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Crazy client comments turned into posters

12 Mar

I received a newsletter this morning from www.boredpanda.com and it had these absolutely brilliant client comments on creative work all neatly designed into posters. If you’ve experienced this, which I certainly have, take a look for a brilliant laugh.

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Images are copyright of www.sharpsuits.net

To hire a proofreader or not to hire a proofreader? That is the question…

4 Mar
Perhaps a proofreader is needed?

Perhaps a proofreader is needed?

 

I often get asked the question of whether an organisation or an individual should hire a proofreader. In today’s day and age, budget is always the defining factor and quite frankly many small businesses can’t afford it. However, these businesses should perhaps consider reputation management.

Think about yourself as an individual, trawling the net for information on a product or service. You come across different sites that are offering the same thing, but how do you choose who to get in touch with?

As we all know, first impressions count and can be lasting. In our age of speed a business has about 10 seconds to make that impression to a potential client.

You click-through to the first site which is simple, clean, easy to understand and is well written. You keep that in your armour of potentials.

As you click-through to the next site there is a surprise waiting for you. It is simple and clean but difficult to understand and is littered with errors. How do you feel about this site? I’m guessing not too impressed. It shows a lack of attention to detail and can come across as a lack of caring as well. If their website is littered with errors what does that say about their quality of work? They are crossed off the list of potentials immediately.

Proofreading is always important to maintaining that critical first impression, so consider hiring a proofreader as part of your budget.

If you are a cash strapped small business and don’t have the budget perhaps ask a friend to cast a quick glance over your copy? It is unlikely that all errors will be caught, but it can be a cheaper way of getting a second set of eyes on your work. Not everybody can be a proofreader, but this could help you in the interim while you’re making your millions! Once you get to a point of being able to afford a service like this, it should be a critical part of your budget process.

What are your thoughts on hiring proofreaders? I would like to hear. Watch out for my next post of whether you should hire a copywriter or not.

Image copyright belongs to Mark Parisi

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

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.

If you can get this excited about your marketing…you’ve got it made!

7 Feb

http://youtu.be/J61dCTWzgCk

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?

Fifty Shades Trilogy…well written or not?

22 Jan

I have heard many grumblings and rumblings surrounding the Fifty Shades Trilogy and the fact that they are badly written. So today, with the banning of the books in Brazil, I’ve decided to tackle the question full on…are these books well written or not?

Here I give you my little Fifty Shades journey…what was your journey like, should you have succumbed to the Fifty Shades phenomenon?

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Secret agent antics

I am one of those people that shamelessly needs to read any book if there is a hype – raunchy or not. Admittedly it took me a while to build up the courage to read them and this is where my journey starts. One fine day I sported my dark sunglasses and entered the ‘quite far from home’ book shop…all the time watching over my shoulder to make sure no secret agents were hot on my tail. Racing thoughts…people will think I’m kinky, I’m deprived, I’m weird and watch raunchy movies. By the way, just to set the record straight, I am none of these (just incase you were wondering). I approached the check out of the book shop mumbling, fumbling and blushing cheeks to match. Never have I charged out of a shop so quickly feeling like a criminal being watched for indescribable crimes. However, one and a half books down, here I am talking openly about it. I’ve clearly come to terms with myself since then!

Dreaming of what Christian Grey looks like…

Secretly I opened the first book and launched into the dark world of ‘Fifty Shades’. I was a bit taken by surprise that I was actually enjoying it…not too sure about the raunchy parts, but nonetheless I was completely engrossed in the story line. Quite aside, I would very much like to meet this Christian Grey character, and feast my eyes on what seems to be the most good looking man ever described! Mind wondering…oops, ok back to the point of this piece. In all seriousness, I was hooked – drawn into the intrigue of Christian Grey’s dark past and the charming, feisty and innocent Anastasia Steele. The combination fascinated me.

I breezed through the book and was still a little shocked that I’d enjoyed it…oh dear maybe I am kinky, deprived and weird? Quick mental assessment of myself…outcome of assessment…no, I am still none of those things…phew! As I had enjoyed the story line so much, I paid absolutely no attention to the finer points of writing style. At this point in the journey I wouldn’t be able to answer my question posed of whether they are well written or not.

Once the last word had been read, I was left completely frustrated. To put you in the picture, I NEED to know what happens next…until there is a final conclusion. Take one of my favourite TV shows for example…when it ends on a cliffhanger I am not a happy camper.  I was so intrigued and frustrated that I just had to read the next one.

Secret agent antics – Round 2

Secret agent antics for Fifty Shades continued. Play it again Sam…back to book store, shades on, bright red cheeks and lightning speed exit.

I darted home, opened the book (secretly of course!) and started frantically diving into Fifty Shades Darker. Initial thoughts…I just wanted to get it over and done and get to the point of knowing the outcome. I carried on frantically reading.

Time to answer the question…is this trilogy well written or not?

I don’t claim to be any literary super power, but my frantic reading of Fifty Shades Darker has come to a complete and utter halt. I have only read one and a half books, so I’m not really in a position to be answering the question, or am I? This is still my experience and I look forward to someone convincing  me otherwise or supporting my experience of the book/s.  The reason my frantic reading has come to a complete halt is the simple fact…I am bored stiff. The intrigue surrounding Christian Grey has completely been removed for me and to be honest, he has turned into a bit of a good boy – somehow a mystery man is a bit more intriguing. In my honest opinion the books I’ve read have left me a bit cold…they read a bit like a Mills and Boon story. So, in summary, I don’t think they are very well written. What do you think (if of course you are happy to admit that you’ve read them)? Have I got it wrong? Have I got it right? Or, do I need to give it a bit more of a chance?

Over to you lovely readers…

Picture credits: Random House UK

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