Given that around 2.35 billion people will be using social media after 2020, it no longer makes any sense for businesses to ignore the importance of social media. No matter what part of the social media journey you're on, just starting out or a veteran – there's always room for improvement. With that in mind, here's ten ways to ramp up your social media presence.

Six Ways to Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence

Blog, Social media marketing

Given that around 2.35 billion people will be using social media after 2020, it no longer makes any sense for businesses to ignore the importance of social media. No matter what part of the social media journey you’re on, just starting out or a veteran – there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, here’s ten ways to ramp up your social media presence.

1. Choose Your Social Media Platforms Wisely

If you’re running a corporate business consultancy, there’s probably not much point being on Facebook. Likewise if you’re running a largely B2B enterprise. Your organisation would be better off on LinkedIn. However, if you are running a B2C enterprise where the end user is the consumer, then Facebook makes complete sense. This is where consumers spend a lot of time interacting with consumer brands. As a general rule, if you are a visually-oriented field such as design, photography, art, food, fashion or travel – then platforms geared for visual triggers and sharing like Instagram and Pinterest might be for you. Twitter is suitable for any business that requires fast moving interactivity and conversation about products or services. That’s why banks, news agencies and transport companies tend to have a strong presence and following on Twitter.

Six Ways to Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence
It may seem like a good idea to put yourself onto every platform out there, but be selective about choosing your social platforms, according to where your audience is likely to be.

2. Keep Content Timely, Newsworthy and Visual

We can define newsworthy content as being what the audience wants to hear about. So for example, if you were running a home décor company, then you would profile some fashionable trends in lounge furniture this year.

Also important is timeliness. Create a calendar of relevant holidays, seasons and key dates for the general population and the industry. Integrate these into your content as well. In this case, write about trends in lounge furniture that make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift! Or track down the birth date of the person who invented the chesterfield sofa, and offer a competition on that day.

Don’t be afraid to ask your fans what they enjoy hearing about. Social media is a conversation not a one way street. Finally, keep the ratio of pictures and videos high – social media is predominantly visual.

3. Tell a Compelling Story

With the time line functionality of many social media platforms such as Facebook, it’s become easier to showcase the bigger picture of your business, including milestones in the company history, employees, changes and innovations and community activities. All of this can be great publicity for your business and be a compelling story on social media.

In this talk, grand daddy of online marketing, Seth Godin talks about how social media and the future of work and communication.

Six Ways to Ramp Up Your Social Media Presence
Don’t squander people’s attention with boring stories, keep it real and interesting.

4. Be Authentic

When interacting on social media, make sure that you use a tone of voice that’s appropriate for the interaction. This isn’t a place for stiff boardroom professionalism. Think of the community you’re dealing with, as being your friend’s friend. You would be friendly, warm and yet polite and respectful. The key to being social media savvy, is truly listening to what the community says and learning from it. The key is being a real person and not a cardboard cut out.

5. Treat Social Media As An Arm of Customer Service

Social Media nowadays is becoming more and more important to the daily running of organisations and small businesses. The more that you make your presence visible on social media, the more likely that your customers will find and interact with you there. After all, it’s cheaper and quicker than a phone call and it’s also publicly visible.

There is a risky part of social media for businesses. If a complaint or gripe goes unanswered, it will reflect badly on that business in terms of customer service. So always stay vigilant on social media and have a polite, helpful and useful response ready. Don’t be tempted to be apathetic or less than helpful – as you’re responding on a public forum, this will only have a negative impact on the brand’s image.

A variety of interesting sorts are on social media platforms, engage with them but beware of trolls

6. Measure Your Impact

There’s no use in having a social media presence without measurement, to ensure that it’s effective. Use Google Analytics and third party applications to track and measure your performance across time frames and with different campaigns. Only then can you accurately gauge the success of your social media campaign.

Effective social media marketing can be a lot more tricky than meets the eye. For comprehensive advice on how to improve your presence on social media, speak with me today.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Getting consistently on-brand content for clients can be a challenge for a number of reasons. This definitive guide for content managers takes the pain out of planning, coordinating and managing content writers so that there’s a high quality and consistent result for the clients.

The definitive guide for content managers: How to get the most out of content writers
Don’t squash or squander their creativity, incorporate it and encourage it!

1. Get the right client brief

The client should be clear about their content requirements with you, so that you can then translate this for your freelance content writers. If the client is unclear themselves about what they need then put your strategy hat on and provide insights and recommendations for them about content types, relevant channels, content strategy, timelines and what sort of content and platforms will get the best results.

2. Work out the strategy

If you and the client are going down the blogging route, then develop a third party blogging strategy that encompasses the needs of the client and a series of credible, interesting and enjoyable blogging topics. These blog posts will need to read as authentic, interesting and from an SEO point of view, a good way to provide backlinks to your client’s website.

3. Ideation of topics around thought leadership

The content strategy should emphasise that the client is an authority in a particular area. Be it teaching languages or selling lawnmowers. So the posts created by the content writers should demonstrate this expertise by offering helpful, practical advice that can be a real resource to readers.

4. Communicate with your content writers

Once you have liaised with the client extensively and worked out a content strategy, then at this point its a good time to involve your content writers in the content creation process. You can ask them to consider your topic idea and investigate into the topic extensively. Ask your writers to write while considering whether or not they would actually enjoy reading the article themselves. Would they find the article useful or enjoyable to read. If not, then there is still work to be done on the post before it goes live.

The definitive guide for content managers: How to get the most out of content writers
Communication is critical with your team to get the best result in terms of writing

5. Headlines are vital

Get your writers to consider the strength of the title. Headlines/titles are a key part of blogging. People don’t spend ages reading everything online; they read what stands out and catches their attention. The headline is a writer’s chance to grab the attention of the audience and the post itself is the chance to maintain attention in a sustained way. Content writers can do this in a number of ways, including:

  • Surprising the audience.
  • Creating a sense of mystery
  • Making the audience empathise with something
  • Talking about a trigger (such as a celebrity, news story or seasonal event) they may be interested in.

Headline formats: 

  • Top 10 tips
  • How to…
  • 6 of the best…
  • 8 ways to…
  • 7 reasons why…
  • Dos and don’ts
  • The secret of…
  • The lazy way to…
  • 10 things we can learn from…
  • Early warning signs of…
  • The big question (one people can empathise with!)
  • Do you make these common mistakes?
The definitive guide for content managers: How to get the most out of content writers
Push your headlines to go off with a bang, not a whimper

6. Blog post essentials

In order to make sure your content writers are making web-friendly content, instruct them on including the following blog post essentials into their posts. These make posts more scannable and useful.

  • Great sub-heading
  • Bullet-point lists
  • Specific recommendations:
    • Places, events, etc
    • Physical addresses and contact phone numbers.
    • Website URLs and information
    • Maps
  • Images
  • Embed codes for Google Maps
  • Embed codes for YouTube clips

7. Branding considerations

There are certain commonsense things no client will want to talk about in articles such as crime, drug abuse, etc. Many of these topics will be obvious and won’t require any explanation.

Although ensure that you liaise with your clients for any touchy subjects or off-brand subjects that should not appear in content. Instruct your content writers to bear in mind that they should think about the client’s desired projected image and branding when they are writing. Instruct them to cut anything they are unsure about.

Also remember that the focus of an article should never be a service offered by a client’s rival. Services offered by the client must never be referred to in a negative way. If they’re compared with something, they should be represented as the better choice.

The definitive guide for content managers: How to get the most out of content writers
Writing for brands can be risky, especially when you need to explore difficult subjects

8. Accuracy, grammar and punctuation

Although as the content manager you should be vigilant for various grammar and punctuation issues in the final copy, the overall responsibility to ensure factual accuracy and quality control should also be the purview of the content writers themselves.

However for them to do their job properly, you should provide them with clear guidance on this. For example if they have to read a sentence more than once, they should rephrase it. Ask for concise, plain and punchy language. Use the active voice, not the passive voice. Break up sentences longer than 2 clauses.Paragraphs should only be 2-4 lines long – if they’re longer, ask the content writer to break them up. Subheadings and bullet-point lists should be used where possible to make content easier to scan and speed-read.

The definitive guide for content managers: How to get the most out of content writers
Exploring content together and proof-reading as a collaborative team is the best way to ensure accuracy

6. Including Links (external content)

Links in blog posts add legimitacy to the content and provide a high quality addition to posts. Get your content writers to include links naturally in the context of the post. By including them in an author bio they can demonstrate the client’s expertise rather than pollute the content. When links are included, ensure the content writers include them naturally in sentences – the grammar should be correct.

7. Formatting

Provide clear instructions on how content writers should format their posts before submission. How pedantic you become about this is up to you! Below are some guidelines I needed to follow to ensure that posts were consistent all of the time. With a huge workflow, this can be very time-saving in the long term.

  • Posts should be in Word with the following format:
  • Language should be set to English (UK)
  • Margins: 2.54cm all way round
  • Line spacing: 1.15
  • Font: Calibri, 11pt, black (not headings/subheadings)
  • Text alignment: justified (not headings/subheadings)
  • Main heading: centre, Calibri, 26pt, bold.
  • 1st-level subheadings: left, Calibri, 18pt, bold
  • 2nd-level subheadings: left, Calibri, 14pt, bold.
  • Keywords/links: hyperlinks should be inserted where keywords appear in the text, like this.
  • Line breaks: Please leave line breaks after headings and images and between paragraphs.

10. Submitting content

In order to avoid the confusion of a multitude of work coming in from different content writers and for different client briefs, you should give your content writers clear instructions on submission as follows:

  • Reply to the email you were sent that contains the relevant content brief, leaving the original subject line.
  • Attach the Word document with correct file name along with the relevant 2 images (all together in a zip file would be ideal).
  • Include any relevant notes within the body of the email.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

The definitive guide for content managers: How to get the most out of content writers

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How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy

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How do you know when you’ve raved on for too long about a product or service? It just depends on what you’re trying to achieve and the audience. Here’s the only guide you’ll ever need for when to tone it down, and where more elaboration is needed.

The Litmus Test for Long or Short Copy

The product

A good rule of thumb to follow is the more complex, luxurious, technical or unknown the product is – the longer you need to make the copy. After all, what sort of information would you need to know, if you were going to part with a lot of money, for something you didn’t understand or have never heard of?

The purpose

What do you need to do with the copy?  If want to explain the benefits of a simple and well-known product, only a couple of sentences will suffice. If you’re wanting to compare your product to the competition and state why yours is superior – more words will be required.

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Think of the end-goal for the copy, and work backwards from there

The Rules of Headlines

The rules are as bendy and flexible as Playdoe. When it comes to headlines, the more creative, pun-tastic and playful they are – the better. The 100 Greatest Advertisements by Julian Lewis Watkins is a classic study of the metrics are required for writing. Watkins believed that headlines are best abbreviated to eight words or less.  Although in recent years, this theory has been challenged.

UX guru Jakob Neilsen conducted a study about how readers’ eyes travel across webpages. This demonstrated that readers scan webpages in an F pattern. So the top of the page including the headline is crucial. As well as the first sub-heading, and any points of interest while scrolling down the page, including pull quotes and images.

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Sometimes what you think will work in copy just isn’t the case…and you need to go weirder…much weirder.

What we can take from this is that headlines are the primary pulling point for most readers. So it’s important to have rapid-fire, intriguing headlines. The eight words or less maxim may not apply. For some in-depth advice on creating effective headlines, check out Ten ways to write killer headlines.

When Less is More

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Sassy is a good word to describe going OTT or a bit extra on copy…sometimes this is needed.

Well-Known Everyday Items

Convenience products like groceries or chain restaurants offerings don’t need lengthy descriptions or much persuasion to sell. The same goes for well-known brand name products. Such as over-the-counter medicines,    Keep the copy nice and short and it will be enough to get a sales conversion.

Let the Picture (or multimedia) tell the story

Imagine that you’re selling home décor or conversely – a debut single for a band. Less copy is necessary and instead there’s a need for either audio or visual input on the product page. Think of the functionality or suitability of the item, does this need to be explained? If it doesn’t then don’t bother!

How to Judge When to Use Long or Short Copy
Sometimes words can be cheap and an illustration or a photo can tell the story better…embrace those opportunities.

Tried and Tested products

This is the cousin to every-day budget items. Tried and tested products that work the way people expect them to work, don’t require much selling or additional words. Instead what they do require is a compelling and competitive price point, because well-known items are more likely to prompt people to shop around for the best price.

When More is More

Big Ticket Luxury Items

People will need more of a reason to part with large sums of money for big ticket items. There needs to be comprehensive selling points that work in association with strong branding imagery and advertising.

Products That Require a ‘Try Before You Buy’ Principle

 This includes cosmetics, skin care, shoes, clothes, hats, sunglasses, perfume and so on.

Untested items

Any items that haven’t been tried and tested on the market before, or that are unfamiliar to the chosen audience, deserve a much longer and in-depth write up, about the benefits over existing products.

Specialty or Bespoke items

These are the items that people never knew that they needed or wanted until it came along. They fulfill a need and make life easier in some way. However they need to be explained. The same goes for customised or bespoke items. These need to be explained because they have many unique variables and are costed higher than other products.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content

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Email is far more personal and immediate than other forms of digital marketing. An e-newsletter is the perfect way of reaching your clients, followers and those who have varying levels of curiosity about you and your business. E-newsletters allow you to prepare customers and potential new customers throughout different stages of the buying cycle. It also allows you to differentiate yourself from competitors by offering more added value, insights, incentives and offers, with this closer mode of contact. People will be much more likely to purchase a product or service from your business when you stick to these six essential rules.

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
Don’t wait until you are drowning in BAU work…start planning early!

1. Set Goals and Plan Early

Before writing your newsletter, or creating a proper online marketing campaign, it’s important to set out goals. This will clarify the purpose of each newsletter, and also it’s placement within a broader internet marketing campaign of newsletter topics. This is when you should consider frequency, time of day for delivery, build a solid subscriber list and also the thematic or seasonal offers and topics that relate to a broader editorial calendar.

2. What does the audience want to know about?

Consider what the target audience wants to know about, not what your organisation wants to tell them. In other words, don’t go for the super-hard sell. Instead offer relevant, interesting and on-brand content through the newsletter. Otherwise it’s liable to end up in the recycle bin.

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
It’s always worth your time to investigate what your audience really wants, rather than banging your own drum.

3. Does your newsletter add value?

Put every newsletter content through a check-list. Does it offer special insights? exclusive content? a product or service discount? A great newsletter makes people realise why they subscribed in the first place. It fosters loyalty from people, because it gives them exclusive access to a secret club.

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
Does your newsletter ad value for customers? If not it may not be worth your time.

4. Consider the time of delivery

Heavy internet users usually check their email at least five times per day. Even people who are constantly busy, will check their email at least once per day. In the morning between 8 and 10 am is often a popular time, also after dinner at around 8pm. Catch people when they are relaxed and have time to browse. Groupon often send out lunchtime offers and this works very well.

5. Call to Action

Click here for more information. Click here for the limited offer. Check availability now.

A newsletter should have plenty of ways to ”find out more”. There should also be plenty of one-click options so that people can follow the business on social media. Make it simple and impulsive for people to stay in touch in many ways!

Six essentials for brilliant newsletter design and content
A hummingbird’s heart beats at 1,263 beats per minute. What is your superpower? And therefore what should your call to action be?

6. Think Seasonal and Topical

Plan the newsletters around local holidays, the four seasons, industry news, legislative changes. When this is stuff that people want to hear about it’s online marketing gold!

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!

Given that around 2.35 billion people will be using social media after 2020, it no longer makes any sense for businesses to ignore the importance of social media. No matter what part of the social media journey you're on, just starting out or a veteran – there's always room for improvement. With that in mind, here's ten ways to ramp up your social media presence.

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts

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In a crowded online landscape, some SME and mid-sized organisations get lost in Google rankings.   No longer can organisations sit by idly on the internet and wait to be noticed like a coy teenager at the school dance. When it comes to targeting localised target audiences using content and digital strategy, there are nine key strategic maneuvers to make in order to outdo the competition.

1. Create a geo-location strategy

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
1. Create a geo-location strategy

According to eConsultancy, in the second quarter of 2019, consumers downloaded more than 30.3 billion mobile apps globally. This generated 22.5bn for Google Play and a 10% increase year on year profit. Although consumers spend up to 80% more on apps for iOS compared to Android.

Make a plan that includes relevant and popular search queries and keywords and that’s mobile-first, optimised for mobile ecommerce and localised. When analysing keywords, it’s important to make sure that they are relevant to your organisation and its services or products.

Also, identify if there are long tail keywords that include the particular region or state that you live in, and not just the city.

2. Talk about your area in the blog

It’s not just about using SEO tactics. Humans have to read your blog too. So use SEO best practices for geo-location and make reference to local areas in the posts.

To capture a local audience – speak their language. This can include references to local events, local celebrities or local issues of the day (only if this is relevant to the topic). You could even take it to the next level and use colloquial terms that will resonate with this local audience, and signal that you’re from this particular area, in a genuine way.

3. Have an active presence in the real world

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
3. Have an active presence in the real world

We’re not talking about the online community, we mean the real world. Businesses should be concerned about the local community. The smartest PR move that businesses can make, is to tie their products or services to the activities of a local community charity, in a tangible and meaningful way.

For example yoga schools could offer a local mental health association a discount, for those affected by mental illness to join yoga classes. If you run an auto repair shop, then invest in supporting a local ‘drive safe’ campaign for teenagers.

This has many positive benefits, including increasing online and offline brand awareness, business contacts, and creating a positive impression of the brand in the local community.

4. Showcase local events on your site

Another easy way to get some local traffic to your site, is to showcase local events in your blog. This is a clever way to tie in products or services that businesses offer, with the activities of the local community. It can drive a lot of traffic to the site. Keep posts informative, entertaining and light-hearted and don’t go for the hard-sell.

Find out about opportunities to partner with or sponsor local events. This means a higher number of quality inbound links coming to the site. This will drive up the search ranking in a sustained and long term way.

5. Localise and personalise your website content

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
5. Localise content with seasonal offers

New research by Monetate has revealed that personalisation strategies are helping companies exceed revenue expectations and get 3 x the ROI and customer lifetime value compared to companies not employing content personalisation.  

In much the same way, it’s possible to localise and personalise your website content by using CRM integrations. It’s possible to localise and customise your content so that it’s relevant to the particular season, location and even the weather. Although talking about this further is beyond the scope of this article, you may want to go to the Hubspot website to read their white papers on personalisation.

6. Localise your SEO keywords

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
6. Localise your SEO keywords

Google’s search algorithm has moved on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Steer clear of translating plays on words, turns of phrase or other expressions in English into other languages with your Adwords campaign. These puns often end up sounding awkward in other languages. Instead in order to connect with customers in localised areas overseas, enlist the help of a local copywriter who can convert the message in the right way.

7. Localise your PPC landing pages

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
7. Localise your PPC landing pages

Just as it’s important to localise your Pay Per Click ads, it’s also important to localise your landing pages. This ensures a consistency of messaging from the PPC ad campaign through to your targeted landing pages. For this you will need a local copywriter to translate puns and turns of phrase into the local lingo.

8. Socialise Your Blog Content

This doesn’t mean take a print out of the post, sit in a pub with a pint and talk to a piece of paper! What it means is promoting the blog posts on social media channels to an extended network of stakeholders like customers, potential customers, staff, family, friends and other interested third parties. Only then will the content begin to work hard for you.

Here’s a TED talk by mother bear of the blogging revolution, Mena Trott, creator of Movable Type. She talks about how the essence of blogging is building a much more friendly and connected world. This applies in just the same way to businesses, as it does to people writing about their own personal lives online. Although remember not to conflate the two. Business blogs need to stay on message and on brand, whereas personal blogs are free range and able to roam wherever they want.

Remember that when it comes to blog posts, the recipe is one part SEO, one part excellent and engaging writing.

Bonus Tip: Target localised users on mobile

Nine tips for localising your digital marketing and content marketing efforts
Bonus Tip: Target localised users on mobile

In 2019, smartphone has overtaken desktop in terms of ecommerce sales. According to the latest Capgemini IMRG research. This means you should amp up your mobile location based personalisation. It’s also important to invest in a mobile-first website that drives sales conversions.

Is your content working hard and producing good enough results for your business? Find out with a free content audit!