Are you a digital marketer? Best practice marketers align their objectives with business outcomes to improve the organization; they use data-driven decisions to predict outcomes and can envision the impact of their work. They think strategically to maximize revenue and create contextual engagement with the customers they serve. To do this, they use solutions that aggregate the right metrics and tools that help them derive accurate insights.
Here’s a peek at the first three to get you started:
1. Social interactions - Your firm’s social interaction ratio is determined by the total number of interactions all of your accounts received within the last week, month or quarter. You’ll first need to decide how frequently you’d like to measure your social media interactions, which is necessary to increase the number of interactions and build rapport with your customers and client base.
Next, you’ll want to determine your share of the social voice. Share of Voice is defined as the proportion of the total audience commanded by your brand across its full range of media activities.
Share of Voice is an accurate indicator as to where you rank compared to your competitors when people talk about your industry.
2. Amplification Rate - The amplification rate is the frequency at which your followers take your content and share it through their own network. It goes without saying that the higher the amplification rate, the further your content will reach.
This will also increase your social media page views, which is the number of times a web page is viewed as a result of being directed from a social media channel.
3. Quality Score – The quality score is a score assigned by search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing that influences both the rank and cost per click of ads. The purpose of the quality score is to enable the major search engines the ability to maintain and improve the quality of advertisements listed on their sites. The primary reason for this is to improve the experience of users who click on sponsored links. The more relevant the advertisements, the greater the likelihood a user will click on them more frequently, which increases revenue for everyone.
Those who achieve higher quality scores are rewarded with top placement and lower bid cost.
It’s no secret the oil and gas industry is struggling to obtain and retain a skilled labor force. Recent bad press coupled with the aftereffects of the recession of oil prices in the 1980s and 1990s has caused a major hiring gap in the sector. Furthermore, intra-industry poaching has placed a lot of power into the hands of the established workforce and corporations continue to fight over the small group of talented, younger employees who are entering the workforce.
How do you get a leg up in this human capital landscape? The first place to start is by looking to other industries that are successfully recruiting, training and retaining their workforce. Take a look at what you can do now in three easy steps:
Recruiting & Early Engagement
By now you should know Millennial candidates are cut from a different cloth than your seasoned professionals. You’ll need to roll out the red carpet for them in order to catch their attention. As much as it may hurt to do so, you’ll also need to court them. Here are some ways you can catch the eye of your prospective Millennial hire:
Interactive video game tour: Let them meet you virtually by creating a walk-through of your offices or sites to show them what’s in store after they’re hired.
Appear to be selective: You may be secretly dying to hire a fresh graduate, but don’t let them know that. Make them want to work for you, too, by letting them know you are being selective in your hiring process. That way once they’re hired it will be on an even playing field.
Go green: Environmental concerns are rife in the O&G industry and at top-of-mind for many Millennials no matter the industry. If you don’t already have a “Go Green” strategy, it’s time to start one.
Rating systems: This is scary, but it’s best to be transparent with your company culture. Millennials are information collectors and thrive off the reviews of others. Let your current and prospective employees rate their hiring, training and development programs. Trust me; you’ll be better for it. Read some more creative recruitment tips
Learning & Development
Since O&G companies are chasing higher risk assets in more complex geographical locations, employees are expected to develop practical skills to safely manage the expansion of their organization’s operations at a faster pace. This is a tall order.
The key to a successful L&D program is to impress competency and autonomy in employees from the get-go so they can begin operating and demonstrating ROI.
Often what an employees needs to boost morale and performance in a high pressure environment is a bit of technological or human support. This helps them learn and retain information more effectively. It’s important to recognize the long-term value of learning, long beyond the initial training sessions have ended.
When you make an effort to improve employees’ abilities, they will, too. Taking an interest in employee learning is a visible way of showing them that you are spending time and money to make them better. It sends the message that they can be even more valuable to you, and that you are willing to do your part to make them so, according to Jason Silberman, Managing Director at WalkMe.
There are three important ways to hopefully help give a disengaged employee the lift they need; by multi-directional strengthening communication, encouraging and reward success, and showing that you care about his or her long-term learning and performance.
Knowledge Transfer & Succession Planning
More than half of the oil & gas workforce is approaching retirement. The time is now to prepare for knowledge transfer and succession planning to ensure safe continuity of operations.
The key is to start the conversation between younger employees and senior leaders. Utilizing incentive programs for this engagement and allowing the more senior employees to work virtually or on more flexible part time schedules will entice them to stick around to pass on their skills and knowledge.
Some additional succession planning tips include:
Holding regular talent reviews. Review talent across departments and managerial levels. Talk about your employee’s strengths and weaknesses, but also take into account everyone’s knowledge of the particular employee before approaching them about their particular succession plan.
Identify only viable successors. Identify the employees with the most potential for a top position in your organization. Be forward thinking and consider roles for certain employees who are particularly talented – even if those roles aren’t currently in existence within the company.
Build a pipeline. If you advance an employee, make sure to fill the void where they left off. It’s as simple as that. Read more succession planning tips here.
It took one initiative: Making Red Hat University Managers more aware and passionate about using education as a retention tool for great talent to make a significant impact on their employees. Michael Paquin, Director of Red Hat University, says the number of unique sales department students to attend their university training classrooms, LMS and other sites increased from a few hundred to over 2,000 in one year alone. This, just from inserting some excitement in their managers. Further, the average quantity of training consumed per-person also jumped from low single-digits to mid-teens globally. Read on for more information on Michael’s achievements or see how you can hear him in person.
HH: What were your biggest ‘wins’ and ‘lessons learned’ from launching a global training and performance enablement program from the ground up?
MP: The most important lesson I’ve learned recently is that collaboration attracts commitment. The most successful programs we’ve launched recently are those that have honored the expertise of subject matter experts, enabled these experts to share their experience in training solutions they co-authored with us and engaged the students of these programs as valued contributors to future iterations of the program. Our corporate university is accountable for the existence of impactful training and performance enablement programs and I’ve learned success comes most easily when the business is actively responsible for their development and adoption.
A “win” I intend to carry on through the rest of my career is defining the role of the corporate university as a connector between training demand and sources of quality training. We are having great success as the creator of a bazaar-like community in which we may initiate and foster the growth of training programs but our community of associates are welcomed and encouraged to create their own as well. This is how we are turning training from being an event to becoming a natural part of our ongoing development and daily life at Red Hat.
HH: Your team not only creates the content and curriculum, but it also executes on internal and external instruction. Would you walk us through the steps it took to modify the skill set and priorities of the team to result in a 20x increase in student count and a 50x increase in content development productivity?
MP: Our corporate university was established with the mission of creating high-quality learning content to orient, onboard and prepare Red Hat associates to succeed in key responsibilities of their jobs. We built an impressive library of excellent instructor-led and web-based offerings that was highly praised and well attended.
The problem was Red Hat associates were not coming back to the corporate university in quantity after their first 90 days on the job. For an HR organization attempting to build an integrated approach to managing enterprise talent this lack of ongoing talent development data posed a huge problem. Furthermore, we identified our content design and development methodology was too slow and intense for rapidly building new content and giving associates a reason to come back to the university.
We chose to invest in re-branding and advertising the corporate university but the most significant accomplishment contributing to growing associate participation with our corporate university was a year spent strengthening the talent management competency in our corporate managers. As an example, in one year focusing on our sales department managers we increased our unique student count from their department in university training classrooms, LMS, and other sites from a few hundred to over two thousand and increased the average quantity of training consumed per-person from low single-digits to mid-teens globally just by making managers more aware and passionate about using education as a retention tool for great talent.
As associate visits to the university increased, so did the demand for learning content. To meet demand, we needed to change our assumptions about what training content looked like, where it came from and how it was made available to associates. As a result we changed our instructional design methodology to emphasize reusability of learning objects across training programs, changed our tools to more mainstream products to make it easier to find highly skilled talent to recruit, and we aggressively pursued reusable content from other teams and enabled them to distribute their quality training materials through our corporate university brand. The result was a learning library that grew significantly faster than before and each member of our content development team roughly doubled the quantity of training hours they produced by minimizing redundancy and simplifying the technical structure of our learning content.
HH: What factors do you think are most important in maintaining the relevance of a corporate university in the current business climate?
MP: Above all else, the corporate university must establish a consultative relationship with their primary customers and stakeholders within the business. A corporate university is valuable as a training delivery organization but when the future impact of learning can be understood as business goals are being created then the university becomes an important and strategically relevant contributor to the business.
University leaders must also manage the change in learning expectations from Baby Boomers to Millennials in order to remain a trusted and relevant service for associates. I believe the key isn’t found in technology but rather in effectively collaborating on content. New “social learning” tools will come and go but core demands by Millennials such as transparency and the right to participate require their relationship with the corporate university to be bi-directional and welcoming to their unique contributions in order to maintain trust that the university is a relevant source to learn from. Our role as the university is to make associates successful and we can only remain a trusted and relevant partner when we respect what “learning” means to associates and keep the focus on their business and career success.
HH: How can a business know when it’s time to update its learning measurement program?
MP: Every business goes through cycles of growth, sustain, regroup, aggressive attack, etc. How learning should be measured entirely depends on what the business is trying to achieve at that point in time.
At every point when business strategy changes, when new business goals are set, or new organizational objectives are designed the learning measurement strategy should be questioned and reviewed. If the learning leader has any difficulty connecting current learning data and analytics with a measurable business outcome then it’s probably time to update the measurement program.
Without strong executive support there is no way we could have achieved even a fraction of our current state with leadership training. Financially these programs are very expensive and our executives were very generous to fund them, but the most important contribution from our executives was the acceptance and public support of the “enterprise talent” concept.
If given the preference managers would tend to hold on to their talent and over time accumulate more in order to keep pace with high-growth business demands. The concept that talent belongs to the enterprise and we as managers are responsible for aligning the right talent to the right opportunity, even if that opportunity lies elsewhere in the company, took a lot of selling. Once we had a common understanding of what it meant to grow Red Hat with an enterprise talent vision then the investments we made into the actual leadership programs became valuable.
Our leadership development strategy and programs are constantly evolving. Many of our programs have achieved a steady state in terms of structure and curricula but who is targeted, in what region, and in what quantity requires constant updating to remain aligned to business growth forecasts so we spend our corporate dollars wisely. We are also constantly educating and motivating managers to build succession plans for themselves and key team members which keeps the demand for leadership development high.
The awkward silence. Far from foe, the awkward silence is your best friend.
Let me ask you something: What is your first reaction when you’re on the phone with someone and the natural flow of the conversation ends? If you’re like most people, it is to immediately fill the space with your words. Say something. Anything.
As a newspaper reporter and journalist, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was to let the other person fill the awkward silence space. In journalism, this is a nifty technique that prompts the source to tell you information they might not have previously shared. In life, it’s a great technique for teaching you patience in conversation.
Most of us start out as selfish conversationalists. Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced the following daftness: The man who drones on and on about his life and travels. The woman who cuts you off to share her opinion, story or antecdote, which she believes is far more relevant than what you have to say. We all hate these people. I was once these people — and it failed me miserably. Not only did I send people running for the hills with my self absorption, I was also failing to learn anything about anyone else.
If you don’t find someone interesting then your problem is you’re doing all the talking.
Since I made the long and painful process from becoming a “talker” to a “listener,” I have never met a boring person. Hear me out. People love to talk about themselves. This is a simple fact. If you start asking them questions about their life, work, family or hobbies you will find that they always come up with something interesting to say. What this means is that you also have something interesting to say.
A top excuse among aspiring writers is that they “don’t have anything to say.” We all have a story to tell. Simply write what we know. I’ve learned to ignore the snickering when I say that I write about my life. Oh, you don’t think my life as a twenty-something, middle-class white girl living in NYC isn’t interesting enough? You’re wrong. Someone, somewhere will be able to relate to me. And that’s the point of writing, isn’t it?
I don’t care if you’re a reformed drug dealer who was detained in Peru for six years on smuggling charges or if you’re a housewife in Oklahoma who has never left the United States. You and your story have value.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” – J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye.
When you write, write for yourself and write like you’re talking to a friend. I think you’ll find that by using this foundation
If you want your sales professionals to be advocates of your brand, you must first sell them on it. Naomi Garnice, Director of Marketing at Salucro, makes sure her sales professionals understand that part of being a brand advocate is the realization that daily duties with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image.
What are the best ways to breakdown the “Great Wall of China” between content marketers and sales professionals to ensure that all employers are active brand advocates?
Breaking down the walls is easy when you open lines of communication in the right way. Marketing and Sales professionals usually speak in completely different dialects. Numbers and measurable goals move people in Sales. Part of being a brand advocate is the realization of how your day-to-day actions with customers and partners carry into the company’s overall brand image while supporting your own professional goals and quotas. To pitch your Sales leaders and department you’ll need to sell them on the direct benefits: how their added visibility will support their clout in the industry, client relationships and quotas. At the Advancements in Content Marketing event, we’ll take a deeper dive into this with some go-to lines and examples.
What metrics and measurements do you use to determine what content is most valuable to your customer base and has the most likelihood to build trust and brand recognition?
Let your audience show you which content moves them by tracking their monthly clicks, shares, comments and resulting referral website traffic. This will take time to gauge as you build a meticulous content strategy centered around the goals and needs of your customers and prospects — we’ll look at different approaches to ensure that content is valuable to your intended audience.
What can we look forward to learning at the conference?
At the conference, I will walk you through a powerful brand advocacy training series I’ve developed at B2Bs, which not only produces results but also aligns the business goals between the Sales and Marketing departments. Further, we will touch on all of the must-topics for your own brand advocacy training series, why they are important and how they can directly impact your business and Marketing efforts.
“It’s none of their business if you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.”
- Ernest Hemingway
Some people were born writers. I’m not one of those people. That still doesn’t stop me from responding, “I’m a writer,” when asked (the frankly rude, in my opinion) question, “What do you do?”
I’ve been writing professionally for seven years, but still don’t feel I deserve the designation because I haven’t achieved my goal of writing for myself every day.
For the purpose of a self pep talk, I have come to accept that what makes me a writer isn’t necessarily that I’m paid to do it … it’s that I write. I don’t write every day — I should — but I write regularly. I write often. I write enough. I’ve put in so much writing time that now I’m published and getting published is getting easier.
Just like everything in life, you’ve got to take it one step at a time. The more you work on something the more skilled you will become. Don’t give up, just put fingers to keyboard.
Sue Kwon is an Emmy award-winning storyteller and global corporate communications leader, holding on-air and leadership positions in CBS, NBC, and ABC stations around the U.S. She is also on the Stanford GSB Mastery in Communications team, teaching branding and storytelling to entrepreneurs.
Before joining Symantec to lead Content Strategy & Storytelling, Sue served as Digital & Social Media Director for Gap, Inc. leading internal and external communications focused on increasing employee, customer and influencer engagement.
What are the key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader?
You can’t SAY you’re a brand leader, you become a brand leader. It’s like saying ‘I’m cool’ on a grade school playground. Others will determine your ‘cool’ factor by what you say, what you do and how you are perceived by the most vocal influencers.
So key considerations to take into account when a company sets out to establish itself as a brand leader include:
Do you have something interesting to say that is unique or differentiated?
Is what you do actually relevant to what people need?
And, is the experience you offer as a brand worth participating in and advocating for?
Establishing your company as a brand leader requires a plan – not just for those one-off moments of positive reinforcement – but for telling a story through unique experiences over the course of a customer’s journey.
Will you outline for us the necessary materials and personnel required to elevate a content marketing strategy into a functioning media outlet that can publish, promote and deliver content across a spectrum of mediums?
I will outline an overarching Content Marketing strategy, which includes:
1. Building a Content Lifecycle plan to reach the right audience.
2. Building your Content Marketing ‘Newsroom’
3. Budgeting for multi-channel production.
4. Why Cross-Functional collaboration is the key to success.
What are your tips for re-envisioning content to imitate news media outlets?
BUILDING YOUR CONTENT MARKETING NEWSROOM:
• Your Marketing Team Structured like a Newsroom Roster– At the conference, I’ll show you who on your PR & Marketing team should play these roles– News Director, Managing Editor, Executive Producer, Show Producer, Reporter(s), Photographer/Editors/Graphics, Promo Dept.
• Secrets of the Field Crew– I’ll show you how 3-5 person crews work on deadline, within expertise, and toward a common production goal – despite hierarchy.
• Thinking like a Reporter not a Marketer – I’ll show you how to tell stories that can beat the competition – that are relevant to customers, influencers, advocates and critics.
• It’s not just about Prime Time – I’ll show you how to map your content against the customer’s journey where you are positioning assets at the right time and on the right channels.
• Speed and Expertise – TV ratings are based on capturing and keeping audience attention… and offering the most compelling insight. I’ll show you how to secure audiences early and keep them around through a structured thought leadership amplification plan.
How can you ensure that your thought leader’s subject matter stays aligned with business initiatives?
It’s important to define what a “Thought Leader” is in your organization and get shared vision across Marketing, Global Communications and C-suite. A shared definition will allow you to create a Thought Leader amplification plan where the right individuals are selected and supported. The plan will ensure that individuals authorized to speak on your company’s behalf are aware of inputs and considerations that line up to business priorities. The plan will also empower those thought leaders to show well and show often on Owned, Paid, and Earned channels – LinkedIn, 3rd party blogs, media outlets, etc.
What are the ways you can create content that has an enhanced accessibility by focusing on highlighting relevancy and importance rather than assumed value?
• Adopting a Breaking News “fast flow” content production process is important to add thought leadership and value in conversations pegged to headlines and trending topics.
• Creating a global content production plan that lines up to a company editorial calendar is important to prioritize “evergreen” stories that are supported across Geos.
• *Teaching all writers, editors and producers across the Content Lifecycle process the principles of Award-Winning storytelling is important to teach marketers how to talk about products … without literally talking about products.
**At the Advancements in Content Marketing 2014 event, I’ll give the 3 Secrets to Winning an Emmy – that will change the way you think about storytelling and content marketing.
What does the future of content marketing look like to you?
I will be out of a job. Telling great stories will become an easy habit. We need to master the science of positioning those stories with robust SEO strategy, for multi-channel consumption, with instant metrics insight. Marketing automation and the ability to position our stories to the right audiences at the right time and measure acquisition, retention and product renewal is the shiny object we should all focus on. (But first, we need to produce great assets to pump into the system.)