How Proper Planning Helps Up Your Content Marketing Game


When it comes to content marketing, says strategist Meg Hogan, there are those who plan and those who wing it.

Instead of relying on established tools and methods, the latter group takes a less disciplined approach, in which they may play chicken with deadlines and create and distribute content whenever they can get to it.

While this can create an invigorating cocktail of adrenaline and endorphins, Hogan says it can also come with drawbacks, such as inconsistent quality or messaging, and undue stress on people and processes.

Writing for MarketingProfs, Hogan counsels that if you really want to raise brand awareness and create meaningful connections with customers, followers and readers, proper planning is an absolute must, even for modest content-marketing initiatives.

Planning, of course, refers to using strategic tools and processes to craft and distribute content that resonates with audiences by educating, informing or entertaining them, while deepening loyalty or otherwise advancing the brand.

In her post, Hogan names several widely used content-planning tools, along with numerous ways that properly applying these resources can actually improve an integrated marketer’s content-marketing prowess.

#1: A core messaging platform: strategic document that details (among other things) who your company is, what you do and the values you stand for; messaging platforms enable content authors and creators imbue content with an original, authentic voice that easily translates to posts, tweets, and email responses. Helps by: preparing your company to respond quickly and consistently with stock, yet authentic answers to a variety of situations and inquiries.

#2: A documented publishing process: identifies who on the content team will take which steps when certain events occur, such as product recalls, or public relations issues.Helps by: having this tool in place enables you to pull back on promotional content and spring into crisis management or damage control mode to avoid appearing insensitive or out of touch with unfolding events.

#3: Content schedule and timelines: these resources ensure that content creators, designers and distributors have enough time to work their magic, while also holding them accountable for their deliverables. Helps by: providing the oversight and control you need to keep the company content machine well-oiled and running smoothly; also results in quality, relevant content that fans and readers will ultimately want to share, creating even more loyalty and brand exposure.

To learn more about effective content planning and marketing, visit our popular
Content Marketing Archive; for more free, ready-made checklists, templates and guidesthan you shake a spreadsheet at, check out Content Marketing Institute or Hubspot.

Happy National Dog Day, Molly!

Molly Brumley works so hard here at PIP Triad we decided to give her National Dog Day off! Happy #NationalDayDog to Molly and all the wonderful pups out there!

Feature of the Week: Beacon Baptist Church Van

The vehicles that we wrap serve all kinds of different purposes once they leave our facility and hit the streets. Whether it’s a trailer for a contractor to haul heavy supplies to job sites, a van to share the vision and mission of a church or a car to help promote a new business on the streets, the list is continuing to grow with every new vehicle wrap project we take on. We’re happy to add this one-of-a-kind church van wrap to the list for Beacon Baptist Church in Burlington. Check it out in the video below!

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Cold Calling is Dead. Long Live Social Selling.


This post may be like ice water in the face of some sales pros and marketers.

But cold calling, cold emailing and other old-school prospecting methods have gone the way of dodos, typewriters and the 8-track tape.

If your SMB is serious about sales, contend experts interviewed on Amex’s OPEN Forum, then you must be committed to a new, more effective discipline called ‘social selling.’

Social Selling vs. Social Media

Don’t confuse social selling with social media. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are merely the channels through which prospecting and relationship-building are conducted. Social selling is the strategy for leveraging those platforms.

Nick VanWagner, team leader for LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions Group, describes the practice like this: “Social selling is the use of social medial tools to connect with professional contacts, get referrals and generate new business leads. It by no means replaces the need to foster meaningful relationships, but it does enhance the ability to do so.”

How to Be Successful At It

Dave Kerpen, author and CEO of Likeable Local, says that, just as in traditional offline selling, listening is the most important component of social selling. You can find prospects and start ‘listening’ to what they say by learning which social platforms they use, and joining them in a conversation.

Be sure to add value by sharing relevant links, information or insight. Like and comment on prospects’ posts. Then, at the appropriate time, take the connection offline with a quick phone call or coffee meeting. Never rush into a hard sell. Big no-no. Social selling is about respectfully engaging with a community of professionals; being successful at it is going to take some time.

“Start…by focusing on your social media profile as a marketing tool,” VanWagner suggests. “Complete your profile with a professional photo and bio, and make it stand out by incorporating videos, presentations and other interactive content that highlight the benefits of your business, not just yourself.”

Other tips mentioned of interest to marketers and sales teams include:

  • Choose one social network and spend five to 10 minutes each day reviewing posts and updates.
  • If you’re too busy to create original content, curate and share relevant content, such as interesting research or industry news.
  • Don’t expect immediate results. With social selling, the old sales saw of ‘Know, Like, Trust’ applies more than ever.

Visit our Social Media archive for other business-building tips, including 5 Ways to Sharpen Your Social Medial Marketing.

How To Write More Effective PPC Search Ads


Those little text ads that show up in your search results look deceptively simple. But success of your paid PPC search campaign is riding on a few well-chosen words. Take time to make sure you choose every word carefully for maximum effectiveness, while keeping your message aligned with your overall integrated marketing mix.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when writing your next search campaign, as detailed by Mona Elesseily in Web Digest for Marketers.

Write Ads Around Specific Keywords

Tailor your ad copy around the specific keywords used in your paid search campaign. Prospects are more likely to convert to a sale, subscribe or otherwise act when they see the same terms used in your ad copy that they’ve entered in the search engine.

Write Copy for a Specific Industry Audience

You can’t be all things to all people, so don’t try it in a search ad. Focus on a specific audience and write in a tone that’s appropriate for them. For example, ads about children’s toys should sound more fun and playful than ads aimed at IT executives.

Consider the Purchasing Cycle

Many products and services have long buying cycles that can include several stages. At the beginning of the process, your prospects may be searching for third-party product reviews and general information. Toward the end of the cycle when the purchase decisionis about to be made, people may be looking for more specific on the product, warranty claims, return policies, or where to purchase.

Use Keywords In Landing Pages

Whenever possible, use the same keywords from your ad copy on the corresponding landing pages (the web page where people go after clicking on your ad). Continuity between the search terms, the text in the ad, and the language used on your landing page will help reassure prospects that they are in the right place. If necessary, design a dedicated landing page for your PPC ads.

Keep Testing Your Ad Copy

The more you test your messages, the more effective your ads will be. Use A/B testing to compare one message against another and get a better feel for the tone that works with your market. In addition to A/B testing, you could experiment with multiple variables including: headlines, offers, different unique selling propositions, and calls to action.