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December 4, 2020

How to: 10 ways to upgrade your content marketing strategy

Nancy Marshall Photo / Ben Williamson Nancy Marshall of Marshall Communications

The key to success in conveying a strong brand image is to align all your strategies for paid media (advertising), earned media (media relations), shared media (social media) and owned media (your website). It’s important to create a strategy that’s grounded in your brand story. 

One example is the L.L. Bean story of a man who loved to hunt in the Maine woods, but his feet got wet and cold every time he went out, so he created a boot for hunters that has now become an iconic fashion statement.

Leon Leonwood Bean was a Mainer we can all relate to: a man who used his Yankee ingenuity and can-do spirit to develop a solution to his own problem, which would also help others who had the same problem. There’s nothing worse than cold, wet feet when you’re hunkered down in a deer stand on a cold November day.

Ultimately, you want a story that your brand ambassadors can tell others — because word-of-mouth marketing is still king. When all the pieces of your marketing puzzle fit together, you will attract more people who will want to do business with you. 
Ten ideas:

  1. Start by writing about your brand story. Try to make it as rich and memorable as L.L. Bean’s by asking the founders and long-time employees of your organization for their best stories. 
  2. Share your brand story on your website, then break it into chunks that can be shared on your social media. For example, create an infographic showing the brand story from its origin to today. (Think: How to maintain the leather on your Bean Boots to make it last a long time.)
  3. Pitch stories to the media and offer them access to your founder, your longest-term employees, or a group of customers enjoying your products and services.
  4. Write articles for trade publications and ask other influential people in your field to provide a quote. For instance, an executive at WEX could write for a credit card publication about encouraging the use of fleet vehicles and quote a fleet manager at a trucking or logistics company.
  5. Create a content calendar for your social media and plan the posts you will share on your various platforms, whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter. However, don’t join too many of these platforms if you don’t have the bandwidth to keep them current. It’s better to start with just LinkedIn and one other, posting consistently, than to be absent from the conversation.
  6. Remember that social media is social. It’s not all about your own brand. Follow other brands to comment, like, and engage with their content. 
  7. Start a podcast and invite influential people to be guests on your podcast. My own PR Maven Podcast features interviews with influential editors, reporters, industry experts, and entertaining people, such as Lt. Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department. This helps create what we call “Thought Leadership,” positioning you as an expert in your industry. 
  8. Submit guest blogs to websites. Write an article and send it to them with a note that you wrote this just for them (e.g. an exclusive). Then, include a link back to your own site. Garnering links from other sites is highly valuable for search engine optimization (SEO). 
  9. Achieve more domain authority by acquiring high-value links from other websites with high domain authority. For example, an article on the website for the college or university you attended with a link back to your site is extremely valuable. Links from .edu, .gov, and .org sites are worth pursuing.
  10. Write for websites like Mainebiz or, or encourage your CEO to do so. I am a monthly columnist on and I contribute columns to this publication regularly, all of which helps position me locally and nationally as a thought leader in my field.

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December 7, 2020

I am a creative entrepreneur and I always dread the marketing part of running the business. That is why I so appreciate this article. I love first framing the idea as storytelling and then the easy to follow plan that Nancy has laid out. This kind of marketing strategy feels so authentic to me!

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