Monthly Archive:April 2016

ByKaty Roberts

Part 1: 10 Tips for DIY Content

This subject has probably been blogged to death. So excuse me if I re-hash something you may have already heard before.  Perhaps this time, someone who hasn’t quite caught the penny that dropped, will finally… just… get it.

Your aim: You want people to know about you. 

Ok – so let’s start there. Chances are, you probably already have a website. (Let’s not talk about Facebook pages at the moment – although they may serve the same purpose as a website – they need to be treated in a somewhat different light).

So – you want people to come to your website, to learn about what you do. Because that’s where you tell them about yourself, your services, your products, your thoughts, and it gives them a way to get in touch with you.  But how do you get people to voluntarily visit your website without you tricking, paying, begging, blackmailing them to do so?

Simple.

(it is, really).

You give them a reason to.

And that’s done through CONTENT.

Here are a few ideas of content generation that may get you started:

  • You start a blog on your website: Don’t underestimate the commitment that this requires. A blog is something that offers value, interest, information to those visiting. It needs to be looked after, thought about, updated regularly – think of it as a baby that needs feeding… daily.  That type of thing.  (Behind your blog sits all kinds of other SEO-wizardry that will help people to find your organically (ie: when they type a certain search term into their search engine, and your website pops up) – but that we’ll save for another day. This blog is all about how to give people without much SEO experience, the basics they need to get cracking.
  • You start creating a series of videos  (free online software great for doing this is something like WeVideo , Powtoon or Kizoa you can do anything from upload your own clips, or create animated slides against royalty-free music)
  • You design a couple of infographics. (With great free online software like Canva – anyone can do this).  An infographic is an image that has been created using statistics and data. A great way to demonstrate the results of a survey, or research to support your business).
  • You create a few press releases to broadcast some of the cool things you’re doing – and you load that onto your website.
  • You create an eBook or WhitePaper:  Now wait.. before you add that to your to-do list – these types of things require a substantial amount of commitment, so make sure that whatever you want to talk about in your WhitePaper, is something that will be valuable to those who read it.
  • You create a few case studies: Nothing speaks better than your own customers’ words. Create these case studies, and put them on your website.
  • You create a few “How To” guides if relevant to something you’re doing. Think about it – you started your business, with a mission in mind. You have something that others may not. So why not empower your followers with a small flavour of your skill and expertise.
  • You ensure that you capture as many testimonials as possible and make them accessible for people to ready.
  • You create a podcast or few: Many of us simply don’t have time to sit down and write – but we love to talk about what we know. So why not create a podcast recording, and upload it to a platform like Iono.fm (for free!) to spread the news about your business.
  • You hold regular events: Offline or Online. If you don’t have the means, or the budget for offline events, why not consider a Google Hangout every few months where you get to broadcast your message to your audience. The cool thing about Google Hangouts is that they are saved, and uploaded to your YouTube channel automatically – for you to use in future campaigns.

Keep a look out for Part 2 of this blog – which will equip you with HOW to use content to get traffic up.

In the meantime, happy creating.

 

ByKaty Roberts

Nuco-International added social to something rather mundane. It worked.

I have a little bit of a stationery obsession.  I just love stationery. Pens – different colours, ink viscosity, nib widths, rollerball vs felt-tip, markers, files, binders, paper clips. And my favourite thing to do is to arrange it beautifully on my desk so that I always have what I need, when I need it – and I’m not one of those people who frantically start looking for a pair of scissors on the day that I need it – when I haven’t needed a pair in over a month.

Anyway. So today, I took on 2 new customers. And, as is customary, I colour-coordinate (yes, I’m that sad) the colour of the notebooks, to my client’s brand – and today, I needed a blue and a green notebook.  So, off I trundle to the local supermarket to see what I can find.

Living in a beautifully (albeit slightly sleepy at times) town in Dorset – we are not spoilt for choice. If there’s a notebook or a fancy pen, you take it. The closest Staples store is miles away – and simply wouldn’t warrant a ginormous trip for just a blue and green notebook.  So the supermarket will have to do.

I’m lucky this time – and the last two on the shelf, are exactly the colours I’m after. I grab them up, along with a copy of Country Life and trundle back home.

It’s not until I get home over a cup of tea, that I notice the barcode sticker on the back of each of the notebooks. You know the stickers I’m talking about…. the ones with the barcode – that you scan when you check-out, and then never give another fleeting glance to.

Sitting neatly under the barcoded, on this sticker – are 3 little icons.

A Twitter icon

A Facebook icon

A QR code.

On a straight-forward, no funny-business, hardcover A4 notebook.

When was the last time you looked up a social profile on piece of non-descript stationery?

So on this occasion, slightly intrigued – I went online, and checked out just who Nuco-International (the producers of the notebook in question) are.

Here’s what I learn:

  • Nuco-International produce a HUGE variety of stationery and are based in Coventry, UK
  • They have just created the World’s Largest Notebook (a Guinness World Record no less!)
  • You can buy a notebook where the paper is made from limestone
  • You can apparently download an app from the iPhone store (which I can’t do – because I’m an Android fan, but I find interesting nonetheless…. what the app will do, is anyone’s guess).
  • Keith Matthew’s, Nuco’s MD, favourite notebook is the A4 Nu Elite PU Casebound.

Interesting.

So – it did work.

Adding a little social information to a barcode sticker on the back of a notebook sold in a major Supermarket chain.

Not quite sure about the QR code though – but I guess there must be someone else like me out there that may find that useful.

Nice to meet you, Nuco.  And thanks for my notebooks.

 

ByKaty Roberts

Want me to connect? No. Because your profile picture is silly.

Working in the Social World, I am privy to thousands and thousands of social profiles, all the time, every day. People connect with me. I connect with people.

And most of the time, the people I’m connecting with, are social-savvy, marketing-gurus who are certainly not new to the social environment.

However. (and there’s always a however, right?)

Now, I’m not the type of person to name and shame, publicly, except when it is meant to be constructive. So I don’t intend to do that here. But I did feel the (albeit slightly passive aggressive) need to highlight a few key faux pas that social people still make, to this day.

The dodgy profile picture:
It still astounds me how people seem to forget the importance of a profile picture. Selecting the image that will set your first impression alight, is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make on social. It needs to be professional, but not too stiff, it needs to be branded – but not without personality. It needs to be appropriate for the forums you’ll be joining, but still stand out. So what do you do? Well, what you don’t do is choose something that you think is hilarious, and will catch people’s attentions… something that stands out… something that broadcasts a message etc etc… but completely ruins the first impression most people will have of you.

Stick to a head shot – something natural, something un-forced. Something that shows who you are. Get your peers to review it – take the criticism on the chin, and go with what is best. You never know when your profile picture may need to speak for you, first.

Case in point: Someone recently approached me to sell me SEO services – their profile picture? A duck, swimming in a pond, upside down. NEXT…

And while we’re on the profile picture subject – remember… when you set yourself a profile picture on G+… and you send an email through that same account, within Gmail – that profile picture will show up in your recipient’s mailbox.

Case in point: Received an email from a business who wanted to sell advertising space in major event catalogue: Profile picture? Some guy, beer in hand, cig hanging out of his mouth, on the beach with a number of semi-clad females hanging about. NEXT…

Your automated social reply
I’m sure you’re really thankful that I followed you. And appreciative etc, but the days of automated replies are done. It’s not the reply that stands out. It’s the personality behind it. I realise, that for many brands, it is somewhat tricky to keep up with the increasing follower rate, on a daily basis, and resource just means that you cannot possibly compose a personalised message to every single person – and I’m ok with that. An option may be to choose to highlight just a few new followers that you’d like to thank – be personal, find a talking point, promote them – make them feel part of your mission.

Your bio
Social is social. Think about that for a second. Social Media… is social. So, make sure that your bio (if you have one… which, if you don’t, is a completely different blog topic) demonstrates who you are, what you do, what you believe in, and what drives you.

I personally like a bio that is filled with so much character and diversity that immediately makes me want to follow them, because that’s the type of content that I hope to hear from them. But that’s just me. Other bios are beautifully suited to the individual bio type (Mark Schaefer wrote a great blog about his favourite twitter bios) – all the types of things that capture someone’s attention and makes them want to follow you.

Just like your profile picture, your bio often speaks for you before someone has read your first tweet.

Remember – your bio is searchable, so for SEO purposes, think about what you’ve put in there. If you want people to find you, be sure to have a bio that wants to be found.

We could go on, for quite a bit more, about the do’s and don’ts of Social – but that will give me a good reason to write another post.

In the meantime – need some help? Give me a shout.

ByKaty Roberts

What if working for yourself isn’t as hard as you thought?

Working for yourself does allow some perks. Non-location-specific working. So this morning, I headed out to one of my favourite haunts in Bridport, Dorset and made myself comfortable at The Bull Hotel – with their great coffee, smooth tunes, and roaring fire. It’s April, and it’s freezing.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about.

This wasn’t a purely social outing – it was a business meeting with local well-known photographer Faye Neal (check out her Facebook Page here).  With both of us heavily involved in the annual Buckham Fair event that takes place in Beaminster every year, it was time to get together to talk about all things Marketing – and how we can raise the profile of the event even more.

It didn’t take long and we were blasting through ideas and jotting down lists of things to do / setup / create / talk about.

But what struck me,  is that once again – I was sitting across from a professional who had decided to take the leap, and do her own thing.  And as we shared ideas and tips together (her with photography tips for me, and me with social media tips for her), I realised that so many of us sit with a very similar thought, at some point in our lives. The thought that we’d like to one day do our own thing.  But very few of us take that step. We like the security. We like the routine. We like the safety.

I’m still new in my game – but so far, I can only say that, albeit sometimes hellishly scary, it’s just pretty damn exciting.

Don’t get me wrong – I find myself working twice as hard as I ever did before – establishing my own routine, giving all my clients and commitments the time I’ve promised, thinking ahead to the next avenue of business when this project comes to an end, not getting drawn into those moments when business isn’t forthcoming.  But, just like Faye, I knew I had a talent somewhere. And forming that into a business that people would actually want to pay for was the key.  Once I’d done that – I was on my way. I still am. I am not 100% there yet – but I’m moving. And that’s all that counts right now.

I’m so incredibly thankful.

Perhaps working for myself wasn’t as hard as I thought?

ByKaty Roberts

How involved are you in your own story?

I have this incredible client. She’s just recently decided to take the brave step of taking her innate skill and turn that into a full-time business. And for all of us who have  been there, and done that – let’s just take a moment. Sit back, smile and think of your own experience – that very moment when you decided to stop your main lifeline and switch currents towards your own creation – from scratch. The fear, excitement, panic that you felt. Those midnight slogs to finish just 1 thing that you have to get done (because you don’t have a team of people that get it done for you anymore…). That fleeting moment when someone asks what you do, and you tell them that you work for yourself, and they nod, almost sympathetically. Those times that someone calls you up to hang out – because they have the day off, and surely you’re not THAT busy because you’re your own boss now, and can determine when to have coffee… right?   But I digress.

So, let’s call her Jemima. Jemima has just decided to start her own business and has asked me for some help getting her business brand broadcastable. So I’ve helped her with her website, and some ideas on social media. I’ve done a few design-based things for her, and just a few general bits and bobs to arm her with whatever she needs to make her business awesome.

Jemima’s teaching me such a great lesson. And I don’t think she will ever quite understand how important this little lesson has been. You see, Jemima knows exactly what she wants, and what she doesn’t want. So as I’ve been creating, and writing, Jemima, as is customary, reviews each stage of development, as requested by myself, to ensure that I’m tracking along with her vision, her tone, her output.  But this is where the story becomes the lesson.

Jemima has dutifully been sending back her edits and change requests to me – make a tweak here, change this there, remove this – love that. You know the sort. But what struck me is how apologetic she has been towards amending that which I have essentially created in words. But what she doesn’t realise is that her input is GOLD. You see, Marketers spend a lot of time figuring things out, testing things, playing with things – but we are not magicians. We are not miracle-workers (although, we do sometimes achieve some pretty awesome things!). We are not islands – and what Jemima doesn’t realise is that her input – regardless of how it comes across, or how offensive she thinks it may be to the creator (ie: ME), what she is doing is getting involved. She is involved in her brand. Her story. Her tone. Her message. The only one who can absolutely effectively broadcast the tone of the business that SHE has created, is HER.  And with her being involved – together, we shape a pretty amazing brand.

It’s exciting.

There’s a line, I guess, that I hear old Marketing stalwarts whisper in my ears, of where the customer turns from being the involved, into the creation-damper. But THAT is where the essence of a good Marketeer determines how you handle that.

 

Thank you, Jemima, for being involved.