Stuck for blog post ideas? Here are 54 questions to loosen up your brain cells and blog posts!

Stuck for blog post ideas? Here are 52 questions to loosen up your brain cells and blog posts!

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Sometimes the ideas for blog posts just need some coaxing to come out. Then when they do…prepare for a biblical flood of content ideas. Here are some great questions to answer in your blog posts. These questions should help to get your creative juices flowing. They are ultra compelling and help you to grasp what’s important to you as a business owner/operator, as well as to your customers.

  1. What are the most frequently asked questions your customers ask?
  2. What is the biggest misconception people make about your business or line of work?
  3. What do your customers need to know to make good purchasing decisions?
  4. What is the story behind the founding of your business?
  5. How did your business get its name?
  6. What is a complete ‘how to’ that will guide customers through an important lesson?
  7. What is the story behind your new product or service?
  8. What is a hard truth your customers need to hear?
  9. Who are the people that you work with. How did they come to work with you?
  10. What are the first three things someone needs to become an expert in your field?
  11. Do you have a customer success story that you can share?
  12. Describe a day in the life of your company.
  13. Do a survey of your customers. Then run through some key insights and data about your customer base.
  14. What are your thoughts about where your industry is headed?
  15. How do you hire your staff? What do you look for?
  16. What are the unique selling propositions that makes your business distinct from all others?
  17. Recall and write about a daily process in your business.
  18. What are the most common mistakes you see people frequently make in your industry?
  19. Can you summarise some key pieces of news/advice/tutorials/opinions from the last week in your industry?
  20. Write an open letter to someone in your industry about a topic with broad industry relevance.
  21. Write about legislation changes that might impact your industry.
  22. What do your customers have a hard time doing?
  23. What is the biggest news in your industry – and what does it mean for your customer?
  24. What do you recommend customers read or watch?
  25. What are the lessons you have learned in the last year?
  26. Provide a checklist that’s relevant to something your customers might do.
  27. Create a printable/template to help customers to achieve something
  28. What were some key takeaways from a conference or industry event that you attended?
  29. What are the latest trends that are emerging in your industry?
  30. Who is an industry leader that you could profile/interview?
  31. Can you profile a key member of your team?
  32. What is the best suggestion you’ve had from a customer?
  33. What quote do you think applies most to your business/industry?
  34. What is the most innovative use you’ve seen for one of your products?
  35. Who is a customer you could profile/interview?
  36. Write up a talk or presentation you previously gave into bullet points or a summary.
  37. What was the biggest challenge your business has had in the past year?
  38. Ask 10 customers, peers and staff a single question. Then wrap an article around that.
  39. What two products could you compare and contrast?
  40. What two strategies could you compare and contrast?
  41. What is a hot discussion/debate that happened in your business recently that you could recap or involve your readers in?
  42. What is the history of your industry – from inception to today.
  43. Project forward – where will your industry be in 5 years? Make a prediction.
  44. Sum up your year just gone.
  45. Review a book that you believe your customers should read.
  46. Review a tool, product or service relevant to your customers.
  47. What things have you done in business that you regretted and learned the most from?
  48. What are the biggest secrets about your industry?
  49. Record a conversation your team is having (podcast or video).
  50. What amusing moment happened in your business this week?
  51. What is your biggest passion and how does this align with your professional life?
  52. What mistakes have you made and what did you learn?

Would you like a hand with ideas for your blog posts along with sorting through your existing content assets? Get a free content audit today by getting in touch below…

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6 ways to stimulate social media engagement

6 ways to stimulate social media engagement for the real estate industry

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Here’s an industry guide on how to structure your social media and content strategy for the real estate industry. In my experience, employing these tactics will help you to get the best outcomes, such as qualified sales leads and call-back requests.

1.   Plenty of visual and video content

This principle is really a no-brainer. It applies equally to all industries. Visual and (even better) video content are the clear winners for engaging with prospective buyers.

Research shows that 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%). And Tech giant Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019.

The importance of great quality renders of the interiors and exteriors of the homes/buildings can’t be emphasised enough. This is the bedrock of any real estate social strategy. From these renders you can build stories about the new development that are future-focused and aspirational.

In terms of generating this high quality visual and video content – many real estate developers enlist the help of a creative design agency. Although your social media manager should able to generate this content themselves using affordable or free tools like Canva and HitFilm Express.

6 ways to stimulate social media engagement for the real estate industry

2.   Updates on construction through timelapse footage 

Social media updates on construction will help to allay the concerns of prospective buyers. This is particularly important for buyers who have already made a deposit. These people need reassurance that the build is all going to plan and that they can move into their amazing new home on schedule. 

Social media is a way to showcase construction progress through the use of timelapse footage of buildings going up. Not only does it have a practical purpose of addressing buyers concerns, but it’s also a remarkably engaging piece of visual storytelling which can be used in a multitude of ways. A timelapse could be pitched as a part of a media kit to real estate media, used in the property or development ad, or used on social media.

Timelapses demonstrate the competency and care taken by the developers and all those involved in the construction process too. Failing the ability to obtain timelapse footage, the next best thing is still images. 

6 ways to stimulate social media engagement for the real estate industry
An example of a Facebook post I created, containing a timelapse video and used in both a paid campaign, with the mainstream media and in organic Facebook posts.

3.   Don’t forget the middle of the sales funnel

Although a lot of time and effort goes into attracting prospective buyers, not as much effort goes into maintaining the communication once the customer is over the line and has put down a deposit. 

This is a mistake, because there is a huge opportunity that is missed. The interim period between putting down a deposit and the settlement date is a great time to nurture and grow the relationship between the developer and the buyer.

This is “middle of the funnel” time. It’s an opportunity to inform and entertain people about their new neighbourhood. You could provide future-focused content about the community in five or ten years time. This allows prospective buyers to get the complete picture of the economic, social and cultural landscape they will be experiencing once they move in.

You could use a private Facebook group or a segmented eDM for specific buyer profiles such as owner-occupiers or investors, or local versus foreign buyers. Then you can provide content relevant to this audience in a language they will respond to. This builds thought leadership for the brand, and generates a sense of anticipation from buyers about what’s to come. Also this tactic makes the audience feel valued and listened to. As they should, after all they’ve just committed to making possibly the biggest purchase of their life from your brand! 

4. Quizzes and Surveys

Traditionally, quizzes and surveys on social media are treated with disdain across the board. They are considered to be fluffy, silly and pointless. 

But the truth is that quizzes and surveys can yield some of the most valuable insights into the audience. This is the “top of the funnel”, awareness and consideration phase.

It’s important to note though that you mustn’t make the quiz overtly promotional. This is an exercise in giving people a fun exercise to do, while also providing them with information about your product along with other general information. It’s infotainment, but if it’s too promotional you won’t get any quiz completions – don’t treat people like they’re stupid! Assume they know as much as you do about marketing.  

An example of a good quiz:

For a new development showcasing luxurious apartments with over 50 apartment plans on offer, a social quiz could be about ‘What kind of apartment décor suits your personality?’. 

The quiz can match personality traits and behaviours to different kinds of interior design trends along with beautiful images. You could also talk about the different design options in your brand’s new development.  

There’s no scientific veracity to this kind of quiz; it’s purely for fun. But, as a result of the quiz answers you can find out the most popular design preferences for your audience, their motivations and desires, and their age, gender and other demographic information. 

At the end of the quiz you can include a lead form which when completed allows them to get a call back from your sales team about the properties (subtly) mentioned in the quiz. 

5. Embrace marketing automation

It’s possible through the almighty power of marketing automation to sync and organise all of your sales leads, email subscribers and social media followers into one CRM. This means that you can see a clear pathway through the sales funnel for each customer. 

This has the advantage of offering the ultimate in transparency across teams. Or, if you would like to keep it simple, you could set up automated zaps using Zapier. This will ping or trigger a certain action, once a certain marketing action is taken. This is relatively easy to set up and requires no coding experience. It can automate an enormous range of actions from Google’s products, many CRMs and payroll programs, social media, scheduling apps, you name it. 

Using bots to complete your marketing activities for you is highly effective. You can implement a bot as a chat pop-up on your landing page which will speak to visitors and segment them, without you having to lift a finger!

Bots nowadays can be made to sound human and natural and can be used on Facebook messenger and in your website chat for great results. It has gotten to the point now where it’s difficult for people to distinguish between a bot and a real person. 

6. Sync your media and social strategies

Sales leads through Facebook will peak when positive news coverage appears in the national news media. 

Make sure that your media strategy harnesses plenty of milestones and opportunities to get the message out there. The mainstream media still hold some clout in terms of building the reputation of your real estate brand. All positive news coverage should be shared on social media and reflected upon through the brand’s lens, in order to increase sales and engagement.

I hope you have found this guide to social media marketing helpful for your real estate business. If you would like a fresh perspective on your marketing, get a FREE CONTENT AUDIT today, give me a call on +61 3 9028 7745 or message me below


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Six Great Tips for Writing Engaging Metadescriptions

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There’s not much involved in writing 150-160 character sentences for metadescriptions, right?  Well actually these descriptions appearing in search engine result pages (SERPS) are critical for engaging with potential site visitors. So here are some tips on crafting compelling and engaging 150 to 160 character selling points.

1. Write for Users First

In order to dominate search engine rankings, it’s crucial to write for the user first and the search engine second. So that means no badly formed sentences of tautologies, including multiple keywords crammed uncomfortably into the short sentences.

It’s also important to keep that human element to your metadescriptions. Try injecting some personality or localised phrases into the wording, however steer clear of using jargon or cliches.

Six Great Tips for Writing Engaging Metadescriptions

2. Inject Some Personality Into It

People are less likely to respond to ”Game of Thrones. DVD and merchandise here. Game of Thrones Merch. Visit us”.  However, they could be likely to engage with ”Game of Thrones: Summer is over, winter is coming. Game of Thrones Sale On Now.”

Write in a personalised way as though speaking to a friend, in a warm and welcoming tone. It’s like holding up a sign in the airport arrivals lounge, smiling at everybody’s approach saying ”Here I am, this way Mr. Jones…Mrs. Smith, etc.”

3. Stick to the Value Proposition

Write from the users’ perspective. This means articulating your offer in a way that answers the question: ”What’s in it for me?”.  When you position the metadescription in this way, the results will be immediately positive. If you’re stuck for words, take the time to evaluate competitors’ metadescriptions.  Then try to create a more punchy and powerful value proposition.

Six Great Tips for Writing Engaging Metadescriptions

4. Keep it Short and Simple

Keep the metadescription to a limit of 150 to 160 characters. This can be really challenging, particularly for complex web pages that require more explanation. Although it’s an absolute necessity, otherwise the SERP will cut off the description mid-sentence. This tends to obfuscate the meaning and rarely encourages visitors to click through to the web page.

5. Use a Strong Call to Action

It’s important to use a call to action in the metadescription. There should be a clear purpose to the ad and a reason to click on the ad. So isolate this reason and think about the benefit of the offer to your potential visitor. Then ask for their cooperation. It’s amazing how actually asking and requesting an action from a user gets better results. A short call to action at the end of a metadescription can really boost click-through rates.

6. Bring in the Big Guns

If your business has some big names, brands, certifications or celebrity endorsements behind it, then add this into your metadescription. This may be difficult in the allotted 150-160 characters, but if you’re clever enough, by all means do it!

Metadescriptions are the bread and butter of search engine optimisation. They combine the best of both worlds, SEO and copywriting. With these tips on writing excellent metadescriptions you will be on your way to high volume click-throughs in no time.


Did you enjoy this brief foray into the weird and wonderful world of metadescription writing? Then pull up a pew and talk to me. I would love to help you with your marketing. Straight off the bat I can offer you a FREE CONTENT AUDIT of your existing marketing assets. Let me at it!

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Push your social media to work harder, better, stronger over the holidays

Push your social media to work harder, better, stronger over the holidays

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The lead up to Christmas and the holidays is the biggest time of year for retailers. This is prime time to use social media marketing to gain new customers and brand advocates. Social content is a vital part of the overall marketing mix. To help you to make the most of the busy period, have a read of the following tips.

1. Build genuine trust with your audience

During the silly season, you could noisily tout your wares like a old lady brandishing fish in a village market. Or you could use your social media to listen to the chatter and conversations about your brand. Then respond and attempt to create a personalised, generous and positive interaction.

Unlike other forms of marketing, social media is a two-way dialogue with evenly distributed power dynamics. It’s all well and good to blatantly sell on social media, but if the storytelling around your offer is non-existent, then your posts won’t resonate with your target audience.  

​ 2. Plan, plan and then plan some more

In order to win market share, it’s a great idea to start planning early. The earlier you begin planning, even as early as July or August, the more your business stands to gain out of the holiday period.

When you start early, it’s easier to avoid getting bogged down with BAU  operational needs. Instead you should focus with laser-sharp  awareness on long-term strategic marketing goals. Also social advertising and search marketing gets expensive in December. So filling the top of the funnel in July makes more sense!

​ 3. Don’t be afraid to get creative

The more creative and edgier your holiday season offerings are, the more likely your business will be to stand out, in a crowded room of competitors all tooting their own horns.

4. Don’t forget brand storytelling

In amongst all the excitement (and pressure) of having to make yearly sales targets for the year, it’s possible to lose sight of the long-game of growing and nurturing brand advocates and fans. The holiday season isn’t just for selling stuff. It’s about building loyal customers who continue to come back time and time again.

5. Remarketing is important

Remarketing strategies through social media and PPC are going to attract huge returns during this time. In other words, the more frequently a relevant target audience sees your message, the more likely they will be to buy from your business. So make sure you wow them in your ads, so that they remember your brand.

​ 6. Combine social with search

Search marketing is where you can really see some sales conversions. So be sure to change up your keyword strategy so that it’s relevant for the holidays. Also you should adjust your social strategy so that it’s relevant.

7. Social ads are a must

Even if your social strategy only goes so far as organic posts, it’s always a good idea to initiate a paid campaign over the holidays. This is when the majority of shoppers will be primed and ready to purchase. Sweta Patel of Silicon Valley Start-Up Marketing found that social conversions can increase from 0.6% to almost 20% from social ads alone.

Christmas online is akin to a fluorescent nightscape in Tokyo…its LOUD!

8. Up the ante with your ads

Your ads need to be memorable. To do that they must stand out and be compelling for prospective customers. Split test a broad variety of ad copy and artwork combinations, to find that magnificent combo that your audience resonates with.

9. Think broader than social media for your overall marketing

Social media platforms will be thoroughly saturated over the holiday period. So in your holiday marketing strategy, be sure to integrate unexpected guerilla marketing campaigns, and competitions to spice things up.

10. Consider Facebook groups for people with specific interests in your business.

After all, people prefer to purchase from an individual and not a company. They would like to engage in a two-way dialogue with an individual who can help them, not a nameless social account. Any sort of selling in this group needs to be incredibly laid-back and a subtle for it to be effective. The primary goal here is to resolve challenges that people face by offering solutions.

11. Email marketing and social combined are a cash-cow

Gift card offerings, competitions and last minute offers to email subscribers and via social are going to be highly effective for revenue growth. Start testing and retargeting your ad groups as soon as possible, to get the most out of that opportunity.

12. Scarcity works

Create limited time offers and limited stock offers to generate FOMO with your target audience. Create a limited number of coupons or exclusive offers that are only available until a certain date.

13. Visit and engage with people in niche online communities

Are you selling rental furniture to a young Uni crowd? Then visit the forums of a subreddit and post valuable information there. Avoid any kind of sales approach and instead aim to be solutions-oriented. Take a personalised approach to resolving challenges.

“We’ll just hold up these empty signs and smile…hopefully nobody will suspect anything”

I hope that this guide to surviving the silly season helps you to seize the opportunities of email marketing, copywriting and content marketing. Get in touch with me today to see how we can blow the cobwebs out of your content marketing strategy!  


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Arthritis New Zealand

Content Strategy, Graphic design, Web design

In Brief

I undertook a contract role to develop a digital transformation strategy for Arthritis New Zealand.  I was the interim manager of the website, social media and digital engagement.  In charge of improving the website appearance and navigability and reviving and re-introducing old content. 

  • Digital strategy for marketing and operational needs.
  • Digital Content Manager for website.
  • Creation and management of an online community about arthritis.
  • Social media and online marketing best practice training and management.
  • Marketing and comms planning and budgeting.
  • Training staff on using digital tools, content marketing and social media best practice and using a CMS.

Background

Arthritis New Zealand are one of the leading health NFPs in New Zealand, with a strong 20 year history of helping the community.

Although an organisational restructure and a rolling back of the organisation’s visibility in the regional parts of New Zealand led to some disquiet among staff and within the community about the organisation’s future.

The task at hand was to create a digital transformation strategy which encompassed the operational structure, objectives and goals of their changing organisation, so that they could reach a much broader audience through digital tools rather than through face-to-face seminars in the community.

The project needed to encompass fundraising, advocacy and awareness, volunteering, community education, administration departments of the organisation located at three offices – Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland offices.

Recommendations

  • Remove snail mail for fundraising in favour of eDMs and targeted newsletters, augmented with snail mail post where no email address was available.
  • Streamline email marketing and automate and personalise email newsletters using both Hootsuite CRM and MailChimp.
  •  A website revamp based around data-led insights into strategic marketing and future direction.
  • A complete content audit of all content assets: video, audio, presentations, books, web content, user-generated content. Then revamp this content with consistently branded graphic design assets.
  • A feasibility assessment on a mobile app which provides accessible audience-appropriate content for young people and teens with arthritis.
  • The creation of a series of educational webinars which can be viewed live and then archived for ongoing viewing on the website and YouTube.
  • The creation of an online community called ‘Your Community, Your Voice’ where bloggers affiliated with Arthritis New Zealand can talk about their experiences with having the condition or treating others with the condition.
  • Comprehensive training on the importance of using digital tools such as mobile apps, webinars, social media and the website for harnessing change and creating community engagement.

Results

Some of the recommendations in the digital strategy were incredibly successful however for institutional and fiscal reasons, not all of the recommendations were implemented.

On a positive note, I managed to instigate a new way of working in an inter-team collaborative manner. I implemented scrum style meetings within the marketing team as well as between teams over a conference call in order to facilitate collaboration and a more open communication style. This opened up the channels of collaboration and ensured creative, novel ways of working were established.

I created an online community and sourced 20 local bloggers. Then I set up a content and social media plan for the following 12 months which was designed to support and leverage key fundraising dates and events throughout the year. This was a strategy-led content calendar that harnessed user-generated content created by active members of the Arthritis New Zealand community.

A fully functioning online community meant significantly less work for the fundraising, marketing and community engagement teams to find and produce stories.
The ‘Your Community, Your Voice’ online community was so successful that it resulted in a 30% uptick in organic traffic to the website in its first 3 months. The high quality, fresh content on the website put the Arthritis New Zealand website in first place on Google in organic search.
The conversion rate of specific event-based content on the website was measured using Google Analytics. A 30% increase in organic traffic to the online community and effective calls to action meant a boost in conversion by 40% around specific event sign-ups and webinars.
I trained teams across the country on best practice usage of social media, content management and branding. I also trained teams on better ways of collaborating together in groups and aligning together on shared goals. Team feedback suggested that this was highly useful.
I significantly reduced cost for the organisation on the production of webinars by costing and implementing Zoom as an alternative to a London-based branding consultancy charging thousands of dollars for the same thing. Then I trained the teams on using Zoom.
Removing snail mail on several fundraising campaigns and replacing this with 90% email marketing reduced printing cost by approximately $9,000 per year.

Web design and graphic design revamp showreel

Along with the partial redesign of the Arthritis New Zealand website, I also designed marketing assets like social media posts (see below), email marketing templates, slides, conference posts and infographics using Adobe InDesign and sourced royalty free stock images to aid in the brand storytelling.

Arthritis New Zealand poster design

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‘Your Community, Your Voice’: Community set up and management