Are you adding those snaps to your brand story?

You’ve realised the potential of building your brand’s presence on social media. You’re running a great Facebook page and you have an Instagram account with a massive following. Your Twitter page is updated every ten hours and engagement is high. Everything seems perfect…

Or so you think.

The idea of Snapchat was born half a decade ago and its founders turned down Facebook’s offer to buy it over for US$3 billion in 2013. Today, Snapchat is the fastest growing social network for millennials.

If you’ve not jumped onto the Snapchat bandwagon, you’re missing out on reaching the 100 million active users around the world. You might argue that you’re not trying to target Millenials – but hey, don’t all kids grow up? Trust me, the majority of them have friends or relatives of all ages and can surely share your content with them.

If you haven’t began your Snapchat journey, its not too late to start. Heres’s some tips to get you going:

1. Offer time-sensitive deals

A post on Snapchat, or more commonly known as a ‘snap’, lasts for a maximum of 10 seconds and is available for only 24 hours. This initiates a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out) – which means more people are likely to view your content.

Here are some brilliant examples of how to surprise your followers with small perks – a sure way to build brand loyalty. Better yet, get them to screenshot the snap (you can see who screenshots your posts). It makes your post more shareable and this stretches the reach of your content.

time deals

2. Rock behind-the-scenes

You don’t need to look pretty on Snapchat – save those filters for your Instagram feed. Build your brand’s personality into each snap and offer your followers exclusive content.

Take a look at these snaps from Free People. If you’re a fan of their clothes, wouldn’t you want these little sneak peeks? Well, I certainly would. They don’t have to be shot in great lighting or filtered perfectly. Be authentic – you’re showing your followers what goes on behind that six-hour photoshoot and we know it’s not all rosy!

3033793-inline-i-7-the-best-brands-on-snapchat-so-far

 

3. Go live

Yet another way to provide an element of exclusivity – give your followers access to live events that happen right there and then. Leverage on your Facebook or Twitter accounts and tempt people to tune into Snapchat.

Vanity Fair got up-close-and-personal with celebrities at the 2015 Oscar Party, and of course its followers did too.

oscars_vanity

 

4. Tell a real story

Like most social media networks, the main purpose of Snapchat for brands is to engage viewers and ideally convert them into consumers. Boring content only leads followers to move to another story and You don’t want that to happen to yours!

Great tip: Ask your followers a question in one snap, and answer it in the next. Keep them on their toes and make the process fun and interactive.

GrubHub did a fantastic job in leveraging Snapchat to convey a message. It doesn’t shout for followers to purchase, but centres its snaps around the main product offerings. Check it out:

 

tell a story and engage

5. Empower influencers

Influencers rule social media and Snapchat is no stranger. Partnering with Snapchat influencers is more commonly known as a ‘Snapchat Takeover’. This is where influencers sign into the brand’s Snapchat account for a period of time, and post content aimed to increase followers, reach and engagement.

Disney approached Shaun McBride (@shonduras), a Snapchat influencer renowned for creating sophisticated art works on his snaps, to promote a Frozen-themed event. Fans got a chance to follow him go around Walt Disney World on Disney’s Snapchat story.

 

influencer

 

 

The best feature of Snapchat is that your story is always fresh. Vertical videos now allow brands to capture audience attention by taking up entire screens, which means that your audience is completely focused on your snaps without any distractions.

How do your followers find you?

If you’ve got a mailing list, let your subscribers know that you’re on Snapchat by including your username and reasons why they should follow you in your next emailer. Alternatively, you can add your Snapchat username into your bio on your various social media platforms, or share your Snapcode as an image on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Need help deciding on the best social media strategy for your business? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

 

Emoji Marketing: Using tiny images to send a big message

The way we communicate with each other is constantly changing, thanks to technology. I mean, 10 years ago, would you have been able to decipher this sentence?:

OMG, IDEK. LOL IDC… actually, IDGAF TBH. BRB, TTYL.

Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the way we speak to each other is constantly evolving. Abbreviations are one thing, but in today’s social landscape emojis are taking over, too.

The popularity of social media has promoted the use of visual media. Our words are becoming substituted with small emojis, or digital images, that represent faces, animals, fashion, accessories, hearts, weather, food, sports…and the list goes on.

Emojis can tell a story. In fact, you could send a message to a friend filled entirely with emojis and chances are they would understand what you were trying to say.

Take a look at this creative text message:

A great example of the new way to communicate for content marketing

Source

A new way to communicate

Could our shortening attention spans and love for visual media be the cause of this phenomenal obsession with emojis? Is this the future of content?

A picture says a thousand words and as we all seem to be so time poor, it just seems easier to use pictures instead of words.

Emojis have only previously been used for social purposes, but nowadays many brands are beginning to adopt emojis to add flavour to their communications.

A great and effective content example for outdoor advertising
Domino's recent tweet consisting of emojis to convey the message - a great content marketing example

Why are we so obsessed?

These miniature images suddenly appeared in our phones and, as a society craving constant change and new ways to communicate, we pounced. It simply proves that great content is about so much more than just words.

In fact, some of the most lucrative content out there is solely emojis. Kim Kardashian changed the game when she released the ‘Kimoji’ app you can buy from iTunes. Even bad boy Charlie Sheen has released his own ‘Sheenojis’. It’s truly becoming an obsession led by many famous and influential figures.

The use of emojis is relentless – but it’s simply a representation of our need to not only “tell” content, but “show” it. While emojis have become a ubiquitous part of social media and Internet language, it’s worth considering how you might be able to incorporate them into an appropriate campaign or messaging.

(PROTIP: Just be sure you know what the emoji means so your message doesn’t backfire! For example, the eggplant emoji does not simply represent an eggplant anymore… be careful!)

It’s fair to say emojis are here to stay, and we will continue to see them evolve in content both online and offline.

Now, go ahead and take this test and find out which emoji best represents you. Have fun!

Do you need help creating some crafty content? Drop us a note at [email protected].

5 simple rules for using #hashtags

Before 2007, no one would’ve imagined that the hash symbol, most commonly used to denote numbers, would become such an incredible part of social media.

Put simply, hashtags are used to categorise content and make your own content discoverable amidst an overwhelming load of information. They allow brands to reach out to a very specific target audience who are interested in your content and would like to be a part of your network.

The hashtag is one of the most effective search functions on a multitude of social media platforms – but only when used correctly. Here’s our tips to make the most of your hashtags:

Different platforms, different purposes

Most social media platforms utilise hashtags to organise data and provide a more seamless social media experience. However, each network has its own unique way of optimising them. For example, ‘trending topics’ on Twitter are based on the number of times a particular hashtag is used and on Instagram, hashtags take you to pictures of the same subject.

Be clear with what works for each platform, otherwise your efforts will be pointless.

Go unbranded

Trust me, you don’t need to hashtag your own brand to be noticed. Keep up with the latest trends by monitoring what your target audience are saying – events and occasions such as #Ramadan, #NationalFriendshipDay or #SharingisCaring. But remember, stay relevant. Don’t hashtag something that happened last week. Social media trends change at lightning speed, and so should you.

Here’s a great example from Dominos:

Dominos Post with useful hashtags

 

What goes better with football than pizza with your mates? Dominos leveraged on #CopaAmerica16 to offer its audience a special discount.

Here’s one from Sephora:

Sephora Twitter hashtag

Although they may not be directly selling anything in this post, cosmetic giant Sephora received a lot of attention with the hashtag #NationalBestFriendsDay.

 

Hashtags < words

The rule here is to never have more hashtags than words. Too many hashtags make it difficult for users (and yourself) to understand. Don’t spam, you look desperate for likes.

In the case of not being able to insert hashtags into your sentences, you can always add them in at the end of your caption. This post from Fresh is a great example of how to use hashtags effectively in an Instagram caption:

A great example for using Hashtags in an Instagram post

The key is to choose hashtags that are relevant to your brand.

Simplify, and simplify again

Don’t hashtag #every #single #word #in #your #caption. Be selective and choose hashtags that best describe your content. If you can weave them into your caption without it looking like spam, do it to minimise the number of characters (in the case of Twitter).

National Geographic gets it right in their captions on Instagram. They simplify the hashtags to focus on the main subjects of the picture.

Content marketing and social media example on Instagram

Follow the discussion

Your hashtags should be #searchable. You don’t want your post to be buried under another 350,986 posts with the same hashtag. Instead, create hashtags that have a purpose. You want to be able to click on them and scroll through what your consumers are saying about your brand, engage your audience and strike up meaningful conversation.

Reply to tweets, whether they’re good or bad, like your followers’ pictures on Instagram and comment on their Facebook posts, especially when they are relating to your brand. These small actions can create brand loyalty and increase your customers’ lifetime value.

Hashtags are one of the best ways to understand your audience on a more personal level. You’re missing out on a whole lot if you’re not already capitalising on them in your social posts!

Do you need some help getting your social media into shape? Get in touch with our team of experts at [email protected].

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3 easy steps to speaking fluent Instagram

The subtle difference between a double tap and a scroll-through could lie in the caption. Instagram is full of well-lit, pretty images, but it’s the caption that anchors the image to your audience’s life

Using the right voice

The voice is the personality behind the account. The trick to achieving the right pitch is by establishing who your target audience is and mixing that with the nature of your business. You need to establish your own voice and Instagram is a social platform, so be social!

Consistency in format (both photos and choice of language)

Look at big companies like @generalelectric, you’d notice that there is a strong consistency in how the photos are all professionally shot. More importantly, there is consistency in how the captions are crafted. In the case of GE, their Instagram is all about inspiring people and sharing their research work to the world.

Ask the right questions

Look at @Sharpie’s instagram. There is a lot of art, which is great because it shows what the product can do – but the captions are conversational and show a personality behind both the brand and the images.
Here’s an example:

The picture is not great, and well that filter should be reserved for a Lana Del Ray music video, but the caption opens up the creativity of the reader and it follows the most important branding lesson we learned this year: advertising is about your audience not you.

Using the right lingo and hashtags

No matter who your audience is, Instagram is about getting people talking. There is a ton of Instagram lingo out there, and we don’t know where it comes from (either Reddit or the Kardashians) but it goes viral quickly, with short life cycles. Here are a couple we came across just looking today:

  • #transformationtuesday: self-explanatory. Used for weightloss but you could get creative with it for companies if you have a new product update.
  • #smh: shake my head
  • #fam: your peoples, someone you would consider family member
  • #wyd?: what would you do? Hypotheticals used to create conversation
  • #squadgoals: aspirations with your crew
  • #af: as heck

By now you should be speaking Instagram perfectly. If you’re a business that needs help speaking this foreign language get in touch with us at [email protected].

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Your brand sucks: Part 2

If you’ve just joined us, this feature is part of a regular series giving you a brutally frank yet realistic look at the startup world. In ‘Your brand sucks: Part 1” I talked about realising that effective brand communication is key to success. This second part will continue with some more honest truths.

  • You are not Steve Jobs

You just aren’t.

Don’t make subtle comments in meetings about what Steve Jobs’ approach to marketing was. Don’t make sly comments about Steve Jobs’ attention detail when you are ripping apart plans or copy. You just aren’t him!

But don’t worry. You are you, and that’s awesome. You can have your own vision for your brand. Use that to justify your decision making processes instead of having input simply for the sake of having input.

You are building your own empire, and that means there are a whole new set of rules that you decide, and which marketing students in 30 years’ time can marvel at. If you don’t know what the vision is, then that’s also ok. Plenty of amazing leaders have built billion dollar companies by knowing their strengths and collecting the right people around them, who can help them to articulate, communicate or even develop a vision and brand.

  • Don’t go cheap

This makes me want to cry. I see it most often from the types who transition from a bigger corporation into startups. They are used to these things simply happening in the background without understanding it. They usually react to the discovery of cheap offshore outsourcing like they’ve discovered a life hack no one else has ever stumbled across before.

They’ll proudly pull out their branding decks at a first meeting and exclaim how they got it done in Thailand for a few hundred dollars (often followed by a series cocky statements reminding us that our prices need to be dirt cheap, or they’ll simply get that done offshore as well.)  

Firstly, I take this as an insult to me, my colleagues and the craft we’ve spent our working careers learning and developing in. It’s not a great start to any partnership to insult the other person. If you talk to me like this at the beginning, I will simply tell you to go elsewhere. Why would I pour my energy into your brand if I think you’re an arse?

Secondly, the “great deal” you were offered probably sucks. Nine times out of 10 you’ve gotten something I would slap a high school student for submitting. This is particularly true if you’ve just asked them to come up with something without a brief or concept.  

If you fail to see the problem and refuse any input, I’d write you off as a lost cause. No one’s got time for that, and I’d prefer not to associate my agency’s brand associated with you. As a startup you are already up against the odds. Throwing in an amateur, cheap-looking brand and poor strategy just makes your own life so much harder.

Like any rules there are exceptions, and people love to cry out in outrage pointing out the inaccuracies of it all because they can point at a handful of companies it doesn’t apply to.

And to be honest I don’t care. Ignore it and make your business journey 10X harder than it needs to be.

It’s not about spending money, it’s about using your brain.

Need help? Drop me an email at [email protected].

Are your words too serious?

We are not living in a world populated with robots (well not yet anyway), and people are becoming less and less receptive to the direct sales approach. Instead, it’s all about conversational content. Readers don’t want to be spoken to – they want to feel like they are speaking with you.

Think about the last conversation you had. How was the flow? The tone? What about the language you used? This is how you want to ‘speak’ to your readers, and your words alone should be enough for them to want to engage with your brand.

As many of us do struggle with writing in a conversational manner and actually making it sound good at the same time, here are some tips on how to sound less like a robot and more like a human:

It’s time to get real

Remember you are talking to other humans. Be real and be yourself. It’s ok to sound knowledgeable and professional, but come on, no one will understand that fancy terminology, nor will they care to be honest.

People want to get excited by what they see and read. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and so many new things constantly distract us. It’s so important to make every word count. Get to the point and remove all that fluff and technical jargon.

Tell a story

Every piece of content you write should tell a story. Let’s take a look at bios. If your personal or company bio is too serious, with too many big and important-sounding words, it’s going to drive people away.

You want to avoid intimidating people. Not everyone will have a full understanding of your trade, so if you are talking about a high tech solution without explaining it in layman’s terms, people will be interested (mainly because they won’t know what it is you actually do). Instead, they will move on and well, that there is the loss of a potential lead.

State what you do, and state it clearly. The trick to inspiring your readers is of course with great content, but equally as important is how easy it is to absorb.

Check out this great example from Google:

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.32.58 pm  Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.40.11 pm

Everything on their website about Google is so easy to absorb. It has a friendly tone, is brief and to the point, and is simple and easy to understand. Yes I know, we all know what Google is and what they do, but if you had no previous knowledge of the company, this would be enough information to get you there.

Google could have easily started trying to explain the tech side and the algorithms, and…. Oh look a squirrel (that’s us getting distracted by something more interesting).

Here’s a personal bio that we love. Note the light tone and sense of humour used in this one. Yes, this is obviously a fake profile, but we really do need to appreciate the creative content.

darth-words-twitter

And finally, if Hillary Clinton can make politics sound fun, I’m sure we can make our jobs sound equally as exciting, if not more.

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.44.16 pm

Get Inspired

Ok so if by now, Google, Darth Vader and Hillary Clinton haven’t inspired you to rethink your content, then perhaps try someone that will. What do you like to read? Who or what inspires you? Why do they inspire you? Is it the language, the content, the voice – Or all three?

Read some different blogs, bios and articles, and apply what you like to read to your own content.

Read it out loud

This part is particularly important. When writing our own content – whether for yourself or for a company – you are going to be too close to the subject. Try to avoid selling and have a bit of fun when writing (we don’t always need to be so serious). Trust us – with the right tone, even serious topics can sound fun!

Once you’ve written your content, read it out loud. How does it sound? If you are bored, start again. It’s also great to ask someone that isn’t familiar with your product or service to read your work. This is the best way to know whether you’re on the right track.

Now it’s your turn – go out and inspire someone with your words!

Need help with your content? Drop a message to [email protected] 

 

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Capturing the younglings (with the help of social media)

Most Millennials and Gen Z (iMillennials, as they are infamously called) have grown up in an environment where everyone is connected 24/7. They can barely survive half a day without the Internet or their smartphones (trust me, it’s true) and they leave footprints all over various social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest… With that, advertising is shifting from traditional channels like television and radio to social.

Seeing how readily exposed these this generation is to advertorial posts, brands need to seize this opportunity to capture them as early as possible (or at least before your competitors beat you to it).

But how do you do that? Where exactly are they?

Get onto the platforms 

Your lack of presence on social media platforms is a huge strategic miss if you are looking to reach out to the younger and digital generation. Social media is your opportunity to speak with people, not speak to them. You should be building a social media presence regardless of the size of your business.

Remember not to splash the same content on all your platforms in one go. From a youngling’s perspective: “why would I follow you on all your platforms if you’re going to be posting the same ol’ boring content on every channel?” Instead, mix it up selectively.

Go on-the-go

If you don’t already have a mobile platform, go and create one! Younglings today have their hands on their smartphones at every moment of the day: at home, when they’re having their meals, in school, on public transport and perhaps even in the toilet. 86 percent of those of aged 18 to 29 own a smartphone, and this figure is very likely to increase.

A mobile application is another way for brands to engage with their younger audience. Start early – build your brand name, engage your target audience and capture their loyalty.

Let them share it

A great way to get your content out there is to let your audience do it for you. You want people to look at your content, like it and share it with their friends. With that, your reach will be stretched further than your intended audience.

Sharing is the easiest way to get opinions across, especially amongst the millennials and iMlilennials. What is shareable content? It should be easily understood without too much fluff; it should be able to capture attention (especially suited to the short attention spans of younglings today); it should be fun and feature images, gifs or videos.

Take video seriously

On a similar note, high quality and engaging content has recently come in the form of videos. Snapchat is the second-most used social network, and Facebook recently introduced stunning 360-degree videos that allow brands to capture their audience. Bite-sized videos are comprehendible, engaging and easily shared, so why not?

Remember to caption your videos with appropriate keywords and be creative in linking your video posts to your website’s page. You want to attract your audience to watch your videos, not scroll past them.

Influence with influencers

Influencers rake massive followings on several platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat. Their followers are most probably your target audience: the younglings. This audience would rather hear from the very people they look up to than from your brand directly (I know, ouch). Word-of-mouth has never been more powerful.

You should be leveraging on the personalities that your young audience follows to amplify your brand’s message. In other words, you should be ready to loosen your grip and let influencers narrate your brand story. Let it go!

Need help with social media? Drop a message to [email protected] 

mutant-social-media-cta

Is your startup ready to launch? Probably not.

You’ve got two engineers, a cool co-working space, a product in the works, angel funding, and a registered company name. Congrats! You’ve done a bunch of productive stuff, but it’s not enough to introduce your company to the world.

There are several fundamental steps you need to do before consulting a PR agency for the launch of your product or service. There is a common misalignment in a startup’s timeline, where the founder feels they need to get media attention for their half developed idea first, then raise more funding to complete the world’s greatest product.

Sorry friends, it’s the other way around – you need to develop a working prototype before letting your freak flag fly in the media – otherwise you’ll spend a lot of cheddar building a product with features nobody needs.

Some startups tend to think first about how they can scale their idea before they have a working product. But let’s say you spend $200 on Facebook ads, get some downloads – but your app is buggy, or has a three second loading time – that’s an automatic uninstall. Figure out first if it can be used and sold before spending tons of cash on it.

There’s only one chance to launch, so before calling up a PR company and selecting the fillings of your mini sandwiches for media, make sure you have the following, in this order.

1x solid MVP

The MVP (minimum viable product) is a working product with core features, let’s say version 1.0 of your product that lets you gain insight as to whether the world actually needs it. There’s no purpose in spending your savings building the Uber App if you don’t develop a functional “driver”  account that makes you scale the adoption among drivers.

20 x friends

Well, they could just be colleagues or neighbours – individuals who will not blast you on social media if the product is buggy. You need at least 20 people who are using the MVP and are willing to give you feedback. Here you need to ask, do people love it? Do they need it? Will this gain traction? Will they trash if after five uses? You need to build a product that can gain traction before scaling.

Feedback

It’s better to do repairs or a pivot BEFORE you launch than after you launch. A company that has an identity crisis doesn’t look good to the media. Once you have some local users, this is the opportunity to do some A/B testing, improve on the UX, and even at this early stage you still have resources to pivot if you realise no one needs blue tooth dog collars. Now ask, is it going to be scalable?

[Spoiler alert Silicon Valley S3]: You don’t want to end up like Richard when Jack Barker’s cuts up Pied Piper to make it easier to sell via the ‘Conjoined Triangles of Success’ to make it more profitable.

10x pieces of good content

Let’s say you’ve launched early and the media are flooding to your Facebook page. But umm, there isn’t anything on here except 1 post from your mom that says ‘I’m proud of you!’ Have someone create content on your company website just to show that you are truly interested in the issue you’re solving.

5 x brand ambassadors

We don’t mean the tanned and toned Instagram influencer who holds ANYTHING for $500 a post, we mean a real human being who truly LOVES your idea and product. If you have social friends who are ranting and raving with one another about your idea, then it brings some legitimacy to your product. An enthusiastic brand ambassador is worth more than any advertisement at this point.

1x small community

Once you have some people who love your product or service, it’s enough to start a community. This can just be a minimum of ten people who are talking about your dope product online. Successful startups have kicked off because there was a community around an already existing common issue: ‘Jon realised he couldn’t get meatloaf online, ‘til he met Peter and Jim who also wanted to digitise the meatloaf industry’.

People might not know they need your specific product, but if they meet other people who love it, they might realise they have been missing your product their whole life.

Always remember to start small, very very small. Do that small thing very well and invest in making it better for your fans. Only then can you grow and improve. This will reduce the amount of money wasted on building and selling a product that nobody wants.

Get in touch with us at [email protected].

This article was first published in Tech in Asia on 11th May 2016

Your brand sucks: Part 1

This feature is part of a regular series”Getting frank with Joe” giving you a brutally frank, yet realistic look at the business world.

Look, I get it. You’ve worked your arse off building your business – you deliver a product or service you are proud of. The market is simply waiting for something like this and a massive increase in sales is just around the corner simply because you have nailed it. Right? Wrong.

When you fail to communicate your brand, you will not achieve the success you aspire to and – most likely – will crash and burn. I’m not about to give you a step-by-step guide on how to do that but I will give you a few pointers to keep in mind.

  • Your business is not unique

I’m a simple guy; I love the idea that a person can deliver an exceptional product and it will become a success. But unfortunately those times are no longer here, if they ever existed.

Sure, there is the odd exception, but when you do come across those rare cases, there is a specific purpose and strategy behind it. Think of those cool bars with a secret entrance and no obvious branding. They didn’t get popular simply because they make a good cocktail, there is a specific strategy behind their success. This can be a mix of PR, word of mouth and social media. I’ve seen amazing businesses go under because they wanted to be underground or aloof, without understanding how to effectively communicate.

It’s not just lifestyle either. Whether you are in construction, B2B technology or whatever, if your target market doesn’t know you exist, can’t relate to you, or they don’t easily understand your key values, then you are not building the long-term relationships that is  needed to scale your business.  

  • Take a look in the mirror

All founders need to take a good, hard look at themselves before getting too involved with branding at a creative level for both planning and execution. Supply the vision and ethos that will guide the strategy, but if you lack the skills, understanding, or even interest to get involved, then please don’t.

I’ve seen all sorts of approaches towards brand strategy and communications, where the CEO doesn’t have any experience or know what they are doing. If they recognise they lack in the area, they are often fine. The others, less so.

mutant-startup-brand

In one meeting, I met the CEO of a tech company that had successfully raised millions in funding. It was an amazing platform and should have done really well in the market since they launched 18 months earlier. Yet here they were looking for desperate last ditch measures to get sales, so they could raise more funding just to survive.

I asked the CEO about his marketing and branding strategy. There was none. He even told me he hates doing “that sort of stuff”, yet he was the one in charge of executing it. Unsurprisingly, the marketing efforts fails, and then the CEO decides it doesn’t work.

With millions of dollars and over a year of operations, this company had built itself a large global team, yet not one person outside of the CEO had a role that involved giving thought on how to actually get the product in front of paying users, or how to build the brand or to scale it (beyond tech requirements).

So there you have it! Stay tuned for the second instalment to my branding series where i’ll guide you on how turn failure into success.

In the meantime, drop me a note at [email protected] if you could use a hand promoting your new idea.

Missed the first Getting frank with Joe instalment? Check it out here.

 

The Words Way – Sourcing quality content for your business

The content you create says a lot about your business. It provides your readers with insight into your knowledge, expertise and offering, and is a great marketing tool that helps prospective customers decide whether they want to do business with you.

Content works to:

  1. Demonstrate your expertise
  2. Solve problems or pain points
  3. Build your brand’s credibility
  4. Helps with your SEO and Google rankings
  5. Develop lead generation

Content is ubiquitous

Essentially, anything you write and share with your audience falls under the content umbrella. From the material posted on your website, to the marketing collateral you hand out, through to your social media, and company blog – that’s all content.

However, the way the content is written, presented and distributed will determine its level of penetration and ultimately success for your business. The words you write can leave a lasting impression on the reader, so make it work for your business.

Have a point of view

It always helps to have a fresh perspective on the material that is produced for your company. If you are writing the same messages over and over again, chances are it may start to become repetitive and won’t be as sharp and witty as it should be.

Keep in mind that the needs of your target audience are forever changing, and your writing style will need to adapt accordingly. If, for example, you are trying to target a new market, the content will be relevant to the local audience – a single global piece just won’t cut the mustard.

Stick with a reliable agency

That’s what we do at Words! Our team of content specialists will transform your content into something that’s sharp, to the point and appeals to your target audience – no matter where they are based or what interests they have.

Our team will write any piece of content that you need, including blogs, articles, website content, press releases, marketing copy, through to white papers, ebooks and social media content. We can even draft your next winning awards application or help create an eye-catching infographic that’s sure to turn heads and generate engagement.

Below is our easy 5-step ordering process.

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Content yoga: How to stretch your content into multiple posts

You have heard it over and over again. Content marketing is the next big thing in marketing communications. You have bought the Kool Aid, you have started drinking it.

You have established a content development process that is both consistent and committed. Various internal stakeholders are coming with you with ideas, or even better, written pieces of content that are exactly to your requirements. The website blog is being updated once a week. Now what?

It’s time to get the most out of the content that you have painstakingly developed. Here are some tips on how can you make your content go further so that it reaches your intended target audience.

  • Check with your PR agency if the content is pitchable

With shrinking newsrooms, publications are more open to taking in op-eds or contributions these days. Having your original content published in a business or industry news portal definitely gives your brand a boost in credibility. Publications usually have some strict requirements though – the brand cannot be mentioned in the piece other than the byline, the content usually has to be on a wider industry trend rather than a specific product and usually the piece has to be published first only on their site. You can of course, then use the content on your own website after a specific period of time. Take note of the advice your agency gives you and make a call on whether you would like to go down this route.

  • Get the content linked

Content on LinkedIn is getting a lot of traction these days. If you need to raise the profile of a certain executive (e.g. the new Asia MD), you may want to consider posting the content on a regular basis using LinkedIn Pulse, with their approval of course.

A repurposed article on LinkedIn pulse could help to build your executive’s credibility as an industry thought leader and also steer people to becoming more aware of your brand. As a bonus, LinkedIn Pulse enjoys a high search quality rating on Google which means the content will be included in search results.

Updating a senior executive’s page on their behalf also encourages them to be more hands-on in the content – it’s their reputation after all. This means you will also get more ideas on content topics and they are also more likely to share their personal industry observations. This is a win-win for both, your content is more authentic and they boost their own profile.

  • Make it shareable

Summarise each section of your blog post or break it down into tips. You can then use these bite-sized pieces to post on Facebook or Twitter on a daily basis as part of a multi-part series. Remember that you have to keep the post to 140 characters for Twitter – which probably will come up to no more than 1 sentence. For Facebook you have more flexibility on the word count but try not to go over 250 characters (Posts with less than 250 characters receive 60% more engagement). Also, don’t forget to add an image and link the content back to your website to drive traffic.

On that note, while having Twitter and Facebook is great – it may not be necessary to have both. Check our post on choosing the right social media channel to see which is right for you. https://mutant.com.sg/less-is-more-4-tips-to-choosing-the-right-social-media-channel/

  • Reach out to new people

Since you are posting on social media already, why not promote selected posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and/or Facebook? Promoting a post is a good way for more people to see your content and reach out to new audiences through targeting.

Promoted posts can boost traffic to your web page and also gives you some rich data analytics so that you can figure out which channels are most effective for your brand. The best thing about promoted posts these days, is that it is fairly affordable – you can promote a post for as much or as little budget as you want.

  • Communicate to employees

Your employees are your most important assets. They are the face of the company and they are the ones that deal with your customers. A great piece of content can inspire employees and align ideas. Summarise your article into a teaser and use it in your latest newsletter. Encourage engagement, ask them their point of view on the topic and as always, link the article back to the website to boost traffic.

  • Play around with formats

While a blog post is the most immediate way to get content out, do explore other formats that may work better with your target audience. Be it an infographic, video, slideshare or audio file – explore the various formats from time to time and use your website analytics to check on how much traction you are getting.

If you need help maximising your existing content or need help setting up a winning content development marketing strategy, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

5 signs your business should invest in a content marketing agency

There are a multitude of large and small businesses that think they know best when it comes to content marketing. How hard can it be? A blog here, a social media post there and you’re done! Right?

I hate to break it to you, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Put simply, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach that relies on the regular creation and distribution of quality content to a specific audience. The aim is to ultimately turn prospects into customers. Read more about what content marketing means here.

An effective content marketing strategy takes time and commitment and everything needs to be written with purpose. It not only yields powerful results, but also becomes extremely cost effective.

There is no point in writing one blog, adding it to your website and then hoping it will automatically translate into sales. It sadly doesn’t work that way. How will people see your content?

With that being said, here are some early signs that should prompt you to consider using a content marketing agency to help you get organised and on track:

  • Lack of regular, quality content

Think about how often you produce content.
Is it once a month? Once a quarter? Or whenever you have a chance to?

Whilst it’s not necessary to create content every single day, a solid content strategy requires consistency and commitment. Creating regular content allows brands to build thought leadership in their area of expertise, create trust and promote engagement with their target audiences – which is more likely to lead to a sale.

  • No visible SEO results

Without relevant and regular content, your SEO efforts may be wasted. Google evaluates how often you update your website with fresh content. It also ranks the quality of the content as well as the length. You can read more about this here.

Another thing to consider is how well the content is tailored to your chosen keywords. Content creation isn’t just about putting some words on a page about a certain topic. You do need to write for your target audience but also for SEO. Fall too deep to one side and you will be penalised on the other, so it’s essential to strike a healthy balance between crafty and engaging content and writing for SEO.

  • Your conversions are suffering

 Writing relevant content that addresses your target audience and their needs is so important. Identify and create a buyer persona that would need your product or service. Who is this person? (i.e Marketing Mary, 35 years old) What is their role? (ie Marketing Manager for an SME) What do they wish to achieve? (Brand awareness, sales etc.) Then look at identifying their pain points and how you can help solve them.

A content marketing agency can be useful to help structure your strategy and make suggestions about why your efforts have not been successful. They will create new ideas and avenues for you to explore.

  • Little to no engagement across your social media

Social media can be an amazing avenue to promote your content and directly engage with your target audience. Using social media helps drive traffic to your website as you are providing your followers with a preview of what they can expect to see if they click a specific link.

If you are doing this already and it’s not working, think about the quality and relevance of the content that you are producing and posting. Always remember that one size doesn’t fit all on social media. Each platform has a different audience, and therefore the language, tone and delivery needs to be tailored every time.

A content marketing agency will pull together a strategic content and social media strategy and create relevant and engaging content that can be used across multiple platforms.

  • Your brand lacks credibility

If you are a new business, it’s so critical early on to establish credibility in the market. A solid content marketing strategy enables your brand to educate prospects and instill their trust in your brand.

According to Hubspot’s 2015 State of Inbound Marketing report, the top two priorities for companies, regardless of size, are to a) increase the number of contacts/leads, and b) to convert contacts/leads to customers.

A successful content marketing strategy can help you achieve this.

Need help with your content? Drop a message to [email protected] 

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If you’d like to speak to us about effective content marketing for your business, feel free to get in touch at [email protected].