For a long time now I have been attending networking events and seminars and meeting numerous small, medium and large business owners in formal and informal settings. When asked, as one always is, ‘What does your company do, exactly?’ I had a stock phrase: “I represent a company called ‘Magnificent Stuff’ and we’re content marketeers.”
Good, eh? Sounds professional and has the added bonus of actually being the truth, which helps.
Trouble is that no-one had the faintest idea what I was talking about. To anyone outside of our industry it’s meaningless jargon. Eyes glaze over.
So now I have a new line “I represent a company called ‘Magnificent Stuff’ and we get you more exposure, more contacts, more leads, more sales and – bottom line – more money’. Full stop. Period.
The business owners I meet have skills that people want, they have training, they have ideas and they have great products that they’ve developed and believe in. That said, and let’s be frank – you could have the best product in England, a World-changing product, but if no-one knows it’s there why bother at all?
These business owners are good at their jobs, they’ve all has success to a lesser or greater extent and they should be working hard in their business to make it progress. We’re good at what we do too and that is using marketing to tell the whole damn World if necessary that these businesses and products exist.
Visit us here – Magnificent Stuff
Recent research shows us that an advertorial is 500 times more likely to be read than a normal advertisement. It is 50 times more likely to result in a consumer lead or sale. Pretty incredible stats, I think you’ll agree.
Creating A Great Advertorial
As a form of native advertising the danger in creating a great advertorial is making sure that the reader feels conned at the end of the content. If he/she has read through 500 words about the joys of a particular type of red wine say, only to be hit with ‘Buy it here! We’re really cheap!’ as the concluding line – the risk is clearly that the reader will feel conned or tricked and become annoyed rather than engaged. Like so much of native advertising the sales pitch must be very soft.
Talented writers, of course, will regularly pen articles or opinion pieces which appear not to be selling anything. Humorous or engaging editorial which engages and entertains without even mentioning a product or Brand. In this instance the writer may be simply promoting himself or the company he works for. Somewhere in that article will be his contact details or that of his firm. The sales pitch is extremely subtle. However we are not all Stephen Fry or Russell Brand and a more direct approach has to suffice.
A word to the wise though:- If you do not feel confident in writing a decent advertorial a safer option is outsource it to a competent writer or marketing firm who specialise in this form of content. A poorly written piece can cause serious damage. It you do chose to do it yourself below are a couple of links containing some excellent advice. Perhaps you should contact Magnificent Stuff (soft and subtle enough?). Good luck!
As we’ve discussed before there are 5 main reasons that most businesses use social networking and blogging. It’s useful to have a think about how many of these reasons apply to your company’s posts…
- To Promote
To give your business a voice, a personality and an opportunity to shout about its benefits.
- To Inspire
Inspiration gives us a push to keep going, try harder or aim higher. Inspiring messages are shared to create a ‘feel good’ feeling amongst followers
- To Entertain
If you look at our piece on The Power of a Smile you’ll see how important and cathartic smiling and laughter are for wellbeing.
- To inform
Whether it’s the latest in news, the current trend on or a nearby event social media has become an integral medium for information.
- To connect
When I joined Facebook nearly ten years ago the immediate draw for me was that it kept me in touch with friends I no longer saw in person, due to our various relocations around the globe. It instantly added a layer of valued connectivity to my day to day activities. Now I use social media and my content to connect @Magnificentstuf with other similar organisations and to help establish our brand.
Given that you and many other businesses will have ticked only number one, you might now begin to appreciate why social media can seem a very noisy, overcrowded place, and also perhaps why many tweets, posts and updates are ignored. The savvy social media user amongst us knows that appealing to points two to five on the list is the way to get noticed…so –
1) When promoting your business don’t rerun the same post advertising your service or product. Think about smarter ways to promote, use case studies, promotional offers, testimonials.
2) Look to inspire if that is your strength; people love to absorb the wisdom of Jack Canfield first thing in the morning as they start their day, and I’m sure they’ll love your wisdom or shared insights too.
3) If humour comes naturally don’t be afraid to inject comedy into your posts (just think about how your brand may be perceived – non-offensive and clean may leave a better impression!)
4) Share information that people can put to good use. One of our most successful posts to date is ‘9 natural ways to keep spiders out of your home’ – this post has nothing to do with Magnificent Stuff… It’s not in any way marketing related but it’s interesting and informative and topical. People liked and shared leading to a positive impact on Magnificent Stuff’s reputation.
5) Support and assist your community in the same way that you would your own circle of friends. Going the extra mile for others counts for an awful lot. Follow, like and share others posts. So long as it’s not a direct competitor it’s nice, good practice and reflects well on your brand to engage publicly with others.
I usually spend an hour or so on a Sunday planning content for the week ahead. I set myself a goal of writing a split percentage across each of the 5 types of content listed above and set about researching and brainstorming posts.
Some tips for content creation:
- Google national or global calendar dates so you can use these as posts.
- Design cool graphics to accompany your posts using canva.com.
- Keep or pin inspirational quotes and posts you’ve seen during the week so you can retweet or share them.
- Integrate your social media so they work succinctly (writing a post in Hootsuite that will post across all of your channels together) but me mindful that audiences will differ so sometimes the message will need to be changed, also the display of posts changes from channel to channel.
- Ask your followers what they would like to see more of.
- Review your insights to see which type of posts have been successful and generate decent levels of engagement.
For more tips, advice and content ideas contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The use of effective content has become increasingly important – here are a few tips to help you achieve better search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Use smart headlines you can grab attention – remember, short, succinct and interesting.
- Commit to a content plan/calendar to keep content regular and varied – we can help you with this!
- Use real stories about real people to create unique and engaging content – if something has made you laugh, cry, feel inspired or provoked a reaction in you it’s worth sharing… so long as it sits comfortably with your brand and enhances the customer experience.
- Sense check: is your content worth sharing? Would your reader see value in forwarding it on?
- Make sure your content answers the kind of questions being asked on Google or other search engines. If your content resolves someone’s quandary then it’s beneficial, useful and shareable.
- Sense check: why should your reader care about your content… What value does it offer them? Is it teaching them something, amusing them, giving them something or adding value to their life?
- Tap into your organization for customer-relevant content marketing ideas. Case studies or anecdotes, documented real-life situations are far more interesting, especially if you can solve a problem/answer a question.
- Repurposing existing content to make it suitable/fitting for the audience is important and cost/time efficiency, but remember, Not all content is transferable between mediums. Is your advertising copy really suitable to tweet without a rewrite?
- Don’t forget to include a relevant call to action, encouraging readers to do something as a result of reading the post, feature, piece. You could also use a tracking code to better understand where people are coming from and what works well for you.
- Think about catering for your audiences needs, and who your audience is. On Facebook we have a very local audience, predominantly small business owners, on Twitter our followers have a strong US bias.
At Magnificent Stuff we pride ourselves on working with our clients to understand their audiences and deliver effective and brand appropriate marketing communications. If you’d like a free, no obligation chat about your comms. Please contact us at email@example.com or tweet us @magnificentstuf (yes, there is only 1 ‘f’ at the end!)
“What is it you do, exactly?” Over the last week we’ve been asked this question a number of times so it is clearly necessary to write a post explaining. I think the smartest and most concise summary would be in ‘elevator pitch’ style. So here we go…
MAGNIFICENT STUFF is a marketing consultancy with a focus on customer retention, loyalty and acquisition.
In a nutshell, we help you acquire and keep customers. We cover all aspects of marketing from research and planning through to evaluation and strategy. Anything an in-house marketing team takes care of we can manage. Basically, we’re offering small businesses and enterprises a marketing department on a consultancy basis. We work with clients who want to grow their customer base, promote their product/service and drive sales. We are NOT social media strategists, nor web designers, design agency or advertising agency. We do help clients with their social media, websites and advertising and we also work collaboratively with these specialists if it is necessary to meet a client’s brief. Our experience lies in branded content, editorial and account/project management. We have worked with some of the Worlds biggest brands. To give you an idea of the scope of work we do,
- We are currently working on developing a publishing programme to generate sales in the South-west,
- Supporting a creative supplier to the arts industry with marketing expertise,
- Writing editorial style copy for a publication to promote a number of very different businesses,
- Managing the social media accounts of two sole traders,
- Writing/selling a sponsorship package for a large charity event.
So, in layman’s terms, we are developing the strategy and setup of a profitable magazine, working as marketing department and project management consultancy to an art installation supplier, writing specialised ad copy to generate revenue, running the social media marketing for clients and putting together a sponsorship package to sell. Hopefully this explains things a bit, but if you’re still unsure please fire any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be delighted to help. If you’d like to tap into some of our skills then please don’t hesitate to contact us too. We start with a free, no obligation, meeting, where we’ll learn about your business and understand your needs to identify what (and if) we can help with.
Your Social Media audience won’t be fooled for long.
Being lured into following a brand to win a prize or enter a draw is fine but when users do a mass cull/sort out, or become irritated by the wrong message appearing in their feed, unless a brand has worked extremely hard to engage and have some relationship with that consumer that brand will be unliked/unfollowed quicker than you can say ‘tweet’. It’s imperative to think about and plan your social media content in order to build a positive relationship and good loyalty from your audience.
More can be found about social media relationship building here
There are a few simple, yet smart ways you can
Use Facebook to Promote a Public Event
without posting the same irritating messages to the same circle of friends. These tips will not only create genuine interest and standout for your event but will also engage your audience.
- The first recommendation would be to always have a holding page for your event, so a website or similar that will host all of the relevant information about your event. You can encourage users to sign up by promising additional insight or a freebie on arrival.
- Social share buttons to your registration page on the event. Word of mouth marketing is the most effective marketing and if people see other people are linking, following and sharing your event, the more visitors will perceive your content as being popular and will also want to share.
TOP TIP: The best place to position your social share buttons is at the top right “above the fold” (visible without scrolling).
- Use your Facebook page wisely! Even the banner/image on your page is valuable to you. At 180px by 540px there is an opportunity to use all of that space to talk about what it is you’re promoting. As does the event icon itself. A call to action – Free drink on arrival or free olives or complimentary bread and oil – these are all more appealing than the repetitive wallpaper that is: BUY TICKETS.
- Give your readers/followers/friends/likers MORE than just constantly harassing for a sale. If you’re a restaurant or a pub offer a recipe? Post pictures of the mouth-watering food – Instagram is a great app to do this through. If you’re hosting a festival, audio clips of featured artists can be really popular, if it’s a charity event post some case study stories of the good work the charity does.
- If you supply decent content, you’ll engage your audience. They’ll feel loyal towards you. They will feel as though they’re getting something back from you and won’t doubt investing in your event. Now is a good time to try and start some dialogue with your audience, start with a question – something like “Have you got your ticket yet to our next event?” or “Hands up who’s attending this event?!” You could use both your sharing link and your webpage link/registration link
- Facebook events – the fundamentals…
- Facebook Events is one of the most misused features of the social network. There are 2 ways to create an event:
In a personal profile – here you have the ability to message all invitees directly into their inbox
Via a fan page – best to use for business related events. Any changes or amends will simply go out as an update rather than a message as it would on a personal event
Do note that users have 2 inboxes and so be mindful that some messages may disappear into their ‘other’ inbox.
TOP TIP: If you’d rather not receive Event invitations/emails from certain friends but you don’t want to unfriend him/her, help is at hand! There’s a little-known feature on Facebook that allows you to block Event invitations from specific friends. Just go to Account > Privacy > Block Lists > scroll to Block event invites and type in the friend’s name. Voila. Your friend will be none the wiser.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your attendees to share. Ask your engaged fans to please invite their friends or at least put the event on their profile giving you additional visibility.
- Be clear that there is a link that Facebook users need to click to register. Some people might think that by clicking the “I’m Attending” button they have signed up for your event. Write periodic updates and messages on the Event wall to encourage everyone to go get their ticket if they haven’t already.
- Finally, how about encouraging your audience to curate your next event. Ask them what food they love, which film they want to see or which band they like best. By having this additional involvement in the event they’ll feel more excited and part of the event itself, becoming evangelists for you!
I hope these few fundamental tips have helped. Facebook can be a really valuable asset in event planning, used poorly it can also be really irritating and off-putting to fans. There are loads of useful hints and tips all over the internet on the smart use of Facebook, its well worth having a trawl around to learn more.
Otherwise we can always help you plan your social media effectively – email@example.com
So you understand the need for content. You know WHY big companies use content to market their business and keep their customers engaged. How do you go about deciding on a content marketing strategy to suit your company’s needs?
It is quite possible to become confused by the myriad of information available on this subject. To help here are some simple questions to help you decide.
1) What do I want to be known for? 2) What do my customers want? 3) What kind of content will they consume? 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? 5) Where should I publish my content? 6) How often should I publish? 7) What business results do I want from my content? 8) How do I know whether my content is working? Let us assume, for example, that you run a gardening firm that has progressed well and you’re looking to improve your visibility on-line through content marketing. If we address these 8 questions sample answers might be:-
1) What do I want to be known for? – Quality plants. Stylish landscaping. Promptness of service. Originality. Customer service. 2) What do my customers want? – All of the above plus assurance of professionalism,. Value for money. Peace of mind. 3) What kind of content will they consume? – Videos. Articles. Photography. 4) How can I create content that is interesting, consistent, original and likely to a) attract new customers and b) retain old ones? – By using personal knowledge. By researching trends and fashions. 5) Where should I publish my content? – A website? Blog? Social media? 6) How often should I publish? – Weekly? Bi-weekly? Daily. At which point do I risk over-saturation? 7) What business results do I want from my content? – More customers and MORE sales 8) How do I know whether my content is working? – By periodically checking traffic stats and sales since commencing content marketing.
It is not a panacea but if you apply these simple 8 questions you should be able to see a clear path towards a successful content marketing strategy.