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10 tips to keeping your head above the content marketing wave

19 Feb

Outsourcing stress

We all know that content marketing is a critical part of any marketing plan but quite frankly the sheer volume can be overwhelming. I’m currently creating a Marketing Strategy for a small business and naturally content is a large part of the plan. However, the creation of this content is time-consuming and needs to be well thought through.

The problem, especially for small businesses, is making it work and keeping your head above the content marketing wave. Here are my top 10 tips on coping. If you’ve got any tips to add, please let me know.

  1. Create a content strategy – this is a critical part of content marketing. Align the content strategy to your brand as well as your target market. Use any information that you have about your customers and potential customers. Analyse your current social media interactions and see what works and what doesn’t. Also, it is very important to set objectives for your content marketing – what do you want to achieve? Please see the infographic below, created by David Colgate, www.squaresquirrel.co.uk
  2. Decide on your content channels – you don’t have to be everywhere all at once. Understand what works for your business and stick to it. It is pointless being on Facebook, for example, if you’ve been going at it for ages and are getting nothing back. Pick your channels carefully in terms of what will deliver the best results for your business.
  3. Create a content calendar – this is a really critical step to surviving! Look at your social media channels, your competitors’ social media channels and let this guide you in creating your content calendar. This will give you some real insight into what the market craves in terms of information. A content calendar is a great planning tool. Remember quality is far more important than quantity, although of course you do need to be active in you social spaces. It is very important to remember that this plan needs to be fluid…you don’t want to stick to it like a fly and miss opportunities based on news and trends amongst others.
  4. Staff up – make sure you have the resources to be able to deal with creating the content – whether it be articles, press releases or infographics to name a few. Consider using staff and client interviews as well as testimonials for additional content that is easy to access and makes your brand more personal. If you’re able to handle the load in-house, that’s fantastic. Alternatively, hire freelance professionals to handle some of the content that you’re unable to get done.
  5. Support – follow loads of other businesses in the social media arena within your industry or for specific clients you would want to target. This is a way to get your name noticed and to encourage people to follow you on social media too.
  6. Share, share, share – this is a great way of creating content but not actually writing it yourself. If you see tweets, updates or posts that are great, share them – reblog, retweet, share on Facebook. Shares get you noticed. Share something, give credit and add a bit of your own opinion.
  7. Get guest bloggers – ask experts within your industry to guest blog for you. This is a great way of getting some excellent content out there.
  8. Join groups – join groups on LinkedIn and keep the conversation going. Ask questions, put your opinion forward and engage. This is also a fantastic way to get noticed and to position yourself as an expert
  9. Be active – don’t leave your Social Media accounts just hanging out there, keep them active, respond to comments and make sure you spend at least half an hour a day working on it
  10. Comment – always comment on various Social media platforms…get noticed.

Content Strategy

Don’t quit…

13 Feb

Just about a year ago a very special person sent this to me. This is one of my favourite poems of all time…I hope you enjoy. The message being to all you bloggers, small businesses and anybody else working their booties off…don’t quit and keep going! It will all be worth it in the end.

Don't quit

Some very funny social media cartoons

11 Feb

I have to say, I’m a bit of a sucker for funny cartoons…these all come from Growtoons by Joey Strawn. They are brilliant, hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Thanks to Joey Strawn for these awesome cartoons

Thanks to Joey Strawn for these awesome cartoons

evolution Frankenstrategy growtoon_NYresolution MarsLanding Romance-2_01 Secret-Words Social-has-talent1

Content Marketing ~ Start Thinking Like a Publisher

9 Feb

This is a good article…marketing is changing as we all know. There is definitely a point here in that we need to start thinking like publishers. As I’ve said before, it takes time and you need to make sure you have the resources to handle it!

Content Marketing ~ Start Thinking Like a Publisher.

via Content Marketing ~ Start Thinking Like a Publisher.

What’s all the fuss about content marketing?

6 Feb

There is so much out there on content marketing and it’s a revolution happening right before our eyes. I wanted to explore this phenomenon and discover what all the fuss is about…using myself as the content interactor. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the challenges you face with content marketing…

The content marketing revolution...what's the big fuss about?

The content marketing revolution…what’s the big fuss about?

I decided to use myself as the ‘test subject’ so to speak, to get an understanding of this revolution that is taking the world by storm. I used a typical day in my life, as a consumer and as a business woman, to get the inside scoop. What I’m trying to get to are my behaviours and actions, as a consumer, with the various content that I come into contact with on a daily basis. What works, what doesn’t and why? What am I looking for in content and what do I get out of it? These are critical questions that marketers need to ask themselves when creating content.

So, what’s all the fuss about?

Here is a day in my life…

8am – I’m at my desk and the first thing that I do is trawl through my emails. Due to the nature of my job I am subscribed to every blog and newsletter out there that deals with social media and content marketing. This is an ever-changing landscape and keeping up, let alone doing my own work, can be challenging. When I turn on my computer there are normally at least 14 emails relating to these subjects. What speaks to me and what doesn’t? I only have a certain amount of time…so grab me upfront.

So much to read...grab me quick

So much to read…grab me quick

  1. The headline (obviously), but it really can make a difference. Something that stands out as particularly relevant to me, doesn’t sell or has a humorous angle, are normally the ones that catch my eye.
  2. The design of the email – if it is well designed and clean with a click-through to an article this is normally ok with me…I find dense text a bit overwhelming. Quite frankly I don’t have the time.
  3. Bring me an infographic…well I’m right there with you. It’s quick, it’s easy and it’s useful. Perfect for us busy creatures of today.
  4. The initial interaction – if the opening paragraph is dull as dishwater – Hasta la vista baby, I’m out of there. The headline needs to deliver on the promise it makes.
  5. The body copy – the headline and the first paragraph have drawn me in as it’s relevant and a bit humorous or particularly thought-provoking. Now I carry on reading, taking up my precious time. Then, with horror I realise that the body copy is not entertaining, doesn’t deliver on the headline promise and quite frankly I’m practically asleep. Cheers, it’s been nice knowing you. Unsubscribe to that email newsletter quick. Phew at least there will only be 13 tomorrow to trawl through (well let’s hope that they manage the unsubscribe quickly as they should!)

10am – So I’ve trawled through my emails, what now? How have I interacted and what has set my world on fire?

  1. I’ve visited a couple of times and quite frankly you’ve hit the nail on the head with me. Guess what, I trust your content and I really like your writing style. I have to mention one of my all-time best blogs here www.blog.hubspot.com.  My favourite post headline was ‘How to totally suck at Marketing’. In all my interactions, I’m looking for trends to keep up to date with (this differs from person to person) and this did it for me. I also used this presentation for a company I’m working with to prove my point about certain marketing techniques. So this article ticked all the boxes for me. Another very interesting article was ‘How to be a spammer in 20 simple steps’ This article amused me and once again I used it to prove a point…woo hoo! So for me it was a win, win situation.
  2. Now that I trust you and feel like you are targeting the right information at me, I’m visiting more regularly. In fact I’m even starting to engage with you. Then the next part of the magic formula, I love your content so much that I’m beginning to share it too. Your marketing sweet spot and my needs are met. Perfect!
  3. Now what’s really ticking the next box for me…please don’t try to sell me something each time you send me an email. I immediately shut off. My decision process is continuing all the time as I’m interacting with you and my curiosity is growing as I’m starting to see how your product could help me…yes really. Soon, oh soon dear company who gets it right, I will be asking for a quote.

In Summary

What’s the big fuss about?

  • The people who are doing it right are fulfilling my need
  • They are also helping me solve some business problems
  • They are not selling to me…they are guiding me in my decisions – gently
  • They are also sending me regular information, and because I now trust them, I’m sharing their stuff

So that’s why there is a big fuss about content marketing – and rightly so! Tick all the boxes for your clients.

But be warned when you embark on content marketing for your business – have a content strategy, have a content plan and calendar and churn it out (quality over quantity works)! Be prepared that this takes an immense amount of time, and that cannot be ignored. Get experts in your field, get the right people and also have copywriters to help with this process. Keep learning and adjusting and it will pay off…even if it takes a bit of time. It is not an overnight success story.

I’ve worked in many industries in generating content, and have a large amount of strategic experience, so if you do need any help, give me a shout and I’ll see if I can help out (it’s not a hard sell I promise!).

How are you managing content within your organisation? Is it taking an immense amount of time and is it paying off?

Proofreaders make your newsletters “right as rain”

5 Feb

Welcome to Lindsay McLoughlin as a guest blogger! I am so pleased to have you on-board and thank you for a wonderful article.

Writers cannot proofread their own words.

I recently heard a story about an organisation which produced a monthly newsletter. Before pressing the send button, the writer circulated the newsletter around the office for everyone to proofread. To a man, everyone missed the typo in Rebecca, who featured frequently within the content and was on the mailing list. The writer and his colleagues were too close to the content; a proofreader would have picked this mistake up in no time, making the newsletter right as rain!

“Right as rain” means absolutely fine, perfect, ready to go. Its monosyllabic alliteration adds to its appeal and there is a definite ring to it. Perhaps that’s why it has stood the test of time, outliving its “forefathers” – right as a gun… right as a line… right as a trivet or, even, right as my leg!

Proofreaders check for glitches, misnomers, howlers! They check for typing, grammatical or punctuation errors but also for misalignment, inconsistencies with fonts, wording, styles and other details. They have the benefit of being one step removed from the material. The copy is new to them; they are using a fresh pair of eyes.

“Rebecca’s mistake” may not have been a howler by any means but, from everyone’s point of view, material that is right as rain – or right as my leg – has a much greater impact! It could be said that asking a proofreader to look the material over is like asking for a “rain check”!

Photo credit: rabasz / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

About the Author: Lindsay McLoughlin runs www.proofedbylinds.co.uk, a proofreading and copywriting service for web, print and publicity materials. She works with business owners and marketing companies to polish and improve marketing and business materials.

Lindsay McLoughlin

Lindsay McLoughlin

The next generation of storytellers

4 Feb

This is one of my all time favourite stories from my little boy. I think he may be a storyteller in years to come! I laughed all the way through this and realised what an AWESOME imagination he has. I hope you enjoy. I would love to hear about whether your kids have written any fantastic stories…

Our children are wonderful storytellers...

Our children are wonderful storytellers…

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