One of the challenges of working for yourself is doing your own PR and marketing. Luckily, it's a field I'm very familiar with, which means I'm able to write my own blogs, produce SEO-driven content for my website and keep on top of my social media accounts without any problem. However, there are lots of different ways to market yourself, and you might have to think outside the box for some of them, particularly if you're targeting a B2B audience.
One thing I've found really effective is attending networking events, from small local groups to large industry-led conferences.
You don't need a huge crowd to make a difference, as just one or two people picking up your business card or getting engrossed in a chat with you can lead to more custom - especially if they then recommend you to their clients and business associates too.
Recently (admittedly, this was a couple of weeks ago but I haven't had time to blog on it since - oops!), I attended a great little networking event run by a group for female businesswomen called Handbags & Briefcases.
I found the social marketing session really informative, helping me with my business, and also giving me even more ideas and management tools to help other companies with their content provision, including social media, blogs, e-letters and SEO web content.
They run workshops every month, allowing ladies to meet up to network with other small firms, as well as gain some valuable skills to improve their enterprise. Of course, it also gives them the opportunity to talk to other people too - self-employment can be very isolating after all!
The next one is on PR, which is definitely a subject that could help businesses of all sizes. And I'm not going to lie, the tea, biscuits and lovely chats with like-minded people all make it enjoyable too!
To find out more about how content marketing can help your business grow, click here.
Your jeans are too tight, you’re still finding pine needles everywhere, and the chocolates have been locked away for a few weeks (or hours, if your willpower is anything like mine). It can only mean one thing – it’s the new year.
And if you have a business, this is the perfect time to start implementing some exciting new content marketing campaigns, so your 2016 is as profitable and successful as possible.
That’s why I’ve come up with some great new year’s resolutions you have to keep this year to boost your content strategy.
1) Don’t neglect your blog
It can be easy to get distracted with other more obviously pressing tasks, but it’s important for companies to not neglect their blogs. While they might appear to simply be a way for readers to find out a little more about the firm, they are fantastic at boosting your profile, awareness and web traffic.
Here are just a few things blogs are great at doing:
You never know which blog post is going to be the ‘hit of the year’ so put as much effort as possible into each one, and don’t let missing a few entries become a bad habit.
2) Don’t forget to promote
Set aside enough time to promote your blog posts and help them gain interest. There’s no point writing a fantastic piece, putting a token message about it on Facebook and then forgetting its existence.
Getting a few likes might seem good at first, but not if the post is worth hundreds or thousands of shares.
Spend time plugging it on social media, adding the right share and like buttons to your blog page, and creating content that is so engaging it will entice readers to spread it around online.
3) Only write what you’d want to read
It can be easy to fall into the trap of writing content that simply hits all your keyword targets. However, if you or anyone you know wouldn’t realistically find it thought-provoking, funny or informative to read, why expect potential customers to do so?
4) Don’t be a victim of false headlines
Obviously, you want to attract attention to your stories, but don’t use click-bait headlines to do so. As soon as someone clicks on your headline to read the piece and realises the rest of the content has very little to do with the attractive header, they’ll stop reading and leave the site. What’s more, they’ll probably never return, distrusting the way you promote yourself.
The answer is simple – create great content that creates great headlines. And you’ll see the visitors come.
5) Have a plan and stick with it
The most important resolution to keep this year is to have an editorial calendar and stick to it. Having a plan of what content you should push and when will definitely help you target audiences at the right time – whether in the lead up to Mother’s Day, during mid-season sales or when everyone’s going on a diet and getting fit (hint hint, that’s now).
Create great content that creates great headlines.
Having a plan is a great way of really targeting your audience and giving them what they want and need.
Be warned though, editorial calendars often have a way of getting neglected by springtime, so make an effort to stick with them. If you do, you’ll be reaping the rewards by the time next January rolls round!
And if you failed to commit to your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions (you know who you are), take a look at them again for some great tips on how to improve the success of your content marketing campaigns this year.
For extra help with your content strategy, give us a bell by contacting us here. Natasha Al-Atassi Copywriting Services can provide a huge variety of content for your website, from blogs and landing pages to newsletters.
Christmas is perhaps the best time of the year to employ all your marketing know-how and really go in for the kill when it comes to your advertisement campaigns. Everyone is already on the search for presents, beauty treatments, dresses, hotel stays, spa days and the latest gizmos, so all you have to do is make sure what you’re offering catches their eye before anyone else.
- Get found on Google
More and more people are heading online for their Christmas shopping, and Brits spent as much as £968 million on Cyber Monday alone this year, an increase from £720 million in 2014.
That’s why it’s important your business is the first they find when they Google what they’re looking for. Preparation for this takes months, with careful SEO techniques employed to ensure you rank highly in online searches.
Tricks such as the right use of keywords, regular blog posts, and having a strong social media presence all help boost your rankings so start thinking about introducing these into 2016’s marketing campaign to capitalise on next year’s online shop.
- Produce Christmas content
As well as looking up gifts, people will be searching for Christmas-related videos, stories, images, recipes and so on. So make sure you have all the relevant copy on your site in time.
You might want to encourage your readers to bake something new for Christmas Day or remind them to book their fake tans for their festive parties. Whatever it is you want to sell this season, have blog copy, Facebook ads, landing pages with tips and hints, banners, and social media chat at the ready so you can give your potential customers what they want.
Christmastime isn’t just about gifts and cards, and consumers spend a lot on all the frills over the holidays. That’s why it’s a good idea to have content that reminds them what they may need or want to make their Christmas stand out.
- Don’t oversell
People spend a fortune at Christmas, with M&S revealing the average cost of Crimbo is £623, more than a third of which (£236) is on food and drink alone. Therefore, you can expect to receive a higher level of interest in your products and services than at other times during the year – because of this, it’s worth easing up on the hard sell.
Consumers will come to you – especially if they have children and several expensive presents to buy – and they’re more likely to take you seriously if you aren’t pressurising them with one-time offers and guilt-ridden soundbites about treating their loved ones.
- Don’t forget your mobile content
I know I can spend hours running around shops only to find myself clicking on my phone on the way home to find the presents I missed. Mobile-commerce is huge during the festive season, so if you have a site that crashes on mobile phones or content that cannot be easily seen on handheld devices, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage.
An IMRG report from February 2015 revealed 45% of e-commerce traffic in the UK is through smart phones and tablets, and this is sure to increase during Christmas as people (like me) panic search for gifts while they’re out and about.
Not only should your site be easily viewed, but you should also produce mobile-friendly content – short blogs, articles with bullet points and headings, and features that don’t have too many videos or images that will take a wile to download.
- Prepare for the new year
You might be getting into a Christmas frenzy as December gets underway, but don’t forget the new year is just around the corner. That means you need to think about Boxing Day sales, New Year’s resolutions, gym memberships and healthy eating plans (for your readers, not you).
The start of the year is when people cut back on their spending, so if you want them to sign up to your services or products, you need to really produce content that will encourage them to buy. January deals and prizes are therefore always popular, while your content should focus on things that consumers will be looking at – essentially, articles that give them tips on how to detox, get fitter and healthier, look better and younger, and save money for the next year.
- Think about Christmas 2016
You might not be buying your 2016 gifts just yet (although, I have to admit I do get a few bargains in the New Year sales!), but it’s not a bad idea to write down ideas you may have for next Christmas' campaign.
There’s always so much to do around the festive season, so making sure you’re organised, you start your strategy early, and introduce Yuletide stories in drips will mean your marketing for Christmas 2016 could be your best yet.
If you want help with your Christmas 2015 or 2016 campaign and need a copywriter to produce top-quality blogs, features, landing pages, e-letters, social media outreach or print literature, get in touch with us today. It's not too late!
All mums are the same. We all fit one stereotype and one cookie cutter model. Right? Well, no, not really. In fact, as I look around my local playgroup, I’d say we are all totally different. So why do brands feel they can talk to us like we all want and need the same things?
On one hand we have Aptamil saying its formula milk can help “lay the foundations for [our kids’] future”, while on the other, the same brand makes you read a ‘breast is best’ disclaimer before you can access the site. See? Even the brand identity for one company is sending mixed messages. No wonder it’s confusing to parents – parents who are dealing with sleep deprivation, a newborn, and a complete lifestyle change.
Yes ladies, women make 85% of all the purchasing decisions in the household and, according to Kat Gordon, founder and Creative Director of Maternal Instinct, females control $13 trillion worth of consumer spending, out of the world’s $18.4 trillion.
Speaking to Inc, she said while 71% of females feel brands only try to sell cleaning and beauty products to them, “women make the majority of purchase decisions for almost every product category in the marketplace”. That means cars, gadgets and other technological gizmos too.
It’s clear to see then that brands shouldn’t just want to appeal to mums, but need to!
Missing the trick
However, as much as 75% of mothers say advertisers miss the trick completely when marketing to them, showing them images of parenthood that seem to be completely unrealistic.
I also think ads like this Heinz Beans one is rather unrealistic. The two brothers, who had spent the whole ad fighting, are suddenly best friends, with the older one putting extra beans on his little brother’s plate. Now, the fighting part I’m fully on board with. But what dinnertime is spent like that?
Reality check – The brothers continue to fight. They either want to steal some food from each other, or don’t want to eat anything at all – leaving mother to pull out everything from the kitchen cupboards to find something to feed them, much to no effect. The beans most definitely end up on the floor, certainly all over the children, and, of course, you. The mum in the advert is wearing white. Big mistake.
Okay, so not everyone wants to see the chaotic side of motherhood every time they turn on their telly. But marketers have to, in some way, portray some sense of reality. Otherwise, mums simply won’t relate to them, and if they can’t relate, they won’t buy into the product.
Where is it going wrong?
- Male creatives
Where do marketers get this lovely image of motherhood from? Maybe it’s because they come home after the children have been fed and the kitchen cleaned? Indeed, without wanting to come across all feminist, it does seem that the bigwigs in the marketing world are predominantly male – and therein lies one of the problems. They’re trying to appeal to a demographic they know very little about.
Roisin Donnelly, brand director, Northern Europe, at Procter & Gamble spoke at the Mumsnet’s Mumstock conference, saying, “there aren’t enough creatives that are mums”.
In fact, only 3% of creative directors are women, and Ms Donnelly added: “If we changed this, we would do a better job.”
- The supermum
But I don’t want to just lay the blame on male marketers. It’s partly our fault too.
Most of us, whether we realise it or not, paint the picture of being a supermum. We may joke about our ‘terrible kids’ but then turn up to parties with homemade cookies and a big smile on our faces.
I like to think that I do paint a more truthful picture to my friends and family in person, but it’s hard to know whether this honesty ever shows through these pictures of ‘supermum-dom’. Are we all being dishonest and making out like motherhood is a walk in the park?
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard someone say, “Isn’t it good when they nap, so you can have a cup of tea and a biscuit?”. I literally have never done this. Ever. I’m not sure the people asking have either. But we all nod and say, “Yeah”, and ask the question of others too.
I guess it boils down to mums wanting to look like they can do it all – especially in front of other mums. None of us want it to look like we’re struggling.
Maybe these pretend messages of ‘supermum’ are being fed back to the marketing professionals (myself not included) and that’s what they think this parenting lark is all about. Who knows? But perhaps we’re doing a disservice to ourselves by pretending it’s all as lovely as it appears on nappy adverts.
What appeals to me?
I started this blog by saying all mums are different, so I don’t want to end by saying “and this is what we all want”.
We are all unique, and maybe, these perfect mums with relaxed, quiet, playful, don’t-make-a-mess children really exist, but I certainly don’t know any.
1) Laughing at ourselves
What I like is honesty, reality and humour. I like it when I look at adverts and think, “That’s exactly what it’s like”. It’s not sugar-coated, it’s not perfect, but it’s real. And, at times, it's ridiculously funny.
This is my favourite mum advert, as it makes me laugh whenever I see it. Full of jargon, buzz words and stories only a mum of young children would understand, this ad immediately opens doors into the ‘mum clique’, as if Fiat is actually one of us – episiotomy stiches and all.
Okay, I know it’s just clever advertising, but it works, and I for one have shared it on my social media channels to get giggles out of my mummy friends. And that’s the aim – use it as content marketing potential to spread the word among mummies, right? After all, we control the vast majority of our family’s spending, don’t we?
2) Tapping into mummy emotions
I find that these ads – no matter how chaotic life may seem on the commercial – also pluck at my heart strings. And, I guess, when brands can do that, they’ve hit the nail on the head.
Even when I was pregnant, this SMA advert would make me shed a tear. The way the baby flings puree at their mum, or the buggy breaks, or the lady finds a duck in the bath when she is finally trying to relax, is all so real. Or maybe it’s just the tagline at the end that gets me: “You’re doing great.”
All mums are simply trying their best, and maybe just the recognition from a big name brand that we may all be different, we may not get it right all the time, but we’re still doing a good job is as much as most mums need.
I think SMA got it spot on with that one. So maybe there’s a lesson here to be learned by marketers? Don’t pretend to know what motherhood is like. Go out, speak to us and we’ll tell you. It’s not all roses – or the sweet scent of homemade cookies – but, we wouldn’t change it for the world.
Now sum that up in an advert!
Read my thoughts and ideas on the latest search engine updates and copywriting trends that could improve your business marketing plans.