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ECS: crisis management and governance issues


International affairs, Public policy, Communications & Marketing issues from an innovative perspective

Content strategy refers to the management of any tangible media that we design and own: written, visual, downloadable, etc. It is the agenda of our 'Digital Marketing Plan' which progressively demonstrates the essence of our corporation/institution and the expertise we bring to a concrete industry and/or sector.

Content creation and management is fundamental to foster the growth of our business and/or institution. However, it needs to have a well-planned strategy.


Source: The Information Company (TIC)
Source: The Information Company (TIC)
HOW TO CREATE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

1. Define our objective and goals.
What is our objective for developing a Content Marketing Plan? Why do we want to produce content and create a content marketing plan? Know our goals before we begin planning, and what is best for our strategy.

2. Conduct persona research.
To develop a successful plan, we need to clearly define our content's target audience - also known as our 'audience persona'.

This is especially important for a startup marketing plan. By knowing our target audience, we should be able to produce most relevant and valuable content to galvanize potential readers/customers.

If we are an experienced marketer, our target most likely should be modified, re-structured, updated:

- Is our objetive to target a new group of people or expand our current target market?
- Is our objetive to promote loyalty while keeping the same target audience?

Revisiting our audience parameters by conducting market research on a regular basis -every 6 months, yearly- is crucial to growing our audience.

3. Run a content audit.
Most professionals start out with blog posts, but if we want to venture out and try producing other content pieces, we must identify which pieces we wish to generate. For instance, if we have been drafting weekly blog posts for the past year, creating an e-book that distills all our blog posts into 'one ultimate guide' would be a fresh channel to offer information in a different format.

> Check some types of Content Marketing in the template (stage #6).

If we have been in business for over 2 years, we should review our content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Analyse what we can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals to reach.

***CM's tip: now is a great time to align our team's goals with the our organization's goals and mandate.

4. Choose a Content Management System.
Identify an effective system where we can manage our content. A few vital parts of content management include:

1. Content creation
2. Content publication and
3. Content analytics

A customer is able to plan, produce, publish, and measure results in the same platform - using the appropriate software.

2 content management systems we recommend are HubSpot and WordPress website hosted on WP Engine.

5. Brainstorm content ideas.
This stage #5 will support our Team to come up with innovative ideas for our next content project. Below we enumerate some tools to get the wheels turning:

- BlogAbout
- Blog Post Headline Analyzer
- BuzzSumo
- Feedly
- HubSpot's Blog Ideas Generator / HubSpot's Website Grader



Source: CMI. Quick guide will walk you through the basics of creating easy, yet actionable content marketing personas
Source: CMI. Quick guide will walk you through the basics of creating easy, yet actionable content marketing personas
6. Determine which types of content we need to create for our corporation/institution.
There are a variety of options to design and develop successful content.

Find below some of the most popular content formats and tools marketers are creating to optimize outcomes.

- Blog posts: you are currently reading a Blog Post. Blog Posts live on a website and should be published regularly in order to attract new visitors. Posts should provide valuable content for our audience which makes them inclined to share Posts on social media and across other websites. Although we recommend that Blog Posts be between 1,000-2,000 words in length, we should evaluate to see if a targeted audience prefers longer or shorter reads.

- Case Studies: also known as 'Testimonials', are our opportunity to show the story of a customer who succeeded in solving a problem by working close with our company. A Case Study is perhaps the most versatile type of content marketing due to the fact we can take many different forms - i.e. blog post, eBook, podcast, infographic, etc.

***A reminder.- our goal in a Case Study is to show the audience who are considering our brand and/or product/s that the proof is in the pudding. Before choosing a customer for a Case Study, we should determine which form the Testimonial will take and the area of our business to which we are trying to drive value.

- eBooks: lead-generation tools that potential customers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They are usually longer, more in-depth, and published less frequently than Blog Posts, which are written to attract visitors to a website.

eBooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process. After reading a blog post, visitors might search for further information. This is where calls-to-action (CTAs) come into play, directing visitors to a landing page where they can submit their contact information and download an eBook to learn more valuable information for their specific needs. In turn, the corporation/institution producing the eBook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.

- Infographics: can organize and visualize data in a more compelling way than words alone. These are creative and motivating content formats to use if we are trying to share a set of data in a way that is clear and easy to understand.

- Podcasts: launching a Podcast will help audiences find our brand if they do not have time or interest in reading content every day. The number of Podcast's listeners is growing -in 2019, nearly 33% of the U.S. population and 30% of the EU population has listened to a podcast with a monthly frequency. If we have appealing professional profiles to interview or conversations to host, kindly consider Podcasting as a solid content format to experiment with.

- Social Media: once we have been regularly publishing content on our corporate site for over 18 months, it might be time to start thinking about distributing our content across other platforms. This could mean re-structuring content into new formats and publishing them on our blog, creating original content specifically for external sites -i.e. Medium- or publishing website content on various social networks.

Posting on social media, however, is pivotal to amplifying our brand's reach and delivering our content to our customers where we know they invest their time.

> Social networks on which businesses often post include:

Facebook
Instagram
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Snapchat
Twitter
YouTube

When launching a business account on any of the social networks above, it is relevant to post the type of content our audience expect to see. On Instagram, for example, users visit the platform searching for photos, videos, and graphics that reflect current events, show off user-generated content, or even go behind the scenes of our organization.

Although Facebook is a 'double-edged weapon', our options to post 'popular content' open up slightly. It allows us to share Blog Posts and website content as well as it enables us to post native Facebook videos, product promotions, and original memes which might align with our customers. We can also interact with other businesses that have a similar audience as our own.

While the objective on social media sites -i.e. Instagram, Snapchat- is to connect more intimately with our audience, our main objetive on platforms like Facebook and Twitter is to expand that audience, drive traffic toward our website, and start conversations in a specific sector and/or industry. It is refreshing to implement some basic market research to discover which platforms our audience and/or potential buyers are on, and mold our content to their expectations.

- Templates: are a handy content format to try since they generate leads while providing tremendous value to our audience. When we provide our audience with template tools to save time and help them succeed, they usually are more likely to keep engaging with our content in the future.

- Videos: are a highly engaging content medium quite 'shareable' across social media platforms and websites alike. However, videos require a more costly investment of time and resources than written content, but as visual marketing increases in popularity -40% more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content- it is a channel worth experimenting with.

Several US and European think tanks platforms' analysis recently found that video is the most preferred form of content. Video also captures audience's attention in the most visual context to work with than any other content format.


7. Publish and manage our content.
Our marketing plan should go beyond the types of content we progressively create if we structure an accurate editorial calendar, we will be on the right track for publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on our corporate website.

Many of the ideas we could think of will be evergreen because they continue being relevant months from now. On the other hand, we should not ignore 'timely topics' either: while they may not be the bulk of our editorial calendar, they can enhance our strategy to generate spikes of digital traffic within the corporate website, blog and/or social media.

We strongly suggest to design a 12-month a successful content marketing strategy - a tool which will take time, organization, and creativity. From building the foundation of our content marketing plan to adding tools to optimize the management of our content.

We wish this post will be useful to define and develop a strong online/digital Content Strategy!




Spain will hold parliamentary elections on November 10th 2019, after acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez failed this last Tuesday to secure enough support to be confirmed as Premier.


Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, this Tuesday in Moncloa Palace. Source: Samuel Sánchez (El País)
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, this Tuesday in Moncloa Palace. Source: Samuel Sánchez (El País)
It will be the fourth time voters go to the polls in 4 years.

"It has been impossible to complete the mandate given to us by the Spanish people on April 28. They have made it impossible for us," Mr Sánchez informed, referring to opposition parties. "There is no majority in Congress that guarantees to build a Government, which pushes us to a repeat election on November 10."

Spain has been in political limbo since an inconclusive election in April 2019 left Spanish socialist party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez without a majority to form a government. In July 2019, Parliament twice rejected his confirmation bid, and this week was his last opportunity to structure a Government. Mr Sánchez made the announcement after King Felipe VI said there are no viable candidates to lead a new government after consulting the leaders of the major political parties to know whether it was still possible to reach a deal.

However, it is not certain a repeat election would make feasible to form a government. Opinion polls show that Socialists, even though they will win more seats, will be unable to secure a majority of their own. "Pedro Sanchez had a mandate to form a government. But he did not want to. Arrogance and disdain for the basic rules of parliamentary democracy have come before common sense," said Mr Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the far-left Unidas Podemos, in response to Mr Sanchez's announcement.

King Felipe VI greets Ciudadanos' leader Mr Albert Rivera. Source: Andrés Ballesteros (EFE)
King Felipe VI greets Ciudadanos' leader Mr Albert Rivera. Source: Andrés Ballesteros (EFE)
A brief explanation of how Spain reached this point.

In June 2018, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was ousted in a no-confidence vote after his party, the center-right Partido Popular (PP), became embroiled in a truly massive corruption scandal. This paved the way for Mr Sánchez (PSOE) to become the current Prime Minister. However, Mr Sánchez had to rely on a cluster of smaller parties to oust Mr Rajoy, including those representing the 'Basque country' and Catalonia, two autonomous regions in Spain that have strong independence movements.

Thus, Mr Sánchez’s support was extremely fragile to begin with, and it eventually crumbled when the Catalan parties and one Basque party —along with the opposition— rejected Mr Sánchez’s budget in February 2019. The Prime Minister called snap elections for April 2019 as the only way to possibly shore up power —the PSOE only had 84 seats in its 350-member legislature, called the Congress of Deputies— and break the impasse. Nevertheless, these snap elections did not exactly break the deadlock. PSOE won 123 seats but fell way short of the majority required to rule without support from other parties. The big reflexion after the April vote: which party would join Mr Sánchez’s government?

Unidas Podemos, a coalition of leftist parties, seemed like the obvious choice. But negotiations failed over the Summer 2019 between Unidas Podemos and PSOE within a battle across government ministers —which was really a fight about how large a role Unidas Podemos would have in any 'coalition government.'

Besides Unidas Podemos, Mr Sánchez apparently did not have many other tactical options for a governing partner. Spain’s politics have traditionally been dominated by the two major political parties: the center-left PSOE and the center-right Partido Popular (PP). But the political landscape began fragmenting more dramatically in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis and, more recently, the Catalonia independence referendum in 2017.

This has given rise to alternative parties like Unidas Podemos on the left, and on the right, Ciudadanos, a center-right party, and Vox, a solid right party which won 24 seats in Spain’s Parliament in April’s elections.

Although Mr Sánchez did not have many other possible government partners, and discussions with Unidas Podemos mostly fell apart, Spanish Parliament still had a vote in July to monitor whether Mr Sánchez eared the support of Parliament to be Prime Minister: he did not win it. That set a two-month countdown to try to secure the backing of Spain’s Parliament for his 'premiership' by September 23, or go back to the voters.

With that deadline approaching, Spain’s monarch King Felipe VI, got involved in the process. The King held meetings this week to decide if Parliament finally could get behind one prime minister to lead a government ahead of an “investiture vote.” In Spain, the Parliament essentially votes on whether they are backing a specific Prime Minister, not the Government itself.

But usually the best way to actually win that vote is to possess the ability to form a government, arranging the votes in place to prevail. Since neither Mr Sánchez nor any other opposition leader had enough support, King Felipe VI concluded that 'there was no consensus on who could lead a government.' Which meant elections are almost inevitable, even if technically the deadline to publish Elections' Day is September 23.


Spain preparing upcoming elections scheduled for November 10th (10-N).

Therefore, Spain is headed for elections on November 10. The question is whether that vote will be any more conclusive than the one just a few months ago. Spain’s political system currently is not effectively equipped to deal with the rise of these smaller parties, facing an evolving new political scenario while adapting to the divisions.

Geopolitical experts, based on the current polling, advanced that, indeed, November’s vote could end up basically similar to the one in April, with PSOE likely still getting the most seats, and possibly even gaining a few more. But PSOE almost certainly will not come away with the majority. (1)

Turnout could be a huge issue, as exasperation with the current politics might tamp down enthusiasm. PSOE, PP, and Ciudadanos are already trying to rally support by promoting a 'useful vote' — basically, vote for us, and we’ll at least deliver government stability.

Whether that pitch will work after what just happened over the past few months is unclear. And probably the current local political framework should drastically change before November 10.

Mr Pablo Casado with Mr Mariano Rajoy (current and latest PP leaders) on July 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Source: David Mudarra (El Mundo)
Mr Pablo Casado with Mr Mariano Rajoy (current and latest PP leaders) on July 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Source: David Mudarra (El Mundo)
Spain is also facing, like other European countries, fears of an economic downtown — made worse by the deep uncertainty of Brexit's fluctuations in the UK. And within Spain socio-economic scenario, the sentences in the Catalonian separatists trials ('sentencia del procés') are expected this fall, which relate to the illegal independence referendum Catalonia held in 2017. Catalonia’s breakaway attempt helped instigate a resurgence in Spanish nationalism, which played into April’s elections. Most likely, the final stage of the trials will reignite the issue once again.

All of which means the status quo could easily be derailed by November 2019 (10-N). The key issue is whether this might generate a more decisive electoral outcome, or just muddle Spanish politics a step further down.

(1) We suggest to read an article in Spanish published by El Mundo on 20.09.2019: 'La banca de inversión sitúa a España en una posición "muy vulnerable" por la falta de pactos políticos.'

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