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.
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!
I thought I'd pick a marketing quote this week, as people often forget that copywriting is a very useful form of content marketing.
While I have had a freelance career in journalism for several years, most of my professional life has been spent working my magic by putting words together for businesses in a way that will improve their brand profile and - most importantly - boost their sales.
By producing landing pages, blogs, newsletters, e-shots, leaflets, brochures, social media content, white papers and the rest, I - along with other copywriters - market brands to build their reputation, get more attention and, essentially, make companies more money.
That's why it's so important to invest in your content marketing campaign!
Okay, so I know I’m a bit late to the game, but I’m sure I’m not the only person who has spent the first week of January a) trying to desperately catch up on work neglected over Christmas and b) mourning the end of the chocolate free-for-all and evenings watching movies and eating nibbles.
But now I’m ready. I’m 100% ready. To start 2015 anew and make those darn resolutions. I have to admit I’ve felt a tinge of guilt as friends start new healthy regimes while I’m still chowing down on a yard of Smarties, but this is only January and, to steal the adage, “it’s better later than never”.
The same goes for your content marketing plans for 2015. If you’re hoping to ramp up your strategy this year, take a look at these resolutions you should be keeping over the next 12 … well 11.5 months!
1) Spring clean old content
One thing I am early for is a spring clean, but there is no time like the present when it comes to going through old content on your site and giving it an audit. Thanks to multiple Google algorithm changes over the years, you may have copy on your site that is longer effective at improving your search rankings – in fact, it could be doing the opposite!
Typically speaking, the more content on your site, the better, as it shows you have a history – not only with your customers but with Google itself – and makes you look like an authority on your subject matter. However, if some of that content is laden with keywords and is not of good quality, it’s time to chop and change it. A simple edit could do the job and you may find it has a great impact on your monthly visits.
2) Get organised with your content
I love being organised. The idea of spreadsheets, timetables, calendars, filing and setting reminders gives me a bit of a buzz – but I also understand that I’m somewhat strange in this. It doesn’t matter though, because if you want to boost your content marketing this year, this is something you really need to do.
Firstly, come up with a content strategy – what type of content, how many articles, who you’re going to target and how etc. Once you have this in place, create an editorial calendar. If you plan your content methodically so that it is a) spread out evenly, b) in line with product launches, c) coincides with occasions that your readers will be interested in and d) includes important dates that are relevant to your business (conferences, events, sales etc), then you have a system upon which you can begin your content strategy.
You can then calmly start outsourcing copywriting services according to when you need it, without that urgent rush to get something written before the moment has passed. In short:
Planning ahead = getting a good writer in time = getting good content.
3) A picture is worth a thousand words… kind of
As a writer, I can’t 100% agree with this as the words used on websites have a huge significance in their success, but… images and videos will play a massive part in content marketing campaigns in 2015.
Any social media user will be familiar with posts such as “61 Things You Didn’t Know About Friends”, which a lot of us (guilty!) click on for the funny content, but also – let’s face it – for the images.
Video and image distribution will become even more popular this year, so it is worth considering what infographics, photos, cartoons or videos you can add to your content to encourage customers to share them with their friends – and hopefully, make your webpage go viral.
4) Measure your content’s value
I am constantly bleating on about how valuable content is in the success of marketing campaigns, but this year is the time to get serious about it. Be clever with how you analyse your content production and make sure you keep up to date with website analytics.
This will help you determine the return on investment (or ROI to you and me) from your content. By doing this, you’ll be able to focus your content strategy on what produces the biggest return and, subsequently, invest more in areas that work particularly well for you.
Let’s keep it simple – if you owned a cafe and your maple syrup pancakes regularly outsold your pain au chocolats, you would invest more in marketing and selling your pancakes, wouldn’t you? The same goes for your content. If, say, your blogs are driving a huge amount of traffic to your website but barely anyone is looking at microsite pages, invest in good-quality content on your blog to capitalise on this and boost website visits even more. Simples.
5) Most importantly – keep up to date with Google’s updates
Google seems to launch a new algorithm update all the time, which can be a bit confusing if you don’t make a big effort to keep up to date with it all. In brief, they’ve introduced the EMD, Top Heavy, Panda, Penguin, Payday, Pirate, Hummingbird and Pigeon Updates just in the last four years.
So that’s five resolutions to be getting on with this year. Of course, there are plenty other improvements you can make, but if you only do a few, make sure it’s these. They could make all the difference to how successful your online marketing strategy for 2015 pans out.
Now excuse me, I really must put down those Smarties…
Are you making any New Year's Resolutions for your marketing plans this year? Leave a comment and tell us what they are!
Read my thoughts and ideas on the latest search engine updates and copywriting trends that could improve your business marketing plans.