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Content Content Content

Posted By Mary Le, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Content Content Content

By: Drew Kelsh, Marketing Research Associate

 

If you have spent a second perusing blogs, or taken a moment to scroll through and read your LinkedIn feed lately, then you can’t escape the endless “Content Marketing!” headlines that clutter the stream.  I believe it’s time we expose the myths and facts of content marketing once and for all. First, let’s find out what it is.

 

There are endless definitions for content marketing, but one struck me as the most useful and correct. According to the Content Marketing Institute:

 

“Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

 

Imagine for a moment that your marketing department was transformed into a top-of-the-line Hollywood production agency. Instead of office professionals, your workplace is filled with incredible scriptwriters, directors, and producers. The result would be, wellinteresting. One thing is for sure, the content would be amazing.

 

The content would be valuable, relevant, and outright fantastic, but your marketing department can be just as fantastic. As Forbes says, the idea behind content marketing is that organizations no longer just market to sell to consumers, but market to inform, engage and educate consumers.

 

Content can quite frankly be anything, from digital and print graphics and infographics, to blogs, webinars, videos, and publications…as long as the purpose of the content is to inform and communicate with the customer in a meaningful way, and not simply sell to them.

 

As associations, you’ve been doing this for quite a while longer than the moguls on LinkedIn would have you believe. Trade magazines, blogs and webinars are all examples of content marketing. It is valuable and relevant information that engages a target audience consistently. Aside from this, content marketing has become more prevalent in the past years, especially among large companies. You may have noticed lately that some blogs and articles say “sponsored” next to them; that is content marketing in the flesh. However, sponsored content is content paid for by an organization to be at the top of a webpage, preferably one with high traffic, and is created with the goal to market something for the given organization. Organic content may also be created in order to market something, but relies on its inherent quality in order to reach the top of a webpage, rather than paying to be there. Though it very successful to market via content, it’s important we dispel some of the common myths associated with the strategy.

 

It’s not about just creating more content, it’s about quality content, and consistency. Many organizations disseminate a large amount of information and most of it ends up in spam folders. This is one reason I like the Content Marketing Institute’s definition, which also states, “information must be ‘valuable, relevant, and consistent’ in order to be considered content marketing. This is one thing separating your marketing department from a Hollywood production agency.

 

Of course, it’s not just about creating content; there’s another wonderful word as well: curating. Curating content is merely the process of distributing and crediting another organization’s/persons content that is relevant and valuable to your audience. Curating content is much easier, and doesn’t involve converting your marketing department into a production agency.

 

Let’s tackle the 3 biggest myths of content marketing…

 

 

Myth 1: Content marketing is centered around social media.

 

Though social media is a very valuable tool for finding and distributing content to your audience in a relatively simple way, it is not what content marketing is all about. Social media is a great tool to promote your content, but it’s important to keep in mind, social media itself is not your content, and shouldn’t be. It is simply a vehicle for your content. Content comes first, social media comes after.

 

Myth 2: Content marketing is a side project, while other marketing functions should remain at the forefront.

 

Content marketing is at its most valuable when it’s tied into all the rest of your marketing functions. Trying to improve your organizations SEO? Quality content is more likely to be engaging, improving your SEO. Looking for a public relations strategy? Addressing an issue your customers care about will garner more attention than just addressing your business. Developing a social media strategy? Create content that people care about and they will look to you on social media more often. If content is put at the forefront, it supplements the rest of your marketing functions that come after.

 

Myth 3: I don’t have time to constant create quality content, so I can’t do content marketing.

 

As mentioned before, content marketing is not all about creating content — it more often involves curating content. If you aren’t the most creative person, or don’t have time to constantly create blogs and graphics, then find someone who is. Credit them, and push that content to your audience instead. Making sure the content is of good quality and is relevant to your audience will help it receive the most reads and engagement. The reality is, there’s loads of content out there just waiting to be shared, so much of it may go unnoticed by your audience. It’s a bit like going out to a fantastic restaurant. You can’t cook an incredible meal for all of your friends to enjoy in a timely fashion, so taking them to that hole in the wall they never would’ve gone to will give everyone greater satisfaction. They’ll still appreciate the experience, and appreciate that you shared a great restaurant with them. The restaurant owner will appreciate it too, because now your friends may tell their friends about it. It’s not stealing if you distribute other people’s content, or let someone else cook for you, as long as you credit them.

 

This gives you the basic understanding to go out and begin developing your content marketing strategy. And remember, it’s all about the quality.

 

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Key Tips to Social Media Engagement

Posted By Mary Le, Monday, April 18, 2016

Key Tips to Social Media Engagement

By: Mary Le, Intern

 

One of my main responsibilities is to do social media engagement for a few different clients. I log into their Facebook and Twitter accounts to like articles, share articles, and thank followers. Sometimes finding the right thing to share, like, and engage on social media can be difficult — especially when you do this for multiple clients with varied interests. Here are few helpful tips to keep in mind when it comes to engaging on social media.

 

Come up with a profile: What helps me with doing engagement online is having a profile of each of my clients to look at. This profile provides me with the client’s tone, target audiences, what sites and resources to use. Take some time to come up with a profile for your client.

 

Stick to the Tone: This is very important to keep in mind when liking and sharing content on social media. I sometimes have a hard time staying focused on my clients’ tone when I look for content to share on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to keep your own personal interests out when doing social engagement. Instead, try to focus on the client’s tone and who their target audience is. That is why it’s very important to create a profile to help guide you.

 

Experiment With Different Sources: Don’t like and share content from only one source. This was a bad habit I had when I first started doing social media engagement. I found great content to share from one source and began to only share content from it. This makes it seems like your client is favoring a certain source. Instead, try searching key words or hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, or Google to find content to share from different sources.

 

Thank Followers, Shares, and Likes: People love it when I thank them for their shares, likes, and follows. You want people to like and share things you share on social media, so it is important to thank them back. Also, this will help increase your client’s presence online. 

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Why Ewald is the Best Place to Work

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Why Ewald is the Best Place to Work

By: Mary Le, Intern

 

Ewald Consulting is competing in the Star Tribune’s 2016 “Best Place to Work.” As a survey circulates asking employees why they like working for the company, who better to ask than Laurie Pumper, Ewald’s Communication Director, why Ewald is the best place to work. Laurie has been with Ewald Consulting for 25 (and a half) years. She has seen Ewald grow from 6 employees to about 70 employees.

 

Accepting mistakes: Laurie mentioned that it can get a little chaotic here at Ewald because people handle a number of different clients and some take on a number of roles. In times of chaos, you may make mistakes sometimes, and that’s okay. Here at Ewald, we understand people can make mistakes, especially as we learn new technology and new ways of thinking. We strive not to make the same mistakes twice and have quality controls in place to help avoid mistakes — but we grow by not always playing it safe.

 

The Ewald family: “I think Eric, Amanda, and especially David really set the tone here at Ewald,” said Laurie, adding, “They are strongly committed to their employees.” From offering pay and benefits that are significantly above the minimum required to getting to know every employee, the Ewald family knows how to treat people well. Laurie says the attitude goes deeper, “Going back to my first days on the job, the company leaders have also demanded strong ethical standards from themselves and their employees.”

 

Everyone has the same goal: All employees at Ewald have their own jobs and duties that they are responsible for. Despite those different roles, everyone shares the common goal of working in the best interest of the company and is willing to be a team player. “I think we all want to be the best at what we do — and make the company the best at what it does,” Laurie said.

 

 

Interested in opportunities at Ewald? Check out our site at www.ewald.com for job opportunities.

 

 

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What is Facebook’s Business Manager?

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Can’t login to update your company or organization’s Facebook page in the way you’re used to? Many feel your pain. Facebook’s tool for business owners, Facebook Business Manager (FBM), has been rolling out for about 2 years. Only recently has it pushed more organizations to utilize its platform.

At Ewald Consulting, we made a conscious decision to move our platform as well as client platforms to business manager because of the streamlined process, easier tracking and smart dashboarding. Business manager also allows our team to run multiple advertising sets with minimal set-up, and gives us the ability to move from one account to the other almost seamlessly.

In fact, according to business2community.com, “With the business manager tool, you can link all of your business pages and access them from one central hub. You also have the advantage of having access to all business ad accounts in one central location.”

Knowing that the tool has been in use for almost 2 years, we knew that (most) of the kinks would be worked out in the process. However, we noticed a few missteps in FBM. One of the largest challenges we’ve found is the ability to schedule shares, or posts of organizations and companies we follow. FBM allows pages to share the content of pages they follow, but those shares must still be done in “real time.” For us, it’s an inhibitor to scheduling what we can to focus on asking questions of those that like our pages, or offering deeper engagement after we’ve identified our content. While this is an opportunity for Facebook, it’s only a minor inconvenience to us. 

What is Facebook’s Business Manager?


According to Facebook, “Business Manager lets businesses more securely share and control access to their ad accounts, Pages, and other assets on Facebook. Anyone in a business can see all of the Pages and ad accounts they work on in one place, without sharing login information or being connected to their coworkers on Facebook.” Learn more by taking a peek at Facebook’s Business Manager Basics.

Facebook’s platform seems to be ever-changing, but one thing is certain: More efficient dashboards aren’t simply a fad; they are a MUST for any advertiser or marketer handling more than one account. While Facebook’s Business Manager has many smart features for those who advertise and share on the platform, for even better efficiency, we strongly recommend looking into a tool that allows all social media profiles to be viewable from one dashboard. (Here at Ewald, we tend to favor Buffer.) 


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How Do Millennials Network Differently from Older Generations?

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How Do Millennials Network Differently from Older Generations?

By: Mary Le, Intern

 

 

It amazes me how people are intrigued and curious about my generation, Millennial. Whether it’s on the Internet, radio, or in magazines/newspapers, people are constantly comparing us to the older generations. Recently, I read a few blogs and articles on how differently my generation networks compared to the older generations. Some of what I read seemed true to me, but I was curious how Millennials like me network differently than the older generations. Paul Hanscom, Ewald’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, was nice enough to share with me his experience in networking earlier in his career.

 

Technology today makes networking easier and faster. I mainly network with other people online. Many sites help make networking way easier and faster, such as Google Hangout and LinkedIn. Many Millennials are very tech savvy, so we are often glued to our phones and don’t interact with people face-to-face as much. With fewer face-to-face interactions, I feel like people in my generation don’t go and take advantage of networking events. However, it was interesting to hear how Paul didn’t have the type of technology that I have to network with others. Paul told me that he couldn’t even use the phone and the Internet at the same time. When he was applying for jobs, he would either use the computer really early or really late in the day, because he feared missing an important phone call if he was on the computer during the day.

 

Another change that I’ve read about in an article is that Millennials are not afraid to connect on a personal level. This was interesting to me, because when I asked Paul why he networks, he says he does it to get what he wants. I think Millennials do have the same goal — to get what we want when we network — but we add a personal connection to obtain what we want from networking. Also, this article highlighted how being passionate about something is very important to us. It is sometimes the source of starting up a new conversation with a new potential connection.

 

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What You Need to Know About Public Relations

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What You Need to Know About Public Relations

By Mary Le, Intern

 

An organization’s image plays an important role in its success. How the public audience perceives an organization is the responsibility of the public relations team in managing the public’s opinion. Jess Myers from Ewald Consulting’s public relations team gave us his thoughts on what is good/bad press, how to maintain a positive image, the most important thing to know about public relations, and common mistakes people in public relations make.

 

What is good and bad press?

“There is no such thing as good or bad press,” says Jess. He says handling good and bad press is like playing offense and defense. You play offense when there is good press and you want to pass that message along. However, you play defense when you’re handling bad press by defending your client’s actions and name.

 

How to maintain a positive image?

Jess states that maintaining a positive image is all about relationship building. This is very important, especially when your client is in a crisis or is involved in a negative situation. “It will help put a human face,” he says. An organization that has consistently worked with reporters over time is more likely to garner positive coverage, even when a negative situation may arise.

 

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to public relations?

“Tell a story clearly and compellingly,” Jess says. It is important to not only have a good story to tell —it also has to be compelling, timely, and interesting. This will also help grab people’s attention for what you’re putting out there.

 

What is one mistake you see other people in public relations make, or a mistake that you make yourself?

“Over sharing,” answered Jess, especially since social media makes it easy for people to share more information than needed out there. Over sharing can actually cause reporters and other key audiences to tune you out.

 

If you are interested in learning more about public relations, please contact Jess Myers at jessm@ewald.com.

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Your Association Budget is a Living Thing – Nurture It

Posted By Mary Le, Friday, March 18, 2016

Your Association Budget is a Living Thing – Nurture It

By Bill Monn, Vice President of Client Relations

 

To the good fortune of most non-profit professional associations, there are dedicated volunteers who work hard to create a budget each year. Usually this small group of approximately 1-3 individuals appropriately gauges revenues and expenses to meet the needs of the association’s members and presents it to the board of directors. After a tweak here and there, the budget is approved.

Unfortunately, many well-intentioned associations then spend much less time keeping track of their budgets and changes that invariably are needed as the year progresses. I don’t know of any association that can project everything that is going to happen in the next 12 months when it is finalizing its budget. The cost of food at your conference went up more than you projected, more members joined at a higher rate than you thought, the president couldn’t attend a conference that was budgeted because of a schedule conflict – the list goes on.

We suggest that you look at your budget regularly and take note of the variances. A suggestion that is incredibly useful for budget planners is to include line items for “Unbudgeted Revenue” and “Unbudgeted Expense.” This allows keeping track of the “stuff that happens” during the year that too often impacts the numbers but is not documented. This way you and future board members can remember why a certain year was a bit (or a lot) better or worse than projected.

Good treasurers are worth their weight in gold. They are inclusive and approachable. They provide the board with easy-to-understand summaries and recommend areas that may deserve attention. They provide pertinent information and support healthy dialogue. Treasurers who are suspicious of questions, power-driven, or hoard information often bring more negatives than positives to an organization.

A final thought: do a mid-year review and recalibrate your thinking as needed. In plain English, if you over-spent in one area then you need to account for that and spend less in another area. If you earned more than expected, what are the areas where you can still invest this year to advance your mission? This recalibration will help you get to year-end without big surprises and position the association for a more informed budget conversation in the future.

 

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Catering Must Haves: What to remember when providing food and drink at your next event

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Catering Must Haves: What to remember when providing food and drink at your next event

By: Mary Le, Intern

 

When it comes to event planning, providing food and drink is a must. However, how do you know what to serve, how much to serve, and how to please your attendees? Katherine Ricker from events gave some great tips about planning a successful event when it comes to providing food and beverages.

 

What to serve? – Base what you serve at events on the client’s budget. The second factor to consider in your decision is the atmosphere and type of event. “If it’s a networking event, then it is ideal to have lighter food that people can eat with their hands,” says Katherine. Another factor to consider is the client’s expectations and what they have in mind. Many people have dietary restrictions, and it is important to provide options and flexibility. Don’t choose options that limit people’s flexibility such as pasta. “A sandwich bar can actually go a long way. People who can’t eat gluten can get rid of the bread and make it a salad,” says Katherine. Not only does this give people options, but it also gives them flexibility.

 

How Much to Serve? - When it comes to estimating the amount of food and drinks to serve, it can be difficult. “People think if they have 25 guests, they need to provide food and drinks for exactly 25 people,” says Katherine. It is best to underestimate a little below the actual number of attendees. Food and drink is an important indicator whether or not people enjoyed the event. It does not look good to the board of an association if there is a large quantity of excess food, because that tells them that the event was not successful

 

Caterers are here to help. - It is important to reach out to the caterers first. Don’t hesitate to ask for help from caterers. They will answer any questions you have whether it’s about staying in your budget or which items to serve. Another reason why caterers are a helpful resource is they are willing to accommodate to dietary restrictions, but it is very important to let them know ahead of time.

 

Communication. - Another important factor is communication. Attendees like to know what is happening. It’s never a bad idea to over-communicate with them When conflicts occur, like the food not arriving on time, make sure to let attendees know.

 

If you are interested in learning more about our meeting and events management please contact Julie Cygan at juliec@ewald.com.

 

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Meet the New Employee: Mary Le

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Meet the New Employee: Mary Le

 

Meet one of our newest interns, Mary Le. Mary is currently a sophomore at St. Catherine University studying Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Management and an Accounting minor. She is responsible for scheduling all social posts for all clients to ensure all of their content is delivered on schedule. Additionally, Mary is responsible for social engagement, maintaining client’s social presence and fostering meaningful social connections.

 

Q: Why did you want to work at Ewald?

 

A: One of friends interned here and she really liked her experience. She knew I was looking for an internship I could use for credits so she asked if I would like to take her spot once her internship was over. Also, I wanted to intern at a place where I'm actually learning new things that I can't learn in school.

 

Q: What do you want to get out of your time here?

 

A: Besides gaining new skills, I want to see what kind of environment/setting I work best in. I also want to gain the experience of working at an actual business and discovering what I can bring to a company.

 

Q: What are three things you want to do before you die?

 

A: I would love to see my university’s cadaver lab and get the chance to dissect an actual cadaver. The second thing on my list is learning to play an instrument. Then third thing on my list is to visit the Holocaust Museum.

 

Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

 

A: My attention span. I tend to lose focus and get distracted very easily. It’s hard for me to sit still and focus for more than 30 minutes because I tend to get antsy and my mind tends to wander off.

 

Q: What are your top five strengths?

 

A: Restorative, Futuristic, Individualization, Positivity, and Ideation.

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Meet the New Employee: Natalie Muench

Posted By Mary Le, Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Meet the New Employee: Natalie Muench

By: Mary Le, Intern

 

A big Ewald Consulting welcome to our newest intern, Natalie Muench! Natalie is a junior at the University of Minnesota. She is studying Political Science and Global Studies with a minor in management. Natalie is responsible for conducting prospect development, distributing prospect lists and handling many other sales initiatives.

 

Q: Why did you want to come work at Ewald?

 

A: My friend interned here and loved her experience. I definitely love the opportunities here doing sales and association management. I want to see how a consulting firm operates.

 

Q: What do you want to get out of your time here at Ewald?

 

A: Learning as many skills as I can. Getting my feet wet in as many opportunities. Also, just exploring what it means to work for a government relations and association management consulting firm to see if I’m interested in doing in the future for a real career.

 

Q: What has been your biggest challenge so far?

 

A: I’d say spending six weeks in Peru, studying abroad and living with the host family that didn’t speak any English. I booked train, hotels, and everything in Spanish.

 

Q: If you could have any job, what would it be?

 

A: I would work for a travel agency that pays me to go around to luxury resorts and rate them.

 

Q: What are your top five strengths?

 

            A: Futuristic, Strategic, Achiever, Restorative, and Woo.

 

 

Are you interested in becoming an intern at Ewald Consulting? Email: Katemh@ewald.com to learn more. 

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KNOWLEDGE & RESOURCES

MANAGEMENT | View all Management articles
A Successful Year Starts with a Solid Budget by Bill Monn
Read full article

MARKETING | View all Marketing articles
9 Marketing Ideas for Your Organization by Kathie Pugaczewski
Read full article

MEMBERSHIP | View all Membership articles
A Holistic Approach to Membership Recruitment by Darrin Hubbard
Read full article

VOLUNTEERISM | View all Volunteerism articles
Three Ways to Stronger Volunteer Engagement by Paul Hanscom
Read full article

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