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

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

Blog

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four ways to turn your social media and email marketing into a well-oiled machine

Four lessons in turning your social media and email marketing into a well-oiled machine

Blog

Social media marketing and email marketing may seem a little redundant in the brave new world of AI and emerging technologies. However, they are still a powerful part of any marketing arsenal.  Think of social media and email marketing as the Neil and Tim Finn of the online marketing world. They just play really well together! 

Social media and email marketing are the Neil and Tim Finn of the online marketing world

Here are some key ways to seamlessly integrate your social media and email marketing efforts, then watch as new customers come within your reach.

Lesson 1. Email marketing Is not the daggy jumper you should throw away

Email marketing has somehow earned the reputation in online marketing circles as being akin to a  hand-knitted jumper with a dog motif.  But ask yourself, how many times have you checked email today or this week? According to email marketing research by UK based think tank Econsultancy, in 2017, 74% of client-side marketers rated email marketing as being either excellent or good for return on investment. 

Lesson 1. Email Marketing Is Not the Daggy Jumper You Should Throw Away
Lesson 1. Email Marketing Is Not the Daggy Jumper You Should Throw Away

That’s a pretty good reason to continue with email marketing. Although the landscape has shifted quickly in recent years, with AI and personalisation becoming the driving force behind email marketing campaigns.

Lesson 2: Create clickable content but not Click Bait

Lesson 2: Create clickable content but not Click Bait
Lesson 2: Create clickable content but not Click Bait

If you create a compelling and informative email newsletter, that tells people something that they didn’t already know – they may be compelled to share it. 

Always Connect

Any integrated social media and email marketing campaign should be united by genuine attempts at connecting with your audience. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a monetary incentive or discount offer. The invitation to connect could be far more personal and authentic than that. It could include:

Interesting, relevant content

Interesting and constantly refreshed content that is made to be compelling, informative and enjoyable to your audience and touches on what matters to them.

Training, support and the opportunity to build genuine connections

While monetary and discount rewards are relevant for generating quick sales. This doesn’t engender long-term customer loyalty. Instead, loyalty is built by having genuine and personalised conversations with your audience. This could be through offering support, training or knowledge-based rewards to your audience that build trust. Email and social media are perfect distribution channels for this.

Lesson 3: Optimise and test your email marketing

 Lesson 3: Optimise and test your email marketing
Lesson 3: Optimise and test your email marketing

Any primate with an opposable thumb can slap an opt-in button onto an email. However, a true email marketing artisan will test as well. It’s always a good idea to run some A/B testing on your eDM and your website for various opt-ins. Test various colour combinations and combinations of text and positioning on the page to find the most effective formula. Optimise and test your eDM itself to see what resonates best with your audience. Where it’s possible, you should personalise your email marketing through CRM personalisation tools (like those available in HubSpot and MailChimp).

Lesson 4: Offer loyalty incentives

 Lesson 4: Offer loyalty incentives
Lesson 4: Offer loyalty incentives

According to the Data and Marketing Association’s latest report, many brands are missing out on the benefits of customer loyalty initiatives. Only 49% of marketers in the survey said their company offered such a scheme.

Interestingly, it wasn’t only monetary incentives that interested the consumers in the study. Consumers also wanted rewards based on location, personalised emails, and game-like challenges.

Leverage these four lessons for integrating both social media and email marketing, and you will have mastered a valuable skill for cross-promoting your products or services. Good Luck!

Do you want to integrate your social media and email marketing into one well-oiled machine? Get in touch with me below.

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

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

Blog

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

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Brain Research New Zealand

Content Strategy, Copywriting, Graphic design, Social media marketing, Video production, Web design

Background and challenges

Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa (BRNZ) is a Centre of Research Excellence which was newly created in 2014. BRNZ involved 4 Universities – Otago, Canterbury, Auckland and AUT along with several independent research institutes and groups and over 300 researchers.

BRNZ’s aim was to advance the treatment and prevention of diseases of the ageing brain on a global scale. BRNZ therefore required a heavy-duty marketing approach to kick it off.

I was the sole-charge marketing person for the group and as such had to be a one-woman band. I also had a zero dollar marketing budget with virtually no access to funding for day-to-day marketing, with the exception of the creation of the annual report and some key research events.

As such I needed to produce valuable marketing assets out of nothing but my own capabilities. I also needed to foster an atmosphere of branding consistency and cooperation between historically competitive institutions, which were now brought together under the same banner for the first time.

I therefore put together a marketing strategy and then executed all of it highly effectively.

Actions

• Management of a database of community members for targeted personalised comms around specific issues, via Hubspot and HootSuite.

• Ongoing community outreach with relevant not for profits and iwi across the country – both online and in-person events.

• Event planning, management and promotion before, during and after events.

• Produce creative, cost-effective merchandise, branding materials and visual branding (myself and via an outsourced agency).

• Social media management and content management best practice training for researchers.

• Measuring and optimising the website using Google Analytics and making cost-effective recommendations for optimising content for SEO and conversion.

• Content, design and digital marketing using free and open-source tools where possible to keep costs low.

• Media liaison with Fairfax, NZ Herald and other journalists and getting researchers stories out into the media.

• Relationship building with dispersed teams and individuals in order to capture and convey research stories to the wider world and get cooperation on key campaigns.

 

Results

 

Community engagement, social media and online conversion optimisation

As a part of my role with Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa, my role was to engage directly with Not for Profits and Maori Iwi within Auckland and Dunedin and to arrange marae visits for researchers and clinicians.
BRNZ had a stall at Te Matatini 2016 was an outstanding success. I managed to giveaway over 3,000 kete bags with the koromiko seeds and also to giveaway approximately 1,500 notepads. The community outreach and #GrowWithBRNZ campaign online and offline resulted in a 30% increase in Twitter followers along with substantial user generated content.
The campaign also meant a spike in engagement, with over 3,000 views of the website during the week of the event. The conversion goal of 100 responses to our online survey was exceeded and we received over 800 responses to the online survey into knowledge of neurological conditions.
Community events (which I organised and ran) contributed to the group receiving millions in philanthropic funding towards improving health outcomes.

Media interviews 

Read the full selection of stories on Linked In

 

Web design, graphic design, content marketing

I designed a new website for Brain Research New Zealand which was based on usability assessments, paper and online surveys, and research into the existing CMS and what pages were most visited on the site. Also the UX process involved integrating the most important user functionality such as access to new research studies looking for participants, as well as contact information for key clinicians. I designed the site with this and design best practice principles in mind.

Internal communications/ research collaboration

I wrote, designed and produced a pamphlet for researchers to promote themselves internally to other researchers within BRNZ and externally to researchers around the world.

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Annual Report writing, design and production management

This was the first annual report ever produced for Brain Research New Zealand.Therefore it needed to be visually impressive, on-brand and also contain stories of substance and scientific rigour which would impress the target audience – the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) the governing body which provides funding to BRNZ on a 4 yearly basis.

I coordinated the content, interviewed researchers, coordinated the photography and managed the production of the design and printing via a design agency.

Click image to browse the document

Video production and post production

For the opening of several new dementia research clinics across the country, I managed photo shoots and produced a series of videos which featured interviews, speeches and cut aways to stock footage.  See examples below

eDM template design and distribution