gratitude practices

Build an Annual Social Media Calendar

Your social media feed is a ravenous beast demanding to be fed. All social media managers know the trials and tribulations of creating and curating fresh content to engage followers. Alleviate the agony by creating a year-long framework that, when combined with your social media strategy, will give you a framework that will ease the occasional frenzy of generating something good to post.

A social media calendar is a schedule of planned-out content for your social media platforms that includes everything from regular posts to special promotions and events. Planning your content helps ensure that your social media channels are always active and engaging. Plus, it takes the stress out of trying to come up with something to post on the fly.

Strategy and Planning

But where do you start? First, think about the overall goals for your social media presence. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Drive website traffic? Boost sales? Whatever your goals may be, develop the strategy to reach those goals and make sure that your content aligns.

Next, consider the different types of content that you want to include in your calendar. This can include blog post promotions, behind-the-scenes looks at your company, customer testimonials, and more. You should also consider any upcoming events or promotions that you want to highlight.

Once you have a general idea of the types of content you want to include, start filling in your calendar. Make sure to vary the content, so your followers don't get bored. Oh, and be creative. You’re competing with a lot of others out there in those social media feeds.

And remember to leave a little room in your calendar for timely events, like celebrating a big win in the workplace. For example, if you're a medical device manufacturer and your 1000th ophthalmic device rolls off the line, that’s definitely worth a post or three!

Another important aspect to keep in mind is the timing of your post. You'll want to ensure that your posts go live when your audience is most active. This can vary depending on the platform, so check out the analytics for each one.

Evaluate on the Regular

Lastly, remember to review and evaluate your social media calendar regularly. See what's working and what's not and adjust as needed. With a bit of planning and creativity, a year-long social media calendar can take your online presence to new heights!

In summary, creating a year-long social media calendar can help you stay organized, increase engagement, and achieve your goals. Just make sure to align your content with your strategy and goals, vary your content, be creative, pay attention to the timing of your post, and review and evaluate regularly. Happy posting!

— Ben Singleton

Social media policy

Battle Seasonal Affective Disorder the Viking Way

Those hailing from the Nordic lands know a little something about coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is when you may start to feel “down” as the days get shorter in the fall and winter. Those hailing from the land of Vikings, far north in the hemisphere where winter days are cruelly short and the sunlight is in rare supply, have developed coping methods of dealing with the dark feelings that come with a lack of the sun.

One of the methods popular in Norway is the concept of “koselig ."You may be familiar with the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced “HOO-gah”). Koselig (pronounced “KOOSH-lee”) is roughly translated as "cozy" but with a little more robustness attached. Think heading outside in your warmest coat and woolly mittens to do a little snowshoeing with friends, a flask of bourbon tucked into your coat pocket.

If snowshoeing isn't your thing, think of other activities you could do outdoors with friends. Bonfires and marshmallows don't have to be a purely summertime activity. Skiing, both downhill and cross-country, can provide exercise and exhilaration. Winter hikes, walking in the park, or grabbing an axe and chopping firewood can help fight off the winter blues. The key is to get outside and get active.

But if the thought of heading out into the winter wind chills you to the bone, hygge suggests lounging on the couch under a blanket, a fire blazing in the fireplace, and a warm cup of hot chocolate at the ready. Perhaps a few candles lit about the room to augment the atmosphere, the particular light from flame hitting us right in our genetic sweet spot to boost our mood.

Add some social aspects to a night indoors, like a game night with friends, a bourbon tasting, or winter potlucks for even more mood boosts. Have your friends bring their slippers so they can leave their boots at the door.

So, whether you decide the best method for you is the indoor or outdoor route, keep in mind that spring is only a few weeks away, and every day is getting just a bit longer as we head back to summertime.

— Ben Singleton

Content ideas for medical devices

The Cover-up is Always Worse than the Scandal

Many brands will step in a big steaming pile at some point. A medical device doesn't perform as promised, or a new pharmaceutical has unexpected side effects. We all know of offshore oil spills that have impacted the environment for years and years. And remember when the tobacco industry tried to convince us that smoking was good for us and then years later hid all the data that said smoking was, in fact, not good for us at all?

So, here's a list of things to do when your brand is facing a crisis, and you're facing the media.

  • Tell the truth. Sure, it's painful to admit mistakes. And it's tough when you're in the middle of a crisis, and you don't know what you don't know yet. You'll rarely have full knowledge of a situation, especially at the beginning.
  • Disclose what you know promptly.
  • Accept responsibility if you are responsible.
  • Keep information flowing as it develops.
  • Avoid hiding problems. They always come to light.
  • Prep your C-suite to handle questions from reporters. The top dogs must be involved; that's why they make the big bucks.
  • Never say "no comment." Don't be afraid to say you don't know but always follow up with, "I'll find out and get the answer to you." And then do it.
  • Don’t speculate.
  • Detail what you’re doing to mitigate issues.
  • Address rumors quickly and shut them down.
  • Have someone note all the questions received and develop talking points for use when responding. This will help make sure everyone is on the same sheet of music. (And will also help you prepare for next time.)
  • Prepare statements for the media along with background material. Update regularly

Drop us a line if you’d like help building a crisis communication plan. It’s always best to have the framework in place before something bad happens.

— Ben Singleton

avoiding content decline

The Role of Medical Reps

Medical representatives or reps provide a critical pathway from the doctor to the manufacturer. Their job is to educate medical professionals (physicians, pharmacists, surgeons) on the drug or device and, when necessary, relay that information back to the manufacturer.

Since practitioners use these tools or medications on their patients. They need to know all about the benefits and drawbacks.

Because the reps are experts on the products, they are first in line when a practitioner has a question. Salespeople must be flexible and answer calls as quickly as possible. Many of the most successful reps dedicate time throughout the day to answer phone calls or emails to ensure responses promptly.

In addition to the practitioners, it's imperative that the rep builds trust among the customer's administrators and makes them more confident in purchasing from and continuing their business.

How can you tell if a rep is a good fit for your needs?

  • They must be honest and clear about the product features and the benefits.
  • The price must be detailed so there are no nasty surprises later in the buying process.
  • They must be able to demonstrate the products to practitioners and administrators and troubleshoot if necessary.
  • The rep must quickly respond to questions or problems to gain and retain credibility with the practitioners.
  • The product must have impeccable customer service from the manufacturer for major issues or new parts. But the rep should be able to handle minor repairs alone.

Medical reps play a vital role in the operation of a medical company. Make sure you have the right people in these jobs and train them to be experts on your products or services. Take the time, and you'll see the results on your bottom line.

— Susan Abramovitz

piece of delicious chocolate cake

Why You Should Care About Google's "Helpful Update"

Have you ever clicked on a highly ranked article on Google only to find a mishmash of keywords and a sparsity of information? These pages, concocted mainly for SEO, are precisely what Google targets in its new Helpful Update. With Helpful, Google will push "unsatisfying or unhelpful content" low in the search results. Ouch.

The update rolled out between December 15 and January 12, 2023. You'll know if your site was caught in the net of the Helpful Update by plummeting traffic, especially visits from organic search. In addition to hyped-up copy from SEO copywriters on Red Bull, the update punishes other bottom-feeding content, like posts that are not authoritative, ones that veer off topic from your site's theme, and the usual dings for plagiarism, poor grammar, and spelling.

Questions to Ask of Your Website

Did your site get body-slammed by Helpful? Consider having a chat with your site, and honestly answer the following questions:

  • Does your site have a primary focus? Say a category like medical devices with pages about specific products, or do you have a weekly column about golf. Guess which one will take the ranking hit?
  • Is your content relevant to visitors who land directly on your site? Is it clear, for example, what your site is about? It seems obvious, but you would be surprised by the number of websites that need to clearly identify the purpose of their business on their home pages!
  • Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise? For example, did you try the product or service?
  • Would someone leaving your post feel they have learned enough about a topic? Did you take a deep dive into the content with research?
  • Is it easy to read? For instance, shorter sentences, using web devices like subheads and bulleted, and a clear structure outlines with subheads? Do you use visuals, like images, videos, or infographics, to help tell your story?

For other important ranking factors from Google's core updates in 2022, consult this article on Search Engine Land.

The Road to Recovery

Marketing expert Neil Patel estimates that sites take 10 to 30 days to recover. And that's after you've eliminated posts whipped up just for SEO purposes. It sounds simple, but it could take you months to fix.

Yep, the Helpful Content Update can be onerous, but ultimately following the guidance will give visitors a much better experience, and you'll earn back your traffic.

— Bill Abramovitz

American Flag

The Dangers of Product Love

As a CMO or marketing director, it's natural to fall in love with your product. If you don't, it might be time to find a new job! But falling in love has its hazards.

Several years ago, we were asked to perform a branding study for a line of diagnostic devices. The client was convinced that their device was the leading product in the industry, which justified their higher price. Unfortunately, sales were on the decline, so we decided to put that assumption to the test in a series of focus groups.

The role of research

Like a blind taste study, we removed the branding from the devices and encouraged doctors in focus groups to try each product and report back on their opinions.

One of the research objectives was to glean insights from several doctor focus groups on the top products in the category. The winner, a laggard in the industry at the time, received rave reviews on performance. Fortunately, the client didn't shoot the messenger!

Real-world Feedback

The study allowed the doctors' real perceptions of the product to shine through and provided the necessary insight to reformulate the marketing strategy and reverse the sales trend.

Taking this research-first approach might reveal opportunities and segments and get you past the infatuation between you and the market.

Like selling cars, consumers might fall in love with the sound system or a prestige brand, nerds will gobble up the engine specs, but the actual target audience might be looking for value.

Product perceptions can become entrenched by internal propaganda amplified in the brand's echo chamber. The research will surface reality.

Like your relationships in real life, not knowing the truth can get you burned. Real love isn't blind.

— Bill Abramovitz