Monthly Archive:May 2016

Where to start with Content – and how to not completely drown.

This week, while having the fantastic opportunity to work on a new customer account and exploring the wonderful platform that is Quora (a Q&A social media platform) a little more to promote new business avenues, I came across a question which started the thinking juices.

The question was, “What are some common beginner mistakes in content marketing and how does one not get pointed at and told “you’re doing it wrong”?

Dripping with insecurity, this question floored me.

We (by “we” I mean “us marketing folk”) are social people. We like to share – but it’s also about drumming up noise. Noise to direct traffic to a point. Noise to get people to know about us (or our brands). Noise to make a point. And sometimes, noise, just for the sake of making noise. We’re all guilty of it.

And for a few minutes, I thought back to the starting block of my own career in Marketing – the overwhelming intimidation I felt by all these GREAT resources, top tips, 10 facts, Quick Start Guides, 5 rules, 7 insights that you see in the social hemisphere. And then there are the inspirational, 2 minutes with Richard Branson, the “One thing my mother taught me”, the influencer thought processes, the 30-second thought-provoking video – also aiming to direct traffic, shout about your brand, make a point etc – but in a slightly more passive aggressive way.

Make no mistake – I am a massive fan of the Top Tips and 5 rules content – but at the point of starting out – and taking my first step into the world of representing a brand publically – it was exactly these pieces of quick-fire content that overwhelmed my thought process.  Yes, it quickly developed my sense of discernment in terms of who I want to listen to and who I choose to unfollow – but the daunting thought that I was about to leap into the super fast swimming lane alongside professional athletes who live in an “eat-or-be-eaten” marketing world was more than I could bear.

So – looking at my Quora Question-Poser – I took a slightly different approach to the 93 other people answering the question. I was a little more real.

You don’t HAVE to be the best at what you do, when you’re starting out. You don’t need to be. You find just 1 or 2 people that you consider to have great advice and tips – you take what you like, you learn as much as you have the capacity for, you dip your toe into the water…. followed by your ankles, then your knees… and when you’re ready – you jump into the kiddies lane and paddle your way around, until you’re ready to swim under the lane separator and speed up.

There’s no Complete Marketing Degree that will teach you everything you need to know. There are good ways of doing things, and there are bad ways of doing things – but there’s no 1 thing. Marketing is ever-changing. Don’t be scared of it. Embrace it.

Just find the lane that suits your speed, and when you’re ready, you find a buddy, and then you speed up.


How your brand is similar to my doppelgänger dad.

I saw my dad’s doppelgänger today.

I was standing next to the eggs, feeling frustrated that all the large free range eggs had sold out, when I looked up and saw this chap pushing his trolley towards me. Dressed in a pair of beige chinos, a navy blue jumper and light-blue collared shirt, covered up by a light brown bunny jacket (apologies if that’s spelt incorrectly – I have never had the need to actually write “bunny jacket” – and now I have my doubts as to whether it’s a real thing or not).  Grey hair, small bump on the right hand side of his forehead and a sweet peaceful smile on his face. He caught my eye as he made his way towards the baguettes.

My stomach dropped into my Clarks pumps as the entire surrounding population of shoppers blurred into nothing and the world only existed for this gent and I.

You see – my dad passed away just over a year ago. And being a South African living in the UK – I have done most of my grieving from a distance while trying to balance the perception of “not being at home with Pops” against the “he’s not here anymore” comprehension.

So, as you would imagine, this split second of realisation caused my entire retaining wall, to crumble.

I pulled into the Whole Foods aisle while I tried to regain my composure. It didn’t work. So decided to go and say hello nonetheless.

I tapped him on his shoulder. He looked around at this blubbering mess and I commenced to explain that he reminded me so much of my dad and that I just wanted to say hello.

Expecting nothing less – he stood slightly frigid, but still smiling awkwardly – not quite understanding what to make of this melted pot of goo that interrupted his mission of a morning shop. Trying to make chit chat – he asked whether I was local. I said I was. I asked whether he was. He said no.  I apologised for the emotion. He said that there was no need to. And at that point, I became aware of my invasion of his non-emotion with mine, and I took my leave by tapping him on the arm again and saying something ridiculously mundane like, “Thanks. It was nice to see you”.

I returned to my trolley – and power-walked my way through the brans, past the tuna and to the closest check-out counter I could find.

Hardly containing my emotion – I simply put my sunglasses on, paid my bill and left.

So – why have I shared all of this?

Well, later that evening, this little episode consumed me.  Let’s play it back – quick statistical check:

  • I hate shopping on weekends.
  • I decide to head out early – before the rest of the world is awake.
  • The time I choose invariably means the only people who are there are those like me, trying to avoid the world, and pensioners.
  • This gentleman is visiting Dorset for a weekend – all the way from Sussex. And he happens to be shopping in the same store, at the same time, as me – the person who lost her dad a year and a half ago.

I realised that my emotional outburst must have confused / annoyed / intrigued my doppelgänger dad.  I wondered what he was thinking when I furiously pushed my trolley away. Did he just shake his head and associate my instability with “typical small-town country” behaviour? Or did this perplex him too. Whatever it was – I got to thinking about the exchange.

Imagine for a second that my doppelgänger dad is your brand. You merrily live your life, doing things, taking part in things, living in a world that is familiar to you. You have your ups and downs and you just go through each day facing whatever challenges and opportunities that confront you. Except – one day, you meet someone who doesn’t know your brand. They come from their own world and their own challenges, and they encounter your brand which represents a certain something to them. A certain something which you have no knowledge, or control of. And you are at once faced with an impression that you didn’t create, but one which created itself for them.

We are our own brands – and as much as we try to create an impression to represent something specific, there will almost always be a case where, as hard as you may try, your brand represents something completely different, to someone.

It either excludes. Or it includes. It either complements, or offends.  And sometimes, there’s absolutely nothing you can do, but smile and ask, “are you local?”.


Need to review your brand? Let’s have a cuppa and chat about it.

Ta. Xie Xie. Word. Dankie. – you guys are awesome. My SEO tells me that.

So – after a busy busy week – I’ve had a little peek at the analytics and brains behind this very page you’re looking at now.

It turns out that this week, my visitors have hailed from:

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 16.34.09

So – Thank you. To all of you. I don’t know who you are, but I think you’re great.

And feel free to pop in any time again.

By the way – keep your eye out for next week’s blog – we’ll be talking Analytics and SEO and stuff – and no, I won’t be giving too many of my secrets away – but I’ll give you some stuff to think about.

Why Wild Garlic has EVERYTHING to do with your Marketing plan.

DSC_0180This morning, while walking the Fresh Brew Hound along an old unadopted dirt track that the King once travelled from London to Cornwall by carriage, the unmistakable scent of wild garlic hit me like a pair of dirty socks that you’ve somehow managed to forget about, but instantly know it’s there.

For the past month, I’ve had the pleasure to talk to a number of small business owners and learn to understand their core restraints holding them back from developing their business into something bigger, louder, grander. (Note: I did not say “better”).  From most of them came 1 consistent restraint that, if they had the means, they would invest in:  more marketing.

I understand, we want to be known, and we want more business. But there is only so much we can do with the money we have available to us. So what do we do if we simply don’t have the cash to do what we need to.


We use what we’ve got.

Back to the wild garlic metaphor. Since moving to this Green and Pleasant land 6 years ago, I’d always threatened to forage for my own wild garlic, and produce my own batch of the most beautiful wild garlic pesto that my Kenwood mixer would allow. (Other brands are available, BBC).

20160506_083357 (2)So, as the breeze gently whispered this morning, I knew that today was the day. Off I headed with Pup, lead, poo bags, and an extra supermarket-special carrier bag. Wild garlic grows abundantly in Dorset – and the rest of Europe. Also known as “Bear’s Garlic”, this particular ‘weed’ as Mr Fresh Brew calls it, is loved by wild boar and other animals that furiously dig up the bulbs. (Scene straight out of Asterix & Obelix).

Anyway – back to the garlic. It didn’t take long before I was armed with a bag full of deliciously stinking garlic leaves.

The pesto turned out beautifully – after adding some lemon juice, glugs of olive oil, salt and pepper, parmesan cheese and roasted pine nuts – perfectly delivering 2 and a half jars full of wonderfully fresh garlic pesto.

20160506_100601And as I sat at the kitchen counter, chewing on my morning toast and wild garlic pesto – I realised. Sometimes, you don’t have to have what the Jones’ have. Sometimes you don’t need the massive budget because someone tells you that you do – sometimes, all you need to do is look at what you’ve got and find a way to make THAT work for you.

Need a little help to look at what you’ve got, and how to use it? Then give me a call. As long as you put the kettle on, of course.

Tweet, chirrup, hoot and blah. Social Media training tailored to you.

“You give away too many of your secrets”, was what my husband told me this week.

And, he’s probably right.

Introduction of next lesson to learn.  Where’s the fine line between simply “being friendly”, and “running a business”.

Case in point – people often ask me for “tips” to improve their social media followers, or for some thoughts on how to drive more traffic to their website.

The old Katy (and current one, in fact, that I’m trying to train out of my brain) would probably without a second breath, have launched into tips, ideas, suggestions – and even offering to do it all for them – spending countless evening hours studying, analysing, interrogating – coming out with a raft of ideas and suggestions – that most marketing companies would charge a small fortune for.

But that’s not what I’m going to do.

What I am going to do is train you how to do all of this yourself. And THAT I will charge for.

So, I’m pleased to introduce a new string to my cello, blossom to my bouquet and dribble to my wine glass (ok, that last one didn’t make sense).

If you’re looking to understand more about social media: How it works, how to use it, how to get more followers, how to be more effective etc etc etc – then why not book my time for a couple of hours, and I’ll share all that I know, with you.

“But everyone offers this… what’s the point?” – I’ll tell you what the point is… they probably don’t spend any time doing their homework on your business, on your position within the Social atmosphere – they probably read off of a sheet of crib notes and generic To Dos.  I aim to personalise. I will look at what you need, what you want to achieve – and then form a training package around what you need.

Besides – there’s absolutely NOTHING to be scared of. We’ll figure it out together – and find a solution that suits your business, and more importantly, your personality, perfectly.

Sound good?


Book me. I’d love to have a cup of tea with you and twitter!