Build Your 2024 Content Calendar: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Your content calendar is one of the most important building blocks of your marketing plan. By
creating eye-catching content, you can inform your audience, position your brand as a thought leader, and boost SEO. 

But, you might be wondering how to even get started.

Building a content calendar is easier said than done; we know. When you have the right tools, though, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. In just a few steps, you can plan content for your full year to ensure that you’re connecting with your audience consistently through blogs, email, social media, and other content-related channels. To get you started, we’re sharing this step-by-step guide to building your 2024 content calendar. 

 

How to Build a Content Calendar in 7 Simple Steps

 
1. Identify the types of content you need. 

Before you begin, identify the different channels that you’ll be writing content for. This might include blogging, social media, email marketing, podcasts, or webinars. Any channel that you need to be posting on consistently will need its own calendar. 

Pro tip: Build your content calendar in a spreadsheet, using a new page for each type of content. For example, the first page might be blogging, the second social media, the third email marketing, so on, and so forth. 

 
2. Set a schedule for each type of content. 

Set a schedule for each type of content so that your content team knows when each topic should go out. This will also help you determine how many topics you need for each type of content. Your different channels will all have a set cadence. Maybe you put out one blog a week, one podcast episode every two weeks, and an email every month. Choose a schedule that works best for your audience and your workflow, and try to stick to that schedule as closely as possible.

 
3. Identify your audience’s pain points. 

Your content really needs to grab the attention of your audience. You have a better chance of doing that if you key into a challenge that they are looking to solve. As an example, your pain point might be that you are ready to build a content calendar but aren’t sure where to begin. That’s how we chose this topic—we know that our audience might struggle at times to map out consistent content. 

 
4. Research your competitors’ content. 

Researching your competitors’ content is not to suggest that you should use the topics that your competitors write about. Rather, you should see the types of content that they share with their audience. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you must be aware of what your competitors are offering to prospects. Create a content calendar that is very much unique to your company; but, always research competing sites to ensure that you aren’t dropping the ball on any major stressors that your audience might face.

 
5. Identify the keywords you’re hoping to rank for. 

Using tools like SEMrush allow you to identify keywords that you want to target, increasing your chances of rising to the top of search engine results. By identifying keywords early in your content planning process, you can implement said keywords into your topic ideas.

 
6. Create topics for each channel. 

Now for the fun part. Begin building your content calendar piece by piece for each channel. We find it most helpful to map out our idea, the description, and target keywords for each topic. With this approach, you can easily delegate these topics to your content experts, and they will understand the direction and purpose of each piece.

 
7. Cross-reference your topics between channels. 

To make the most of your time and efforts, cross-reference your topics to repurpose as much as you can. For example, if you’ve written a blog article topic that would be great for a podcast episode, you can tweak the topic to fit your podcast audience.

Keep in mind that your audience consumes content differently depending on where they’re getting information. If you are writing a blog article about “10 Things to Know About X,” your podcast audience might prefer the topic to be presented in less of a listicle format and more of a thoughtful discussion. 

 

The Importance of Timely Content

Though it’s good practice to begin your year with a content calendar, remember that it isn’t set in stone. There will be events that happen in your industry, or even just out in the world, that will cause you to adjust your calendar accordingly.  A content calendar is a great planning tool, but you should always leave room for change. 

Would you prefer that a content marketing team helped you stay connected to your audience? We can help. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation.

The New Word of Mouth Marketing: Unleashing the Potential of User-Generated Content

Word of mouth has always been one of the most popular and reliable referral tools. However, in today’s digital age, we can quickly access information about any product or service with a quick online search. What’s the best air fryer for a large family? How should I style my new shoes? What’s the best beach to visit for summer vacation? All the answers are just a search engine query away.

Yet, with all this knowledge at our fingertips, research still shows that we are more likely to make a purchase if it is recommended by a friend, a family member, or another person we trust.

Brands have found a way to create word-of-mouth referrals in an online environment through user-generated content marketing (UGC). The ever-increasing popularity of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, among others, has positioned user-generated content as a pivotal force in the future of social media. Read on to discover why your brand should implement a strategy for finding and sharing user-generated marketing content and how to achieve success.

Benefits of User-Generated Marketing Content

Increase Engagement and Reach

By creating user-generated content—such as unboxing videos, testimonials, or product reviews—real customers can actively engage with a brand rather than just being a spectator on the sidelines. UCG can also work to create a community around the brand as enthusiasts react and comment on the shared authentic content. Brands should also be active participants in the conversation by responding to posts in a meaningful way.

Showcase Authenticity

Today’s consumers are smart. They can tell when content is genuine and when it is fabricated.  93 percent of marketers agree that consumers are more likely to trust content created by customers instead of content created by a brand. Honest content created by real people, like your employees, customers, and brand ambassadors, will become your brand’s modern-day word-of-mouth marketing. 

Save on Costs

User-generated content is much more cost-effective than partnering with an influencer and can have better results! Depending on the influencer, hiring one could cost millions of dollars. However, sourcing and sharing user-generated content is much more cost-effective. For instance, if you run a campaign that offers prizes for creating content about your brand, your time and financial investment will be lessened since the ideation, creation, and execution will be done by your audience. 

Increase Conversions

User-generated content offers a way to get authentic endorsements from real people, which will go a long way, with 50 percent of millennials relying on recommendations from family and friends before making a purchase. The content acts as social proof that your product or service meets or exceeds expectations while allowing potential customers to see their contacts engaging with your brand.

What’s also noteworthy is how seamlessly user-generated content works with social commerce. Social commerce refers to purchases made directly from social media apps. Nearly 80 percent of people say that user-generated content influences their purchase decisions. User-generated content creates a natural funnel for customers to move from viewing favorable reviews to purchasing the product, all without ever leaving their social feed.

Best Practices for User-Generated Marking Content 

Share the Content

One of the best ways to encourage user-generated content is to share it! Uncover UGC by searching hashtags and finding content that mentions your brand. You can also ask your customers to share their experiences with your product or service through a giveaway, contest, or campaign. Some brands even creatively include the request on their packaging.

Whatever way you choose to gather content, be sure to share it! Doing so encourages a sense of community and motivates others to create content, too—opening the door to unlimited, authentic content.

Always Ask Permission

Yes, share the content, but before you do, be sure to get approval from the original creator, letting them know you will give them credit when you share. Usually, customers will be thrilled to be featured, but checking first helps establish a trustworthy relationship. Plus, it keeps you out of hot water with customers who don’t want their content shared. 

Embrace Diversity

Millennials and Gen Z expect the brands they support to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sharing user-generated content on social media allows you to do just that. Employees, customers, and brand ambassadors all come from different backgrounds, races, religions, genders, geographic areas, and experiences. While it could be complex to showcase a vast range of diversity in a traditional marketing campaign, sharing user-generated content makes it feasible for your brand to represent all of its enthusiasts.

Partner with a Marketing Agency

There are many moving parts to developing and implementing a successful social media strategy. It’s an essential aspect of marketing your business, but giving it the proper attention needed for success can be difficult. That’s why our team is here. Green Apple can work alongside you to seamlessly provide the help you need. We’ll strategize and implement, as well as measure results, optimize your ROI, and scale as you grow. Reach out to learn more about how we can help boost your brand.

Touchdown or Fumble? Brand Awareness Lessons from the Most Iconic Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl is an event that transcends the sport of football and has become a cultural phenomenon. Over the years, the ads aired during the game have become as anticipated as the showdown on the field. Every year, companies shell out millions for  30 precious seconds of air time, hoping to capture a magical moment of brand awareness that resonates with the audience. Countless campaigns have soared to iconic status, becoming part of our everyday culture. Others have landed with a thud. 

There’s so much to be learned from every marketing or advertising campaign. In this blog post, we’ll dive into some of our favorite “touchdowns” and notorious “fumbles” from past Super Bowl campaigns, extracting valuable insights into effective brand awareness strategies.

Touchdown: Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” Commercial (2014)

As dog lovers, Budweiser’s “Puppy Love” campaign definitely made our list. The commercial featured a heartwarming story of a friendship between a puppy and a Clydesdale horse. The ad resonated with viewers emotionally and received widespread praise, becoming one of the most beloved Super Bowl commercials in recent years.

The lesson: Emotional connection is king. People remember stories that make them feel something, and Budweiser masterfully tapped into that with their adorable furry friends.

Fumble: Nationwide’s “Make Safe Happen” Commercial (2015)

Nationwide’s commercial during Super Bowl XLIX, which featured a young boy lamenting all the life events he would miss due to a preventable accident, sparked controversy and backlash for its dark and somber tone. Many viewers found the ad depressing and inappropriate for a Super Bowl audience.

The lesson: Recognizing when and where your message lands is crucial. While serious messaging can be impactful, understanding the context in which your audience engages with your brand is crucial to avoid alienating them.

Touchdown: Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” Campaign (2007-2016)

For nearly a decade, Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign invited consumers to create their own commercials for the chance to have them aired during the Super Bowl. This crowdsourcing approach generated immense buzz and engagement, with the winning ads consistently ranking among the most popular during the game.

The lesson: Don’t be afraid to empower your audience to be part of your brand story. Sometimes, the best way to promote your brand is to let your fans create their own magic.

Fumble: Mountain Dew’s “PuppyMonkeyBaby” Commercial (2016) 

This bizarre concoction of a puppy, a monkey, and a baby might have aimed for quirky, but it landed squarely in the “annoying” territory. Unhinged marketing can be effective, but only when it resonates with your brand identity and doesn’t alienate your audience. 

The lesson: There’s a fine line between being memorable and being off-putting. That’s why you should exercise caution and ensure that your attempts at creativity align with your brand identity and resonate with your target audience.

Field Goal: Apple’s “1984” Commercial (1984)

Apple’s iconic “1984” commercial, directed by Ridley Scott, aired during Super Bowl XVIII. While now considered iconic, this ad was initially controversial. The dark, dystopian imagery and political undertones went over some viewers’ heads, and it wasn’t immediately clear what product was being advertised. However, the ad’s boldness and originality eventually won over audiences and critics alike.

The lesson: Brand awareness can be a marathon, not a sprint. If you’re playing the long game, ensure your brand narrative is consistent and resonates with your audience over time.

Ready to Make Every Snap Count?

One of the marketing principles we constantly reiterate is that brand awareness is a journey, not a destination. It’s about consistently moving the ball down the field, learning from each play, and adapting your strategy based on the ever-changing game. So, take inspiration from these iconic ads. Celebrate the touchdowns, analyze the fumbles, and remember: the most important element is creating a brand experience that resonates with your audience long after the final whistle blows.

Want to brainstorm some winning brand awareness strategies for your business? Contact Green Apple Strategy today! We’re a team of passionate marketers who can help you tell your brand story and score big with your customers.

How Video Marketing Works to Capture Your Audience’s Attention 

Capturing and keeping your audience’s attention is a constant battle. You pour your heart into crafting compelling messages, but sometimes words just don’t cut it. That’s where video marketing comes in—a potent force that can capture attention and forge a deeper connection with your viewers.

We’re passionate about helping businesses harness the power of video marketing, and we’ve seen how it transforms brands from faceless entities to relatable, engaging forces. Ready to get started? First, let’s look at why video is so valuable.

The Value of Video Marketing

Why is video marketing such a game-changer? The stats speak for themselves:

  • People retain 95% of a message they watch in a video, compared to 10% when reading text. (Source)
  • Incorporating videos on landing pages can result in a staggering 80% boost in conversion rates. (Source)
  • Videos are shared 12 times more often than text and image content combined. (Source)
  • 92% of video marketers in 2023 say video gives them a good ROI. (Source)

These numbers paint a clear picture: video is more engaging, memorable, and effective at driving conversions than traditional marketing tactics. But what makes it tick? Here’s the magic behind the curtain:

  • Emotional connection: Videos tap into our emotions, allowing us to connect with brands on a personal level. A well-crafted video can evoke laughter, tears, or awe, instantly forging a bond with your audience.
  • Storytelling power: Videos let you subtly weave in your brand narrative, showcasing your values, mission, and the people behind the scenes.
  • Visual impact: Let’s face it, words can be dry, and it takes work to read them. Videos bring your brand to life with vibrant visuals, dynamic motion, and engaging design. This multi-sensory experience leaves a lasting impression on viewers.
  • Versatility: There is an incredible range of styles and formats you can pull from: explainer animations, product demos, live streams, and customer testimonials.  The possibilities are endless with video. There’s an approach for every message and every audience.

     

Captivating Video Marketing Ideas to Capture Attention

We’ve successfully filmed and edited many different types of videos to cater to the diverse needs of our clients. If you’re not sure where to begin, consider one of the following videos to jump in and start creating. (And if you need a little more guidance, we’re always here to ideate, plan, and execute a comprehensive video marketing strategy for you!)

Company Overview Videos 

Embedding videos on your website is a game-changer. It allows you to convey information in a visually appealing manner. To understand how, take a look at one of the videos we created for The Gardner School, providing a glimpse into their ethos and environment. 

Client Testimonial Videos

Let your satisfied customers do the talking! A video testimonial builds trust by showcasing real people’s positive experiences with your brand. This video we created for Crain Construction shares clients expressing their satisfaction with the projects they completed with Crain.

Campaign or Brand Videos

Videos for specific campaigns or initiatives can be tailored to add a personalized touch. The video we crafted for United’s Project UNITE initiative is a prime example, effectively conveying a message and generating enthusiasm for their efforts to bridge the digital divide in Middle Tennessee.

Thought Leadership Videos

Videos are a great way to share your knowledge and build credibility. You can establish yourself as an industry expert with video masterclasses, Q&A sessions, or insightful interviews. Our master-class style video for textLIVING positions the brand as an authority in its domain, fostering trust and credibility.

Lights, Camera, Connection: Leverage the Power of Video Marketing

In a world saturated with content, video marketing emerges as a powerful way to capture the hearts of your audience. If you’re seeking a way to stand out and forge meaningful connections, don’t underestimate the power of video—because, after all, it might just be love at first watch for your audience.

Ready to take your marketing to the next level with video? Contact Green Apple Strategy to start creating your marketing masterpiece!

How To Hone Your Social Media Strategy

Social media is a powerful marketing tool, but it can be challenging to plan and execute successfully. Because there are so many different platforms with changing algorithms, it can be a challenge to make content choices that resonate with your audience. Although it may seem complex, the best practices of content creation also apply to social media. In this blog, we wanted to get back to basics, reminding you of the simple but effective way you can cut through the noise and consistently engage your audience. 

 

Define Your Target Audience

If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience, it’s missing the mark. But the best way to determine what might increase follows, clicks, and shares is to have a solid concept of who your audience is. Your target audience is the group of people most likely to be interested in your product or service. Take a moment to clarify who that is. If you’re working with a marketing agency, they should be able to tell you who is most interested in your brand, including demographic features like geographic location, income bracket, and interests. With this information in hand, you can tailor your content more accurately to address the needs of your potential customers. 

 

Figure Out Where Your Audience Is 

Defining your target audience will also help you to know which social media platforms to focus on. If your audience is on TikTok, posting on LinkedIn won’t reach them. Determine the platforms your clients and customers prefer before creating content for them. Defining your target audience will also help you to know which social media platforms to focus on. If you’re feeling a little confused about how to determine this, our recent blog can help you identify which platforms are right for your business.

 

Create Engaging Content 

When it comes to creating engaging content, let your target audience, brand goals, messaging, and brand voice help guide you. Varying content to include infographics, photos, and videos is essential. It can be easy to get carried away, investing in content or formats that don’t resonate with your audience. Remember to engage in self-reflection to accurately assess your approach. What might grab someone’s attention? Don’t be afraid to conduct research on competitors or other accounts your audience is following. Other brands and influencers can give you creative ideas about how to effectively present your content. There are dozens of social media marketing tools that can help you organize ideas, strategize, create images, post content, and measure results. Take a look at this blog to read about the five tools we’ve come to rely on over the years.

 

Identify Your Benchmarks and Goals

Katie Shayotovich, one of Green Apple’s Marketing Strategists, always makes it a priority to research and identify industry benchmarks for each client she manages. 

“Looking up benchmarks for your industry can help you understand if your engagements and impressions are hitting the mark. For example, here are higher education benchmarks for 2023. These benchmarks can help a brand determine what their realistic goals should be and help strategize content ideas.”

It’s important to set goals and strategic pillars for your content, and accurate benchmarks can help you set realistic and achievable social media goals. These goals can then help you assess how content is performing. Part of your goals should also be deciding what you want prospects to do when they interact with your social media presence. Do you want to build brand awareness? Drive them to the website? Fill out a contact form? Share your content and increase your social media reach? What helps you turn a lead into a customer? The answer will be different for every organization.  

 

Review Analytics Monthly 

Take a step back and look at the analytics. Longitudinal data from previous months or years will equip you with meaningful insights that can guide your future content creation. Understand what performed best and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Determine how often you want to assess your reports for actionable data. We recommend reviewing reports monthly, but you can also check your analytics throughout the month as needed, especially if you notice a large spike or drop in engagement. If you’re brand new to social media reporting, this analytics template is a great starting point. But don’t get too caught up in the granular, shifting details. Instead, take a holistic viewpoint when it comes to assessing data. 

“These days, the follower count doesn’t matter as much. Growing your followers is important, but it doesn’t determine an account’s success. This is a common misconception I run across often. When reviewing analytics, your community and engagement numbers are more important and a better way to determine how engaged your audience is,” Strategist Katie Shayotovich explains.   

She also recommends conducting an in-depth quarterly digital marketing audit to identify opportunities that can keep your brand even further ahead of the curve. 

 

Let Us Help You With Your Social Media Strategy

Honing your social media strategy is an ongoing process that requires adaptability and a deep understanding of your audience.  If you need some guidance and support from marketing and PR experts, we’d love to help you set and reach social media goals that can move the needle on your brand recognition. Reach out any time to start the conversation. 

What Small Businesses Should Know About Google & Yahoo Email Authentication Updates 

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for small businesses to maintain effective communication with their customers. One significant update that demands the attention of small businesses is the impending Google and Yahoo email authentication updates that are set to roll out in February 2024. This might sound like tech jargon, but adapting to these updates is crucial for reaching customers through email.

As a trusted full-service marketing agency working with both B2B and B2C small businesses, Green Apple Strategy is here to guide you through these changes so that your email marketing efforts remain successful. So let’s break down what’s on the horizon and how to navigate these email authentication updates with confidence.

Why the Update? What’s Changing?

Email authentication is a critical aspect of email marketing, as it helps establish the legitimacy of the email sender. It verifies the sender’s identity, ensuring emails are legitimate and not sneaky spam. 

On February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo are turning what was once considered best practices for email authentication into mandatory requirements. The updates primarily focus on strengthening the protocols that verify the authenticity of the email sender’s domain and ensure that emails are not being spoofed or manipulated by malicious cybersecurity attackers.

Ultimately, these authentication updates are a proactive step toward a more secure email environment. For small businesses, that’s a good thing! Fewer spammy messages mean a cleaner, more trusted email environment, which ultimately benefits everyone.

Actionable Steps for Small Businesses 

If you’re a small business relying on email to reach customers or partnering with a marketing agency for your digital marketing efforts, here’s how to update your email protocols so that any emails you send are not blocked or marked as spam:

Make Sure You’re Sending Emails from a Domain You Own

One of the key requirements for the new authentication protocols is that small businesses should be sending mail from a domain that belongs to your organization. For example, we send emails from “NAME@greenapplestrategy.com” 

Your domain name is an important part of your business or organization’s online identity, and sending emails from your own domain is key to maintaining a relationship with your subscribers. 

Implement DMARC & SPF at the Enforcement Level

The updates primarily focus on strengthening authentication protocols such as DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework). At Green Apple, we’ve already helped clients update these authentications at the enforcement level. These changes instruct email providers about how to handle unauthorized emails claiming to be from a certain domain. 

Get Technical (or Find Someone Who Is)

Setting up these protocols might sound like tech jargon, but fear not! Most email service providers offer user-friendly guides and support. For example, Campaign Monitor offers built-in tools for DMARC reporting and authentication management. You can definitely DIY this process, but you must ensure the new authentications are done correctly. You’ll also want to make sure that they’re used effectively after they’re implemented.

Lean on Agency Expertise for Authentication Readiness

With the complexity of the updates, it’s even more crucial to rely on your agency’s expertise in email authentication and deliverability practices. Ensure your agency has implemented SPF, DKIM, and DMARC on your domain and configured them properly. Ask for specific details about their implementation process and compliance status.

Stay Informed Through Collaboration

Regular communication means that your business will be able to quickly adapt to evolving email authentication standards. That’s why it’s important to foster a collaborative environment that enables you to stay informed about industry updates, best practices, and any additional recommendations from your marketing agency. 

Monitor Performance and Adapt Strategies

The final step you want to take is to work closely with your marketing agency to review and adapt your email marketing strategies in response to the updates. Your agency should inform you about any significant decreases you see in open rates and work together to identify and address the root cause.

Don’t Panic, Get Prepared!

These updates might seem daunting, but with a little proactive effort, you can avoid any serious issues. Partnering with a competent and proactive marketing agency can help you navigate the email authentication updates smoothly. Trust their expertise, communicate openly, and monitor performance for a successful email marketing strategy in 2024 and beyond.

For Green Apple clients: Our dedicated digital marketing team is proactively working to help our clients seamlessly meet and comply with the new email authentication protocols, guaranteeing the continued success of their email marketing campaigns.

Bonus Tips and Resources

In addition to following these guidelines, implementing email marketing best practices is crucial. Good email practices will ensure your newsletters and marketing campaigns land in your audience’s inbox and captivate their attention. The resources below can help you build an email strategy with a solid ROI. 

The Skylight

Sip and Sample event at The Skylight
The Skylight

A Case Study in Community Engagement

The Factory at Franklin, a cornerstone of downtown Franklin and Williamson County, Tennessee, embarked on a transformative renovation. More than just a physical facelift, the project aimed to reimagine the space as a vibrant hub of hospitality and connection for the community. At the heart of this vision lay The Skylight, a brand-new bar serving as the central social gathering place of The Factory. To bring The Skylight to life, The Factory partnered with Green Apple to support the launch through brand storytelling and event planning.

– Concepting Brand Identity-

Capturing the Essence of The Skylight

The Skylight presented a unique branding challenge. It needed to capture the buzz of a new and exciting venue while simultaneously honoring the rich history and architectural beauty of The Factory. To achieve this balance, Green Apple facilitated a series of collaborative brainstorming sessions with The Factory team. Through these sessions, a clear brand narrative emerged: The Skylight was to be a haven for authentic connection, a place where the past and present intertwined to create a space for shared experiences over craft food and drinks.

From this narrative, Green Apple created a comprehensive branding and messaging package. The Skylight’s name evokes the venue’s soaring atrium, a physical manifestation of the bar’s commitment to hospitality and openness. The logo, a stylized beam structure punctuated by a radiant starburst, symbolizes the vibrant energy that The Skylight brings to the historic space. 

– Event Planning –

Orchestrating the Grand Opening Celebration

To celebrate the grand opening of The Skylight and introduce the entire Factory complex to Franklin residents, Green Apple orchestrated a special “Sip & Sample” event, granting patrons a first chance to explore and sample offerings from current and future Factory vendors. This interactive format encouraged guests to delve deeper into the space, fostering a sense of discovery and community.

Green Apple managed every aspect of the event, from securing vendor buy-in and negotiating quotes for branded swag to managing ticket sales and VIP experiences. The team’s meticulous planning paid off, and the Sip & Sample event sold out within 24 hours, prompting the addition of more tickets to accommodate overwhelming demand. A waitlist of over 350 eager patrons further underscored the community’s excitement for The Skylight.

– Results –

The Skylight's Recipe for Success

The grand opening celebration was a resounding success, solidifying The Skylight’s position as Franklin’s newest must-visit destination. The event’s impact extended far beyond a single night, however. The waitlist provided a way to capture an invested email list to bring into play for future events.  Green Apple also established The Skylight’s social media presence, helping the bar amass over 1,300 followers within weeks of launch.

A strategic PR campaign further amplified The Skylight’s reach. Green Apple secured interviews with local news outlets and prominent Nashville lifestyle publications, generating significant media coverage. Over the next three months, The Skylight was mentioned in over 80 articles, translating to an impressive $1.8 million in advertising equivalent value.

– Creative –

What we did.

Logo Design, Brand Design, Messaging Strategy, Marketing Collateral Design, Event Planning, PR, Email Marketing, Social Media

Client

Praise

COO
Green Apple has successfully implemented various strategies and projects that have both increased our brand recognition and directly driven business to our organization. Our dedicated Green Apple team is knowledgeable in what they do, produces quality work on time, and is flexible in pivoting to our ever-changing priorities. We’ve been very happy with the results of our relationship together and would highly recommend their service.
Charlie Kunberger
ATECH

more case studies

Cracking the Gen Z Code: A Small Business Marketing Guide to Gen Z Engagement

two-gen-z-girls-looking-at-a-phone

Gen Z, the generation born between the late nineties and mid-2010s, makes up more than one-quarter of the world’s population, and their buying power exceeds $140 billion. With so much competition on the horizon, how can small businesses leverage their brands with this socially conscious, diverse demographic of up-and-coming decision-makers?
 

Increasing Engagement with Gen Z

Be Authentic 

Gen Z likes to support brands with beliefs and value systems that genuinely align with their own. However, promoting values like sustainability, DE&I, and others must be done in a truly authentic way and not just clever marketing to drive sales. Small businesses can show commitment to significant issues by focusing on the human element behind their brands and building transparency by going “behind the scenes” or sharing where and how products are sourced to promote sustainability. 

Include User-Generated Content 

Another way to effectively demonstrate authenticity is with user-generated content. Showcase positive customer experiences and reviews, or ask current customers to upload DIY videos and share what they love about a particular product. Gen Z thrives on experiences, so seeing a real person use, enjoy, and demonstrate how a product looks, feels, and works can help your potential customers imagine what their own experiences will be like! 

Offer Sales and Promotions

Capture Gen Z’s attention with a sale or promotion. According to Campaign Monitor, nearly 83 percent like to receive promotions. HootSuite reported similar findings, with “discounts offered” cited as the number one motivator for getting Gen Z to engage with a new brand. 

Collab with Influencers 

Twenty-four percent of Gen Z women say that they are most likely to turn to influencers when learning about new products to buy. The reason is simple: they like to buy from brands they trust, and they hear about brands they trust from influencers they trust. Successful influencers share information in a manner that captures attention and forms connections; they are interesting, often funny, and always personally engaging. 

Choose the Right Social Media Channels

As the first generation to fully grow up in the digital age, Gen Z’s lives have almost always included social media, and they prefer to connect with brands this way. However, not all channels are created equal, and each brand needs its own unique mix of social media channels.

For Gen Z, Facebook is for gleaning information, X is for news, Instagram is for showcasing an aspirational aesthetic, and Snapchat is for connecting with friends daily. But TikTok is the best bet for selling brands and products, with Gen Z women ranking its influence on purchasing decisions second only to “recommendations from family and friends.” 

Connect with Emails and Newsletters 

We know social media works with Gen Z, but what about email? A report by Campaign Monitor shared that email is Gen Z’s second-most preferred channel for brand engagement. Gen Z is constantly online, and many check their email multiple times per day. However, most receive less than 20 emails a day. This means there is less competition in an inbox than on social media. Moreover, Gen Z indicated they want to hear from brands up to a couple of times a week. 

Keep in mind that Gen Z has an average attention span of eight seconds, so strong copywriting will be key for maximum results. While you should engage with potential customers on multiple channels, including email and social media, you’ll want to change up your messaging across platforms to keep things fresh. 

Strategize with Green Apple 

When it comes to building a successful marketing plan, our team at Green Apple understands that marketing does not operate in silos. We will take time to understand your business and your needs to develop an engagement strategy for Gen Z—and all the generations you serve. Contact us today, and let’s get the conversation started. 

PR 2.0: The AI Revolution for Strategic Communications

AI is quickly becoming embedded in our work and our lives. There’s a lot to keep up with as new developments are coming out almost every day. In the final days of 2023, the New York Times sued OpenAI and Microsoft, claiming millions of articles from the publication were used to train AI chatbot LLMs without authorization. This lawsuit is a clear sign that reform and regulation are coming for the AI market, but we’ll have to wait and see how the overall impact plays out.

Despite the evolving landscape, AI technology remains a powerful tool for PR professionals. The technology has played an important role in public relations work for years in a variety of ways, including;

  • Earned media and social media monitoring
  • Up-to-date journalist and outlet databases
  • Determining brand sentiment in earned media 
  • Determining trending topics and types of content

More recent AI advancements, like deep learning and text and image generation, are changing AI’s role in public relations, reflecting the type of disruption seen in many other industries. But its efficacy depends on our ability to use it strategically and cautiously.

We sat down with Green Apple PR Strategist, Chris Song, to take a closer look at how AI is assisting PR professionals and why it will never replace them. 

The Impact of AI on Strategy

Data and output from AI are really helpful for PR teams, especially for the strategic process. A recent study released by Muck Rack shows a majority (61%) of PR professionals are already using AI or are interested in using it. That’s a 40% increase since March 2023. The report shows the most popular use of AI among PR professionals is for copywriting. But it’s also helping PR pros like Green Apple’s Chris Song brainstorm ideas, conduct research, and monitor brands.

AI is making it easier to keep track of our clients and their brands in real-time while also cutting out the “noise” produced by incorrect or duplicated results. Similarly, it helps us keep an eye on their partners, competitors, and industries as a whole, which can inform our marketing and PR efforts.”

When prompted with appropriate inputs, AI can assist with the copywriting process by generating creative ideas and topics in the brainstorming phase of an earned media campaign. It can also sift through large amounts of earned media content (e.g., headlines, social media posts, bylines, etc.) to help PR professionals do what they’re already doing—identifying trending content and connecting with journalists (and audiences) interested in their clients’ products and services.

The Human Element

AI can help make your job easier, but it can’t do your job for you. When it comes to PR, there’s a foundational communication skill that will always need a human touch: relationship-building.

“Good relationships are critical. A lot has changed over my time in PR—about 15 years—that makes that even more true today. More traditional news outlets have smaller staffs sharing the same workload as before, which means getting through to gatekeepers is a more complicated process. On the other hand, there are more media content generators and curators than ever, so the relationships we do have must deepen while we also pursue more contacts to build trust and credibility with new and emerging voices. That’s something that AI isn’t capable of doing.”

AI has many other limitations. Having a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips doesn’t guarantee accuracy, timeliness, or the effective application of that knowledge. Publicizing incorrect data and outdated information could erode trust between PR pros and their audiences while making brands vulnerable to criticism. 

Beyond what AI does know, there are many nuances that it cannot understand: the appropriate tone and voice for a particular situation, the timing of any given earned media effort, or highly localized sensitivities based on current events and politics. Writing and creating content for people isn’t the same as writing for a search engine algorithm, and quality, human-centered writing requires both heart and hand.

Best Practices for Utilizing AI in Public Relations 

The storytelling element of PR still requires an emotional intelligence that only humans can provide. AI can help us get away from blank stares at the screen, acting as a great brainstorming tool. We’ve outlined a few best practices to keep in mind when using AI for marketing in our recent blog and have listed a few more below.

  • Double-check everything.
  • Get specific. Just like a Google search, the more information and content you put in, the more you’ll get back.
  • Don’t copy and paste.
  • Don’t allow AI to write your press releases.
  • Don’t become overly reliant on AI for ideas.

The Bottom Line

Artificial intelligence is not something to fear. Instead, it’s an exciting opportunity to improve efficiency and creativity! The concept of AI “competing” with PR comes from a misunderstanding of one or both subjects. Even in the foreseeable future, AI can only supplement the work of a PR professional. Inevitably, some professionals will rely too heavily on it, while others will ignore its utility to the disadvantage of themselves and their clients. In the end, how ethically and effectively AI is used in PR work is up to you. 

An Innovative Marketing and PR Agency

Our team of experts at Green Apple are using the latest tools and innovative approaches to tailor the marketing we do for our clients. If your business could use an updated approach to branding, marketing, and PR, we can help. Reach out to us to discover more effective ways to connect with your audience.

Tips for Navigating the Changing SEO Landscape in 2024

In the dynamic realm of SEO and digital marketing, small businesses often feel behind the eight ball. You may recognize the paramount importance of search while grappling with the relentless pace of its evolution. The challenge has only increased in 2023 as the influence of artificial intelligence on search algorithms increases, making the SEO landscape a complex terrain to navigate. 

At Green Apple Strategy, we understand the unique struggles small businesses face in this ever-evolving digital environment. As an agency passionate about empowering companies with the best possible marketing talent in the industry, we have the privilege of working with several SEO specialists to support our clients’ needs. For this post, we’ve asked them to share insights on the profound shifts shaping the SEO landscape this year, along with actionable tips tailored for small businesses who want to increase their SEO clout.

Biggest Trends Shaping SEO in 2024

Here are the most significant trends shaping search engine optimization in 2024:

1. Google Search Generative Experience (SGE)

Remember the days when keyword stuffing was an essential SEO tactic? Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) marks a pivotal shift in this effort. Keywords are no longer the sole path to higher rankings. Instead, small businesses must focus on crafting content that speaks naturally to their audience’s questions, concerns, and desires. Think less robot, more friend sharing valuable insights.

2. Search Continues to Get Smarter 

With AI and machine learning taking center stage, search engines are getting even better at knowing what searchers are looking for. Search tools now analyze user behavior, search history, and contextual clues to predict what someone wants. Businesses can stay relevant by creating content that anticipates user needs and provides solutions for their audience.

3. E-E-A-T: Trust Is the New Currency of Ranking

Google wants you to trust the websites you land on. That’s why they’re emphasizing Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) like never before. To create content that EEAT will find, focus on quality over quantity, showcasing your expertise through well-researched content, transparent authorship, and building backlinks from credible sources. In 2024, being a trustworthy voice in your field is SEO gold. 

4. ChatGPT Whispers: SEO Gets Conversational

AI language learning models like ChatGPT are showing us how search is becoming more conversational. People are asking questions like they’re chatting with a knowledgeable buddy, not typing robotic keywords with Boolean operators. That’s why it’s essential to start thinking of your content as a helpful guide, a knowledgeable friend offering clear answers, and addressing user pain points effectively.

Tips for Navigating a Changing SEO Landscape

Here are a few best practices that every business can implement when it comes to navigating SEO in 2024:

1. Cultivate Conversational Thought Leadership

Google prioritizes trustworthy sources, and blending thought leadership with a conversational tone strengthens your E-E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness). Businesses can take advantage of this by regularly publishing insightful content that leverages their knowledge or by collaborating with industry experts. For example, consider FAQ-driven content to address user queries directly, and keep a conversational tone to address popular search terms.

2. Build Topical Authority Through Content Depth

Strategic content creation is more crucial than ever before. As you plan your content calendar for 2024, it’s essential to establish topical authority by building a comprehensive content library on your chosen themes. Explore subtopics thoroughly, offering valuable information and insights from subject matter experts.

3. Leverage Video Content for Double the SEO Impact

Search engines have noticed that people are consuming video content like never before, and visual content is now indexable and searchable. If you’re not investing in video, 2024 might be the ideal time to begin filming insightful videos or webinars.  As you post your videos online, follow SEO best practices for YouTube, such as using relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags for increased discoverability on both Google and YouTube.

4. Embrace the Shift to Alternative Platforms

With users flocking to platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, and Reddit for information, search marketing is continually expanding, with social media being used as a search engine. As a small business, it can be valuable to adapt your strategy and leverage data from these diverse sources to stay relevant in the evolving SEO landscape.

5. Refresh Existing Content for Continued Relevance

In a crowded, fast-paced content landscape, refreshing existing content is crucial for maintaining ranking and search engine visibility. One simple way to extend the life of your content is to repurpose outdated content to ensure it still aligns with user intent, adheres to best practices, and competes effectively with newer material.

6. UX: The Constant in SEO Change

Amidst ongoing SEO evolution, user experience remains a constant priority. Google continues to prioritize smooth UX. If you understand that SEO is structured around making the user experience as frictionless as possible, then you have the right mindset to build your SEO strategy

7. Embrace Adaptability for Long-term Success

Change is the only constant in the future of SEO. The integration of AI and evolving content standards necessitate an adaptable and evolving strategy. As a small business, it’s essential to embrace continuous learning and recognize the importance of making strategic adjustments to thrive as your audience changes the way they search.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

At Green Apple, we’re committed to always staying one step ahead of the latest trends and equipped with the tools and expertise to guide you to the top of the SEO mountain. In The Core, our monthly newsletter, we highlight the latest trends and timely marketing tactics small businesses should know. Click here to subscribe to The Core and gain insights you need to achieve your goals in 2024.