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5 Tips to Help You Implement a Content Marketing Strategy

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Content is King

High-quality web content that’s useful, usable, and enjoyable is one of the greatest competitive advantages you can create for yourself online. – Kristina Halvorson

The age-old adage: “Content is King” is more relevant in the global digital media marketing world that it has ever been before. Statistics generated by Newscred.com show the following:

  • 71% of consumers are turned away from a brand by direct sales pitches.
  • 40% of consumers prefer emails that are content-rich and not promotional.
  • 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising.
  • 2017 statistics show that 615 million mobile devices have installed adblocker technology.
  • 2017 statistics show that 84% of people expect brands to create content.

It should be noted at this juncture that we are talking about high-quality, informative, authoritative content. Publishing run-of-the-mill spun content is counterproductive and can harm your brand’s reputation as a leader in its field.

Finally, 2016 studies have shown that circa 75% of brand marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets to allocate a more significant slice of their overall marketing budgets to content strategy and content marketing.

Implementing a content strategy

From the figures mentioned above, we can see that designing and implementing a content marketing strategy is a vital part of a brand’s digital marketing strategy. And it should not be avoided or downgraded to a very low priority. Therefore, here are five tips to help you with your content strategy:

Work with a reputable agency

It is vital to partner with a digital marketing agency that has years of experience writing high-quality, informative content. Additionally, it’s a good idea for this agency to keep up to date with the changes to Google’s ranking search engine algorithms to ensure that their clients’ brands continue to rank up in the top three to five brands on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Identify your brand’s target audience

Let us assume for this article that you own a business that designs and manufactures Merino wool jackets for the athleisure and casual outdoor market. It is vital to describe each persona-type that will be interested in purchasing this jacket. For example, someone that is interested in only wearing high fashion and is not interested in spending time outdoors hiking is probably not going to wear this jacket. Therefore, there will be very little ROI if you market your brand to this persona.

Identify the type of content that will add value to your brand

Different content types suit different brands. It depends both on the brand’s products and the target audience. Once again, if we look at our Merino wool jacket, we can see that the following content types are suitable:

  • Instagram and Pinterest posts with high-quality photos showing how the jacket can be worn.
  • Long-form articles that are related to the jacket and how to care for the jacket.
  • Informative emails that provide links to the long-form articles as well as links to new products.

Consistency is critical

Consistency is a cornerstone of all content marketing strategies. Regular content gets ranked higher on Google (or other search engines) because of its consistency. It does not matter what the time frame of each post is. What matters is that if the content strategy states that a guest blog post will be published three times a week, the brand marketer must stick to the plan. On the other hand, brands that do not post regular content do not keep on “reminding” Google that they are essential, and they add value to their target audience’s lives.

Content builds trust

High-authority, informative content builds trust. For example, let us go back to our Merino wool jackets. It is natural to assume that the brand’s target audience will ask what temperature can the jacket be worn at, whether the jacket is waterproof or not, how to wash the jacket, and how should the jacket be stored when not in use.

The best way to answer these valid questions is, not only to add this information (in bullet point form) to the jacket’s description but to write and publish an informative article on the value of a Merino wool jacket and how to care for it. As a result, the brand’s target audience will see the brand owners as knowledgeable. Additionally, they will assume that the brand cares about its customers.

Final words

This article does not attempt to be a comprehensive guide to the mastery of content strategy. For more information, talk to Firecrab Digital Media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business

Tips for Evaluation of Accounting Department Performance

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Potential

Accounting department performance is and will always be a critical part of organizational success. This statement remains true irrespective of the size of the organization or business.

It must, however, be noted that the size of the company, whether it is an SME (Small Medium Enterprise) or a large organization, will determine the number of employees that are required to ensure accounting function success.

Therefore, it makes sound business sense to measure accounting function success by embarking on a program that includes the evaluation of accounting department employees using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

What are KPIs?

Before we look at some pointers with regard to evaluating accounting department performance, let’s look at a concise definition of a Key Performance Indicator:

Succinctly stated, a KPI is a measurable value that proves the achievement of key business objectives. In other words, targets like the number of invoices processed per month are set, and an equivalent KPI is used to measure whether the goal was met or not and to what extent the target was met.

Furthermore, organizations within industry use KPIs across all employment levels, from the most junior assistant to the most senior executive, and in all departments to evaluate employee performance. Consistent employee performance translates into business success.

There are typically two types of KPIs:

  • High-level or organizational KPIs that focus on the comprehensive overall business performance
  • Low-level KPIs that focus on the success of individual departments or teams and the individual employees working within each department or team.

Tips to improve accounting department performance

Job description clarity

It is challenging for an employee to perform in a position when there is a lack of job description clarity.  Simply stated, how can employers expect employees to do their jobs when they don’t know what they have to do.

Therefore, it is vital to ensure that all employee roles and functions as stated explicitly so that the employee has a clear understanding of what is expected from the outset of his/her employment with the organization.

Key Performance Indicators

Similarly, it is vital for the organization to set out specific KPIs for every job description within the company. This will allow for transparency and accountability within the organization. Employees within an organization cannot be expected to perform if there is no transparency and accountability, or individual staff members are treated differently to others.

Drawing up Key Performance Indicators are an excellent way to ensure that every staff member is treated equitably and fairly. Additionally, the continuous measurement of these indicators is also a valuable tool to use both to measure accounting performance and to prevent short-term issues from developing into long-term crises that will substantially impact the company’s profitability.

Take action

Both the previous points, job description clarity, and the setting up of KPIs, are vital to the long-term sustainability of any organization. However, it is equally essential for management to act on the results of the KPIs, irrespective of whether the outcomes are negative or positive.

Positive performance must be rewarded, and action must be taken against negative reviews.  Positive reviews can be rewarded by more responsibility or a promotion to a more responsible position, a wage increase, or a financial bonus.

On the other hand, negative performance must be managed appropriately to ensure that it does not negatively impact the organization in the long run. Further measures such as additional job training, counselling, probation, and finally, dismissal must be implemented by management.

It is vital to note that the management of negative performance is a step-by-step process. Dismissal must only be considered as the last step unless the employee’s performance is disruptive and is intended to sabotage the company’s success.

Final thoughts

An organization’s accounting department is required to perform critical functions with respect to the overall management of the company’s finances. The success, or failure, of this department, will have a significant impact on the company’s ability to function in terms of cash flow and liquidity. A company that does not manage its finances properly will not be able to pay employees, nor will it be able to pay suppliers; thereby, forcing it into bankruptcy and to terminate all employee contracts.

Thus, it is vital to ensure that the accounting department functions optimally by implementing the three points mentioned above, namely, providing job description clarity, the management of employee performance using KPIs, and finally taking action to ensure that negative performance reviews are turned into positive reviews.

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Business

Performance Management: Why Organisations Should Prioritise Performance Management

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Performance management is defined as the “process of creating a work environment or setting in which people are enabled to perform to the best of their abilities.” Additionally, in order to ensure that the optimal work environment is created, employee performance is measured.

This definition raises the following issues or questions that need to be asked and answered:

How do companies measure performance, what parameters or metrics are used to measure performance, and how is an equitable measurement drawn up across all job roles? In other words, how is a sales assistant’s performance weighed equally against a sale’s executive’s performance, for example?

Performance management: A case study

By way of answering these questions, let’s look at a simple case study. Company A is involved in the design and manufacture of a new product that they hope to launch just before the Festive season this year.

Thus, there is a design team with a team lead, and a sales team, headed by a sales manager. The company outsources the product manufacture and packaging, so the buying department only consists of a single person at this stage. A multi-departmental team dually manages quality control. It includes employees from the design and sales team as well as staff from the manufacturer.

It must be noted that the manufacturing company employee has no relevance to our case study, so we will ignore him/her for now. Also, the company has decided that it manages its performance review on a project basis, and they any one of the software applications that are available on the market to drive its process.

Therefore, let’s start by dividing the project’s performance management process into its key performance areas:

Goals

The goal of this project is to design, manufacture, and launch Product X in time for the Festive season. Therefore, both staff and management need to sit down and define measurable and equitable goals to meet the project deadlines.

Planning

This point includes the three following elements:

  • Clarity on job expectations.
  • Discussion about organisational vision & core values
  • Discussion on time bound goals

At this juncture, it must be noted that the clearer the job expectations in relation to the organisation’s core values and vision, the great the chance there will be successful outcomes.

Review collection and analysis

When utilised correctly, employee reviews can be a valuable resource for management and human resources as they are an accurate reflection of the organisation’s employee culture and inner workings.  Therefore, by organising regular feedback using team performance management software, it is possible to collect valuable data that can be plotted on graphs and charts for senior management to make sense of it.

Consequently, it is vital for management to get employee buy-in; otherwise this process will fail.

Using analytical data gathered to facilitate informed decision-making

Finally, if the performance management process is administered correctly; thereby, gaining employee trust, management will be able to utilise the valuable information collected to make improvements to the work environment and employee culture to ensure business growth and an increased bottom line.

 After all, a company exists to make money. And wise top-level management will pay close attention to the fact that happy employees result in a successful organisation.

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SEO: 5 Reasons Why SEO is Still Relevant Today

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SEO

The one constant about the Information Age is that it is fluid and everchanging. There is no consistency and stability over long periods of time.

Therefore, digital media marketing best practices also change regularly. Google, widely known as the world’s foremost search engine, spearheads this fluidity and transformation by continually enhancing their search engine algorithms to provide their users with improved search results to the queries submitted to the Google search engine.

Search Engine Optimisation: A succinct definition

Before we look at reasons why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is still relevant in today’s digital age, let’s look at what SEO is defined as:

According to searchengineland.com, SEO is “the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”

This definition might sound esoteric or “up in the air”. Furthermore, if website traffic is derived from natural search results, then inevitably SEO specialists break the cardinal rule of the definition of natural, or organic, traffic.

There are several branches of SEO like on-page SEO where the search engine optimisation analyst’s main aim is to ensure that the keywords that the brand wants to rank on are contained within the website’s or text. Thereby, increasing the brand’s chance of ranking in the top three to five results on the SERP (search engine results page) and driving organic traffic to the brand’s site.

SEO and its application today

Global statistics show that Google processes about forty thousand search queries every second. This translates into “3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year.” Thus, these statistics alone show the need for a professional and knowledgeable SEO to optimise sites so that they rank in the top SERP results.

The salient point in this context is that it is vital for a knowledgeable and expert SEO to optimise websites.

Because of the high volumes of Internet content that is consumed daily, there is serious competition between brands to rank at the top of the SERP. Thus, it stands to reason that a mediocre SEO has the potential to do more harm than good to a brand’s SERP ranking.

Furthermore, what is vital to be cognizant of is the fact that the overall SEO model is still as relevant today as it was at the development of the digital media marketing genre. However, some of the details, based on the latest trends, within this model have changed. A typical example of these changes is the increasing importance and relevance of social media in the online community. Consequently, the primary difference between the original SEO and the current SEO is that brands with smaller marketing budgets can now compete with their global counterparts by using Social Media Marketing tactics.

Final thoughts

As noted at the outset of this article, the single most important constant in the digital media marketing world is that there is continuous change and fluidity. Therefore, it’s vital to contract an SEO specialist to ensure that brands remain relevant within the everchanging digital world.

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