan.

Marketing is challenging and sometimes what works for one client won’t work for others. But there are some truths. I know that unless you plan and set goals, you are like an exercise bike—you are pedaling hard but getting nowhere. And I know that a marketing or publicity campaign is not ‘one size fits all.’ It’s especially true for social media. The public may grow tired of one social media platform and all of the dollars a company has invested in that platform may be useless after a while. Facebook’s announcement that it was changing what we see in our news feeds is one example. Companies who placed an emphasis on Facebook are now worried their ads will not be seen.

Full disclosure—I have run campaigns that were only on Facebook or a couple of social media platforms that were pretty successful at the time. But those decisions were largely based on the client’s preference and not my recommendations. My recommendation is to always have a healthy menu that has a variety of “dishes.” Carrots are great and very healthy, but is that the only thing you want to eat for a long period of time? Don’t you want a little steak?

How do you start? First, make sure you know your customers and know where they are consuming their information. For some of them, social media is the “meat and potatoes” of their existence. Depending on your demographics, you may have some “old school” customers who still get their information mainly from newspapers. Determining where your customers get their information may take trial and error but it is an important part of your plan.

Once you know where you want to spend your dollars, determine your budget. It’s okay to spend 2/3 of your marketing budget in one place if you can reach most of your customers there. But never spend 100% on any one platform. I plan a marketing budget similar to the plate method dieticians use when helping you develop a healthy diet. One half should be your protein—the marketing tool that works best for you. It can be social media ads or a billboard. The other half of your plate should be split between two other nutritional items or platforms that have some return. These platforms may only give you a few responses but those responses turn into customers. Or it could be platforms with a high response rate but a low ROI. Again, you determine what works for you.

If you want, you can leave room for dessert. This could be a platform you like but doesn’t give you any results. A good example is an advertisement you take out in your local newspaper only because your cousin is the salesperson. You may not get any response but you like your cousin.

I also make sure I have enough set aside for “snacks.” From a marketing standpoint, these are platforms I may want to sample every once in a while. Even though many people think print media is dead, I am seeing several new glossy publications in the area where I live. I would not recommend purchasing a long-term contract, but at least give it three months. You need to give people an opportunity to see the ad several times. “Snacks” are also opportunities for you to try some new ‘foods.” Maybe you have seen ad on your local cable station and you have been considering it. Go ahead! Give it a try.

So why should you try different marketing methods? First, as I mentioned, you need to find out what works best to maximize your ROI. And in some cases, you want to keep goodwill with your resources, like a local magazine or TV station.

I have only mentioned a few marketing opportunities here but you have hundreds you can try. So sit down at the table and create your marketing plan.

 

 

 

 

 

Shamelessly starting over–again

I told you when I started this blog that I have been out of the freelance writing business for a few years. I did about a dozen projects or so during my hiatus but those were mostly referrals and I was not looking for that work.  I am back for several reasons. The less sexy one is we are saving and paying off bills to purchase a house. But the other reason is I do love it–even when it is hard.

I was going to tell you about a new app I started using but that can wait. I am going to do some shameless self promotion. I will use bullet points because to tell you about my skills just because I like bullet points.

  • Press releases and publicity. This is probably some of my favorite work. I have been a journalist for a very long time and I will be honest, most press releases go in the trash. That’s why I work hard to write an exciting press release that may capture an editor’s eye. But writing the press release is not the only part of publicity. You have  to follow-up and pitch that story idea to the editors. I have pitched a lot of stuff from murder mystery dinner shows to face cream to my favorite, nonprofits.
  • Newspaper/magazine articles. These are not blogs or SEO articles. These are pieces where I do interviews, research and a lot of rewriting. I have written for trade publications, newspapers, radio, television and magazines. I love learning new things and meeting people.
  • SEO articles.  When I started freelancing over a decade ago, I had to adjust to using keywords in online writing. Back then clients wanted you to stuff as many keywords as you could into the copy and some of those words did not make sense. Coming from a newspaper background at the time, it was very frustrating that the keywords were more important than the quality of the content. Google and other search engines have changed their algorithms and now keyword stuffing is often penalized. I don’t do as many of these types of articles now.
  • Blogs: Businesses from attorneys to stores to even your local beauty shop often have blogs. Often business owners lose interest and the blog is dormant for months, sometimes years. I help businesses keep their blogs alive. I specialize in law firms and employment agencies.
  • Social media marketing: When I started freelancing, Facebook had another name and no one was tweeting yet. Now we are instagramming and snap chatting our hearts out. I love doing posts and social media management. But it means I also read a lot of websites and take at least two online classes a month to stay up to date on what the latest trend is.
  • Voice overs. I am an award-winning broadcaster and from time to time I do some voice over work.

So do I have room in my schedule to help you or someone you know? Right now, yes. But like all smart freelance writers I make sure I am continually marketing myself and I do have a lot of queries and proposals out there. If you have a need, drop me a line and let’s talk about how I can help you.

And stay tuned later this week for a blog on a fun app I found that may help your business.