What do you hanker for today?
As soon as October hits or the Texas heat subsides (whichever comes first), I start craving candy corn. By the time candy corn overload hits, and the famous pumpkin spiced latte arrives, I start digging all things pumpkin.
Here’s a simple pumpkin recipe I make every year. It’s light and has only two ingredients. You just need one box of spice cake mix and a 15-ounce can of 100 percent pure pumpkin. Mix ‘em and spoon them into a muffin or load pan or onto a cookie sheet like cookies.
Cook in the oven at 350 degrees. The baking time depends on which method you use. You can use the instructions on the back of the cake mix for guidance. It’s very forgiving, and it quenches the longing for pumpkin.
Seasonal treats … or tricks
Grocery stores have their marketing tricks. Part of all these cravings is their fault. When October nears, they pile on the candy corn in a display that you can’t miss. Shortly after, pumpkin-flavored everything pops up: bagels, cereal, chips, muffins, bread, yogurt, toaster pastries, oatmeal, ice cream, salsa, everything.
This being the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, the chill doesn’t hit until late October at the earliest or early December at the latest. As soon as Halloween ends, out comes red, white and green stuff.
Hello? I’d like an order of Thanksgiving first, please. Oh, and Boy Scout popcorn, too. My son, who is in Boy Scouts, sells popcorn during Poptober and distributes it in November.
By this time, mint calls me. It’s odd. Aside from toothpaste, I rarely have anything minty the other nine months of the year. For some magical reason, mint tastes best in the cold weather months.
Actually, it’s not magic. It’s retailer marketing. Mint shows up everywhere. The grocery store swaps out the leftover candy corn orange for mint this and mint that. The coffee shops resume making their winter season-only mint drinks. This is when I start baking chocolate mint cookies and have a hankering for peppermint mocha.
Trading one craving for another
When the weather gets cooler, I start having an urge to bake cookies. Lots and lots of cookies. That impulsion used to be fudge.
When I was growing up, my mom made fudge for all my teachers, friends and neighbors. I learned from her. On entering the workforce, I baked fudge every winter for my coworkers. Before I knew it, I was fudging it up for my first child’s teachers.
Fudge got old. I don’t know what happened, but I transitioned to cookies. I like to make cookies throughout the year, but that desire is at an all-time high just before winter in Texas. I bake two recipes every weekend until I have enough for everyone. Cookies freeze well, so that allows me to spread out the baking instead of trying to make 10 recipes in a weekend.
Then, as soon as the warm weather hits, I start making an orange shake for lunch every day. At this time of the year, the grocery stores look like they’ve been hit by a pastel-colored tornado. Peeps. Pink and yellow-colored candy and treats galore. And eggs. Lots and lots of eggs.
In summer, strawberries and blueberries return in full force. Watermelon, too. I’m not a fan …
Bet you find yourself having a taste for something based on the time of the year. Is it because of traditions? Holidays? Retailers making a big display of it? Seasonal offerings?
The power of consistency and seasonal offerings
Professional Services Journal is about to enter its 14th year. Wowza!
Since day one, this email newsletter has come out every month. I don’t know how many of you remember, but there was a time when it came out every two weeks. That was too much. InternetVIZ Founder Hank Stroll (z”l) and I believed it was more important to produce a high-quality email newsletter than it was to land in mailboxes more often to be top of mind.
Teri Doty, InternetVIZ owner, and I thought about skipping this month’s issue between the holidays and several large projects. In the end, we decided to stick with tradition. For a minute there, the thought of not having an issue felt strange.
If we hadn’t published this month, you may or may not have noticed. We’d like to think you yearn for useful information to help your B2B professional services firm continue to be successful.
You can make people crave your content. Start a tradition. A local magazine has a Prince of Pies, March Madness-style contest every year. Just because you’re a B2B company doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Instead of Prince of Pies, have a Blog Madness of the best blogs in your industry.
Or do a play on the 12 Days of Christmas with the 12 days of something. Perhaps, 12 days of introducing a team member and sharing his or her favorite things.
Oh, here’s another idea! Oprah’s “Favorite Things.”
I don’t mean for you to give out cars or anything. Instead, share favorite things related to your industry.
Remember content marketing’s true purpose
And remember this is content marketing. No self-promotion; otherwise, it becomes advertising. Don’t try calling it branded content. That’s another fancy phrase for advertising or advertorials. And it gives content marketing a bad name and leaves many of us with a bad taste in our mouths — not exactly the impression you want your company to make.
Hank was ahead of his time. He created the company’s following mantra … in 2002:
“Business people buy products and services when they trust that the value they perceive is applicable to them and comes from a stable company.”
Consistently delivering high-quality content without branding earns trust. It’s not a race to produce hundreds of pages. Effective content marketing is a planned strategy to create content of value to your market and getting it to them. You’ll notice many themes here in the “8 Must-Have Habits to Be Successful in Content Marketing.”
Just look at the examples provided in “Less Content Marketing, More Quality Content.” (Jump to the bulleted list.)
The story mentions two organizations that deleted almost 90 percent of their web pages. Conversions went up 100 percent for one. Another organization shrunk its web pages from 4,000 to 700. Online reporting went up, and tech support requests dropped.
Notice a trend?
Quality, yes. Quantity, no.
I’ve been slowly deleting useless content on my old blog. It’s making a difference. Don’t let yourself fall into the biggest danger of content marketing.
Now excuse me, I’ve got a hankering for BBQ and potato latkes. And next month, it’ll be birthday cake with three of us having January birthdays in nine days.
About the author
Meryl K. Evans is senior editor at InternetVIZ and the content maven behind the Organizational Excellence Journal and Professional Services Journal. Contact her or connect with her on Twitter @merylkevans or elsewhere.