In the age of the internet, it’s absolutely vital to establish at least some sort of online presence for a business; even if you don’t really conduct your business online.
While it’s true that anyone can produce online content, many of you will understand by now that not all content is created equal. You’ve also likely heard us say this before, but if you want to succeed professionally, effectively communicate what makes you special and different, and connect with customers and engage readers, you need to regularly produce compelling content.
Although more easily said than done in many cases, most of us have some idea of the difference between compelling content and boring or bland (read: ineffective) writing. However, for those still establishing their online presence, or those who are juggling online as just one channel within their marketing mix, the thought of having to continually create compelling content can seem daunting.
As experienced storytellers, we’ve compiled some of our top tips for crafting top-notch online content—and trust us, it’ll pay off!
1. Begin with keywords
Place yourself in the shoes of someone searching for your business online. What search terms are they likely to use? What results will show up first? Keywords are an excellent tool for creating a clear image about who you are and what you do, as well as securing a spot in search results. Keywords also guarantee that your website matches what a user expects to find in their searches—so make sure that the language and terms you use to get people to the page continue throughout your content also.
Keywords don’t have to be difficult to figure out. Begin with a brainstorm of all the topics, phrases, and potential search terms that relate to what your company does – but remember, the key point above is that you need to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Often the words that you use to talk about your offering within your organisation are not what an external person might think of. Beware of industry jargon, and if possible, sense check your list with friends, or an expert, who is not involved with your business, as they will have a more similar lens to your customers.
From there, the use of your keywords becomes relatively simple… Use them as inspiration for your written content to strengthen the identity of your business – and regularly create and add new content that will also help to boost your rankings.
2. Include strong calls to action
Also known as CTAs, a call to action is a way of encouraging website visitors to complete a specific action as a result of visiting your content. Whether it’s through a pop-up, hyperlink, or embedding a video into a blog post, CTAs encourage readers to download, trial, buy, book, subscribe, or preview your goods or services.
A good CTA should make it easy for visitors to engage with your business online. Word your CTAs in a way that makes the reader feel rewarded—you want them to have a positive experience on your website! Try to avoid bombarding readers with too many CTAs too; it’s best to be selective and consider what will best lead them to your desired outcome. It’s also possible to be creative with your overall content in order to ensure they think, feel or do what you’re hoping after reading also, so think strategically about this or talk to an expert.
3. Give your website a narrative
Imagine that you are discovering your website for the first time. How did you get there? Where will you head to next? The layout of your website and its content are all part of its story, so make sure that it makes sense and that they can flow intuitively through the journey you want them to have with you online! If users find the experience of being on your website too confusing, they won’t keep exploring for long.
Consider the way you want people to interact with your website and consider the technical aspects like the navigation in considering whether it supports this journey. Content plays a part here too – as constructing an online narrative within your website content can lead visitors where you want them to go and keep them engaged – ultimately leading to better results and more valuable traffic!
4. Keep your content fresh
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: when it comes to creating engaging content, consistency is key! Google isn’t fond of websites that haven’t been updated in a while, and neither are users. Weekly – or even fortnightly – blog posts are a great way to keep your website up to date; they bring back regular viewers who are invested in what you have to say, as well as increasing your pool of key terms that might appear in the search engine results for new viewers.
Not sure what to write about or how to write it? Start with your keywords and see which ideas are worth delving into a little deeper. If people are searching for these terms, they’re obviously interested in finding out more! A minimum of 500 words per post is required if you want to rank in search engines, and there’s no upper limit as to how many words you can include. Just make sure that your content is easy to read and navigate. Subheadings, bolding key words or phrases, and bullet pointing important lists make your content visually easier to navigate, allowing readers to scroll through a post until they spot what they’re looking for.
Though content writing may seem like a time-consuming task that’s difficult to master, it’s well worth the effort! If you don’t feel like you have the time or the specialist skill-set, we’d love to help you create the compelling online content that your business needs. Feel free to contact us for a chat.
Verity has long been a member of Venus, a women’s business network that supports businesswomen to thrive. We were thrilled to be able to contribute this article to their print magazine recently. Click here to view the full magazine or read on to see our article below.
“Those who tell the stories rule the world” – as the Native American proverb says. Words that are as true today as when they were first spoken.
In today’s fast-moving environment, the most effective communication comes from telling interesting and valuable stories. Stories have the ability to evoke emotion, bring back memories and mobilise us to act. In this way, stories are powerful and stories can move us.
We instinctively feel that as consumers, and now businesses are starting to realise that, in order to play to win, they need to embrace the power of storytelling. In 2016, Forbes referred to storytelling as the new strategic imperative of business.
Stories help a business to own their niche, create authentic connections with their market and win in their competitive environment, but not all stories can do this… so what makes a great one?
For a story to drive a conversation with the market, it needs to connect people to what makes a brand or business special and different. People care about organisations they connect to; it’s that simple.
Think about how you get close to others in Venus: you sit down for a Rave and share things about yourself. Over time, you reveal what drives you, what you like and dislike, your values – all the things that make you uniquely ‘you’. And you do that through telling stories. The narratives we tell other Venus members allow us to form relationships; the same is true for brands.
Storytelling may seem old-fashioned, but that’s exactly why it works to forge genuine connections. So, how do you tell a great story – one that inspires people to think, feel and do?
Be authentic: The best stories are real; they’re honest. They provide a true insight into a brand, a business, or a person. They have compelling characters. Consumers are savvy and know when they’re merely being fed marketing lines. Find real and authentic ways of communicating your points of difference. Chances are, the thing you do excites you and it has the potential to be exciting for others too, if you can connect them to why you do it, and what it means for you.
Surprise and delight: Good storytelling evokes a strong neurological response; you follow the narrative, live through the characters’ trials and tribulations, and are along on the journey as they reach a resolution. The suspense builds, followed by the seductive surge of dopamine – and this happy little brain chemical makes us feel infatuation; a vitally important ingredient for brands.
Keep it simple: Key to any great story is that they make us think and feel. To do this, the best stories are simple – focusing around one single important idea, theme or message. You don’t want people to leave people confused; if you’ve got more ideas, write more stories. One clear idea is far more effective for evoking emotions and, when you can get people to feel, you can get people to act. That is why storytelling is vital to business.
Or, as Harrison Monarth, author of The Confident Speaker says: “A story can go where quantitative analysis is denied admission: our hearts. Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.”
Intelligent Ink had been working with Hardy’s Health Stores for over four years, providing all of the editorial content for their MyHardy’s (and later, Discover) magazine before the brand went into receivership in early 2017. Diana and Vince Burgess bought the business and, having been involved with owning Hardy’s stores for some time, bought with them their commitment to bringing the brand back to its former glory – and then some!
Knowing the role that Intelligent Ink had played in the Hardy’s brand voice until that point, Diana soon got in touch with Intelligent Ink to see if we could help.
A legacy lives on
Hardy’s had been a household name for coming up 31 years and their loyal base of customers valued the professional advice and education that were strong values of the brand. Diana and Vince’s primary objective was to continue to communicate with Hardy’s customers – both old and new – by sharing valuable content, like they had been used to, and telling the stories that helped to convey the brand’s personality.
Further to that, was the desire to conduct a coordinated conversation with these customers and the market, demonstrating that although the Hardy’s brand may now have a smaller footprint than previously, they are still the best at what they do and had some new and unique points of difference to offer the market.
An integrated approach
While the magazine formed the cornerstone of the communications strategy for Hardy’s, they knew that having a coordinated conversation with the market would require integration across all of their external communications channels, including social media, their website and blog and regular enewsletters to their substantial database.
As well as drilling down to the brand’s target audiences and key messages, Intelligent Ink started from a seasonal theme standpoint and, from there, created a calendar that specified coordinated, channel-appropriate content for use across all of Hardy’s communications.
Working alongside our design and print partner, a launch issue of the newly-imagined magazine was put together in record time and is already having the desired effect! Not only has there been great feedback from Hardy’s customers following the magazine appearing in stores and in their letterboxes, Diana reports that there was a definite increase in turnover the week after the magazine was released.
Suppliers have been complimentary also, with some disappointed that they were not invited to advertise in the first edition and already booking a slot in the summer issue. For Diana, “the nicest part was when I received comments from a couple of key account managers saying they loved the professionalism of the mag and how it delivered our brand values.”
The Intelligent Ink team are already working on the plan and content for the summer issue, researching and writing editorial, and liaising with suppliers to craft their advertorial features also.
The malls have rolled out the decorations and the memes have started to be shared online, reminding us that there are this many days (and only this many weekends!) until Christmas. For some of us, this will bring joy and excitement. For others, possibly some dismay as to how another year has rolled by so quickly.
Although it’s tempting to pretend the silly season isn’t creeping up quite so quickly, this time of year holds great potential when it comes to your communications – and we don’t just mean sending your annual Christmas card to Aunt Mabel (although you should possibly get onto that soon too!)
The end of the year is the perfect time to not only recap on the fantastic year you’ve had and pay tribute to the clients, partners and staff who have supported you, it’s also a time to be organised – after all, you want to be able to relax and enjoy your time off without stressing about work during your break. So, while your mind might be frantically starting to assemble some of the things you need on your ‘to-do’ list before the jolly man pays us all a visit, take some time to consider our top tips for tackling your end of year communications.
Plan in advance
You’ve worked hard all year to keep your communications regular, relevant, and consistent – and that doesn’t need to change now! You may be shutting up shop for a couple of weeks, but that’s no reason to go to ground. Technology abounds with scheduling tools so you can populate your social media with pre-planned posts, set your blog content to publish in your absence and have your newsletters scheduled to send automatically. It means a bit more work now, but it’s worth it to not let the balls drop over the holidays.
As well as pre-planning and scheduling content, you may have other tools that your clients or customers engage with, so make sure everything is in place for these to run smoothly before you shut up shop. It’s all about giving you piece of mind and ensuring they still have the best experience. Another great idea is to refresh your FAQs for the time of year, adding the answers to commonly asked questions in a way that’s easy to find and access. This will minimise the amount that people need to try to reach you directly over that period and let them know what they can expect.
The content that works
It’s tempting to think that people don’t want to hear from you at this time of the year, but that’s usually not the case. In fact, in many ways, this is when they’ve got more time to devote to your content than before! However, bear in mind that you’re getting people while they are likely more relaxed, which means you want to keep your content fun, fresh, and relevant to the season and mood of your audience, so they’re more receptive.
No matter how you communicate normally, at this time of the year lighter-hearted content is generally a good way to go. Holiday wishes, or something more personal like your reflections on the year, or staff profiles that share what different members of your team are most looking forward to over the break are all great options. Consider a Christmas gift guide featuring some of your products, or compile your top tips for the beach, for example. Get your team together to brainstorm ideas, and while you should still find a way to reflect your brand and key messaging, what matters most now is simply staying top of mind clients over the holidays and as people start the new year.
Give out some gratitude
Another excellent idea for communicating at this time of the year is sending your clients or suppliers a little piece of appreciation – after all, they are the reason your business is thriving. A Christmas card or small gift goes a long way or, for very special clients, find a meaningful way to say thanks. Think outside the box of your standard Christmas card and see if you can have a bit of fun with your brand, or find a way to surprise and delight them; try a personalised present or poem, a video or slideshow to recap the year, or a game that gets people engaged. You could even host clients for a special drink or lunch to show your appreciation and further strengthen your relationship. It’s worth the time it takes to truly leave an impression.
Keep people in the loop
It’s fine to go off the grid in the holidays – in fact, we all need to occasionally – but make sure you’ve proactively communicated this. Clearly spell out your holiday dates to clients and key contacts to avoid bad feelings when they are unable to reach you. Set an out-of-office that communicates when you are back and, where possible, add an alternative contact for the time you are away. Do this a wee bit ahead of when you’re actually going on leave too, if possible – it can be amazing what extra work comes flooding in when you’ve said that you’re unavailable soon!
We get that this can be a busy time already without adding extra communications to your workload – so if you need any help creating clever content that speaks to your audience and tells your story, just get in touch!
We all (well, hopefully we all!) understand that when it comes to communications, we need to stay top of mind – which is why consistent communications are key. A few weeks ago we looked at why it’s so important to stay consistent, so now let’s look at how. Namely – when you’re talking to your customers every single week (or day!), how on earth do you come up with enough content ideas?
As storytellers, copywriters, and endless content creators, we’re constantly faced with the task of brainstorming and planning out content ideas (in fact, it’s one of our favourite things to do!) But when you have to do it for yourself, somehow it ends up much trickier! That’s why we’ve put together our best tips for how you can generate awesome blog topics with no trouble at all.
Think of your FAQs
What are the questions your customers are asking on a regular basis? When you meet with a new prospect, what are the things you consistently have to answer? Are there things they don’t understand, or get particularly worried about? Or, on the other hand, are there things you WISH they knew before meeting with you? Think of your blog as a way of educating your prospects and customers; these topics make great posts that deliver real value when written well.
Two brains are better than one
Don’t forget about your biggest asset when it comes to content ideas – your team. Try booking in a fun 20 minute brainstorm with the team to come up with as many ideas as possible. Not only does having fresh brains on the job help, you’ll usually find that each person has a unique take on different topics – perspectives that can be turned into unique blog posts!
Tap into your network – and collaborate!
Who says that everything on your blog has to be written by you? Try tapping into your clients, suppliers, or networks to see if they might be keen to contribute to your blog as well.
A blog post written by them, an interview, or quotes from them incorporated into your own post – whatever form it takes, it’s a great way to show you appreciate them and their expertise. As long as it’s related to what you do, and relevant to your audience, it can also be a great way to save you from having to create content. Plus – they will generally then share it via their own communication channels (usually social media or enewsletters), which means you’re getting in front of a whole new audience!
Use your data
Are you using Google Analytics? If not – why not? Make sure you know exactly which blog posts people are reading by checking out the stats on your Google Analytics account. Try to create new content based on the ones that have done well in the past. Did a how-to guide seem to resonate with people? What other how-to guides could you write? Or if particular topics seem to always do well – is there another angle you could take on that topic?
Go back to your basics
Consider your key messages, or the main messages that you want to get across. Could one of them be explored more? How can you tell a story around that specific key message – could you show how you’re living that message through a case study or interview with a client? Or could you look more deeply into the problems your customers are facing to better illustrate why you’re needed?
Just a word of warning though – these types of posts can end up being a little too sales-y, so make sure you’re always asking yourself: “Is this providing my target audience with value?”
What can you give an opinion on or add to?
With social media, we’re surrounded by news these days. But so many news items only look at the basics – which leaves a fantastic opportunity for you to provide an opinion, educate people about the topic, or add to the conversation with a well-timed, thoughtful blog post.
Try creating a Google Alert for topics that matter to you, and when things pop up that you think you could add to, you’re all set! Just aim to get it out quickly – the more timely the content, the more likely people with share and engage with it (don’t forget to get it out on social media quickly as well – and encourage people to comment and share their own opinions too!)
Consider content themes
Blogs don’t just have to be one-offs either – try grouping some blog posts around a specific theme, such as the time of year, or a particular issue facing people. Whether it’s what you need to be looking at in the lead up to Christmas, a specific social issue that connects with what you do, or your own original theme, using a theme can often spark more ideas for content and force you to dig a little deeper.
Plus, in this world of fast content, a lot of people actually like being given the opportunity to fully engage with a thought-provoking topic. Perhaps that’s why the ideal length of a blog post takes about seven minutes to read (according to Buffer anyway!)
Share your findings
Have you done any research recently? Or do you collect data about your customers’ results? Could you regularly report on the findings from what you do? Is there a number or statistic that you could come out and share with people?
If you’re big on numbers, or happen to collect a lot of data, you could be in a great position to share findings based on that data – and the more impressive or surprising those stats are, the better! People love finding out surprising facts – or having the numbers tell them that they’re doing the right thing. Just be sure that you’re allowed to share any data or information before you put it out there!
You’re an expert in what you do – so undoubtedly you’ll have some opinions about what’s coming up in your industry or field. Particularly at the end or start of the year, think about what you believe is going to change. Whether based on years of observation, lots of research, or gut instinct, people are interested in trends and knowing what you think is coming – so they can consider what might be changing too!
Tell your story
Do people know who you are? Who your team are? Do they understand why you started the business in the first place or how you got to where you are today? If not, tell them! People do business with people they like and trust, so telling your own stories is a powerful way to build connections and start conversations with people. Don’t be afraid to show off your people!
So there you go – ten ways to find blog content ideas even when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall! Just remember – keep it valuable and relevant and your customers will always appreciate it.
And if you need any help planning and writing awesome blog content – just get in touch!
Gone are the days when we should feel the need to be all things to all people – personally and professionally. But don’t worry, I get it. As many of us who have started businesses know, those lean, early days can turn even those of us with the best and most focused intentions into ‘Yes Men’ (or women!)
You’ll know what I’m talking about here if you are currently (or can remember back to when you were), a young business and you fielded requests from customers or potential customers that fell outside your core remit. My mouth would be saying “of course we can take care of that for you”, while my brain was thinking “Really? How?” We existed to make people’s lives easier and to go the extra mile, and that’s what we did… and it worked. For many years it worked, and we assembled a fantastic team of contractors and partners who enabled us to deliver all the periphery things that we took on.
However, you learn a lot of different things as you grow in business – and I think one of the key learnings is the importance of focus. Our incredible and trusted business advisor always says: “When it comes to defining your business, and moving along the path to success, it’s just as important what you say no to, and what you don’t do, as what you do”.
People want to deal with the best, and it’s much easier to be the best when you know the one or two things that you’re freakin’ awesome at, and focus there. So, 2017 has been all about saying no. You would have heard us say this before, but it’s been about us going back to the core thing that we’re the best at (crafting incredible stories) and playing there, and there only.
That’s been our journey anyway – although I know we’re not alone in reaching this turning point. Some businesses even get the memo right from their outset; just look at the explosion of increasingly niche businesses in more recent years. From tighter targeting, to more potential to tap into influencers, there are a range of benefits when it comes to marketing to a niche audience.
However, I’m not just talking about businesses that do something for a very specific group of people here. Your market might still be relatively broad, like ours, but the thing that you do, or provide, could be increasingly specific. Either way you’ve found your niche; you’ve figured out where you want to play, so the next step is determining how you are going to win there.
I’ll leave the overall business pep talk to the strategists and the business coaches – what we’re concerned with here are stories. Once you’ve found your niche you need to cement your story. Strong brands – and strong businesses – know what they’re about and communicate that in a compelling and consistent way. There’s the prized elevator pitch – the short and sweet way you sum up what you do in the time it would take you to ascend 10 floors. But there are also all the stories that sit around and behind that too – the ones that show, time and again, what makes you special and different. The ones that bring your values to life and really resonate with people.
When you have a fixed focus, those stories become more important than ever in helping you to stand out in the crowd. Used both internally, and to your market, they become the narrative that determines how your customers and potential customers see you, and how your business feels from the inside… pretty powerful stuff!
We’re passionate about helping cool companies to craft their compelling stories so, if you’d like some help in this area, we’d love to chat.
Anyone who is operating in the digital space, or knows anything about SEO will know that regurgitating content is not much use; when it comes down to it, putting the same exact article in lots of different places rarely helps – Google just puts its blinders on. However, there is a time and a place for recycling content, and it can be done in a way that works to a brand’s advantage. The way we see it, there are two key purposes – and we’ve outlined these below.
Control and consistency of your story
In an over-saturated market, the brands and businesses that stand out are the ones that know what it is that makes them special and different, and communicate that effectively. Only a cursory look at the current pre-election chaos is needed to demonstrate the disillusionment, and lack of trust, that the public (read: your market) feels when a story and key messages seem unclear.
We’ve long known that a strong brand is crystal clear on what it’s about, but we are – now, more than ever – seeing the importance of a business crafting its narrative in a way that consistently reinforces those messages. Great pieces of content contribute to your narrative; they demonstrate what makes you special in a way that moves people to think, feel and act in a particular way. And those pieces of content are powerful.
People need to see a message consistently, in a range of different ways and places, and at various times, to get it. As you tell your story and invite your customers and prospects to truly ‘get’ you, great bits of content provide the cornerstone foundation for this. You can be creative about it, but don’t be afraid to say the same thing more than once.
Getting maximum marketing mileage
When written well and reflecting all of your key messages, a little content can go a long way. If you’ve carefully crafted a key portion of your story, tell it and keep telling it. We have so many great channels for communication, and touchpoints with customers and prospects, at our fingertips nowadays, and a strong piece of content should be able to be leveraged across many of them.
Avoid making the mistake of merely copying and pasting though. To maximise your marketing mileage from a piece of content in the optimal way, you need to consider your audience, and the different way that those people interact with each channel, so that you can tailor your content accordingly.
For example, people bring a different attention span to an online publication that they have opted to read than they would when they’re engaging with social media (not to mention their varied expectations of different social media channels). Or, another example may be that you have used an article as a blog post, and then receive the opportunity to include it as a thought leadership piece in another organisation’s newsletter. You could just flick off a carbon copy of your original article, but your piece will get better results if you think about the types of people reading this specific newsletter, and do a small amount of tweaking to increase the relevance of your article to them.
Eco-content: Recycling like the pros
Clever copywriters know how take the compelling parts of a story and craft content that is optimised for use across a range of different channels. This allows you to achieve better bang for your buck and maximise the value you get from an investment in great content (and it is just that – an investment!) Not only that, it also helps you achieve a consistent brand voice, increases the chance of people buying into your story, as well as enabling you to control the conversation you are having with your market.
When it comes to communications, consistency is key. No matter how dazzling and perfect a piece of content is, nowadays, it’s no longer enough to do something once and pray that it will work.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for wonderful content; in fact, we believe that businesses can most effectively communicate with their audiences when they’re telling interesting and valuable stories. That said, we also understand that if you want to win in your chosen space, you have to proactively and strategically drive the conversation that you’re having with your market.
To do that, however, takes time.
Time to uncover and craft compelling stories that help people understand what makes a business or brand special and different.
Time to connect and build up trust with your customers and prospective market.
Time to regularly demonstrate your expertise, build your credibility, gain trust and provide your audience with the confidence that you will consistently give them value.
Time (and consistency) also allow you to improve; over time you can learn from your mistakes, as well as what you’re doing well. If you’re communicating regularly, over time you can see the type of engagement you’re getting, gauge responses, and make tweaks as you go to improve the way that you’re communicating.
Whether it be in the blog space, through a printed magazine or newsletter, or on social media, or through online and digital marketing, it’s more important than ever that you’re consistently getting your message out, and consistently communicating with the people who will help your business grow.
We’ve seen time and time again what happens when businesses are haphazard and spasmodic with their communications; they wonder why their efforts aren’t converting and why they’re not gaining the momentum they desire. Simply scheduling your communications with a content plan allows you to strategically consider the conversation you’re crafting with your market, driving increased conversions from captive consumers.
Let great content build your reputation and earn you the trust of your market. Add your expertise and your narrative to the dialogue that already exists around your corner of the market, with a confident and consistent brand voice.
You may have seen the news on our social channels, or noticed that we updated the ‘Contact’ page of the website but, either way, we can now happily announce that Intelligent Ink has a new HQ!
After four years in our central city loft-style space, we’ve escaped the CBD (and accompanying roadworks) and headed up to Ponsonby (4B Blake St, to be exact). True to the brand, we’ve found another cute character space that suits us perfectly and we’re nestled near some other cool boutique businesses, including our lovely design friends, Mount Deluxe.
For you, this simply means that it’s even easier than before for you to come and visit. With heaps of street parking available (and no longer the ascent up 3 flights of stairs!) our new digs are well set up for hosting. We made sure we bought our extensive tea collection with us, and we’ve got the goods to make great coffee too… (it’s the important things, you know!)
We’re also happy to be creating a cool space for communications workshops. Our work sees us, more and more, working with brands to drill down to their story and key messages, coordinating content calendars that allow a business to control the conversation that they’re having with their market in a consistent and ongoing way. Our new creative space is perfect for taking clients along on this journey…
We’re excited about what the rest of the year holds (how is it already more than halfway gone though?!) for Intelligent Ink and the next steps in our journey. A special thank you to everyone who has been a part of our story over the last 6½ years and we can’t wait to meet all of you who will also be a part of where we’re going. We look forward to seeing you soon in our new space; don’t be shy!
Gone are the days of simply having a website for your new business. These days your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Website and Google account should all be linked together. But how do you know your business will even be seen in the vast and ever-changing worldwide web’s search engine? It’s most definitely not a case of ‘build it and they will come’ any longer (if it ever indeed was!) Sound daunting? Don’t fret, we have some tips on how to set your business up online in the most efficient way.
SEO AND CONTENT
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. The best way to ensure your business is popping up first on Google, Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines is by using clear and relevant keywords within your online content. Cathy Mellett, owner of digital marketing agency Net Branding, explains the only way potential customers will find you via search is with “exceptionally high-quality content.” We can definitely back this up, considering content is our love and speciality. But prior to content, make sure you’ve got a long-term website and digital SEO strategy in place so all your efforts have an identified goal and purpose.
When it comes to content, it’s important to identify your keyword/root words; words that will always cross over your content to ensure consistency, and loyal searchers. “Your headings and meta descriptions should make the value you’re offering crystal clear upfront,” adds Cathy.
Then make sure you create content regularly. Although many of the pages on your website will remain relatively static, make sure there is at least a section – like a blog or news area – where you are regularly adding new content. This not only gives your readers a reason to keep coming back, but it will also help you maintain a higher spot in search results, as Google re-indexes your site for each new piece of content. Keeping your business optimised for search engines is a long-term commitment but let’s face it; if you’re not showing up when people are searching for your product or services, what’s the point of having a website?
WHEN IT COMES TO CONTENT, MIX IT UP
Let’s say, for instance, you’re running an online shoe business. Customers won’t merely limit themselves to only searching “shoes” when looking for a new pair, that’s far too broad. When we’re looking for shoes, we generally know what we want, so we likely search a brand, style, or even a colour too. It’s important that you always include specific and concise root keywords when producing content, to open up your business for differing search opportunities. This further supports the importance of frequently creating content, as you can explore different search terms and trends, without obviously “keyword stuffing” on one page. Don’t be afraid to have a bit of fun with your content!
INTEGRATION IS KEY
Search engine optimisation is one important piece of the puzzle, but it’s not your entire digital marketing story. Be sure to embrace the other channels you have at your fingertips, such as social promotion, email marketing, and Pay Per Click advertising. While many businesses are using a range of channels, Cathy believes what is becoming ever more important, in order to win online, is an integrated approach. “Don’t look at your digital presence in silos – with social media here, the website there and your SEO or online advertising strategy there,” Cathy explains.
“All businesses are different, but digital has evolved into a platform whereby all the functions can come together and work synergistically towards an organisation’s key objectives. Look at where you are now and where you want to go, and look at how you can best make sure you add your voice to the conversation.”
THERE’S NO ONE ANSWER FOR EVERYONE
There’s no point doing the same thing as everyone else if it doesn’t work for you – and not everything will! For some people, regular blogs shared via social media might be the answer, while for other businesses a more advertising-based focus could be right. “Depending on the business’s focus and urgency, other solutions such as Google Adwords and other online advertising options could be explored,” says Cathy, who’s just been over at digital marketing conferences in London. The important thing is to find out what works for you. Which brings us to…
YOU DON’T NEED TO DO ALL THE WORK YOURSELF
It’s important to invest in digital marketing for it to work for you, but this doesn’t all have to be at the expense of your time and upskilling. A digital marketing expert can help you ensure your online platforms are offering a cohesive brand presence and performing as well as they should. Likewise, you’re in the business of whatever it is that you do best, not that of creating content, so trust the experts here to curate your brand voice and drive a conversation with your market.
Keen to make sure your content and digital marketing are working for you? Just get in touch – we love working with experts like Net Branding to make sure your content gets the eyes it deserves!