4 ways to convince your manager to adopt content marketing

Exactly two decades ago, Bill Gates predicted the power of content marketing, writing an essay on “Content is King”. We’ve been hearing this mantra ever since. It’s not exactly without reason, because content is driving the internet now. The most visited websites are full of great content and for a business, this opens up many opportunities to attract valuable leads. Producing quality content relevant to your audience demonstrates your company’s knowledge and expertise, and positions you as a thought leader. When executed correctly, it helps build brand trust, awareness and a positive reputation.

Now you may know this but…what if your manager doesn’t hold the same belief?

It could be down to a lack of education or understanding and it can be frustrating to get them on the same page.So, here’s how to convince them:

  1. Angle your pitch

You know how a convincing pitch is prepared to woo a prospective client? Yup, so apply that same principle on your manager. Tell a story, find common topics, and relate it to how content marketing can help them with their job and drive the business forward. Let your manager come to his or her own conclusion by asking if their recent purchases were made based on obvious advertisements, or after reading opinions, articles and reviews.

  1. Target business goals

Familiarise yourself with the company’s business goals, and demonstrate how content marketing aligns with the business objectives. Besides the (obvious) potential increase in revenue, demonstrate how the goals of traffic growth, business leads and good customer experience can be achieved with content marketing.

  1. Offer solutions

Find out what problems your target audience faces, and come up with a few content ideas to show how your business can address these questions. This step combats any reservations managers might have about the business being too “boring” to generate interesting content.

  1. Be prudent

While it’s good to show your boss the many benefits of content marketing, you do need to explain this is a long-term strategy that works on building brand awareness and reputation.

It’s not easy persuading a superior, but hopefully with enough preparation, your manager will jump on board the content marketing train by the time you leave the meeting room.

 

Now that your boss has converted, drop us a line at [email protected] and let us help you drive your content marketing campaign.

 

How to create presentations that don’t suck

We’ve all been subjected to sitting through boring work presentations. You know, the ones we don’t pay attention to because they’re so dull it’s actually painful.

Unfortunately, it happens way too often – from sales pitches, to company roundups, to product launches and more… the boredom is real!

Just because the presentation is internal, or is on a less-than-exciting topic, doesn’t mean you have to create one lacking in stimulation or areas for engagement. Humans are visual creatures with shortening attention spans – snore-inducing content just won’t cut it.

So how can you ensure you don’t lose your audience? It doesn’t require you to be a technical or design whiz, it simply means you need to think outside the very boring PowerPoint box.

Here are a few quick tips to whip your next presentation into shape:

  1. Less is more

It’s all about the economy of words! You might think you’re coming across smarter and more professional with those long-winded sentences and ridiculous jargon, but all you’re doing is giving your viewers a reason to switch off.

You need your audience to understand and process the information you’re presenting – do you think that’s likely to happen when you share an essay? Stick to quick bullet points, catchphrases, keywords and short sentences. Your slides shouldn’t exhibit your entire presentation word-for-word; it should be the highlight reel.

  1. Get creative with it

How dull are templates? Why do they even exist? Avoid subjecting yourself to the standard– even when you have branding guidelines to adhere to. This is YOUR canvas, so try to have a little bit of fun and add some life into your presentation.

Find engaging colours and create layouts that are fun and different to help get your message across. Don’t go overboard with your creative license, but do take a step back before ask yourself, “am I excited by this presentation?”

  1. Infographics for the win

All rejoice for the beloved hybrid of information and graphics – the humble infographic! These designs are a godsend for any presentation, bringing plain text to life and helping to accentuate otherwise complex data and statistics.

An infographic allows your audience to better digest information, meaning they can spend more time actually listening to you, rather than trying to read blocks of text. Beautifully designed icons, graphics and copy can really take your presentation from boring to brilliant.

  1. A picture paints a thousand words

Heck, sometimes you don’t even need text. Create intrigue, elicit laughter, and make a point stick by using clever images, memes, gifs or photos to make a point. As well as being entertaining, imagery can help break up the presentation.

If you must add text as well, then do, but try to use images that help weave your story together on their own.

So, there you have it! Snorefest no more – now your next presentation will be a true masterpiece.

Stuck for content and need a little life injected into your copy? Our Words team can help turn your content from drab to fab. Get in touch at [email protected].

 

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Less text, more visuals: Why infographics are important

Whether you’re a business owner or digital marketer, it’s getting increasingly difficult to produce unique content that excites readers. You write more, publish more, but so does everyone else. So how exactly do you make your content stand out and and engage with your audience?

One of the most effective and popular ways to capture attention these days is by creating visual content in the form of infographics. These highly informative graphics strategically combine text, images, and icons to present the most important information in an easy-to-understand manner, and here’s why you should use them:

They easily capture attention

Humans are impatient and visual creatures. This means we want the facts fast. Infographics do the job perfectly because they effectively summarise important messages and statistics. Figures are made bigger and bolder, text is significantly reduced, and images are placed in all the right places. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, but it also doesn’t put us to sleep. We no longer need to scroll to the end of a five page article to understand the main message — we get everything in just one glance. Check out this great example below:

Image of infographic example

They increase your brand awareness

Infographics are designed to showcase relevant messages and information, and nothing else. More often than not, they also include the company’s logo, introduction, website URL, contact information, etc. Even if your target audience may not read every single word they will definitely remember your brand’s unique visuals and key takeaways.

Take a look at the example below where LinkedIn highlights the benefits of using the platform. The graphic is simple, to the point, and easy to digest – it’s much clearer than having to read a 1000 word piece of content.


Linkedin creative infographic example

 

DID YOU KNOW? When used properly, infographics can help to increase your web traffic by at least 12% because people become more aware of your brand and its online presence.

Others want to share them

One highly commendable characteristic of infographics is that the inherent design allows them to be portable and easily embeddable. Including an embed code along your infographic enables it to be shared on any platform, whether it’s a blog, news article, powerpoint deck, or even your own website. The embedded infographic is linked back to your site automatically, which also helps to increase traffic and click throughs.

Infographics may require slightly more time to plan, create and execute, but they’re definitely worth the effort. With the advancement of technology, it’s crucial for your business to hop on the digital bandwagon and capture readers with exciting and informative visuals.

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

 

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Drop the mic – The structure of an inspiring speech

Speeches, as with presentations and important announcements can be a pretty daunting task. It is something that becomes unavoidable as you climb higher up the corporate ladder.

Being a good speaker is one of the common traits of a thought leader. Confidence, coherence, and finesse may sound like a piece of cake, but are a lot harder to execute in reality. Most of us tend to get caught up with stage fright and forget about the actual preparation.

Like most things, it takes a little time, patience and personality to ace the speech, so here are some tips to help you drop the mic and kill it.

Be aware of your audience

Know who you are speaking to – students at a study hall, media guests at a launch event, or corporate VIPs at a business convention. Who ever it may be, being aware of your audience will help set the tone and delivery of your speech.

Check out this great speech from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as she discusses why fewer women reach the top of their professions. You can guess her audience is women, and Sheryl addresses her points so well.

Understand your topic

It’s easier to explain something that you are passionate about. Knowing and understanding the topic of your speech will give you the confidence to express yourself better and do a phenomenal job at delivering the message.

Watch as Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson movingly talks of growing up in ‘lower-income-housing’ and about the people she knows who still rely on the state for healthcare. Clearly she knows her topic, and can relate to it, and is using her experience and knowledge to educate others – it’s powerful:

Brainstorm

List down as many potential talking points as you can. Take a minute to review that list and pick out the relevant and important points to go into length about.

Structure

Focusing on the important points will provide some structure, maximising the delivery of your speech. Your audience will appreciate the pacing and flow, which will engage and prevent them from tuning out and getting bored.

One killer line

Put some thought into that one killer line that encapsulates your speech – it packs in a punch and makes it thoughtful and memorable.

Think about Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”, or John F Kennedy’s “…ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can for your country” – both were delivered with passion and punch:

Repetition

Build on your intensity and impact by repeating the important points.

Martin Luther King boldly repeated, “I have a dream”, but if you find that repeating your killer line may be too much of an overkill – try instead simple repetition of brands, names or important points that you want your audience to remember.

Introduction

Grab the audience’s attention from the start – make a joke, share an interesting fact, tell a story or a personal experience. Get the message across in three points or less. This will avoid unnecessary droning.

Body 

Keep it short, simple and to the point. The key is to keep things as succinct as possible. This is easier said than done, but using the structure as a guide will help focus on the messaging.

Conclusion

There is no need to stress too much about ending with a bang. Try leaving it up to the audience. Open the floor to questions as this is one of the best ways to discover how effective your speech was. It gives you an opportunity to sense the energy of your audience – do they seem excited and eager to ask more questions? Or are they slumped in their seats, eyes glazed and lifeless?

There is always something to take away from the end of your speech so use this as a lesson for your next one.

Practice makes perfect

Read your speech out loud alone, practice in front your friends and record yourself. Listen to constructive criticism and feedback, and take everything onboard.

Do you need help writing your next speech? Our team is ready to make your words work for you. Get in touch at [email protected].

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4 steps to simplifying your fancy shmancy software pitch

How many times have you attempted to explain your software platform or application and start blubbering out a list of features before flatly declaring, ‘Well, it’s an Uber for…’

Every time you fumble with your pitch, you lose out on potential clients, investors, customers and partners. ‘Geek speak’ won’t help you scale your business to billions. So how are you going to explain deep tech to the masses?

Even if you are able to sell it to a potential customer well-versed in jargon – sales people won’t be able to sell the jargon, they need something easily digestible.

Whether you’re working on a deck, elevator pitch, sales pitch, or just talking to someone at a party – you’re going to want take the lingo down a notch.

Here are four steps to simplified success:

Before you start, think of your product, answer these questions, and look to them often for anchors.

1. Why does this exist?

Most people tell the ‘what’ before the ‘why’, and the listener loses interest. Answer the question, ‘so what?’ before some even asks it.

Let’s take a great example. If you watch HBO Silicon Valley, here is the product elevator pitch before (By the CTO, Richard) and after (The Visionary, Erlach):

The what (Richard): “Pied Piper is a loss-less middle-out compression algorithm.

Mutant-piedpiper

 

The why (Erlach): Today’s user wants access to all of their files, from all of their devices instantly. That’s why cloud-based is the holy grail. Now Dropbox is winning, but when it comes to audio and video files they might as well be called Dripbox. Using our platform, Pied Piper users would be able to compress all of their files to the point where they truly can access them instantly, we control the pipe they just use it.

2. Replace jargon with how it works

What’s the point of sounding smart if no one knows who you are? The best leaders are ones that show people what they are doing. Particularly in ad technology, it’s a really really crowded space and everywhere you turn there’s a new best practice article about what all these acronyms stand for.

3. If you’re struggling, use metaphors 

If you’re not able to identify a problem that you’re solving, try to explain how your product works using metaphors. This works best when you’re talking about your product at a networking event. If you’re talking to a total stranger with no knowledge of their background, it’s an easy way to get people on the same level before hitting them with the facts. Here’s an example:

 Ad impression

Jargon: When an ad is fetched from its source and is counted whether or not the ad is clicked is not taken into account.

Translation: An ad impression can represent an employee that showed up to work but didn’t really do anything, and still got paid. When an ad is loaded onto a web page, and there’s a chance that someone will view it, it’s counted as an impression even without clicks. (Jargon translated from www.mediaratingcouncil.org).

4. Write an email

If you’re having trouble writing an email about what your product does write it, then delete it, and write the entire thing again — it is guaranteed to be clearer the second time around.

The first time you write it out, your mind is just working through how it works – rather than the bigger picture. When you clear your physical space and write it again, it will come out with more brevity and clarity.

 

Need help simplifying your message? That’s what we do. Write us at [email protected].

Content distribution 101

You have written all this content, but what’s next?

You may have read our recent post which talks about making the most out of your content, and stretching it that extra mile, and in this post I’m going to go a bit further and explain what content distribution is and how to develop a clear strategy.

Content is all the rage, but if you publish it on your website and leave it at that, it’s very unlikely that many people will ever see it. This subsequently becomes a waste of your time, resources and money. Any marketing activity needs to be backed up with a clear strategy that best matches your goals. Content is no different and there are many avenues that brands can take advantage of to gain their worth in words.

There are three main ways in which content can be distributed.

  • Through paid channels – when you pay for you content to be distributed (i.e. Advertorials, social ads, Google ads etc.)
  • Via your own channels – the channels that you have direct control over, such as your website social media, and newsletters. Basically, anything your have direct control over.
  • With shared opportunities– when other people share your content through PR channels, to include media coverage, social shares, reviews etc.

Below is a chart showing the activities falling under each category. Interestingly, it shows us that all three distribution channels are connected. This simply means the same piece of content can in fact run through multiple channels.

Content Distribution strategy

(Source: http://blog.bufferapp.com/content-distribution-tools)

The more visibility your content piece has, the more people are going to see it, which ultimately means you will have more success in delivering your message, and evoking a response.

However, I do need to stress that a great content distribution strategy means very little if the piece of content is not suitable for your intended audience or is poorly written – so firstly get that right. (Check out our blog to help you create quality content)

Work out a strategy that best suits your budget and goals. Incorporate as many channels as you feel are necessary in reaching YOUR target audience. Ask yourself: Where are they looking for content? How do they engage? If you are targeting a younger female audience, say 25 and under, with your latest beauty product and tips, it’s fair to say they are very active on social media, so competitions, mentions, shares and reviews will be most effective, as will engaging with influencers and running targeted social ads.

Your content strategy should ultimately help drive sales, and in-between help educate and inspire your target audience. Be smart and never compromise on quality.

Part two of this topic will show you how to set up a content plan and distribution strategy – so stay tuned.

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

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Stop using these words

I know, it’s hard to write good copy. You know what your product is about, you understand the ins and outs of it all, but can you actually put the right words down on paper? Remember that your readers are real people. They are not going to respond to cheesy sales talk – this will turn them off.

Overtime, content has evolved and is now one of the more popular marketing tools out there. However, with lots of content, comes a stream of overused and annoying words and phrases.

Here are some of the top words that frankly, in my opinion, should be banished.

1) The very best

  • State-of-the-art
  • Best-in-class
  • First-rate

state-of-the-art-words

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unless you have solid proof then stay far away from them as they mean nothing to your readers and cheapen your brand. I understand that your product is your baby and to you, it is the best, but sadly your customers don’t care. Look at it from another angle – no business is ever going to claim that what they are offering is rubbish, so claiming that you are “first-rate” just devalues your brand.

2) The visionary

  • Revolutionary
  • Innovative
  • Next generation

Really? Are you? Ok, if you talk about Steve Jobs and Apple – yes! But most of us are not Steve Jobs, so stop trying to amplify your product. Remove all that fluff from your content and tell people what you actually do and how you can help them. It’s that simple!

the-visionary-words

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) The vain

  • The best
  • Amazing
  • Superior

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again – really? Using words like this to describe your company or product generally don’t get you anywhere. If your product is indeed superior and the best – show us, don’t tell us! Use vanity with caution as it can really disrupt your credibility, and like I’ve already said…no one really believes or cares that you say you are amazing. Actions speak much louder than words.

The main takeaway for this is that content is a lot more than just a few words that explain your product. You need to inspire people and spark an emotional reaction from them with your words, graphics or videos. Be real and be honest, and stop using all that fluffy sales talk. We are all human, so remember to write words that you, yourself would want to read.

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

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What is the meaning of content?

Ok, so I’ll be the first to admit words and phrases like ‘content’ and ‘content marketing’ are becoming overused. Every one claims to be doing it, but very few people really understand what all that fancy lingo means and, more importantly, how to use it properly to get the desired results.

I’m here to run you through some of the more common terms, from buyer personas to visual content.

Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are fictitious characters that represent an accurate snap shot of your target audience. Knowing your audience, and understanding their needs is key to the success of any content marketing campaign. Take the time to identify whom you are targeting and develop your content ideas from there.

Calls-to-Action

Remember this term, as this is a vital addition to your content marketing. This little button (or link, or whatever you choose to use) is the key to converting site traffic into leads. It’s generally displayed in the form of a “download now” or “click here” action button, but this little beauty doesn’t always need to be focused on lead generation. It can also be a link to social media, or an external link or an email. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s relevant to the content piece.

E-books

What’s an e-book I hear you ask? Well, the best way to describe an e-book is an extended piece of content that explains a topic in more depth. The blog posts you write should be short snippets about different aspects of one topic. Think of your blog posts as individual chapters in a novel, and the e-book is the novel. It’s combining everything into one detailed piece of content that educates and inspires the reader.

Editorial Calendar

Every content strategy should be accompanied by en editorial calendar. This is your planner and the road map for all content creation. It will help you develop your ‘story’ and put together the topics you wish to cover – and of course which buyer personas the content is targeting.

Keywords

Basically a keyword is something a user types into a search engine to find information about a particular topic. Content marketers should understand which keywords their target audience favours, and front-load them across the content they produce. All this should also tie in with your SEO campaign to get the most bang for your buck.

Newsjacking

This is a tricky one that not many people really understand. Simply put, Newsjacking is a practice of making the most out of recent and highly popular news. I don’t’ mean report on the fact that Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with her nude photoshoot. No – that’s going to be covered a lot anyway, and really… who cares! I’m talking about putting your own spin on it. So, for example if you are a social media agency, talk about how this impacted Instagram or what that means for brands.

Remember that all your content should be useful to YOUR target audience. Oh and if you are quick enough to capitalise on popular news, Google will reward you and bump the ranking of your story.

Visual Content

With so many words and our limited attention span, visual content is fast becoming the cool kid on the block. Here, I’m referring to images, infographics and videos, which are crucial to capturing the attention of the time poor consumer, and really get them to engage with your brand.

I hope this was helpful and gave you a deeper insight into the powerful world of content marketing.

If you have more questions or need some compelling words, get in touch with us at [email protected]

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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.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.45.26 am

 

Simply upload a brief and voila! you’re now on your way to great content.

 

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If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us on [email protected], and we look forward to writing for you soon.

 

6 golden rules for effective content marketing

Producing content is dead easy. Producing content that converts, not so much.

Due to the sheer volume of thought leadership, blogs, videos and infographics floating around the internet, your audience’s expectations of what constitutes ‘good’ content has changed. Active digital audiences want more engaging, relevant, smarter, and faster content than ever before.

By taking the time to cater to the needs of your target viewer, you’ll hold their attention – and their loyalty.

Here are a few key things to keep in mind before posting up a flurry of blog posts:

1. Relevance: Does your article contain your company’s key messages? There has to be a connection between the brand and what you’re publishing. Let’s say you’re creating a hilarious corporate cat video and it gets lots of clicks. That’s great, but what’s the point if the viewer isn’t your target audience?

2. Purpose: Does your article or video add value to your audience and your business? What are they getting out of it and learning from you? Before producing anything, ask yourself what the business objective is for both your viewer and yourself. Does it improve someone’s business, lifestyle or even state of mind?

3. Engaging: Does it sound like you or does it sound like a cyborg? With such a crowded atmosphere online, an authoritative or friendly human voice is essential. Content nowadays should read or sound like a conversation, not a document or presentation.

4. Calls To Action: Draw your readers in with engaging language and tone, and always – always – include a Call To Action (CTA). This could be in the form of a downloadable resource at the end of a blog, or an invite to answer a question in the comments. Without this, your efforts are being wasted. It’s no longer enough to publish information that is just useful – you need people to engage with you and take an action that will provide value.

5. Contextual: Cross-device marketing is making headlines for a reason. Audiences are using different devices, sometimes all at once. Tailor the content for the platform. For example,  if you’re making long form video content make sure it’s on Youtube, and edit it down for Instagram and six-second Vines. Context is king!

6. Topical: Stay plugged in to what your audience is talking about by regularly checking the news and social media to monitor your audience’s most pressing issues. There are so many tools on the internet like Google Trends, Quora and Twitter. If something relates to your business, offer a position and get your audience talking about it.

The internet doesn’t need any more “Productivity tips from top CEOs”. We need to be making better, faster, smarter content for a better, faster, smarter audience.

So, how will you engage your readers? Let us help you. Contact us at [email protected].

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What is content? – Part 4: How to be an engaging thought leader in 2016

It’s 2016, and the internet is hungover from the content overload of 2015. Thought leadership is still as relevant ever as a way to build your brand, but there’s too much of it floating around left unread.

As we mentioned earlier, the production of content is going up as engagement goes down. To ensure your thought leadership piece doesn’t get left behind, follow these six tips.

Look for your industry’s pain points. Before just writing what you know, do some research on and offline to find out what’s bothering people in your industry. As industries are becoming increasingly digital and offline activity goes mobile, there are lots of unanswered questions. Not sure what the future holds? Prediction pieces always make for great hits.

Take a stance. Having a strong opinion doesn’t mean pushing your ideas on other people, it means encouraging a dialogue and inspiring others. If there’s a topic dividing your industry, consider taking a side you believe in and go with it. As long as you know what you’re talking about it can be a positive to be a bit controversial, especially with the huge volume of copycat how-to blogs out there.

Give anecdotes. To make it seem like a really organic thought, give short windows of situations that taught you a lesson. You could also share a staff journey that can inspire others in their own careers.

Skip the cliches. Cliches can over simplify certain concepts and ideas. Using your own words and examples will help you establish your own voice that will be easier to remember.

Name drop. People want credibility in thought leaders. If you studied at a prestigious university, worked close with an inspirational leader, or worked at a Fortune 500, mention it.

Don’t have the time to produce your own thought leadership? Let our skilled content writers do it for you. Contact us at [email protected].

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