Content marketing – Carmen Díaz Soloaga

Carmen Díaz is an expert in content marketing, she has experience working for companies of all types and is currently focused on the creation of web content for SMEs. Work that she combines with collaborations on the SEMrush blog and as a visual content consultant at SoMeChatEs.

She studied audiovisual communication and found his true vocation in advertising and design.

Subsequently, she decided to take advantage of all her knowledge by changing her profession and specialized in the planning and execution of content marketing strategies.

She tells us about her experience in the world of advertising and content creation, gives us advice to optimize our marketing strategies and tells us about her experience with factors that affect the writing such as advertising intention or SEO

 

When did you become interested in communication? And for its more commercial side?

My intention was to study Fine Arts, but at the last moment I had an identity crisis and decided to study Audiovisual Communication. A few months later I realized that I did not see myself working in cinema, radio or television.

However, I decided to finish the degree, which in those times had the first three years in common with Journalism and Advertising.

When I finished the faculty, I started to get interested in design and advertising and that’s where I found my true vocation.

It seemed to me that advertising demanded creativity levels much stricter than art, since it is at the service of the client. In addition, it has a psychological component that fascinates me, because you must know who you are addressing, your way of thinking, your consumption habits and your concerns and aspirations.

That mixture of empathy and creativity was what definitely captivated me.

Over the years, I also realized that advertising creatives live a very hard and lonely life; always waiting for us to come up with the next genius.

I decided to change the advertising creativity for a profession in which I could put all the knowledge acquired in my professional career: design, strategy, communication skills, management of social networks and project management. That’s how I decided to change the advertising for the contents.

 

What aspects should we pay more attention to when planning content marketing strategies?

There is a phrase that I love that sums up the philosophy of this type of marketing: “content is a commitment, not a campaign“.

So, I think the most important thing we have to pay attention to when we talk about content is that a strategy is a long distance race, not something we do when sales fall or to join the new fashion on duty.

In addition, a content strategy is fundamentally an intellectual work. It requires stopping, detecting what goes wrong in our company or what we want to solve and building a stone-to-stone building for the next two or three years.

Anyone who has faced planning a content strategy in a more or less rigorous way may say that it is not an easy job. You have to make thousands of decisions, many of them difficult to make. If you are minimally responsible, a content strategy is a complex and extensive work, but it is very worthwhile, because once finished, you just have to put it to work.

In addition to the willingness to be rigorous, I would emphasize the importance of following formally established steps.

There is no official manual to design content marketing strategies, but at least, it should include the following:

  • Study of the competency
  • Marketing objetives
  • SWOT analysis
  • Buyer Persona
  • Brand identity/storytelling
  • Content actions
  • Content guidelines and editorial line
  • KPI’s
  • Blog and social media calendar
  • SEO analysis and strategy

 

How does the language affect the time to propose a content marketing strategy?

I would say that a lot. Each language assumes a culture and each culture is a different head.

What’s more, as is the case with Spanish-speakers or English-speakers, that two people share a language does not mean that they are from the same country.

A simple but illustrative example: at what time do you start working in countries like Germany or France? What time do we stop to eat in Spain? Knowing the customs of the user are decisive.

The tone of the contents or the hours at which we publish on social networks are things that should not be taken lightly.

In addition, there are more formal languages ​​than others. In French, for example, the tuteo is quite personal. Even within the same family, grandparents are treated formally. The conversations are more formal than in countries like Spain, which limits the tone of voice of the contents.

There are other countries, such as Japan, where asking certain things is considered impolite, which also affects the contents.

That in terms of form.

The fund is also very different. The Anglo-Saxon culture is more practical, it has been consuming more content on the internet for more years and the articles must go to the point.

And if we extend ourselves to the editorial line of the company, things get complicated.

Many American companies, for example, venture to criticize the government or join social movements, something that in Spain or Latin America is unthinkable.

This shows us that these companies take their contents as if they were media, with clearly defined ideologies and ideologies.

 

What are the main problems we can find when considering a content marketing strategy? How can we solve them?

It depends on whether you are heading to a large company or a SME. SMEs (and sorry for the frankness), have two problems: the budget and commitment.

The budget issue is recurrent, I know, but it’s real. SMEs are always balancing and find it difficult to understand that content is not an instantaneous strategy.

And the budget issue leads to commitment. If there is no money, it is normal that in six months, maximum one year, they give up and throw in the towel.

It is very rare to see a SME that has been blogging (really) for more than three years. They simply do not understand that the contents are part of the marketing infrastructure that they have to maintain, even if the first years are deficient (which is not in terms of visibility and positioning).

The big ones, on the other hand, have a “financial muscle”.

That means being able to create large-scale projects that may take months to give money.

In addition, the financial muscle allows you to try new things, crazy ideas that are the sauce of the internet, but that may not work. SMEs do not have that capacity.

However, there are proven things that SMEs can do without a budget, such as caring for social networks or creating their own content. That yes, they need the formation and the suitable direction, at least in the beginnings of the project.

 

“You have no right to an opinion. You have the right to an informed opinion. No one has the right to be ignorant. ”Harlan Ellison

socialmediapymes

What are the peculiarities of advertising writing?

Not everyone knows that advertising creators go in pairs. One is in charge of the visual part (creative / art director) and the other part of the written part (copy).

They are two professions that need to be well understood to produce an advertisement / campaign.

In fact, many of these professionals change agencies jointly.

When you find a copy that reads your mind, it is true love!

From the copys with whom I have worked, I have learned three things that have helped me a lot in my role as editor.

The first is that the text must connect with the collective imagination.

What is that?

The children of the 80s (I am one of them), we grew up among bollycaos, bicycles, recreational and games in the street. The mere mention of a Nancy or a Madelman evokes in us a whole world of shared feelings, memories and feelings.

All the children of the 80s, however far apart we are from each other, share that pre-LOGSE universe: teachers who were like gods, mothers with lapidary phrases and mortadella sandwiches.

If you want a text to work, you have to know how to reach that collective imaginary. What is it? That’s up to each editor to discover…

The second thing I have learned from these professionals is that words are the most powerful weapon there is.

Although we live in the age of the image, we still communicate in a spoken and written way. Elections are won, paradigms are changed and new ideas are created with words.

That’s why the advertising writing is so powerful. He is able to summarize in two or three words concepts from thousands of hours of strategy, brainstorming, photo sessions, castings, planning and huge budgets.

Finally, I have learned from them that daily life is the best scenario.

Cinema, which is a religion that I admire and practice daily, is not able to capture real life with such precision and certainty. At the cinema we will see stories that inspire, that move, but not the day to day that knows how to portray advertising.

How to apply this lesson to the writing?

taking the texts down to the earth.

Searching around us for anecdotes and details that serve as a lever so that readers can connect with us and transmit what we want.

Let’s not forget that the advertising writing has as its ultimate purpose to sell. Instruct, educate, entertain, entertain, but above all, sell.

 

In which sectors is it easier to optimize a marketing strategy?

It depends. The retail sector is harder, because there is a huge competition.

Think for example on smartphones. There are very similar features but with very different positions.

The question in this sector is how to highlight physical attributes so that users perceive them as unique.

The most striking case is that of iPhone phones. If you talk to an Apple maniac he will tell you that he would not change it for anything in the world, and that they are much more durable and safe than any other smartphone.

They may have a longer useful life, but they cost two or three times more, which in the long run is the same. And they are not more secure, simply, they are less profitable for hackers.

However, these two characteristics are the cornerstones in which thousands of satisfied users settle across the planet.

In the B2B sector, services for companies, war is also fierce. The nuance is that positioning yourself as an expert or leader through knowledge, one of the objectives of the contents, is easier.

Optimizing a marketing strategy is equally complicated in both cases, because marketing is not mathematics.
Personally, I prefer retail for social networks and the B2B sector for content.

 

How is the process from receiving a new client until the project is executed?

The first thing I ask potential new customers is what they expect from the contents.

According to the answer I can have a clearer idea of ​​what objectives they want to achieve and if the contents are the answer to their problems.

Once the budget is accepted, we start working. In the case of content strategies, several meetings are necessary to know well which problems to tackle and to know the company as best as possible.

I usually assign homework to my clients, something that they do not like at all, but that makes them think. I like to think that they do not hire me to solve their lives, but to arrange it together.

Then, the execution phase comes. Depending on the actions planned, a calendar is marked with dates of delivery and tasks. Normally, once a month, we meet to see the progress of the project and the small advances or problems that can be adjusted for better

 

Do you think it is beneficial for the work team that the person in charge of content strategies has writing skills?

Of course. A few days ago I listened to an ad on a national radio that offered courses to write without spelling mistakes for companies and opponents.

Without going to assess who is responsible for this grammatical crisis (although I suspect that the lack of readings of classics and an undemanding education have something to do) the reality is that every time we write worse.

Interestingly, every time we communicate more by writing. 99% of my work is done electronically and I do not always have the opportunity to have video calls with clients, suppliers and colleagues.

And also, curiously enough, I’m losing more time deciphering more emails that the Nazi secret service soldiers during the Second World War.

Writing well, without spelling mistakes, in a simple, direct and readable way, is not only beneficial for a content team. It is a universal basic right for the neurons of all employees of the company!

 

You started developing campaigns for big brands to focus latter on SMEs, does the size of the company greatly influence when working with them? How?

Yes, it has a lot of influence, and not only because of what I mentioned about the financial muscle.

I remember one of the first actions I did for the British company British Telecom, which has just bought the company that owns pobladores.com.

Pobladores was one of the first and most powerful Spanish-speaking online communities, at the beginning of the 2000s.

We carried out several actions to boost the community, with online games and a whole assembly that now we would not hesitate to label “storytelling”.

Although the approval process was complex, it could be completed. It was incredible to see it going, nothing similar had been done in Spain.

Like that, I’ve worked on large projects where processes are slow, but where you can take more risks and do more innovative things.

The SMEs, logically, can not risk so much. That does not mean that they should continually think about the sale, but be more strategic. You may not be able to land with an entire army of content marketing actions at the same time, but whatever you do, you must be thoughtful and well calculated.

 

What features would you highlight from content marketing strategies for SMEs?

In addition to the above, I would add that it is important to take distance. SMEs are highly personalized companies, with one or several managers / owners who have created their “baby” from nothing.

Like all parents, they are not entirely objective. Your child will always be the most handsome, the smartest and the most sympathetic person in the world.

Sometimes, the little monster is ugly as a demon and the hairstyle that it carries does not favor anything. No parent likes to hear that (I say it from experience).

Therefore, the first thing is to take distance.

The second, trust a professional with DEMOSTRATED experience. I highlight what has been demonstrated because this market is full of “experts” who are capable of designing strategies such as churros, but have not put a single one on their feet.

The third thing is to let yourself be guided and for once! be docile and fulfill to the plan to letter, without being impressed by the metrics of the neighbor.

And of course, patience. Without patience there is no con

 

Much of your work is based on writing, how do you think SEO affects the way we create content for a blog or website?

When I started creating content I did not know anything about SEO, I thought it was a short man with the desire to annoy.

Everyone told me it was very important, but, in my ignorance, I believed that with high quality content, it was not necessary to take the gentleman into account.

The years have passed and, unfortunately, they have not proved me right. You can have high quality content, but it will take longer to achieve your goals if you do not have the SEO master.

What do I have in mind when I consider a content strategy when it comes to SEO?

All. They are the ones that tell me which keywords I am interested in attacking and what improvements I have to make to make quality content reach the top positions of Google instead of languishing in the last pages.

They also examine other thousands of details that affect the positioning and that exceed the mere wording.

Let’s say that they are the architects and I am the decorator. What is behind the walls can not be seen, but it allows the decorators to shine and the project to go ahead.

That is why it is important to always have an SEO professional in a content team. Your vision will make the writing work more effective and achieve the objectives more easily.

 

Could you tell me more about the writing of ebooks for SMEs?

An ebook is a very versatile tool that works well as a claim to generate contacts, especially in the B2B sector.

In addition, it fits perfectly into most of the sales funnels, which begin, almost always, in a search engine.

Once the user has found us (thanks to a good SEO and content work), the ebook can mean the difference between a website or another website to contact to request a quote or have a meeting.

The most important thing when considering an ebook is to know what objective we intend to achieve.

We will not raise the same issues if the idea is to publicize a new product or service or if what we want is to make noise to position our company as a leader in the sector.

For example. The big consultants often share ebooks with reports and research, with the aim of showing that they know what the market is like and where it is going.

If on the contrary, what is proposed is to grow the community or the list of subscribers with which to work, the approach will be different. Probably, the topics are lighter and an educational approach is sought.

Next, a scheme of the content is proposed, a tone and a style are agreed and a model (design) is proposed.

Once finished, you must go through an exhaustive editing process to make it perfect.

The last step is to optimize it so that it does not weigh too much and can be sent and downloaded easily.

 

What is your opinion of the SEOs that work with you?

I have worked with different SEO professionals and I can categorically affirm that without them I would be lost.

My knowledge and my day to day could not be effective without your guidance, advice and help.

They help me to understand the logic behind all things, how to improve my content and what is going on behind the scenes. They see everything and they know everything, it would be silly if I did not count on them!

I feel a deep respect for their work, a rare mix of knowledge, technical expertise and constant learning. I think that astronauts are not required so much.

Especially considering that what they have in front is an opaque wall in the form of a search engine that offers only the information you want, when you want and how you want.

It has much merit to face every day a mathematical processor designed by some of the brightest minds in the technology sector.

Fortunately, the SEOs I work with are Spanish, and that’s like a picaresque master’s degree and mental agility.