Ten Lessons To Learn About Pinterest From Top Storytellers

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Pinterest is nowhere near as popular as Instagram, however its a repository of quirky, unusual or weird art and online discoveries can cavort together. If you have images that convey a story in a spectacular or unique way – these images will do well on Pinterest. Here are ten tips for getting the most out of Pinterest from the people who rule the roost.

1. Have a sense of humour

Copywriter Tiffany Beveridge created a board called ‘My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler‘. She repinned photos from fashion editorials and created an instant cult classic in Quinoa, her imaginary daughter.  The moral of the story: don’t be afraid to be amusing or satirical, it will get you followers. Click image to see more

”Though their chances were slim, Quinoa generously invited Sauté and Gouda to bring their A-game and join the lineup of potential dates for the preschool prom”

2. Use Secret Boards

Secret boards are private and are invitation-only. This can be handy for a private collaboration area. You could leverage this by creating a VIP area for customers or colleagues to contribute to their own private board. This is perfect for businesses like landscape gardening, wedding planning, interior decorating and design.

3. Aim to Thrill and Amaze

Pinterest is about adding and curating beautiful images that will thrill, inspire and amaze people. This is taken to epic proportions by Pinterest maven Karen Nyberg. She’s a A NASA astronaut, who posted images of earth onto Pinterest from space.  Now you obviously can’t pull that sort of rabbit out of the hat – but you get the point, right? Click image to view more.

4.Use Portrait Images

The way that Pinterest is structured, it gives preference to tall photos. Photos that are taller than they are wide, are going to display in a much more eye-popping way. So that means you should pin portrait photos rather than landscape and use dark borders around photos. This will make the images more conducive to repins and likes.

5. Be Prolific and Polite

Pin regularly on a variety of topics. This will increase the likelihood of people liking and following you. Also, you should repay interest by repinning, liking and following people in kind. Interior Designer Maryanne Rizzo does this very well, for her 9 million followers she curates pins and with her sharp eye for design, manages to inspire and educate her followers. Click image for more from her.

6. Target Women

Women pin the most frequently and are the most prolific users of Pinterest. Therefore targeting women on Pinterest is a no-brainer. It’s perfect for boutique and bespoke offerings in fashion, education, art, interior design, craft DIY, food, wine beauty, home décor. Case in point is Suzy Brookes who offers teacher resources and learning strategies to 15,000 followers.

Women use Pinterest far more frequently than men

7. Kill Your Darlings

Be ruthless with your products and only showcase the best ones on Pinterest

Don’t post every single product image in the inventory to Pinterest. Be ruthlessly selective in your choices. Nobody wants to see that except you! Pinterest isn’t about blatant self-promotion, it’s about adding and curating pictures that will inspire and amaze people.

8. Throw Out the Brand Rule Book

The worst thing you could do is come across as touting products or services. Instead, you should keep pins interesting and their descriptions thought-provoking. Trey Ratcliff is generous with his photo sharing and licensing rules and offers his own stunning photography to his 4.7 million followers. He does so in a warm and inclusive way that encourages people to follow him.

9. Create Image Mash-ups

Mash-up several compelling images into a vertical block. This is perfect for showing a step-by-step process or before/after shots. Sellers on Etsy do this very well.  Ren Mitchell is a crafty DIY extraordinaire who offers up step-by-step images on how to make cool jewellry and bespoke art. See more by clicking on the image.

10. Be Mysterious

A good image is like dangling a carrot in a starving person’s face. However if the description underneath provides all the information they need, nobody will click through to the website. Instead in the description, you should deliberately withhold the full story to encourage click-throughs.

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Eight Ingredients for Creating Landing Pages That Work

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If you’ve recently invested in an online marketing strategy, that includes some combination of affiliate marketing, Facebook advertising, PPC, social media, and SEO –  then you should be expecting an onslaught of traffic to your landing page, right? Wrong!That idea works great in theory. However, in reality a landing page needs to be handled with kid gloves. Here are eight essential principles for building a landing page, as a part of a broader web marketing strategy.


1. A concise and clear call to action (CTA)

6 ways to stimulate social media engagement for the real estate industry
1. A concise and clear call to action (CTA)

This is the end goal – the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Therefore it needs to work hard for you. It’s more than simply words, ‘Sign Up Now’, ‘Start a Free Trail’ or ‘Shop Now’.

There should be no distractions and extraneous data that obfuscates the main goal. The best landing pages are simple, and accentuate one goal, and one goal only.

Consider what should remain above the fold. This means the information that appears on the site before scrolling is required. This part of the web page should have everything in a nutshell.


2. An offer or promise

2. An offer or promise

Visitors to your landing page will be thinking, what’s in it for me? There’s no other way with web marketing. Also, that’s just the psychology of human beings. This is why it’s important to have an offer or discount in place, in exchange for getting what you want from website visitors and getting their personal information.

Effective landing pages, with incredibly high conversion rates, move the customer deep into the conversion funnel. These sites gather information from visitors, in exchange for an offer or discount. After a time, the visitors can unsubscribe without a fee. In every sense – this is a win-win.  You can foster a sense of urgency by making the trial offer for a limited time.


3. Keep it simple

This TED talk below is about the paradox of consumer choice. Research has shown than when consumers are given too many choices, they ultimately take longer to make decisions, and often are put off completely.  Therefore, the simpler you make your landing page, the more effective it will be.  Narrow down the focus, be brief and succinct, and reap the benefits.

The paradox of consumer choice

4. Give me one reason to stay here

5. A catchy and memorable headline

In the obscure and largely forgotten 90’s song by Tracey Chapman, he asks us to ”Give me one reason to stay here…you gotta make me change my mind”. This is precisely what we must provide visitors to a landing page. Think of benefits, features, and how the product or service fulfils a need or solves a problem for customers.


5. A catchy and memorable headline

Visitors to your landing page got there for a reason. It’s the job of the headline to get them to pull up a chair and stay there a while. It takes a fraction of a second to decide whether or not to stay on a landing page.  See this example from Treehouse

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6. An Intuitive Layout for Multiple Devices

Eight Ingredients for Creating Landing Pages That Sell!
Consider how the website user will navigate through your website – UX or user experience

Bear in mind that the landing page that’s visible on your mammoth HD monitor, will be different from what other visitors see on older or smaller devices. Therefore, keep this in mind with the design. Keep the vital messages in the centre top of the screen, such as the headline, logo and call to action.


7. Appropriate and engaging visuals

Sometimes visuals can work well to express an abstract emotion

Don’t fall for crappy gifs, stock photos or poor quality videos. Visuals can be powerful when used correctly and sparingly. Sometimes visuals can be used to express an abstract emotion or theme of a blog, but only in a way that will make this obvious to the reader. Also you should avoid including videos that start automatically when the user opens the landing page – This is a cardinal sin. It’s intrusive and annoying, and guarantees that people will exit the landing page as soon as possible.


8. Badges of social authority

8. Badges of social authority
8. Badges of social authority

Always include social media links. If you have been established a while, then it’s also a good idea to include links to press clippings, testimonials, and a portfolio of work. This establishes credibility, authority and verifies that your business is a respectable player.  Don’t overdo it with self-aggrandizement though. Instead aim for simplicity and plenty of white space, with links to more information, should the visitors want to dig further.


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Getting on the blogging bandwagon: How to create interesting blog content

Getting on the blogging bandwagon: How to create interesting blog content

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Every business from start-up to multinational has a blog. You need to get on the blogging bandwagon, or feel its wheels rolling over the top of you! The challenge with blogging often isn’t the budget constraints, it’s coming up with engaging ideas that are going to resonate with your audience.

Everyone has a unique perspective and insights to share

The great thing about blogging is that everyone has many stories to share. Bring together a bunch of people with similar interests and challenges in life and you can build a supportive online community.

Create and Curate

No matter your blog topic – you can bet that somebody somewhere has already laid the groundwork, with an abundance of content written any topic under the sun. So take inspiration from this content, and then write your own story.

Curating lists is also a great idea. You could recommended blog posts, sites, books, podcasts or videos. This helps other people in the community and adds depth to your blog posts. People are more likely to stick around and read when the content is interesting, relevant and informative to them.

Guest Blogging

If you’ve enjoyed reading articles by certain bloggers then ask to interview them for our blog.  Most bloggers or subject matter experts will relish the opportunity for exposure. Firstly, make some editorial guidelines clear.

Don’t allow them to directly promote a specific product or service. Also, in many cases, you can avoid having to pay for a guest post, unless the blogger is enormously famous. Their pay-off comes at the end of the guest post, with an included brief about themselves, their expertise and a link to their own website.

A guest blogger’s writing can be like a breath of fresh air to a business blog. The guest blogger automatically becomes a powerful brand advocate, sharing the post all over social media. It’s a powerful way to immediately increase the reach and virality of the post.

Repurpose Your Existing Content

Use your existing collection of content to create a video tutorial, slideshare presentation, infographic, magazine article or any other type of new content. Most of the work will have already been done, it’s just a matter of tweaking the content for the new format.

Industry round-ups

Collect all of the interesting and industry-relevant research, quotes, and insights you can find from other popular blogs and websites. Then combine this with your own content that’s created in-house as well as industry research nuggets. When combined together this can be turned into long-form content for your blog.  and other little golden nuggets of information that you find elsewhere on the web. Posting this in a steady, uninterrupted flow onto social media is going to keep up the momentum of interest.

Think Telephone Not Loudspeaker

Make sure that your social media communication is like a telephone and not a loudspeaker or PA system. Social media is about engagement and getting people involved and interested in your story. People want to see you as a friend on social media, not a brand or business. So keep the content entertaining, light-hearted and amusing – as you would to your friends.  And don’t sell to your followers and fans, they will abandon you quicker than you can say ‘Sign Up Now’.

Quality content is the door, ingenuity and creativity is the key.  Speak with me today about how I can bring your blog to life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eight sassy design principles that underpin great web design projects

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Here are eight core fundamentals that tend to underpin website design and development work. Although take these with a grain of salt. Perhaps, if you’re in the mood, add some lemon and vodka which tends to add further creative fuel to design projects.

1. Be innovative

The best graphic design pushes the boundaries and involves critical thinking about approach and UI. It’s always a good idea to stay abreast of changes to industry standards and then know when to break the rules too.

2. Start with a problem

All design from graphic design to web design to industrial design, should take a problem and solve it. Think in terms of UX and the presentation of information. Make sure that the content on the site is useful to human visitors. And also useful to robots parsing the site. SEO and exceptional content are equally important to good design and should work hand in glove.

3. Be unobtrusive

Keep the design as simple, clean, unobtrusive as possible. Create systems and navigation that are transparent and simple to use. The best design doesn’t scream out for attention, but is subtly beautiful. It announces itself with a whisper and a murmur.

4. Understand aesthetics

Space and Grid: Information on websites should be ordered in a logical way for the eyes of visitors. Work the white space really carefully.

Typography: Keep it tight with only three different types in a maximum of six sizes used throughout the site.

Colour Choices: Keep in mind colour choice, along with integration of an overall brand identity. There’s an intricate psychology to colour choice in design. It’s important to be aware of that.

5. Keep the end goal in mind

Don’t obfuscate the website or design by adding too many elements. Have one call to action. Then neatly and simply guide the user towards this through the design.

6. Design for a long shelf life

Great web design and graphic design employs classic design principles and isn’t faddish or fashionable. You should use a flexible template that can be changed or modified with new content, images and other small modular iterations. It should be mobile-first and driven by the user experience, rather than pushing an obvious agenda. Future-proofed design looks beautiful on all devices. It uses HTML and CSS that’s easy to read and change as required.

7. Build integrity

The purpose of design is to be open, honest and provide everything that a user needs. A great user experience provides all of the sign posts, guidance and help that is required for the user to achieve clearly defined conversion goals on the website. The purpose of design isn’t just about creating the ‘wow’ factor. It’s also practical and helps visitors to reach a specific goal (or conversion) or to gain a deeper understanding into a subject.

8. Aim to fail fast, and pick yourself up

In order to completely capitalise on your skills, you need to fail fast and early on. Sounds rather counter-intuitive but it’s really not.

James Dyson of the bagless vacuuming empire failed with his prototype vacuum 5,127 times before perfecting his bagless model. Through an iterative process of trial and error he eventually made it. This required some grit, perseverance, determination on his part. In order to succeed, one needs to fail over and over again.

Agile Project Management 101 teaches us that failing fast and early on is a low-risk strategy. This means a project may be more likely to ‘break on through to the other side’ and succeed.


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The Coronary Atlas

Content Strategy, Copywriting, Graphic design, Web design

The Coronary Atlas project aims to understand the reasons coronary stents fail, how we can improve them and help more patients effectively. I helped the researchers by building a website and doing all of the graphic design, web design, Google Analytics integration, on-site SEO optimisation and some of the content.

I helped them to articulate their message through visual and written content assets so that they could talk about complex academic concepts in a way that anyone could understand.

Design showreel 

 

During the planning and scoping phase of the design, I did some usability assessments in the form of interviews, surveys and looking at the design of competitors sites. I then worked with the researchers to design a website that was usable, relevant and designed with the various stakeholders in mind who are of interest to the researchers.

The final design consisted of a general interest page that was written in a simpler language called Global Context. This page was a reference guide to coronary artery disease and featured an interactive infographic. This contrasted to other pages which were research focused and written with other researchers in mind.

Infographic creation, interactive design

Working along with the researchers, I created an infographic which demonstrates in a clear and articulate manner, a very complex engineering and research pipeline. I also designed all of the icons, the interactive elements and slides.

Coronary Atlas infographic - Optimising Stenting outcomes by Athena Dennis.

Coronary Atlas infographic – Optimising Stenting outcomes by Athena Dennis.